How to ruin any food: Soft Tacos

Tonight I’m going to show you how to ruin soft tacos. This soft take on the classic hard or crisp taco is quite tasty and even easier to ruin than normal tacos.

I hope you’re ready to enjoy a batch of ruined soft tacos!

WARNING: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU ENJOY GOOD FOOD.

The rest of this post in intended to be humorous and not to be taken as new culinary treats about to sweep the nation.Any attempt to ingest the substance described below is not suggested and should be avoided. If you do attempt to taste any of the following food related ideas, please be warned that disgust, nausea and possibly even death could be the result.

 

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What they are:

A soft taco is basically a small flour tortilla with beans, meat, cheese and other toppings piled on one side of the tortilla and the other side folded over.

 

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History of soft tacos:

 

The history of tacos is interesting in itself, in fact it seems that what we know today as a soft taco is more traditional than the hard-shelled tacos, though the original soft tacos would have been made with corn tortillas instead of flour ones.

The history of tacos is an uncertain one, though there are references to it having been invented any time between 1500s and the 1800s, though it is possible it is a lot older than either of those dates.

If you’re interested in more details behind the origin of tacos, I suggest these fascinating sites:

National Taco Day: History of the Taco and Recipes

http://allabouttacos.weebly.com/

 

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How to make a soft taco:

 

A soft taco is very simple to make, simply take the filling you normally use for a taco and assemble your soft taco on its side in layers. Normally you’d do it something like this:

Tortilla (of course)

Beans (spread on one half the tortilla)

Meat (right smack dab on top of the beans)

Cheese (On top of the meat)

Salsa

lettuce and sour cream optional.

Fold the tortilla over the filling and enjoy.

 

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How to ruin them:

Now we come to the fun part of the post, ruining soft tacos!

You can ruin your soft tacos by doing any single thing listed below, or if you really want a ruined soft taco, mix and match any  number of the ideas below. Have fun!

Tortillas:

The tortilla is perhaps the most critical part of a soft taco.  The best way to ruin a tortilla is to make them yourself, in which case I suggest reading my post on ruining tortillas:

https://mageowl.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/how-to-ruin-any-food-tortilas/

If you don’t have the time to ruin your tortillas from scratch, there are still a few things you can do to store-bought tortillas:

  • Place the tortillas into a low over until they begin to turn crispy, the tortilla will break when you try to fold it, helping to ruin your soft taco.
  • Take a sharp knife and cut a tiny slit into the center of each tortilla, once folded this will rip and the filling will spill out, ruining your soft taco.
  • Get the largest tortillas you can find, these will be too large to easily eat as a soft taco, ruining your meal.
  • Brush your tortillas with melted butter and shake a mixture of nutmeg and cinnamon on, allow to sit until the butter hardens up. The result will be a tortilla that tastes like it was meant for a dessert, plus if enough butter was used, it’ll become slippery in the eaters hand, ruining the meal.

Refried Beans:

Ruining refried beans is quite easy, I point you to the post I wrote about ruining them:

https://mageowl.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/how-to-ruin-any-food-refried-beans/

Cheese:

Ah, cheese, perhaps one of my favorite ways to ruin something. The wrong cheese can turn a great meal into a ruined meal in seconds.

To ruin your soft tacos, consider using any of the following cheeses instead of cheddar:

  • Limburger
  • Mozzarella
  • Swiss
  • Blue cheese (also adds that moldy color, double the ruin!)
  • Munster

 

Toppings:

What’s better than the toppings on a taco, soft or otherwise?

Try a few of these toppings on your next soft taco to ruin it:

  • Strawberry jam
  • Strawberry jam mixed with pickle relish to mimic salsa.
  • Coleslaw
  • Sauerkraut
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Pesto

Sour cream replacements:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Mint ice cream
  • Tomato ice cream (there really is such a thing)
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Frozen yogurt

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There you have it, several ways to ruin soft tacos. Did I miss any? What is your favorite way to ruin a soft taco? Have a food you’d like to see me ruin? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

 

How to ruin any food: Oatmeal cookies

I guess it’s been quite awhile since I ruined a food, tonight I hope to make up for that.

I’m  going to ruin oatmeal cookies tonight, if you enjoy oatmeal cookies, I’m sorry. If you dislike oatmeal cookies and wish more people did, make a batch of these for your friends and I promise you they won’t enjoy oatmeal cookies anymore!

Please note that I’m ruining pure oatmeal cookies tonight, not oatmeal raisin cookies, those are worth a post of their own one day.

Are you ready?

Before we begin, once more I feel compelled to offer these words:

WARNING: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU ENJOY GOOD FOOD.

