So after very short hiatus the Freak contacted me to tell me that he is doing a dumplin eating contest in Philadelphia at Sang Keen Noodle House. He will be hanging with some of his buddies from wing bowl like Shittsburgh I mean Pittsburgh Paulie, Dave Brunelli, and for the love of god Heather Cahill. Go ahead click that link, you won’t be disappointed. The gist of the competition is to finish 58 Dumplings (48 for women) in 45 minutes, and your meal is on Sangkee, plus receive a $88 Sangkee Gift Card. So basically no chewing, just swallowing. My pick is on a certain contender that I believe can swallow all day, yup Pittsburgh Paulie. You sly fuckers, I know what you were going to say. It’s almost dumplin time.
Wing Bowl is just days away and The Freak continues to prepare for the greatest competitive eating contest known to man. The festivities will kick off with the weigh in and pre-party at Chickie’s and Petes in South Philly. This is the party to start the mother of all parties. Then on Feb 2nd at the Wells Fargo Center the party will begin, WING BOWL 26.
I will tell you the tale of a man who is a legend, mainly in his own mind, but his growing popularity is that of an active volcano, we are all waiting for it to erupt. His claim to fame seems to come from lies and wise tales yet many have been there to either witness or be implicated in one of his acts. His mind wonders a bit and he doesn’t sit still much, or he sits still too much it’s kinda weird to explain. Either way this man has gone by many names, Stephen, Stephano, The Aquatic Giant, TAL, T, Frankie, SLAM, and the finally the Freak. He rarely matches his clothes which adds to the oddity of his character. He may be wearing a black fur with red shorts, or plaid pants with an off-color V-neck. It doesn’t make sense nor should it. He is more cartoon character than real human. Most stories start with, “hey remember that time he did this or did that”. You all laugh and the new guy says “No Fucking Way.” You chuckle, shake your head and walk away, he doesn’t know any better. Recently the Freak added small but new accolades to his growing resume of I can’t believe he is doing that tasks. He was in an independent short film, is a professional boxer (March 24th), had a beer named after his alter ego ” The Selfie King of Delaware”, and now has made it to competitive eater. The Freak will be participating in Wing Bowl on February 2nd.
This thing is awesome. Love comfort food, and making fall meals. This crock pot meal feeds the fam and then some. It only takes about a half hour to prep and about 3-4 hours in the crock pot.
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (mix up a bit try mild or hot)
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 15 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 14.5 oz can of petit diced tomatoes ( I used fire roasted, but you can mix these up also some come with hot peppers or garlic flavoring)
32 oz Beef Broth
1 Red Bell Pepper (Optional not a deal breaker) I used on the one red bell
1 Green Bell Pepper (optional not a deal breaker)
2 teaspoons of dried basil
2 teaspoons of dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt
Black pepper start with a 1/2 teaspoon but use to get to the flavor you like
Pasta – I used actual lasagna noodles, just broke them in 2-3 inch long pieces. Save for the end when you ae ready to serve.
Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Ricotta
One I would grab a glass of your favorite red or white, I grabbed a beer, but choice is yours. I put on some music while I made this one, I like something smooth and almost jazzy when I cook, but again if you like death metal then rock the F$%& Out. Lastly never cook alone.
I started by putting my suasage and beef in one pan and letting it brown.
As that was cooking in put my garlic, red bell pepper, pepper, and seasoning salt in a small pan next to it. I put some butter in there and sauteed that. Once the peppers and spice got aromatic it I poured half in my meat, and the other half in my crock pot.
In the crock pot I put all the tomato ingredients, broth, basil, and parsley. I turned my portion low and let that start to work its magic.
As the meat begins to brown I through a little more basil and parsley into the meat, just to work that flavor.
Once the meat no longer has any pink in it you can put it into the crock pot.
Turn you pot on high and let it cook 3-4 hours. This is going to make your kitchen smell great. While your waiting for it to cook pour yourself another glass, talk to your family about the upcoming holidays, talk about the past, talk about the future, who cares just talk to one another. Oh and put down the phones and turn off the T.V. Hell you can even dance to the music playing, just suck up the moment, memories ae better than pictures.
Ok enough time has passed it’s time to serve up the soup. I took a small bowl and placed my cooked lasagna noodle in the bottom..
I then placed a dollop pf Ricotta, some shredded mozzarella, and Shredded Parm. Then I pour some soup over that.
I repeat this with a total of three noodles, just layering the pasta, cheese, and soup.
That’s it, serve and enjoy.
Options for toppings:
Sour Cream, Different Cheeses, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, a little butter. Try it all. It you want to add some color in the end sprinkle a little parsley on top of that last dollop of Ricotta.
My Daughters Bowl
Remember never cook alone.
