Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sad About SAD

No, not Seasonal Affective Disorder (you know, that condition that makes you depressed when the light lessens in the fall), but the Standard American Diet. Half-Baked Sourdough talks horse sense here.
Just because the test rats don't die immediately from the ersatz diet doesn't mean the fake food is safe for humans to eat for the rest of their lives. Take a look at the shelves of the grocery store next time you are in there, and see how much shelf space is taken up by items that are manufactured from beginning to end. The problem is, humans are still made the old-fashioned way, and the old-fashioned diet is still necessary. Like original manufacturer's parts for your great old "Muscle Car," we need to be eating the things that made grandma and grandpa tougher than old boots and live to ripe old ages.

Years ago, our parents and grandparents ate wholesome, natural diets loaded with animal fats: butter, cream, lard, tallow, and all variations in between. They ate foods that could be identified as "living" at a specific time, just before being consumed. They didn't drop dead from heart failure, complications of diabetes, hypertension, or cancer. They were killed off by accidents and/or infectious disease and old age. It's probably safe to say that it wasn't their diet that killed them in those days.

The Cost of Being a Real Foodie

... Sure, it'd be nice to have homemade stock around to cook with, but I'm an impulsive person, and I rarely know what I'm going to make for dinner until the last minute. If I decide to make something that requires stock, I never have time to make it from scratch. And, so far, I've been living a very happy life as a consumer of store-bought chicken stock.

Until tonight. Tonight I looked at myself in the mirror and I said, "Adam, do you want to spend the rest of your life trading integrity for convenience? Stop being a stock whore. You need to pull yourself together and make this dinner count. Look up some recipes, go to the store, and have the time and patience to do it right." ...

Read the whole amusing but true-to-life story at Serious Eats.

"“But CF,” you are asking. “If there were no chocolate chips, how did you make those chocolate chip cookies that tasted like fish?”

I wasn't nearly as interested in a lack of chocolate chips as I was in how those cookies tasted like fish. (Like Class Factotum, I know how to make chocolate chips ... yes, I'm that smart.)

However, the "fishy" part, which I was more interested in avoiding than achieving as you can imagine ... you can get the scoop on that right here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Garlic Herb Bread

This is so simple, so easy, and so loved by my family, especially Rose, that I don't know why I don't make it more often. I suppose it is because I tend to think of it as accompanying spaghetti and don't break outside that envelope to serve it with other meals. I must remedy that!

This recipe is from Cooking Light and you can feel free to increase the butter and oil if you like, although I usually find it sufficient. That all depends, of course, on the size of your loaf of bread. I tend to add a bit of salt if using unsalted butter.

I didn't copy the instructions for this since it is so simple and am winging it in those below. That's just how easy it is.

1 16-ounce loaf unsliced Italian or French bread
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon desired dried herb (basil, oregano, etc.)

Combine the butter, oil, and seasonings in a small pan over low heat until the herbs are a bit reconstituted.

Brush over cut sides of Italian or French bread, and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Simit, a.k.a. Turkish bagel, via Istanbul Daily Photo.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hot Links Coming Up!

  • Biscuit Mix Baking Day ... the last thing you'd expect to have been started by a blog named French Kitchen in America. Just goes to show you can't pigeonhole blogs!

  • Just in time for St. Patrick's Day: Irish Whiskey Soda Bread from The Virtual Kitchen

  • The Great American Meatout ... some of us already have that. We call it Lent.

  • The Pope's Milk ... photo and scoop from At Home in Rome about the milk sold in The Vatican's grocery store. And, no, she's not kidding.

  • Lunch Time Blues ... Dine and Dish has some creative ideas about how to make daily lunch at home more fun and creative for little ones. Wish I'd had some of those good ideas around when my girls were little.

Friday, March 09, 2007

T.G.I. Fridays and Portion Control

In an effort to meet growing consumer demands for smaller portions at casual dining restaurants, T.G.I. Friday's has announced the inception of their new 'Right Portion, Right Price' menu. The items will be sold at a reduced price all day, every day, rather than just at select times or for select people, like how Seniors menus currently are.
Slashfood has the story. I think that Fridays probably is one of the worst offenders in the huge portions area but it would be nice if other chains followed their lead.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chocolate Cheesecake

When we had our company last weekend I made a Nutty Chocolate Cream Cheese Pie which the Dallas Morning News had printed from Paula Lambert's new cookbook.

However, it was much too intense, even for Tom, which is really saying something. He, Rose and I all agreed that we'd have preferred this Chocolate Cheesecake. I no longer remember where I got the recipe but it is really a winner. Simple, chocolate and cheesecake at the same time, and serves a lot of people. The slices can be small. It is rich.

Step 1:
1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar

Make the crust: In a small bowl stir together all ingredients. Press mixture onto the bottom of a 10” springform pan. Make the filling (below).

Step 2:
12 ounces chocolate chips
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter, stirring until mixture is smooth.

Step 3:
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in sour cream and vanilla and let cool.

Step 4:
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar

Beat eggs and sugar together until mixture is thick and pale and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted.

Step 5:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

Beat in cream cheese until smooth.

Step 6:
1 cup chopped pecans

Stir in chocolate mixture and fold in pecans.

Step 7:
Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake in the middle of a preheated 325° oven for 1 hour or until just set. It may fall in the middle. Cool in the pan on a rack, chill overnight, covered loosely and remove the side of the pan.

NOTE: This can be made in a 8½” springform pan by halving the crust ingredients and baking for two hours at 325°.