Switching things up for a little while…it’s not like it will have a huge impact one way or the other since I only get a couple hundred unique hits in a week’s time with periodic big spikes of traffic depending on what I’ve posted…
Anyway, I was talking with my wife the other day about how we have become pretty involved in the food community here in Kansas City…we have a favorite farmer who provides much of our weekly produce, at this point I’m pretty well known at my butcher shop, we know and love a lot of the local chefs, have our “go-to servers” as well as our “backup servers in case the go-to isn’t there” at our favorite restaurants, and pretty much 100% of our dining is at locally owned establishments…from the taquerias in downtown KCK to our favorite “faincy date night” locations across the metro. The majority of our meals are cooked at home, and my wife manages to do most of that. I can cook, but I’m a fraud to some extent…I would rather eat soup straight out of the can than think about daily cooking. She’s the executive chef at our house. I’m just the guest chef who pops in from time to time. My cooking has to involve the crazy OCD which has been chronicled on this blog many times. I’m a diva like that, cooking for the power and glory…but man, my kung-fu is strong as hell. If I can source the ingredients and have the proper equipment, I can cook damn near anything.
So if I’m going to keep blogging with any regularity it can go one of three ways…I can pop in from time to time with the religious or political stuff and rant away (which is not without its own merit), ramble incessantly about my love of golf and guarantee nobody ever reads my stuff again, OR I can just write about the thing that prompted my gastric bypass: FOOD. Right now is a great time for that, the farmer’s markets are starting to percolate and my wife and I are eating way differently due to our weekly CSA. Food makes me happy (though I’m about 15 pounds up from my lowest weight…another topic for another time), I’m good at cooking it, I can talk about it all day, and Kansas City has some AMAZING culinary talent. Honestly, we could provide a food tour of this town that goes from the gutter to the inner sanctum of the Great Oz himself. And we host some fucking top notch get-togethers at our house on our newly refinished deck. Our tomato plants are getting big, the herbs are pouring out of their pots, I just bought 55 pounds of Piedmontese brisket (points-only because burnt ends are all that counts beefwise in BBQ), I’m coming up on 2 years of sobriety, we’re eating a fancy taco dinner in an airstream trailer on July 1st, I’ll be doing a week long KC-centric food blog on eGullet this summer…so much going on I am passionate about that is also positive.
Oh, now please allow me to say…I’ll always have my edge. I’ll always include enough profane imagery to weed out the frail little pussies, and I reserve the right to drop everything and steamroll over another lying hyper-charismatic moneychanger like Bill Johnson. I try not to expend too much energy when it comes to the grievously offensive examples of “those called by God to ministry by default because they have no other viable options”. Being a man of God first requires you to be a man; responsible, accountable, hard-working, honest and trustworthy. The ability to use your marketing skills and charisma to sell fake miracles and build a church doesn’t cut it. Neither does creating your own poverty and hardships through your lack of the most basic work ethic, initiative, self esteem, and responsibility to you and your family, and then counting all of the adversity as part of your testimony and dedication…ministry being the logical conclusion after a series of really bad decisions. Fortunately, the former are usually exposed and the latter are a dime a dozen who burn out and go away when confronted with ACTUAL work. All of the ranting and pontificating I’ve done based on a lifetime of witnessing the phenomenon over and over again boils down to that…and there isn’t a hell of a lot there within my control. All I can do is sit back and hammer the shit out of them once in a while. BUT way more of my time is spent on happier thoughts and pastimes than this crap….so I guess something as mundane as more food-related content may have its place. And this is just experimental to see how I like it….
Our food and cooking dynamic at home is pretty simple for the most part- my wife cooks most of the nightly meals and we focus on pretty simple, healthy-ish food. We really don’t eat out much during the week unless there is some kind of event, and very, very rarely get any kind of drive-thru food. Sonic happy hour drinks and a sandwich once in a blue moon, Taco Bell about two or three times per year…but mostly we eat at home and do try to use as much local, seasonal produce and meats as possible. Factor in the desire for weight loss, and you get the idea…if it were not for my wife I’d literally eat the most basic, boring protein-based meals you could imagine. I’d eat the same thing night after night until I literally could not take it anymore and then move on to something else. If you go back into my blog right after I had surgery I did this with things like cheeses and canned meats. Fortunately we have a good thing going, she’ll do the daily lunches and dinners and then we’ll figure the weekend out ahead of time. Friday night we’ll generally stay at home with some carryout Italian or Mediterranean….but with all the good stuff from the market lately we have been mixing that up a bit as well.
Just a few random shots of our home-based cooking….first up a pizza my wife made with some fresh morels I had just sauteed. This thing was awesome….best $25 homemade pizza I’ve ever eaten.
Just got these things last week from Crum’s Heirlooms…they are radish pods. All the things we love about fresh snap peas and the earthy burn of radishes all rolled into one miraculous little package. They are, in a word, fucking amazing.
Here are some burnt ends I made with an Akaushi (Kobe) brisket for a big fancy BBQ we hosted a couple of weekends ago to celebrate the new deck. Great menu…in addition to the burnt ends we had pulled pork, spicy smoked Asian wings, cornbread with fresh corn kernels, bacon and homemade maple butter…a sriracha mayo potato salad, candied jalapeno cole slaw…homemade Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream with Ginger-Cinnamon Cookies…I’m probably forgetting something…
Now DINING OUT is where things get interesting. We’ll generally do a “date night” level meal about twice per month, which consists of places like Lidia’s, Café des Amis, Justus Drugstore, Bluestem and the darling of the moment…The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange. We try to keep those types of dinners down to once a month, but you know how that shit goes. Other dining options are almost all ethnic…taquerias like Bonito Michoacan, Café Cedar, Vietnam Café, Cupini’s, Swagat. And of course there’s good old fat and grease at temples such as Frontier Steakhouse and an occasional trip to The Corner Café. We’re all over the board with our dining, way, way too many places and too much stuff to include here but my plan will be to chronicle all of that much better in the months to come. No chain dining except for maybe a yearly trip to Red Lobster, which I demand because I’m straight up ghetto gangsta. Seriously. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I’ve got way more than my share of the ‘hood in me. And from time to time, the ‘hood in me demands an Admiral’s Feast. Or a gizzard/liver full combo with extra G-Sauce from Go Chicken Go…with either some Fanta Strawberry pop or a red cream soda. But ANYWAY, you’re liable to get sick of hearing about The Rieger pretty quickly, we just love it so.
This is the softshell crab sandwich I had last month for lunch at The Rieger….sadly, the season is over as of this writing but I will say that Howard Hannah could compete with anyone when it comes to his softshells.
And here is one of the best salads ever made. Again, from The Rieger, but this was part of a dinner we had when my sister in law was in town. I’m horribly inconsistent with my picture taking and the picture quality, but other than the softshell main courses this salad was the rockstar of the evening. Fresh greens from Crum’s along with their radish and aforementioned radish pods, topped with some grilled grainy bread and a sunny side up duck egg. We recreated this pretty well at home last weekend…and will do so again this weekend if we can still get some radish pods.
And if you desire more information about The Rieger, you can always peek into the gateway of their love at- www.theriegerkc.com
Our quaint local market where I go ever single Saturday morning during the season is- www.parkvillefarmersmarket.com
Here is where I buy my MEAT! – www.paradisemeats.com
Anyway, more when I’ve got something worth sharing, we’ll see how this particular direction turns out….