Gonzo Gourmands, Frugal Foodies & Crazy Culinarians

Dishing Out What Food Lovers Really Crave

News and discussion on all subjects concerning food: the food industry, chefs, celebrity chefs, culinary luminaries, heritage breeds, natural/organic/sustainable foods, craft beers brewers/soda makers, artisnal purveyors, cookware/tableware/kitchenware, cooking gadgets/equipment, food porn, and more!

Gonzo Gourmands, Frugal Foodies & Crazy Culinarians - Dishing Out What Food Lovers Really Crave

Award-Winning Big Kahuna Wine Cheaper Than Two Buck Chuck!


If you want to make some great budget meals with this wine deal, Vons / Pavillions has a sale on Foster Farms Whole Chicken for only $.77 per pound.  I have posted recipes for Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin for red wine lovers on my Blog here, and Nigella Lawson’s Tarragon Chicken for those who enjoy white wine on the Gonzo Gourmands facebook page!

David Chang’s Two Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Two Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
From Lucky Peach Magazine, Issue 3
Makes 1 or 2 servings (depending if you’ll share)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons (20 grams) flour
4 tablespoons (45 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons (10 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons (30 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium sized microwave-safe mug, add the vegetable oil, whole milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Use a fork or small whisk to mix until combined. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Bake in the microwave on high for two minutes. Serve immediately.

Three Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

I’ve also included a version from the UK courtesy of BBC Radio 2 (metric equivalents included) picture courtesy of WritingOurWayHome.com blog
[Note: this one differs slightly from David Chang’s recipe by using 4 tbs of self-rising flour microwaved at 3 minutes, as opposed to David Chang’s 3 tbs of regular flour and microwaved at 2 minutes.]

4 tbs / 45g self-raising flour
4 tbs / 55g caster sugar
2 tbs / 17g cocoa powder
1 egg
3 tbs / 43 mls milk
3 tbs / 25 mls sunflower oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small dash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug
Double cream or creme fraiche – optional for serving (it’s not the same without cream…..)

* Add dry ingredients to the mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
* Add the milk and oil – mix well (don’t forget the corners / edges of the mug).
*Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
* Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes (in a 1000 watt microwave). The cake will rise above the top of the mug, don’t worry it’s supposed to! Allow to cool a little, tip out onto a plate.
* Serve with fresh double cream, crème fraiche or custard. Serves two.
* EAT and enjoy!

One Minute Coffee Cake in a Mug

One Minute Coffee Cake in a Mug

ChocolateCoveredKatie.com created this low calorie version of One Minute Coffee Mug Cake, which has 1/4 the calories of 720 calorie version elsewhere on Pinterest.

Coffee Cake for One!

For the batter:

  • 3 tbsp spelt flour (or white. For Gluten Free: a commenter had success with 1 tbsp rice flour and 2 tbsp almond flour.)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1/32 tsp pure) or 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp water
  • 2 tsp oil or melted margarine or applesauce (I prefer the oil/margarine, but that’s simply because I’m not a fan of fat-free baked goods.)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the streusel: (If you like a lot of streusel, feel free to double all ingredients below.)

  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp sucanat or brown sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp oil or melted margarine (once again, use applesauce if a fat-free version is desired)
  • tiny, tiny pinch salt
  • 2 pecan halves (or walnut halves)

(If using an oven, preheat to 330 F.) Combine batter dry ingredients and mix well. Add wet and mix until just mixed. In a tiny bowl, combine all streusel ingredients. Fill a greased muffin tin 1/2 way with the batter (or a ramekin or mug, if using the microwave). Sprinkle on two-thirds of the streusel, then spoon the remaining batter on top. Finally, sprinkle on the rest of the streusel. Cook 12-13 minutes in the oven, or around 1 minute in the microwave. (Microwave times may vary.)

Non-Rice Vermicelli in Chili Oil, Soy Sauce & Vinegar

Born in Shanghai and raised in New Mexico, Chichi Wang currently resides in Manhattan, where she divides her time between writing, cooking, and tracking down the best noodles in the city. Visit her blog, Mostly Tripe.


