Monday, January 31, 2005

Super Bowl Food

We usually have what I call "junk food" but more properly is called snacks ... the kind that everyone winds up making a meal out of anyway if given a chance. Rotel Cheese Dip, Taquitos, Eggrolls, Marcia's Cheese Log ... and here's a perfect fit to that menu that I used to make but had forgotten about (and us so close to New Orleans) - Muffalettas. The Dallas Morning News' much improved food section featured this recipe that looks fairly close to the one I used to make (free registration required). We prefer our Muffalettas with ham instead of salami. It's really the olive salad that makes the sandwich more than anything. Mmmmm ... olive salad.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Weekend Jokes

Why did the cookie visit the doctor?
He felt crummy.

What did the hot dog say when he crossed the finish line?
I'm the weiner!

What did one hot dog say to another?
Hi, Frank.

What is bright orange and sounds like a parrot?
A carrot.

A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book

Thought for Food

Nobody seems more obsessed by diet than our anti-materialistic, otherworldly, New Age spiritual types. But if the material world is merely illusion, an honest guru should be as content with Budweiser and bratwurst as with raw carrot juice, tofu and seaweed slime.
Edward Abbey

Nutrition Basics - Carbohydrates

Bread


Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source of the brain and nervous system. They provide energy for muscle movement and red blood cells, and they play a role in the regulation of fat metabolism. Fifty-five to 60 percent of a person's daily calories should come from carbohydrates -- in a 2,000-calorie diet, that is approximately 1,100 to 1,200 calories (275 to 300 grams of carbohydrate).

Carbohydrates are composed of smaller units containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, otherwise known as sugars, and are classified as simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates, such as sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), and lactose (the sugar found in milk), are more quickly broken down into glucose and absorbed by the body than complex carbohydrated, found in plant-based foods such as grains, legumes, and vegetables.
The Professional Chef, 7th Edition by The Culinary Institute of America

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday Five - Food Memories

Today's Friday Five is about food memories from your childhood. I already did this over at the "mother blog," Happy Catholic, so just drop by and read them over there.

Spinach and Tofu Paneer

This is for Alicia. It isn't exactly what she wanted but I discovered that out of my 154 cookbooks (I actually stopped to count them ... shocking number!), I have only 3 Indian cookbooks and neither had it. However, I did have this recipe that sounds pretty close from This Can't Be Tofu by Deborah Madison. Also using tofu sounds a lot easier than coming up with fresh Indian cheese. I really detest "vegetarian" cookbooks but this one grabbed me when it came out. It was riveting and made me believe I actually could cook and enjoy tofu. Too bad I've never put that to the test by making a recipe from it. This might be the one that breaks that barrier. I will include Madison's introduction because it explains why I thought Alicia might like the recipe.

For a long time it seemed to me that there was more than a superficial resemblance between the white Indian cheese called paneer and tofu. When I finally made the classic Indian dish of spinach and paneer using tofu, it tasted amazingly at home in the cumin, ginger, and chile-laced sauce. There's a little going back and forth between the skillet and a food processor but this is an easy dish to make. I serve it over rice with a sprinkling of toasted black sesame seeds.

1 carton firm or soft tofu
Salt
1 large bunch spinach, stems discarded, leaves well washed
1 jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped (I would seed this too)
1-inch knob ginger, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons ghee, butter, or vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon, plus a pinch, nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup yogurt

Dice the tofu into pieces about the size of a sugar cube or a little smaller. Bring 6 cups water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the tofu, turn off the heat, and leave for 4 or 5 minutes pour into a colander to drain. (If you've used soft tofu, remove it with a slotted spoon.) Set aside.

Steam the spinach until wilted, then remove it to a cutting board and chop. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water.

Put the chiles, ginger, garlic, and onion in a food processor, and process until finely chopped. Heat the ghee or butter in a nonstick skillet, add the onion mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne, and 1 cup water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then return the mixture to the food processor, add the spinach, and puree.

Return the mixture to the skillet, add the half-and-half and the tofu, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Serve over basmati rice.

The Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

From The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. What better way to test a cookbook than with something we all know and love? This cookie passed with flying colors with a small group of women devouring a large plate of cookies one evening ... and our family didn't turn any down either. Personally, I prefer a little more depth of flavor to my cookies and probably will continue using my current favorite recipe from Cookies Unlimited.

Rose used a bag of them to thank one of Hannah's friends who had lent her a textbook in an hour of need. He had heard of Rose's cookie baking fame before. "I can't believe I now hold a 'Rose' cookie in my hands," he said, beaming. That was right before a horde of friends descended on the cookies...


Rose's comment? She couldn't believe there were only three steps. "And two of those are pre-heating the oven and baking the cookies!"

The strange ingredient in these is the vinegar which the KA people say tempers the sweetness of the sugar and reacts with the baking soda to give the cookies extra lift ... I didn't notice much effect and might try this again without the vinegar and baking soda to see just what difference there actually is.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies
Baking temperature: 375° F
Baking time: 10 minutes

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (5-1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
2/3 cup (4-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (1-1/4 ounces) light corn syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/4 cups (9-1/2 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, and vinegar, then beat in the eggs. Beat in the vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they're just set; the centers may still look a bit underdone. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Nutrition info/1 cookie, 29 g.: 124 cal, 6 g fat, 1 g protein, 5 g complex carbohydrates, 12 g sugar, 1 g dietary fiber, 17 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Food Section Roundup

Too Many Chefs checks up on what's being written about in food sections of newspapers around the country. I can attest to anyone in interested in vanilla from Paplanta, Mexico ... the Dallas Morning News piece was on top of the situation.

