Friday, January 29, 2010

Foodie Vocab Word of the Day



A derivative of the French verb ragoûter , meaning "to stimulate the appetite," ragoût is a thick, rich, well-seasoned stew of meat, poultry or fish that can be made with or without vegetables.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Love Don’t Cost a Thing

It is getting to around that time of year when you can’t go anywhere without being overwhelmed by red, white, lace, hearts and chocolate. I have always thought that Valentine’s Day was about spending some time with the one you love; doing something a little special to celebrate your love. Well apparently I had the idea all wrong. It is actually about stuff and how much you spend on your special Valentine. I mean isn’t that how you show someone you love them?

The food industry is no exception. They wait for couples to come into grocery stores (or as we call them in New York gourmet specialty food stores) for a regular nights dinner and overwhelm them with heart cookies and heart shaped candy. It has made me completely adverse to the whole Valentine’s Day thing. But Dean a Deluca has taken it to a whole new level. For those of you who don’t know, Dean and DeLuca is a very special and very expensive gourmet food store. It is even worse than Whole Paycheck. I was flipping though their catalog and was astonished with the amount of Valentine’s Day food products were offered and for the prices! Cupcake Chocolates, set of 9 for $45. What about some aphrodisiac oysters , only 3.5 dozen for $95? What a perfect end to a meal with a beautiful pink heart jewelry box cake for $115.

I guess one could argue that I should not be surprised and Dean and Deluca is known for these specialty items. It was even a joke in the Devil Wears Prada when Anne Hathway’s boyfriend stops by Dean and DeLuca on the way home from work and then scoffs at the $5 per strawberry price. There is just something about it that puts me off. Everything just seems so cookie cutter and pretty. I don’t want my cookies covered in perfect icing hearts. I don’t want a Valentine heart cake. I want my food to be comfortable and inviting. Not pretentious and off putting. I wanted to be excited about eating not worrying about breaking it or ruining the “pretty” design. I think we should be more concerned about making food and cooking more accessible to everyone, not separating people who can pay $115 for a cake and those who have to go out a buy a Dunkin Hines cake mix. I think this might be why I dislike the whole commercial Valentine’s Day thing. Love is difficult, frustrating, beautiful and wonderful all at the same time. Nothing will ever be all wrapped up in a bow with pink icing on top. We should celebrate the imperfections because that is what real love is all about. And of course cook imperfect food because buying all put together it is just no fun.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Foodie Vocab Word of the Day


Imported from Sicily and made from local grapes, Marsala is Italy's most famous FORTIFIED WINE. It has a rich, smoky flavor that can range from sweet to DRY. Sweet Marsala is used as a DESSERT WINE, as well as to flavor such desserts as the famous ZABAGLIONE. Dry Marsala makes an excellent APÉRITIF. There are also special Marsala blends with added ingredients such as cream, eggs and almonds.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Orzo with Shrimp

This is  not my photo (shocking, right?)

I want to start cooking a little healthier because I have noticed my belly increasing exponentially. I am afraid that BP II will have to start rolling me to work like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka. The problem is that I love pasta and have a hard time giving it up. My wonderful aunt gave me a subscription to Cooking Light Magazine for Christmas and while I was trying to figure something out for dinner I decided to try the website out. I was surprised how many pasta recipes there were. I found the Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi recipe and fell in love. Pasta-Good. Shrimp-Good. Butter- Good. I wondered how this was a “light” meal.

On my way home I stopped by my local food emporium to pick up some ingredients. I headed over to the seafood case and I looked in horror at the empty dark case of ice. Where was all the fish? I asked the meat department person what happened because normally everything is out until 8:00. Apparently the fish guy never showed up. I am so glad food emporium hires such reliable vendors. What was I to do but try the recipe with frozen shrimp? I have never worked with shrimp before- fresh or frozen and was looking forward to learning how to shell and devein. But I had my heart set on this Shrimp and Orzo recipe and headed to the frozen food isle. I found uncooked, frozen shrimp and added them to my basket. Located the orzo and was off.

