Sloppy Jessicas

February 20th, 2016

So I was watching all the episodes for Brooklyn Nine-Nine over (I introduced my intern to Brooklyn Nine-Nine and he watched all of them in like 3 days) and towards the end of Season 1 Gina eats a Sloppy Jessica: Mac-and-cheese, Chili, and Pizza on a bun. I actually thought that wouldn’t taste too bad, even though it is a little indulgent. Of course finding good regular mac-and-cheese here in Singapore is a bit tough (it’s always truffle mac and cheese here), let alone chili, I went and googled how other people did it. I found that they all cut a lot of corners and basically just made chili-mac and put it on a bun. So I figured I’d do it right and see how it is.

Cold Storage across the street from me had all the ingredients and I went and picked up everything I’d need. Chili itself is pretty easy, mac-and-cheese is also rather easy as is spaghetti sauce, so I figured the 3 of them together would be fine. I typically let my chili and spaghetti sauce simmer for an hour or two to slow cook the meat and get some great flavors, so I started the spaghetti sauce (with meatballs so I can make meatball sandwiches later) and then moved onto the chili. I do cheat a bit and buy jarred spaghetti sauce, but I brown my meat in a pan first, and then saute fresh garlic and onion (and season with salt/pepper) before adding the jar of sauce and extra oregano/thyme to the sauce and let that simmer for a while.

Chili is really simple, though I don’t get too complex like some people would (and I put kidney beans in mine. Some people think this is sacrilegious). Brown the beef with chili powder (I didn’t get enough beef, but ground beef is rather expensive here in Singapore). Also ground beef here in Singapore is rather lean, so I also added in some olive oil, which helped when I added the garlic and onion next. After that a can of peeled and a can of diced tomatoes, rinsed kidney beans, and enough beef stock to keep everything nice and moist. I love chili powder so I put more of that in, along with some cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt/pepper. Cover and simmer.

While everything was simmering I sat down and watched another episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 😀

An hour or so later I started on my Bechamel. Make a roux, and add milk slowly while whisking. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let thicken.

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Chili on Left, Pizza sauce on top right and Bechamel on bottom right

I was worried that the sandwich would be too soggy/watery with the chili, so I only used half the Bechamel I made and added the cheese (Cheddar) to that. I figured once I mixed the two the thicker cheese sauce would help solidify the thinner chili.

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Cheese sauce is ready!

When that was ready I boiled water for the macaroni and preheated my oven to 160C (320F). When the pasta went in, I prepped the buns and put them in the oven.

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Sauced Buns

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…now with cheese!

This way once the pasta was done and mixed with the cheese sauce, the buns would be done and ready. and the timing worked out almost perfectly.

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Here’s the Pizza on a bun

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Mac and Cheese is ready!

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Chili is ready

Now all thats ready is to mix and assemble. I decided to mix the chili and mac and cheese separately, so I could enjoy them separate later if I so desire. As usual with me, with all this food and just me to eat, there will be lots of leftovers.

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Ready to Mix

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Mixed! now ready to assemble

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Putting everything together

These came out great, actually. and were really tasty. The only think I would change for next time would be to add more meat to my chili, as these were very carb-heavy. This wasn’t hard either, it just involved a lot of pots. Very easy and rather straightforward, I would probably do this again, but probably when I have kids to feed and spoil. 😀

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Singapore…

October 8th, 2014

So, no one probably reads this anymore, and I’m sorry I’ve dropped off the grid, but I’ve been really busy. Work has been taking over my life. and with all that hard work, I’ve finally been rewarded (I think) and my company moved me back to Asia! I’m now living in Singapore, and while it’s pretty hot and expensive, the food is great, the people are friendly (the girls are cute) and I do like it in Asia more than being in the US of A. All the food is pretty good, bad restaurants don’t survive for long, and food can be surprisingly cheap. I’ve even found a new favorite that pushes my beloved ramen to the wayside. but more on that later.
After moving in to my new place, the first step was to get a bed and somewhere to sleep. The second step… get my kitchen in order. I passed up on it for a long time, but I figured I have to start from (mostly) scratch again, so what the heck, and bought a chamber vacuum sealer and sous vide machine. I spent WAY too much on it, as it was more expensive than the same stuff in the US, but I bit the bullet and ordered them.

Then I spent way too much time and several trips to Temple Street in Chinatown. My new favorite place is Sia Huat, which is a professional kitchen store. Yes, they sell to restaurants, and the whole street has shop after shop after shop.

So after a month and a half of being in Singapore and eating nothing but local food, I did start to miss some american food, namely a good burger. I’m not talking fast food, but a good steakhouse burger that is nicely pink all the way through. So I made a trip to a butcher/deli that I found online and then proceeded to poke around and buy all sorts of meat. (the guy behind the counter even asked if I studied meat, because of the cuts I was asking).