The rest of this post in intended to be humorous and not to be taken as new culinary treats about to sweep the nation.Any attempt to ingest the substance described below is not suggested and should be avoided. If you do attempt to taste any of the following food related ideas, please be warned that disgust, nausea and possibly even death could be the result.

 

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What it is:

 

An oatmeal cookie is a flat cookie normally made with rolled oats. Some oatmeal cookies are frosted or iced, while others are enjoyed plain.

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History of oatmeal cookies:

The origins of oatmeal cookies are hazy at best, just like the best foods that I’ve ruined here.

A common belief is that oatmeal cookies are descended from oat cakes made by the Scots and British. At some point during the middle ages raisins were added.

It appears that what we know as an oatmeal cookie today didn’t really exist before some time in the 1880s, roughly.

For more information of the probable origins of oatmeal cookies and the history of oats and oatmeal in general, I heartily recommend the following site:

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcookies.html#oatmeal

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How to make oatmeal cookies:

Oatmeal cookies are among the easier cookies to make, they can contain as few six ingredients or quite a few more, depending on the recipe you use.

A basic oatmeal cookie recipe looks something like this:

 

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 & 1/2 cups flour

2 eggs

1  & 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together and bake at 350° until golden brown, roughly 10 minutes.

 

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How to ruin them:

 

Now we come to the fun part, ruining the oatmeal cookie!

There are many ways of ruining this cookie, odd as it may seem for such a simple cookie.

 

Oats:

The first place to start is with the oatmeal itself.

  • Use oat grass (the edible stalk of the plant that produces the oat) and corn meal. You’ll end up with something nice and ruined, but yet healthy.
  • Use whole oats, this will result in an inedible cookie, effectively ruining the cookie.
  • Make your cookie without outs of any kind and bake them, as soon as you remove them from the oven press a handful of dried rolled oats on the top, while still edible, they will be dry and unappetizing.
  • Make a dry gruel out of your oatmeal and bake without any addition. These will be nasty tasting and ruined.
  • Soak your oats briefly in water with blue or green food coloring, with luck anyone eating one will be wondering if it’s moldy.

While there are likely other ways to ruin the oats, I think these are enough for tonight.

Butter:

Ah, butter, another wonderful way to ruin anything.

The easiest way to ruin butter is to add food coloring to it, I prefer blue or green, of course, but purple or red will work just as well.

Brown your butter first: melt it in a pan and cook until it turns brown, this supposedly  increases the taste, however we want to go well beyond browned to nearly blackened, then allow it to harden up again before using it, this will add a nice burnt taste to your oatmeal cookies, which at the very least will have your guests glancing at the bottom of the cookie to see if it did burn, which will ruin the experience of eating the cookie.

 

There are many other ways of ruining butter, such as replacing it with rancid lard, but I think the ideas I’ve mentioned are enough for tonight.

Frosting/icing

If you want to frost or ice your oatmeal cookies, there are many ways to do that which will ruin them. I suggest using mashed potatoes or sour cream.

For more ideas, please check out my post on ruining frosting: https://mageowl.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/how-to-ruin-any-food-frosting/

Other ways:

There are a number of other ways to ruin oatmeal cookies:

  • Bake them until they are blackened.
  • Under bake them so they are still gooey.
  • Add cayenne powder to the batter.
  • Add curry powder to the batter.
  • Bake them six months in advance.
  • Add root beer to the dough.

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That’s all the ideas I have right now for ruining oatmeal cookies, have I missed any? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

 

Food mash-ups: Chicken Cordon Bleu Chimichanga

Tonight I’m combining a Chimichanga with Chicken Cordon Bleu, it’s an interesting experiment and I hope you enjoy it!

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Chimichangas

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Tonight we have Chicken Cordon bleu from… somewhere  and Chimichangas from… well the origin of both of these foods depends on the story you wish to believe, more on that in a bit.

 

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Histories

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Chicken Cordon Bleu:

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu at first glance seems likely to be from France, however it most likely is an American invention, or it was corrupted from various European dishes.

There are two dishes that are very similar to Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicken Kiev (from the Ukraine) and Veal Cordon Bleu (from Switzerland).

 

Chimichanga:

 

The humble Chimichanga has several origin stories, each one seeming at least semi possible.

Several restauranteurs in the Tucson Arizona area lay claim to the invention of the Chimichanga, mostly in the 1940s, with stories varying from wanting to keep burritos longer, to accidents and swearing.

Another legend says that the chimichanga comes from Sonora, Mexico and have been eaten since the early 1900s.

An interesting and strange origin idea springs from that legend and goes further to claim that the chimichanga was a Chinese invention translated into Mexican food.