See You in The Future – Thee Time Traveler
It was that Good
This week my oldest had a bit of a fever so we couldn’t really head out much. Instead we cooked. First we made brownies, she wanted to surprise her mother, it worked. Then I convinced her to help me cook an amazing pasta dish. I can’t tell you how much I love cooking with my kids. This one was really fun because she got to help a lot. I will put the link at the bottom of this page for the recipe that I used.
Penne Pasta – Try and use about ten oz.
3 tbsp. Butter
3 Cloves of Garlic – you’ll need to mince this – use fresh garlic not the stuff in the bottle.
1 lb of Shrimp Raw – Medium or large. (Peeled and deveined) Scallops would also be a good addition, if you do that cut down on the shrimp to about a half a pound.
3 tbsp. chopped Fresh Parsley
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of milk (whole milk, if you use cream it may be to thick, stay with the milk)
1/4 cup of chicken broth, ( the below link calls for low sodium, I like the flavor though – your choose your blood pressure)
1 cup shredded Mozzarella – try not to eat all of it while your cooking.
1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan – set aside an additional 2 tablespoons or more
2 large tomatoes chopped – you could probably get away with one, it depends on how much you like tomatoes.
Fresh ground pepper, and salt, this is to taste more than anything.
1 large frying pan, that can be put into the oven. Please for the love of god put back the pan with the rubber handle, that’s not going to work. If you have a baking dish pull that out. You can make everything in the frying pan transfer it to an 8 x dish and use that to finish off in the oven. Oven you say, yes the oven. Just keep reading below and you’ll see.
This is the fun part. First get all your measurements set aside, and everything prepped ahead of time. Some steps in this involve good timing and you don’t want to burn anything. It helps if someone is cooking with you, one because you should never cook alone, but the extra hands help.
1st – Take a table-spoon of butter put it in the frying pan along with the minced garlic shrimp, and a tablespoon of parsley. Off to the Side make sure you have your pasta heating up. Also pre-heat your oven to 350.
2nd – Once the shrimp have turned pink on both sides, remove the shrimp. There should be plenty of juice cooking in the pan still. You’ll need this.
3rd – Remember I said timing and the extra hands would help, this is one of the steps that takes place. Place the rest of your butter into the frying pan, once melted you need to add your flour. This is how you make your roux, or the base for your white sauce. You may not need all of the flour, add it in to the melted butter and whisk away. It will begin to clump, don’t let it turn brown. Once all the butter has disappeared add in the milk, and then the broth. Keep stirring it will begin to thicken. (this may take some practice if you have never done it before)
4th – At this point you can add in 3/4 cup of your mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the parm. This will also help if thicken up. Then add your tomatoes, pasta, and some more parsley. Also salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you save some mozzarella, parm, and parsley for the end.
5th – Take that frying pan and place it in the oven. Let the pasta bake for about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it, each oven seems to have its own personality. Mine tends to cook slower. It’s stubborn.
Lastly – Take out the pasta and let it rest for a couple of minutes finish it off with a little mozzarella, parm, and parsley. The fresh melted cheese and parsley will make it look amazing. Grab a fork and start digging in.
My oldest and I had a blast making this dish, extremely fun and tastes great. Remember never cook alone.
See You in the Future – Thee Time Traveler.
This week I made two deserts for a Saturday Party, where friends and kids all got together to have a good time. Everyone brought something different, from appetizers, to dips, to French dip sandwich’s, to some crazy ass pizza thingy. The food was all really good and went well with the cocktails we had. Today I give you my chocolate covered strawberries and my mini pumpkin pie’s.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
strawberries, I know, no shit right.
Chocolate – I picked up coating wafers that I melt down
White Chocolate – Coating wafers again
Frying Pan – Preferably Deep
A small pot
This is the fun part, melting the chocolate. What I do is I put a frying pan on the stove with it filled about half way with water. I then put my chocolate in a pot and place the pot in the frying pan with the water. As the water in the pan heats your chocolate will begin to melt. You have to keep stirring it until it is nice and runny. Remove you pot and start dipping your strawberries. Place them in a pan or on some parchment paper, they will dry quickly.
Do the same thing with your white chocolate except put it in either a piping bag or I use ziplock bags. You just cut the corner on it to pipe it out. That’s how you get those fancy little lines on your amazing berries. Once you have done this drop them in the fridge until you are ready to devour. These are great for the holidays, and valentines day. Plus if you’re a guy it will cost you about a tenth of the cost than buying them off the internet.
Mini Pumpkin Pies
These things I love. Plus you can make a bunch of these easily. These are by far my favorite to make during the holiday seasons.
1 30 oz Can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix
1 5 oz Can of evaporated milk
2 Large Eggs
3-4 pie crusts, freezer section or where they sell the can muffins, and cinnamon rolls.
A large mixing bowl
1-2 Muffin pans. I made 24 pies using this recipe
Special ingredient – One of your kids, they always make cooking better.
