BBQ Bacon Bananas

Hoa Nguyen 0

Last weekend we had a BBQ to welcome our new neighbors and I made bacon wrapped banana bites and bbq bacon rolls. I found the recipes on youtube that use the magical Green Egg, a coveted Legendary level bbq/smoker. It is Legendary in quality and it’s price reflects that but luckily for us average adventurers you can still make those dishes in an oven, an old weber, or propane grill.

Bacon Banana Bites

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  1. Bananas
  2. Bacon
  3. Maple Syrup
  4. Bacon Rub or various seasonings

Cut the bananas into bite size pieces and soak them in maple syrup and sprinkle on some bbq rub for good measure. I did not have BBQ rub so I used brown sugar, cayenne, black pepper, a pinch of sea salt and it turned out pretty good. Let that sit for 30minutes to an hour. Soak some toothpicks in water, it helps keep them from burning. This is an important trick to remember for our many bacon-related adventures in the future.

Now take your bacon and cut them in half. Nature designed bacon so that half a strip will perfectly wrap around a banana.

Wrap your banana bites in bacon and put a toothpick through it to old it all together. Place them on a baking tray. I used a griddle for the BBQ. Whatever you have that can go on a BBQ or in the oven will work. Save the maple syrup they bananas sat in earlier and use that to baste those suckers about 15 minutes. Bake them at 375 for about 20-30 minutes total depending on your oven.

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Maybe rotate them when you do the basting at 15 minutes for those pesky uneven ovens. I used a bbq over indirect heat and it took about 30 minutes as well. I reapplied the maple syrup about every 10 minutes while flipping burgers and they came out great.



Food Fridays Basics : The Skillet/Pan

Hoa Nguyen 0

Hey everyone,

As a college student, I pretty much cooked with just a toaster oven, microwave, or a nonstick pan. Sometimes I’d get fancy and boil water to make pasta or mac & cheese. My dad who had worked in several restaurants would give me various pans and knives over the years but I didn’t really appreciate what he was trying to teach me until very recently. I’m just an artist/programmer, that grew up watching a lot of PBS, sharing my experiences and maybe they’ll inspire you as well. Today, let’s start with some good options for pans. With a pan you can cook eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, steak, and even pan pizza. I’ll use the Diablo/Borderlands rating/color system.

Pro tip: pans are vastly superior to microwaves for heating up pizza; it takes only a few minutes and gets the cheesy melty and crust crispy.

 nonstickBeginner/Common:  Nonstick if you like it simple and aren’t afraid of a little teflon in your food.  Most of the time you need to avoid using metal on these pans. There are also ceramic and anodized aluminium options. A lot can be found in the $10-$30 range but can get much more expensive as well. Having one around is not a bad idea for quickly cooking some eggs or vegetables.

Pros: inexpensive, easy to maintain/clean, non-stick, heats quickly

Cons: Cheaper models may chip and flake. Most are not oven safe.


castironIntermediate/Rare: Cast Iron if you really want a solid piece that’ll last you through many upgrades. You’ll want to avoid using soapy water unless you have a huge mess to clean up, but generally all you need to do is wipe it down or run some warm water over it and keep it lightly oiled. It’ll get to a really good non-stick status in no time. This piece of cookware will level up with you. 90% of my cooking is with a cast iron skillet. Lodge is a good brand you can find for around $20 for a basic 10″ model. You can also put these in the oven which is great for steaks, one-pan recipes, and even pan pizza.

Pros: Heats evenly. Durable. Oven safe.

Cons: Heavy. Some effort to maintain seasoning.


lecreusetLegendary: Le Creuset. This stuff is the Rare/Legendary grade hardware. From what I understand, they’re cast iron but ceramic coated. Very easy to maintain but with all the benefits of cast iron. It’s like cast iron that has been magically upgraded by a French blacksmith named Creuset. They are generally quite expensive but you see many professional kitchens and chefs using them. It’s more than just a name. I’ve bought my wife a few pieces over the years when we happen upon an outlet store or deep sale when a store is overstocked or they’re discontinuing a color/piece. As one may treat a legendary armor-set though, my wife will not let us mix and match colors. I think we have one salt crock,  a dutch oven, and something that looks like a tomato.

Pros: Durable. High quality. Easier to maintain than cast-iron

Cons: $$$$$


Just like in Diablo or Borderlands, there are many different builds/options and everyone has their own preference. You could just have a cheap non-stick pan and that’s all you need, or you may have 20 different civil-war era cast iron’s you’ve found and restored off ebay. You probably already have what you need, but if you don’t and are cooking everything with a microwave then please consider picking up one of these to start.


Food Fridays

Hoa Nguyen 0

Starting next week I’ll be posting food related content on our new Food Fridays blog posts. I named this company Second Lunch Studios, so there’s no hiding I love food. I haven’t gotten rid of my freshmen 15(x2), so there’s that impetus to get healthier as I now past the halfway marker into my 30s. I’ll try to incorporate some gameplay-balance to my meals as I enter this journey. Mahaps I’ll eat oatmeal with blueberries for 3 days for every bacony breakfast bagel sandwich I have. I share my bacon wrapped hot dog recipe that’s been evolving every since I saw those stands outside of the Staples Center at my first E3 oh so long ago.

Food is an important part of our lives and sometimes busy game developers can forget to eat well. During crunch-time there is a certain camaraderie with eating pizza and coding/drawing away. There’s nothing wrong with ordering pizza and burgers but after a while your wallet gets thinner and your gut gets larger. With every job I’ve had, once the initial learning phase was over and I settled into a routine, the biggest dilemma I faced everyday was where to have lunch. Sometimes I’d pack a healthy lunch but then I’d eat it by 10am and then would need to get a second lunch later in the afternoon.

I’ve been working from home the past year and I’ve slowly been weaning myself off of ordering delivery every night. I’ll be embarking on a quest to learn new recipes, eat more vegetables, and maybe set a better example for my son before he picks up all my bad eating habits.

I’ll share new healthy recipes I’m learning, unhealthy delicious stuff I still eat, and of course coffee experiments. Apparently once you become a dad on top of making bad puns you also get the urge to make cold-brew coffee and your own beer. I do not have room in my apt to make beer (yet) so coffee it is.