 

More on these rumors can be found on the following sites:

http://www.ocweekly.com/restaurants/was-the-chimichanga-invented-by-chinese-in-mexico-6624206

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimichanga

 

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What they are:

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Chicken Cordon Bleu is a dish consisting of a flattened, boneless, skinless chicken breast wrapped around a slice of ham, which is wrapped around a slice of cheese. The cheese varies from recipe to recipe, but it is normally Swiss, mozzarella or a similar cheese.

 

Chimichangas are at the most basic a deep-fried burrito.

They often consisting of shredded meat instead of ground and seldom if ever have refried beans inside them. Sometimes shredded cheese may be added inside if they are going to be eaten unsmothered.

Chimichangas are often smothered in green chili, cheese and sour cream.

 

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Now that we have learned a bit about the histories behind our two foods, along with the basics of them, let’s get done to the cooking of our new dish!

 

What you need:

Flour tortillas

Ham (thin slices or diced)

Cooked chicken (Thinly sliced or diced, leftover chicken works well)

Cheese (Cheddar, Swiss or mozzarella. Or all three if you want.)

 

These are very simple to make, just take a tortilla and add roughly equal parts of chicken and ham, add a bit of cheese, taking care to evenly distribute everything and keep it in a neat row all while leaving roughly two inches at each end.

To fold up the tortilla start with one end, then the other followed by the sides. Use cooking toothpicks to hold them together, normally one at each end will suffice.

Now all that’s left to do is to fry them until they are crisp. You can either deep fry them or use a skillet if you prefer.

 

Finishing touches:

 

There are a few more things that you can do to top off your Cordon Bleu Chimichangas:

  • Serve covered in Hollandaise sauce with a chili pepper sliced on top.
  • Serve covered in green chili with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Serve with a bowl of guacamole sauce on the side for dipping.
  • If smothering with sauce, add more cheese.
  • Eat it as is.

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There you have it, Chicken Cordon Bleu Chimichangas. I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Food mash-ups: Swedish Meatball Pot Pie

Tonight I thought I’d combine two well liked meals into one, I think you’ll enjoy this: Swedish Meatball Pot Pie!

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Swedish Meatball Pot Pie

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Tonight we have meatballs from Sweden and Pot Pie from… well  ancient times is about as close as I can get.

Can these things be combined to form something interesting? Of course they can and I’m going to show you how! First a bit of history:

 

Pot Pies:

Pot pies are one of the oldest foods around, having been recorded as far back as Ancient Rome and most likely long before that.

Pot pies were basically a way to keep the filling moist while it cooked, the crust keeping in the heat and steam. Now however we tend to leave off most of the crust, often only putting it on the top and ignoring the bottom, instead relying on out pans.

An interesting site that has more facts than you’ll ever want to know about pies:

https://sliceoflifesunday.wordpress.com/the-history-of-pie/

 

Swedish Meatballs:

Originating in the Scandinavian countries, Swedish meatballs have proven very popular over the years.

A few sources I found claim that as beef was hard to come by, meatballs were prized treats.

Swedish meatballs are considerably smaller than most other kinds of meatballs.

Unfortunately little is know about how or when the first of what we know as Swedish meatballs were invented.

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Now that we have a bit of history, let’s get on to the actual cooking:

 

The first thing you need is a pan, of course. It should be nice and deep so you can fill it with lots of meatballs.

As this is a mash-up, I’d like to start with the crust. You need a flaky pie crust for the top, use whatever recipe you are comfortable with, as there are numerous recipes for pie crusts, I suggest you try a few until you find what works for you.

I suggest adding a little bit of garlic or onion powder to your pie crust, just a tiny bit, it shouldn’t throw off your recipe in the slightest, but it’ll give the crust a nice taste.

Next I’d like to take a moment and talk about the pasta. Swedish meatballs always are served with egg noodles, or should be anyway. As this is a pot pie and the filling is going to be meatballs and gravy, we have to get a little creative with the pasta. I suggest taking your cooked egg noodles or lasagna noodles and lining the bottom of your pie pan, you might want to back it for a few minutes to dry the noodles out just a bit so they form a better crust.

Next we need to get the meatballs ready. There are many recipes out there for Swedish meatballs, if you have one you enjoy, go ahead and use that one, otherwise consider the following:

 

1/2 pound Ground beef

1/2 pound Ground Pork

2/3 cup bread crumbs, soaked in heavy cream

1 Egg

1 finely chopped onion

1 tsp ground Allspice

Salt, pepper to taste

 

Mix all ingredients together and form meatballs, broil them until brown and mostly cooked, they do not have to be completely cooked as they will finish cooking when the pot pie is baking.

