Thursday, November 1, 2012

Moonbelly Archive: C6H12O6

Cooking with Moonbelly: Futuristic Cuisine for Real Americans

Back before the Christ affair or any of that, when they pulled it out the ground in such quantity they knowed not what to do, it tasted bitter and they burnt it in clay dishes and mixed it with blood and fed it to virgins just afore they kilt 'em. With corn it might do, or with spice or little ground seeds or dripped over locusts, but best was with the sugar, dried out and crystals, where you keep it with you in a bag on your belt and lick your finger and dip it and lick it off: this was the thing to do, and too much made you sick. Came where they melted it down and made sticks, then came where they come up with this "milk" (good, they said, for you too), and you could mix it up and wipe your hands in it and near enough get to feeling like you want to spread it all over your chest. Now in every parlor, sealed and sanitized against smudgy fingers and acid-droppers and cyanide, too small for pins and razors, familiar qualities, infinite shelf life: the Fun Size. Amen.

In the eves after All Souls', the wise cook will go to the bins passed over, and will buy at a discount. This is the pure stuff, the minimal food, stripped to its most basic function for aerobic respirers--the provision of glucose, the cheapest fuel to keep us breathing while we go about our evolution. Luckily for us higher types, this supply is available flavored with a variety of contaminants like mint and peanuts and chocolate (with whom we began today), or deftly burnt into caramel, or blown into amazing weird forms like the nougat, the cotton, the marsh-mallow, and the Skittle (from the Aztec xklitl, or "obsidian rainbow").

Halloween is the greatest of harvest festivals because it leaves us with so much that can last so long. Thanksgiving, with its sad old birdflesh and root vegetables, hardly lasts a week before the rot starts creeping in. Hell, you can hardly call that "leftovers" at all. But Halloween, you can keep what's left all the way till next year, or the next, assuming you don't get hungry in the meanwhile. You've plenty of time, so first set some out to dry:

Choc Jerky

These little numbers are handy for when you want chocolate experience without chocolate mess. Good for stirring coffee, crumbling over cereal, or putting in pockets.

Ingredients:

  • Several Fun Size chocolate bars, race unimportant, sliced lengthwise into long strips.

Procedure:

  1. Place the strips on a rack or screen, and place this in turn onto a plate. Loosely cover the plate with a bowl or glass bell.
  2. Place the whole arrangement in a cool, dry, insect-free environment.
  3. Wait several months, periodically checking on the progress of the drying.
  4. When strips are well desiccated, the chocolate should look powdery, and the strips should snap rather than bend under pressure. 
(Note--you can speed up the process by first rubbing the strips with coarse Kosher salt, but you may in this case sacrifice flavor for convenience.)

Smarty Loaf

Smarties are hard to figure. They're always left in great quantity at the bottom of the trick-or-treat bowl, and their rigid crystalline structure makes them a hassle to cook with. This recipe forces them into submission while preserving their "fruity" essence.

Ingredients:

  • 150-200 Smarties
  • 2 Tbsp. light vegetable oil
  • 2 c. uncooked white rice
  • 4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. syrup (corn, maple, molasses, etc.)
  • 6 breakfast sausage links

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Toss the smarties with the oil until they're thoroughly coated, and set them aside.
  2. Slice the breakfast links into roughly Smarty-sized pieces.
  3. In a 2-qt. casserole, combine the rice, water, syrup, and link bits. Add the Smarties and oil, and stir the mixture.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes. When the water's gone and the rice is done, the loaf is ready. Serve in slices.

GeoTwix-n-Snickers Milanesa

This delicious series of flavor layers looks like something made of rock.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Fun Size Twix bars, unwrapped
  • 1 bag Fun Size Snickers bars, unwrapped
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 bag mini-marshmallows

Procedure:

  1. Set a pot of water aboil. Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook the lasagna noodles as directed on the box.
  2. Grease a 9"x 12" baking pan with butter. Lay out a layer of lasagna noodles. Next place a layer of one type of bar, then another of the other bar, then another or noodles, and so on, so that you end with a noodle layer.
  3. Spread a layer of marshmallows on top of everything. Fill any gaps you see between container and content with the remaining marshmallows.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the marshmallows liquefy and bubble. Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator. Display elegantly upon service.

Friday, May 4, 2012

brussels sprouts and zucchini with porchetta

I don't have a photo, but this was super tasty and easy. I made it in a pan on the grill while the meat sat on the other side.

A bag of brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
Two zucchini, rough dice
A small white onion, rough dice
1-2 oz porchetta or other cured swine, chopped (Pancetta! Guanciale!)

Put all of this in a big bowl, toss with olive oil, s&p, and red pepper flakes. Cook on high heat in a covered saute pan for about 10 minutes, tossing every now and then. Uncover and cook a little more, for color. Yum.