Food Blog

KIPlog cooks, eats (and drinks)

Entries from May 2003

A few food links

May 28th, 2003 · Comments Off

Six Qualities of a Good Diner
“3. Waitresses. Diner waitresses are expected to be saucy and sassy. Grumpy isn’t required, but a frequent characteristic. And for some odd reason, there are never, NEVER, waiters at diners. Always waitresses.”
He forgot one – pie, a diner has to have pie.

100 bucks for beer? “Sam Adams Utopias is 25 percent alcohol, it’s served at room temperature and a 25-ounce bottle will cost you a whopping $100″
Here’s Beer advocate’s fact sheet on it.

Did Cooked Tubers Spur the Evolution of Big Brains?

Experts Differ on Healthiness Of Fast-Food Salad Offerings “…he report says that McDonald’s Corp.’s new Crispy Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad, with the dressing, has more fat (51 grams) and calories (661) and just as much cholesterol as a Big Mac, which has 34 grams of fat and 590 calories. ” Last 2 links via robot wisdom.

Low-Mess, High-Energy Snacks for Computer Users

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Tags: Food News and Links

Farfalle with sorrel pesto, morels and asparagus tips

May 25th, 2003 · Comments Off

Sorrel is a green I haven’t ever used before. Its sour lemon tang seems like it may be overcome anything paired with it. But in this pesto, paired with lots of chives and green garlic, it adds a nice touch without being overbearingly sour. It went very well with the morels. I’m not sure why I threw the asparagus tips in, since I really wanted the morels to be the main focus. All of the veggies in this dish were bought at the Evanston farmer’s market and everything is organic, so it’s not a particularly cheap dish maybe especially since it contains $5 worth of morels.

1/6 lb morels
about a cup of chopped sorrel, ribs removed
3 stalks green garlic
1/2 cup chopped asian flat leaf chives
2 T pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
black and white peppercorns
sea salt
farfalle (bowtie) pasta

I pureed the pine nuts, peppercorns, salt, sorrel, chives and 2 of the stalks (chopped) garlic with the oil until it was smooth, then I added some more chopped chives and garlic, into the mix and just slightly chopped the mix in the porocessor, to leave little green bits. I figure this adds some visual dimension to the pesto, so it doesn’t look like green slime.

I quartered the morels and sauteed them in butter, salt and olive oil until they were just slightly browned. The morles came out, and another stalk of chopped up green garlic went in to saute, then the pesto went in. I was fairly gentle about cooking the pesto, since I wanted to get some of the flavor to come out of the garlic, but I had read that the sorrel would lose its unique tang with to much heat. 2-3 minutes on low, and it turned out fine.

The farfalle was cooked, and mixed up with the pesto and the morels went on top.

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Tags: Veggie Recipes

Salmon wakame chive salad biscuits

May 24th, 2003 · Comments Off

salmon biscuitsThis sounds fancy, but it just a variation on tuna salad sandwiches. This is the kind of thing I eat when I don’t feel like cooking, it’s fast, but it allows me to play with variations of veggies or spiciness each time I do it. The salmon is from a can and the biscuits are Pilsbury Tender Layer Biscuits. Wakame is a green seaweed, sold dried in Asian stores. Wakame is milder then hijiki which looks the same dried (sort of like tea, but harder and crunchy) but when rehydrated, is dark brown to black and stronger in taste. There’s a few splashes and dashes of other ingredients, but this will make enough biscuit sandwiches for two for about $3. Use a cheaper store brand of biscuits (I’ve seen them for 39) and canned mackerel instead, and you can probably save another buck. I found my salmon for $2 a can, so your results may vary.

15 oz. can of salmon
rice vinegar
wasabi powder
dried wakame
can of Pillsbury Tender Layer Biscuits
fresh chives
1 T heavy cream
2 T butter
sea salt

I threw about an eighth of a teaspoon of dried wakame into a pot of boiling water. This stuff is deceiving, since it expands to big leaves of seaweed from tiny little black crunchy things. It only takes 3-4 minutes to rehydrate them this way, but the similar hijiki, takes a little longer. I drained and coarsely chopped them up.

Meanwhile the biscuits went into a muffin tin, which makes them puff up a bit, giving them that and into a hot oven according to the directions on the can.