 

Next make a gravy out of flour, beef broth and seasoning, normally the same seasonings are used, however you can add others as well, dill and garlic are popular, however some recipes even call for ginger among other spices.

Once you have your gravy and meatballs made, you can start to put your pot pie together. There are two methods:

  1.  Place all your meatballs into the pie pan and pour the gravy over them.
  2. Place a single layer of meatball in the bottom of the pan and cover with gravy before placing a second layer on top, repeat until pie pan is full.

There is another variation of this recipe you can try as well:

Instead of making a bottom crust out of egg noodles, place a small amount of mostly cooked egg noodles on the bottom, cover with a layer of meatballs and gravy, than add another layer of egg noodles before adding more meatballs and gravy, repeat until pan is full, making sure to top with gravy and meatballs.

 

Once you have your pie pan (or casserole pan if you want to make an extra-large batch) full, top with the pie dough. It’s normally placed on top in one piece, however if you want to make it more interesting and have the time, go ahead and weave it as you would an apple pie.

Bake at 350° for about forty-five minutes to an hour and enjoy!

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There you have it, Swedish Meatball Pot Pie. I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Food Mash-ups: Corn beef tacos

It’s time for another food mash-up! It’s been a while since I did one of these, but I thought this week would be fitting as St. Patrick’s day was only a few days ago, many of you may have some leftover corned beef sitting around that you’re wondering what to do with, I have the answer!

While there are dozens of recipes out there for Corned Beef tacos, I think my new creations are much better!

 

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Corned Beef Tacos

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Tonight we have foods from Ireland and Mexico being thrown together.

From Ireland we have Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.

From Mexico we have Tacos, tortillas and salsa.

Can these things be combined to form something interesting? Of course they can and I’m going to show you how! First a bit of history:

 

Corned beef:

Corned beef is an old meat, the origins of which appear uncertain.

The best guess of why it’s called Corned Beef is that large grains of salt were used in curing the beef, the grains of salt were called corns and hence the name, or so the rumor goes, some sources say the grains of salt were the size of corn kernels.

Yet while normally thought of as an Irish food, Corned beef was seldom eaten by the Irish in Ireland, however they did produce and export it for quite a while.

Tacos:

The word ‘Taco’ is Spanish in origin, from what I can learn it means ‘plug’ or ‘wad’, which might mean that some one some time long in the past wanted to shut some one up and ‘plugged’ their mouth with a taco, but that’s just my guess.

A taco is at its most basic a filling inside a folded tortilla, or inside a taco shell, which is not much more than a corn tortilla that’s been baked or fired into its shape.

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Now that we have a bit of history, let’s get on to the actual cooking:

There are several different ways you can go about making your Corned beef tacos, it mainly depends on the amount of time you have and how much work you want to go to.

First off you need to decide if you want soft tacos or hard tacos. If you want hard tacos, just use regular taco shells, if you want soft tacos, I suggest making your own tortillas.

As there are many tortilla recipes out there, I won’t go in detail, however I do have a few ideas for your homemade tortillas:

  • Green color: While you can just use food coloring, why not use spinach or cabbage? It adds a bit of flavor and also reminds everyone that St. Patrick’s day isn’t too long ago. If you’d rather not use cabbage or spinach, see if you have any leftover green beer and use that in place of the liquid.
  • A hint of mustard powder: Everyone puts mustard on corned beef, adding it to your tortillas can be interesting. If anyone complains, just say you wanted to ruin them.
  •   Have a lot of time? Try cutting your tortillas into shamrock shapes, they might not be the easiest to work with, but it’ll be fun!

Filling and Assembly:

Now that you have your taco shells or tortillas ready, it’s time to move on to the filling.

Shred your corned beef, add it to a pan with just a bit of liquid and warm it up. This is a great time to add some onions, garlic and peppers.

Next take some mashed potatoes and warm them up.

Chop some cabbage while you’re waiting for everything to heat up, you want your cabbage a nice small size for easy eating, think shredded lettuce.

When everything is ready, you can begin to assemble your tacos:

In the center of your tortilla (assuming you went with soft tacos, otherwise in the bottom of the taco shell) spread a small amount of mashed potatoes as you normally would beans. Add your shredded corned beef on top, put a  bit of  cabbage over that  and  add   a  spoonful of  your favorite salsa, add salt if desired.

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There you have it, corned beef tacos. I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

 

How to ruin any food: Potato soup

It’s time to ruin another food! Tonight we’re ruining potato soup, which looks to be quite interesting, both in the ruining of it as well as the history of it.

Are you ready?

Before we begin, once more I feel compelled to offer these words:

WARNING: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU ENJOY GOOD FOOD.

