Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My sous chef

I love to cook and fiddle around in the kitchen.  It's a pseudo passion of mine and would one day like to expand into something more, but for now friends and family get to enjoy my cooking.  We purchased a highchair for Jojo recently and he has been joining my in the kitchen.  We don't like to plop him down in front of a TV or a laptop or anything electronic.  We try our best to interact with him, and what a better way then being locked in his chair and watching daddy cook!

Usually we plop him down with some toys and he talks to us, or drools all over his toys.  Then there is the throwing of things on the floor and looking blankly at us as if it happened all by itself and just disappeared.

And dis widdle piggy went over da mauw-ten...

DAD!  The piggy dissah-peer!

Every young boy dreams of fighting kitchen robots,
just not with underdeveloped motor skills.

 But one thing he really likes is when daddy busts out the toys.  Usually he is slightly startled at first, especially when the stand mixer gets going.....

But he watches very intently as I cook, mix things, beat eggs, grab spices and so on.  I try to leave things out so he can see them, especially since cans of food and spices are colorful, and he thoroughly enjoys colors.

Anyone with kitchen appliances want to give them to me,
I promise to pose this kid in the picture and you will see sales
The benefit for me is I have someone to listen to me as I cook and he is enthralled by my abilities and sits there listening with every ounce of himself. I will stop and talk to him, hand his toys back to him and usually he just grins.  But still acts like he knows what is going on and could easily do it himself.  He is my silent admirer and I am excited for him to be able to partake in dinner with mom and dad.

But as I cook I taste and tell Jojo how good things are, what extra spices it needs or doesn't.  I tell him how we are making a roux for a homemade, adult shells and cheese dish; he gets to smell the smells and see the sights of a crazy father cooking.  And then there are times when I taste things and say, "MMmmmm, Jojo, I am excited for you to taste this when you are older" and he gives me a face like the one below....

Dad, I am excited to for you to smell this when you change me!

I know that one day he will need a step-stool to join me at the stove, and we will have to get him a black chefs jacket so Jojo and dad can match.  I am sure there will be cute pictures to be taken, and maybe we could start our own YouTube cooking show?  Who knows.  But for now my little sous chef will be my semi-silent observer, but in the near future when he is helping, maybe he will have learned something about how to more appropriately measure flour for a cheese roux and have some input into helping me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Neptune's fist - a.k.a. Bath farts

As a parent, especially a father, there is no greater joy to be had then your baby, especially if it is a boy, letting one loose.  I can't explain it, and my wife fully doesn't understand, but passing gas, breaking wind, tooting, flatulence, farting, or whatever you call it, is a total guy thing.  Yes I know girls fart too, especially when pregnant, but guys take a certain pride in the stenches brewed in their bowels.  When  someone lets a home grown nasal decongestant go, guys may grimace, say rude things, cough, fake vomit and so on, but they will always try to outdo each other when the time for a ripe reckoning comes about.

A few days ago it was bath time for Jojo.  This is becoming an interesting process as he gets chunkier and the tub gets smaller....could be a relationship, but Nah!

This must be old....he fits!

As a parent of an infant you NEVER leave the baby by his/herself, even if in a tub within a tub (insert dramatic music here, preferably by Zach Hemsey).  In fact, start over reading this blog while playing this.....

While the music is blaring imagine yourself kneeling in a bathroom within an apartment (whoa....mind blown) and your baby is splashing around, giggling and getting rinsed off.  You're enjoying having a clean baby, your baby is enjoying the bath toys and warm water when all of a sudden you hear a noise.  You at first mistake this noise for the sound of wet baby skin being dragged across a wet surface while underwater.  You heed it not, unwisely.

As you commence leaning over the tub to rinse the toes it hits you.  This isn't a hit like a great idea, you forgot the roast in the oven and it might be slightly overcooked, or you just remembered to celebrate your cat's 15th birthday.  No, no.  This hits you like an I.B.S. attack brought on by the mighty fist of Neptune as it penetrates your nostrils and travels mightily through your intestines.

