Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 15: Turkey Soup

Ever wonder what to do with the left-over turkey carcass after a holiday meal? This soup is a great - and affordable - way to go. Assuming you have the seasonings you need on hand, you'll only need to spend around $6 or $7 for the veggies. This recipe is a great starting point and is pretty flexible. Like celery, corn, or beans? Throw some in there. Want some more starch? Toss in some rice or noodles. The most important thing is to have fun with it and make it yours.

When my mom (Hi mom!) sends me home with the turkey carcass, I never know how long it'll be before I'll have time to make this, so I just stick it in the freezer until I need it. Unfortunately, I forgot to take it out of the freezer in time for it to thaw, so at one point you'll hear the microwave whirring in the background on defrost. One tip that can make life easier is to be sure you break down the carcass into more manageable bits before sticking it in the freezer. This is something I frequently forget to do, and regret it later.

Also, I'd like to apologize if the editing is a bit on the dodgy side. Just upgraded to iLife '08 and nothing is where I expect it to be. Ah, the joys of learning new software! No worries though, I'll get the hang of it.


1 turkey carcass
2 onions, chopped
5-7 cloves of garlic, peeled & smashed
4 russet potatoes, peeled & chopped
4 carrots, peeled & chopped
1-2 Tbsps salt
1 Tbsp pepper
2 Tbsps parsley flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp dry thyme
2 bay leaves
pinch of ground cloves
dash of allspice
pinch of saffron (optional)


A huge pot. (Mine holds 12 quarts.)


Put all the ingredients into the pot. Add water to cover. Place on the stove over high heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Cover, and reduce heat to somewhere between Low & Medium-Low. Allow to cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Once the hour has gone by, remove all the turkey bones and allow to cool until you can handle them. Once cool, pick through them, returning the edible meat to the pot and discarding the rest.

You'll probably see some "scum" forming on top of the soup. Don't worry, it's just some of the fat from the turkey. Just skim it off and discard it.

This is really nice with some crusty bread, and freezes well.

Music for this episode is "Better With Bacon" by The Hybiscus Journals.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 14: Curry Turkey Burgers

This episode was intended for a collaborative summer themed cooking video. That hasn't happened because everyone got stupid busy (myself included) so I've decided to upload it here. My friends and I have been playing with this curry turkey burger recipe for some time and rather enjoy it. I hope you will too!

1 can chick peas, drained
1.25 - 2 lbs ground turkey
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1-2 Tbsp dry)
1/2 tsp salt
3 - 4 Tbsps yellow curry powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 - 1 tsp chili powder
just a dash of allspice

In a bowl, smash up the chick peas. Then add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Form into patties.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Cook patties about 5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

If you like, toast the buns in the burger drippings. These burgers won't put off nearly as much fat as a beef burger would. In fact, they're quite lean. Adding some olive oil to the pan before toasting is probably a good idea.

Music for this episode was "Black Hole (good)" by The Hybiscus Journals. Originally written for "Black Hole, pt 3" of Space Adventure.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Hybiscus Journals needs your help.

Here's the skinny. The Hybiscus Journals has entered into a remix contest for The Crystal Method and needs your help. What can you do? Follow the link below, give the remix a listen, and if you dig it, follow the instructions at the bottom of the page and vote for it. Yes, you'll need to sign up for an account. But that's simple, and I've yet to receive any spam from them.

On the food front, I'm currently in the process of helping coordinate a collaborative cooking video. Once that's taken care of, I'll be free to take up installments here once more. I have a couple of ideas for what I'd like to do next. I'm just trying to choose which one to do first.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Eat For A Week, Update 3: The Challenge Is Over :(

So I've run out of mystery ingredients. Not sure what direction I'll go next, but that's cool. I mean, that hasn't stopped me before.

I finally went to check out the 17th Street Farmers Market, which I've been meaning to do for some time.They specialize not only in locally grown produce, but also in all sorts of specialty and ethnic foods. I didn't manage to take my camera with me this time, but the next time I go I'l see if I can get permission to film in there.

