Wednesday, June 30, 2010


For many years I've been attending a music festival called Blue Skies. I can't really describe it, it's very hippie-oriented, but most people I know who've gone make it their own, regardless of their place on the hippie spectrum. The festival involves camping for 3-4 days and I started going when I was 18. I still remember thinking "I should bring something special for this".

It happened that a few years earlier my mother had been given a recipe for these peanut butter-Special K squares that boasted little fat (but a crapton of sugar). They were ridiculously tasty in that sugar shock kinda way. In fact, the recipe I posted a couple of months ago for ice cream topping is based on this dessert. Anyhoo, faced with this onslaught of sweet, my brother Mike coined the name Doomsday Bars (which has since spawned Diablo Bars, Doomy Goodness, "where the hell are they, Nick?", and many others). As it turned out they were ridiculously easy to make. Messy as hell, it might help to have a dishwasher person standing by, but super-easy. There's no baking involved, just melting, mixing, shaping, spreading and cutting.

So, with that in mind, I started making Doomsday Bars to bring to Blue Skies. They were a complete hit and are now a tradition. There was one year I didn't make them because I was living in a house with 4 other people and didn't think they'd appreciate me covering the kitchen in sticky mess. But, for 17 years, I've brought these treats. I'm hoping others will follow my example and bring their own. I've posted the recipe on Facebook, sent it to friends, and basically begged people to make their own so that I don't get stuck with not having enough AGAIN!

Oh, I also brought a topping-free version to Burning Man. THAT was awesome!

Alright, here's the recipe for a "Blue-Skies" sized order of Doomsday Bars. Great for camping trips when you need a rush of energy. Keep them out of the sun or the topping will melt. Make sure you have a fairly large container for them, about a foot wide.

Doomsday Bars

- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups corn syrup
- 3 cups peanut butter (chunky)
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract (imitation is fine)
- 12 cups Special K/Rice Krispies style cereal


- Place cereal in a large mixing bowl

- Melt sugar & syrup together in a pot/saucepan at medium-high heat

- Add peanut butter and vanilla and mix till “sauce” is melted, keep stirring to avoid peanut butter burning

- Pour melted mixture over cereal and mix together with large spoon (you could use your hands, but the melted stuff is like napalm)

- Split mixture in to two lasagna-style pans, shape to pan so entire layer is of even thickness

- Refrigerate


- Melt together 1 package each of chocolate and butterscotch chips in a pot over medium-low heat; don't microwave, it gets messy)

- Pour over bars and spread like icing with rubber or silicon spatula

Finishing touches

- Return bars to fridge until topping solidifies (about 1-2 hours)

- Remove from fridge and allow 2-3 hours to soften *at room temperature*

- Cut into bars, about 4-5 cm (2 inches) wide - This is a difficult process, these things aren't easy to cut through. I suggest using a knife with a big strong blade.

- Store in container away from sources of heat or light.

- Barter for other foods, drugs, sexual favours, etc...

And that's that. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More grilled goodies!

Alright maybe I've kind of diverged from the original raison-d'ĂȘtre for this blog. I might be getting too fancy. I honestly don't know since most cooking comes pretty easy to me and my instinct is that it comes pretty easily to most people if they just take the time to try it out. Let's hope I'm right!

With that in mind, I'm going to share some recipes that, while seeming pretty complex, are actually pretty easy if you follow the steps.

So, without further ado, I give you Bacon-Wrapped Peaches and "Real" Grilled Cheese.

Bacon-Wrapped Peaches

I give my friends Paul and Randy credit for originally putting these two awesome ingredients together. I tweaked the recipe for a party last Summer and got glowing reviews. So, your turn!