  • 6 ounces mung bean or sweet potato vermicelli
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablesoons tahini, optional
  • 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. If you are using mung bean vermicelli: add vermicelli to the boiling water and remove pot from heat. Soak until they are softened but not mushy, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain vermicelli and rinse under cold running water. Set aside. If you are using sweet potato vermicelli: cook the vermicelli in the boiling water according to the instructions on the package, about 7 to 15 minutes depending on the width of the noodle. Drain vermicelli and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine chili oil, soy sauce, chinkiang vinegar, sugar, salt, and tahini in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add noodles and toss to coat. Top with chopped peanuts, scallions, and cilantro. If served cold, mung bean noodles may be made an hour or so in advance and refrigerated. Served either hot or cold, sweet potato noodles may be served made a day in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to eat.

To serve hot: Reheat noodles in a saucepan over medium heat after dressing them, adding liquid as necessary to prevent the sauce from drying out or scorching.

Culinary Exploration Through Food

Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, and Adam Richman have all made careers on the Travel Channel, introducing viewers to the cultures of countries abroad and on our own domestic turf through food. Just as there are differences in the styles of barbeque that come from local cultural influences within our country, there are localized cultural differences in other countries that influence their cuisines as well. In this section, I will occasionally interject some of the cultural history associated the recipes shared here.

For instance, in Poland, the northern region closer to the Baltic Sea has more seafood dishes, particularly dishes with carp and herring. Whereas the northeastern and northwestern regions have more hog farms and pork dishes. Poles made kasha (groats) from millet, lentils, barley, oats and buckwheat. The west and southern mountain area was where a lot of beets and ubiquitous potatoes were grown. You may find it hard to believe, but the predominance of potatoes found in Polish cuisine, like in much of Europe, did not come about until after Columbus found America. Below is an easy, delicious recipe for a Polish comfort food classic made with potatoes, onions & cheese. This dish is also an economical budget stretcher and perfect for “Meatless Monday.”

Homemade Polish Pierogi


  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • butter and onions for sauteing
  • ingredients for filling of your choice (potato & cheese filling recipe below)

Pierogi Dough
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 12-15 pierogies, depending on size.

Potato, Cheese & Onion Filling:
Peel and boil 5 large potatoes until soft. Red potatoes are especially good for this. While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop 1 large onion and saute in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sauted onions and 4-8oz of grated cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want your pierogies), adding salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some fresh parsley, bacon bits, chives, or other enhancements if you desire. I like to reduce the potatoes from 5 down to 3, and substitute 1.5 cups each of shredded cabbage & carrots sauteed in butter or vegetable oil. Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1″ balls.

Prepare the Pierogies
Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8″ thick. Cut circles of dough (2″ for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2″ for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.

Boil the perogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.

Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy. Serve with a side of sour cream for a true Pittsburgh pierogi meal.

Homemade Pierogi Tips:

  1. If you are having a hard time getting the edges to stick together, you may have too much flour in the dough. Add a little water to help get a good seal.
  2. If you don’t want to cook all of the pierogies right away, you can refrigerate them (uncooked) for several days or freeze them for up to several months.
  3. You can fill pierogies with pretty much anything you want, though potato and cheese is the most common.


Halvorsen, Francine. Eating Around the World in Your Neighborhood.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

Nowakowski, Jacek, and Marlene Perrin. Polish Touches: Recipes and Traditions. Iowa City: Penfield Press, 1996.

Urban-Klaehn, Jagoda article #299. Retrieved August 5, 2012 from http://culture.polishsite.us/articles/art299fr.htm

Retrieved August 7, 2012 from http://www.polandforvisitors.com/travel_poland/polish_food

Retrieved August 7, 2012 fromhttp://pittsburgh.about.com/od/recipes/r/pierogies.htm

Retrieved August 7, 2012 from http://www.tastingpoland.com/food/history_of_cuisine.html

Free Gaslamp Strip Club Steak Dinner Aug 15th Starting 5PM!


Hip San Diegans know that The Strip Club in the Gaslamp District & La Jolla are not seedy places with half naked women, but actually grill-your-own-steak restaurants with some of the city’s best cooks coming through the door every night!  Just think, a steakhouse where the steak is taken off the grill the precise moment YOU think it’s done to perfection every time!  Never worry about your steak being overdone, underdone, or sitting on a counter getting cold!  Well, the Gaslamp Strip Club is celebrating their 10th Anniversary by offering a FREE STEAK DINNER when you dine with a friend buying a regular dinner, or if you’re really good friends, you can do it as 2 people paying 1/2 price!