leave your inhibitions at the door
A few months ago, I was invited to contribute to the awesome online humor magazine Long Awkward Pause. Here’s my latest entry!
Some friends were coming over for dinner and I had a major case of writer’s block. Or I guess that would be cook’s block, but that sounds like glorified cutting board. So let’s just call it I-had-no-freaking-clue-what-to-make block.
This was about the same time that I was working on my Peyton Manning fashion post. I wrote that over the course of several days and every time my wife saw me on the computer I was looking at pictures of hot male models. And after the post came out, some friends gave me some crap about how I should join the crew of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Of course, I had to correct them about that as the show’s been off the air for 7-8 years.
I wasn’t helping my case.
Heck, I didn’t even get $20 to write that post…
Look, I get it. I really don’t agree with the stereotype at all, but I get it. It’s just that it used to be perfectly fine for a guy to compliment another’s appearance and no one would’ve cared. Nowadays, it seems that merely complimenting another guy about anything at all is a complete social no-no. And while my head was telling me that I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone, my gut was feeling like I needed to “prove my manliness.”
So it was perfect timing that I came across a recipe that just oozed with excessive testosterone. It’s a recipe for a big hunk of red meat and uses a BLOWTORCH!
Hell to the YEAH!
I’m awful with cleaning up, so that blowtorch was on my kitchen counter for a while. And since it was readily available, I figured why not use it for other dishes.
Prime Rib Roast
This recipe is from Thomas Keller, whose Napa Valley restaurant is considered one of the finest in the world. (I like to think of Keller as the best chef not named The Food and Wine Hedonist.) Whole rib roasts usually need high heat to get that flavorful dark brown outside. But what happens is since the heat cooks it from the outside in, only the very center of it is at medium-rare. Using the blowtorch gets the browning started and then allows you to cook at a lower temperature to get more pink from edge to edge.
This is surprisingly pretty easy, so definitely go for it!
– one center-cut rib roast (about 4.5 pounds)
– Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper
– Coarse sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 275
2. Blowtorch the meat on all sides until the surface starts turn grey. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place in a roasting pan with a rack and put it in the oven for about two hours. When the meat hits 128 degrees, take it out and let it rest for 30 minutes. It’ll continue to cook until medium-rare.
4. Carve and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Manliness Factor (out of 10): 9. Need I remind you that we’re talking about a big hunk of red meat and a BLOWTORCH! The only way you can get more caveman than that is to use only the blowtorch. But who has time for that when there’s great TV shows like Glee and Downton Abbey?
Sometimes for a snack I spread some black beans and cheese over some tortilla chips and throw them in the oven until the cheese melts. This time – BLOWTORCH!!
This was working fine until the chips started to catch fire.
The end result was a bunch of burnt chips with half-melted cheese on top.
I tried to call it “Cajun” but the kids didn’t fall for it.
Manliness Factor: 6, if you do it right and gently warm the cheese. 9 if you just go all Robert DeNiro on it.
I tell people that the reason I even have a blowtorch is for plumbing work. That’s only partly true. The reason why I bought it in the first place is to make this sinfully tasty dessert.
– 8 egg yolks
– 1/3 cup sugar, plus an additional 8-10 teaspoons
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and boil a pot of water.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add cream and vanilla and whisk well.
3. Strain the mixture into a large bowl and take off any foam. Pour into 4-6 ramekins (depending on how big yours are).
4. Place the ramekins in a larger baking pan and fill the pan with a half inch of boiling water. This will allow the custards to cook evenly and gently.
5. Cover foil and place into oven for 40 minutes. They will be firm around the edges, but still soft in the middle.
6. Remove from the oven and let sit in the water for an hour to cool down. Chill for at least two hours.
7. Right before serving, sprinkle two teaspoons of sugar on top and go to town with the blowtorch.
8. The sugar will melt and then turn into a brown crispy shell.
Manliness Factor: 2. Mainly because this is a delicate French dessert. BUT WHO CARES!?! It’s absolutely delicious.
Because… why the hell not!
I started by melting some butter in the pan, then started to go to town on an egg.
I ran out of damn propane.
Manliness Factor: 11. Even if this was successful, only a meat-headed lunk would think this was a good idea.
So do I feel like more of a man now that I went through a whole can of propane? Did I redeem myself by tapping into some primal caveman self that’s hidden beneath my mild-mannered surface?
I’m not sure. I’ll have an answer for you after I watch “Into the Woods” for a second time…
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