We used the veggies, chicken & noodles that I picked up to make a pretty tasty stir-fry. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a drive from my place, so it won't become my regular store any time soon. However, they've got great deals on spices. I will be using them for all my spice needs whenever possible. Those of you in Tucson, if you haven't been, I highly suggest you check it out.

You can find their address and directions (it's kind of quirky to get to) at their website:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 13: Pasta, Polenta & Hummus

My secret ingredients this time were some prepared polenta and a can of chick peas. Given that this took place during the "no new food" challenge, I decided to make a couple of things just to give myself some variety. I did my good old fallback big pot o' pasta, parmesan crusted fried polenta, and hummus. I think my bill for this one was about $18. Unfortunately, because it's been so long since I filmed this episode, I can't recall exactly what I needed to purchase.


1 large pot
1 large sauce pan (or 2 smallish ones)
1 frying pan/skillet
some sort of blending device


For Spaghetti:

2 lbs dry spaghetti
1 lb ground beef
26 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 tsps ground mustard
garlic salt (to taste)
celery salt (to taste)
onion salt (to taste)
allspice (just a dash)
black pepper
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, chopped

For Polenta:

1 tube prepared polenta
pepper & garlic salt (to taste)
parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter

For Hummus:

1 can chick peas, drained (reserve liquid)
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 Tbsps olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/3 C tahini
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
salt & pepper to taste


For Spaghetti:

Place large pot of well-salted water over high heat to boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to directions on box. Drain.

Dump pasta sauce into a large sauce pan over low heat. (I use 2 smaller sauce pans because that's what I have.) Fill sauce jar about 1/2 way with water to rinse, and add that to the sauce. Add bay leaf, ground mustard, bell pepper, and salt & pepper to taste. Just let this go while you do everything else.

In skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsps olive oil. Add garlic and onion, cook until translucent. Add ground beef and other seasonings to taste. When the beef is cooked through, add to the sauce.

In a large bowl, mix pasta and sauce until everything is coated. Don't forget to take out the bay leaves!

For Polenta:

Cut into about 1/4 inch slices. Sprinkle one side with garlic salt & pepper.

Melt butter in skillet, and add polenta seasoned side down. Season top side of polenta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Let cook until bottom side is golden, then flip and brown the other side.

For Hummus:

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Blend well. If you're not fond of hunks of garlic, feel free to put it through a garlic press first. If the hummus is looking too thick, just add some of the reserved chick pea liquid to loosen it up. Don't worry if it gets too runny, since it'll thicken up a bit as it stands. Best if made a day in advance. Serve with breads, crackers, veggies... really, whatever you like to dip in hummus.

Music for this episode is "Everything Is A Toy" from The Hybiscus Journals' record, "Playtime". Visit for more information about this and other THJ records.

Friday, May 16, 2008

No New Food Challenge

So, I completely failed at photodocumenting my week of no new food purchasing. But that's okay because it wouldn't have been terribly interesting. After making my store run for Eat For A Week, I cooked a huge pot of pasta, fried up some poulenta, and made some hummus for snacking. And that's pretty much what I ate all week. (I don't typically eat breakfast anyway, so no worries about strangeness there.) I did get to eat out a couple of times because some friends wanted to buy dinner, which was nice. But I bought no new food... I think. It's been a little while, and if you know me then you know how spotty my memory can be.

I failed at noticing the part where this was also to include no new beverages. Wasn't part of my plan, so I was getting coffee and Mountain Dew on an almost daily basis throughout the week. Which is really a good thing because me without caffeine... well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty. And it could very well have led to me becoming unemployed once again due to poor conduct. So yeah, I'll go ahead and spend my money on that.

I have the next Eat For A Week recorded, I just have to edit & upload the thing. Which has been difficult without my computer. (If you haven't been following my twitter, my computer got sick - really sick - and had to go for an extended stay with the doctor. Yeah, that was fun.) I do have him back now, though, and fortunately Applecare covered the whole thing. Which is more than I can say about my extended protection plan for my van. But that's another rant for another time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mystery Ingredient Reveal 5

This one comes with a secondary challenge from transiit over at mmmm......donut. Yes, I really do eat what I make for a week. Sure, I like to try keeping some quick fixin's on hand (usually sandwich stuff) for those days when I'm tired of whatever it is I made and really just want something different, but for the most part I do practice what I preach.

