Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quite Possibly the Worst Food Quote Ever

"It is the string which holds together the ingredients to form a beautiful epicurean necklace."


Monday, September 22, 2008

Non-Food Post - Books

I took some random snaps of my books, trying to figure out my camera.

A little light reading for you:

Yes, I've read almost everything on this shelf. The Count of Monte Cristo (almost hidden just to the left of Anne Frank) is one of my favorite books. I'm still working my way through The Handbook of Middle English, but I'm currently stuck on (not shown) The Origins and Development of the English Language. Geez, am I a dork, or what?

Sandwich. Not much Else.

To prove that there's still food preparation and consumption happening in the WIP household, I present to you, my dinner:

Homemade focaccia, loosely based on a King Arthur Flour recipe. (Loosely because I used Pillsbury AP flour, no add-ins or -ons except for garlic powder, and a sprinkling of dried basil and Trapani sea salt on top. And I mixed the dough by hand instead of beating the crap out of it on high speed with an electric mixer. Oh, and active dry yeast instead of instant, because I have yet to find instant yeast anywhere, or even figure out what the difference is.)

Sorry, back to the sandwich:
Hillshire Farms Ultra Thin Smoked Ham (classy, no?), sliced peperoncini, a slice of provolone, and the last of the Trader Joe's Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. Nuked for 10 seconds per side.

Yeah, I nuked a sandwich. Even after berating Youngest for nuking a quesadilla.

At least I took a picture.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Awesome Product Alert - Roasted Gorgonzola Flavored Oven Crisp Crackers

Geez what a name. But accurate. Sort of.

These salty cheesy crispy crackers from Trader Joe's are truly awesome, tastewise. Reading the ingredients, the gorgonzola flavor comes from cheddar cheese, sprouted wheat powder, sugar, yeast, soy sauce, onion and garlic powder, mustard flour (which apparently is mustard powder), and the usual preservatives. So, not really gorgonzola. But it doesn't matter. They're good. Addictive. More-ish.

Especially with a bit of salami and some Bleu D'Auvergne. And a glass of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, also from TJ's, Tommolo by Chiusa Grande, imported by D'Aquino. Not a bad Montepulciano for $5. And the grapes are organic, for what that's worth.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

100 must-eat American foods

I'm sure you've seen numerous posts of the Omnivore's 100 started by Very Good Taste. But did you see Slashfood's 100 must-eat American foods? I have a feeling that lists of 100 food items may be the new Tastespotting / Food Gawker / Recipe Muncher / Photograzing. there a Vegetarian's 100 yet? Celiac's 100? 100 must-eat Australian foods? Just wait, there probably will be.

Update 9/3/08: I ran across Helen's The British One Hundred today...I think I like this game, I now have 300 instead of just 100 items to try :-)

Update 9/4/08: Check out Tigers & Strawberries The Vegetarian Hundred.

Update 9/6/08: And now there's The Traveling Omnivore's 20...

Update 9/11/08: And 2 more, I knew this would take off...100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die from Appetite for China and 100 Japanese foods to try from Just Hungry.

Update 9/12/08: Oh, screw it. There's more. Go to The House of Annie's post for the links.

Update 9/18/08: I thought I was done updating, but Wandering Chopsticks just published her list of 100 Vietnamese Foods to Try. I think I've eaten maybe 5 of the 100...time to get eating.