Cookies Galore


This is a fascinating cookbook to read, although with over 400 recipes eventually I was tired of all the variations and varieties. However, I do admit that is not really the point as a cookbook is to cook from, not to read, and chances are, if you are looking for any type of cookie, you will find what you want here. I especially was intrigued by the King Arthur approach to the essential American cookies, which offered recipes to encompass every taste from Chewy to Crisp and in-between; including Chocolate Chip, Sugar Cookies, Brownies, and Biscotti (although the variations on that cookie ran between Italian and American styles). Frankly, I probably will never care enough to make their version of Oreos or Whoopie Pies (that is what grocery stores are for in my estimation), but those sorts of recipes are included too for the avid do-it-yourselfer.

This definitely is a great resource book also as it has all sorts of charts, tips and "how-to's" scattered throughout the pages. For instance, we used their staggered pan layout for making chocolate chip cookies to fit more on the sheet ... and it worked like a charm. Now, why didn't I think of that? Helpful illustrations walk the reader through techniques that may be difficult to understand from the written word alone. An ending section on ingredients not only has all the basic information but answers questions such as "What's the difference between an extract, an oil, and a flavor?" or "What if I run out of baking powder?"

We tried the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from this book and, although I have another recipe I like better, everyone else raved over them ... obviously that is a matter of personal taste. The recipe worked like a charm, was simple and well explained, and delivered just what it promised. I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

So the bottom line is, do I like this cookbook enough to buy it? Yes. I'd like to work my way through all the variations of the essential cookies and the tips and hints are practical enough to make this book a worthwhile investment.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Here's What Kills You

Shamelessly lifted from Under the Sky (via Donna at Quiet Life who did the very same thing, so I'm copying her too!).
For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

  1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

  2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

  4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

  5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION:Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Secret Agent Man Discovers Food Blogs

The quintessential Catholic blogger broadens his horizons with ... yep, you guessed it ... food blogs!

A Favorite Coleslaw

In line with finding out about the effects of chopping cabbage, here is our family's favorite, quintessential American coleslaw, which is only proper as it comes from James Beard's American Cookery. This is the Sweet and Sour Slaw variation of the basic recipe. I make only half the amount of dressing for the same amount of cabbage and use all mayonnaise.

1 cabbage, 2-3 pounds, finely shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco

Crisp the cabbage in cold water for an hour. Drain well and combine with the mayonnaise, sour cream, and seasonings. Toss well and let stand 30 minutes, or even longer if you like a rather wilted slaw. Correct the seasoning before serving.

The Cabbage Family: Effects of Chopping

Different preparation and cooking methods give different flavor balances in cabbage relatives. It's been found, for example, that simply chopping cabbage -- for making coleslaw, for example -- increases not only the liberation of flavor compounds from precursors, but also increases the production of the precursors. And if the chopped cabbage is then dressed with an acidic sauce, some pungent products increase sixfold. (Soaking the chopped cabbage in cold water will leach out most of the flavor compounds formed by chopping, at the same time that it hydrates the leaves and makes them crisper. When cabbages and their relatives are fermented to make sauerkraut and other pickles, nearly all of the flavor precursors and their products are transformed into less bitter, less pungent substances.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

Monday, January 24, 2005

Very Nice Red Beans and Rice

We had these last week and they really were "very nice." Also, they were very easy which is a definite plus. This made a lot more than 8 servings for us but it worked out well as I froze several small portions and sent them to my mother-in-law when my husband visited her last weekend. She prefers to eat her red beans on cornbread instead of rice. Us? We had cornbread too ... on the side. From The Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook by Rick Rodgers.

Makes 6-8 servings.

1 pound dried, small red chili beans, rinsed, drained and picked over
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 scallions chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-1/3 cups water
2-2/3 cups double-strength beef broth (I used undiluted Campbell's consomme, of which I had only one can and filled in the rest with chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red hot pepper
1 smoked ham hock (about 9 ounces), skin scored in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife (I had a ham bone left over from Christmas that I had frozen to use in this very recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups hot cooked rice
Chopped scallions, for garnish

In a large pot, combine the beans with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from theheat, cover the pot, and let stand for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 1 hour; drain well. (The beans can also be soaked overnight in a large bowl with enough water to cover by 2 inches, then drained --- this is what I did.)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, scallions, and garlic. cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 3-1/2quart slow cooker.

Stir in the drained beans, water, beef broth, and red pepper. Bury the ham hock in the bean mixture. Cover and slow-cook until the beans are veny tender, 9-10 hours on low (200°F).

Remove the ham hock, and pull off and discard the fat and skin. Remove the meat from the bone and coarsely chop. Return the meat to the pot, and stir in the salt. (At this point the beans were cooked but the liquid was quite watery. I prefer my red beans to be of a creamy consistency so I put them in a pot on the stove, mashed some up with a potato masher, and cooked it down for about half an hour ... perfect!)

Serve the beans in bowls, spooned over hot cooked rice, and sprinkled with chopped scallions.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Weekend Joke

An eighty-year old couple is having problems remembering things so they go to the doctor to get checked out. They describe for the doctor the problems they are each having with their memory. After checking the couple out, the doctor tells them that they are physically okay, but that they might want to start writing things down to help them remember. The couple thanks the doctor and leaves. Later that night while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. His wife asks, "Where are you going?" He replies, "To the kitchen." She asks him for a bowl of ice cream and he replies, "Sure."

