It ain't dinner 'til the house is filled with smoke...
by Keb


I make a lot of stuff. For me, cooking is often motivated by my seeing something in a magazine or on the net and rushing out to buy the stuff to make it. It has gotten to the point where I vaguely remember making something good a few weeks or months ago but I can't remember where I got the recipe. Given this compulsion to try new things, my cooking is pretty hit-or-miss. Sometimes it's great, sometimes, not so great. For instance, I currently have a crock pot full of red beans and rice with andouille sausage sitting in my fridge that we must eat for dinner tonight. It's no great shakes, kind of gruel-y, really, but nobody wants to waste food, given all those starving children in China my mom told me about. If you are a starving child in China, please let me know. I will package and send you this stuff. You'll be doing me a favor. You know a dish is only so-so when your husband describes eating dinner as "taking one for the team." I should go on strike for that comment but then I wouldn't get to eat either.

However, there are a few things that I make better than anybody else, ever, in the whole wide world. You could go to any five-star-chef-trained-in-france restaurant but will not get these things any better than mine. You could track down the person who invented the concept of food and even s/he would have to admit that I rule on these particular things. You get the point. So, not to toot my own horn (yeah, whatever) here's the holy trinity of Keb food.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. No two ways about it, I rule. It all comes from my old roommate Denise's baking. She pretty much only ate eggplant, hummus and couscous for her meals (as a matter of fact, she had a caterer serve eggplant, hummus and couscous at her wedding) but boy, could she bake. I adopted her recipe, which involves using the recipe on the back of the chip bag and adding an additional cup of flower but then I IMPROVED on the recipe by adding EVEN MORE FLOUR and macadamia nuts. Now the recipe is all mine and I (rightly) take all the credit for it. They are the best damn cookies ever.

Linguine with Clam Sauce. It all started about two years ago with this recipe from Cooking Light magazine. Now, you can make this recipe and have very good clam sauce. I've done it. However, substitute the fettucini with linguine, delete the parsley, add a handful of baby spinach at the very end (cover the pan until it wilts), double the basil, and add a healthy fistful of asiago cheese and you have CLAM NIRVANA. I would never steer you wrong on this.

Burgers. I'm probably going to hear to the contrary, but I will maintain to my grave that I make the absolute best burgers you have ever eaten. Come to my house and I will cook you one. The recipe involves a couple of pounds of 14 percent fat ground beef (I've tried lower fat beef but they tend to dry out too easily. You need that fat.), a half cup of honey, grated cheddar cheese and worsteshire sauce. I don't actually have measurements for this stuff because I just dump it in until it looks like enough. Really, it doesn't matter because you can't hurt this recipe (although dumping an entire bottle of worstechire sauce into the beef may result in some pretty watery burgers). Then they are grilled outside. You have to cook them all the way through but don't overcook them. Then you toast big Kaiser rolls in the oven, add some lettuce, onion, tomato and the condiments of your choice (I tend to favor mayonnaise and steak sauce) and you have yourself one hell of a burger.

Someday, you may see chains of "Keb's Cookie, Burger, and Clam Shacks" dotting the nation. Until then, you can try out the above recipes yourself and send me some of yours. Because, honestly, the world would be a better place if everybody could share their absolute best recipes.

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