Saturday, January 3, 2015

White Castle Frozen Sliders for New Year's Eve

We don't really do New Year's Eve the way other people do. No, I don't mean we don't drink or don't have a good time in our own way, because we certainly do. We're just aging introverts that honestly prefer to do our drinking and eating at home in front of the television or something, as opposed to out in public or at someone else's house. It's awesome. You don't have to worry about how you're getting home after having some drinks and it's a whole lot cheaper. We're kind of poor, so we like cheaper a whole hell of a lot.

Usually on New Year's Eve, I wind up making sliders and bacon-wrapped jalapeƱos. However, since we've been a little more calorie-conscious, we just haven't been doing the bacon thing so much. It's delicious and all, but we just can't justify it anymore. Also, I wasn't sure how badly I wanted to make the patties and whatnot for the homemade sliders. We wanted something quick that would leave us with plenty of time to observe and comment on how weirdly long Taylor Swift's arms are during New Year's Rockin' Eve.

We also decided we'd still like a little bit of a splurge meal and both of us have had a craving for White Castle lately. (We live in California though, so "getting White Castle" pretty much means grabbing some of their frozen sliders from the freezer section.) We got some of the cheeseburgers and some of the new chicken sliders we had yet to try. Seth scored some Ore Ida Bold & Crispy Sriracha fries to go with them. 

For those that haven't tried the White Castle frozen sliders before, they're pretty much about what you'd expect. No, they're not going to taste exactly like the hot and greasy sliders you're used to from the actual restaurants, but they're really not bad for a bunch of little microwaveable cheeseburgers. They have the little onions and the same thin patties. They have that steamed burger taste. They certainly give you the same White Castle feeling, as well as that "I'm having a little bit of junk food" sensation that you get when you splurge on something special. Plus, they're quick and easy.

The fries were also good. I'm not sure how strongly they tasted of Sriracha though. Yes, they had a bit of that trademark flavor, but Seth and I are Sriracha fiends, so we eat the real stuff like it's going out of style. That said, these didn't come over as being that spicy... but they were certainly flavorful and crispy. They went well with the burgers and a little bit of Sriracha on the side for dipping. We'd definitely have them again in the future. 

Of course, now that I've had my splurge, it will be back to business as usual with the careful calorie counting. New Year's dinner this year will be meatloaf, mashed potatoes, squash, and black eyed peas... but in sensible amounts, of course.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

This Year's Christmas Duck -- And Duck Chili, Too

So we are at the beginning of a brand new year. I'm still thinking back fondly on our Christmas duck, something that's become a yearly tradition for both Seth and I as I've mentioned in the past. I've really become quite good at cooking these succulent little birds by now and have certainly gotten it down to a science. This one was stuffed with various fruits, vegetables, and herbs we had around the house. As you can see from the picture, it roasted up perfectly this time around. In fact, I think this is the tastiest duck we've had so far.

This year, we made sure to get a shot of some of the food actually plated for a change. This is Seth's shot of his duck drumstick and his sides. The duck was served alongside chipotle-bacon mashed potatoes, herbed stuffing, oven-roasted yellow corn, and warm rolls with homemade garlic butter. The gravy was a homemade citrus gravy that contained some of the duck's wonderful fat, all flavored with those wonderful things the bird was stuffed with.

No cat and wolf holiday feast would be complete without a special wine, beer, or liquor to enjoy with it. This year, Seth got us a bottle of Kraken, something we'd been wanting to try for a while. It was quite delicious and made the perfect after-dinner treat after all that wonderful, rich duck and gravy. Especially considering how cold and windy it's been lately. It really made it feel like Christmas.

Then last weekend, what was left of the delicious duck meat and fat went into a batch of homemade duck chili. In addition to the duck, the chili had red beans, black beans, habanero peppers, sweet chilis, carrot, celery, onion, my special blend of spices, and generous amounts of red wine. (As you can see from my photo, I really like my chili with a little Parmesan and some mini Saltines on top.) Some of the leftovers were served over spaghetti Cincinnati style for a later meal as well. 

Really, it was all delicious. I don't think we've ever "gotten sick" of leftovers or not looked forward to all the different things we could do with them and the chili that was made with this leftover duck was no exception. In fact, I'm thinking of having some more in a few minutes here! Wonderful winter eats indeed.