Well, I found out why the recipe was in Cooking Light magazine. The serving size is one cup of orzo for 4 people! A quarter cup of pasta per person was just not going to cut it. I made the full cup of pasta for BP II and I then made 18 shrimp. After a cooked the garlic for about 30 sec, I added the lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper. When I added the shrimp back to the pan, I didn’t think there was enough sauce so I added some orzo water. I also added the pasta back to the pan to soak up the sauce. To finish the dish off, I added a splash of lemon at the end to really bring that lemon freshness to the forefront. I think the result was very good. I frozen shrimp turned out perfect and I will definitely make this again. As for the ½ of orzo per person, it didn’t look like much in the bowl but it ended up being filling. I really have to work on portion control. That is the key but I am just not ready for ¼ a cup of pasta.

Note from author: For full disclosure, I might have “forgot” to mention that I also bought a half pint of Edy’s peanut butter cup ice cream while at Food Emporium. Luckily the ice vendors always show up. Ugh! I am so weak!

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi


1 cup uncooked orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

He’s Her Lobster

The people at Slashfood have this great lobster article. I like lobster just fine but if I could only pick one crustacean to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be crabs. Oh! I love the crabs. Anywoo, I have made lobsters only one time in my life and I think it generally came out ok. Yes, I wanted to impress my then boyfriend with my awesome culinary skills so we decided that lobster would be a great romantic dinner. I was a little freaked out about cooking this living thing in a big pot of boiling water but luckily they were not screamers. You just pop them in, quickly put the lid on and wait for the slow, imminent death. (Just kidding, it is not that dramatic. On second thought maybe I am thinking about that past relationship.)

 It might be time to give lobster a second try. I recently watched an Alton Brown show about lobster and he made it look so good. He also informed me that it is better to steam or bake the lobster and not boil them as I had done the first time around. BP II and I will not be around this Valentine ’s Day weekend but it might be nice to do on a random Sunday.

Lobster Tank Tips

by Clare Leschin-Hoar, Posted Jan 28th 2010 @ 11:00AM

Photo: Simon Goldenberg

"We know Valentine's Day is mere weeks away, and for plenty of you coupled-up types, that romantic meal will mean indulging in some lobster -- butter poached, stuffed into plump ravioli, or maybe it will come in the form of a warming bowl of creamy lobster bisque. But for the lobster-bold, part of your Valentine's evening may mean pressing your nose up against the glass of a live lobster tank to choose your entrée while impressing your date. So to help you out a little, we talked to the esteemed Jasper White of Boston's Summer Shack, who shared a few surprising pointers:

If tail meat is your thing, ask the staff to choose a female lobster. Prefer claw meat? Ask for a male. And if you're a little worried about how long the lobsters have been languishing in that tank, the answer is to look at their antennae. Lobsters are cannibals. That's the real reason their claws are banded. But that doesn't prevent them from munching on their neighbors for a snack. If the antennae are stumpy and little, chances are your dinner's been in the tank for awhile."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Situation in Maple Shade!

I know this is borderline relevant to this foodie blog and my second post about “The Situation” but this is disturbing to me on so many levels. First off no company should be associating themselves with “Jersey Shore.” The show was a hit because these people were ridiculous and totally believed they were hot shit. It was funny because the complete opposite was true. Well this brewery in Maple Shade thought it would be a great idea to release a beverage named after “the Situation.” Like what?! First off what does it mean that your beer tastes like “the situation?” Apparently, “The Situation” tastes like “assertive bitterness and an intense American hop aroma and flavor.” Seriously. I find this upsetting because I graduated from High School in the town right next to Maple Shade. My people, why are you embarrassing me?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This should have been thought of earlier (like when I was in high school)

Burger King will now start to sell Budweiser and Miller Lite beer starting with their South Beach, Miami location. Beers will cost $4.25 a bottle and can even be substituted for a large soda with any value menu for $2.00 extra. Even better, Burger King plans to expand the beer selling to other major cities, including New York! This is perfect; I mean Burger King specifically stated that they are trying to “grow up” with their customers. Burger King was founded in 1954 so who are they exactly trying to grow up with?

When I was in high school kids would drive around and park in Burger King’s lots and drink liquor out of water bottles, then drive to parties. I am sure the 15 year old behind the counter is going to be carding his friends I.D.’s really strictly. So if you run out of liquor before the party has been announced, no worries; just walk on into the fast food joint, maybe order some munchies, and walk out with a round.

I think I might be missing the big picture here and I am sure that someone would want a beer with their whopper. I am just not sure why they wouldn’t go to a bar or a restaurant to eat. The only people who want to pound a beer and order a medium fry are drunk college kids or drunk high school kids. Just saying- I don’t think this will be a good idea in the long run.

