Vlorbik's Diner

son of owen's cooking show

Archive for January, 2013

all knowledge is found in fanzines

Posted by vlorbik on January 16, 2013

Connie’s Vietnamese Salad (1997)
(Serves 4)

1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
{1\over4} cup fresh lime juice (the juice of one lime)
2 cloves garlic, diced very fine, or smashed in a garlic press
{1\over2} cup sugar
3\over4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
In a small bowl combine all of the above ingredients, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
The juice of one lime
1 head leaf lettuce, cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
32 fresh coriander leaves, cleaned

3 1\over2 oz. dry rice stick noodles (Maifun)
2 Tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium cucumber, sliced
2 cups mung bean sprouts

1. Rub the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and squeeze the lime juice over them. Broil until done. Slice into thin pieces.
2. Soak the rice stick noodles in hot water for 10 minutes, drain. Cut noodles into smaller pieces, cook in boiling water for 2–3 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water, separating the noodles with your fingers.
3. Place the lettuce and coriander leaves in large individual bowls, toss them together. Arrange a layer of sliced cucumber and mung bean sprouts on top, followed by a layer of rice stick noodles (should be at least a cup of noodles per bowl). Arrange the sliced chicken on top of the noodles, fanning it out. Finish by sprinkling the top with grated carrot and chopped peanuts.
4. Serve with sauce on side, letting each person dress their own salad.

(Originally printed in The Ten Page News #13.)

Posted in 90s, Recipes, Ten Page News | 1 Comment »

spicerack closeup

Posted by vlorbik on January 14, 2013

shelves you can look and reach into
are *much* more useful than cabinets
with doors on them. i’ve known this
since long before i ever started
*cooking* regularly at home, too:
against kitchen cabinets was originally
printed in the ten page news #8
(may, 1997).

the spices went in here right away
when i took off the doors on *these*
kitchen cabinets (march, 2010).
i have no record… or much of an idea…
of when i put the pictures in. i *think*
this was from the *second* round of
pictures-of-food. anyhow, there are
other, bigger, ones on other surfaces
in this kitchen. one of my better
decorating ideas, too.

(madeline’s got *lots* of great pictures
of food. cook’s country magazine
in particular is a great source. no ads.
how do they do it?)

anyhow. of the spices themselves i know
but little. probably most of these,
i’ve never used. the pepper grinder and
salt shaker get a lot of use. next up
would probably be the premixed “greek”
seasoning i mentioned in my recent
scramble-fried eggs recipe. there’s also
an “italian” shaker i’ve used a few times.
hell, i admit it. one of my best *burger*
tricks is that powdered taco mix they sell
little envelopes of at the grocery.
the meatloaf ones’re pretty good too.
i haven’t got any of that on the shelf
just now, though.

the first time i ever used thyme
(at home; there’s no telling anymore
what i’ve done in various workplaces)
was in making those very same eggs
last week. and i’ve been… slowly…
enlarging my spice repertoire over
the past few months.

some of this stuff is real old and should
probably be replaced. at the other extreme,
last summer madeline *grew* some herbs.
but only, like, four kinds, in a tiny little
patch fitting in one pot. this year,
very likely, she’ll do more “herb garden”
stuff. and more power to her. just so
we still get lots of tomatoes. those
homegrown tomatoes just beat the store-
-bought in every way.

Posted in DAADD, Photo, Ten Page News | Leave a Comment »

sizing up the competition

Posted by vlorbik on January 14, 2013

owen’s cooking show (2007, 7:33).

owen’s cooking show (2011; 4:45)

owen’s cooking show (2012; 0:29)

Posted in Video | Leave a Comment »

TV Repairman (1983)

Posted by vlorbik on January 14, 2013

Well, I graduated high-school
In nineteen-seventy-three
And the job I got a the factory
Didn’t need no college degree.
I was makin’ pretty good money
Makin’ them color TV’s
Till they went a built a machine
That could do it better than me.

Well, momma didn’t raise up a fool
So I went and got myself
Right back in school.
I mighta been in a jam
But there’s nothin’ I can’t fix
I was a certified TV repairman
By nineteen-seventy-six.

Well, that was the very same year
The robot went to Mars
And meantime down on Earth
There were robots making cars
And nearly everything else
And I started wondering when
Another one o’ them robots
Would steal my job again.

And you may think that
Your future is secure
But if I were you
I wouldn’t be so sure.
No matter what you think
No matter what you do
There’s soon gonna be a machine
That can do it better than you.
And there’s nothing left
For you and me
But a whole lotta color TV.
A whole lotta color TV.