She then asks him, "Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember?" He says, "No, I can remember that."

"Well," she then says, "I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down 'cause I know you'll forget." He says, "I can remember that, you want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."

"Well," she replies, "I also would like whipped cream on top. I know you will forget that, so you better write it down." With irritation in his voice, he says, "I don't need to write that down, I can remember that."

He fumes off into the kitchen. When he returns twenty minutes later he hands her a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment and says, "You forgot my toast."

Thought for Food

I'm one of those people who read cookbooks the way other people read travel writing: I may not ever make the recipe, but it's fun to read about it, and to speculate on what kind of people would ... Any cookbook, read in its entirety, creates its own imagined view of the world.
Margaret Atwood, Literary Gastronomy (quoted in A Gracious Plenty)

Nutrition Basics - Calories

Salad

Foods provide human beings with the energy needed to perform vital functions. This energy is measured in kilocalories, defined as the amount of energy or heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In general use, the term calorie is normally substituted for kilocalorie.

There is a direct correlation between calories consumed and body weight. Calorie intake needs to equal calorie expenditure in order for a person to maintain weight. Consuming more calories than expended will result in weight gain, while consuming fewer calories than expended will cause weight loss.

Although foods consist of many components, calories come from only four sources: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohol. Carbohydrates and proteins contain 4 calories per gram, fats have 9 calories per gram, and alcohol carries 7 calories per gram. Therefore, a food containing 10 grams of fat will contain 90 calories from fat.

Any food source that has a good supply of nutrients in relation to the number of calories it contains is considered nutrient-dense. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, and low-fat dairy products are all nutrient-dense foods. Foods and beverages that contribute little or nothing besides calories include beer, wine, and other forms of alcohol, doughnuts, jams and jellies, and candy.

In order to maintain good health, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that 55 to 60 percent of a person's daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates, and protein should contribute 12 to 15 percent. Fat calories should be limited to a maximum of 30 percent.
The Professional Chef, 7th Edition by The Culinary Institute of America

Friday, January 21, 2005

Loaves, Fishes, and ... Salsa?

I can tell you right now what to expect, if the show is based off the book that popped up in 2002: Nothing substantial ...

To top it off, his recipes include ingredients like lemons, avacodos, tomatoes; items not known in the Middle East during the time when it's said that Jesus lived. Even though it's possible that Jesus ate falafel, it's impossible that he ate salsa. This makes Dr. Colbert's work seem shallow and exploitive.

Kate at Accidental Hedonist lets "What Would Jesus Eat" have it with both barrels. Thank you! The concept of the book was terrible to begin with so I'm not surprised that the book was not very substantial or well thought out.

Food Digest

Too Many Chefs has their latest Food Section Digest in which they sifted through weekly food sections so we don't have to ... and have pulled out the goodies for our perusal.

The Cabbage Family: Cabbage, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Others

Like the onion family, the cabbage family is a group of formidable chemical warriors with strong flavors. It's also a uniquely protean family. From two weedy natives of the Mediterranean and central Asia, we have managed to develop more than a dozen major crops of very different kinds: some leaves, some flowers, some stems, some seeds. Then there are a dozen or more relatives, notably the radishes and mustards, and crosses between species: altogether a rich and ongoing collaboration between nature's inventiveness and our own. Beyond the cabbage family itself, some of its distant botanical relatives share elements of its biochemistry and therefore its flavors; these include capers and papayas.

The Flavor Chemistry of the Cabbage Family
Like onions, cabbages and their relatives stockpile two kinds of defensive chemicals in their tissues: flavor precursors, and enzymes that act on the precursors to liberate the reactive flavors. When the plant's cells are damaged, the two stockpiles are mixed, and the enzymes start a chain of reactions that generates bitter, pungent, and strong-smelling compounds. The special cabbage-family system is effective enoughto have inspired a notorious man-made version, the mustard gas of World War I ...

The stockpiled, defensive precursors in the cabbage family are called glucosinolates... Some of the flavor precursors and products are very bitter, and some have significant effects on our metabolism. Particular [precursors] interfere with the proper function of the thyroid gland and can cause it to enlarge if the diet is poor in iodine. But others help protect against the development of cancer by finetuning our system for disposing of foreign chemicals. This is the case for substances in broccoli and broccoli sprouts.

A given vegetable will contain a number of different precursor glucosinolates, and the combinations are characteristic. this is why cabbage, brussels, sprouts, broccoli, and mustard greens have similar but distinctive flavors. the chemical defensive system is most active -- and the flavor strongest -- in young, actively growing tissues: the center of brussels sprouts, fr example, and portions of the cabbage core, which are twice as active as the outer leaves. Growing conditions have a strong influence on the amounts of flavor precursors the plant stockpiles. Summer temperatures and drought stress increase them, while the cold, wetness, and dim sunlight of autumn and winter reduce them. Autumn and winter vegetables are usually milder.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

Ingredient Alert

aldente

First, we artfully blend the highest quality Durum and Semolina flour—locally milled especially for us—with fresh eggs and premium herbs and spices. Then we remain true to Marcella Hazan's original advice as we roll the dough over and over again, producing pasta with superb flavor and sublime, velvety-fresh texture.

So that explains it! All I knew was that Al Dente Egg Fettucine are the best tasting egg noodles I've ever had. A friend of Hannah's loves them so much that whenever she is having dinner with us I know I'll be hearing that hopeful question, "Are we having those special noodles?" I have tried the flavored pastas and they are good, although with all the purists in this household, plain old egg noodles remain the favorite. They seem to be in all the grocery stores around here so if you see them pick up a package and see if they become your "special noodles."

