Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In the Beginning ...

Thanks to Mom for this one.
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Kreme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"

And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep-fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super-size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Best Way to Smuggle Things Into Jail

Contrary to what you might have seen in movies, it evidently isn't by baking something into a cake. Just dig deep into those mashed potatoes ... there's no telling what you'll find being smuggled in.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Salmonella warning for Peter Pan peanut butter

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) told consumers to discard certain jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter after the spread was linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 300 people nationwide.

Lids of jars with a product code beginning '2111' can be returned to ConAgra for a refund, the company said.

The salmonella outbreak, which federal health officials said Wednesday has sickened 288 people in 39 states since August, was linked to tainted peanut butter produced by ConAgra at a plant in Sylvester, Ga. How salmonella got into peanut butter is still under investigation, said Dr. Mike Lynch, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
Read it all here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Resisting Valentine's Day

There are just some people who come over all hearts and flowers and pink-foil balloons and Hallmark-card sentiment around St. Valentine's Day and others, like me, who so do not. I snarl. I sneer. I scorn. So what am I doing here?

Well you might ask. The thing is, sooner or later, you're browbeaten. To keep moaning on and droning against it is to be a party-pooper, like someone who complains so much at a game of charades that she draws unwelcome attention to her one feeble effort. It's a bit like the Borg really: Resistance is futile.
It's as if we're twins! (And I will just toss in Mother's Day and Father's Day into that selection that I sneer at and scorn.) Except that since resistance is futile I insist on going to dinner with Tom on Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts

Tom and I always go out for Valentine's Day. However, if we were to stay home for a little candlelight dinner, this is what I'd make ... to me it is one of the most luxurious dishes around.

My mother would make it occasionally for our family but I remember it generally being made for company.

I also remember that she made it right when I had been diagnosed when pneumonia in the 6th grade. That set my taste buds for chicken and after that, all I wanted to eat was boiled chicken during the whole dreary two weeks spent lying flat on my back (except for lying in the car to go to the doctor for the occasional penicillin shot with what felt like an exceptionally large needle). Wait, it's coming back to me. I would also sit up so my mother could bring in my brother and sister and tell them to put their ears to my back while I breathed in and out. "It's just like a teakettle burbling!" We knew how to have a good time in my family.

At any rate, my poor mother was left to a fate of boiling chicken after chicken during that time. I love her for doing it and I love this dish.

So what better than to make it for someone you love?

Step 1:
4-1/2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream

Make white sauce.

Step 2:
1 can artichoke bottoms, drained
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cooked,
cooled, in bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced

Arrange artichokes on bottom of buttered baking dish, scatter chicken over them. Cook mushrooms in remaining butter, place over chicken.

Step 3:
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup Parmesan
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Add sherry and Worcestershire to white sauce. Pour over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika, bake at 375° for 45 minutes.

This is best if it sits for a few hours prior to cooking. Serve with rice, noodles, or crisp toast.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Weekend Photo

From Food Blog.

Weekend Joke

A pork chop goes into a bar and orders a drink.

The bartender says, "Sorry, you're food, and we don't serve food here."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Did He Buy Them, Dear Reader?

April 28
The butcher by the farmers' market tells me about some baby monkfish he has seen at the fish shop. Curiosity gets the better of me. There on the ice is a shoal of young monkfish. Each pearl-white fish is plump, sparkling with freshness and barely longer than a man's middle finger. Yet I cannot imagine there are many fish quite to environmentally unsound. They would be a joy on the grill, their flesh tinged with the scent of lemon, rosemary and charcoal. but they would have been even better in the sea, where each can grow and feed four apiece, or maybe left where they are so we can eat a species less threatened by over-fishing.

