Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup! Or, Theresa Actually Cooks Real Stuff!

I decided that today, I was in the mood to cook something really fancy. So I went to one of my fanciest cookbooks, and picked out a recipe. Oddly, the Mission Of Hope Cancer Fund cookbook? Really fancy. It's even got a recipe in it from one of the Iron Chefs. And we're not talking Cat Cora or Michael Symon here kids. We're talking Chen Kinichi. Oh, yeah. Apparently he cooks at (or cooked at at the time of the book being published) a restaurant in New Orleans. Of all the places in the world, right?

At any rate, I selected Chicken Noodle Soup. Except I did it the semi-homemade kind of way.

The recipe called for an onion, a full bunch of celery and 2 cups of carrots. And peas. And a full fryer chicken!

I had a couple of things working against me here, that lead to my embracing the "semi-homemade" version of this recipe:

1)I only had $20, and had to purchase EVERY ingredient on the list

2)I cook for a picky eater who was likely to pick out only the chicken and the noodles and waste all this celery

3)It was 4 pm, and I didn't want to have to mess with cooking a whole chicken.

So the good people at Kroger kind of saved me here. They have frozen mirepoix, which covered me for onions and celery (and carrots), and then I got a frozen bag of peas to cover me there. Throw in a $5 chicken, and a bag of egg noodles, and your pretty well out the door!

It doesn't call for any herbs or anything. Brown the vegetables, put in the chicken (of course, if your not doing it the semi-homemade way, you have to cook the chicken and all of that), stock, noodles. Set.

I did make a blunder at the end, and I dumped in the entire bag of noodles, which made it really chunky (it made it pretty much entirely noodles and chicken, I won't kid you), but if you are like my boyfriend and like the stuff out of soup but not the broth, then even the blunder isn't so bad. :)

I don't have permission to republish the recipe, although I wish I could. It's very simple soup, but very delicious. Although admittedly, it didn't satisfy my urge to cook fancy food. So that was a bummer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vile Swill!

So if I'm starting a review that way, it can't be positive, right? Well...yeah. That's pretty much the long and short of it right there.

Today I stopped at the gas station to get gas on my way to school, and I notice that they have a new drink called ALO Drink. Why not, I figure, and I pick two - ALO Exposed and ALO Enliven. Pick up a juice for my three year old, prepay for my gas, and I'm out the door.

I get back to the car, and pick out which one of the ALO drinks I want to try. I chose ALO Enliven, which promises all the health benefits of ALO, with the vitamins of 12 fruits and vegetables.

The website says ALO Enliven is 25% aloe vera and aloe vera pulp, which therein lies a bit of my problem. The ALO drinks were housed with the water and juice. If I have a grape juice, I know what I'm getting, every time across the board. If I open a Smart Water I know what I'm getting all the time, every time.

I open an ALO drink, I get a drink that I have to chew. Yes, CHEW. Good for my orange juice. Not good for my bottled water or juice.

The texture was slightly strange and the mouth feel was horrible. Kind of slimy. And the "pulp" was awful. I found that it actually got somewhat better if I didn't try to chew the pulp and just swallowed it whole, but by that point, the texture and mouth feel was just too much to make me interested in trying it again.

It says on the website that they sweeten the product with a natural sugar, but you could have fooled me - I didn't taste any sweetness at all.

I read on their website that they've done quite well in customer polls and been mentioned in several magazines and what not. I can't imagine - if they were the best, what on earth was the worst?!

This is horrible, horrible stuff. And now I have $5 worth of stuff that seriously, I have a little anxiety attack when I think about having to drink it again. It's that level of horrible. Skip this purchase, big time.

Just so you don't think I'm making it up and that there's no way a product this horrible could really exist:


ALODrink: It's horrible. It's overpriced. We're not really sure how we're still legally allowed to sell it. Pass it by on a grocery store shelf near you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Live, And I'm Super Excited!

So poor Chef has kind of gotten lost over the last few weeks, and I do apologize for that.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've actually been doing alot of footwork for the blog though. According to my Comp 2 professor, I can't legally republish recipes without permission from their authors, so I've been digging out cookbooks of mine, and contacting the authors to seek out permission to republish in the blog.

I'm very close to getting permission to republish one!

