Jenny Famewhore

Be still my heart

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on February 23, 2010

On Eric’s visit last weekend, we ate up Boston. Ate it all up. The experience was akin to those multiple orgasms that leaves you dizzy from all the blood rushing away from the brain towards more sensual organs, like the stomach.

I want to go back to languishing at: Orinoco in Brookline (Venezuelan), Helmand in Cambridge (Afghan), Neptune Oyster in the North End (Oyster bar), Sibling Rivalry in Back Bay (New American), and Sel de la Terre on Newbury Street (American).

I’ll let these photos write my thousand words for me: (click an image for slide show & commentary)

Yeah. Just hold on a sec. Need to get these pants undid.

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Thursday in the Heights: The Armaggedon Burger

Posted in Recipes by Jenny Famewhore on February 11, 2010

The Armageddon Burger

By Jenny Liu

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Originally Titled, "French Toast- Bacon Apple Turkey-Burger"

It is your last meal on earth. In these hours of armageddon, what will you eat?

I contemplated this for a while, and after toying with the concept of combining filet mignon, foie gras, and caviar into one expensive last stand, I instead determined that for a final meal, it would be more appropriate to salute America, the country whose fruitful bounty has sustained my past 20 years of existence. In keeping with the American spirit, this dish must be excessive. It should also include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for the opportunity to experience all three, one last time.

Those who are faint of heart or morally opposed to carnivorous feeding frenzies, you may want to cover your eyes.

It is irrelevant where the burger was invented and who served it first. What matters is that a burger is synonymous with the American food identity. But instead of the usual beef patties, it was only natural to include turkey and apples, as food items entrenched in American folklore with the pilgrims and Johnny Appleseed. Remember him? Who knew that his legacy would one day include inspiring recipes for heart attacks?

Instead of buns, let’s be daring and replace them with French toast, smothered in eggs and bacon grease. Did I forget to mention that there is bacon? Yes, before anything, it should be sizzling on that stove with the noble purpose of seasoning the pan with its grease for the egg-soaked bread and applesauce-infused turkey patties that are waiting to leap into that bath of piggy essence.

When the bacon, French toast, and turkey patties are cooked, assemble them in the way that is most logical to you, adding the condiments and cheese, of the American variety of course. Sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar over the French toast buns and liberally douse it in maple syrup — “like the Niagara” would be a suitable simile in this context. It would be wise to eat this monster of a burger with utensils, but then again, caution is for survivors.

After that, maybe down a few antacid tablets to ensure that the acid heart reflux will not interfere with the final pleasure of such decadence. Just in case.

You know you’re curious about how this baby was formed, continue here: http://www.bcheights.com/arts/the-scene/the-armageddon-burger-1.1124573

Btdubs, I wanna know, what would y’all eat in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

Mac and Cheese takedown taken-down

Posted in Boston, Recipes by Jenny Famewhore on November 15, 2009
Mac and Cheese throwdown prize

a hastily written sign, and three boxes of 'good tastes' mac

Cooked, went, distributed, and conquered the Mac and Cheese takedown today (Nov. 15) at Great Scott, and here’s a one giant, self-congratulatory, spoiler about the conclusion: My Mac and Cheese-hurriedly-entitled, “Jenny’s Mac and Cheese: Asian invasion,” won 2nd place people’s choice!!!

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At the Great Scott: a sold out event

It was my first time ever entering a food competition (and my fourth time ever making legitimate Mac and Cheese, including the practice batch made yesterday) and aside from the prize of three boxes of Good tastes’ Four Cheese, Mediterranean, and Brie & Fig Mac & Cheese, I also gained a plump blister on my index finger from chopping onions all morning, the wicked pleasure of hearing my name announced with gusto and then followed by an explosive applause (I wish I could get a video of that to replay during moments of low-confidence,) and met some fantastic cooks in the Boston area– fierce, tingly delicious, and creative competition.

