The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

Archive for September 2009

NFL Week 3 Menu: Chicken Parmigiana & Grilled Corn

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I think I’ve perfected the chicken parm. Really. I know those are big words for a non-Italian. But once my friends John and Theresa told me their secret, I really think their method cannot be beat. Like many things, it all started with a mistake. Theresa put some chicken parm in the oven and went to pick up John from work. Only John was late. Way late. They got home about an hour after they had planned and were sure the parm was ruined. Wrong.

Much of the recipe is like 99% of the other chicken parm recipes you see out there. Take a baking dish and spread some tomato sauce around each place you want to put a breast. I usually stick with one of the ‘Newman’s Own’ variety, they’re all pretty good for a jar sauce.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat some olive oil in a fry pan. Pound out some chicken breasts. I like them when they’re about a quarter of an inch. Dredge them in some flour seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Wet them in an egg wash, shake off excess and then coat them in bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder (or whatever seasoning floats your boat).

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Put the chicken in the heated oil. Cook them until they’re golden brown on both sides.

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Once that’s done, place the chicken on the sauce in the baking dish.

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Spread some tomato sauce over the top of the chicken and then cover & seal the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake for about forty minutes. Then remove the pan and carefully take off the aluminum foil. Careful, it’s hot and searing steam will come out when you life a corner of the foil. Then place mozzarella cheese and more sauce on each chicken breast.

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Carefully cover again with the foil and return to oven. Cook for another ten to fifteen minutes and then you’re good to go.

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For our side dish we grilled some corn. I did the corn the same way my friend John did it for us a couple of weeks ago in Chicago. About an hour before meal time I took some corn, still in the husk, and soaked it in water for about half an hour.

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Then put it straight on the grill. I grill them for about half an hour, fifteen minutes then flip to the other side.

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Then all you have to do is be careful when you remove the husk and the silk, it’s hot.

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The husk looks burnt but the corn itself is perfect.

This was a great meal to cap off a surprisingly great day of football. The Falcons and Patriots game was a little ugly but still competitive. But the Steelers/Bengals game was awesome. I even complained about it to my wife earlier in the day that it was a classic ‘who cares’ game and couldn’t understand why it would be a national TV game. But seeing the Bengals upset the Steelers really made my day for some reason. I loved them as a kid but today, the Steelers have become annoying. Or rather, the multitude of bandwagon Steeler fans are annoying.

I also screwed up my fantasy roster a bit and still came out with a win. Coupled with the fact that yesterday was the most beautiful day of the year, after getting somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen inches of rain over the previous couple of weeks. All in all, it was a day worth savoring.

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Written by the bee dub

September 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Eric Berry for Heisman Update

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Eric Berry was an outstanding performer against Florida.

11 tackles, 9 solo

2 assisted tackles

1 interception

Written by the bee dub

September 22, 2009 at 9:03 am

NFL Week 2 Menu: Pork BBQ Boston Butt

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Catching last week’s opening day games with my friend in Chicago was a blast. But this weekend was like my own, personal home opener. Much the way Jerry/Jesus Jones created what he considers a cathedral for his team but had to wait until week 2 to unveil it, this is the first ‘real’ NFL Sunday of the Functional Hermit’s season. To commemorate, there was only thing thing in my repertoire that could deliver on such high expectations: the Boston Butt.

THE PORK

At the store, all I could find were a bunch of two-pounders and a massive seven-pounder. So seven pounds it is. I did something slightly different this time. I applied my dry rub the night before and let it sit with the meat for a good twenty-four hours or so.

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Can’t say for sure whether or not that was the cause but the crust had excellent flavor this time around.

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Sunday morning, I got it going on the grill at 8 am with hopes of eating around 8 pm, just before kickoff of Giants vs. Cowboys.

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After that, there’s not much to it. I’d just spray it down with a apple cider/cider vinegar mix every couple of hours and made sure the temperature hung around 230 degrees or so.

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After a few hours you’ll see the magic start to happen. I like to let the pork get to at least 195 degrees but for me, 200 to 205 degrees seems to be the best.

COUNTRY GREEN BEANS

This recipe is as easy as they come. Chop up an onion and two or three cloves of garlic. Heat up about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onions and garlic until the onions go soft, about three minutes. Add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper and plenty of fresh ground pepper too. You can add salt but I’d wait until the end.

Now add some country ham trimmings, I usually throw in about a quarter pound, and a pound of green beans. Saute all that together for a little bit, then add water until it’s all almost covered.

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Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and then let that cook for about an hour or two. It’s all really good but the best part is the juice, called Pot Liquor in the South. Get yourself some bread to soak that stuff up, trust me.

BRAZILIAN CHEESE BREAD

There’s a Brazilian restaurant chain here called Fogo De Chao and they have this amazing half-bread/half-cheese things that are amazing. My brother-in-law who loves almost all things Brazilian (except his ex-wife) found a mix of this stuff for me so I thought it was a perfect time to try it.

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I didn’t know what to expect and they weren’t quite as good as the restaurant version, but don’t get me wrong. These things were awesome and the cheese factor was totally delicious.

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It’s like the cheese is baked into the bread. It was easy, just add two eggs, a half cup of water and then mix with your hands until you get some good consistency.

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Well you put all these things together and you have a very delicious meal to accompany the Giants thump the Cowboys in their new stadium as time runs out. Man, I hate the Cowboys. Here’s how the pork looked on the grill after about eleven and a half hours.

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Brought the sucker into the house, cut off a giant chunk and then chopped it up and drizzled it with some bbq sauce. Me? I’m a fan of more vinegar-based sauces so that’s what we went with.

