Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stuff My Dad Likes (An Important Article on Dad Consumerism) - Pt 1: Coffee

As my father patiently waits for the foam of his guinness to settle into a frothy crown, he imparts this bit of wisdom.

"There are few things in life that are so completely and utterly satisfying. How often do you buy something that you are 100% happy with?" 

He's talking about this thermos.

Dad gave me my first Genuine Brand travel thermos as a gift when I got accepted into Art School.

(Have you seen this movie? It is PAINFULLY accurate.)

"Take this. You'll need it." He said, knowing that he'd just handed me the key to academic success.

(Shown above: Academic Success.)

That mug went everywhere with me. It fit snugly into my messenger bag along with Contemporary Art History notes and palette knives. My three hundred dollar book on the Northern Renaissance was never in danger of becoming soggy, because my thermos never once spilled its contents. My thermos was often streaked with color, traces of the glorious struggle between painter and substrate. It could easily be wiped clean. I never had to experience the awful surprise of tepid coffee, because my thermos laughed at the very idea of room temperature. My thermos saw every lecture. Once, I knocked it from my tiny college sized desk and time stood still. People gasped, but thermos remained loyal to me, and not a drop escaped.

Now that I'm out of school and something of a homebody, this is my mug of choice. The International Endurance Stainless Steel Double Walled Beer Mug.

Pretty sexy, huh? If you're wondering "who cares, it's just a mug," SHUT UP BECAUSE YOU'RE WRONG. This mug will ruin all others. No, you can't microwave it, but it doesn't matter because your hot coffees and teas will stay that way for hours. Your cold drinks will thank you too. See how it says "beer" in the title? That's because this mug is a goddamn miracle. You may as well throw the others out, because they are worthless by comparison. Others will attempt to use your mug. Tell them to piss off and buy their own. Then finish your coffee, because you're grumpy without it.

To go with my mug, I've often been the lucky recipient of this:

Mystic Monk coffee beans are grown, dried and roasted by Carmelite Monks in Wyoming. I might not be religious, but I find it impossible not to be completely charmed by the idea of robed little Gregor Mendels living humbly, contemplating their faith, and making coffee. (Yeah Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian monk, not Carmelite. Humor me.) It may just be good marketing on their end, but whether or not the picture they paint is accurate...

Try the Cowboy Blend. Throw some of this in while you're at it.

If that's not pure Dad wisdom, then I don't know what is.

Link bomb:

Stainless Steel Mug

Mystic Monk Coffee

Thermos Travel Mug

St Brendan's Irish Cream

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Make Your Own Damn Hot Sauce- by Steve Wynne

Christopher Hitchens once wrote, “Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing.” The late Mr. Hitchens had many quotes both contestable and controversial, but when it came to booze, Hitch knew what was up. That inspiration the Greeks spoke of so long ago can seize one at nearly any moment while imbibing, as it struck me one December night in 2013. Christmas had just passed, and one article that had been gifted to my wife had been a Magic Bullet blender. Is it a blender, specifically? Or is it different and stylized enough that it has its own category? I don't know. Don't mind me. 
We had been drinking Troegs Javahead in our kitchen when entheos beat me about the head with its inspiration stick. See, the wife and I had been trying our hand at making hot sauces throughout the year with little to marginal success. Very spotty, but mostly forgettable attempts at making a substitute to sriracha so we wouldn't have to run out to the store and buy a new bottled every week. Seriously, we go through a lot of that shit. We're spicy people, the wife and I. However, on this auspicious evening, we found ourselves hostage to a moment when opportunity, preparation, improvisation, and drive all met at a crossroads together, and collectively decided to carjack the first motorist who happened along and get the hell out of dodge.
Call it teamwork, fate, luck, what have you. But something caught my eye, and I felt inspiration strike and in a craft brew fueled flurry, I had whipped up a hot sauce from a few things we just happened to have in our kitchen that you probably have too. 
Prepare yourself for the best goddamned hot sauce you will ever make; Banana Orange Habanero hot sauce.
I say 'make', because I don't think most people make hot sauce, and if you only make this one, well, by default, it will be the best hot sauce you ever make. You could buy another hot sauce you like better, and it won't match the criteria I've just laid out. I could waste more time justifying my claim like some kind of Russel Brand FX bumper, but I've never found him funny at all and this paragraph is the most redundant thing I've written in my entire adult life. Isn't that funny? Not really, no. Not at all. But seriously, this hot sauce is awesome, and I'm gonna tell you how to make it.
We went through a couple names, but the one that's stuck with us was 'Angry Mugshot', usually just shortened to 'Mugshot'. There's an inside story there, but that's not important. Its stupidly easy to make, and you've probably got everything you need to make it in your kitchen right now.

 Oh, and just so you are properly warned: this is hot. If you don't care for heat, walk away.

You will Need:

6 medium – large Habanero peppers, seeds and all. (approx. 2.5-3 ounces). Scotch Bonnets will do fine in a pinch.
Banana - approx. 5.5 ounces. Should be one large, or one and a half small to medium.

¼ Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Mandarin Orange or Clementine

3-4 Garlic cloves, Minced. Approx. half an ounce.

1 Teaspoon of Salt. Kosher's great, coarse works, what have you.
1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar.

Got all that? Good. Here's the directions.

Step 1. Assemble your ingredients.

Step 2. Throw into a blender, and blend until all chunky bits are gone and you have a nice viscous substance.

Step 3. Enjoy.

That's it. Its that simple; blend it all together, and you've got yourself the Angry Mugshot; a Banana Orange Habanero sauce that goes great on damn near anything. It has a hell of a punch your first bite, largely on account of the 6 whole Habaneros that you literally just blended up, but it has a killer sweetness that sticks around after the initial bang, and I am telling you once again, this hot sauce is awesome. It goes great on burgers, sandwiches, anything pork-related, seafood, and just about anything you could think of. 

I've tried cooking it down before after blending, but its never been as good as it is raw. You might want to let it cure overnight in the fridge in whatever container you're keeping it in before tearing into it, but its not necessary to wait. I've found that it tastes better after cooling for a few hours in the fridge after blending, but its always gonna be great. Just know that it'll be better in the morning.
There you have it, folks. Give it a try. Let us know how you like it, and share this recipe with your spicy friends and spicy family. Its too good to keep to yourself. Thanks for reading, and keep it hot.