Saturday, March 26, 2022

2022 Oscar Party - Recipes

 And the Best Picture Oscar Entree goes to...YOU! Come and accept your award-winning chow and pass it around to your party guests so everyone has a taste of Oscar. Sit back and watch the Best Picture Oscar-nominated movie trailers below and my Best Oscar Entrees which are a feast for your eyes.

And click on any Best Oscar Entree nominee names to be directed to the original blog post for all the award-winning recipe prose and cinematic culinary imagery.


The first Best Entree Nominee was inspired by Aussie director Jane Champion's revisionist tale of the Old West. Check out the trailer for Power of the Dog.


1. Power of the Hot Dog - Greasy chili and sweet pickle relish clash but realize they really belong together in the end.



The second Best Entree Nominee goes with the noirish Nightmare Alley. It is a dark and disturbing tale by macabre master Mexican director  Guillermo del Toro.


2. NIghtmare Alley Tacos - Come accompany this Chef of the Night as he goes deep into the smokey neon-lit alleyways of Los Angeles. There lurk unlicensed vendors dispensing mind-bending street tacos!


The third Best Entree Nominee is by way of Licorice Pizza from auteur director Paul Thomas Anderson. The flick is about an ambitious teen boy and his crush on an older 20something lady and takes place in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. 


3. Licorice Pizza with Egg - Valley girls and boys revel in sweltering summers so hot the sidewalks could fry an...


The fourth Best Entree Nominee is based on Oscar-nominated King Richard with powerful leading actor Will Smith at the helm. I happen to live right down the street from the high school tennis courts Venus and Serena Williams trained on.


4. King Cake Richard - From their infancy, a father strives to shape his 2 talented daughters into heroic and historic tennis players.


The fifth Best Entree Nominee is a filling riff on Belfast. This Oscar contender is by theater actor and director Kenneth Branagh. The film is an autobiographical slice of Irish life during the battles between Catholics and Protestants in the 1960s. 


5. Belfast Shepherd's Pie - The story of a family in tumultuous Belfast, Ireland that's also as heartwarming as a serving of mashed potatoes, beef, gravy, and peas.


The sixth Best Entree Nominee is based on the movie Dune. This sci-fi literary classic adaptation is a hero's journey on a desert planet full of sandstorms and fury.


6. The Dune Lollipop - This Cheap$kate Space Cadet ingests a Scorpion Lollipop, trips out, and hitches a ride on a spaceship!


The seventh Best Entree Nominee is based on CODA. This Oscar contender has a chorus of accolades and tells of a deaf fisherman family with a hearing daughter. Should she stay home to help or should she go? 



7. CODA Fried Fish - This fish-out-of-water story of a working-class gal finding her passion in music. Does she stay to help her family's fishing business or leave to pursue her music dreams?


The eighth Best Entree Nominee is a 2fer based on West Side Story by Steven Spielberg. Two NYC gangs battle with a tragic outcome. Its creatively choreographed dance and classic show tunes retain the power of the original 1960s movie. 



8. West Sides Story - Plantains & Yuca are sides that will dance your tastebuds.
Yuca & Mojo Sauce
Fried Plantains

The ninth Best Entree Nominee is a big ball of deliciousness based on Don't Look Up. A meteor is on course to crash into Earth in this satirical doomsday flick.


Don't Look Up Meatball - Look up in the sky, is it a meteor or just a food-borne hallucination?


The final Best Entree Nominee is my homage to Drive My Car. Originating from a short story by renowned Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, the movie cruises down memory, love, and loss to acceptance.


Drive My Car Daiquiri - You may need to pick up a drive-thru Daiquiri to take on this gabfest of a movie.


Do try out any of my Oscar Party Entrees - you're sure to get a Standing O. So have your acceptance speech ready because the golden statuette for Best Entree at an Oscar Party belongs to you, the host with the most.