Normally I’d definitely include a picture with a plate of all the finished dishes. I’ll fess up. I was just too buzzed last night to do it. Between the pork, the green beans, the cheese bread and the Giants on TV, I just couldn’t get my act together. But I’m sure you can all use your imaginations. It turned out awesome.

Written by the bee dub

September 21, 2009 at 1:48 pm

The biggest day of my year

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Yesterday my wife asked me what my plans were for the weekend and I had to explain that I had a LOT of prep work to do because it’s the Functional Hermit’s biggest day of the year today (Sunday).

She seemed perplexed. “The biggest day,” she queried, “I thought that was last week?”

“Honey, I write a blog that’s maybe 90% about staying at home and watching football. Tomorrow will be the big kickoff. I’m gonna slow cook some pork all day and go all out. Plus the day ends with the Giants at the Cowboys’ new hideous stadium so this is all going to be huge.”

“Oh, yeah. Whatever.” She replied quickly moving her mind onto other things.

I swear, sometimes I’d swear my wife knows me better than any other single person on the planet. Other times, I wonder who this person is who keeps nagging me to actually put my dirty clothes inside the hamper as opposed to just dumping them right next to it.

Written by the bee dub

September 20, 2009 at 8:32 am

Posted in Daily Happenings

By special request: Furr’s freaky oven

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In response to a recently posted comment, I’m going to document what I consider to be an appliance anomaly the likes of which I’ve never seen before. I think most of us have seen an oven with a digital display; the kind where you set the exact temperature you want according to a readout resembling a digital alarm clock. I have one at home and I’ve seen many of these types out and about.

Well my friend Furr’s oven doesn’t behave like most ovens. His oven has gone rogue like some ammoral, burned-out, plainclothes Los Angeles police officer. The way most ovens I’ve seen work is that you turn it on and then set the readout to the temperature you want. So anytime you see a temperature being displayed, you know the oven is on.

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Furr’s oven constantly displays temperature. It’s really pretty confusing and in terms of conventional appliance behavior, it’s like bending time and space. Twice, through the haze of several Guiness Ales, Bud Lights and other unnamed pollutants I asked him, “Hey man, is your oven on?” He laughed and mentioned that our other friend Dan always asks him that when he visits as well.

I’ll go ahead and also admit that early in the morning there, before Furr got his ass out of bed, I opened the oven door and waved my hand inside just to make sure it wasn’t on. Later in the day Furr was able to visually document that a different light on the panel illuminates to indicate his oven is indeed operating. I would have gotten a picture of that too but you know, I wasn’t exactly in a state of mind of operate heavy machinery or a digital camera at that point.

Written by the bee dub

September 20, 2009 at 8:24 am

Posted in Daily Happenings

Eric Berry for Heisman

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As we await the kickoff between Tennessee and Florida and as a tribute to my buddy Ryan, I’m throwing the official and meaningless support of The Functional Hermit fully behind Eric Berry for this year’s Heisman trophy. If for no other reason, I’m doing it because he is a good player and the website they put up is just plain ridiculous.

Written by the bee dub

September 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm

NFL Opening Day 2009:

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ny_giants_car_magnetSeptember. A time of year when folks from all over the country come to enjoy Chicago’s most temperate time of year. But screw all that. And those people. I’m here for football.

Normally the opening day of the NFL would be commemorated with waking up early, getting all errands dealt with, then locking the front door and hunkering down to the serious business that is being a fan of American professional football.

This year, I flew to Chicago to soak in 36 hours of college and pro pigskin action with my friend Furr. I knew I picked the right friend to do this with when he makes the comment, “Let’s try to make sure we don’t have to leave the house for anything on Sunday.” Damn right. Our other friend Dan was just here a few days ago and it’s too bad we couldn’t all get together for this. It’s the only way I would have had a better time than I did.

I boarded a noon-ish plane on Saturday and immediately got stuck in a traffic jam once we left O’Hare International. But we did get back to his widescreen in time to see Tennessee go down (sorry Ryan).

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For dinner he suggested a place he described as a Wisconsin hunting lodge. Who was I to disagree? Besides the overabundance of Notre Dame fans who loudly bemoaned the last minutes of their loss to Michigan, the place kicked ass. Salad. Flatbread with pesto, cheese and Italian sausage. Dry rub baby backs. This was good eating. Too good.

We went back to his place and did a shot of bourbon to get ourselves going again but we never achieved the same enthusiasm we had before dinner. Oh well, we did watch Ohio State lose to yet another ranked, non-conference USC and caught highlights of Serena Williams supposedly ‘threatening’ a US Open official. Weird. Called it a night and made plans for breakfast.

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This was a key call as it was to serve as the foundation for the biggest day of the year. Furr directed us to a new breakfast discovery of his and it kicked ass. I got a poorly named dish called Sassy Eggs. The name is lame but the eggs layered with cheese, chorizo, potatoes and guacamole was awesome and was a solid way to start the day.

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For the rest of the day, we vowed once we walked back into his house we weren’t walking out again for any reason. We were going to have to survive on beer and whatever pizza we could get delivered, though we did diversify with thin and Chicago-style.

Pregame was a mix of ESPN and Fox. Gamewise, started the day with Brett Favre’s return and the launch of Percy Harvin’s stellar year for my fantasy team. Enjoyed my’ Giants defeat the Redskins in the middle. Then watched Furr’s Bears and Jay Cutler throw away a game to an amped up Green Bay defense.

By the time the day was over, I had almost 100 fantasy football points and a big chunk of lost brain cells. Besides a lengthy wait on the plane for a switch to be repaired before takeoff, this trip went off without a hitch. This was a good reason for the hermit to go mobile.

Written by the bee dub

September 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

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