Unroll the pie crust you bought and place it on the counter. It helps if you throw down some flour that way your crust doesn’t stick. If you have a small 6 inch dish it helps to make the cuts for your pies. Cut out as many small 6 inch pieces you can. Like I said I made 24 using three crusts and then the last one I used it to make my leaves for the tops of the pies. You will have to get out the rolling pin to ensure you use al the dough. You have to ball it up and roll it back out a couple of times.
In the large mixing bowl mix together your pie mix, eggs, and evaporated milk. This makes you pie filling.
Spray the muffin pans with some non-stick spray and place you dough in the pans. While my Daughter was doing that I was busy cutting 4 inch leaves out of the last crust that I had. Once all the dough was in we filled them with the pie mix. It helps to live a little room at the top because the mix will rise while it cooks. Place your little leaves on the top and fire those bad boys into the oven.
425 for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 for about an hour.
Pull them out and let them cool. At this time you have some options. I took the same white chocolate mix from the strawberries and piped that on the pies. You could also do whipped cream, that mix that comes with the cinnamon rolls, or whatever topping you like. Pop these guys in the fridge for a bit and enjoy.
A couple of days ago I went with a group of friends and co-workers to Philadelphia. I love this city and the history of it. More than anything I love the food the city presents. The trip started off with a visit to the Constitution Center, a meal and cold one at the Independence Beer Garden, and then I escaped to the Redding Terminal Mall. We started our day off around 7am loading up I a van to hit the road and ensure we were in Philly at a decent time. Once we overcame of few wrong turns, one that landed us in N.J, we made it to our destination. I would also like to add that whoever developed the road exit plan for the city should never work again. Unless you are lucky, you will at some point have to make a split second decision to cut across multiple lanes of traffic in order not to miss your exit. I would suggest practicing your city driving by yelling loudly while you drive bumper cars in a confined space. Other than that pray to whatever higher power you believe in, or lower power, and just go with it.
The Constitution Center is a lovely building, the provides a wonderful presentation on the work the founding fathers did to present the Nation with the Declaration of Independence. Within the facility you can see several attractions, and get a sense of the history that we have gone through as such a young Nation. You can quickly review the hard times and good times that this great Nation has gone through in order to get where it is today. You also leave with an understanding that in the grand scheme of things we are still so young as a Country and to become the world leader that we are is pretty amazing. I mean there are buildings in Italy that were destroyed by an earthquake this past week that were older than America. Take a day go and get your history on.
After finishing up around 1130 at Independence Mall we shot over to the Independence Beer Garden. I have had this place on my mind for sometime and was excited to finally get there. This is located outside this place offers great views, good beer, and good food. With optional covered seating, or seats out in the sun, this place offers you the chance to sit and enjoy a long afternoon eating and relaxing. I ordered the pork tacos and wings for my nom nom nom, and a Nodding Head Monkey Knife Fight beer. These were good all the way around. I thought the Pork Tacos had a little to much of a BBQ flavor, and not enough of the Salsa Flavor. The wings I got were deep-fried, large, and had a lot of flavor. The beer was labeled as a lager on the menu, but did not carry that traditional lager flavor but did carry a spiced, herbed flavor that was really good, and even better with the summer temperatures that we had.
Taking a small break from my meal and drink, I let my stomach settle a bit and then it was off to a place that I have been dying to try, The Redding Terminal Market. The easiest way for me to describe this place is that it is a giant melting pot of food and culture that is stuffed into a giant warehouse. You could eat breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, and desert all in one day. The is an amazing amount cultural foods as well. Fresh foods are everywhere, the smells are great, and at Molly Mollay’s you can get a cold one to walk around with. I recommend the American Hero Ale, not just because I’m a veteran but because it was good.
The brew had a nice dark color and rich flavor. The small pub has an oddly large classic pub feel to it, even though it is basically an open setting bar in the middle of a giant grocery store. The magic of the Redding Terminal was obviously working on me. It was nearly time for me to take off and meet back up with the team, but first I needed to stop at America’s olders Ice Cream parlor, L.D Bassett, and grab a cup of vanilla ice cream. Great way to finish the day.
It took my 15 minutes walk back to the Constitution Center to rally up with the gang and head back to Delaware. My stomach felt like it was going to explode at this point, and my eyes were getting heavy. It didn’t take us long before we were back on the road and guys started dropping like flies. Heads back and mouths wide open, the van slumber party had begun. I took this time to reflect on the Philly journey we took and that I would tell anyone and everyone that lives near a city of any type large or small, that they should spend the day seeing it’s history and enjoying it’s culture. You don’t necessarily need to speak to anyone but that will make the trip better, and you never know who you will end up meeting. Head on out and enjoy some food, friends, and beer.
See you in the Future – Thee Time Traveler.