Once I've made this meal, I will not purchase any food for a full week. And will photodocument each meal. You know, for fun... or something.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 12: Saffron Cous Cous Salad

I'll admit I was at rather unsure what to do when I unwrapped the saffron, having never cooked with it before. After doing some research on the intartoobs, here's what I found:

1 - If it's not expensive, it's probably not really saffron.
2 - Store it in a cool, dark place and it will last for years.
3 - Just use a small pinch. Too much, and your food can take on a medicinal flavor.
4 - Crush the threads and let them steep in some sort of liquid for 5-20 minutes to allow flavor to develop before using.

That said, I decided to make a saffron cous cous salad. My bill for this was about $11 for meat, frozen peas & carrots, a can of corn, an onion and some garlic. However be prepared to spend quite a bit more if you don't happen to have any saffron on hand. I'm normally not one to look up the cost of gifts because, well, that's just tacky. But I chose to this time, given the nature of my show and knowing that saffron is rather costly. At my local store, 0.06 ounces will run you about $23. Fortunately, that 0.06 oz. will go a very long way.


1 large onion, finely chopped
3-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lb frozen peas & carrots, thawed *
1 can corn, drained
1 lb ground beef
2 1/2 C cous cous **
4 tbsp butter
saffron (just a pinch)
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


sauce pan
large bowl


Heat 1-2 Tbsps olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. When translucent, add beef (salt/pepper to taste) and cook until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place dry cous cous into a large bowl.

In sauce pan, add 2 1/2 C water, 4 Tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and a pinch of saffron. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Bring to a boil. Pour over the cous cous, stir, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Add meat, corn, peas & carrots, and 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and stir. Voila!

Music for this episode was "Watching Snails" by The Hybiscus Journals. Be sure to check out their new website at

* Just run them under lukewarm water while the cous cous soaks.
** If you find bugs in your cous cous do not - I repeat, DO NOT dump it down the sink thinking the garbage disposal will take care of it. It won't. A room mate of mine learned that one the hard way.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mystery Ingredient Reveal 4

This could be challenging. Am I up for it? Yeah, i think I can make it work.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Someone threw an easter egg at me. I ate it. Then sent one to someone else. The silly was strong in me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 11: Cumin Chicken Casserole

My secret ingredients were a box of garlic bagel chips, a can of fancy cut wax beans, and organic extra virgin olive oil. My bill for this one was about $11. I had to buy a can of corn, some half & half, noodles, and cheese. Talk about awesome.


large pot
sauce pan
casserole dish


1 lb chicken tenders, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 can fancy cut wax beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
8 oz frozen peas & carrots
1 pint half & half
2 1/2 to 3 cups of chicken stock
3 Tbsp butter
garlic salt
onion salt
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb egg noodles
2 heaping Tbsps flour
1 box garlic bagel chips, crushed
1/2 lb swiss cheese, sliced


Preheat oven to 375°.

Fill the large pot with well salted water and put over high heat to boil. When boiling, add egg noodles and cook according to directions on packaging. If noodles get done before everything else, just drain them into a large bowl and coat lightly with olive oil to keep them from sticking together. Covering the bowl with some foil can help them retain some heat.

Coat chicken pieces with 2 Tbsps cumin, salt, pepper, and dashes of garlic salt & onion salt. In skillet, heat about 2-3 Tbsp olive oil. When hot, add onion and garlic. Cook until lightly browned. Add the chicken and cook until done. (If you're not sure whether it's done, just cut open a piece with a knife. Still pink? Keep going.) Set aside while you work on the sauce.

Heat butter in the sauce pan over low to medium-low heat. When melted, add flour and mix well. Allow to cook until a golden color develops. Add chicken stock and mix until all lumps are gone. Add 1 tsp cumin and the half & half, allow to simmer until reduced by 1/4 to 1/3 in volume, stirring frequently. (You'll want to keep an eye on this... Once the dairy is added it can really foam up.) When reduced, add frozen peas & carrots and stir to warm them up.