I prefer to pound beers at home when I cook dinner. :)

Whopper & The King of Beers

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins



1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 rounded cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 rounded cup frozen blueberries


1. Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Rub with your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Make the muffins: Butter a 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the egg at medium speed until frothy. Add the sugar and melted butter and beat until pale yellow, 1 minute. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until almost blended. In a bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter.

3. Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full of batter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack.

I wanted to make these muffins for BP II to take in the morning for his breakfast. Not because I am a good GF or anything but because the cafeteria has these amazing muffins and I am determined to make better muffins. So far I have been unsuccessful. I tried about a month ago and the result was lack luster muffins. They were heavy, very bland and blue from the enormous amount of blueberries I put in the batter. BP II ate a couple but then kept “forgetting” his morning muffin. The rest ended up in the trash. Then, I saw in Food and Wine magazine a sour cream blueberry muffin recipe. I ripped the page out of the magazine and vowed to try it soon.

That day came a couple Saturday’s ago. I was just in the mood to bake. I dug the magazine clipping from the pile a junk that accumulates in one’s New York apartment. I made the topping and put aside and was getting ready to make the batter. Cracked the egg in the bowl, carefully balanced the bowl on the edge of my sink, went to get the hand mixer and was inserting the beaters when all of a sudden my left hand hit the bowl and the result was the mixing bowl doing a triple back flip onto my bedroom floor. (NY apartment people) I picked the bowl up, it landed right side up, and everything appeared to be in place. The egg was fine and I was thanking the good lord for how lucky I was. I finished the batter and popped the muffins into the oven.

This also happened to be the day that I put all my Christmas decorations away. I piled them nicely next to the closet they were to be stored in. I very nicely asked BP II to put the decorations away because it was too tall for me to reach. He walks over in his barefeet and all of a sudden screams ewwwww… what is that on the floor? Haha. It was egg white. As it turns out I was not as lucky as I had previously thought.

Oh yes, the muffins. I thought they were pretty good. The topping is supper yummy. The actual muffin is a but bland but very moist. Merrill Cafeteria wins again!

Website Warnings That Should Exist

While I was “researching” the Food Network Cablevision dispute I came across this wonderful site that will delight any Food Network fan. I actually chuckled out loud. (Warning: You have to be a diehard Food Network fan to get these jokes- sadly, I get them all.)

 Food Network Humor

Food Network is BACK!

Yay! Food Network is back on Cablevision as of January 21, 2010. Although, I was not personally affected by this interruption of service, it was a huge disappointment to Food Network fans. Unfortunately, the deal specific s have not been announced. I wonder if Food Network got the $.75 per subscriber they were asking for? I am going to assume not because I think Cablevision would have held out even longer. I actually do know some people that switched subscribers so they would get HGTV and Food Network . So maybe the little man came out on top after all. (I am not really sure why I assume that the Food Network is the little guy in this scenario because according to Wikipedia they had annual revenue of 1.5 billion last year. Little guy my behind.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wei Nung’s beer soaked bratwurst with sauerkraut and apples

All I have to say is beer and sausage. Fantastic. Also, please get your mind out of the gutter.

4-5 sausages (I used medium spicy italian but the recipe called for pre-cooked weisswurst, knockwurst, or bratwurst)
3 bottles of lager (I used sam adams winter lager)
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 gala apples, peeled and sliced
as much sauerkraut as you care to eat


Bring the onion, apples and beer to a simmer. Add sausages and cook until you think they're done. Reserve the beer mixture and grill the sausages until golden brown. Add back the beer mixture to serve. That's it!

KLamp's Potato Pancakes

My friend Kristin is slowly morphing to a Jewish woman. Although, she was born and raised Catholic, she is dating a wonderful Jewish man and is learning to cook the Jewish mother way. This potato pancake recipe is from her boyfriend’s grandmother. With only minor injuries, these pancakes turned out mighty yummy.


4 large potatoes
1 yellow onion
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
ground black pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable oil for frying


1. Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl. Drain off any excess liquid.

2. Mix in egg, salt, and black pepper. Add enough flour to make mixture thick, about 2 to 4 tablespoons all together.

3. Turn oven to low, about 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).

4. Heat 1/4 inch oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Drop two or three 1/4 cup mounds into hot oil, and flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes. Fry, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain, and keep warm in low oven until serving time. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.

Red Cabbage Salad with Green Apple

Megan is my personal hero. Not only does she write a food blog as well, runner’s kitchen, but she also completed an indoor triathlon before our cooking club meeting. Who does that? A very dedicated woman, that’s who. I was impressed; I mean I haven’t done anything physical since cheering in college and that was a long time ago.

Megan made Red Cabbage Salad with green apple from January 2010 Bon Appetit.

Red Cabbage Salad with Green Apple, Lingonberry Preserves, and Toasted Walnuts


3 tablespoons lingonberry preserves, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large unpeeled Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated, divided
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted, divided
4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage


• Puree 1 tablespoon preserves, mustard, and vinegar in blender. With machine running, gradually add oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

• Reserve 1/4 of grated apple and several walnut halves for garnish. Toss cabbage, remaining 2 tablespoons preserves, apple, and walnuts in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with reserved grated apple and walnut halves and serve

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We had two people make Zwiebelkuchen or savory onion pie. I admit, I was one of the duplicates and I thought I was being so original. Haha. Anyway this was really yummy about would be a great breakfast meal. I made my own pie dough with my traditional recipe and the rest I followed by the book.


1/4 lb smoked bacon, diced
1 medium sized onion, chopped into small pieces
2 eggs
1 cup of sour cream
1 tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
9-inch piecrust


Saute the bacon until they become crisp. Drain out most of the fat, keeping just enough for the onions. Now sauté the onions until they become clear. Keep aside and allow them to cool. In a bowl, whip the sour cream, eggs, flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Prick the bottom of the piecrust with a fork. Put the bacon and onions on the piecrust and then pour the whipped mixture on top of them. Bake at 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C for about 15 minutes, until the egg mixture is set and the pie is browned

mmmmm....... bacon

More Cooking Club Photos

Kristin K.’s Split Pea Soup

Monday, January 11, 2010

Red Cabbage and Apples

Courtesy of Kristen C.

I have not eaten very much cabbage in my life and I think my Nana scarred me for life with her Galumpkis. Ugh I still have nightmares with her forcing me to eat this meat and vegetable mixture rolled in green cabbage. Oh childhood.

Kristen C. red cabbage was nothing like the horror I experienced as a child. I really like the sweet and savory complexities of this dish. I was lucky enough to take home a spare red cabbage and I will definilty be making this recipe soon.


2 TBL vegetable Oil
8 cups of shredded cabbage
1 onion
2 tart apples
2 TBL of water
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
Ground black pepper to taste
3 TBL of white sugar
3 TBL of distilled white vinegar


Heat oil in medium saucepan. Stir in cabbage and onion; fry until wilted. Stir in apple and water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Pour vinegar and sugar into the mixture while tasting for desired sweet and sour taste. Cook another 5-6 minutes.

German Chocolate Cake

Courtesy of Catharine D.

I was so surprised to find out that Catharine used a package of cake mix. This cake was so moist and the icing was to die for. I wish I would have taken a picture of a cut piece because the inside was beautiful. There was even a middle layer of icing!


1 (18.25 ounce) package Pillsbury German Chocolate Cake
1 cup water
3 eggs plus
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, combine cake mix, water, 3 eggs, oil and 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk. Beat on low speed until moistened, then beat on high speed 2 minutes.

2. Pour into well-greased and floured 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

3. In small saucepan, combine remaining sweetened condensed milk, egg yolk and butter. Over medium heat, cook and stir until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add pecans, coconut and vanilla; spread over warm cake. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Cooking Club: Meeting 3

This past Sunday was cooking club and the theme was German Food. I think this was our best yet. We had a great turn out and the food tasted amazing. Sundays are tough because we are all lushes and have usually have hangovers to contend with and I was no exception. But everyone put themselves together and made quite the spread. I am looking forward to next month where the theme is aphrodisiac. Ohhhhlalalala!

Pot Roast (No not that kind of Pot)

I wanted to use my brand new Dutch oven for awhile now and have been searching for a recipe. I decided a pot roast would be perfect. It is so cold in New York and I really needed something to warm my bones up. (Yes, I am an old woman and use the phrase “warm my bones”) Anywoo, I found a Barefoot pot roast recipe and decided to give it a try. The turnout was ehhhh. I am not sure what happened but I used a roast that was 1.5 pounds compared to the 4-5 pound the recipe calls for. I altered the cooking time to 45 minutes and then was going to lower the cooking temp to 250° for the remaining time but the roast was already at 165° after the initial 45 minutes. Therefore the meat came out a little tough. I think next time I will just cook at 250° for the entire cooking period.

The vegetables came out really well though. I think I might just eat them as a stew/soup for a quick weeknight meal. They have a very nice complex flavor form the red wine.

Company Pot Roast


1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

This is not right

Well this is just not ok. I am not a fan of Rachael Ray. I find her abrasive and annoying. I hate it even more that she is EVERYWHERE! Apparently FHM thought she was # 100 in their sexiest women of 2009 list. To say the least I do not agree but I guess FHM was struggling to find 100 people they photographed this year.

People are just crazy about this guy

Alton Brown has a special place in my home, well not really my home but more like my DVR. I am a religious fan of the Food Network and when BP II and I started dating I would make him watch it with me. As time went on he became a fan all on his own and found affection for Alton Brown. Now my DVR records and Alton Brown episode everyday and BP II watches it as I cook dinner. It has gotten to the point where he we have seen just about every episode. I even got him an Alton Brown is my hero shirt for Christmas. I don’t want to give the wrong impression; I like the show as well just not as intense of a fan. AB is more about the science behind the food then recipes. How things work and why things go wrong. Actually, when I was at the Food and Wine festival debating whether or not to stand in line for an AB autograph, this crazed AB fan came into the book tent , ran for AB’s new book and ran to the line for a signature. It was like nothing I had ever seen. I thought it was a fluke but then I saw the AB special on TV and he had so many fans fill this convention center in Georgia. But not even the fact that he could fill this convention center but that they knew all the Good Eats jokes was amazing.

Food isn’t the only star of this cookbook

By Andrew Z. Galarneau


December 30, 2009, 6:48 AM

"Nearly 20 years ago, a director of television commercials named Alton Brown decided he could make a television show about food. His recipe: one part Mr. Wizard, one part Julia Child—and one part Monty Python.

The show, “Good Eats,” would change the landscape of American food television. Viewers gravitated to the defiantly geeky Brown enthusing about the history of ingredients, spoofing classic movies and explaining molecular reactions modeled with Styrofoam balls.

Brown has grown to become the face of the Food Network and pitchman for Welch’s grape juice and other concerns. He’s the host of “Iron Chef America,” and “Good Eats” just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special televised jubilee.

“Good Eats: The Early Years” provides a fan’s retrospective tour of the show’s first six seasons on the Food Network. Most cookbooks, following restaurant menus, are organized by course—appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and such.

Not “Good Eats”—this volume is arranged by television show and season, signaling that it’s a cookbook where food isn’t the only focus. This book is as much about the show and the behind-the-scenes story of how each episode made it to the screen.

As such, it’s aimed directly at hard-core fans of the show, with 140 recipes salted with Alton-centric tidbits, like the revelation that he was bleeding from a gash to the forehead during an interview used in Episode 13 (“The Art of Darkness I,” about chocolate). He’d bashed his head open but forged on, mindful of the production schedule, the wound mended, badly, with duct tape.

Recipes aren’t the point of this volume. (There will be more; “Good Eats: The Middle Years” is under way.) This is a biography of the show itself, wherein the hero shares the rookie missteps and horrible mistakes that did not, in the end, matter.

The embarrassments just add to the later glories of “Good Eats.” Here we find the opening to “Crust Never Sleeps,” Episode 20, the memory of which ardent fans may have mercifully suppressed.

Brown chose to dramatize the tension between flakiness and tenderness in pie crust recipes by having himself flanked by hand puppets emblazoned with “T” and “F.” They commence pummeling him. “The crew giggles,” Brown relates, “though you can’t hear it on TV.”

Judging from its run up best-seller lists, legions of fans were ready for the chance to relive their love affair with Alton Brown and his works—even if it’s just the early years. "

Thursday, January 7, 2010

At Least There Are No Ants in Your Pants

I am not a fan of fast food. I find it really greasy and it makes me sick every time I eat it. Therefore I stay far away. Some people really like it and to that I say to each their own. However, when I heard this story I cringed. I don’t care what kind of food establishment you are, sanitation should never be compromised. At a local Canada McDonald’s a man found dead ants in his breakfast burrito. The sad thing is that the first thing I thought of was why weren’t they alive? Did these ants consume McDonald’s food and then die? I digress…

But what I think adds insult to injury is that when the man showed the McDonald’s manager his sad dead ant burrito, he didn’t seem to care and instead was defensive. Didn’t McDonald’s learn anything from the lady that sued them for her coffee being too hot? All she wanted was McDonald’s to acknowledge that they were wrong and pay for her medical bills. However you feel about the situation, it would have been much cheaper if McDonalds would have swallowed their pride and just apologized. Earth the McDonald’s: the stonewall method does not work.