I thank my academy of people: Anna, for introducing me to the Thrillist mailing list where I discovered this chance; friends who were present last night at Larissa’s wine party, who were subjected to the delights of being my guinea pig control group for the test batch; Erin, for opening my cans when I was rushing around and freaking out a la Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit; Kristen, for driving me to Great Scott; and to all the people who courageously ate my Mac & Cheese and voted for it.

Of approximately 20 entrants, other great Mac and Cheese contenders included: lobster mac and cheese (to my left;) Mac and cheese of Doom with peppers, whole wheat pasta (to my right;)  truffle and thyme mac and cheese with sea salt sprinkled on top; Gorgonzola mac and cheese with crushed walnuts; bacon mac and cheese with homemade BBQ sauce (the boy had a clever t-shirt exclaiming, “Basically like God .. on a plate.. with bacon;”) and a judge’s choice first place winner, double-baked taters with chives, sour-cream, and bacon Mac and Cheese. Nom nom, that was delicious and appealed to my taste buds in a comforting, extremely satisfying way.

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The final product-- a pan-asian experiment

I’ll let you in on a dirty, behind the scenes secret: I hadn’t a clue how my Asian Invasion Mac and Cheese tasted when I served it– it was my first time making it with all the recipe edits and augmentations. I woke up late and ran out of time making it, so I covered it immediately out of the oven, and booked it to the venue. Then I stood there and served it to 200 people behind the hot, sweaty lines on an adrenaline high of having subsisted on nothing but Dunkin’ Donut coffee with a turbo shot, and a pint of Strongbow, semi-consciously hoping that no food or taste poisoning occurs. Victory tastes sweetest when least expected.

Making-of and recipe follows.

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Throwing it down

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on November 11, 2009

Image: Matt Langdon & Chili-Takedown.com

November 15th, this weekend, I, along with other food-loving Bostonians, will be at the Great Scott (@ Harvard Ave.,) to parlay our culinary skills and pride into a Macaroni and Cheese steel-cage death match. $10 for all you can eat cheesy, buttery, crunchy, creamy, and whatever wizardry the lovable Mac can be interpreted into. Don’t worry about dietary efforts– your mind will have already exploded from the sheer magnitude of fulfillment before the fat can make its way to your arteries.

Let me reiterate:

That’s right. This Sunday. My “Mac and Cheese still yet Untitled” will make an appearance. Come and vote for me, lovers!

 

November 14th addendum:

A visual strip tease of the prep; gearing up for the big day tomorrow-

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the financial strains of making three pounds of Mac and Cheese

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my eternal servitude to whomever can guess what the secret ingredients are.

Thursday in the Heights: Snake Bites

Posted in Recipes by Jenny Famewhore on November 1, 2009
heightssnake102909

The Heights, October 29, 2009

Snake Bites

By: Jenny Liu

Published: Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Halloweens previous, I had roped my friends into going trick-or-treating with me. But after several embarrassing encounters, wherein the candy-dispensing parents would slyly ask us, “So how old are you all?” I decided to find other ways to fulfill the needs of my inner child. In the spirit of the holiday—absurd, theatrical, and supremely over-the-top, I thought of one person I could turn to: Paula Deen, Food Network celebrity and queen of gluttonous, Southern-inspired comfort cuisine. After all, what could be scarier than scarfing down pounds of butter and cheese, and ending up in a food coma?

Paula Deen’s rise to Food Network fame was a tour de force. Legend has it, Paula Deen, recent divorcée, with two sons and two-hundred dollars, moved to Savannah, Georgia, where she started a small catering company, The Bag Lady, and soon after, a wildly successful restaurant, The Lady and Sons, which garnered critical acclaim. Now, she is the accomplished host of Paula’s Best Dishes, Paula’s Home Cooking, and Paula’s Party. With her shocking white hair and intense blue eyes, her indiscriminate use of butter and, sassy remarks, most people either want to have a heart attack watching her shows or feverously wishes she were their grandmother. I am still waiting to be adopted.