The rest of this post in intended to be humorous and not to be taken as new culinary treats about to sweep the nation.Any attempt to ingest the substance described below is not suggested and should be avoided. If you do attempt to taste any of the following food related ideas, please be warned that disgust, nausea and possibly even death could be the result.

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What it is:

Potato soup is, of course, a soup made from potatoes. It’s comprised of potatoes, broth and often a bit of bacon.

There are many recipes for potato soup, too many to sift through to create a basic soup, so I apologize about not including a recipe for it in this post.

While a basic soup, it is also thought of as a comfort food by many people.

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History of potato soup:

Potato soup is an odd food, there is little to no information on the history of it, so we’re forced to look a bit further into the history of each part of this food:

The history of soup dates back to just after humans learned how to boil water.

The history of the potato seems linked to the Incas, however there are some people who debate this.

What we’re left with is this: At some point in history, people began to eat potatoes. Someone decided to boil a potato and somehow soup was created.

I fear that this is another food that we’ll never know the exact history of.

 

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How to ruin it:

 

Now we come to the fun part of this post, the ruining of potato soup. I promise you that after this you’ll never look at potato soup  in the same way, enjoy!

 

Potato replacements:

The quickest and easiest way to ruin potato soup is to replace the potato:

  • Sweet potatoes – still a potato in name, but it’ll change the soup completely.
  • Turnip – it grows underground like a potato.
  • Rutabaga – another root crop and nasty in its own right.
  • Parsnips – yet another root crop, however it can almost be mistaken for a carrot, which just makes it worse in this soup.
  • Idaho spud candy bar – remember this one? I last suggested it when I ruined potato salad a few months ago, it’ll ruin this soup too!

Broth replacements:

The broth, stock or whatever your recipe calls the liquid for this soup is the next best way to ruin potato soup:

  • Root beer – is there anything this great beverage can’t ruin?
  • Lemonade – another drink everyone loves, yet it can ruin a soup.
  • Coffee – many people enjoy coffee, but not when added to potatoes in a soup.
  • Grape juice – or really any fruit juice, will help ruin this soup.
  • Vodka – it’s made from potatoes after all, however I’d suggest serving this soup cold.

Spices:

Spices are another nice way to ruin a soup. A good soup is carefully seasoned, just enough of a few spices and everything blends perfectly… however when you ruin a soup, you want to use lots of any or all of these spices!

  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Caraway
  • Horseradish
  • Anise
  • Licorice

A few last ways to ruin it:

Yes, once again I have a few ideas that don’t seem to fit into the other categories, I might have been able to squeeze them in, but I thought this spot was better for them:

 

Marshmallows: A handful or five of marshmallows can work wonders for a soup, if your soup is thick enough, they will make it gooey.

 

Potatoes: In addition to replacing the potato with something else, you can just use uncooked potatoes and make sure that they stay hard, this is a perfect way to ruin this soup!

 

Serve it cold: When I say cold, I mean cold! Freeze your soup in bowls and get some dry ice. Before you serve the soup, put a bit of dry ice on top and watch as your guests try to taste it, they will think the steam is because it’s piping hot!

 

Another way to play havoc with this soup and your guests is to serve it with a scoop of ice cream floating on top, just make sure that it’s an odd flavor of ice cream that won’t taste good with your soup, I suggest strawberry or mint chocolate chip.

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That’s all the ways I could come up with to ruin potato soup, did I miss any? What’s your favorite way to serve potato soup? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you for taking the time to read it!

How to ruin any food: 3 bean soup

Welcome back to How to Ruin any food! I enjoyed my food mash-ups, but it’s time to get back to ruining food (at least for this week).

Tonight we’re going to ruin 3 bean soup, though I suppose you could say three bean soup instead, either way you write it, it’s the same soup, or at least it was until tonight! I hope you enjoy!

Before we begin, once more I feel compelled to offer these words:

WARNING: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU ENJOY GOOD FOOD.

The rest of this post in intended to be humorous and not to be taken as new culinary treats about to sweep the nation.Any attempt to ingest the substance described below is not suggested and should be avoided. If you do attempt to taste any of the following food related ideas, please be warned that disgust, nausea and possibly even death could be the result.

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What it is:

3 bean soup is a soup consisting of a broth, seasonings and of course beans, normally navy and kidney beans, oddly enough most recipes you find do not use a third type of bean.

 

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History of 3 bean soup:

Unfortunately the origin of 3 bean soup and in fact any bean soup is nearly impossible to discover. Soup in general seem to have been invented as soon as the means to boil water came around. Beans also seem to have been around for such a long time that the history of how a bean fell into boiling water for the first time is lost.

