Monday, July 14, 2008

Pasta with Tomatoes and Anchovies

If this isn't my little brother's signature recipe, it should be. It is ridiculously easy but yields disproportionately delicious results. When I made it for a Sunday supper, all you heard was "slurp, slurp, yummm, slurp, nom nom nom." Don't be scared of the anchovies...they aren't particularly fishy...just ultra savory.

1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes in juice (James recommends Muir Glen)
1 2.5 oz. container of anchovies
3 cloves of minced garlic

1 box of spaghetti
1/4 cup of good quality olive oil (important because the olive oil is very present)
1/4 cup of rough chopped Italian parsley

Take the tomatoes and remove them from the can. Leave the juice behind. Rough chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl. If any juice from the rough chopped tomatoes collects in the bottom of the bowl, that is okay. You just don't want to use all the juice from the can.

Drain the anchovies and cross cut. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Start heating up your water for the pasta. Salt the water.

Heat up the quarter cup of olive oil. You don't want to color the garlic...just get a mild sizzle going to help release the garlic flavor into the oil. After a minute of two of this, toss in the mashed anchovies and distribute. Mash the anchovies into the oil and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer. You will want to cook the sauce for 15-20 minutes. The sauce is done when the tomato juice has evaporated and, when you slide a spatula through the pot, the tomatoes part and the bottom of the pan is clearly evident. Add a touch of salt...remember, the anchovies are quite salty.

About 10 minutes into the tomato sauce simmering time, toss in the pasta. It'll take 8 or so minutes to cook. Drain the pasta.

By now, the sauce should be done. Dump the drained pasta into the tomato sauce and mix well. Toss in the parsley and mix again. Dish up and dig in!

Time- 25 minutes, most of it is inactive.

Food cost-
Tomatoes- $2.59
Garlic- Like 4 cents?
Pasta- $1.00
Olive Oil- $0.19
Anchovies- $1.49
Parsley- Ummm, another 4 cents?
Total- $5.35...3-4 servings so $1.78 or $1.33 per serving.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I love pancakes. There's just something about them, a certain je nais sais quoi which I can't put into words. For this batch, I used whole wheat flour in conjunction with white flour. My younger brother was aghast at my decision to use whole wheat flour. Indeed, his response was so extreme that it made me think that using whole wheat flour was morally reprehensible in some way...a sin against breakfast foods. Anyways, I've been on a whole grain health kick over the past few weeks so that's why I decided to mix flours. Furthermore, I read a recipe which called for the addition of cooked quinoa to the pancake batter. To accompany my pancakes, I made a ghetto peach compote.

1 Peach
4 tablespoons of sugar
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of white flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
1 cup of buttermilk

For the peaches:
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Make a small, x-shaped incision on the bottom of the peach. When the water is boiling, drop the peach and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the peach. When cool enough to handle, peel the peach. The skin should be easy to remove. Cut the peach into bite sized wedges. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan and drop in the peach wedges. Cook for a minute or so. Add much is up to you...personal taste....I must've used 1.5-2 tablespoons. Allow the melted butter, peach juice and sugar to form a caramel. When the peaches start to take on a bit of color, turn off the heat and squeeze in some lemon juice. How much is up to you...just enough to add a bit of acidity. Set the peach compote aside.

For the pancakes:

Combine the whole what flour, white flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter in a microwave. Allow it to cool for a don't want the residual heat to scramble the egg. Whisk the butter and egg together. Whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to JUST more than that. Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes. If you wanted to incorporate the cooked quinoa, now would be the proper time. Add about 3/4 of a cup.

If you are planning on cooking all of the pancakes before eating, you'll probably want to keep the first few batches warm. I use my oven...just preheat it to 200 degrees and put a plate in there. I place a cotton cloth on the plate and place the cooked pancakes under the cloth...a pancake blanket. This method works well.

Heat up your pancake pan. I spray it with a bit of oil but a light glaze of butter also works well. I use an ice cream scooper to scoop up the batter. I used about two scoops per pancake. Expect the first batch to's just an inviolable rule of pancake cookery.

I can't really tell you how long to cook the'll find your own groove.

Serve with maple syrup and peaches (if you made them). Done!

Time- 30 minutes, total. Includes 10 minutes of batter resting time.

