Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ads that annoy

Although I am a sex positive feminist, certain types of blatently sexual advertising annoys the shit out of me. Such as the above Cabana Cachaca ad (there's a whole gallery of sprawling nudes on their site). Brazilian! Like a waxed pussy! CLEVER RIGHT???? CLEVER AND SEXY!

Or not.

Really, you gotta wonder how the Brazilians feel about having their entire nation reduced to genital waxing. I think the only logical revenge is to dub anal bleaching "getting an American."

Still is it worse than Vincent Gallo's douchetarded Belvedere ads? The jury is out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Foods that inspire fear and loathing.

1. Crisco. Edible vaseline.

2. 100 calorie snack packs. Nice try at portion control, but these packs usually contain tasteless mini oreos or some such crap.

3. Speaking of, Oreos. Dry cookies filled with crisco frosting.

4. The Krispy Kremes with the "kreme" filling. More crisco filling. Why anyone chooses these over custard filled is beyond me.

5. Non-dairy creamer. Read the ingredients and you'll never use it again.

6. "diet" junk food like snackwells. See #2.

7. Swiss miss, or any cocoa that is made with water in lieu of milk.

8. Baloney. Does anyone like this? The smell makes me ill.

9. Most American-made drug store candy. Makes my teeth hurt to think of it.

10. Soda. I can't drink it without feeling artificial sweetener or corn syrup guilt.

Monday, November 24, 2008

lame ass eating

Some of my co-workers eat the lamest food. If I see one more person prissily heating up instant oatmeal for breakfast or taking way too much care to microwave a frickin' Lean Cuisine I'm going to lob Scotch Eggs and my Huge Salads That Cause Unsolicited Comments (tm) over their cubical walls in the hopes they will remember they have taste buds for a reason. Gah!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What the hell is a banoffee pie?

For some reason, the expression "Banoffee pie" has been running through my head on an almost constant basis for the past day or so, like some weird linguistic earworm.

I googled it, and it's a British banana/cream/dulce de leche pie. Sounds good, don't think I've ever eaten it. Am curious how this phrase implanted itself in my head only to reemerge at this moment. Is it a sign from the universe? A message from a departed ancestor?

Queen of saturated fats Paula Deen has a recipe for it.

Maybe I'll make one for Thanksgiving dinner.

too darn hot

I hate overly hot food. A slight steam is acceptable in the case of tea, coffee and soup but I want to be able to sip or slurp it within a minute. I do not understand some peoples' insistence upon mouth blisteringly hot food. Is there any flavor left at that temperature? What is the appeal? Cool it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rutabaga cheese fries

So, I am ashamed to say that I stole this recipe for sweet potato fries from the friggin' Barefoot Contessa:

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and cut each half into 3 long spears. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in one layer. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve hot.

Only I made it with rutabagas and parsnips too, and the rutabagas and parsnips actually turned out better (firmer) than the sweet potatoes.

Here's another recipe from someone else. Really friggin' good, esp. with melted cheese!

Food trends that do/don't justify the hype

Sometimes a food item becomes so hyped that it almost becomes a guilty pleasure (which is why I tend to get into wildly popular TV shows years after they're wildly popular- allows me a more objective assessment). Here's my opinion of what is and isn't worth the hype.

Guilty pleasures:

1. Donuts- Chicago is sadly unrepresented in this category- Who can resist a warm donut? The market is dominated by Dunkin' Donuts, which frankly sucks compared to Krispy Kreme, Voodoo Donuts in Portland, or the mom n' pop shops in Berkeley (notably King Pin on Telegraph ave...omg). Mindy Segal at hot chocolate does buffalo milk ricotta donuts that are pretty tasty though.

2. Bacon- What is it about bacon and hipsters? I know the occasional Kosher Jew and vegetarian who make exceptions for it too. Bacon has become a parody of itself with bacon chocolate, bacon toffee, bacon apple pie, bacon salt, all you can eat bacon brunch- and yet, it's still that good. Salty meat crack.

3. Craft Beer- am I a pretentious yuppie douche for preferring craft beer? All I know is six months ago I didn't give a damn about beer and now I'm obsessed. And Goose Island makes it easy to indulge since even friggin Giordano's carries it.

4. Brioche anything- really, as pretentious as brioche is, it usually is hell of delicious.

5. Fois Gras- yes, it's cruel. So is factory farming.


6. Sushi- Sushi is for the most part a sad joke in Chicago, and not worth eating. But take me to Itto Sushi or the burbs and it's on. And yes, I secretly like those cream cheese and tempura rolls.

7. $3 Truffles at Vosges or Coco Rouge- delicious, but not really in my budget.

8. Pork belly- zomg delicious but KILLS my gallbladder.

Skip it

9. "Truffled" anything- can you actually taste the truffles? Was it worth the extra $5?