Posted in 80s, Verse | 1 Comment »

the right tool for the job

Posted by vlorbik on January 13, 2013

(yet another all-the-arts-are-one-art post)

all the arts are one art… and here’s
how you do it: “look again. look closer.”

and whenever something goes *wrong*…
well, that’s a real good place to look.

be it a wrong note in a guitar solo,
a line mis-spoken (freud had much to
say on these), a wavering-of-the-line
where “drawing a straight line” was
the goal… in any of these cases
(or hundreds of others), the subject
having once *made* the mistake will then,
if the subject is any kind of *artist*
(with respect to the work-at-hand), seek
to *learn* from the mistake.

some mistakes are so god-awful that one
has no choice *but* to learn something:
the classic “hand on the hot stove” moment.
my most memorable such (as of right now)
was once when i was working in the commons
of the student union as a short-order cook,
and was talking to a fellow worker during a
lull in the action and let the fingers and
thumb of my left hand wander absent-mindedly
into the two slots of a toaster. then i rapidly
*removed* my hand before i even knew i’d
done it and carried on the conversation…
and had not a mark on me. never forgot it,
though. and no artistry involved.

but such *gross* mistakes typically have
only one lesson to teach: how to avoid
doing it again.

mistakes in speech and music and drawing
and whatnot, by contrast, can be *inspired*
mistakes that end up being the basis of, say,
a new *trick*. or even a new *technique*.

look again; look closer.

but, then. on the other hand.

grab your ax and wail your heart out *now*!
the audience doesn’t care how perfect your
doggone *technique* is, they just want to
be *entertained*!

so one is in the familiar position of a
“deep truth”: a thought whose *opposite*
is also a deep truth (it doesn’t take much
looking-again-closer in the philosophical
arena to encounter this “polarity” phenom-
enonon… humans appear to be paradoxical
*by nature* [or maybe it’s by *design*…]).

well. to everything there is a season.
except for when there isn’t.

and now i’ve nearly outranted my breakfast
time… and the glass is empty besides.

so one more paradox… or dichotomy or
polarity or whatever it is… that comes
up frequently for me is “get the right
tool for the job” versus “use the tools
at hand and *get ‘er done*”.

and *when* it comes up, i’m mostly very much
a “tools at hand” kinda guy.

but drinking glasses like the one in the photo…
one of a set my mother gave me over 20 years ago…
are very much the right tool for the job.

almost everyone else’s drinking glasses are
harder to wash. this bad baby right here
you can jam your whole hand in and scrub out
just like a plate or a bowl. also you can
pour twelve ounces of foamy liquid in without
fear of foaming the whole mess over.

madeline’s been coming up with *more* right tools
for the kitchen in recent months and it’s been
a blast. with a big sharp chef knife one can cut
rightly-so-called *chips* from a potato and they
fry up great. and steel pans are way better for
eggs than the spaceage-polymer-coated scratchy-
-finish jobs are. and on and on it goes.

but that’s it for today.

Posted in DAADD, Warez | 3 Comments »

vlorbik’s kitchen-sink stirfry

Posted by vlorbik on January 11, 2013

leftover chickenleg, one pre-boned (see below)
mixed frozen veggies (bottom of one bag)
white onion, maybe about a sixth
green pepper, one-fourth
pre-cut carrot slices, oh, half-a-dozen or so
celery, one stalk
garlic, one fingertip-size clove
baconfat, rather a lot
butter, good size hunk
packs of ramen with powder gone, two
soy sauce, some
store-bought italian dressing, just a bit
pepper, fresh ground, to taste

do the ramen in the microwave till
most of it’s begun to get soft.
try 2-2-2; still a little too hard.
put it back for about 5-5. about right.

meanwhile heat up the pigfat
in the cast-iron skillet and
some of the butter in the big
steel pan.

dice up the onion & do it in the butter.

when the lard is hot, take the hard stuff
out and chew a piece; drop the rest in
the grossout glass drippings-jar (and
re-cover quick). add the ramen & some
soy sauce. stir.

try some onion. good enough.
into the big pan with it. stir.
now do the carrots. don’t get ’em
too soft! the garlic has to be cut
up into tiny little bits. indeed,
it first must be *peeled*, so this
“fresh garlic” thing is pretty
labor-intensive (there’s powdered
on the shelf). anyhow, into the
butter with till it starts to soften
up a little; then the main pan. stir.