That does not mean that we can’t imagine what might have happened, thus I have three theories:

  1. Some one was trying to soften dried beans up for a meal long ago and was in a hurry, decided to put them in hot water to see if the beans would be ready sooner.
  2. Some one, seeing the possible benefits of a soup made with beans boiled some dried beans.
  3. A large earthquake knocked a sack of dried beans into a pot of boiling water, not wanting to waste food, or perhaps being unable to afford to waste it, the owner of the beans and water ate the soup and decided they enjoyed it.

There are of course several more ways that bean soups could have been invented, however these three seem likeliest.

If you know of any other ideas behind bean soups, please share them in the comments.

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How to make it:

At the most basic, 3 bean soup is little more than beans and broth with a few seasonings tossed in. Recipes abound and it seems everyone has a favorite, so I won’t even try to offer a recipe for a good batch of 3 bean soup.

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How to ruin it:

Now we come to the fun part: ruining the soup! This is what you’ve been waiting for, in a few moments you’ll know how to ruin your next batch of 3 bean soup.

Bean replacements:

The first thing to change is the beans, while many recipes only call for two kinds of beans, we’re going to go all out and ruin 3 bean soup that contains all three beans!

  • Jelly beans – Chose your favorite three flavors!
  • Garbanzo beans – A bean is a bean, right? Use with any two other beans.
  • Green beans – Still a bean.
  • Meatballs made from kidney, navy and pinto beans – all three beans mixed into one, simple yet fun.
  • Miniature marshmallows who said you have to make bean soup with beans? These are small enough to almost look like beans. Serve this soup cold and add the marshmallows at the end.

Broth replacements:

Next we turn to the broth, as this is a soup, the broth is important, possible even more important than the beans:

  • Root beer – root beer… need I say more?
  • Lemon juice – tart and tangy, just what a soup needs.
  • Grape juice – for when you need your soup purple in color, it adds an interesting taste to the beans as well.
  • Melted vanilla ice cream – This will have your guests asking ‘Is this soup or did dessert melt?’
  • Ginger ale – the age-old question: beer or ale? Why not both?
  • Tomato sauce – with beans, not too ruined, with marshmallows? Ruined.

Spices:

What is a soup with out seasonings or spices? Not much, try these ideas for a twist of normal 3 bean soup, I promise that if used with any of the other ways listed in this post, these spices will help ruin your soup!

  • Curry powder – use lots, with marshmallows it’s great… ly ruined that is.
  • Horseradish – too much of this can ruin nearly anything.
  • Mustard powder – adds a bit of color and a lot of taste, I suggest using with melted ice cream for the best texture.
  • Cloves – strong enough to startle anyone, yet subtle enough to meld with tomato sauce.
  • Cinnamon – just remember, not everyone likes this spice!
  • Cocoa powder – I thought chocolate made everything better, but maybe not beans.

 

Other ways:

Here we have a few last ways to ruin you 3 bean soup, these might have almost fit in another category, but I thought they deserved a place by their own:

  • Garnish with marshmallows
  • Garnish with onion slice with a pile of Parmesan.
  • Use regular beans, just use them dried and heat only until your liquid starts to boil, if using melted ice cream, don’t even bother to heat.

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There you have it, several ideas for helping you ruin your next pot of 3 bean soup. Did I miss an obvious way to ruin this soup? Let me know if the comments.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post!

Food Mash-ups: Sauerkraut Stir fry

Welcome to the third installment of my newest series: Food Mash-ups! I hope you’ve enjoyed all of the mash-ups so far.

This will be a continuing series of posts, I just haven’t decided how often I should mash-up two distinct foods into one, I’d enjoy knowing what you think, let me know in the comments if you have an opinion.

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Sauerkraut Stir Fry

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The food culture of Germany and China are thrown together in tonight’s mash-up. From Germany, we have Sauerkraut and German sausage. From China, the stir frying technique! Can such widely different styles of food and cooking successfully be mashed together in to one meal? Read on to find out! First a brief history of both:

 

Stir frying:

Stir frying is a technique of cooking that embraces cooking with a small amount of very hot oil for a brief time. The wok was created first, researchers claim, for drying grain around 200 B.C. Unfortunately there are no concrete records of just when the wok was first used for stir frying.

The secret of stir frying is in the high heat and quick movement of the food being fried. It is commonly agreed that stir frying seals in the flavor and texture of the food being cooked, at least if done correctly.

 

Sauerkraut:

Sauerkraut is basically salted cabbage that is allowed to ferment for a period of time. The salt removes some of the liquid from the cabbage and forms the liquid that brine’s the cabbage as it ferments.