When I start republishing recipes, I do intend to test the recipes as often as time and being reasonable will allow. One of the books I've almost got permission for, the first recipe in the book is holiday punch, that starts with a base of two bottles of wine. Yeah...I live alone with my fiance and a three year old. We don't have any chance of drinking two bottles of wine before they go bad. :O So that one will go untested at least. Unless I can find someone to drink wine. I told my fiancee that he was taking the punch into work, he didn't look that excited at the prospect. :D

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Christmas Cookie Club And How You Can Really Eat The Cookies

Local author Ann Pearlman is gearing up for the release of her latest book, The Christmas Cookie Club. It's the story of a group of friends that gather together every year to do a Christmas cookie exchange, and their stories that they have to share from over the previous year. One is facing the end of her marriage, one is facing a high risk pregnancy, and their individual stories wind together throughout the book.

Learn More About It.

Proving that perhaps, it is who you know, Pearlmans youngest daughter works at Zingermans Roadhouse in Ann Arbor (who, incidentally is a regular James Beard nominee).

Enter the partnership with Zingermans to offer the cookies for sale!

Learn more about that!

All the recipes from the book, and a Zingermans original, sold in a hollowed out book, with original artwork on the front. I've not tried them, but they do look delicious!

A suitable gift for the reader or cookie addict in your family!

Theresa And The Story Of The Most Convoluted Dinner I've Ever Made..

Often times, when I ask what's for dinner, my fiancee will challenge me to make Chicken Fricassee.

Today, I went "I see you your Chicken Fricassee, sir!", and googled that stuff right up.

Let me say, the finished product was so good. Soul food in the finest sense of the word - hearty, creamy, and with enough substance that it really settles into your ribs. It does, however, have a great ability to grow, so when your plating it, plate about half of what you think your going to want! We both learned that the hard way!

Thomas Jefferson's Chicken Fricassee.

That is the link to the recipe I made. Why it's cited as being Thomas Jefferson's, I don't know, but there you go.

The recipe could not have been simpler, both in terms of ingredients and in terms of the actual process. The only thing that made it so convoluted was that it took so bloody many steps!

Brown the chicken. Take the chicken out, make the gravy. Put the chicken back, let it simmer. Take the chicken AND the gravy back out (but store them seperatly, naturally), and saute the onions and mushrooms. Then put the gravy back in, then put the chicken back.

Doesn't it seem like that could have been streamlined at least a little? It wasn't at all hard, and the ingredient list is fairly short, there was just so many steps to it. Although oddly, I looked in another cookbook that had a chicken fricassee recipe, and it had a shorter list of steps, but a longer list of ingredients. So evidentally, it's an either or type of situation.

My next step was a pumpkin cake. Came from my Bisquick cookbook. Basically, it was bisquick, pumpkin pie pumpkin (which either my Kroger doesn't have pumpkin pie pumpkin yet, or alot of people were baking pie today, because I had to go with canned pumpkin, rather then pumpkin pie pumpkin), egg and sugar. Bake. If I'd gotten the pumpkin pie pumkin, I can imagine that it would have tasted like a really great piece of pumpkin pie. Don't get me wrong, it was still delicious, it just wasn't what I imagine the good people that wrote that book in the 1970's were really going for.

But I bought the big can of pumpkin, so I get to try pumpkin pancakes too!

And thus, we bring to a close an entry that included more mention of pumkin then I'd ever thought possible. Good night and good eats!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marlboro: The Cookbook. Kid You Not.

So I can't resist the call of a good kitschy cookbook. I just can't. If it's something goofy and offbeat, I am SO there.

Some recent finds include:

Cooking With Friends. Like, Friends the TV show.

Soupcon I: Seasonal Samplings From The Junior Leauge of Chicago

Sugar Plum Fare from the Scholarship Committee from the National Ballet School

The Hagen Family Cookbook. Evidentally, this family went together, collected all their recipes, and had them published into one book. It's really heavy into Norweigan foods, which is interesting.

And the Marlboro "Cook Like A Man" cookbook, which leans heavily on the talents of one Bobby Flay, because every recipe contains enough pepper that I got uncomfortable just reading about them. Looking over the cookbook prompted my fiancee, who is a smoker himself, to go "Yes, because you've killed so many of your taste buds smoking Marlboros, that you have to use that many peppers, just to taste the food!"

Good eats! I plan to work my way through at least one of them soon!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Recipe Day – The Party Continues!

Can you tell what I'm doing right now? If you guessed sorting out my recipe box, you win…well, the satisfaction of knowing you were right, I guess. J It's not much, but it's something.