Thursday, January 20, 2005

How About a Little Dinner with Your Politics?

Dear me, did your tickets to today's re-coronation and inaugural luncheon get lost in the mail too? Pity. Look what we missed...

... Quail eggs, I've heard, are delish, but roasted quail sounds rather too delicate and timid. Wouldn't our beloved warmonger prefer steak tartare? Or a big, beefy filet mignon? Or Cheney favorite, Rocky Mountain Oysters?

Gee, here I thought that food blogs were about ... well, food. I thought this was one place where you could relax and not worry about politics, except perhaps the politics of high cuisine versus home cooking. Guess not. It's all really just one more chance to stick it to the man.

UPDATE: I see that the Accidental Hedonist dropped by and linked here. Which was very exciting and I thank her! She also took that opportunity to deliver a little primer on the fact that blogs are for whatever we want them to be and that it is well within a food blogger's right to write about politics rather than food. Ah yes, I totally agree ... as anyone who drops by my other blog will soon realize. And which is why I exercised that very right in doing this post in the first place ... to mention my discovery and express my dismay that the foodie world is not the nirvana I thought.

The Way to Eat

To the apparent great envy of all other women on the planet, French women seem eternally better dressed, more stylish, and better looking. Guiliano believes that the secret to slimness for French women springs from fundamentally two sources: the French attitude toward eating, which focuses on only the best and freshest foods consumed in careful moderation, and frequent, purposeful walking. Thus, daily trips to local markets for fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and cheeses work to keep these women slimmer than their supermarket-shopping American sisters. Throughout the text, she records recipes for French cookery varying in complexity from two-ingredient leek broth to croissants. Guiliano, U.S. head of a major French Champagne house, doesn't neglect to recommend a glass of wine as part of smart dining. A commonsense diet based on both restraint and simple exercise, Guiliano's diet stresses that food consumption ought to be deliberate and pleasurable and done always sitting at table with appropriate napery. This diet may not transform every American woman into Stephane Audran, but it's an approach. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved. From Booklist

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure sounds as if it sends the same message that I learned when just out of college. I had read a book about behavior modification as applied to dieting. It was the only "diet" that ever worked for me. Eating habits were changed so that food was savored and I lost dramatic amounts of weight in a year with very little pain and no change in the sorts of food I ate. Sadly, I have fallen out of those habits and am just now beginning to try to pick them up again. I don't have that book any more but still remember the "tricks" ... make each meal last 20 minutes, take small bites, drink a sip of water in between bites. Just as important as the weight that I lost was the lesson I learned ... that through savoring a meal, food lost its power over me at other times. It was very freeing.

I have requested this book from the library and look forward to seeing if it dovetails into those habits I am working to regain.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Blogging Around

Erik talks about what it's like to be a restaurant reviewer.
However, even in those things, there are cultural differences that must be taken into account. Explorateur is objectively better cheese than velveeta, which is barely a cheese at all. But velveeta does have a place in the world, and a critic who complains about Billy Bob's Burgers using velveeta is probably out of his league.

There is a Bay Area food critic who misses this distinction all the time. He does not understand that Italian American food is a related but ultimately different animal than Italian food. Instead of discerning whether or not a red gravy is a good red gravy, he laments that it is not a true bolognese. When this critic is reviewing a four star French restaurant, he is pretty good, but when he jumps into Guido's House of Spaghetti, he misses the point entirely.


Movable Feast describes what he's been enduring trying to get into France to work.
Tomorrow I'll either get my French work visa - to finally start working at Les Ambassadeurs - or I won't. If I don't get it they might torture me with yet another appointment - or they won't - they might just say no. And all that is still contigent on if my chef still wants me. And did I mention that there's a one month trial period? In France it's very difficult to fire someone so there's a trial period of usually one to three months. After that you're pretty much secure in your job - which explains a lot of the bureaucracy.

An Oldie But a Goodie

This is the recipe for the peppers and onions that I served alongside that Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin. It is from The New Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna. This is my go-to cookbook for any basic recipe. It is utterly reliable. The addition of red wine, tomato paste, and oregano are something I picked up somewhere else but can't remember where.

Italian Peppers and Onions
(4 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large sweet red or green pappers or 8 Italian sweet green peppers, washed, cored, seeded, and cut in long, thin strips
1 medium-size Spanish onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons red wine
1 teaspoon oregano

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add peppers, onion, and garlic and stir-fry 8 minutes until onion is golden. Add all other ingredients, cover, turn heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Uncover, cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes to drive off excess moisture (I don't usually find this necessary because of the tomato paste); serve.

Why Does Metal Spark in the Microwave?

It's amazing what you can learn from the Sunday comics.
Micro-radiowaves cook by getting food molecules to jump around and get hot. This radio energy does different things to metals or the shiny metallic paint on some dishes. It can make dangerous sparks.

Microwave energy pushes electrons through metal. Different parts of the metal paint get different electrical charges. Sparks jumping between different parts of the metal balance out the charges. But their intense heat can also wreck the dish or even melt the whole oven.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Chef's Uniform - The Rest of It

More about kitchen safety in clothing. I may never dress the same again to cook dinner.

Chef toque
THE PANTS
The same is true of pants. Shorts, while they may seem like a good idea for such a hot environment, are inappropriate because they offer no protection. Pants should be worn without cuffs, which can trap hot liquids and debris. Ideally, pants should have a snap fly and be worn without a belt; in case hot grease is spilled on the legs, this allows for extremely fast removal of the pants, which could lessen the severity of the burn.

