Vagabond Cookbook

The best you ate on vacation? Make it at home tonight.


Mexican Chorizo Hash

Reading The Postman Always Rings Twice a couple of years back, one thing really stood out. James M. Cain hated corned beef hash. In a hundred-odd pages, his characters bitch and moan about the hash house more than once. “That road, it don’t lead anywhere but to the hash house,” whines Cora. She and her illicit beau actually hatch murder plans just to keep her from slinging hash the rest of her days. Jiminy! Now, I can’t imagine working in a Depression-era diner was a swingin’ good time. Still, it unfairly gives hash a bad rap. Few dishes offer such rib-sticking satisfaction for such little effort. When you think about it, hash is just a chopped and sautéed salad. (The name does come from the French hacher, “to chop”.) At its simplest, it’s a bunch of vegetables and/or meat cut into small pieces and tossed in a pan. (By that […]

The base for microwave crème caramel in a mug

How to make an incredible dessert out of stuff lying around your office lunchroom

Everyone’s so down on technology these days. “The Internet is turning us into drooling mushheads!” “No one talks anymore! They just fiddle with their damn cellphones!” “The government spies on us through our e-mail!” (OK, fair point.) Still, the joys of progress well outweigh the gripes of a bunch o’ crybabies. I’m not just talking about Roombas and 24/7 access to dirty pictures, either. I’m talking about antibiotics that’ve kept millions from writhing into an early grave. I’m talking about upgraded rice strains that fill the bellies of starving children. I’m talking about Class IV lasers that can crisp just the fat of bacon, leaving the meat striations crudo. “Wait… what?” Molecular gastronomy. It’s been a buzzword (or buzz phrase, rather) in kitchens ever since Ferran Adrià whipped up his first lecithin foam. Taking ingredients and techniques from the packaged food industry, so-called modernist chefs tweak the textures of their […]

Scrambled eggs (well, forthcoming scrambled eggs)

Scrambled eggs: Look closer…

Wowzers trousers, last week sure did get away from me. That’s OK, though. After weeks of nonsense about exotic coleslaws and an Infinite Jest-length ratatouille recipe, we all deserve a break. Mr. Wallace concurs. Let’s keep it rolling. School’s back in session, so we’re getting back to basics. No demands for innovative salads. No polemics on the virtues of eating rabbit. Nope, just pull up a chair and listen to a few quick words on that easiest of easy breakfasts: scrambled eggs. “Dude, SRSLY. We’re not babies. Scrambled eggs? Why not ‘How to Use a Spoon’?” Here’s the deal. Everyone thinks they can make awesome scramble. Your dad. Your college girlfriend. The brunch chefs at the Fairmont. The diner by your house. They’re all dead wrong. Each one follows a similar process. 1. Throw some eggs in a pan. 2. Splash in some milk. 3. Mush the whole thing about […]

Shakshouka -- eggs in tomato sauce

I am the egg man (Goo-goo-ga-joob!)

Whoops! I promised to send another newsletter last week and I totally bailed. Sue me. This guy can help you out. While waiting for The Hammer to clear his schedule, chew on this: You should eat more eggs. Sure, you treat yourself to a Benedict when out with the girls, but I guarantee your meal plan can handle another surge of huevos. True to the slogan, eggs are indeed incredible (and edible). They’re super satisfying. They’re a nutrition bomb. And they’re cheap as chips. Seriously, even an omelette will only run $1.50, all-in. Eggs are a nexus point in the good-cheap-healthy Venn Diagram. “Right, Doofus. You’re telling me to eat eggs, as if my cholesterol wasn’t bad enough. Besides, who’s got time for a full English on a workday morning? Get real!” To that, I have three words: You’re spouting so much anti-ovum jabber I should call the Easter Bunny. […]