This holiday, I wanted to avoid the usual clichés of pumpkin and apple recipes and opted instead for one of Paula’s Halloween recipes, Snake Bites. The appeal of Paula Deen’s recipes is that they are generally classic, ordinary dishes, but with a hedonistic spin (And by that, I mean, injected with several sticks of butter and a bucket of lard.) This also means that they are very easy to make, even for someone like me, who, without a meal plan, is left to flounder with late-night leftovers from Roggies’ and New Hong Kong out of sheer laziness. The Snake Bites is an epic sandwich, layered with nearly two inches of deli-cuts and cheese inside a flaky, buttery crescent roll.

When assembling the innards, I halved the amount of meat, still sufficient to produce an artery-clogging glory. I don’t think the entire 30 ounces of ham, salami, and bologna the recipe calls for can possibly fit onto one crescent roll. Alternate the layers of deli-cuts and cheese for an integrated effect. Also, any type of cheese or meat can be substituted to your liking. In fact, you can throw anything but the kitchen sink in there. Even make it into a dessert. In another step, I did not use food coloring, and merely spread the egg yolk on top of the dough. Once it bakes in the oven, the yolk coating would give it a glossy brown sheen.

One lethal biteIt’s a snake! A slug! A caterpillar! Or, insert your favorite annelid here! Due to the malleability of the dough, it can be shaped into any long, cylindrical creature of your desire.

The name of the recipe, “Snake Bites,” is an obnoxious word-play in many ways, yet appropriately justified: a single bite, though not necessarily lethal, would send anyone into a lipid-induced bliss.

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Godzilla burgers

Posted in Tokyo by Jenny Famewhore on October 25, 2009
Windows 7 burger from Burger King Japan

Windows 7 Whopper from Burger King Japan

The Whopper has a special place in my heart. Despite being extremely handicapped in terms of quality and flavor (unless you count the flavor of Heinz, the perennial hallmark of all fast food burgers,) the Burger King Whopper represents my Saturdays between the age of 11 and 14, where my father would futilely educate me on Chinese reading and then take me to the Burger King by our house for lunch every week without fail. I don’t know why we went so often– I disliked their food almost as much as I disliked being mind-raped by the weekly 50 Chinese characters/Kanji I was forced to memorize.

The limited edition Whopper, exclusive to Japan and only for seven days, consists of the usual whopper fixin’s pimped with 7 beef patties, each 113 grams. That is 1.74 lbs total of far below-mediocre meat processed into unnaturally gray, extremely dry hockey pucks of bovine product. It’s a monstrosity that the first 30 customers get to savor for ¥777 ($8.55), and the subsequent masochists can buy it for double the price.

"Beef Heaven"

I showed it to my roommates yesterday, excitedly watching for their reactions, and they cried, “How do those Japanese people finish it all? They’re all so thin!” Deja-vu. I had wondered the same, when the McDonald’s MegaMac (another exclusively Japanese product) was released in 2007. 2 Big Macs, 1 burger. So heinous that I could not stand to simply live vicariously through that ad– I had to experience it for myself.

It was bad, bad, bad. Never had I wished so much for a bucket of ketchup and mayo so that the extra-dry patties would actually make it down my throat. My digestive tract was probably plotting mutiny, and based on the utter disappointment that is the MegaMac, which is minor league by comparison, the Whopper 7 is the icon of artery abuse and dietary guilt. This is the point in history where all good judgement come to die.

Might want to avoid these series of Franken-burgers.

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MegaMac, September 2008, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Riddle me this: Is Japan surpassing America at its obesity game?

Moved to Boston, ate some stuff

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on September 13, 2009

The top five things I learned about food this week:

1. Soul Fire BBQ, on Harvard Ave/Beacon Street has All You Can Eat WINGS! on Mondays for 6.99 dolla dolla billz. If Jean-Georges ever have a tabehoudai (食べ放題) of Seared Skate, this is the wings equivalent– mild exaggeration, but they produce just as much happiness points on my satisfaction curve. Under cost-benefit analysis: benefits for the win!, because these wings are unbelievably juicy (the drumsticks are less so, but still does the job) and available in four delicious homemade sauces: (ordered in descending favorites) Pit-Boss (a Soul Fire blend of bbq and a sweet n’ sour sauce); Spicy Honey; Golden BBQ; and Buffalo. Every Monday! Who! Is! With me?!