THE TOQUE
Be it a tall white toque or a favorite baseball cap, chefs wear hats to contain their hair, preventing it from falling into the food. hats also help absorb sweat from overheated brows. Neckerchiefs serve a similar sweat absorbing role.

Famous chef, Marie-Antoine Carême also thought that the hats should be different sizes, to distinguish the cooks from the chefs. The chefs wore the tall hats and the younger cooks wore shorter hats, more like a cap. Carême himself supposedly wore a hat that was 18 inches tall! The folded pleats of a toque, which later became an established characteristic of the chef's hat, were first said to have been added to indicate the more than 100 ways in which a chef can cook an egg.

THE APRON
The apron is worn to protect the jacket and pants from excessive staining. Most chefs use side towels to protect their hands when working with hot pans, dishes, or other equipment. They are not meant to be used as wiping cloths. Side towels used to lift hot items must be dry in order to provide protection. Once they become even slightly wet, they can no longer insulate properly.

THE SHOES
While athletic shoes are very comfortable, they are not ideal for working in a kitchen. If a knife should fall from a worksurface, most athletic shoes would offer very little protection. Hard leather shoes with slip-resistant soles are recommended, both because of the protection they offer and the support they can give your feet. A job that involves standing for several hours at a time puts a premium on good quality, supportive, protective footgear.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Pan-Seared Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloins

This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated magazine. It is dead simple and absolutely delicious. I've been in the habit of oven roasting pork tenderloins but searing adds that extra flavor boost. I only cooked one tenderloin as a pound of meat is plenty for the four of us and didn't make a pan sauce (because I used the pan to saute some onions and peppers). I went ahead and put the recipe below for the pan sauce I would have chosen.

2 pork tenderloins, (12 - 16 ounces each), trimmed of fat and silver skin
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400°. Sprinkle tenderloins evenly with salt and pepper; rub seasoning into meat. Heat oil in 12" skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place both tenderloins in skillet; cook until well browned, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Using tongs, rotate tenderloins 1/4 turn; cook until well browned, 45-60 seconds. Repeat until all sides are browned.

Transfer tenderloins to reimmed baking sheet and place in oven (reserve skillet if making pan sauce); roast until internal temperature registers 135-140 degrees on instand-read thermometer, 10-16 minutes. (Begin pan sauce, if making while meat roasts.)

Transfer tenderloins to cutting board and tent loosely with foil (continue with pan sauce if making); let rest until internal temperature registers 145-150 degrees, 8-10 minutes. Cut tenderloins crosswise into 1/2" thick slices, arrange on platter or individual plates, and spoon sauce (if using) over; serve immediately.


Garlicky Lime Sauce with Cilantro
(makes enough to sauce two tenderloins)

10 garlic cloves, peeled and grated to a fine paste on rasp-style grater (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Table salt and ground black pepper

Immediately after placing pork in oven, mix garlic paste with water in small bowl. Add oil to still-hot skillet and swirl to coat; add garlic paste and cook with skillet's residual heat, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, until sizzling subsides, about 2 minutes. Set skillet over low heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until garlic is sticky, 8-10 minutes; set skillet aside off heat.

While pork is resting, set skillet over medium heat; add pepper flakes and sugar to skillet and cook until sticky and sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add lime juice, cilantro, and chives; simmer to blend flavors, 1-2 minutes. Add any accumulated pork juices and simmer 1 minute longer. Off heat, whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Weekend Joke

A man walked into a bar, sat down, and ordered a beer. As he sipped the beer he heard a soothing voice say, "Nice tie." Looking around he noticed that the bar was empty except for himself and the bartender at the end of the bar. A few sips later the voice said, "Beautiful shirt."

At this, the man called the bartender over. "Hey, I must be losing my mind," he told him. "I keep hearing these voices saying nice things, and there's not a soul in here but us."

"It's the peanuts," answered the bartender.

"Say what?"

"You heard me. It's the peanuts ... they're complimentary."

Friday, January 14, 2005

Thought for Food

The first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second cup breaks my loneliness. The third cup searches my barren entrail but to find therein some thousand volumes of odd ideographs. The fourth cup raises a slight perspiration - all the wrongs of life pass out through my pores. At the fifth cup I am purified. The sixth cup calls me to the realms of the immortals. The seventh cup - ah, but I could take no more! I only feel the breath of the cool wind that raises in my sleeves. Where is Elysium? Let me ride on this sweet breeze and waft away thither.
Lu Tung, "Tea-Drinking"

Chefs' Uniforms - The Jacket

I never really thought about chef's uniforms, figuring they were more ceremonial than anything. What a surprise to find out that they serve the very practical purpose of kitchen safety.

Chef toque
More than simply completing the look of the chef, the parts of the typical chef's uniform play important roles in keeping workers safe as they operate in a potentially dangerous environment. The chef's jacket, for instance, is double-breasted, which creates a two-layer cloth barrier between the chest area and steam burns, splashes, and spills. The double-breasted design also means that the jacket can easily be rebuttoned on the opposite side to cover any spills. The sleeves of the jacket are long and should be worn long, not rolled up, to cover as much of the arm as possible in order to protect against burns and scalding splashes.
The Professional Chef, 7th Edition by The Culinary Institute of America

Looks Like Super Bowl Munchies to Me

Again from my "beat reporter" Marcia. I have never seen Velveeta rolled out like this but ... it's Velveeta so I'm sure it can take it. This looks like just the thing to make for our Super Bowl "junk food" celebration ... I'm thinking I'll go with the cumin and chili powder seasonings.

