Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day Zero Project #6: Create a traditional dish from a different culture

To be honest, I didn't do a very good job of making a "traditional" dish. I had some matzo meal lying around that I needed to use, so I was going to make something traditionally Jewish, but with a twist.

First, I had some corn. My favorite way to eat this vegetable is fried. It's important to not start with a can. Get some ears of corn and cut the kernels off. It's easy stuff.

Then you throw all of that in a skillet with an amount of butter that would make Paula Dean happy. Also, you should scrape the ears of corn with a fork so all the awesome corn liquid (probably not the right term) is in the pan frying with the butter and the kernels


Then I mixed tall that up with matzo meal. It wasn't pretty and it smelled  bad and I was thinking that I should just abandon the whole project at this point.

But, like a trooper, I soldiered on and took this weird corn-filled, bad-smelling flour and turned it into little matzo balls which I boiled.

Most people might stop right there and have a soup, but not this guy. I took those matzo balls, rolled them in panko bread crumbs and baked them in the oven for a little while until they came out looking like this:

They were actually decent, but if I could do it all over again I would probably deep fry them instead of baking them in the oven because they didn't get as crispy as I would have liked.

The best part of the whole project was getting to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen. I love cooking, but with busy schedules and some general laziness, I don't get to do that very often.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day Zero Project #82: Celebrate Oktoberfest

I realized last week that October was almost half-over and I had exactly one weekend open with which to accomplish #82, Celebrate Oktoberfest. Lucky for me, the German American Society of Pinellas heard my pleas and conveniently dropped an article into my web browser informing me that October 13th would be their final Oktoberfest celebration of the year.

With visions of Spaten and sauerkraut dancing in my head, I packed up the car and made the long trip to Germany (OK, not Germany, but Pinellas Park, FL).

What was great about this particular Oktoberfest is that it's hosted by a bunch of older folks who speak German and cook German food and even dress in a weird way that I can only assume is German. This translates into a festival that seems a little more authentic-ish and not just a reason for 23 year old males to get drunk and act like idiots.

That said, immediately upon my arrival I ordered a beer that is the size of a person's head and proceeded to work towards getting drunk and acting like an idiot. But I'm 31, so it's different.
Also, most young males at beer festivals will eat no food. I, on the other hand, ate some of the best potato salad and sauerkraut that one could hope to eat.
Bland looking, but delicious.
We mosied around, we watched a band play polka songs and couples who, amazingly, knew how to dance to said polka songs. And then we waited in line for potato pancakes. And waited. And waited. This things are so popular we waited about 40 minutes for them. Thankfully I had a beer the size of a milk jug to keep me company.
In the end, not worth the wait.
The craziest part of the whole night was the Stein Holding Contest in which contestants had to hold a full stein of water (I was told spilling beer would be wasteful) at arms length with elbows locked for the longest time. It gets pretty intense as you can tell by this picture of the final two.

In the end the guy with the cool mustache won,which made me happy because while everyone else was struggling he was using his free arm to drink more beer.
People love watching people struggle to do stuff
The best part was that while we were walking out, despite all the zaniness going on outside, the inner room of the hall featured a much more tame, but awesome party of Grandparents who have drank more beer in their lifetimes that you will ever hope to see. Don't even try to party with these folks, because you can't handle their party.
I can only hope me and my wife someday have a 2-person accordion band.
And this whole day was why I'm glad I am doing this list. I would have never made it out to this event, but ended up having a great time. Even if they ran out of Spaten Oktoberfest so fast that I didn't get any.