In a large bowl, mix noodles, sauce, chicken/onion/garlic mixture, corn & beans until everything is evenly coated. Transfer to casserole dish. Top with swiss cheese and crushed bagel chips. Cover with foil and bake in 375° oven for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Music for this episode was "Everything Is A Toy" from The Hybiscus Journals' new record, "Playtime". If you like, you can visit to purchase it. Also, visit to download their other new record "Music For QuackerCon" free of charge.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mystery Ingredient Reveal 3

garlic bagel chips, fancy cut wax beans, and organic extra virgin olive oil.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 10: Curry Potatoes with Chicken, Mango and Avocado Salad

My secret ingredients this time were a can of sliced mangos in light syrup and a bottle of orange muscat champaign vinegar. I decided to use them to create a salad to accompany curry potatoes with chicken. My grocery bill for this one was about $15.

The curry potato recipe that I worked form came from my friend Federico. When he showed us how to make it, the chicken wasn't part of it. I decided to add it for some protein.



5 lbs potatoes (washed, peeled & chopped into 1" chunks) *
1 C fresh parsley, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped (reserve 2 cloves for chicken)
1 habanero pepper, chopped finely **
1 shallot, chopped ***
1 lb chicken meat, cut into large chunks
1 can chick peas (drained, reserve liquid)
vegetable oil
3-4 Tbsp yellow curry powder
salt & pepper to taste


1 bag baby lettuce
1 can sliced mangoes (reserve liquid)
1 can baby corn, drained
2 avocadoes, chopped
~2 oz. slivered almonds


1/3 Cup orange muscat champaign vinegar
1/3 Cup liquid from canned mangoes
1 Tbsp hot dijon mustard


1 large pot (8 qts should be sufficient)
1 skillet
1 large bowl (for salad)
1 smaller bowl (for dressing)



Heat large pot over medium heat. When hot, add oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is hot, add garlic and habanero. Allow to cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the onions and parsley. Stir occasionaly until the onions are slightly browned.

Mix curry powder with 13/-1/2 Cup hot water to form a loose paste. Add this to the pot along with the liquid from the chick peas and stir to mix well. Add potatoes and stir to coat. Add water to cover and let cook for 10 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING. Add chick peas, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently.

Heat the skillet over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of oil in it. When hot, add shallot and reserved garlic. When translucent, add chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides, then add it to the big pot of curry.

Allow to simmer 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. You may want to partially cover the pot since as the mixture reduces, it can bubble and spit creating both a mess and a slightly hazardous burn possibility.


In a large bowl, gently mix together the lettuce, mango, avocado, baby corn & almonds. (You'll want to be careful since the avocado and mango are delicate.)

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mango syrup & mustard. Done. Keep separate from the salad until ready to serve to avoid the acids wilting the greens.


If you don't want to mess with the curry dish, the salad itself would make a great meal. Maybe just cook up some chicken with garlic and shallots (or onions) to top the salad. Or just leave the meat out all together.

Music was "Exploration No. 1" by The Hybiscus Journals.

* I used red potatoes this time, which don't require peeling.
** Be sure to wash your hands very well after handling the pepper. Its oils will burn if you happen to touch any sensitive areas. If you like things really spicy, leave in the seeds and ribs.
*** If your budget doesn't allow for shallots - they can be pricey - just reserve some of the onion for this step.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mystery Ingredient Reveal 2

And the next round begins! I was in a video-chat at the time with a few Sports Racers, which explains the headphones. And my level of distraction.

Wasn't sure what I was actually going to do until I cooked on Saturday night. The results were fantastic, but I'll let it remain a surprise for now.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Eat For A Week, Episode 9: Smoked Salmon Casserole

The secret ingredients I unwrapped were a big bag of egg noodles, and a couple cans of smoked salmon. What did I decide to make? Smoked salmon casserole! A quick trip to the store and about $20 later, I was in the kitchen working on this. I had to buy asparagus, baby corn, heavy cream, fontina cheese, capers, and those fried onion crispy thingys you always see in green bean casseroles. I don't know how much the egg noodles and smoked salmon were, but I'm guessing your final bill for this one will be somewhere between $25 and $28. Yeah, a little more pricey than I tend to aim but oh so worth it. I surprised myself with this one.