Dead Ants Found in a McDonald's Burrito

by Slashfood Editor, Posted Jan 6th 2010 @ 9:30AM
by Nicki Gostin

"There's really only one appropriate response upon hearing the following story – Yuck accompanied by a violent shudder.

A man and his girlfriend found dozens of dead ants lacing their McDonald's breakfast repast last week in Ontario, Canada.

28-year-old Tommy Lam and his girlfriend who frequently stopped by the busy fast food restaurant went in to pick up a meal before going into work. The couple ordered 2 sausage and egg burrito combos to go which translates into 4 pita-wrapped sandwiches.

Lam went to his business, Jewellery Box, sat down to eat and downed one of the burritos. It was when he started chomping down on the second that he made the gruesome discovery – dead ants, lots of them.

"Even right now, when I think about it, it bothers me," Lam told AOL. "I was really grossed it. It was disgusting."

What happened next just adds insult to injury. When he returned to the offending Golden Arches eatery with his invertebrate infested evidence no apology was forthcoming.

Lam spoke to AOL and he is clearly still annoyed with how it was handled. He claims that when he returned to the restaurant the manager refused to give him the names of the employees and would not give him a number for McDonald's corporate offices.

"He said that there is no number I need to call. And also they didn't check the food station when I brought the food back. These are the questions I really want answered."

"I'm still disappointed. I'm still waiting for an apology from them."

McDonald's have responded with the following press statement.

At McDonald's Canada, food quality and safety is our top priority and we employ strict policies and procedures to ensure our customers receive the highest quality product.

Upon learning of this isolated incident, we immediately began a thorough investigation, both at the restaurant and supplier level. We continue to work closely with the local health agency and to liaise with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

We are also in direct contact with the customer in an effort to address their concerns. It would be inappropriate to discuss this further given that this matter is ongoing.

Doesn't sound like Tommy is going is going to be getting an apology from McDonald's just yet."

On another note, what is with all the fast food people being awful human beings and messing with people’s food? Remember the Domino’s incident? Eww!

Le Steak

Last night I BP II and I decided to have steak for dinner. We went to Food Emporium and wandered down the meat isle. I must be honest; I get so confused about which kind of steak to choose. I have been told before but I always forget. I mean everything sounds the same: top roast loin, Skirt steak, Prime rib, Rib-eye, New York strip, Sirloin and T-bone. Also, I want to get a good value for my steak. I know that Filet Mignon is a very nice piece of meat but I want a good middle of the road grade that I don’t need to save up for. Anyway, we bought an Angus Beef top loin strip steak for $15.99/ lb. While there I also grabbed some russet potatoes and white asparagus to complete the meal.

I cooked the steaks like I always do, salt and pepper the meat on both sides, a little butter in a pan then sear on both sides until a brown crust forms. (about 2-3 minutes) Pop in at 350° for another 3 minutes. Finally, I let the meat rest for about 10 minutes or until I finish cooking everything up.

The asparagus was just pan seared with a little olive oil and seasoned with some salt and pepper. The potatoes were boiled and mashed. I added some milk, sour cream and at the last minute stirred in some blue cheese for flavor.

I found a breakdown of different kinds of steak. I will try to remember for next time.

Tenderloin: The tenderloin is a cut of meat that is the most tender (and therefore usually the most expensive). On a cow or pig the tenderloin is found in the middle of the back between the sirloin and the rib. The tenderloin is extremely tender because the muscles that make up the tenderloin are rarely used. The elongated muscle can be separated from the bone and is sold as a tenderloin roast. When the tenderloin is cut into pieces, it is called fillet mignon steaks.

T-Bone: The T-bone is a bone-in steak from the short loin. This cut has a T-shaped bone that separates the tenderloin section from the larger portion of the top loin. These steaks are not as tender as the porterhouse steak.

Porterhouse: The Porterhouse steak is a large steak from the thick end of the short loin containing a T-shaped bone and large piece of tenderloin. Porterhouse steak is one of the most popular types of steaks.