I went out and bought some brisket and top round (I was looking for chuck) and I debated on buying some short rib as well to throw into the mix, but I figured it was a lot of meat already, so I left it out. Back home I had a coworker in for the day (he had spent the previous 2 weeks working here from the UK) and I treated him to the best burger I’ve had since arriving in Singapore. I ground my own meat, and then made patties, vacuum sealed them then into the sous vide machine they went, 57 C for 4 hours.

Sous vide burgers

Pulled them out, they really didn’t look like much outside the bag.

Sous vide out of the bag

But I seasoned and then seared on the grill for maybe a minute each side.

Grillin away!
Assembled them with lettuce, tomato, and some pickled red onions I made while waiting for them to sous vide (quick pickling with the vacuum chamber is freaking insane) and then I couldn’t wait to take a bite. So I did before even leaving the kitchen.
This looks nice...Heaven

mmm… food.

May 11th, 2009

So if you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a foodie. Actually most of my family are foodies. For example, my sister and I got into a discussion about kinds of pots and pans. My mom really likes the Calphalon series, while my sister likes the All-Clad MC2 series. I have some friends that are/were chefs at Hamersley’s Bistro here in Boston and they really like their copper pans. My collection, on the other hand, is a mixture of all three (I just got my first copper saucier) although I am liking All-Clad’s MC2 and LTD series. In addition to just tasting the food, I enjoy cooking as well. Now, however, I’m trying to figure out the leap from “home-style cooking” to “restaurant-quality”. I’ve been looking for a food presentation class, or somewhere that’ll teach me how to plate, but there isn’t much here in Boston 🙁 I’m taking private lessons from my friends who are chefs when I can, but with schedules as they are, that’s not very often.

Anway, here’s one of my first attempts at plating… this was an impromptu meal for my friends Dawn and Andrew, we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner when I randomly decided to cook (we’re very last-minute like that… or indecisive, whichever you prefer). Anyway I made poached salmon with herb sauce, sauteed potato balls (I finally got to use my mellon scoop) with onion, and roasted fennel.

I also tried my hand at raamen. I tried to make tonkotsu raamen, but couldn’t find the right bones. All the store had was pork necks, hocks, and feet, so the broth was more a yellow instead of a milky white. It turned into miso raamen instead. It was pretty good, I had all the toppings, except my buta no kakuni (豚の角煮)… that wasn’t melt-in-your-mouth goodness like I had in Japan. I think i need to get a dutch oven.

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Deep Dish Pizza from Chicago

May 11th, 2009

Another post I’ve been meaning to put up for a while… I was in Chicago last october, and decided to bring back a deep dish pizza from chicago, for my friends back in boston. So I asked the local sales guys in Chicago, what the best deep dish pizza was, and they suggested I bring back a few different types for everyone to try out. I took everyone’s suggestion to what they thought was the best, and carried 5 frozen pizza’s on the plane to bring back. Here is how my friends and I ranked the pizzas (from least favorite to the best):

5. Lou Malnati’s small cheese pizza (for Katie)

4. Lou Malnati’s Large Sausage pizza

3. Gino’s East Supreme Pizza

2. Giordano’s Stuffed Spinach pizza

1. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder’s Pizza Pot Pie (yes, it’s as good as it sounds)

Of course Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder would take first…. I’ve been told it ranked 6th on the Travel Channel’s “Best Pizzas in the US” (as told to me from the local sales guy, I cannot verify this). Giordano’s came in a close second (and not because I really like spinach). The crust was really flaky and buttery, and they encased the cheese and spinach in a thin layer of crust and topped it with sauce. Gino’s East was really good too, but in comparison to the first two, lost out on the ranking. Unfortunately Lou Malnati’s wasn’t our favorite, but it did rank better than the local pizzeria UNO’s. Lou Malnati’s seems to be a chain mainly specializing in take-out pizzas. Giordano’s and Gino’s East were also chain restaurants, but they primarily focus on in restaurant diners. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder is a one off. There’s only one, and I hear the waits are impossible. The local sales guy lives a few blocks from there, so we went on a tuesday…. no wait at all. Afterwards we went to see Second City, and that was an incredible night.

Now for the pics:

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Sorry

May 11th, 2009

Sorry for the delay… Life’s been hectic. Lots of personal drama, lots of work, and of course, this economy. But I’m still trying to get stuff up, and will continue to do so… even though not many ppl actually read this….

I have some pics here from a trip I was able to take to SF this past fall. Since I stayed the weekend, I was able to get the local sales guy to score me tix to the 49’ers game (Thanks, Josh)! For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a 9ers fan since I was like 6. And this was my first NFL game I’ve actually attended. The 9ers played the Patriots (yes, I know I live in Boston now…) and unfortunately lost, but during the halftime they retired Steve Young’s jersey!