I'll leave you with a video I made a while ago when the Academy of Motion Pictures had an exhibit with a podium on which a real Oscar stood. All you had to do was stand in line and take a picture with it -- well you can be sure I showed up for that! Just check out the video below:


May the Best Entree win!!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

National Cocktail Day

 Belly up to the bar and raise a glass to National Cocktail Day! This Cheap$kate Mixologist enjoys a Happy Hour at home these days after a long YouTube video-making and blogging day. I haven't made many Cocktails published on the internet but I have a few so read on and click on any intoxicant name to get all the boozy details from my original blog post.

While a fifth or pint of booze is expensive, most of my Cocktail Recipes can be made with a cheap single-serving airline bottle of liquor. I used to get them for a buck, but now they are a little more, but still much cheaper than drinking at a bar.

While bottles of liquor do not show up at 99c only Stores or the Dollar Tree, they carry plenty of Cocktail garnishes like pickled green olives, small pickled onions, jalapeƱos, and fresh fruit, too,

I like to cook with alcohol and my first Cocktail, a Loaded Egg Nog, uses a lot of eggs. And the Egg Nog can be finished with an airline bottle of Brandy, Rum, Scotch, or Whiskey. 

I still can get the two main ingredients of a Loaded Egg Nog for around a buck a piece...not bad.

This was originally a Christmas holiday drink recipe, plus at the end of the video is a Tree Trimming that goes off the rails...oh, boy, you are in for a wild ride so watch it below.


My next Cocktail is a classic called an Old Fashioned. It's typically made with Rye Whiskey, a couple shakes of Bitters, sugar, a splash of water, a bit of orange zest, and sometimes garnished with a cocktail cherry. I've had them that way and they are in my Cocktail Top Ten. 

I came up with a meaty spin, an Old Fashioned with a sweet and savory Candied Maple Bacon garnish. I guess you could say my version is on the trendy side of specialty garnishes and something you would not serve every day.


I went out on a limb and served my tweaked classic hootch to my friends whom I invited over for an evening of Film Noir that shows on regular TV in Los Angeles. (If you have an antenna you can get it, too, so look it up in your local TV guide.) 


The channel is called Movies! and it's on channel 13.3 in the home of  Film Noir, Los Angeles. Click here for their broadcast schedule, and "arrow forward or backward" to Thursday and Sunday night to see what they are showing. My version of an Old Fashion was a hit and everyone had seconds and thirds, whew! 


Film Noir is still big in Los Angeles and every year there is a movie festival that celebrates these crime thrillers from the 1940s and 1950s called Noir City. Check out my slide show below to see the scene on opening night.

I made my own Maple Bacon, so my recipe video is worth the price of admission.


Check out my Old Fashioned with a Maple Bacon Garnish video below, it's best served on a cold and stormy night to your roguish friends and favorite femme fatale.

Along with garnishes, Cocktail mixes like fruit juices and bubbly water show up at dollar stores. 

Have you had a Mojito? It's a refreshing tropical drink made with rum, club soda, sugar cane juice, and garnished with mint leaves. This concoction comes all the way from Cuba. 


Hey, can we end this embargo of Cuba already? Geeze, you may not agree with my politics, but do join me and hoist a glass in solidarity to my Homemade Mojito!


Keep checking back every year for new CheapSkate Cocktails. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

National Sloppy Joe Day - Recipe Video

This is the leanest Sloppy Joe you will ever eat. On this auspicious day in celebration of National Sloppy Joe Day, I have my version that is for the diet-conscious that uses ground chicken or turkey. And ground poultry seems to be a buck cheaper than ground beef these days.

Sloppy Joe's are typically made with ground beef, and depending on the fat content, you will have a gallon of grease after browning the beef. So, not only is my homemade poultry Sloppy Joe Burger delicious, but it fits into almost any dietary regimen.


Hi, I am The 99 Cent Chef and I am a tightwad. I seldom cook with ground beef anymore. Since I created this blog in 2007, I've weaned myself off this artery-clogging but oh-so-tasty protein and learned to love ground poultry. 

The kind I use is mechanically separated and typically found in the frozen deli case. It's more watery than fresh ground chicken (or turkey,) but I've found that it firms up fine during baking or sauteing. Of course, use your favorite local ground turkey or chicken, mechanically separated or not.


