Wednesday, December 7, 2011

There Will Be Blood

Things got a bit messy today. It was another rainy day so I had more time on my hands to plan something elaborate. Since it was cold and rainy, soup sounded like a good idea. Soup is actually a good idea most of the time because it is a great hodgepodge dish. You can just throw in a bunch of random shit, blend it, spice it, and it will probably come out pretty good. I started making soup when my room mates and I were doing CSA. We would get random shit like celeriac. Kind of reminds me of the eraser head baby. I hadn't even seen a celery root before and I really had no idea what to do with it. We'd also get a ton of squash that we didn't know what to do with so I got into the habit of making soups out of them.

Anyway, I digress. So it must be the eggplant season or something because the other night there were tons of eggplants everywhere. All three of the normal locations I hit up had a glut of eggplants. Bread is also a pretty common find and it's not just normal white bread. TJ throws out their crazy fancy Ezekiel bread like it's hotcakes. Does that analogy make any sense? Bread freezes well and you can just toast a piece as needed. You can also use all the bread to make bread crumbs. We also find a lot of bagels and despite my Judaic leaning, I'm not too fond of bagels so I usually don't take them. However, I do really enjoy bagel chips and after the success of the home made tortilla chips, I decided to take a few to take a stab at bagel chips.
Shit is fucked up and bullshit

After a total of 5 cuts, which resulted in a lot of lost blood, we finally had sliced bagels. Oh yeah here is the basic recipe. I used olive oil instead of butter and added finely chopped garlic and some fresh rosemary. The key we figured out was to cut them thin and to watch them so they don't burn. The thin cutting part is really what led to our mishap. Bread knives ain't nuthin to fucking with. Especially sharp, German bread knives. Maybe it's because we are using a German knife to do Jew-y things. I mean is there really anything Jew-ier than making bagel chips from dumpstered bagels? Maybe if we seasoned them with the tears of Palestinians. 

Add blood for extra iron
Once they were sliced it was pretty easy from there. Just make sure they don't burn.
Yeah i burned the first batch cause i wasn't watching.  BIG DEAL

So the reason we made bagel chips was because we decided to make baba ganoush. Apparently eggplants explode if you don't poke holes in them so don't neglect that part. Once it comes out of the oven it gets a little drippy and saggy. 

i really need a better camera

I didn't even bother taking the skin off like the recipe said. I just threw it in the blender with the other ingredients and let the blender do the work. I did chop that green top part off though.

The final part of the lunch was a leek and eggplant soup. I really just used that recipe as a starting point. I didn't have any red pepper so those were out, but I did have a lot of leek type items so I added those. On top of having leeks, I also had a lot of scallions and chives. So instead of the red peppers i used that stuff. Also I didn't have any stock, but I did have a lot of miso paste so I used that instead

HEH   >^..^<
Also didn't have any basil left so I just used more rosemary since we had a ton of it from the other night. I put the scallions and chives in at the same time as the leeks and just followed the recipe the rest of the way and ended up with this

I did take the eggplant skins off this time
Then came the hard part of blending it. One day, when I'm a rich and famous dumpster blogger, I'll have a soup maker. Until then I have this blender I got from Craigslist

You can make a big mess here
A blender is actually a great appliance to get if you're cooking and diving a lot. I use mind to make smoothies all the time.  The trick with blending is to not fill the fucking blender too much. I've learned this the hard way. Also make sure the bottom is screwed the fuck on for fucks sake.

 Now the final step was to reheat some sandwiches I had gotten from Think Coffee a while ago. These premade sandwiches are great. They freeze well and taste great when reheated in the oven. I usually reheat them at 400+ so they heat and defrost quickly and the outside gets nice and crunchy. 
Apples, Brie, and figgy jam

And viola, you have a complete lunch made for a rainy day

Monday, December 5, 2011


We started a tradition at the timwheelerbikegang thrillhouse before I left. It happened to be Monday and it involved eating a lot of red meat so we called it RED MEAT MONDAY!!!!! The caps and exclamation marks are absolutely necessary, à la
The reason for RED MEAT MONDAY was... well we had a lot of red meat piling up. We had a big steak score and no one was taking the initiative on eating it. Also, a member of the timwheelerbikegang thrillhouse had his lady friend visiting making it a perfect opportunity for male chauvinism.