Finally the local engineer drove me to Sacramento to work at a customer, and I saw this sign on the drive up… so on the way back, I had him turn around and we drove past the sign again, just so I could take a pic. Let’s all thank Mike for humoring me 🙂

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Disaster Strikes…

July 12th, 2008

Sorry for the lack of new stuff… this post, however, will not be a fun post. This last week my Mom was complaining about chest pains, and shortness of breath, so my cousin (who just happens to be a cardiologist) told my mom to see her doctor. My mom went on Monday and everything was fine until they did a stress test. a minute or so into the stress test they pulled her off and immediately scheduled a catheterization on Wednesday. She went in for that and they found it was much worse than they thought. Friday morning my mom had to go in for triple bypass surgery. Luckily my cousin (the cardiologist) was able to pull some strings and was able to get the best heart surgeon on the east coast. he apparently doesn’t do many heart surgeries, because he now teaches and runs departments lately, but I’ve been told that he did it as a favor to my cousin.

Everything went well, and my mom’s surgery went well. The procedure ended early which is a good sign as there were no complications. She’s now recovering at Washington Hospital Center. I flew down as soon as I heard, but I have to go back to Boston tomorrow night for work. I will be flying back here the following week, when my Mom gets out of the hospital, and I’ll be taking a week off of work to stay with her initially.

Hopefully I’ll be posting more fun things soon; I’m leaving for Vegas again at the beginning of August cuz I’m headed to Blackhat!

Weekend in Napa

June 29th, 2008

So I think I lucked out this past weekend… I was only supposed to be in San Fransisco’s bay area for a few days. I flew in on Mondy and was supposed to fly back home on Saturday, but there was a problem in getting gear to one of our customer sites. So I was able to extend my trip and fly back on Wednesday. however for the weekend I was able to get a hotel at the end of Napa Valley and visit wine country.

It sorta sucks being at a really nice place by yourself, and (again) no girlfriend, so I decided to go on a group tour. the first place I called was Platypus tours, but they were all booked solid for the next week or so. But I was able to get on Napa Valley Wine tours. I would highly recommend them, and if you go, ask for Lawrence. He’s a nice friendly guy, and the next time I come back (and I will be back) I’m going to ask for him again. We went to 9 wineries in total, Black Stallion, Hagafen (an Israeli winery right next to the Iranian winery, go figure), the Andretti winery (owned by ex-racecar driver Mario Andretti), Trefethen (one of the oldest wineries in Napa), Montecello (named after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello), Silverado (the winery owned by Walt Disney’s daughter and the heir to See’s candy), Plump Jack Winery, Domaine Chandon (a lot of sparkling wines), and finally the Laird Family Estate. I had so much wine. However the best wines I think I had here was actually from the winery I visited the day I arrived in Napa, Cuvaison. Cuvaison had an outdoor seating area where you could taste the wines and they were all incredible, with gorgeous views. I bought 12 bottles to take home, but unfortunately they don’t ship to Massachusetts, so I have to check them in on the plane.

Anyway see some of the gorgeous scenery:

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Yay for bandwidth!

May 26th, 2008

I got Verizon FiOS this past weekend and it’s jetting!

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I doubt you all care what else happened since InterOp, but if you do, click “more”.

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InterOp is Over

May 2nd, 2008

So InterOp is finally over. Next week is a relaxation week; I don’t have much scheduled. This past week in Vegas was fun, busy, stress-filled, and sleepless. I spent a lot of the week in the NOC (~12 hours a day). In the evenings I met up with some of out customers, OSH or Orchard Supply Hardware who have become really good friends of mine. Their chief architect introduced me to pai gow, and I spent a lot of time playing that game with them. Believe it or not pai gow helped me make up for my losses at the blackjack table, though most days I did pretty well at blackjack. just one night killed me (I was down quite a bit). My co-worker, Greg, also introduced me to roulette (which I didn’t do well at, and subsequently don’t like all that much). Overall I was up though, which is a good thing.
My last day there, all my co-workers went out to a nice dinner at R & M seafood (int he Mandalay Bay). this was actually a really good restaurant, and they had a good sake selection. Having sake is reminding me of how much I actually miss being in Japan.

InterOp is a Go!

April 27th, 2008

Alright. I’m here in the InterOp NOC and the network is all online. After several extremely long days, tempers flaring, and frustration abound everything has finally stabalized. Now that I have a free moment, I figured I’d stop by and leave a posting. No pic this time, but I have some interesting ones I took while I was in Toronto and I’ll get pics from InterOp here.

One of the team leads here, “Padre” is apparently going to feature one of our products on his webcast/website and asked me to appear on the webcast. Padre is one of the main people at http://thetechstop.net, so I may appear there in the near future. Padre also maintains all the webcams here, and I have been informed that there are a total of 8 webcams for you all to enjoy. Here are the addresses. Some are fixed cameras, and some are navagatible, however if someone else is controlling them, please don’t fight over control and wait your turn.

http://45.0.12.120  http://45.0.12.121  http://45.0.12.122

http://45.0.12.123  http://45.0.12.124  http://45.0.12.125

http://45.0.12.126  http://45.0.12.127