I'd also like to thank my good friend Kali for hanging out to wrangle cats and help keep the sauce from burning.


1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into about 1" pieces*
2 6.5 oz cans smoked salmon (save the liquid)**
1 12 oz bag wide egg noodles
half of a 4 oz jar of capers
1 can baby corn (cut into about 1" pieces)***
1/2 lb Fontina cheese, sliced
About 4 oz French's French Fried Onions

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2-3 Tbsp flour
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
5 large cloves of garlic, put through garlic press
dash of allspice
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 Tbsp dry tyme
Salt and pepper to taste


large pot
bowl of ice water
sauce pan
large mixing bowl
1 very large or 2 medium sized baking dishes****


Preheat oven to 350°.

Fill the large pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add asparagus for about 30 seconds. Remove asparagus from hot water and place in the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. When cool, drain and remove ice. Add noodles to the pot and cook according to directions on the packaging.

Melt the butter in the sauce pan over low heat. Once melted, add flour and mix well. Allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Be careful not to let it burn. Add cream and liquid from the salmon and mix until combined. If the mixture begins to thicken too much, add milk to dilute it. Add garlic, herbs and seasonings to the sauce. If the sauce continues to thicken too much, just add more milk until it reaches your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. (Take it a little easy on the salt if you're also using capers since they're pretty salty.)

In a large bowl, combine cooked drained noodles, asparagus, salmon, capers, baby corn and sauce. Mix until everything is coated evenly and transfer into baking dish(es). Top with sliced fontina cheese and onion crispy thingys. Bake in 350° oven for about 10 minutes. (Really, you're just looking to melt the cheese and brown the onions.) Allow to cool at least 5-10 minutes before eating.

What would I do differently next time? I think I might use half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Might solve the problem of the sauce thickening too much. I'd also skip the part where I cooked the asparagus before the noodles. When the pasta's time is up, I'd just throw the asparagus in with it and let it go for about 30 seconds before draining the whole pot. This would also eliminate the hassle of the ice bath which - in retrospect - wasn't terribly necessary.

If you don't have a helper to watch the sauce while you deal with other things, you'll probably be just fine waiting to start the sauce until the asparagus and noodles are cooked and drained. The sauce doesn't take long at all to come together, and since it's all going into the oven anyway, you really don't have to worry about the noodles getting cold. (Though might want to toss them with a little olive oil to keep them from sticking together if you do it this way.)

Perhaps I'll try something a little lighter for the next installment. Then again, I guess that depends on what the mystery ingredient(s) is/are.

"Exploration No. 6" by The Hybiscus Journals

* Bend each stalk of asparagus until it breaks. Get rid of the bottom part, that's tough and woody. The top part is what you want to eat. DO NOT USE CANNED ASPARAGUS!!! That stuff's nasty. If that's all your store has, just leave it out. Or maybe try broccoli or fresh green beans.
** Break the salmon up with a fork
*** They do sell cans of pre-cut baby corn. Feel free to use that and save yourself some knife work. I do.
**** I used a baking dish and a small cake pan since it wouldn't all fit into one dish.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mystery Ingredient Reveal 1

I chose to open two mystery ingredients this time. The above video will show what they were. As you'll see, I had a little difficulty unwrapping the second one. What will I make? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out.

Also, as a follow-up to my last entry, has gone live. What's that? Well, to keep things short, it's a place where duckies can gather to stay connected and - more importantly - get to work creating our new home. Go. Sign up. Help make something awesome.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

We're not dead yet.

As I'm sure some of you know, the ORG closed its doors at opening of the year. These are just some of my thoughts on the matter. If you know me personally, you'll probably be surprised at the lack of bitterness in the video. Yeah, I'm sad but it's time to move on.

Some of the duckies are working their tails off to make a new place for the flock to play. If you'd like to be kept in the loop, just send an email to letting them know an email to contact you at. This is how we can let you know where the new stomping ground is, and this is how you can let us know you would like to help.

Episode 9 to follow soon. It's a good one, so stay tuned. is now up and running. What's that? In the grossest of terms, it's a place for duckies to regroup and get to work on creating our new home. Currently there is a forum and a wiki. Go. Sign up. Make something awesome.