Did I buy them, dear reader? Yes I did. Eight of them to feed four of us -- grilled in the open air after an hour in a marinade of olive oil, chopped leaves of young green rosemary and the merest whiff of a garlic clove. When they were done, the outside a lattice of brilliant white and crusted black, we dressed them with lemon-scented olive oil and a dish of fava beans the size of a thumb nail, so young we didn't think to skin them. Once the plates were empty (we started with new asparagus), I brought out a simple salad of crisp lettuce with a timeless dressing of oil and vinegar, though thicker than is usual. We followed with rhubarb fool -- deepest pink fruit from the garden stewed with sugar and a few sweet cicely seeds, then chilled and folded into cream whipped till it lay in soft, dreamy folds. Sometimes appetite gets the better of conscience.
My mouth actually started watering when reading that description.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

5 Things You Don't Know About Me

Daryl at Authentic Malaysian Cuisine & Food Recipes tagged me with this meme. If you haven't dropped by his blog, then you're missing out on a treat. Not only is Daryl charming but he regularly featured delicious but simple recipes and photos.
  1. I'm left handed.

  2. No light of any sort at night can be visible or I can't sleep. We had to get a different clock radio because the one we had could light a stadium at night (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I also have been known to be awakened by bright moonlight coming through other bedroom doors into the hallway and have to go around shutting doors at night to return the house to decent (and complete) darkness.

  3. I like to eat food warmed to a volcanic temperature ... according to Tom (ok, and Hannah and Rose). Hey, if it's supposed to be hot, I want it to stay hot for more than a couple of minutes. 'Nuff said.

  4. I read all the time. (Yes, most people know this one but it is definitely an idiosyncracy.) All the time. When I'm brushing my teeth. When I'm getting dressed in the morning. Etc. No wonder I clocked in 134 books on my 2005 list. Although now I'm also spending a lot of time reading blog print outs instead of books so that has slowed down a touch.

  5. I love to make lists. Lots and lots of lists. Sometimes I follow them. Sometimes I don't. I especially like to keep them in little notebooks. (It's an organization/memory thing ... but it's also a hobby just because I do it so much)
This has been making the rounds so you can pick it up if you like but I'm not going to tag anyone.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Happy Nutella Day!

I remind everybody that the Nutella Nuggets are easy to make and all too easy to eat.

At Home in Rome is featuring Nutella Ravioli ... which look absolutely delicious.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It's Like Reading My Life Sometimes ...

March 3
In my smug haze of good housekeeping from yesterday's baking session, not to mention my arch disdain for factory-produced foods, I fail to notice there is bugger all to eat in the house. At seven thirty I dash to the corner shop, returning with a can of baked beans, a bag of frozen fries and some beers.
Why is it that every time I have performed wonders of cooking ahead and stocking up at the store I am inevitably left with no energy to actually cook for that evening? In our case we often must resort to nachos or tuna sandwiches.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Photo of the Week

Copyright 2006 by Erik Keilholtz who is providing us with more great food photos all the time.

Hot LInks Coming Up

John B. (a.k.a. The Catholic Packer Fan) gives two simple but tasty looking recipes that seem perfect for football ... especially those meatballs.

Chez Pim doesn't just give a recipe. She gives all the tips and hints that you'd get hanging out with your best buddy to make the perfect Pad Thai. Word is that she's going to be applying this method to other recipes and is taking requests.

Rather than skirt round the fat and sugar Fox's have made it their starting point and thrust them to the fore. Raw cane Demerara sugar and butter to be precise. Fox's even go as far as telling us on the pack how the biscuits are made with a little mini-recipe. Conception begins with the creaming of the butter and sugar. Some flour, a bit of baking soda, a drop of water and the various other simple things such as oats, raisins, stem ginger are added. Rolled and cut into simple squares and baked until golden. We might not have been present at the birth, but we were probably just out side in the corridor having a cup of tea and wondering why it's really necessary to turn off our mobile phones? Actually the social stigma of possibly causing some terrible but unseen medical emergency in a maternity hospital seems enough to send most of us to the car park rather than investigate further.
This is the prose that keeps me reading about all the cookies that I can't get because they are usually just available in Britain. Who cares when the writing is so good? On the off chance that you come across some of these biscuits you'll know what to buy!

Good news for those of us who like a bit of flavor in their dairy products. Of course, there's always that pesky "moderation" thing to keep in mind...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Honesty at All Costs

One of the reasons I love Nigel Slater's writing is that he tells it like it is. There is no pretending that every meal is a feast or even that every meal is really cooked.
Dinner is a couple of cans of Heinz baked beans, tarted up with finely chopped chili peppers, several shakes of Tabasco and mushroom ketchup, and a tablespoon of black molasses. It will do.