Baby bath farts.  Many have experienced them, but few live to tell the tales.  I am actually typing this from a body cast in a hospital.  They had to sew me up and then seal it all together in plaster of Paris in hopes my body doesn't go through a recurrence of the impact of Poseidon's power punch to the face.

My son Jojo threw a whopper of a butt bellow at me that night.  So bad that I cringed and almost left him in the tub alone.  Only my stalwart love for my son kept me by his side.....that the lack of oxygen in the air, and the fact that my heart stopped beating....but all that happened in love.  He has let out some stank bombs before but I was both amazed and humbled by this olfactory onslaught.

His mother would blame me, but I blame a combined genetic issue.  To bath time we return....

Big Game Baby Puke dip

There are things in life that belong together, some of those are: fatherhood, football, food and farts.  Since I have talked about poop plenty of times so far, and this blog revolves around being a father, I will now talk about football and food.  I feel these last 2 are the glue that holds many red-blooded American men together, especially during the Big Game.

I consider myself a bit of an amateur cook.  I usually stumble into things and just try to remember what I did that made it taste good.  And I have found that if in doubt….blame it on the baby (both bad food AND farts).  Besides that I enjoy a game of football, whether watching or playing with friends.  And this past Sunday was the 49ers VS the Ravens, granted the team I liked didn’t win but the food was good. 

Why am I talking all about this on a blog about being a dad?  Well every guy needs their place, or Nirvana, and mine is in the kitchen.  I just skip the barefoot and pregnant thing, not my cup of tea.

The best part is Jojo loves to chill in his newly acquired highchair, play with toys, drool, and let out his Pterodactyl screeches.  I enjoy it because I can cook and watch him, and mama does too because she can be “productive” (I still don’t know what that means but stuff gets done). 

For the Big Game I wanted to make a “wow” dip, not some run of the mill dump-n-go dip, but something that has flavor, spice, texture and cheese.  Oh glorious cheese….

So I came up with this hodgepodge of other recipes and voila - Big Game Baby Puke dip.  Why the name?  Because when I posted a picture on Facebook a friend commented it looked like baby vomit.  Thanks for the name inspiration Angel!  So here is the recipe for a great father and son/daughter experience…..oh and for the dip.

So chunky and so delicious.


  • 3-4 chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 stick (½ cup) of butter
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 4 cups of milk (I used 2% but any should work)
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 - 15 oz can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cups of shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • 2 - 10 oz cans to diced tomatoes and green chilies (I used the Ro-Tel brand) – lightly drained
  • 1 small can of green chilies
  • Minced garlic
  • Red pepper infused olive oil (not necessary but Mmmmm….so good)
  • Apple vinegar to taste
  • Seasonings of your choice (I used some ground dried Poblano peppers, onion powder, cumin, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, and  smoked paprika/black pepper/Himalayan pink salt in a grinder)
  • Taco seasoning (I made my own mixture)
  • Side ingredient – I had a random vegan “taco filling” that I added in just to use it up


  1. Boil the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil (ensure you hit 165 degrees)
  2. Remove and shred chicken (I use a dough blade on my Kitchen Aide stand mixer, so money when it comes to shredding)
    1. While shredding add in the red pepper olive oil, apple vinegar, sour cream, and some of the taco seasoning
  3. Take the butter, flour and milk and make a roux
    1. Simmer it to get it real thick since the oil in the cheese will loosen it up (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn and whisk constantly)
  4. Once the roux is where you want it, add in the cheese at about a cup a time and let it melt completely.  Simmer to thicken.
  5. Add the sauce to a slow cooker (preferably a well used Crock-Pot from the 70’s/80’s)
  6. Mix in everything else really well
  7. Let it chill on low for at least 2 hours to heat/reheat everything thoroughly (mine was on for about 4 hours)
  8. Stir once it is heated through.

Use with chips, crusty bread, tortillas or whatever!