You can make it ahead and freeze it to have to pull out of the freezer when you need something quick. Needs to be made a bit ahead so the flavors can meld.

Cheese Log

1 lb. Velveeta cheese ( let stand until at room temperature)
6 oz. cream cheese (also at room temp)
several chopped green onions 5 or 6
1 can chopped green chiles
1 cup chopped pecans

Seasonings to sprinkle on top of other ingredients, to your taste.
garlic powder
lemon pepper
seasoned salt
paprika
cumin (if you like it)
chili powder
little red pepper
chopped parsley, fresh if you have it

Roll out the Velveeta between wax paper as you do with pie dough, then spead softened cream cheese on the Velveeta then spread the chopped green onions, green chiles and pecans, sprinkle with all the seasonings and roll as tightly as possible. Serve with Triskets. I ordinarily do a 2 lb . cheese and cut the roll in 4 or 5 inch sections and freeze some for later. Wrap in foil to freeze.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

For Love of Pie

American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads
by Pascale Le Draoulec
My grail would be pie.

Just saying it out loud made me surrender a smile. I would drive to small towns looking for pie bakers, pie recipes, and pie lore. I'd seek out pies with character and characters who love to pie.

Perhaps examining the state of pie in America would also take me back to the essence, the roots of this country, and just maybe help me get to the bottom of mine.

As a first generation American born to two faithfully-French immigrants living in Los Angeles, I had straddled two cultures most of my life. The plan was that we'd move back to France someday. So I attended a French school, spoke only French at home, and ate smelly cheese after dinner. When it rained, we'd dive into the back yard laurel bushes for snails, which my mother would prepare a la bordelaise. We celebrated Bastille Day and played petanque on the Fourth of July.

I still don't know the words to the "Star-Spangled Banner" and my mother never learned to make pie.

"A pie is not a tarte," she would say, shrugging her slight shoulders in that typically French way that suggests a conversation that has no place to go. I never questioned it, just as I never questioned the dictum that a baguette placed on its back brings bad luck or that all French women "just know" how to wear a scarf.

My parents never did move back to France, though we visited often. And, on either continent, I always felt like an extra, never part of the main cast. I look like an Easter egg whenever I try to wear a scarf and I missed out on all the family debates pitting lard against butter, Pyrex against pie tins.

I didn't even taste my first slice until I was in college. It was pecan. Store-bought. Uneventful.

I had a lot of catching up to do.

Pascale Le Draoulec must travel across the country to a new job and decides to search out pie along the way. She comes across interesting characters, realizations about herself and lots of pie, both dreadful and delightful. This book works three ways: a roadtrip, a female "buddy adventure," and a food book all in one. It is charmingly and naturally written without a lot of the angst that is often found in such stories. I bake a lot but I don't make a lot of pie as is the general condition lamented throughout the book when one after another the pie bakers wonder, "Who will make pie when we are gone?" It makes me want to start filling the gap regardless of how seldom pies are recommended by government diet guidelines ... we won't even mention my doctor. Ahem. Perhaps if we start having a lot of Hannah's and Rose's friends over for pie? Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Manhattens

Erik gives us a Manhatten cocktail recipe and then an essay on variations of classic cocktails, including what not to include. Not only is it informative and entertaining but it takes me back as the only people I ever knew who drank Manhattens were my parents. I always was enchanted by the cherry in the glass and liked to filch extras out of the jar when I thought no one was looking. It probably was my father's favorite end-of-the-day cocktail. Reading that recipe, I can see why. It certainly must have been relaxing!

Mmmmmm ... Lamb Potato Chips

Tyrrells - Thai Curry Corriander: A sweet curry flavor with a strong curry smell

Walkers - Slow Roasted Lamb with Mint Sauce: This is a strange idea, a traditional English dinner condensed into a potato chip. It mainly tastes of Mint Sauce which is tradtionally eaten with lamb.

Mcloy - Flame Broiled Beef: Actually does taste like a broiled beef steak

Walkers - Smoky Bacon: A very close approximation of smoky bacon, quite salty.

Walkers - Roast Chicken and Thyme: Tastes like chicken, roast chicken to be exact.

Walkers - Honey Roasted Ham: Has a mild ham flavor that gets overwhelmed by salt flavor

bourrezvisage has a taste test commentary on the variety of English crisp (potato chip!) flavors. These are just a few. Go see the whole, strange list.

From Marcia's Files

Who's Marcia? My good friend who I didn't know had a passion for cooking until I started a cooking blog and the recipes started raining down. Lucky me ... and lucky you! (What did we talk about before recipes? Here's a hint, my other blog is Happy Catholic and we met at a retreat.)

Corn Bread Casserole
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 can cream style corn
1 (8 oz.) pkg corn muffin mix ("Jiffy" brand recommended)
1 c sour cream (1 small container)
½ cup butter, melted
1 to 1-½ c shredded cheese
1 can chopped green chiles or a few chopped jalapeños

Preheat 350. In large bowl mix 2 cans of corn, chiles, muffin mix, sour cream and butter. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake 45 min or until golden brown. Top with cheese and return to oven 5-10 min or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 min and then serve warm.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Christine's Three Cheese Macaroni

Mama T at Summa Mamas promised me her to-die-for macaroni and cheese recipe and it looks like a doozy! Go give it a try and let her know what you think!