I emptied the can of salmon into a bowl with above 3-4 spoons of mayo and a couple of splashes of vinegar. I like just enough mayo to coat the fish in my tuna salad, so thats what i did here.

The butter got melted in a pan and the cream went in, with the chopped up seaweed and some chopped chives. A dusting of wasabi was added for the hint of a bite. I just slightly thickened this and added it to the bowl and stirred everything up well. Normally it’s just the mayo, but I had some cream, and it really makes everything tasty. Split the biscuits and make sandwiches.

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Tags: Fish Recipes

Campanelle pasta with morel chive cream sauce

May 17th, 2003 · Comments Off

I managed to get myself up early for the first day of the Evanston farmer’s market. The variety is slim compared to what’s available later in the season, but there’s some good stuff available early. I bought a bunch of chives, some asparagus, and some morels, and some bread and crossiants from Bennison’s bakery booth. I also picked up some goat’s milk queso fresco.

This is a fairly simple meal, it’s just pasta. For the base of the sauce, I threw some dried porchini mushrooms in some boiling water, adding some chopped up chives, salt, oregano, a few drops of olive oil and a touch of Maderia, (about an oz. since I didn’t want to over power the mushrooms with anything). In a separate pan, I sauteed my sliced morels in some butter, taking 2 or 3 out and putting them in the water with the porchinis, which had reduced a bit. I then pureed the porchinis with its liquid and poured it into the pan with the morels. I added some more chopped chives, butter (half a stick) and a 1/4 cup of heavy cream.

Meanwhile the asparagus got cooked quickly in some simmering water, and the queso fresco was melted in some butter and cream. While this meal might be vegetarian, the enormous amounts of dairy doesn’t make it particularly healthy.

The queso fresco was great with the asparagus, both of which had more flavor then what you’d find in a supermarket.

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Tags: Veggie Recipes

Food blogs

May 12th, 2003 · Comments Off

Three more food blogs to add to the list.

Tastes like Chicken “Red-meat-loving novice cook has no one to make dinner for except “vegetarian” chicken eaters; starts to drink heavily.”

food dork


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Tags: Food News and Links

Food Links

May 11th, 2003 · Comments Off

A recipe from Everest base camp: Sherpa Potato Pancakes

The Empty Bowl “is a webzine devoted to serving the cereal eating community”.

Flaming Pie Vegetarian Recipes with Attitude.

Why mint makes your mouth taste cool

I forgot to notice that the FoodBlog is now a year old.

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Tags: Food News and Links

Pork Shoulder with Taylor Pear and Tarragon

May 10th, 2003 · Comments Off

Pork  with taylor pearI thought I’d do a little shopping at Whole Foods to see if it would be possible to shop cheaply there. Great produce, great seafood and meat, but shopping for a meal under $5 is close to impossible. I looked around first, trying to decide on dinner, and found one of their cheapest cuts of meat was a pork shoulder roast at 2.99 a lb. So I got a $7 roast, 3 pears, some brussel sprouts, 3 yukon potatoes, some bean thread noodles, and a package of fresh tarragon. Total – a little over $19. I tried to buy the cheapest things in the store – for example – I really wanted asian pears for this dish, but at 2.99 each, they weren’t going to help my goal of eating well cheaply.

While the $19 did cover 2 meals, it proved my theory that you just can’t shop cheaply there.

If I had time, I would have brined the roast, But I just browned it in a big skillet, covered it with pear slices, some of the fresh tarragon and some ginger, then threw it in a 350F oven until my thermometer read 155 inside the roast – about an hour.

While the roast cooked, I boiled the potatoes, then riced them in a ricer (with the skin on) into some muffin tin cups, and put them into the oven during the last 20 minutes. When the roast came out to rest for 5 minutes, I steamed a few brussel sprouts. The muffin tin came out, and was flipped over on a plate so the potatoes looked nice, and topped with sliced sprouts and goat cheese. The roast got sliced, and plated with the pear slices, now nicely carmelized after roasting. I had also roasted some cayote squash slices, but I didn’t really make them fit in with this dish.