10. Duck fat fries- I really want to like these. But honestly, I don't taste the difference.

Unrelatedly- this is the midwest, and I am seriously befuddled by how many SKINNY chefs, bakers and brewmasters I know here. Probably because they run around like a chicken with its head cut off producing their wares and I just sit around and eat them.

Scotch Eggs!

Just as delicious as I thought they would be.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Here is our splendid dish of walnut prune scones! Something I will definitely make again on my own. I keep imagining how good they would be with dried cherries and dark chocolate pieces. I loved the technique we used to shape them- fill a 1/3 cup with scone batter (it's fairly thick and mold able) and fling it on to the cookie sheet so they hold the scone shape. I think my biggest danger is to eat them all myself, I'll have to keep them in mind for parties.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nut milk for all!

I taught a cooking class with my good friend Lauren who runs a nut milk cottage business called Nutmoo. I've led three cooking classes over the last two months- I can't seem to get more than two participants for a class. Fortunately we always have a lot of fun, and I still make a little something since all I have to pay for are the ingredients. It was awesome playing assistant, having a partner (if we get along well) is always so much more pleasant than going at it alone. It's like having a co-host for a party. You can actually relax and enjoy the party instead of freaking out about whether there's enough ice. I'll have photos soon (Thank you fiancee, resident photographer) but meanwhile here are directions for nutmilk. We also made awesome gluten free, vegan walnut prune scones. The directions are a bit long, but I'll post them if people are interested.

Nut Milk

4 ounces of nuts (about 1/2 cup of walnuts)
Filtered water to cover the nuts
3 cups additional water
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon of agave nectar or sweeten to taste

Soak the nuts and refrigerate overnight
Pour off the water
Combine nuts and 3 cups of water in a blender and allow to blend on high between 5-10 minutes depending how powerful your blender is. The mixture is ready when it becomes very opaque and the ground nuts will be very fine. Increasing the ratio of nuts to water will make a richer milk. Strain the mixture with an nut milk straining bag (These are available online. An extra fine hops straining bag from your local brewing supply store will also work.) This bag can be used numerous times.
Add salt and agave nectar, and stir thoroughly. Keep chilled, it should be good for about a week. You can replace some flour for the leftover ground nuts next time you bake.


Monday, November 10, 2008


I did it. I got everything made and the benefit was a success and I've think I've got an idea of a good outlet for my love of baking and generally puttering around the kitchen.

I'm starting a blog about it, just go to my profile and click on it if you are interested.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scotch is the new echinacea

Fighting germs the fun way!

Twice in the past month I've felt a cold coming on, drank some barrel aged spirits and was magically healed.

The first time was after a distributor gave me some really strong single malt scotch and rum (I wind up puking but my cold was gone).

Then yesterday my nose was running all day and I felt tired and gross, but JR and I made it to the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers anyway. A dozen tastes later, I was fine. And those were strong beers- some were like 13%, and tasted like chinese medicine. (Unrelatedly, putting your boobs on the beer tank is a super effective way to get quicker service from servers, but I didn't tell you that).

I've also noticed that I almost never get sick since I started drinking more frequently for my jobs. My question is- is it the antibacterial properties of the booze, or something in the barrels that knocked out my burgeoning colds?

(I'm sure that Snarky Nutritionist could counterpoint about how booze wrecks your liver and immune system, but I'm super pleased that I'm not sick today!!!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baking Fool

I have taken it upon myself to prepare the following for a bakesale tonight:

Candy Brownies
Oatmeal, Apricot & Raisin Cookies
Pecan Shortbread
Triple Chip Cookies
Banana Split Cupcakes
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes

The last batch of oatmeal cookies is baking. All that is left to do is make the frosting,stuff, frost and decorate the cupcakes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chocolate cereal is not a health food

I saw cereal that had pieces of chocolate in it today at Trader Joe's. Not chocolate flavored puffs, actual pieces of chocolate. And it was claiming to be healthy because it was fortified with inulin, a trendy low glycemic chemical normally found in artichokes (not chocolate.) It's all about finding ways to let us eat candy all day and pretend it's healthy. Almost as good as the fat-free half and half I saw, which was made out of five different types of creepy. I swear, if a food has "healthy" printed on it in big letters, it's probably worse than the "bad" stuff.

this situation must be remedied

I just learned of the existence of (much less known the glory of experiencing)the marvel that is the Scotch Egg:

A hard boiled egg coated in sausage and then DEEP FRIED. Fuck yes. I need to try one of these.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Apple pie

My friend J.R. and I went apple picking yesterday, except the trees were all finished, we did buy a ton of apples though (plus cider and cider donuts yummmm) so I made an apple pie tonight, which will be consumed tomorrow (I like it better when it's sit for a day) after a dinner of Cornish Game Hen, Asparagus, Sweet Potato Fries and Goose Island Honkers Ale (oh, Goose Island, maker of affordable, delicious local beer!)

I forgot how difficult pie crust is to make (at least if it's been a few years), so it wound up taking up way more of my evening than planned, but hopefully the result will be worth it? I'm going to bed now.