Ingredient Alert

TEXAS TWIST ROASTED SALSA DRESSING
I don't usually buy salad dressing (I swear I'm going to put our favorite Spicy Caesar Dressing recipe on here ... eventually). However, when I was at the Central Market my eye was caught by HEB brand Texas Twist Dressings. I bought some Fire Roasted Salsa Dressing to go with Rose's Mexicana Chicken. This is a true sign of how much I trust HEB that I'd get it at all.

Rose liked it by itself and could see this dressing as a dip for vegetables but didn't like it on a green salad. No problem. Tom and I both liked it enough to fight over what she left (we wound up splitting it).

I remember a Peppercorn Blue Cheese Dressing also out of the four or five types available. I don't know if regular HEB stores have this but I would guess so as it didn't have any sort of special Central Market label. Just possibly we many now have the convenience of a bottled dressing for those times when I haven't got my own made.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Chicken Mexicana

Rose wanted to cook dinner and chose this recipe from The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook. Not only does she love oven fried chicken but the flavor twist appealed to her. Surprise lesson that was included for her ... how to cut up a whole chicken into pieces. It's so handy that a chicken has two of everything so I could show her how it worked and then she could try it out herself. We only baked one chicken instead of two, per Rose's decision.

As to where the "Mexicana" part of the recipe came in, we are still in doubt. Other than the obvious green chiles and cilantro there is scant Mexican about the dish. However, it was delicious no matter what it was named and we will be making it again.

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 40-45 minutes
Makes 8 main-dish servings.

Step 1:
1 can (4 to 4-1/2 ounces) chopped mild green chiles (Rose chose to leave these out)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix in small bowl.

Step 2:
2/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley (when I'm given a choice like that I always choose cilantro!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
On waxed paper, mix ingredients.

Step 3:
2 chickens (3 pounds each), each cut into 8 pieces and skin removed
Brush mustard mixture evenly onto chicken. Coat with bread-crumb mixture, firmly pressing crumb mixture onto chicken.

Step 4:
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
Grease 17" x 11-1/2" roasting pan. Place chicken in roasting pan. With pastry brush, lightly dab oil onto chicken.

Bake chicken (do not turn) 40-45 minutes until crisp and juices run clear when pierced with tip of knife. Serve with salsa and tortillas, if you like.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bundt Pan Creator Dies

I always use a tube pan, following my mother's lead, but always admired those gorgeous bundt pan cakes. I have to admire Dalquist's creativity and the marketing skills which changed the face of cake in America.

EDINA, Minn. — H. David Dalquist, creator of the aluminum Bundt pan, the top-selling cake pan in the world, has died at 86.

Mr. Dalquist, who died at his home Sunday of heart failure, founded St. Louis Park-based Nordic Ware, which has sold more than 50 million Bundt pans.

Mr. Dalquist designed the pan in 1950 at the request of members of the Minneapolis chapter of the Hadassah Society. They had old ceramic cake pans of somewhat similar designs but wanted an aluminum pan. Mr. Dalquist created a new shape and added creases to make it easier to cut the cake.

The women from the society called the pans "bund pans" because der Bund is German for a gathering of people. Mr. Dalquist added a "t" to the end and trademarked the name.

For years, the company sold few such pans. Then in 1966, a Texas woman won second place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off for her Tunnel of Fudge Cake made in a Bundt pan. Suddenly, bakers across America wanted their own Tunnel of Fudge cakes.

The Bundt pan is the biggest product line for Nordic Ware, which sells a variety of pots and pans and other kitchen equipment. More than 1 million Bundt pans are sold each year...

Mr. Dalquist founded Nordic Ware after returning from duty with the Navy during World War II. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in chemical engineering.
From the Associated Press via the Dallas Morning News.

Weekend Joke

A man walks into the psychiatrist's office with a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear, and a banana in his right ear. He says, "What's the matter with me?"

The psychiatrist says, "You're not eating properly."

Thought for Food

A salesman who travels southern Georgia and Alabama was told of a boarding house in a small town in his territory that had great food. One day he saw some cars parked outside of a house that looked right and went in. There were about ten people sitting at a big dining table heaped with food. He took an empty chair. He was a chatty type, and so were they. They passed the platters, and he ate his fill. When he stood up and asked the lady at the head of the table how much he owed her, she said, "Oh, you don't owe anything. This is a private home. We home you enjoyed your dinner.
Gail Greenblatt, quoted in A Gracious Plenty

Back to Basics

BARDING AND LARDING
Two traditional preparation techniques for roasted foods that are naturally lean are barding (tying thin sheets of fatback, bacon, or caul fat around a food) and larding (inserting small strips of fatback into a food). The extra fat helps keep the meat tender and juicy. Venison, wild boar, game birds, and certain cuts of beef or lamb may be candidates for barding or larding.

Variations using different products are also employed to add flavor to roasted foods. For example, a roast, rather than being larded with fatback, may be studded with slivers of garlic. The garlic will not have the same tenderizing effect as the fatback, but it will add plenty of flavor.