Oddly enough, a bit of research shows that while sauerkraut is German in origin, there was likely a similar type of dish that the Chinese workers who built the Great Wall of China ate, only theirs was fermented with rice wine instead of salt.

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Now that we have a bit of history, let’s get on to the actual cooking:

 

Tonight we’re going to add German sausage to out dish, while not necessary, it does add a bit of texture.

Start with links of German sausage, remove the casing and slice the sausage thinly enough that it cooks quickly, but thick enough so that it holds together, this will depend on the sausage you use, some may be packed looser than others. If your sausage is too loosely packed, you may need to cook it quickly before slicing it.

Next thinly slice two or three onions, along with a few cloves of garlic.

Heat up your wok or frying pan, when it’s hot, add enough oil to coat the onions and garlic. Add the onions and garlic. If you didn’t have to precook your sausage, add that as well. Now is also the time to add a hot pepper, one of those small thin red peppers is perfect, these have a variety of names, from Thai hot to bird pepper and many others. If you don’t have one of these, add a Habanero (which fits as its Latin name is Capsicum Chinese), I prefer slicing it thinly, however most stir fries leave the pepper whole. Consider at least slicing it in two to allow more flavor to mingle into your dish.

Once the onions are well wilted and the sausage (if added) is fully cooked judging by the color, add in a nice amount of oyster sauce and a spoonful or two of a nice mustard. If you precooked your sausage, add it now as well.

Serve on a bed of fried rice with soy sauce and pepper to taste.

 

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There you have it, Stir fried Sauerkraut. I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

 

Food mash-ups: Enchilada Spaghetti

I’ve got another food mash-up, or two meals made into one. I’m still looking for a good title for this series of posts, let me know what you think of this weeks.

Also feel free to comment if you have a suggestion for future posts in this series, I’d enjoy hearing your opinions on this series along with any dishes you’d like to see combined.

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Enchilada Spaghetti

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I’m delving into Mexico and Italy for tonight’s mash-up! From Italy, we have Spaghetti! From Mexico we have Enchiladas! Can these two unique meals be successfully combined into one? Let’s find out! First a bit of history on both meals:

 

Spaghetti:

Spaghetti is a relatively simple meal consisting of pasta (spaghetti noodles) served with a seasoned tomato sauce on top, often if not always with either meatballs or Italian sausage.

The history of spaghetti is a vague one, all that is really known is that the pasta has been made for centuries, the sauce was a much more recent addition, coming some time between 1796 and 1839, it was likely some time between those dates that tomatoes really began being common in Italy.

Normal seasonings found in spaghetti sauce include: Basil, Garlic, Onion, Oregano and Rosemary.

 

Enchiladas:

Enchiladas are a slightly more complex meal. It all starts with a corn tortilla that is dipped into the enchilada sauce, the filling is added, it’s rolled, topped with more sauce and cheese before being heated (normally baked in an oven until warm and the cheese has melted) and served.

Enchilada’s are a food that date back quite a long ways, some sources even suggest that the ancient Mayans ate something very similar to an enchilada.

Enchilada’s have changed over the years, becoming more complex and fancier until they likely only retain the name and basic idea of what the dish once was.

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Now that we know a bit about the history of each dish, let’s look at how they can be combined. To make this dish easier to make, we’re going to make it with meatballs.

 

Meatballs:

Start with your ground meat, most people likely are used to beef or pork, however I suggest buffalo (bison if you prefer) for two reasons, one it’s a lot leaner, two it’s a bit more likely that several hundred years ago an enchilada would have been made with buffalo than beef due to the lack of cattle.

Next add your onions, garlic powder, mix well. Stir in pepper flakes or diced peppers, fresh peppers add more flavor, but if you are in a hurry pepper flakes are fine, just make sure to add enough of them.

All meatballs need a binding agent, such as bread crumbs, in this case I suggest using dried cornbread or tortilla chips that have been crushed. If you have the time, I suggest ripping up a few corn tortillas, allowing them to dry and then crumbling them up finer, leaving a few pieced slightly larger for texture.

Mix in your crumbs along with a healthy amount of enchilada sauce, you want a firm meatball, but not an overly dry one.

Roll out your meatballs, allow them to rest for a few minutes before cooking them, you can fry them in a pan, deep fry them, or broil them, whichever method you are more comfortable with.

 

Sauce:

The sauce is quite easy, at it’s most basic, it’s one part spaghetti sauce to an equal part enchilada sauce. Just use your favorite recipe for each one, if you don’t have a favorite one, take a few minutes to compare a few online, there are plenty to choose from.

Next add extra basil and cilantro for flavor, add in your meatballs and serve over normal spaghetti noodles.