Yeah definitely his best role ever. Anyway, although I may be out of town, that did not mean the end of RED MEAT MONDAY. While diving the other night we found a package of TJ's grass fed ground beef that was in perfect condition. Ground beef is sketchy to begin with, but I decided to try it out anyway. Even after making two pizzas, we still had a lot of cheese left over so we stuft the burgers with blue cheese and gouda. We also had a package of mushrooms left over so we decided to broil those between the burgers so the fat would drip off and cook the shrooms. The beef was a delicious 85/15 blend so there were plenty of juices
I added a few drops of liquid smoke and chopped some garlic into it too. Be careful with the liquid smoke, a little goes a long way. Broiled it for about 3 minutes on each side and it came out medium. I generally like my RED MEAT rare, but I decided to err on the side of caution for this one. Grilled some sourdough to make more of a melt than a burger and topped it with some other rescued items
Yeah so i burned the bread BIG DEAL
Made an aioli type spread with some sour cream we had laying around that was close to going bad. Tasted just as good as a mayo based aioli. Definitely give it time to cool because once you bite into it, the cheese begins to ooze out and it is hot.

Also as I had mentioned before, I've been on a poached egg kick. They're so much fun! I decided to take it to the next level by making hollandaise sauce. We found that the best way to heat the sauce slowly was to drop a ceramic bowl into a pot of simmering water. It came out aight. I'll need to try it again. First we made some fresh biscuits from a box of mix we foraged from TJ. Although there was no RED MEAT!!!!, we kept the slightly homoerotic theme of cock-praise going



And finally one last dick pic
Look at that greasy dago mustache 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Friendsgiving Potluck

I was invited to a post-Thanksgiving potluck on Saturday. I had to bring a dish I could make beforehand and transport on my bike. It also had to somehow do something with fall or thanksgiving or something of the sort. Luckily the night before I had come across three lovely heads of purple cauliflower.

Deep Purple
I went online and found this nice simple recipe for baking cauliflower. Although this recipe didn't called for it, another one I saw said to sprinkle parsley on top after baking. We didn't have any parsley, but we had found some chervil in the same haul which according to google is just fancy parsley. 

We also didn't have any parmesan, but had found a good amount of bleu cheese and feta in a previous outing
I have no idea how to rotate this
The garlic was actually a gift from a friend who knows someone that runs a farm in Vermont. She had more garlic than she knew what to do with so she gave us a few bulbs. This wasn't your grocery store garlic. The cloves were three times larger than cloves I am used to

The garlic had elephantiasis 
To give it a little extra Thanksgiving flare, I replaced the olive oil in the recipe with pumpkin oil. We had found the pumpkin oil at Commodities a week earlier, but I hadn't found an application for it yet. I really ended up enjoying the pumpkin oil as it gave it a pumpkin-y, nutty taste and it has an interesting dark green color that aesthetically added to the dish. Sadly, I had rescued two of these bottles, but I dropped one and broke it on the way. 

Free range pumpkin oil
Finally, I cut up the cauliflower, doused them with the poil, put some salt and pepper on them and sprinkled the chopped garlic all over. I did an initial baking before taking it over for the potluck. I cooked it at 400 for 25 minutes to come out with this:

Like an acid trip in a pyrex dish

Afterwards I bundled it up in some old take out containers. I stuft it all in a bike basket along with the cheese to add later, some baguettes, and a bottle of wine. I realized with the contents of my basket there was only one thing to do... I had to wear a barret.
spring break woooo show us your seins
Once getting to the potluck I put the cauliflower back in a baking dish and sprinkled the cheese on. I cooked it for another 5 minutes at 400 then took it out and sprinkled the chervil on and came out with this:

I need a better camera 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rainy Daze

So I haven't really figured out a schedule of when I'll update. I really doubt it will be a regular schedule, more like I got some free time or made something interesting. On that note, it's raining today so I ain't going nowhere none.

Anyway, one of the fun things about urban foraging is that you have a lot of food that you can't possibly finish yourself. Solution? Dinner parties!! At this point most people know where the food is coming from and either have made peace with it or, as is more often the case, were totally cool with it in the first place. However, with the first blog post, a friend that I have cooked for more than a few times, found out where the ingredients were coming. Although her faced contorted to a look of disgust as she read the first post, she still enjoyed the meal, but did offer to cook the entrée next time.

I learned to "cook" when I was in college where I would generally cook a batch of food large enough to sustain me for an entire week. I never had an issue with eating the same thing for an entire week nor did I have any qualms with leftovers. I've never really been able to adjust to cooking for just a person or two so till this day I end up cooking 8-10 servings at a time which ends up being perfect for having mini dinner parties. On a recent haul we had come across several boxes of cheese, flour, veggies, and eggs. Actually eggs are one of the most common items founds. Typically the market will toss the entire dozen if one egg in the carton breaks.