Since I'm an American, here's my 100 must-eat American foods list:
  1. New York pizza
  2. Hoppin' John
  3. New Mexico green chile
  4. Homemade buttermilk biscuits
  5. Tasso (I wish!)
  6. Whoe Maine lobster (Ditto, I wish.)
  7. Calabash-style shrimp and hushpuppies (will someone tell me what Calabash style is?)
  8. Kansas City barbecue ribs
  9. Hot glazed Krispy Kreme
  10. San Diego fish tacos
  11. Cheese curds (but I keep meaning to)
  12. Key lime pie
  13. Philly cheese steak
  14. Memphis pork barbecue sandwich
  15. Lowcountry boil
  16. Huckleberry pie
  17. New England clam chowder
  18. Boiled peanuts (love)
  19. Buffalo burger
  20. Eggs Benedict
  21. Pastrami on rye
  22. Corned beef and cabbage
  23. Pancakes with maple syrup
  24. Everything bagel with cream cheese and tomato (and sprouts)
  25. Thin Mints (preferably frozen)
  26. Frito pie
  27. Potato knish with mustard
  28. Silver Queen corn on the cob (never heard of Silver Queen until today, and I grew up in corn-country)
  29. Soft pretzel from a street cart
  30. Fresh-picked blueberries
  31. Sourwood honey (clover, eucalyptus, alfalfa, tupelo, but not sourwood)
  32. State fair funnel cake (no strawberries or whipped cream, just plain, please)
  33. Chesapeake crab cakes
  34. Candied yams
  35. Oyster dressing
  36. Snow cone or snowball
  37. Wild Alaskan salmon
  38. Sautéed morels
  39. Persimmon pudding
  40. General Tso's Chicken
  41. Frozen custard (Want!)
  42. Italian sausage with peppers and onions on a hoagie bun
  43. Chili dog
  44. Buffalo wings with blue cheese
  45. Spam musubi (made my own, it was surprisingly good)
  46. Saltwater taffy
  47. Fluffernutter sandwich on Wonder Bread
  48. Black and white cookie (maybe I'll bake my own soon)
  49. Frybread
  50. BLT with thick-cut applewood bacon
  51. Baked beans
  52. Pumpkin pie
  53. Collards with vinegar and Tabasco
  54. Tex-Mex fajitas with skirt steak and sautéed peppers
  55. Fried green tomatoes
  56. Succotash
  57. Shrimp and grits
  58. Hot water cornbread
  59. Barbecue chicken pizza with red onions
  60. Chicken fried steak
  61. Carnitas burrito
  62. Apple butter
  63. Geoduck (sounds scarily delicious)
  64. Soft-serve ice cream cone dipped in chocolate shell (especially Dairy Queen)
  65. Pecan pie
  66. Catfish supper at a church or fire station
  67. Oysters Rockefeller
  68. Homemade cranberry sauce
  69. Pimiento cheese
  70. MoonPie washed down with R.C. Cola (no, thanks)
  71. Pickled watermelon rind (again, think I'll make my own sometime soon)
  72. Cracker Jacks at the ball game
  73. Smithfield ham
  74. Meatloaf and mashed potato blue plate special at diner
  75. Chicken and waffles (Roscoe's!)
  76. Po'Boy (I crave oyster po'boys even tho I've never had one)
  77. Green bean casserole with French's fried onions (every year growing up)
  78. Stuffed sopaipillas
  79. Turducken
  80. Shad roe on toast
  81. Sweet potato casserole with or without marshmallows (without, please)
  82. Cioppino
  83. New York cheesecake
  84. Pan-fried river trout
  85. Jambalaya
  86. North Carolina pig pickin' (sounds tasty)
  87. California rolls
  88. Burgoo
  89. Penuche fudge
  90. Fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (the Elvis)
  91. Scrapple or livermush
  92. Elk medallions in red wine reduction
  93. Muscadine grapes
  94. Cheeseburger at backyard barbecue
  95. Open-face turkey sandwich
  96. Chicago deep dish pizza (grew up there, so of course)
  97. Cobb salad
  98. Peach pie a la mode
  99. Macaroni and cheese with Tillamook sharp cheddar
  100. Root beer float

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ginger Ice Cream

I finally made Ginger Ice Cream, recipe courtesy of David Lebovitz via Slashfood, due to the fact that I couldn't handle another day of MIL bugging me to make it.

It was easy to make. It's delicious. No pictures, because it looks like every other ice cream I've made (and I'm lazy).

Make this, you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Refrigerator Disaster

So Somebody in my household (I'm not naming any names) thought it would be a good idea a soy sauce pourer from a local restaurant.

It lived in the fridge for a couple weeks with no adverse effects. But tonight the fridge became somewhat overcrowded with styrofoam containers full of yummy leftover chicken, rice and beans. And numerous little plastic containers of salsa. So Somebody shoved the sytrofoam container in, forcing the other fridge-residents to move aside. Including said soy sauce pourer. Which tipped over.

But Somebody didn't see it tip over. I discovered the mess while feeding the dogs.

So my fridge got a thorough cleaning. And I mean thorough. Like pull the fridge away from the wall so you can remove the lower two drawers because the stupid door doesn't open far enough type of thorough.

And my house smells like soy sauce.

Reminds me of something I heard once...Thou shalt not borrow soy sauce pourers with no intention of returning them steal. :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pet Post, with a Mention of Dinner

Somebody took a chunk out of Bad Kitty. I am not pleased.

It looks like whatever did it broke the skin a little, but she doesn't shy away from me touching it, so I think it's ok. Will just have to keep an eye on it for a few days...

And now the honorable food mention - I came home today from a grueling day at work, to find the most delicious chicken salad I've ever tasted waiting in the fridge. Made a sandwich with toasted wheat bread, provolone, peperoncini, and sprouts. Mmm...

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to elevate my knee(s), and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the evening.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Birthday Sushi Dinner... Nozomi in Carlsbad.

Seriously, folks, this place is amazing. It occupies the same spot where Cafe Sevilla used to be, but it's been completely, and I do mean completely, redone.

You walk in on the 2nd level, containing the hostess stand and seating. If you go downstairs, there's a turtle pond (real turtles!). Upstairs is a sushi bar and more seating. I think there may be another sushi bar and maybe tables by the turtle pond, but I didn't look too closely.

All the waitresses were clothed in black, and all in very short skirts, but they weren't too short as to be trashy (but short enough so the men's gazes lingered). The hostess was the only one in a brightly-colored Asian-style blouse. Everyone was very cute, and mostly Asian.

The decor is typical Asian fusion, with bamboo, statuary, and (don't forget!) the real turtles in the real pond. On the upstairs level, a glass fountain wall and two flat-screens placed so that any diner could watch college football (muted).

But enough of all that nonsense....on to the food.

Our appetizers were Jalapeno Poppers and Spicy Seafood Soup. The poppers were served sushi-roll-style, 1 inch circles of pepper, stuffed with cream cheese, tuna, and krab, panko-crusted, and topped with 2 sauces, one a spicy mayo and the other slightly teriyaki-like. When the plate came out, I did a double-take, as I was expecting your typical poppers, not something that looked like sushi. They were amazing! Not too spicy, not too cheesy, perfect temperature, perfect crunch on the outside. The only thing I wasn't too sure about was the krab (same as you get in CA rolls), I think it may have been better without it. But that's not saying I wouldn't get them again.

The soup was served in a cute little pot with a lid, a lime segment resting on top. The broth was citrusy and spicy, containing a tender and sweet scallop, a delectable mussel, one perfectly springy shrimp (QQ), and 2 small clams, along with a cluster of (maybe) baby enoki mushrooms, and little shreds of something light green (seaweed?). I believe (unverified) that they get their shellfish from the nearby Carlsbad Aquafarm, in which case, we ate something as local as possible, and absolutely delicious. Aside from one piece of sand in one of the clams. But I'm not holding that against them, sand happens, no matter how meticulous you are.

Our two sushi rolls were the Surfs Up and the Hula. Surfs Up is described on the menu as a "spicy cilantro tuna roll, topped with fresh tuna, finished with a surf clam ceviche and jalapenos". I did't really see the jalapenos, but the rest of the description is accurate. It was good, but I think I would prefer my surf clam ceviche next to the roll, rather than on top, as I discovered that I really don't care for tomatoes in my sushi. But that's not their fault, it's mine. All the ingredients were super-fresh, the slices were rolled perfectly and cut to just the right size.

The Hula roll, which Hubby talked me into ordering, and I'm sooo glad he did, was the highlight. The menu describes it as "shrimp tempura, krab, avocado, and cucumber on the inside, topped with spicy tuna, drizzled with spicy kabayaki sauce, and sprinkled with crushed Macadamia nuts and green tea crunchies". Green tea crunchies, people. I don't know how they make them, but I want a bag. With a little side container of the kabayaki sauce. My favorite part of this plate was, after the roll slices were gone, little crunchie tidbits mixed with the sauce. Culinary genius, your standard "specialty roll" elevated to new heights.

We also sampled the Teriyaki Angus Sirloin Steak, ordered for the non-sushi eaters. Completely different from any teriyaki steak I've ever had before. This was grilled to your desired doneness, sliced (a little too thickly, I thought), and drizzled with teriyaki sauce. It was served atop a mound of rice, which was floating on a butter sauce (mmm...), accompanied by stewed carrot and daikon radish. We had to ask what the radish was, because we had never tasted anything like it before. I believe it was pickled, then stewed, but don't quote me on that. However it was prepared, it was good, as was the entire dish.

For dessert, MIL ordered 2 pieces of nigiri sushi, surf clam. Fresh, springy, chewy, tender. A great ending.

(Oh, and free ice cream for my birthday, vanilla topped with a chocolate lattice and a raspberry. Yum.)

You can bet we'll be going back to Nozomi, I'm thinking for an omakase dinner at the sushi bar.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday dear me
Happy Birthday to me.

I'll tell you all about my birthday sushi dinner tomorrow. I'm too tired to type it up right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pet Question

My chihuahua really hates her dry kibble. And the flavor or the brand doesn't matter, she just do not want. When I mix it with canned, she eats that, leaving the kibble. If I go so far as to smash up the canned stuff so it coats the dry food, she licks off every bit of canned food, even picking up the pieces and rolling them around in her mouth, then spitting them out.

She's not starving, she'll eventually eat the dry stuff if she's hungry enough.

But she loves Bad Kitty's dry chow, practically inhales it.

Question: Is it OK to feed a dry cat food (Purina) to a small dog?

Food & Wine, October 2008

Potentially tasty treats from the October issue of Food & (mostly) Wine:
And once again, I'm going to complain about Food & Wine's website and searching capabilities. I noticed that the URL for the lamb dish above is So I figured that was an easy way to get the recipe links. But when I typed in, I got "Page Not Found". And then when I found the recipe through Google, I clicked on it, and what I typed in previously was exactly what was shown! The cheeky bastards.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Beer Bread

We bought a case of Corona last week in preparation for a get-together. Imagine how surprised I was when I opened the freezer on Sunday and saw 2 Coronas in the ice bin. Thank God they hadn't exploded.

I took them out and let them thaw out. When they were about half-liquid, I opened one. Big mistake. All the liquid beer shot all over the kitchen. The remaining frozen part expanded to fill the bottle, and kept oozing slowly out of the mouth of the bottle.

With the remaining bottle, I was a little more careful, ie. I let it thaw all the way before opening. Took a taste - blech. Flat. Weird.

So I made bread out of it, using Farmgirl's Basic Beer Bread mix, colby-jack cheese that's been in the fridge forever (not a speck of mold or drying, how strange), a ton of black pepper, and a dash of cayenne.

Yum. Not as crusty as I like my homemade bread, but the cheese and pepper flavors really came through. And no (Mom), it doesn't taste like beer.

So try beer bread if you want homemade bread, don't have time for yeast, and have a beer hanging around.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Green Spider - Dangerous?

Anybody know what kind of spider this is? Hubby thought brown recluse, but I think he's too green. He's a little bigger than a quarter. He might be a green lynx spider, in which case I'm not as worried...

Mamey Milkshake

So Ben over at What's Cooking recently did a post on mamey, or sapote, or zapote. I had never had it before, and it looked interesting, so I checked out one of the many Mexican & Central American markets in my area to see if I could find any.

Not only did they have frozen bags of cut-up mamey, they also had whole frozen ones. Into my cart it went.

Once thawed, I cut it open. What a seed! Took a taste...hmm...not sure if I like into a milkshake it went, a can of evaporated milk, a little less than 1/4 cup of sugar, and the pulp (recipe courtesy of Nestle). Blend and chill in the freezer.

Taste...nope...still don't like it. Oh, and hey! I'm allergic! It's nice to finally be allergic to something I don't care for.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Peppers Stuffed with Jambalaya

So I was the lucky recipient of a whole boxload of stuff from Zatarain's, courtesy of a tip from The Passionate Eater.

I was also lucky enough to have 2 Italian frying peppers from the farmers market. So I deseeded the peppers, stuffed them with the jambalaya mix and some colby-jack cheese, toothpicked them closed, and simmered in tomato sauce until tender.

No pictures, sorry. Only 2 peppers, and we ate them before I thought of the camera...

Friday, September 5, 2008


I made my first dumplings today, aren't they cute?

OK, they're a little mis-shapen. Shut up. And yes, I know the word is 'misshapen', but that just looks weird. Like my dumplings.

I'm not sure if they're jiaozi, gyoza, or fried har gow, but whatever you call them, they were delicious.

I based my recipe on Jaden's, minus the pork, bamboo and salt. Measurement-wise, I just glugged and chopped until it looked good. I also used wonton skins, because that's all that was available in my market. Because of that, I had to moisten the wrapper to get it to stick together, which made it impossible to only pleat one side like Jaden was miraculously able to do.

So, yeah, they look funny. But they didn't leak, and they were great cooked up per Jaden's recipe (fried, steamed, fried again), and dipped in a mix of soy sauce, black vinegar, rice wine and sesame oil.

The best part is that I now have a bag of dumplings in my freezer for a little snack whenever I want. No, I take that back. The best part is that Hubby doesn't like them, so they're all for me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What to do with barbecue leftovers?

You make a sandwich, of course!