 

Cheese:

This is one part where you could likely argue the best route for hours, I’ve taken a simple approach however: Take equal parts each of grated cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese and Parmesan cheese, combine them and sprinkle on top of your enchilada spaghetti.

 

Garlic bread:

No spaghetti wouldn’t be complete without garlic bread, so I’ve come up with the ideal garlic bread to accompany your enchilada spaghetti:

Using your preferred recipe for corn bread, put the dough in a low pan and bake.

In a small mixing bowl, melt your butter (you can use olive oil if you prefer), add garlic (powdered or freshly chopped, your choice), hot sauce (the hotter the better), and Parmesan cheese, mix well.

As soon as your cornbread is baked, cut it into pieces and spread your butter mixture on top, serve warm.

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There you have it, Enchilada Spaghetti and Cornbread garlic bread.

Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think of this meal.

 

Two into one: Foods that shouldn’t go together

Tonight I’m going to try something a bit different, tonight we’re going to take two main course meals and combine them into something completely new.

Don’t worry though, my ‘How to Ruin any Food’ posts will return starting in February when I’ll have several new foods to ruin.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s post, if you have any ideas for a good title for future posts like this, please let me know in the comments.

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General Tao’s Chicken Fried Steak

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Tonight we’re going to combine to dishes, General Tao’s Chicken and Chicken Fried Steak into one. First a tiny bit of history before each dish:

 

General Tao’s Chicken:

The history behind this dish is very interesting, mostly because the  general it’s named after is died long before the dish was created. It’s also known by several variants of the name: General Tso’s Chicken, General Gau’s chicken, General Cho’s chicken and many others. Another translation of the name means something more like ‘ancestral meeting hall chicken’.

There are also many people who are claimed to have invented the dish, these are too many to list tonight.

This dish is made with chicken that is cut into bite sized chunks and dipped into a cornstarch batter before being deep-fried. It is served with a soy sauce based sauce.

 

Chicken Fried Steak:

This dish is also an interesting one, mostly because of how it could be related to several other dishes from around the world, such as:

  • Wiener Schnitzel (Germany/Austria)
  • Milanesa(Italy)
  • Scotch collops (Scotland)

There may be even more dishes similar, however my brief research only turned these up.

This dish is normally made from a pork or beef steak, which has been tenderized. The methods of tenderizing are varied, from pounding to grinding. After which it is normally dipped in egg,  breaded, and fried. It is also served with gravy.

 

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Now that we know the basics of each dish, let’s look at how we can combine them. The first thing is to realize that it’s going to end up being more like one or them other, there is no getting around this fact, however we’ll do our best to even it out.

Meat mixture:

The first this to do is to get your meats ready. I suggest using an equal part of ground chicken, ground pork and ground beef or buffalo. That way you get the chicken and the steak, plus the ground pork will ease the transition between the two, however you can leave it out if you so desire.

Next season your meats, use chili peppers, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and some soy sauce. Mix well and shape into patties about one inch wide by four inches long, give or take. Once you have your patties made, set aside while you get your flour mixture ready.

While you can make your flour mixture first, it doesn’t hurt for your meat patties to sit for a few minutes, it may actually help them hold their shape.

Flour Mixture:

For this you’ll need some flour, enough to fully coat your meat patties in. Add a bit of salt, some black pepper, garlic powder and a dash of paprika, mix well.

Dipping:

You’ll also need an egg, slightly beaten. I suggest playing a game of poker with your eggs, you’ll win as it’s well know that eggs tend to get beaten.

Dip your meat patties into the egg mixture, fully coating them, then roll each patty in the flour mixture.

Deep fry the patties until done, this should only take a few minutes if your oil is hot enough, test with a meat thermometer.

 

The Sauce:

This is the most interesting part of the dish, blending a sauce and a gravy.

Start with a sauce pan with a few tablespoons of butter, melt the butter until you can whisk in some flour,  stir the flour around until it starts to brown, but add water before it burns.

When you have added water enough to make the proper amount of sauce/gravy, add the following to taste:

  • Minced fresh garlic
  • Freshly chopped chives
  • Soy sauce (at least two tablespoons, depending on the amount of sauce)
  • White wine vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
  • A pinch of sugar (more or less, depending on your taste.)

You’ll likely notice that your sauce is fairly thin, that’s to be expected, so don’t panic.

Take a small bowl with some water and a tablespoon or two of cornstarch, again depending upon how much sauce you’re making you may need a bit more cornstarch or a bit less. Mix the cornstarch into the water until it’s fully dissolved and add to your boiling sauce, stirring rapidly until it begins to thicken. Turn off heat and serve at once.

I suggest serving either rise or mashed potatoes  with this meal.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading!