Hot Squeeze Sweet Heat Chipotle Sauce

Like Junk Food Guy, I need to start unsubscribing from junk email. It’s really wreaking havoc on my dopamine receptors. I’ll open my iPod in ecstasy and see that I have seven new emails- ooh! Is it a book offer? A modeling contract? Does someone finally want to buy my third kidney off of craigslist? Oh, wait, nope, it’s a desperate promotional coupon for everything percent off from Radio Shack, when I was gullible enough to not give the haggard employee a fake email address. And a monthly newsletter from Krystal, the closest location a cool 643 miles away, or a now defunct film festival whose creepy emails contain no body, just a sad title.
Lately the biggest offender has been Hot Squeeze, the hot sauce/slather that I might have checked out on Amazon in mid-2006, my sixteen year old self giggling mindlessly at the euphemistic name before clicking off to Neopets and AIM. For whatever reason, I ended up on the mailing list for this sauce and since then have received no less than three emails a month in spam-like proportions, with titles ranging from the downright non sequitur, like “how about a Hot Squeeze of summer” to subjects that would make Howard Stern blush. Today, I decided to buck up and try the damned sauce, if only to satisfy my boundless curiosity and unsubscribe from that mailing list once and for all.
It’s an aromatic hybrid between a chipotle barbecue marinade and a smoky hot sauce. Loaded with red pepper flakes and boasting an almost malted scent from all the sugars, it seemed like it would go well with the raspberry jalapeno shredded chicken I’d made earlier that day. Eaten plain, it’s a bit overwhelming. It has an intensely umami-laden nose and flavor, with a base Worcestershire edge and a mild spiciness. Unfortunately, the “sweet” in sweet heat was a lie. It wasn’t sweet at all, but it did paired well with our nachos, lending a smoky flavor to the mild cheese and enhancing the fruit in the chicken.
However, if sauces were woman, this would be the quintessential fat girl who hangs out with all the other attractive ladies in the refrigerator and makes them look gourmet in comparison. Somehow, that analogy serves to make me look even creepier. While I love a full-bodied sauce with a sassy, bold flavor, the texture of this is an absolute trainwreck. It’s chunky and viscous, with a property similar to mucous in that regardless of how you poured it, it seemed to want to shrink back to its original shape and adhere stickily to the chip or bowl. Très clingy. It left sticky, gummy trails of its sauce wherever we put it. The texture was a real turn-off for me. It’s a sauce that would be absolutely embarrassing to serve to guests, as it’s impossible to dip food in without having your dish turn into an interactive Sarlacc pit.
Hot Squeeze says it has hundreds of uses, but I believe that to be an insufficient claim as its limiting flavor profile confines it to only neutral and bland selections. While the flavor was excellent, I can’t see any other practical applications for it outside of using it as a cooking sauce as its stickiness would ruin everything else.

Gross Food Week #1: The Original Hooters Medium Wing Sauce

HOOTERS WHHHYYYYYYY???

Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. With that exuberant commencement speech, let us begin Gross Week 2012. Today’s selection embodies all of the principles that I consider to be important for this theme week, namely, that it is a proudly licensed product aggressively marketed by its source and even touted as “secret”, that it is a disturbing shade of nuclear hazard orange, and that it was 99 cents at a grocery clearance store. The fact that it is not, like so many products at this store, past its sell date should give you a taste of its quality already.
Where to begin? There’s just so much to cover on the label alone. Let’s start with the lusty endorsement from the Hooters owl himself, “A thrill on the grill BBQ!” It doesn’t take a professor with a Ph.D in Lolology to figure out how Engrishy that is. Despite my suspicions that this was some sort of perverted and failed test item, it turns out that Hooters still makes this sauce, selling it for a mere $7 on the interwebz, and still employs this awful catch phrase. Reading further, I caught the official Hooters logo emblazoned no less than four times on the jar. Either they’re trying really, really hard to prevent copyright theft or they’re actually proud of this product.
The directions on the side (whose inaccuracies I’ll later explain) also provide a list of recommendations of foods with which you can drown in this sauce. Surprisingly, slathering the sauce on the breasts of an after-hours Hooters waitress is not one of them. There goes my bucket list. The cooking process sounded easy enough- fry up some wings, toss them in the sauce, enjoy with a side of classified ads to wipe away the tears and excess dribblings. Not so terrible, right?

AHHHHHHHH
AHHHHHHHHHHH
AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Oh my god, it’s like the bastard child of napalm and nacho cheese. My hatred for Robin Williams and Spy Kids has nothing on this one. I think you get the picture. Yep, nasty surprise number two- the sauce had the texture of cold margarine and the smell of gasoline, Tabasco, and melting plastic. This in no way felt like something I should have put near my face, much less ingest. And I haven’t a clue why the instructions said to shake the jar first- it’s about as productive as shaking a jar of peanut butter. But readers, like a dutiful serf, what I do, I do for you. And so I began the process of cooking my wings.
I decided to try this on both breaded and non-breaded wings to get an idea as to how it adhered to the chicken. Huge mistake on my part. On both applications, the sauce had the softness of warm yogurt and melted like butter on toast. On the pieces of unbreaded chicken, it left no more than a slick trail on the skin and clumped at the bottom of the plate, and on the breaded pieces, it melted into the nooks and crannies and separated almost immediately after sticking on. It felt like the sauce was too runny to handle any temperature above lukewarm, yet was so congealed in its original form that it was also unable to function as a dipping sauce.
Once the wings were no longer molten and ready to eat, the sauce returned to its original liquid consistency, that of a melted almond bark coating, and shellacked the wings to the plate, rendering them mere components in a disgusting and inedible art project and requiring the force of a fork and knife to remove them from their glued-on state. Taking this photo was easy as they remained preserved in their original positions on the plate, held upside down, for over two minutes.
It tasted rancid. This is exactly the kind of product that aspires to be a hot mess and fails miserably. There was literally no element of this that made it appear edible, much less palatable. The heat is warm, but no warmer than a hamburger sitting next to a bottle of mediocre hot sauce and certainly not at the level of any Buffalo wing you’ll find at a sports bar. It has an oily, thick consistency not unlike facial cream, were said facial cream purchased at a dollar store and had a slight numbing effect on the lips. It tastes predominantly of vinegar and Crisco with an aggressively salty bite and leaves a buttery slick all the way down the throat. The sauce had the unique ability to permeate through even the thickest flour breading on a wing, saturating the meat so with its liquid ass flavor and rendering every single wing I made inedible. Lest you worry that I went hungry, I thankfully deployed my backup wing supply with a hot honey and red pepper flake sauce and ate them with gusto.
Congratulations, Hooters. In the world of successful marketing vehicles, this sauce is the abandoned flaming Pinto on cinder blocks with a tarp and headless doll in the trunk.

Sweet Potato Currywurst

It’s snowing. I have Queen’s Greatest Hits (Vol. 1) on and I’m making an appropriately wintry dish for a god-awful day. I’m singing along to “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” like I was born to and am simply ecstatic (read: terrified) to start Gross Week tomorrow.
I figured I’d leave you all with an easy, healthy recipe before I spend a week face-deep in curdled sauces and creepy candies. Boy, are you in for a treat. Tonight’s recipe features my twist on the sweet and spicy flavors highlighted in the traditional German street food, currywurst. If you’ve never had currywurst, think of it as the German poutine. It’s hearty and healthy and, as a bonus, contains all of the best major food groups: meat, potatoes, and a rich sauce. This recipe swaps out the pork sausage for chicken, adds a little meat to the sauce to boost its protein content and make it a little thicker, and ditches the French fries for baked chipotle sweet potato fries. To save a little time, I used some of Alexia’s amazing new sweet potato fries, sent over by the company. Too delicious. Needless to say, not all of them made it to the dish. It’s a delicious evening indeed when fries and sausage are the stars of the dinner plate.
Sweet Potato Currywurst
Ingredients (serves 2)

Sweet Potato Fries
1 sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of oil

Currywurst

2 chicken sausages, pre-cooked
1 cup of shredded chicken
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 12 oz. can of tomato paste or sauce (alternative: 1 1/2 cups of curried or spicy ketchup. I happened to have some on hand and used it.)
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of curry powder

1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of masa harina, mixed with a few tablespoons of water until blended

1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Hot sauce to taste
1. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and setting a medium-sized saucepan on the stove on low to medium heat.
2. Place your sausages in the pan, allowing them to brown and crisp. Cut your sweet potato into fry-sized strips and place in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes to remove excess starch.
3. Pat fries dry. Mix spices and oil together for the fries and toss with fries until evenly coated. Place fries on baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
4. Take sausages out when they are browned and put chicken, pepper, tomatoes (or ketchup), honey, cumin, and curry powder in the pan. Simmer for five to seven minutes or until bubbling gently and add masa and water to thicken and salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Cut the sausage pieces into slices when cool to the touch.
5. To serve, place fries on a plate or in a bowl with sausage pieces on top. Ladle sauce over the top and sprinkle a little cilantro or cumin on top as a garnish.
Is this the real life? Hell yes, and you can eat it.

Frontera Limited Edition Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa

As I’ve mentioned, I’m moderately obsessed with the chill of autumn. Now that it’s getting to be time for gloves and huddling, though, I’m finding out, as I do every year, that I’m only obsessed with the idea of looking moody and lost in thought in the chill of autumn. After that one perfect profile picture is snapped, I’m cursing and looking for the nearest shower to warm up in.

I needed a snack tonight and found myself longing for the salsa and chip appetizer generally accompanying warm, summer nights out in the yard. And then I remembered this crazy salsa we had in the back of the fridge. I grabbed this at a time, mid-July, at the Fancy Food Show when eating it seemed a little blasphemous with all the green and red salsas lying around. But I’m good enough at planning ahead that when I see freaking pumpkin chipotle salsa, I know that come October, I’m going to be nomming for eight because it’s so good. And this was a Rick Bayless creation that seamlessly bridges the gap between summer and fall, a man whose takes on Mexican have been salivated over many an afternoon in Whole Foods. I met chef Bayless, strongarmed a jar of this, and waited four months to write about it. That’s dedication.
You’ll notice this jar is propped up like a taxidermied Anne Geddes baby. I don’t give a crap. Inside that jar, which, mind you, is clearly the more boss of seasonal flavors- eff you, heirloom tomato, is a smoky, sweet combination of chunks of peppers, tomatoes, and pumpkins bathed in a perfectly executed chipotle sauce. Chipotle is incredibly overrated, but when paired well, it’s transcendental. And this is paired very, very well. It’s not so much a smoky flavor as it is charred, with bits of blackened pepper and tomato skin floating around in the sauce, giving it a deep, rich flavor and an intensely smoked bite. At first, there’s no heat, and I didn’t expect there to be with all of the pumpkin spices, like nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar, giving it a rounded, sweet potato-like flavor, but after a few bites, a lingering heat emerged and persisted for quite some time.
Like some of the other pumpkin products I’ve sampled, this manifested its fall colors in the spices it used rather than the ingredients, despite there being actual pumpkin in this. I’ve come to realize that that’s a boon rather than a bust, because the texture of pumpkin could upset the balance of a salsa with its heavy, wet mouthfeel and is pretty flavorless on its own. Though admittedly, a little thickness couldn’t hurt. This separates very easily, even after thoroughly shaking in the jar. If watery salsa annoys you, these are not the droids you’re looking for. With such an emphasis on utilizing pumpkin, this had the thin consistency of a heavily tomatillo based salsa, which it was. It wasn’t very enhanced by the gourd at all.
It’s worth noting, however, that Bayless not only used pumpkin in his salsa, a feat unto itself, but used a special Mexican variety of pumpkin called the calabaza. It’s part melon, part gourd. You know it as the plant that produces the popular squash blossom. It’s still a pumpkin. Don’t say the guy didn’t try. The only element this is missing is the crunch of toasted pepitas on top, an easy hack that will turn this into the perfect fall appetizer. I can’t wait to try this as a heated sauce over pasta or on top of pulled chicken tacos.

Birthday Sriracha Nectarine Crisp

Good news- I’m no longer MIA!

Bad news- I don’t think I have any readers in the immediate vicinity of this awesome kitchen. Because if you were, I’d hand out steaming bowls of this beautiful birthday crisp, of which we have leftovers, from Tuesday’s birthday bacchanal.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week for us. My new website is in its final stages of development. We’ve been spending some good quality time with family and friends, too. We started off last weekend by taking a trip down to my mom’s to start my birthday celebration and celebrate my father’s wedding, and throughout the week, extended the partying for a few days here and there.

On my actual birthday, we relaxed and hung out, and I made this beautiful crisp. Easily the best part of the weekend, tied for first place with today’s purchase of a Fur Real kitten to boggle our own kitten.
This recipe is from Budget Bytes, and it’s anything but budget-looking. Sriracha and nectarines seemed like a no-brainer, that is, in a marinade. In a crisp, though, I was skeptical. Using a sauce of honey, cinnamon, and sriracha, which, again, wouldn’t be out of place slathered on some chicken, humble nectarines are transformed into a fun dessert.
In this sense, it reminds me of the talking stuffed kitten. It’s a fun experiment with whimsical results and wasn’t a huge risk to take. I made a few changes to the recipe from the original version. I used a special apricot honey creme, courtesy of Honey Ridge Farms and their PR firm. The honey’s rich, deep flavor boosted the nectarines, and used about twice the amount of sriracha as called for in the recipe. I didn’t feel like the original featured the heat and prickle enough, but my modification really drove that point home. I added some hot cayenne pepper for color in the streusel part, but it disappeared while cooking.
The best part of this recipe was that it made a ton of crisp, and each 1/4, 1/3 cup serving was just enough to enjoy without going overboard. It wasn’t overly sweet and the heat made it easier to gauge when I wanted to stop eating rather than eating too much of it at once. I think next time I’d cut down on the butter and use about twice the cornstarch or tapioca to thicken it. It was a little soupy. It was an incredibly unique dessert, though, and paired perfectly with a Thai dinner and a spot of birthday wine, a poised yet quirky 2006 Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim. Delicious and filling, and a fantastic way to kick off another year. After all, what better dessert for a Riesling and Gewurz fanatic is there?

Farberware Stainless Steel Blender

Recently, Keepitcoming Love and I received a few new appliances from the wonderful folks of Farberware in anticipation for their new line, debuting this September. The three new pieces include a blender, food processor, and coffee and tea machine, and are all made of stainless steel with LED touchpad controls. Today, we checked out the blender and made our first batch of homemade hot sauce.

The Farberware blender retails for $59.88 and features a seven cup capacity for all of your liquifying projects. I would have killed for this when my wisdom teeth had been taken out. Taking it out of the box, it has a few features and interesting add-ons that I’m a fan of. There’s a special cord hiding system in the bottom of the machine, which allows you to store the cord and keep it out of the way or tether it closer to your outlet. Speaking from the point of view of someone who continually stretches the limits of most appliances, I found the cord a hair too short and, though I appreciated the hiding system, I didn’t find that I really used it while using the blender.

So, the recipes. I tested this out on two of my favorite foods, hot sauce and milkshakes. The hot sauce was the brainchild of an unexpected bumper crop of Hungarian Wax and Jalapeno peppers, all five of which you can see here. Each pepper happened to ripen in a different color, thus inspiring the name “Rainbow Sauce” for my eventual product. I expect to trademark it by next week. The hot sauce was perfect to test out in the new blender. After checking out a few recipes, dumping my ingredients in, and turning the ignition, I played around with the settings.

The blender’s LED touchpad isn’t really a touchscreen in the sense of an iPad, but is configured more like a fancy keyboard with a persistent backlight. It’s somewhat difficult to tell when the blender is off or on as the light stays on at all times. It does not have a safety lock when the pitcher is off its stand. It has manual settings for ULTIMATE CONTROL and pre-set speeds. I tested all of them and didn’t find much of a difference between them, but left with the new found knowledge that this blender is powerful. In both a good way and a bad way. On one side, it only takes about three pulses on the medium setting to get a smooth, creamy milkshake. On another side, those three pulses nearly pulverized it into oblivion and made crumbs of the three Oreos I crammed inside. Slap a Tengwar inscription and call me Sauron, because this was almost too powerful for its own good.

12:03 is sexytime. Milkshake, anyone?

The little perks of buying a nice blender are similar to the perks of buying a nice car. Our last blender was loud, not very powerful, and had a faulty design that made it nearly impossible to clean. People often ask what the appeal is in nicer versions of the same thing. Mercedes over Honda. iPod over Zune. Leather over latex. The answer is that the sum of its parts may appear to be the same, but the details are so enticing that it makes it completely worth it. Take this blender. The stainless steel accents are both pretty and easy to clean. The Easy Clean button is an ingenious concept that is just now being put into reality. A drop of hot water and dish soap and a thirty second pulse and the blender is clean. And this! This is fucking awesome!

Measuring lid…or bomb diggety shot glass? My lawyers endorse the former!

With the hot sauce, the blender did its job correctly, but my ratios were a bit off and to get the consistency I desired without adding too much liquid, I had to strain the sauce to take away some of the pulpy fiber leftover from the peppers and onions. Once strained, the hot sauce was relatively seamless and tasted oddly like I’d expected it to taste- wildly, vehemently tangy with a pungent heat that requires a deep inhalation and a slight bit of smoky sweetness. Not bad for a first try.

“The Pound and the Fury” was already taken.Although my rainbow motif turned out like a rejected Lisa Frank design and my five little peppers ended up looking like they’d passed through the cat’s digestive tract once or twice, I was pretty smitten with the end result. All in all, this is a blender I can get on board with. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, has a sophisticated design scheme, and allows me to live out my spicy, sweet dreams. How many Make A Wish Foundations and birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese can make that claim? I’m proud to have made my first hot sauce in this, and I’m proud to add it to our collection of appliances. I think it’s a good first blender and a good blender to easing oneself into some of the more finely pureed intricacies of cooking. Nine out of ten discerning single felines agree that the housing box makes an excellent makeshift cave. Who knew? Special thanks to the folks at Farberware and Russell Hobbs, Inc, for hooking us up with these. Stay tuned for my foray into dough! And potato chips!

Simple pleasures on a summer day…

…need only include sunny, windy weather and a hot dog a la Blackie’s of Cheshire. As you know, I hail from what ought to be officially known as the hot dog stand capital of the United States- Connecticut. But then we’d have the hamburger (Louis’ Lunch) as well as the hot dog and all the other states would be jealous. Admit it, Idaho.
I don’t boil my dogs. I prefer them cremated to a snappy, crisp finish and slathered in spicy mustard on a steamed bun.
One can never have too much mustard. And yes, there’s another link hiding under there. Oddly enough, it all comes out to be perfectly proportioned.
And as much as I’ve been harping nutritional facts lately, this is a hot dog that has all the frippery of appearing indulgent, but with a caloric count that really won’t make a dent in your diet. After slaving the day away, I’ve been coming home and playing around with my meat. Meat combinations, that is, and found this one to be the tastiest and the least caloric. I used chicken links instead of beef hot dogs and, because I wanted two hot dogs, shaved a bun off by just stacking them both together. I think it had a better flavor because when I had two dogs in two buns the night before, most of the flavors were lost in the squishy sweetness of the split New England bun. The first night I grilled up some dogs (I’ve been eating these for a few days now. I just can’t get enough of them when the weather is nice) I toasted the buns as well, but found that with the charred, salty flavor of the meat, the buttered finish on the buns was too overwhelming.
So, with my variables accounted for and my condiments carefully smeared on, I believe I have created a hot dog worthy of a place on the ultimate list of Connecticut pups. The total calorie count for two chicken franks, one steamed New England split bun, two tablespoons of hot mustard, and a bit of oil or butter for cooking came out to 350 calories (and this is a filling dog) and around 13 grams of fat. I’m sure even that could be reduced by finding a fat-free hot dog or grilling in margarine or a noncaloric cooking spray. I just happen to like the taste of butter. So simple, and yet, so satisfying.

Scarpetta Pink Pesto

Gotta be honest, sometimes I don’t feel like pulling out the calcium chloride or veal escalopes when I need a quick dinner after work. And when the heat reaches 95 on a good day, the oven is the last thing I want to use. On lazy nights like this, Keepitcoming and I reach for some fresh pasta and sauce. I’m a firm believer in the difference quality ingredients make even the most mundane foods taste good. And quality doesn’t have to be expensive. Fresh, warm bread with a smear of homemade peanut butter and crushed fruit or a piece of soft cheese on a cracker are favorites of mine.
But I need to admit, and for this, I’ll get a lot of flack from the Italian part of my family, most boxed pastas and canned sauces aren’t my thing. Last month we made a homemade three meat bolognese with papardelle that was incredible. Throughout winter, I made gnocchi in all shapes and flavors to warm our bellies with the snow. I’ve made two fantastic permutations of pasta carbonara. But homemade tomato or vodka sauce seemed daunting and laborious. And the best part is that thanks to Scarpetta’s awesome sauces, now I don’t have to make it at all.
Vodka sauce is one of my all-time favorites, thanks in no part to the gratuitous amounts of cream and cheese that generally go into it. Scarpetta makes a version of regular vodka sauce as well as this pink pesto. While I can’t that is really maintains a balance of the two flavors, it’s a very delicious sauce with a bold, creamy flavor and adhered well to our fancy pasta, seductively curved torchetti that resembled artistically drawn mushrooms. For roughly a pound of pasta, it generously covered half the batch. At $11 for a large jar, this isn’t very economical for a family or someone on a budget, but it’s a fantastic treat when you want to impress but don’t feel like lifting a finger.

McDonald’s New McNugget Sauces: Honey Mustard, Creamy Ranch, Non-Buffalo, and Sweet Chili

Getting sauced at McDonald’s. Man, maybe it’s strange to wander in there and order four McNuggets and one of every sauce. But it’s even stranger to then check to see if all the sauces are in there. AND THAT’S WHY I’M NOT REVIEWING MY OBVIOUS PREDICTED FAVORITE, SPICY BUFFALO SAUCE. GOD DAMN YOU, 16 YEAR OLD BORED EMPLOYEE. ALL THE SAUCES MEANS ALL THE SAUCES. DOES DADDY HAVE TO TEACH YOU-

Oh, sorry. I didn’t see you there. I was about to relive one of my therapist’s favorite childhood ex-boyfriend memories of mine, but then I remembered how anxious you were when you called me on the phone, baby girl, asking me to review the new nugget sauces. Well, here I am. Minus one sauce, but who the fuck cares, anyhow? We’re here and we’re droppin’ dollas and chompin’ chicken, son.In this photo, there are five sauces. There are supposed to be six. Two of the five sauces above are OG. This introduction is starting to look like it will be automatically harder than the hardest question on the SAT if I continue. There are four new sauces, two of which look like they’re definitely repurposed Chicken Selects sauces (yeah, honey mustard and ranch, I’m talking to you.) and one of them is not so much new so much as back from the dead, last year’s hit from the Winter Olympics, the sweet chili sauce itself. And the other will have to wait for another time. I don’t know. My forecasting figures that it will be better than most commercially viable creamy buffalo sauces, of which there are currently zero, but not as good as the zesty/buffalo sauces from Burger King. I’ll have my analysts check that out. Jesus, I’m resentful.In addition to the three new sauces, I got one of each of the current favorites, sweet and sour and barbecue. Oddly, no hot mustard, and I’m dearly hoping they haven’t phased it out as of all the sauces, it’s by far my absolute favorite, despite being more vinegary than hot. While I had a hankering for mustard, I tried the honey mustard. Meh. Meh to honey mustard. Years of slathering it on has dulled my senses. I want brown sugar mustard. I want maple mustard. Honey and I are on good terms, but she just doesn’t do it for me any more. It had a flat flavor and a sweet, inoffensive bite. It’s not hot mustard. That woman is my mistress.The ranch looked lazy and repackaged but was, to my surprise, far superior to its “select” counterpart. Not only was it thicker and completely devoid of watery texture, it had a flavor similar to sour cream and onion potato chips, which means the food scientists are doing their job. Good show. It had a slight peppery bite and visible herbs and spices and all sorts of shit. My favorite of the new ones so far.The last of the new sauces was the sweet chili sauce. As far as I can tell, this sauce hasn’t been upgraded or downgraded at all. If you chopped up a three piece of Chicken Selects, tossed them with this sauce and sweet and sour, and placed them on a lettuce slice you’d have an instant Chinese-American entree of Crispy Northern Style Warrior Rolls, available at your local PF Chang’s for just $14.99. And yeah, I like that sauce, much as I love Tong Sing’s homemade mustard and duck sauce. It’s generic but it’s likeable.Overall, I’m not too impressed with the sauces, with the exception of the fact that they are genetically engineered to go perfectly with nuggets and literally nothing else. We tried the sauces on tortilla bits after we plowed through the 4 spot, but they ended up tasting crappy and made me feel cheap. On the inside. I don’t understand what’s so “new” about taking a leaf from Taco Bell’s book and just reintroducing the same product over and over with new packaging. Bringing back an LTO is a nice perk, though. Gotta say, I expected more from McDonald’s, especially with this new addition to their sauce line. Granted, it’s hard to think of different kinds of sauces that the public will enjoy. Personally, I think an avocado sauce, like Subway is now trying, or a honey lime sauce would be tasty. Maybe a sauce similar to Chick-Fil-A’s Polynesian. Who knows? In any case, you can do better, McDonald’s. You can do better.

Avocado Week: Salad

Shrimp taco salad is so easy to prepare and so hard to fuck up. This was a particularly zesty recipe, with lime zested beans, chili-garlic rice, guacamole, paprika sour cream, and plenty of shrimp and salsa verde on top. Good Mexican food is so damned filling and so cheap. It might be one of the most satisfying cuisines I can cook.

We ate this salad after a day of running errands and it was honestly as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant. Fairly simple, too, with a layer of lime black beans, chili garlic rice, guacamole, paprika sour cream, and salsa verde marinated grilled shrimp with plenty of salsa slathered on top. It was only until later when I realized that not only had I forgotten the cheese, but that we didn’t even need it in the first place.It’s a recipe that orchestrates itself easily if you tackle the time-consuming elements, like the rice and beans, first and then prepare the cold toppings while those are cooking.In conclusion, here is our cat. She tried to jump on her cat tower while a potted plant was resting on top, miscalculated the distance, and got wedged in between the window and the cube because of her exceptionally rubenesque rear end. We laughed and took photos and posted them to PETA’s Myspace and then we let her down. All was well and she ate shrimp off the counter.