Cooks & Chef’s III

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It came in the mail yesterday. It’s the Fall 2016 issue, technically #20. Literally, the third installment of the Lucky Peach spotlight on Cooks & Chefs, also dubbed the Fine Dining issue. I still do not have my own kitchen, but stay tuned…there is real potential for p.139, Fried Chicken: Hawaiian Chicken with Spam Fried Rice!

Albany Cafeteria Breakfast

Page 18 – Lucky Peach #17 – The Breakfast Issue

Food 18

Something amazing happened. I cooked a Lucky Peach breakfast in my Mom’s kitchen. Yes, I’m still homeless but her guest room has been mighty comfy lately. After a short gig at Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park (my first ever real restaurant experience, and it was lovely, the peeps there are all fantastic), I have taken up copywriting at an ad agency while burning the midnight oil on my own work (forever). Recently, my friend Bobbo visited from Cordova, Alaska where he’s a forest ranger in the Chugash. He interrupted all my shit and so I decided on his way out we’d have some cocktails while I cooked a warm meal for him and a few other friends. So, here are Brooklyn chef Stephen Tanner’s Bologna Cups, aka the Albany Cafeteria Breakfast. From what I gather from his photos in the LP article, we’d get along fine – smoking and southern boys are right up my alley.

AND I hustled my friend/rad photographer Micah Slay to shoot the pics and drink with us.


Don’t let this breakfast fool you, it’s a juggling act and after I got through my first Capt & Coke, I whipped my crew into shape and put them to work. The bologna cups are easy to make, but I recommend you do them at the end actually, since they take seconds to curl up in a hot saute pan and you want to serve them caliente. By the way, I learned that in L.A. it’s not so common to get bologna sliced at the deli. I witnessed it in some shitty part of Massachusetts with an ex-biker boyfriend I had and thought they did it everywhere, but not so much. Oscar Meyer still rules most deli meat aisles (probably ’cause this stuff is nuclear), but there are many varieties to choose from. I chose the pork & chicken combo over the beef, because after all, bologna is really Italian mortadella sausage. It’s actually a much fancier breakfast than you thought.


It’s the hash browns and salsa verde that take real prep and patience. So, just get right into that. Boil the potato for 9 min, grate it, and then form little piles on a griddle. Put 2 T butter (YEP) on top of each pile on med heat, and let the butter melt all the way through that puppy and then flip it. Add cheddar on top and dream. Tanner reveals that this is his infiltration of the Waffle House hash browns, and holy fuck, he’s got that right.


In the meantime, get someone to make you a drink and then get on the salsa verde. It’s nt the season here in L.A. but since there’s so many Mexicans, you can’t sneeze without finding tomatillos and jalapenos in stores still. Boil the jalapeno for 1 min, then add the tomatillos and turn off the flame. Let them cool, then drain.


Add them to a blender with chopped onion, garlic, cilantro, and salt. I say add as much as you like of all those things, taste it and make it exactly how you like, everyone is different on their salsa code.

The real trick is once you have a buzz, make sure someone else wants to do the poached eggs because they take up most of your attention. Tanner gave us a fancy scientific prop instruction involving a cup. The homie Chris was on it, and a 3 min poach was perfect.

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Food 17

Get that slice of bologna hot and curled into a cup and add the cheddar hash browns first, then the poached egg, and top with your salsa verde.

Food 27Food 30Food 28Food 29Food 31

That my friend, is da bomb diggity. Super tasty and pairs wonderfully with Capt. Morgan’s and Coke – and a visit from Ranger Bob.

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All You Can Eat & Street Food

I have to apologize again. I’ve been traveling a lot on RATDOG tour this year and though it’s involved some fantastic eating adventures (try Jack Stark BBQ in Kansas City, MO or the Blue Ribbon fried chicken at the Brooklyn Bowl) in between the shredding Americana mind blowing psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll of Bob Weir and company, that’s not what I’m here to write about. I’m here to confess I haven’t cooked anything out of the last three issues…but I’m back for a month to patch my bones so I will be featuring a few recipes soon.

In the meantime, I leave you with these great covers from the past two issues, Winter 2014 Issue #10, STREET FOOD and Spring 2014 Issue #11, ALL YOU CAN EAT. They’re both rad and though I love a good drunken trip to the buffet in Vegas at 5am, I think I love Street Food more. Here in Los Angeles, the last, say, 7 years, I have seen the food truck trend start, soar, and overwhelm the Angelenos. My fave is still the Kogi truck but the Sushi Pirates live on my block, so I’ll give them a shout out too. There’s some fascinating stuff in the Street Food issue, lots of tips for real intrepid travelers who might be into some crazy Thai hot dog specialities. I’m gonna attempt the wiener blossoms fo sho.