the pepper and celery don’t require
any steel-pan time at all; chop ’em
up and put ’em in the main pan. stir.
maybe there’ll be some more soy
right in here. stir.

last of all, go for the frozen stuff.
intending to use only frozen *peas*,
notice that there’s some forlorn-looking
*mixed* frozen veggies in the bottom
of a bag at the back of the freezer.
rather more than anticipated.

use it all anyway: more butter in the pan.
when they start to warm up, add in the dressing.

meanwhile, cut up *all* the chicken meat
(instead of leaving enough for a sandwich
as originally planned). into the big pan.

somewhere in there, the pepper.
along the way, one is of course
stirring, stirring, stirring.
over mostly-pretty-low heat.

scoop out into big glass bowl and
refrigerate. serves two hungry
movie-viewers hours later after


Madeline’s Killer Baked Chicken Legs
(With Inspired Leftovers Sauce)

Drumstick-&-Thigh cuts, thawed (2)
Leftover canned Tomato (~1/2 can)
Leftover convenience-store Salsa (~1/4 jar)
Brown Rice (2 servings)

Cook the rice appropriately. Boil it for quite a while and drain, as I imagine. But I don’t vouch for this step. The last time I made rice, I broke off a piece of a tooth.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken in a squarish glass brownie dish and cover it with all the leftovers. Heat up the oven to some appropriate setting and shove in there till it’s done.

Summon Owen into the kitchen and have him bone the chicken and bring a couple dishes into the TV room. As usual, he’ll eat his way through this procedure, separating out the big meaty pieces of one of the legs for cutting up and stirring into the saucy rice, all the while consuming whatever bits can’t be separated neatly from the bone or appear to have too much cartilege to serve. Also parts of the skin. Also those tasty little organs next to the spine.

The other leg should be set aside and the whole boning procedure repeated hours later.

Serves two, with an entire chickenleg left over.

Posted in Chicken, Recipes | 5 Comments »

for dishwasher pete wherever we might find him

Posted by vlorbik on January 10, 2013

(dishwashing ramble)

dishwashing *machines* are for restaurants
and cafeterias and suchlike hundreds-or-
even-thousands-a-day institutions. we haven’t
got one here, so it doesn’t come up…
but i stayed for lots of years in my last
apartment without loading its dishwasher
even once.

we had one at home when i was a kid, though,
and i loaded it plenty of times. in fact,
i took *extra* dish duty to avoid *cooking*
duty (cooking is of course fraught with peril).
and along the way, i’ve worked in few
restaurants-and-cafeterias loading
dishes by the hour.

i started by subbing for various of my
more ambitious classmates around the time
they started getting jobs to buy and
maintain cars. such a way of life
was too horrifying at that time for me
even to *think* about seriously… but
i sure didn’t mind making a few bucks
and helping out a buddy.

i twisted this lefthand ringfinger
but good at the fireside in bloomington
on one of those early nights. finished
out the shift and took another day or
so besides before taking to the clinic
and getting it splinted. the swelling
never went quite all the way away; you
(or anyway *i*) can still easily see
that that first knuckle doesn’t match
the others properly.

the only other place i remember working
straight through for eight-hour shifts
devoted to dishwashing (and related cleaning)
was janko’s little zagreb (also in b’ton).
where they had these beastly damn soupbowls
with cheese caked all over ’em coming in
all night and no time to deal with ’em.
you’d have to just let ’em stack up…
and they’d laid in quite a supply…
until the dinner guests and cooks
and wait-beings had all gone home
to grind ’em all out one at a time
by hand. the machine just wouldn’t get
through those cakes of hardened cheese.
*then* you had to clean up the whole
damn kitchen.

much the *biggest* dishwasher i worked
with was at eigenmann… a highrise dorm
feeding well over a thousand of us,
two or three times a day. there were
*two* big cafeterias taking up most
of the basement. once things got going,
feeding the dishes into the machine
was like working on an assembly line.
(putting them away was somebody *else’s*
job; we’d just load clean trays onto
wheeled racks.) whenever you’d spot
a *broken* dish, you’d smash it to bits
right at your feet. no time to deal
with that now. every now and again,
somebody would smash one just to let
off steam.

working at home on one’s *own* dishes
is of course a different thing altogether.
working for love is altogether *groovier*
than working for money.