Strip or Top Loin: Porterhouse or T-bone steaks that have been stripped of the choice tenderloin portion. Top loin steaks are usually expensive.

Club: Club steak are triangular. Club steaks are s cut from the short loin, next to the rib end.

Rib-Eye: The rib eye or ribeye is a beef steak from the beef rib. When cut into steaks, the ribeye is one of the most popular, juiciest, and expensive steaks on the market. Meat from the rib section is tender and fattier than other cuts of beef. This extra fat makes ribeye steaks and roasts especially tender and flavorful. The rib-eye steak is also called Scotch Fillet

Sirloin: The sirloin is near the rump. Sirloin steaks are tougher than cuts from the loin or the rib. There are several different sirloin steak cuts,

Flank: Flank steak is a beef steak cut from the belly muscles of the cow. Long and flat, the flank steak's best known application is London Broil. The flank steak is much tougher than the loin and rib steaks. Many recipes for flank steak use marinades or braising. Flank steak is best when it has a bright, red color. You can tenderize flank steak by marinating it in a tenderizing liquid, including acids like tomato-based products, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, pineapple or ginger.

Skirt: The skirt steak is a cut of beef steak from the belly primal cut. The skirt steak is a long, flat cut that is flavorful, but tougher than most other steak cuts. Most people use skirt steak to make fajitas.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Situation doesn't know what the situation is

Well, I don’t know how to feel about this. First of all I love the Jersey Shore! Because let’s be honest, we all know that I am a reality TV whore. I just can’t help it. But Food and Wine magazine has an article about the Jersey Shore’s “the situation” meal preparations. What?! This is supposed to be a “classy” magazine. I understand that they are trying to keep up with the times and attract younger viewers but I do not think covering the Jersey Shore cast mates is the answer. I mean this is the “mature” magazine that I subscribe too. Anyway, the situation is a D bag and I think he should have to clean up after himself. I mean they are eating on paper plates for heaven’s sake; all the kid has to do it pick it up and throw it away. Would it be nice if another cast mate threw it out for him sure, but to single Sammy out because a.) she is a girl and girls pick up after boys or b.) He totally wanted to bang her and she rejected him for Ronny, I think is un-cool.

The (Food) Situation on MTV’s Jersey Shore


When he isn't fist pumping, tanning or scavenging for women, Mike "The Situation" from MTV's Jersey Shore (2.5 million viewers' guilty pleasure—and mine, too) is cooking.

In the controversial reality show's latest episode, The Situation and his male roommates decide to make an "unbelievable dinner" and stay at home with Nicole "Snooki," who is recovering from being punched (by a man!). "There's going to be a feast on the dinner table, but 'The Situation' has got it under control," he says.

When The Situation refuses to help clean up after the "feast" of lobster, steak, asparagus, grilled corn and salad, his short-lived flame Sammi "Sweetheart" picks a fight with him. (In a previous episode, the two flirted while preparing sausage and peppers together.)

His retaliation: "From now on you are excluded from dinner then. You are excluded from surf and turf night. You are excluded from ravioli night. You are excluded from chicken cutlet night."

Oh no! Anything but chicken cutlet night

But hey here is the video of Snookie getting punched in the face.

Not Food Network **Update**

Although, I am not a Cablevision subscriber (yay Direct TV) the plight of my fellow Food Network fans is upsetting. If you do not live in New York and read this blog (my mom) you have no idea what I am talking about. But when Cablevisions subscribers awoke on New Year’s day, trying to nurse those nasty hangovers with some Paula, Barefoot and triple D, all they got was a not in service channel. That is right, Cablevision cut The Food Network. Apparently the debacle is over contract negotiations and Food Network wanted more than the $.25 they were getting per customer. Cablevision released a statement pretty much saying good riddance Food Network. The head honcho is quoted as saying Cablevision has “no expectation of carrying their programming again.” I find it interesting because ESPN charges Cablevision $2.00 per customer, which is generally passed right on to the consumer. I bet there are just as many fans of the Food Network and there are ESPN fans. Even YES network charges $2.00 per customer. Seriously all YES has are Yankee games. I think Cablevision should change its tune and start considering their “non-sports” viewers. If the Food Network wants $1.75 more than fine (The amount of the increase The Food Network is asking for has not been disclosed), I mean they are raising rates anyway.

All I have to say is Go DirecTV.

Go to this website to complain to Cablevision

Update:  Food Network wants $.75 per customer