On August 19th, Issue #12 comes out, and word on the summer streets is it will feature barbecued hagfish, Portuguese clams, oysters blended into mayo, and more. So, be on the lookout!!  I’ll be back. Keep in touch.


Pg. 149  – Lucky Peach Issue #5



This is a great side dish or it can be a meal – I ate it for dinner myself. Start with finding yourself some fresh Napa Cabbage. I went to my local farmer’s market and bought one that was pretty much all white, but many are like a light green and white. Napa Cabbage  is a Chinese cabbage and is lighter in color than any of the other Chinese cabbages.

The recipe is courtesy of culinary anthropologist Naomi Duguid. She has written a book about the food culture of Burma and in Lucky Peach she explains that this recipe is “Chinese-inflected but still firmly anchored in the Burmese tradition (hence the turmeric and dried red chiles, as well as the overall balance).” She also shared that a common base for Burmese dishes starts with shallots cooked in a turmeric-scented oil. Let’s talk about turmeric for a second here. It’s a fantastic orange colored spice that’s part of the ginger family and a native of southeast Asia. It’s common in curries and mustards because of its slightly hot peppery taste. Good stuff, people. Buy some, use it in this recipe and then experiment – it’s really good on chicken, and in rice.

Okay, so here’s what you’ll need:


I’m so lazy. I think it’s hilarious that I’m offering you a photo of the ingredients. Really, what a lazy ass.


And so, get your cabbage, chop it up and put it all in bowl of cold water. Scrunch through it a bit with your hands to make sure it gets completely cleaned and then strain it and set it aside.


Combine the water and oyster sauce. You’ll add this into the stir-fry later.



Chop up your shallot, mince your ginger and cut your dried red chiles. I had some dried anaheim peppers from my garden so I used those. I think your best bet is anything you know is spicy and will give you the kick you like. Of course, any Asian pepper would probably tip this off in the right direction too.


Put the peanut oil in a wok – or large skillet in my case, since I DO NOT HAVE A WOK. I know. Let’s revisit this later. Keep the heat at medium-high and add the tumeric to the oil, then throw in the shallots, ginger, and dried chiles.


The turn the heat up, and add the cabbage and the salt and wok it up. That means stir-fry! 



Continually toss the cabbage and press it to the side of the pan even, for about 2 – 3 minutes and then add the oyster sauce mixture and bring it to a boil and continue stir-frying. Give it like 15 – 20 seconds and it’s done!



This tasted terrific. The turmeric gives it this rich spicy aromatic flavor and the chile peppers add a good kick. The oyster sauce is a nice dark sweet compliment. I’m adding this dish to my normal routine – it’s easy, quick, and very tasty. Plus, it reminded me how much I NEED A FUCKING WOK AGAIN. Long story, I moved and lost it. The End. Okay, more like short story. I recommend a dark red malbec to go with this party of one.



Pg. 74 – Lucky Peach Issue #1

Okay, in case you’re not a fish expert, Skate is a cartilaginous fish that has pretty cool wings. I headed to McCall’s again to fetch a pair of very nice skate wing filets for this recipe, which I think is the last of the instant ramen recipes in the Ramen issue. From here on out, I’m making real alkaline noodles for ramen and chicken soup, cavatelli, and then there’s an egg-stravanganza at the end of the issue that is sure to give me back the high cholesterol I beat a few years ago by eating oatmeal everyday. 

Dave Chang kicks his own ass about this recipe by saying that this was “probably the most obvious and laziest of my instant-ramen fuckarounds for this issue.” It is very simple to make and I can see how the idea was pretty practical to try. What’s crazy is we do use the instant ramen seasoning packet in the crust, so you can imagine how unhealthy this dish must be – if we actually knew what was in that fucking seasoning packet anyway. But those mystery granules sure do add a lot of flavor!

I really didn’t want to start listing ingredients because I’m lazy, but this can work right?

Put the ramen in your food processor and make a powder with it – and stir in the seasoning packet filled with MSG and magical Japanese goodness! Then you gotta make a breading station – get some plates or shallow bowls and put the flour on one, beat the eggs and put them in one, and then ramen powder. Dredge the skate in that order and seriously mound the ramen powder all over the filet to coat the sucker.