My Ground Chicken Sloppy Joe Burger is loaded with flavor, using sauteed fresh veggies, pungent chili powder, ground cumin, and brown sugar -- all in a thick sauce of tomato and ketchup. 

Upon the first bite of my homemade Sloppy Joe, you will flashback to your childhood: when Mom put the steaming meaty bowl of goodness on the dinner table, and you piled on the sloppy mess between a bun -- then dribbled it all over your fingers, while staining the front of your tee shirt, as you scarfed it all down as fast as you could.


I used a pound of ground chicken for this recipe, so the end result will easily, and cheaply, feed your hungry brood -- just make sure to lay out extra napkins. Prices have increased since I originally made the recipe 10 years ago.


You could conveniently buy a couple of cans of Sloppy Joe sauce, but you will still have to fry up some meat, so you might as well go the extra step and make my much more delicious homemade Poultry Sloppy Joe. And like two of my earlier video recipes, Beanie Weenies and Chicken Stroganoff, I used stop motion animation -- it makes following cooking directions so much more fun!

Poultry Sloppy Joe's - Video
Play it here. The video runs 3 minutes 18 seconds. 

To view or embed from youtube, click here.

Ingredients (about 6 - 8 servings, depending on how sloppy you like it!)
  • 1 pound of ground chicken, turkey, or beef - I used packages of cheaper, frozen (and thawed,) mechanically separated, ground chicken.
  • 1 whole small onion - chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery (optional) - chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper - green, red or yellow, chopped.
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic - chopped, from a jar or fresh.
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (about 15 oz.) - okay to use crushed, whole, or chopped tomatoes. Just break apart into smaller chunks when sauteing.
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar - or favorite sweetener (may need less, depending on sweetener potency.)
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil - 1 tbsp. for sauteing chicken, and 1 tbsp. oil for sauteing veggies.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve on hamburger buns

Directions
In a large pan or pot, add a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, then add ground chicken. I spread out chicken to cover the bottom of the 
pan and just sit back and let one side brown. You don't need to brown both sides. It should take about 7-10 minutes. Turn over meat and break apart into bite-sized pieces -- like you would for a spaghetti meat sauce. Remove from pan and set aside.


Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan. You can add chopped celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the same pan -- or you could have been sauteing the veggies, at the same time as the chicken, in another pan -- it's up to you. Stir and cook veggies for about 5-10 minutes, until onions begin to turn light brown and caramelize.


When veggies are done, add cooked ground chicken. Pour in a can of tomato sauce, a 1/4 cup of ketchup, and mix well.


The final additions are the seasonings, including Worcestershire Sauce, ground cumin and chile powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix the Poultry Sloppy Joe sauce well.


Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 10 - 15 minutes. Check during the last five minutes and stir. You want a thick chili consistency -- not too watery. Uncover and let sit a couple of minutes, and the sauce will thicken even more.


Get out the hamburger buns and load them up -- but don't forget the extra napkins!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Best St. Patrick's Day Recipes

  St. Patrick's Day is the time to dress in green and put on your yarmulke? That's if you're combining the cuisines of the Emerald Isle and the Promised Land. And you'll feel like you've found that leprechaun pot o' gold at the end of the Western Wall when you try my luscious Jewish recipes using Irish Corned Beef, that's now on sale this week, just like the loaded deli classic Corned Beef Sandwich pictured below.


I like traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage and it's easy enough to make, but for the money, I like my Corned Beef between 2 slices of rye and topped with a cabbage Coleslaw, Jewish deli-style. So just keep on reading to see my tasty recipes below for Deli Corned Beef and Homemade Pastrami.

Easy Corned Beef Recipe - VIDEO


If you didn't notice, this week offers up cheap hunks of Corned Beef at half the normal price! I usually clear out my freezer for this St. Patrick's Day beef celebration and stock up on a few Corned Beef briskets. They freeze well and I like to smoke them during my patio summer cookouts.


Traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage is easy to make. Boil the whole Corned Beef brisket for about 3 to 4 hours until the meat is tender. Next, remove the corned beef and cook chopped cabbage, carrot and potatoes in the salty broth. I like to dump half the brine/broth as it's very salty and replace it with regular water. When the veggies are tender, return the corned beef to the pot to reheat. That's it, just pile on your plate a thick slice of Corned Beef with tender veggies. Check out my video below.
Easy Homemade Corned Beef with Cabbage - VIDEO


You'll want a batch of Coleslaw to go along with my Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwich. Especially when cabbage is selling for pennies a pound this week. Just click here to get a cheap$kate Deli Coleslaw recipe.

Our most famous deli in Los Angeles is Canter's Deli on Fairfax Boulevard. They are especially known for Pastrami and Corned Beef Sandwiches.


For their 60th Anniversary at this location, they served Corned Beef on Rye Sandwiches for 60 cents! If you don't believe me, then just watch the video below as proof positive.
Canter's 60c Corned Beef Sandwich- VIDEO


Last summer I threw a Pastrami Sandwich Party that featured a Rueben and Rachel Sandwich. What takes these sammies over the top is that they are grilled in butter on rye bread grilled with melty Swiss Cheese...sooo gooood.

Reuben Sandwich is stacked with Pastrami or Corned Beef, Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut, and Russian Dressing (of course you can substitute with mustard.) Sour to the nth degree, Sauerkraut ignites smokey Pastrami and pungent Swiss Cheese on Rye Bread into an explosive flavor bomb.

Reuben Sandwich- VIDEO

Rachel Sandwich is toasted the same as a Reuben but substitutes Sauerkraut with Coleslaw. Both sandwiches share Russian Dressing, which is easy enough to make - just a mix of mayo and ketchup.

Rachel Sandwich- VIDEO

And if you have any meaty leftovers then add them to a caloric breakfast scramble of Eggs and Pastrami or Corned Beef (my recipe is a click away here.)


Now, if you really want the wildest use of leftover Pastrami then go no further than the next video, on the making of an Oki Dog.


It is basically a Burrito with hot dogs, cheese, chili, and pastrami. Yes, it's a cholesterolic artery-clogging tortilla-wrapped depth charge that will literally take your breath away. Just watch the video below to see it being assembled (and click here to read its Japanese origin story.)

Oki Dog with Pastrami - VIDEO


In my  Homemade Pastrami Recipe Video link here, I show you how to brine a beef brisket in the refrigerator for a week. But if you buy a package of Corned Beef, you can skip that stage and go right to cooking it like in the video below.

So keep scrolling down to see my Corned Beef and Pastrami recipes (you can also click here to see more Pastrami Recipe photos and text.)


Keep an eye out for that yarmulke-wearing leprechaun with a tzitzit under his green jacket. If you catch him make sure one of your 3 wishes is one of my delish dishes.

This St. Patty's Day post is all about the beef. So stock up on Corned Beef and get to cooking. You can be sure that the Blarney Chef is not full of it this time - these are some of my best and favorite recipes.

Easy Homemade Deli Pastrami - VIDEO

Play it here. Video runs 2 minutes 42 seconds.

Ingredients for Corned Beef and Cabbage
  • 1 corned beef - I use cheap point-cut corned beef on sale. They usually weigh 3 to 5 pounds. You can follow package directions for cooking corned beef. 
  • 1 whole cabbage - chopped. They have a tough root stem you can remove, but it will tenderize. I only remove if it's discolored brown and extra tough. 
  • 1 carrot chopped - You can add another carrot or two, depending on the size. Sometimes I like more veggies.
  • 2 red potatoes chopped - You can boil the red potatoes whole, but they will take an extra half hour to cook. Okay to use white or russet potatoes. Also, add more potatoes if you like.
  • Water to cover corned beef - When corned beef is cooked, taste broth for saltiness, if too much then replace half the broth with freshwater and taste again.  

Directions for Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef is a thick and tough piece of meat, so you need to low boil it for about 3 to 4 hours until tender. Time will vary depending on the size of the whole Corned Beef. Mine was about 4 pounds. Cheaper cuts of Corned Beef can be fatty, is so it's okay to trim off some of the fat.