Ingredients (for 20 pieces)

- 5 ripe peaches, quartered
- 7 strips bacon, cut into 3 equal pieces
- 20 toothpicks, soaked in water for an hour or two
- 1/2 cup Irish whiskey
- 1/2 cup maple syrup


- mix whiskey and syrup in a bowl
- put peaches and whiskey/syrup marinade in a large freezer bag, toss and place in fridge for 3-6 hours
- cook bacon strips about halfway and reserve. It's important that the bacon be cooked enough to have some solidity, but not enough to be easily broken. Essentially, you want it to be a little more malleable than beef jerky.
- loop 1 bacon slice per peach quarter and fasten with toothpick. This could get messy, but it doesn't need to be perfect. You'll have an extra slice of bacon. Feed it to the dog?
- preheat grill to about medium.
- grill each peach piece until bacon is fully cooked and peach starts to get soft.
- remove from heat, let cool for a few, EAT IT!

"Real" Grilled Cheese

I just put this one together last night and, while somewhat involved, it's pretty easy, and DEEEEElicious!


- 1 baguette or other similar bread, sliced (like they do at the deli)
- sliced smoked gruyere or gouda cheese
- precooked bacon (optional)

brushing oil

- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2-3 drops liquid smoke

Essentially, crush a peeled garlic clove with the flat end of a knife (or hammer, or your fist, or head, or whatever you feel like using), add to oil, add liquid smoke to oil, stir and elt sit for a couple of hours.

2 - caramelized onions

- 1 small sweet onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp butter

- coat the onions in brown sugar, let sit for 30 mins or so
- fry the onions and sugar in butter until sugar caramelizes on onions, about 5-7 mins at medium-high heat. Set aside.

Putting together the sandwich

- on one half of the bread, layer cheese, bacon and onions. If possible, try to get cheese on both the top and bottom half of the bread.
- replace the tops and brush the tops of both sides of the loaf liberally with brushing oil.
- grill on medium-low heat, enough to toast the bread and melt the cheese. Use a spatula to press down on bread if you want a panini-like consistency.
- remove from eat, allow to cool enough to handle, EAT!

And that's that!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A quick taste of Thai

Me again,

Alright, ever since the mid-90s or so, people have been going crazy for Thai food. That mix of sweet, spicy and salty is unique amonst all cuisines and I know VERY few people who aren't fans. What really does it for me are the curries. Red curry: fiery, zingy, delicious! Green curry: earthy, smoky, nearly painfully hot! Yellow curry: mild, tangy, with all that turmeric goodness! MANOUM c'est bon!

Well, back a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to give it a try myself. Now, I used various store-bought curry pastes, but when I made my own, it was about 10 million times better. Now, while it isn't really that hard to make your own curry paste, it's quite hard to find all the ingredients for it! So, for simplicity's sake I'll assume you're buying the paste at a local supermarket.
This recipe is a very basic red curry dish that I got from a cheapie cookbook. I've adapted many different versions, but the one I'm giving you now is pretty easy. You will have to look in the Oriental section of the supermarket.
Fish sauce is used in Thai cooking the same way soya sauce is used in Chinese cooking. Be careful with it, it's REALLY salty, it stinks, and it's pretty gross tasting on its own. But most curries are bland without it, as I discovered whilst camping last summer.

Red Curry with Shrimp and Tomato (4 servings)


- 1 lb. shrimp
- 1 package grape or cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried, sliced in half (try to keep juice)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 tbsps red curry paste
- 1 and a half cans coconut milk (same size as a small can of Campbell's soup, use the lower quality stuff, and NOT coconut cream or water)
- 1-2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp chopped lime leaf (if you can find it)
- chopped Thai basil, regular basil or cilantro for garnish)

1. In a medium pot on medium-high, heat 2 tbsp curry paste until it starts to get fragrant and loosen (maybe 2-3 minutes)

2. Add 1 can of coconut milk. Stir and get the coconut milk bubbling. Keep stirring and let it thicken from the heat

3. Add onions, shrimp and tomato. Continue to simmer on medium heat for about 15 mins.

4. Add half can of coconut milk (use remaining coconut milk in a smoothie or mix it with some chilled mango juice for a very tasty beverage), sugar, fish sauce and lime leaf.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 15 minutes, letting sauce thicken.

6. Serve over cooked jasmine rice or rice noodles.

Variations: You can use any veggies you wish in this. I'm a big fan of bamboo shoots and zucchini.

If enough of you ask, I'll tell you how to make your own Red Curry paste.