Some random stuff today, and then the first of a semi-regular feature highlighting some of the Cackowski-Schnell dinner favorites. Exciting, I'm sure but what the hell. I stole the dinner idea from Andy, who in turn, stole it from Booster. We're all thieves and liars over here.
Finally, some non-GH1 songs are available for download for Guitar Hero 2. They're all from My Chemical Romance, and all from "The Black Parade" album, which makes them A-OK in my book. It doesn't hurt that they're particularly crunchy and full of mad shredding, which is probably why they were picked. Naturally, the interwebs are aflame with youngsters railing to the heavens about how MCR is such a bunch of emo queers. Whatever. I stand by the statement that "Dead" is one of the most fun songs to play in GH2 and these songs are just as much fun to listen to, so I'm sure they'll be as much fun to play. Besides, I stopped caring about what others thought of my musical tastes a long, long time ago.
The Bioshock demo has also dropped but somehow a cruel trick has been played upon me and I seem to be unable to download it with anything more than glacial speeds. I'm hoping that tonight will prove more successful than Sunday night or last night. If not, the game comes out in a week, but man, it sucks to hear how much people are loving this demo and I can do naught to experience it.
It would appear that I've been able to fool the folks at GameShark into believing that I can write a bi-weekly humor column. All of the details have yet to be finalized, but hopefully I can announce something soon. I have no idea how I'm going to come up with something to write about every other week, and be funny at the same time, but I figure it's a good opportunity and it will be a good learning experience. That being said, if you are able to come up with a funny, bi-weekly gaming column, please let me know. I pay 25 bucks a column. Hopefully that will free up my creativity to devote more time to this place, but as that has yet to happen, I wouldn't hold my breath. I'll see if I can get this site linked to from the humor column, thereby forcing myself to update here but I'm not sure they'd go for that. We'll see.
Enough prattle. Let's eat.
What's For Dinner - Sausage and Peppers
As you may or may not know, I do all of the cooking at home. This is, in part because Linda doesn't enjoy cooking, and in part because I really, really love to eat and the only way I can eat a bunch of different things is by cooking it my own damn self. It's all just selfishness when you get right down to it, but seeing how I can rock a kitchen 'til your hair turns gray, no one is complaining.
My Sausage and Peppers recipe was originally a Cooking Light recipe but I modified it to meet my own discriminating palate. It hasn't changed that much, just a little here and there, mostly to remove the "Light" part. As it's a fairly simple recipe, the quality of the ingredients is very important. There's not a lot there to mask sub-par sausage, so just buck up and be willing to spend the time to find peppers that don't look like they've been out on the sidewalk for 3 weeks.
12 oz uncooked penne pasta - If you don't have a kitchen scale (which you should) and don't feel like doing the math, you can use the whole 1 lb box. The S&P is served individually, on top of the cooked pasta, so having extra cooked pasta won't throw off the balance or anything.
1 lb Italian sausage - I like to use hot sausage here as it pairs nicely with the peppers, but I guess you could use sweet if you preferred it. I'm not a big fan of sweet Italian sausage, but that's just me. Just don't go trying this with some bullshit turkey sausage or gourmet chicken and apple shit. This is an Italian dish and as such, needs good, old fashioned pork sausage. Save your Sam Jackson speech for someone who cares.
1 red, yellow and green pepper cut into 1/4 inch strips - Again, get good peppers here. Nothing all wrinkled and pitted. It's worth it.
1 26 ounce jar of pasta sauce - More than anything else, this ingredient will really change the flavor of the dish. I prefer something sweeter, like a garden sauce with lots of vegetables. Linda prefers something more herb-y, like a 7 herb tomato or a simple tomato and basil. I do not recommend a meat or a cheese sauce as it's way too overpowering. Ditto for vodka or tomato cream sauces.
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or 3 tsp of minced garlic - Garlic is good however you do it, so it's your choice
Shredded Mozzarella cheese - the amount is up to you, but somewhere between 1/4 cup to a cup should do it.
Love - I know this is a stupid ingredient, and maybe I'm just channeling generations of Italian moms here, but ever since my wife and my son have started asking for this dish by name, I've been better at making it.
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, just without any oil or salt. You don't need it as this dish has enough fat as it is.
2. Cook the Italian sausage. The original recipe called for frying it for 8 minutes over med-high heat, which I did for quite some time, but I have since switched to grilling them as it's cleaner and I think the sausages benefit from being grilled. For some reason, this dish has a rustic feel to it and when I think rustic, I think open flame, not anodized aluminum pans. If you decided to grill, do them on direct-medium (directly over a medium flame) for 8 minutes, turning them over after 4 minutes.
3. Once the sausages are done, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. If you have one of those nice chicken frying pans that are like 3 or 4 inches deep, use one of those. Cook the peppers in the frying pan for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. While the peppers cook, let the sausages cool a little and then slice them into 1/4 inch slices. Don't eat any yet, as they're probably not fully cooked yet and you don't want to get sick.
5. Add the sausage to the peppers and cook for another 2 minutes.
6. Add the garlic to the sausage and peppers and cook for another 2 minutes.
7. Add the pasta sauce to the pan (see why a deep pan is helpful?), stir and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese. Keep stirring until all of the cheese is melted.
Serve up some pasta in shallow, individual pasta bowls and cover with the Sausage and Peppers. A big loaf of crusty Italian bread always helps, as does the tasty beverage of your choice. This dish is particularly good as leftovers too, provided you don't eat it all in one sitting.