certainly there *is* a “load-the-machine,
load-the-machine, faster, faster, faster”
groove… but by contrast to the “give each
individual dish exactly as much attention
as you feel it deserves” groove? well,
the work-for-money technique might be
described as “zoning out” (don’t think
about how long it is until break, don’t
think about how tired you are… in fact,
don’t think at *all*! wash, man, wash!)
whereas work-for-love is zoning *in*
(during each moment of the process
somehow almost-unconsciously *aware*
that one is *doing the right thing*
as the esthetically-rather-unpleasing
*problem*… a countertop covered in
dirty dishes… slowly becomes the
hugely eye-appealing *solution*:
a drying rack full of one’s own
beloved *clean* dishes).

once having learned to love dishwashing,
a great deal of the scariness of cooking
itself will have somehow melted away.

still, there’s plenty of stuff i’m content
to leave for madeline to do…

Posted in DAADD | 2 Comments »

vlorbik’s scramble-fried eggs

Posted by vlorbik on January 9, 2013

slab of bacon fat
three eggs
shot of milk
hunk of cheddar cheese
red onion
ground red pepper
garlic powder
ground thyme

grab one of the new steel pans
from its nail beside the stove
and start heating it up to the
“third” setting. bust up the
bacon fat into its constituent
slice-fractions and put it in
to render.

break the eggs into one of the
gorgeous glass mixing-and-serving
bowls. the little one, indeed,
if it’s not already in use or
in the waiting-for-washing area.

if it should then occur, as it
might, that one of the eggbreakings
reveals a never-before-encountered
tendency for the hard *outer* shell
of the egg to separate from the
more flexible—even *skinlike*—
inner shell beneath while the
meat of the egg quivers around
*inside* the whole contraption,
well, then *go* with it. see
how much of the hard stuff you
can get off away from the membrane-
-thingy without busting everything
wide open. no, wait. time to check
on the bacon. go ahead and pierce
through the darn thing and get the
white-and-yolk in the bowl; set the
shell aside for later inspection.

stir up the pigfat. okay, that’s about
enough… and the edges are getting burny.
knock the chunks out; the pan’s ready.
turn it up to “second”.

chop up the onion… about enough to cover
the palm of your hand… and drop it
into the eggs. pour in the shot of milk.
stir vigorously with a fork.

pour the whole mess into the pan.
if all has gone well, the bottom part
will fry itself to a fairly hard state
that can be manipulated easily with
the steel turning-tool.

grate up a bunch of the cheese and lay it
on top of one half. try and fail to fold
the other half over onto this half
in omelette-like fashion. curse mildly
and mix the whole thing up into a mishmosh.
turn it back down to third.

look up at the cabinet area immediately
above the cutting-stuff-up counter just
to the side of the stove… the “spice
rack”, in other words… and grab some
stuff that looks like it might be appealing.
on another day, it’ll’ve been the “greek
seasoning” premix or even good old-fashioned
salt-and-p, but in this case it turns out to
be the pepper-garlic-thyme thing. season
to taste. stir it up some more; set it down
to “warm”.

okay. it’s no omelette, but it’s looking
pretty good. try some, right out of the pan.
yep. holy moley! drop toast! what’s *wrong*
with you? turn off the burner but leave the
pan on; its long handle is still cool and
it’s better than any plate for eating from.

serves one. tastes great.
(madeline believes eggs are ingredients
not entrees. so i made her a breakfast
sandwich an hour ago or so:
toasted sandwich rounds (2)
cream cheese
tomato slice
lettuce leaf
slather the c.c. onto the bottom slice;
lay the tomato & lettuce on top;
put the top slice on and crunch it down
slightly; slice off a small piece and eat it
[“quality control”]; serve.)

Posted in Rambles, Recipes | 4 Comments »

do not ask me again

Posted by vlorbik on January 4, 2013

click here.

you drooling moron.

you victim you.

get on board or sign on
for punishment drill.

thanks a whole lot… or, rather,
exactly as much as you deserve…
not at all… for your “help”.

you migt’z well’ve been my
fuckin *enemy* but… no!… then
youl’d’ve taken a *side*. so *fuck* you
fuck you fuck *you* and, ugh, *thank* you
since that means so much to you and your
ghastly unthinkable overlords.

beaten and bowed.

again and again and again.

still i rise.

so fuck you and your whole
belching-and-farting retard belief system.
and yes, i probably do mean *you*.

who do i fuck to get *out* of this chicken outfit.

Posted in Incoherent, Rants | 6 Comments »