I took a 4-inch piece of baguette and cut it in half, scooping out some of the insides because I like to taste the filling, not just the bread.

Then I reheated some of the pork ribs and steak barbecue from our Labor Day meat-fest.

I made a coleslaw loosely based on this recipe from Kristin at The Kitchen Sink - I say loosely because I used mayonnaise instead of buttermilk, didn't measure anything, and only made enough to top my mini-sandwich.

Assembly: Bread, barbecue, slaw, dip the top bread in the sauce from the barbecue, and place on top.

I'm happy.

New Farmers Market

I stopped by the new Farmers Market way out in Valley Center today, and this is what I came home with:

2 cucumbers, 2 Italian frying peppers, 2 cayenne peppers, 5 kalamansis (or calamondins), and an Asian pear.

There was of course the ubiquitous and omnipresent (for this time of year anyway) offering of tomatoes and zucchini. Lots of potted herbs (I thought about buying purple basil, but I know I'd kill it), avocados, tangelos, lemons, peaches. I saw a couple bunches of collards and some arugula too.

Oh, and I tried a Persian lemon, which has absolutely no sourness whatsoever. My first thought was "where's the rest of the flavor?" Strange.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Barbecue

Hubby informed me yesterday morning that he wanted to do a Southern barbecue for Labor Day. Who am I to argue?

Hubby learned barbecue from his friend James, who spent a good chunk of his life in North Carolina. The barbecue sauce consists of a sweetish tangy bottled sauce, apple cider vinegar, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, hot pepper flakes. E&J Brandy or Jack Daniels is a nice addition. He mixes up a large batch in my roasting pan, and brings it to a simmer on the stove.

While that's simmering, he tosses the various meats in a little apple cider vinegar, and lights the coals. Various meats = chicken (any part), steak (boneless, usually tri-tip), pork ribs cut in 2-3 rib sections, and hot links. When the fire goes out on the coals, grilling starts. A nice char is the goal, with the meat almost cooked through. When each piece has a good amount of blackening, it goes into the simmering sauce. The whole pot simmers on very low for about an hour, with water added to thin it if necessary.

The result is an incredibly tasty falling-off-the bone protein-fest. Served with grilled corn and cole slaw.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hainanese Chicken Rice

I had come across numerous recipes for Hainanese Chicken Rice, touted by Wikipedia as a national dish of Singapore, also very popular in Malaysia, and originally from the Hainan province of China.

Having absolutely no clue what I was doing, I followed Chubby Hubby's recipe, except for the rice. The chicken, poached in water but never allowed to boil, turned out moist and tender. The chillie and ginger sambal was a winner, made with serranos from my garden.

The rice, however, I wasn't too impressed with. I used a shortcut, Hangchong Hainanese Chicken Rice Mix, that I got from AsianSupermarket365. I used my jasmine rice, which is supposedly the same thing as the Thai fragrant rice called for on the jar, and it cooked up okay, but I just didn't dig too much on the texture. The rice had an almost slimy-mushy coating of what tasted and felt like chicken fat (the ingredients of the mix include soybean oil and chicken powder). Maybe I should have followed Chubby Hubby's recipe for the rice, but I don't know what a pandanus leaf looks like, let alone where to find one.

That being's how I served it: Put a mound of rice in a bowl, pour some broth (from poaching the chicken) around the rice, sprinkle with sliced green onion, and top with some poached chicken slices. Serve with dishes of soy sauce and chilli ginger sambal on the side, along with diced cucumbers.

I would have loved to have a picture of the finished dish - but there's no way in hell I could get a decent picture of white rice and white chicken in a red bowl to turn out.

When the rice was mixed into the broth, it lost some of the texture that I found unpleasant. The soy sauce and sambal livened up the deliberately mild-flavored chicken. All in all, I was pleased with the dish, but I wouldn't go through all the work again. Chubby Hubby's recipe uses a 1kg (2.2lb) chicken - I couldn't find a chicken under 4 lbs to save my life! Granted, it was a sustainably raised, antibiotic free chicken on sale for 77 cents a pound, but that sucker weighed 4.64 pounds! So instead of poaching for a hour, it was more like 2 hours, having to reheat more than once. I'm sure if there were such a thing as a decent-sized chicken around here, I could've done it in a hour.

Then there was the whole carving-the-chicken thing, something which, to be blunt, I suck at.

So I guess what it comes down to is: try this dish if you make the rice from scratch, have a small chicken, and don't suck at carving.