So, grapeseed oil is actually used often for high heat cooking because it can really withstand the temperature. It has a smoking point of 421 degrees F! It’s ideal for deep-frying, kids. Heat up your skillet and add the grapeseed oil and even though we’re cooking at home and don’t have an awesome commercial range that will really get the pan as hot as we wish it could get, we try our best and fry up the skate filets. After one minute on the first side add all that butter to the pan, and then baste that melted goodness all over it as it cooks.

Just watch the skate and flip it, it’ll cook fast. Then take it out, set it aside and cook the butter lettuce in that same pan, with the juices left from the skate. Squeeze some lemon and add some sea salt and you’re solid.

Yes, that’s a rather gratuitous shot, but Sharon reminded me that I should be in this blog too, so look at what you can get for just checking out this site. You pig.

This dish is really really tasty. We loved it and will make it again for sure. It’s seriously easy and fast to make, though the damn breading station makes more dishes than I like to wash (let’s get this straight, I actually do not like to wash any dishes).

It’s really yummy. Stu totally dressed appropriately for the fantastic taste experience.



Everybody and their mother knows this is out now. Get it or you’re dumb. After about 5 seconds thumbing through it, I realized I can’t just keep going in chronological page order on this quest. I’m going to skip around and there’s a damn good recipe in this new issue that involves instant ramen (and beef short ribs) so I’m gonna start my stray there most likely. But no worries, my faithful food porn companions, I will still go through all the journals thus far! We ate the instant ramen crusted skate last night, that post will be up shortly.


Pg. 78 – Lucky Peach Issue #1

I hate to waste food. The most awesome thing about cooking with all this instant ramen is that if you hang on to the season packets that come in the package, Lucky Peach gives you a great recipe to put them to use. It’s simple: sour cream + season packet = delicious dip. It doesn’t matter what flavor the packet is – shrimp, chicken, beef, some mysterious Japanese stuff – it’s all good. I actually used two packets to one tub (12 oz) of sour cream, because I wanted to really saturate the flavors.

The recipe calls for one bag of the BEST POTATO CHIPS IN THE WORLD. Everyone has their favorite, so stick to what you love – a good chip is damn important. Mark Ibold contributed this recipe and wrote about his favorote potato chips in the world – Kay & Ray’s Regular Potato Chips. You can get them online from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shop or if you’re lucky, in your local neighborhood store. We went for straight up classic Lays. In my opinion, the saltier the better for this dip.


Pg. 72 –  Lucky Peach Issue #1

According to Dave Chang, this recipe is a French riff on Italian potato gnocchi. Lemme tell ya, it was a really interesting process to create and I actually wondered how in the world he even started thinking about making this. It’s really a trip if you think about it. Essentially, you’re making gnocchi dough out of instant ramen, milk, and eggs. Being part Sicilian, I’ve had my share of pasta making adventures. Every Christmas, I’m fortunate enough to make homemade tamales and homemade ravioli and gnocchi. If I even suggested making the latter with instant ramen dough I would get laughed out of my Aunt Bernice’s kitchen.  But, I think it’s cool and I was seriously curious about how it would taste. It was delicious (though my neighbor and I still think the Fideo recipe rules all so far).

I like to get as much of my prep out of the way as I can. So, I had to get some egg yolk ready and I figured I’d take care of the herbs too. I grow Tarragon, but didn’t have enough for this recipe right now, so I scored all the herbs from the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, which I recommend checking out if you’ve never been – take the subway or get dropped off if you can. Parking sucks and is like $3/hr on the meters. Pretty lame.

Yep, that’s me. I’m still using the Sapporo instant ramen too. Good stuff.

I started by boiling the milk…

…added the instant ramen…

…strained it…

…threw it in the blender, added the yolks…

…started drinking wine…

…then, no kidding, my blender started having a really hard time with the thickness of the dough. We decided my blender sucks and transferred the dough to my food processor, which totally did the job.

The next part sucked because my pastry bag (that I bought at Vons, so no wonder) was just too small, but we were up in it, so I made the best of it.

The gnochhi came out pretty cute after all that hard work.

I fried it up with lots of butter.

Squeezed some lemon on it, though I found that Dave did not put this in the list of ingredients nor say exactly how much to use – he simply instructs you to add the lemon juice to the gnocchi after its cooked and toss it well. So, I went with one small lemon that I plucked from our tree outside. It seemed enough, though I might even do another half because I like the taste of lemon in pasta.

This dish is totally tasty. It works, the gnocchi is good consistency and has that melt in your mouth quality that good homemade pasta has. The herbs make it, so get fresh tarragon, parsley, and chives to top it off with. I really think fresh or handpicked herbs make a big difference. The recipe makes two bowls, so share with your neighbor Sharon if you have one.