You can follow Corned Beef package cooking directions. Usually, you cover Corned Beef with water, about 5 cups worth. Most times you have a small packet of spices and herb included, so open and empty the contents into the water.


In a large pot, bring the Corned Beef in water to a boil, lower to a low simmer or low boil and cover the pot. Cook for about 3 to 4 hours. Check on the pot every hour or so to make sure the liquid does not cookout, and add more water if needed. It's okay if the liquid cooks out by half, this will make an intense broth for the veggies.


After about 3 hours you can chop the cabbage, carrot, and potatoes.


When the Corned Beef is done, remove it and set it aside. Taste the broth to see how salty it is. More than likely it's too salty, so pour out half the broth and add an equal amount of freshwater. Now taste to see if the broth is milder. Repeat this step if necessary to reach your desired flavor.


Once the broth meets your tastes, then add the chopped veggies. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pot and cook veggies for about 20 minutes.


If you like crunchy cabbage, then cook carrot and potato first, about 15 minutes, then add chopped cabbage. Cook until cabbage reaches desired crunchiness, usually 10 minutes or so.

Finally, return the cooked Corned Beef to the pot with veggies and let it reheat for about 5 minutes.


This is a one-pot meal, so just slice off hunks of Corned Beef and serve with the cooked veggies.


When slicing the Corned Beef for sandwiches make sure to cut across the grain of the meat. Of course, you'll want to try out a slice to see how yummy it is. Notice the lean meat and its rosy color inside.


For a Deli-style Corned Beef Sandwich just add mustard to rye bread. Layer on your favorite cheese, corned beef, and coleslaw. From a 2.67 pound of corned beef brisket, I made 3 sandwiches. I served them to my ex-NYC neighbor Deb and she raved about how delicious it was. I hope you will like it too!



Directions for Cooking Easy Pastrami Recipe
Remove corned beef from the package and follow the cooking directions.

Typically you add corned beef to a large pot with a cover and fill it with water to just above the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and simmer for at least 3 hours. Check on it from time to time to make sure the water doesn't cook out (the water can cook out by a third, that's okay, as the meat will continue to steam.)


When finished boiling, remove the meat and set it to drain. Make a dry rub to coat the meat for smoking. Mix the pepper and coriander and coat all sides of the brisket.

Dry Rub Ingredients for Smoking
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander - they are the tan brown seeds in the herb package that normally comes with corned beef. You can sometimes find ground coriander in grocery spice racks, too.
  • 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper - okay to use less. Sometimes black pepper can overpower everything, but I like my pastrami that way.
  • Wood chips for smoking the pastrami on a BBQ grill -- about 4 cups.


Now time to smoke it. You mainly need an outdoor grill with a cover. I have a 2-burner gas grill. The object is to smoke the meat with indirect heat. That is, place the meat as far away from the flame as possible. The meat is already cooked, so you just want to smoke it at this stage. If you have a simple outdoor charcoal bbq grill then build a fire way off to one side.


The flame is under a pan of wood chips. You could even loosely wrap a large handful of chips in aluminum foil and place them over hot coals or a gas flame.

Depending on how large and hot the flame source is, the wood chips should start smoking in a couple of minutes. When the smoke starts, place the boiled brisket as far away from the flame as possible and cover the grill tightly.

Check every 10 minutes or so and replace the wood chips with fresh ones as they cook away if needed. I smoked my pastrami for an hour. Even a half-hour of smoking will give the Corned Beef great flavor and create a crunchy crusted Pastrami.


In the hour of smoking, I had to replace the blackened wood chips a couple of times. The meat will still heat up and brown, even away from the heat.

If you are using a coal burning grill your smoking time may be shorter, as they often burn hotter than a more controllable gas grill (about half an hour of smoking?) The length of time it takes for the wood chips to stop smoking is all the time you really need.

After the pastrami is smoked, place it on a cutting board, slice across the grain, and make a big fat Pastrami Sandwich - your way!


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