Food cost- Too cheap. Not going to bother with it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bar Vs. Liquid

After much deliberation, I have made the switch to liquid bath soap. Thus far, I am quite pleased with the change.

A food post coming on Sunday. I would do it tomorrow but I'll be at work.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No Updates...Sorry!

I am swamped with work. This leaves me unable to update my blog. However, I will try to put something up tomorrow night...

Until then, check this out. Definitely NSFW....tastefully NSFW.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Calling All Math Nerds....err, Mathletes

So, I'm currently reading this book which is one of the most thought provoking books I've ever read. I e-mailed my older brother one of the sections from the book and it led to a vigorous and animated discussion. During the course of the argument, we started thinking about a math problem and neither of could solve it on the spot. Having given it some thought, I've come up wiht my solution and have recreated it for all of you with the hopes that you might be able to show me if and where I've gone wrong.

Assume that we have a two person population, STD+ and STD-, with STD+ composing 75% of the population and STD- = (1-STD+). Given that we have a two person population, there are three kinds of interactions that can occur:

1) STD+/STD+
2) STD-/STD-
3) STD+/STD-

Our goal is to figure out how many NEW STD+ people there will be at the end of the night assuming that all individuals successfully couple with another individual, no discrimination or preferences are evident, the STD is 100% contagious and that there is no use of STD prevention devices.

The first two couplings are irrelevant because they do not create any new STD+. Only in the third coupling will there be a new STD+ person. With this in mind, it should be easy to compute.

1) (.75)(.75)= .5625
2) (.25)(.25)= .0625
.5625 + .0625= .625
1-.625= .375

So, in a 1,000 person population constrained by our above conditions, there will be 375 new STD+ people created.

Seem right?

edit: Studly reader Mark R has written in with what seems to be the correct solution. Read the comments to see what he has to say...

Happy 4th!

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

I LOL'd more than a few times.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Prince Cafe

Let's get this out of the don't go to the Prince Cafe for delicious food. Oh sure, it's totally acceptable Chinese food....if you live in Arkansas. Given the plethora of nearby Asian options on Geary Blvd, you'd be insane to declare Prince Cafe the monarch of Asian eats. However, it is cheap as all get out. Incredibly cheap. That's the main attraction here. You'll eat the food and wonder (especially at happy hour) how the hell they turn a profit. It's an intellectual exercise mixed with a bit of physical sustenance. Go for the experience, NOT the food.

I first went to Prince Cafe for is one of the few places in my neighborhood which serves congee aka jook aka rice porridge aka Chinese gruel. I ordered the classic preserved egg & salted pork. It's fair, not great. Certainly no Hing Lung. Needed salt. The side order of Chinese donut was pretty crappy. Coffee is acceptable. Milk tea is somewhat poor. Toast with butter is acceptable. On subsequent visits, I tried the side order chow fun and chow mein. Chow mein is great but it is a horribly greasy start to your day. Chow fun is a little better. Tried a few other porridges...assorted giblet is good...lots of fun bits of offal in there.

Lunch rice bowls are a pretty good deal. Soup and a rice bowl for a little under 5 bucks. Soup is vegetable beef. Sounds strange but it's a Hong Kong style Chinese joint...they do spaghetti with ketchup and things like that. Fusion. My rice bowl, though, was pure Chinese. Soy-braised pork belly with mustard greens and ground fish meatballs. FANTASTIC. Easily the best thing that I have ever eaten at Prince Cafe. Pork belly is richly flavorful without being greasy. A delight. Sparerib and pepper with black bean sauce rice bowl is prepared for lots of bony bits.

Happy hour ($2.88 per plate!) is a mixed bag. I get the feeling that you need to know what to order. Some of the stuff we ordered was pretty good...most of it fell flat.

Same with dinner. The dinner menu deal is rice, soup, 3 main plates and dessert for 18 bucks. Again, I feel that you need to know what to order to maximize your experience. However, for 18 bucks, it is a hell of a deal.

Anyhow, I will end with this...the Prince Cafe is one of the few Chinese restaurants where I get decent service. I dunno...the servers are friendly. Not the surly bunch you find in most other Chinese.

5423 Geary Blvd
(between 18th Ave & 19th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 876-2828