Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

vegetarian buffalo chicken dip

i made some vegetarian buffalo chicken dip over the weekend for a family party and it was awesome, even my non-vegetarian relatives thought it was really good and were shocked when i told them it was made with fake meat. (i am also a non-vegetarian). i looked up some recipes online and wrote down a shopping list... and then of course when i went to make it my internet wouldn't work and all of my notes i had made went MIA, so i had to wing it based on memory & instinct. the result turned out so well i wanted to write it down so i don't forget what i did, and figured this would be a good place to do that.


-1 package of reduced fat cream cheese. doesn't have to be reduced fat, i just figured, why not.
-packet of dry ranch seasoning
-16 oz sour cream / reduced fat or whatever, who cares (i only used about half in the buffalo dip, but you mix the ranch seasoning into 16 oz of sour cream ~ so i have some left over "ranch dip/dressing" as well, which ain't a bad thing).
-bottle of buffalo sauce, i used franks red hot buffalo sauce.
-1 cup shredded cheese (i used mexican blend).
-crumbled blue cheese
-fake chicken ~ i don't think it really matters what kind you use, but you want atleast 8-10 oz.
i ended up using MorningStar Farms Grillers Chik'n Veggie Patties because this was pretty much my only fake chicken option at the grocery store that i was at.

-celery sticks
-tortilla chips

so, first thing i did was mixed the ranch seasoning directly into the sour cream, put the lid back on it and put in the fridge for the day to let their flavors mingle & settle. i don't really know how important this step is, but i thought to do it that morning. i think it's a good idea, but wouldn't freak if you forget because i figure all of the flavors will have plenty a chance to blend once they're heated anyway.

then i cooked the chicken patties in a pan according to the directions on the box (lightly oiled pan, cooked each side for 3 min). there were four patties in the box, so i just grilled 'em all.

once i got my fake chicken nice & grilled, i stacked them up on my cutting board and chopped the shit out of it. when it comes to dip, i think texture can make or break it so i really wanted my fake chicken to have more of a shredded chicken texture rather than a chunky cubed thing going on.

i don't have a crockpot, so i threw all of my ingredients into a baking pan and threw it in the oven and then served it in a warming pot. if you have a crockpot, you could just throw everything in there.

i put my pile of "shredded" fake chicken into a small square baking pan and then i dumped buffalo sauce all over it. i think i ended up using about 3/4 of the bottle. once you add all of your ingredients be sure to give it a taste and see if you should add more buffalo sauce. it's always better to want to add more rather than put into too much from the get go. (if you think there is too much buffalo sauce, add more sour cream or blue cheese to balance it out.)

soften up your cream cheese in the microwave & then throw that in.

add about half of your sour cream/ranch seasoning concoction. (i reasoned the sour cream should match the cream cheese, which is why i only used about half of the 16 oz container, so about 8 oz). most recipes i saw online called for just a bottle of ranch or blue cheese dressing ~ but i thought the combination of sour cream & cream cheese + crumbled blue cheese would make for a much better consistency & flavor than just a boring old bottle of ranch. i'm going to agree with myself on this one.

dump some crumbled blue cheese in there. i didn't measure this, just whatever felt right. i'm guessing like 3 or 4 oz., or tablespoons. i bought a small plastic container of crumbled amish blue cheese and i used probably half.

mix it all up.

dump some shredded cheese on top.

if it's a crock pot, just let it sit for about an hour or so, and then mix it all up before serving.

i threw my pan in the oven @ 350 for a while (just enough to get everything nice & warm, till the cheese on top is all melted is a good way to gauge, maybe like 20 minutes would be good.)

pull it out of the oven, mix it all up and serve it in a warming dish with celery sticks & tortilla chips or whatever your little heart desires.


i didn't take a picture, so here is one of fozzi bear instead.

picture of the day

this isn't happiness.

Monday, April 4, 2011

picture of the day - traer scott

natural history by traer scott
artist statement:

During the summer of my ninth and tenth years, my mother, in lieu of hiring a babysitter, kept me captive in our hometown Natural History Museum all day…everyday. She functioned as a vibrant and quirky volunteer curator while I spent very long, solitary weeks communing with the museum's animals, both living and dead, as well as operating the ancient manual elevator for employees and rummaging through the museum’s disheveled collection of mite riddled, century old periodicals and books housed in a private storage. I have since harbored an immense affection for all things old and musty and mysterious, particularly preserved animals whose half dead/half alive presence is at once fascinating and unnerving.

Natural History is a series of completely candid, in-camera single exposure images which bring together both the living and the dead, creating allegorical narratives of our troubled co-existence with nature. Ghost-like reflections of modern visitors viewing wildlife dioramas are juxtaposed against the taxidermied subjects themselves, housed behind the thick glass with their faces molded into permanent expressions of fear, aggression or passivity.

The animals in these dioramas were collected (and killed) by "naturalists" primarily at the beginning of the 20th century as a means of bringing information and exotic delight to the public in an age long before television or even radio. However, the lust for categorizing and collecting flora and fauna, even with the intent of increasing scientific knowledge, often granted explorers carte blanch for extermination. After decades of over-hunting, climate change, poaching and destruction of habitat, many of these long dead specimens now represent endangered or completely extinct species.