2. In a perfect universe, I would never order again at Mickey D’s in America (especially having more than my fill in Tokyo, and under peer pressure from my America-lovin’-European-friends)– but I can still watch, in abject horror, Victor do a midnight drive-thru McMassacre on this new (new to me at least, the recently re-patriot’ed) Franken-burger:

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The McGangBang.

I don’t really care enough  to remember the official name or google the ingredients composing this monstrosity, but it’s like a turducken: two beef patties flanking a breaded chicken patty, with tasteless iceberg lettuce (that may or may not have been there. Might have hallucinated it just so my mind does not explode from the overwhelming mental image of lotsa bad meat) and condiments.

IMG_44473. IHOPS still cannot poach eggs. No surprise.

4. Ghirardelli brownies made from the box (with cream cheese added) is a 4AM munchies staple.

5. Eggplants in America are LARGE. At least 5 times larger than their Japanese counterpart. This is not necessarily a metaphor for other things.

Referenced Locations:

Soul fire BBQ
182 Harvard Ave
Allston, MA 02134-2806
(617) 787-3003

Shake Shack: what all other burgers aspire to be

Posted in New York by Jenny Famewhore on September 1, 2009

Burger and Ice Cream, those words are already repeating itself like a mantra chanted by Buddhist monks at five in the morning at a temple in the Himalayas. Except that my backdrop is Madison Square Park on a cloudless blue summer afternoon. I prance up to the Shake Shack line to meet Lisa Famewhore, who is already clutching a bag of Shake Shack cheese fries and saving me a spot on the twenty person deep line. Almost immediately, my vision locks into her cup of Berry Blue ice cream, and on cue, she spoons a bite-ful of intensely blueberry flavored, milky, frosty delicious into my mouth. My eyes rolls upwards and I moaned, “MMMM, SO GOOD!” to my audience of two women behind us, who had completely halted their conversation to watch this entire exchange, and the very intently staring man in front of us who (according to TJ and his male instincts) had thought bubbles visibly emanating, “mmm, yeah, so good, that’s right. You lick that ice cream off that spoon. Now, lick each other.”

Honestly, Shake Shack is SO good, it doesn’t even require two Asian girls and borderline lesbian food play to market it. Just look at this. Instantaneous mental food-gasm. The golden ratio redefined into: 2 butter-coated buns, 1 crunchy fresh lettuce, 1 thick ripe slice of organic tomato, 1 secret sauce (my kryptonite in any food menu. Just write ‘secret sauce’ and my curiosity drives me to own it) and primo-meat (“a proprietary blend of beef by Pat LaFrieda.”)

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Every single Shake Shack Burger consumed, past and present, undoes the heinous evil of Really Bad Burgers (such as the tragic fail that is the McDonald’s Mega Mac exclusively made for Japan.) It’s like every tasty molecule is dying for our gastronomic sins. Imagine, Jesus times 300 units of energy.

Orion, my Confederate-expat (or in more P.C. terms, “Southern”) friend who entertained aspirations of culinary stardom before it was crushed by the economic shitstorm, formerly worked at the second Shake Shack on the Upper West Side where he’d punish French people for being French by forcing them to babble on in their hated language English, make eyes at the gay head-waiter at Dovetail across the street, and receive severe Shake Shack discounts as an employee. He still luuuuurves Shake Shack burgers; which is the most genuine form of compliment anyone can give as an insider to this industry (another acquaintance who had formerly worked at McDonalds, to preserve his sanity, became a vegetarian for 5 years.) Tragically, Orion has since quit, which leaves him nothing but dead to me (jaykay.)

Referenced Locations:

Shake Shack
Madison Ave and East 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600