Posts filed under ‘Thoughts on Food’

Smitten Kitchen is my new favorite

It may be counterproductive to my hit count to promote another blog, but I have to share this. Smitten Kitchen is my new favorite blog.

If you know me well, you know that I’m a sucker for extravagant food. As I am unable to afford 5-star restaurants with fancy French chefs, I quickly realized that if I want luxurious food, I am going to have to make it myself. (The saffron ricotta ravioli recipe testifies to this fact). Of course, I’m interested in the economics and ethics of food, too. But every once in a while, I like to push the boundaries of the conventional kitchen by spending one fourth of my waking hours on a complex, 5-star meal.

Tomorrow the wifey is trying the root beer float cupcake recipe. Other noteworthy recipes that I’m itching to try include black bread (with 19 ingredients including chocolate, fennel and shallots!), apple cider donuts, and the frightening 44-clove garlic soup.

Head over to the Smitten Kitchen and check it out. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

July 1, 2010 at 3:57 am Leave a comment

Pressure Cooker Revolution

It may sound dramatic, but my pressure cooker changed my life.

I self-identify as a “reduced meat consumer.” For ethical reasons I have chosen not to buy meat. (Ok, I cheat from time to time. We’ll buy fish on occasion). I never reject food that someone else has prepared for me, especially in cross-cultural situations. However, when I’m cooking in my home, the food is almost exclusively vegetarian. Nuts and beans are the primary source of protein in our household.

For years, we’ve had bags of dry beans in the pantry. I can remember my though process at the grocery store when I bought them. “I hate having to buy so many cans of beans. Dry beans are cheaper to buy, and it cuts down considerably on waste. They don’t have all the added sodium either. I should cook dry beans more often! In fact, I’m going to start right now.”

I resolutely grab a bag or two off the shelf. I bring them home and put them in the pantry along with all of my great ambitions. Ambitions must be like a wine that gets better with age, because the beans usually sat unopened in the pantry for months upon months.

The problem with dried beans is that cooking them requires an inordinate amount of foresight. Ideally, they soak  overnight, then simmer for 2 hours until tender. It’s entirely impractical. I can cook, eat and do the dishes in 2 hours. I don’t have that kind of patience. Furthermore, I inevitably forget to soak them the night before. Sure, some legumes cook quicker than others. Lentils used to be a staple for this reason, but after a while I got tired of lentils. Lentils also don’t substitute for black beans or chick peas well at all.

Alas, I resigned myself to buying canned beans.

Until my wife met a family from the Middle East. They cooked beans all the time in a pressure cooker. “And it only takes like 15 minutes!” wifey exclaimed. (An exaggeration perhaps, but not an egregious one). So we asked for a pressure cooker for Christmas.

It revolutionized my world.

Skip the 12 hours of soaking and 2 hours of simmering. My pressure cooker cooks beans in 30 minutes. Even gigantic fava beans only take about 45 minutes. Brown rice cooks in 20.

Now those abandoned bags in the back of the cupboard are getting consumed in a timely fashion. We even started buying beans in bulk (15 lbs., last time).

The pressure cooker should be a vital part of the vegetarian’s kitchen. If you don’t have one, get one asap.

May 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Just when you thought fast food couldn’t get worse

KFC introduces it’s “double-down.”

How does one make a double-down? Easy. Put two pieces of bacon and two slices cheese between two pieces of deep-fried chicken. Omit the bun. If, after eating one, your fingers aren’t to greasy to keep a hold of the phone, please call 9-11 and order an ambulance immediately.

This “sandwich” stomps a Big Mac with more calories, fat and sodium. In your face, Ronald. How much calories, fat and sodium? 540 calories, 32g of fat, and 1380mg sodium. Eating two puts you over your daily limit for saturated fat and sodium, so make sure to skip breakfast. (Is it really worth it?)

Don’t worry, according to the Indy Star, KFC is giving away all the extra buns that they’re not using. According to their VP of Marketing, “thousands” of buns will be donated nationally. Thousands, huh? Not tens or hundreds of thousands? Let’s be optimistic. Let’s say they donate 9,000 buns (on the high end of the “thousands” category). That means each state gets about 180 buns. Talk about generosity! We can all learn a valuable lesson from KFC… and that lesson is, if you can’t give everyone a heart attack, try starving them to death.

April 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm 2 comments

Pop vs. Coke vs. Soda debate settled

Having lived in Chattanooga–home of the creator of bottled beverages and only a short jaunt from Atlanta, the home of Coca-Cola–the Pop-Coke-Soda debate took on nearly religious significance. I’ve heard people argue for (literally) hours about why it should be called pop/Coke/soda, and why calling it anything else is nonsensical.

So when I stumbled across the following image on my soon-to-be brother in law’s blog, I had to share…

Pop vs. Coke vs. Soda

(Red: Coke, Blue: Pop, Yellow: Soda)

April 21, 2009 at 8:46 am 3 comments


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