Today, with increased concern over the amount of fat in diets, every trace of visible fat or skin is often removed in an effort to reduce fat, even though the amount of fat releasted from skin or fat layers as foods roast does not penetrate far into the meat. Fat and skin provide some protection from the drying effects of an oven without dramatically changing the amount of fat, and foods stripped of their natural protection of fat or skin can become dry and lose flavor. If roasts are drastically trimmed, an alternative "skin" should be added in the form of a coating or crust made from such ingredients as seasoned dried potato flakes, rice flakes, corn flakes, cornmeal, or finely ground dried mushrooms. Or the fat or skin may be left in place during roasting and removed just before serving.
The Professional Chef, 7th Edition
by The Culinary Institute of America

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Spinach, Spinach Everywhere

Once again from the inspired kitchen of my friend, Marcia:
I threw a dish together tonight that turned out pretty well. Put a little olive oil in a nonstick heavy skillet and saute' half a sweet onion. When translucent, add a full package of baby spinach and stir occasionally until just wilted....then crumble a bit of feta over the top and add fresh ground pepper...um, um good....oh serve immediately while hot....we loved it. with a little smoked salmon on crackers and a little glass of blas du blanc.

Sounds great and it made me remember one of my all time favorite quickie spinach recipes from Trattoria Cooking.
Spinach with Cream and Parmesan

2 pounds fresh spinach, stems and bruised leaves discarded, or two 10-ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of any water
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (I prefer half-and-half)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano
Salt to taste

If using fresh, wash the spinach thoroughly under cold running water. Bring a large saucepan halfway full of water to a boil over medium heat, then add the spinach and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking. Drain the spinach and squeeze out any excess water.

Heat the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add the cream and bring it to a gentle boil. Add the spinach and parmigiano and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the cream is almost all reduced, 2-3 minutes. Serve hot, next to grilled or roasted meat.

Makes 4-6 servings.

This is not nearly as healthy as Marcia's recipe but all of this spinach talk got me rooting through the freezer. Naturally, not a bit of spinach was to be found. Just one more thing to add to my grocery list.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Once Again, Obvious-Man Strikes!

A unique side-by-side comparison of four popular diets – Atkins low-carb, Ornish low-fat, the Zone and Weight Watchers – has found no difference in each plan's weight loss potential. When the fat-free chips are down, the type of diet doesn't seem to matter nearly as much as whether people actually follow it.
From the Dallas Morning News (free registration required).

From hard experience I can say this is totally true. It is calories in versus calories out. That means eat less and move more. Period.

Bananas - Is There Anything They Can't Do?

Bananas2

Part III about that amazing wonder fruit, the banana.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Blogging Around

COMMON SENSE
Too Many Chefs has a great piece about diets including a link to an article about diets of long ago ... no, I'm not talking about the crazy cereal diets back at the beginning of the last century. We're talking 1087.

AND THE AWARD GOES TO ...
The 2004 Food Blog Award results are up at Accidental Hedonist including one for my favorite category, Best Blog - Humor, given to The Amateur Gourmet (one of my favorites). If you have ever been interested in seeing what is out there in the food blogging world just go check out the nominees.

COVER YOUR LEFT EYE
Monkey takes a trip to the eye doctor that is much more amusing and informative than mine usually is. That's probably because I never thought of being helpful and sorting all the medicines while waiting.

It's Funny Because It's True

5 seconds ... but I want it now!
Homer Simpson,
watching meatloaf in the microwave

You really don't expect to find yourself living those Simpsons moments but there I was in the kitchen at lunchtime ... watching last night's leftovers go around and around in the microwave for the third minute in a row ... 40 seconds ... 37 seconds ... 18 seconds. I couldn't take it anymore and yanked the door open - perfection! Then I realized - I have become Homer. Anyone got a donut?

Macaroni

The tubes of pasta known as macaroni were probably introduced into English cuisine by a group of young, rich, well-travelled dandies who slavishly aped continental style and custom -- in Horace Walpole’s words “travelled young men who wear long curls and spying-glasses”. They formed the Macaroni Club, which dined in ostentatious style at Almack’s club. In 1770 the Oxford Magazine described these insolent fops thus: "There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male nor female, a thing of the neuter gender, lately started up amongst us. It is called a Macaroni. It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasantry, it eats without appetite, it rides without exercise, it wenches without passion."
Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany by Ben Schott
But does it like cheese?


Monday, January 03, 2005

Black Eyed Pea Redemption

My good friend Marcia has the solution to my thinking that black eyed peas taste like dirt. She's a life long Texan so I think I can trust her on this and it does sound delicious. Maybe a black eyed pea salad is in my future ...
FYI....I have a blackeyed pea recipe for you to try....wash canned in colander, add chopped avocado, green onions chopped and chopped tomatoes....cilantro if you like it and salt and pepper....If you like fresh jalepanos, seed, de-membrane and then finely chop and add to mixture.......then pour catalina salad dressing and toss...leave in frig for a few hrs. or overnight to let flavors meld....I love it....maybe you won't taste dirt!!! when serving add little fritos.. it's a treat, I promise!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Year's Dinner

My mother-in-law had bought a regular grocery store ham which we baked in the oven. We also made a black-eyed pea recipe that my brother-in-law had gotten from the internet. It looked interesting, kind of like barbecued beans. And I finished up the potato salad that my MIL started but got too tired to finish (poor thing, she's so easily tired these days ... it is worrying).

Two discoveries from that meal:
  1. I have never been so thankful for Kuby's double smoked hams. Whoever produces that ham she bought evidently is under the impression that a double blast of salt can pass for flavor. Ick!

  2. I have decided that I do not like black eyed peas. They DO taste like dirt! How do I know what dirt tastes like? Some things shall never be revealed. (I loved the way that sounded ... actually, I have a good imagination.)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Gone to Houston

We're going to Houston for the weekend so I'm posting a few things ahead of time. Since it will be New Year's I had a few things collected (this is a rather impromptu trip, just for fun) and there's no need to waste them. So you can read them all at once or ration them out. Your choice.

Happy New Year to everyone!