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Tags: Meat Recipes

Salmon Tempura

May 5th, 2003 · Comments Off

tempuraInspired by Drew’s comment about what to do with pollock, I though I’d try my hand at frying the remainder of my salmon slab. You probably would think frying salmon is crazy but I figured if the batter was a light tempura, rather than the thick bready batter usually found coating fish with chips, it might work. While I think I could have done a bit more work to make this perfect, my result was a thin, flaky coating of golden brown, tasty, batter. The fish inside was perfect. This was great with some sushi rice, some rice vinegar soaked nori, soyu and wasabi. In the extra oil, I fried a few julienned red potatoes for something extra on the plate. Besides I don’t fry things very often, so I might as well get the use out of the oil. Frying is tricky, messy and fairly expensive, but the result is awesome when you get everything perfect.

5-6 thumb sized cuts of salmon, skin on
1 T rice flour
1 T corn starch
2 egg whites
white pepper
peanut oil, for frying
rice wine vinegar
sushi rice

I gave the salmon pieces a bath in rice vinegar, while I put on the rice, prepped the ingredients and heated the oil.

I’ve had good results with a half rice flour, half corn starch, 1 egg batter for frying chicken pieces for sweet and sour dishes but I wanted this to be very light. So I took out my trusty Alton Brown, and he instructs us to use only egg whites, and whip them into soft peaks before adding just corn starch and white pepper. Not one to follow directions to the letter, I added a half corn starch, half rice flour mixture to the egg whites. Now if I had really followed the directions, I would have beaten the eggs enough but stopped just short. I also threw in some ginger. When the oil was hot enough (350F) I dipped the fish pieces through the batter, as Alton instructs, then tonged them into the oil, cooking them one by one.

I turned them around a bit, for about 3 minutes or so, and they were came out golden brown. I tried the last few pieces with a thicker batter, throwing in some yolks. The result was okay, but the lighter batter was much better suited to the salmon. Next time I’ll give the egg white batter a real whipping for a crunchier, but fluffed-out consistency.

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Tags: Fish Recipes

Salmon with nori

May 3rd, 2003 · Comments Off

Salmon with noriOne of the best deals I’ve found in my local Dominic’s is the bulk salmon. It’s not the best salmon out there, but when you can buy 3 lbs. of it for $10, and get 4-5 meals out of it, it is certianly worth it. This meal is made with a healthy 8-9 oz. fillet or under $2 worth of fish, 20 worth of yellow squash, maybe 10 worth of potatoes and 10 worth of butter. I used half a sheet of nori, which I figured to be about 5 and a few cents worth of romaine lettuce frills. At $2.45 this is actually a bit of a splurge since I can certainly make a $3 meal of chicken or pork last two days. The nori helps to cut the fattiness of the fish and the butter browned potato and squash in this dish.

8-9 ozs piece of a side of salmon
1 yellow squash
5 red potatoes
dried chives
half a sheet of nori
rice wine vinegar

Boil the potatoes for 7-8 minutes until they are just undercooked. In the mean time pan fry the salmon in a non-stick pan, with a tiny bit of butter. I usually cover during cooking for a bit with a tin foil pan. Brown the salmon on all sides. A thick cut of fish like this may need to be finished for 40-50 seconds in the microwave with some plastic wrap covering it. You can choose to use an oven, but I still believe finishing off the center of a piece of fish, is the best use of a microwave. Melt some butter in the used pan, and pan saute slices of the squash and slices of the potatoes. Remove them from the pan to drain. In the remaining butter, splash in some rice wine vinegar, the crumbled nori and dried chives. Squirt in some mayo if you want a more substantial sauce. Plate with the nori sauce dribbled over everything.

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Tags: Fish Recipes

Eating cheap

May 3rd, 2003 · Comments Off

Do to the fact that I’m a little unsure of my budget at the moment, I’ve been cooking ultra-low-cost meals. By buying meat that is $1 TO $2 per lb., and choosing the absolute cheapest brands of grains, rice and pasta, I’ve found I can eat for an amazing low $20-$30 a week, usually including lunches as well. I don’t actaully anticipate having to live that cheaply, but no sense blowing any money. I’m not sure why I was buying things like bags of packaged lettuce and spinach for $3 to $4 when you can often buy the same amount for less than a buck.

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Tags: Food News and Links