So I made a pizza. We got the flour, eggs and some of the veggies from TJ and the rest of the veggies from a small health food store called Commodities. The cheese and pesto came from a market called Gristdedes. I got a crust recipe from epicurious and it is quite easy to make. A trick I've learned to making your crust crispier is to place it on a hot item when you put it in the oven. Usually a pizza stone but an upside down tray works just as well. Prepare your pizza on a cookie sheet while the oven is preheating at 500F, then when you're done take out the upside down tray and slide the pizza on to it. Works really well.

Anyway we chopped up the veggies

The colors Duke, the colors
The cheese, two types of gouda and a swiss, came in cubes so we cut them down to size. Now lately we've come across a lot of potatoes and I remembered that in SF I had a potato pizza so i decided to try it out. First I sliced the potatoes thinly then fried them up in a pan

Almost like a potato chip pizza
Started assembling everything 
Full disclosure: the sauce was purchased
And 15 mins at 500 and out it came. The parchment paper will burn around the edges but it won't bother the pizza
Couldn't get the picture before the vultures attacked
Finally like i said, we have a lot of eggs.  A friend recently showed me how to poach an egg. The vinegar really does the trick. I'm always looking for new things to do with eggs and this one is so much fun and delicious so I decided to add a poached egg on top of the pizza.

It had two yokes!

That saucy slutty double yoke running all over the luscious pizza 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's finally up

So this blog has been a long time coming. I had the idea for this website when I was still working and would sneak into meetings just to hit the sandwich tray to taste the forbidden nectar of found food. It's now been around 7 months since I've stopped working and discovered the wonders of urban foraging. Urban foraging can take several forms. You can have a garden in your yard or you can chop down the ornamental cabbage plants outside the Peninsula Hotel. The best part about the latter is that you don't have to wait for them to slowly grow back in season. They'll be replanted, whole, almost immediately.

Look at all the heirloom tomatoes
 harvested from our yard garden.

Mmmm delicious ornamental kale is delicious

However, the easiest and most plentiful way of urban foraging is dumpster diving. Also often referred to as food liberation. There are a lot of great online resources on the net to help people get started with their quest to liberate unloved and unwanted groceries. One of the best is on the NYC freegan website. They have a lot of great all around tips for dumpstering and an amazing dumpster directory if you live in any of the five boroughs of NYC. If you don't, check MeetUp to see if anyone has dumpster tours in your area. You could also just ask around to see if you have any friends who go diving. It is a great social activity and a whole lot more fun to do with a friend.

Bike scum in his natural habitat 
Trader Joes is a really great spot if you can find ones that don't lock their dumpsters. All their stuff is prepackaged so it remains relatively clean and they carry great stuff in general. Whoever knew what an inside out carrot cake was and how fucking amazing it is before TJ started selling it. On good nights the hauls can also be quite staggering. To the point where you might want to consider a chest freezer.

Bell peppers and tomatoes for days
Dumpster meat is the most sustainable meat

Premade food is great for those days when you don't feel like cooking
You'll soon notice that a regular divers fridge looks quite peculiar. It's kind of like feast or famine. You'll have 10lbs of bell peppers, but not a single onion. That, however, is one of the fun things about urban foraging, especially if you're unemployed and have a lot of free time on your hands. It really causes you to get creative and make dishes you'd never thought of. Ever tried ground turkey stuft bell peppers marinated in pumpkin oil. Yeah I hadn't either, but let me tell you what, shit was dank. Just the other day I came across over 30lbs of apples. I hauled the bag over my shoulder like a Chinese laundry worker through the East Village on a Saturday night. I got it to a juicer where after 4 hours and 3 over heatings, I was able to extract 3 gallons of juice to make hard cider.

Gonna party like it's 1799
Not to say that everything has to be experimental. For breakfast I made the quintessentially American meal of meat and potatoes with a cup of coffee. It just happened that the meat was a black angus filet mignon and the potatoes were russet, sweet and taro potato all mixed in with onions, peppers and snow pea sprouts.  The coffee was a single origin, organic, shade grown, fair trade Ethiopian coffee that promised me a floral aroma.  It may have been cage free too.
I like my coffee like I like my women, lukewarm and bitter
So in the end, I don't really know what the point of this blog is. There are a million food blogs out there written by people who are much better writers than I am. I'll try to document some more interesting aspects of urban foraging and share some recipe ideas so next time you have 15lbs of smoked gouda you'll have an idea what to do with it.