Grilled Bruschetta Chicken With Orzo Pasta

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Dressing, divided

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup Kraft Shredded Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 pound dried orzo pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Minced fresh parsley (optional)


Place a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil over half of your grill grate. Preheat grill to a medium heat.

Place the chicken in a non-reactive container or zip top plastic bag. Add ¼ cup of the dressing and turn the chicken to coat. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and marinate for 15 minutes.

Combine the remaining dressing with the tomatoes, garlic, cheese and basil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place chicken on grill grate and grill for about 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and place, cooked side up, on the aluminum foil.

Top the chicken with equal amounts of the tomato and cheese mixture. Close the grill lid and finish cooking for 6 to 8 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the orzo according to the package directions. Toss the cooked orzo with the olive oil and parsley if desired. Serve the chicken with the tomato topping over the cooked orzo.

Source: Busch's.

New Recipe Day

New recipe today! Because – well, because why not?


Grilled Lemon Fish With Asparagus

5 medium lemons

½ cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Salad Dressing

4 fish fillets (recommended salmon, cod or tilapia)

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed


Cut 1 of the lemons in half and juice to make about ¼ cup lemon juice (be sure to remove any seeds). Combine the lemon juice with the dressing and whisk to combine.

Place the fish fillets in a non-reactive container or zip top plastic bag. Pour half of the lemon juice and dressing mixture over the fish. Coat the fish with the dressing mixture and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Toss the asparagus with 2 tablespoons of the dressing mixture and set aside.

While the fish is marinating, preheat the grill to medium heat. Slice each of the remaining lemons into 4 slices each.

Clean and oil the grill grate. Remove the fish from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place 8 of the lemon slices directly on the grill grate. Place the pieces of fish directly on top of the lemon slices. Brush the fish with the remaining dressing mixture. Close the grill lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Carefully turn the fish over and top with the remaining lemon slices. Place the asparagus on the grill so that it is perpendicular to the grill grate. Grill the fish and asparagus for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and the asparagus is tender crisp. Carefully remove the fish from the grill and discard the bottom layer of lemon slices. Serve the fish with the top layer of lemon slices and the grill asparagus.

Source: Busch's. The IGA store by my house has a ridiculous amount of recipes that they just give out for the taking. A lot of them, you can actually buy prepared in the store. I'm not really sure why it's practical though – seems tremendously cheaper to make it yourself, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Once Again, It's Time For...No, Thank You Bobby Flay!

I do this on a periodic basis, if your new to the haps 'round these parts. I like Bobby Flay. Alot. He's got a reputation for being a little sharp on the pronounciation of some things, but if you just hang with him a minute, he'll learn ya a thing or two.

Case in point.

Thanks to Throwdown: Philly Cheese Steak, I learned that the correct cheese for a true Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich is, in fact, the Wiz. Cheese Wiz. That's a high faluttin' sandwich you got yourself there, Philly!

At any rate, I had a few peppers gifted to me that were about to go bad, so I did what Bobby Flay would do...roast the peppers right on the roaster (which gave my Type A Fiancee the vapors, I swear...), slice up an onion, let 'em cook until their falling apart on themselves, slice up a steak, slather on a thick amount of wiz, and enjoy my semi-authentic Philly Cheese Steak. I say "semi" because, well for one, I'm not in Philly, and for two, I doubt they use Wonder bread in Philly. :D

It's good eats!

No, Thank you Bobby Flay! Now, if I could just find all the spices for your 16 spice rub!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Red Lobster Restaurant Review

A few weeks ago, we got the chance to go out to eat at Red Lobster.

We go in the door, and the hostess sends us to someone else to put in our name. I think she said Peter, but there was no one named Peter at the table she sent us to, so that might not be right. We comply, and head to the second person to put in our names. He tells us he's not sure of how long it's going to take to get to sit down, and he'll let us know in about 5 minutes. We were still missing members of our party, so that was fine by us. We didn't mind waiting. Now, our total party was going to be four adults and a child. Keep that in mind, it comes into play later.

Five minutes comes and goes. Ten minutes comes and goes. Our party is all together now, and no guesses for when we're getting seated.

I go ask, again, when we're going to get seated, and I'm not sure, but he was kind of giving off an air like he'd forgotten we were there - he starts stammering "Oh, um...oh", and has to get out the sheet of paper with our names on it, that was IN THE TRASH.

Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Twenty five. Thirty. THIRTY FIVE minutes. Not only had he never told us when he was going to seat us like he'd promised, but he appears to have very little interest in doing so.

So I go back in, again, to ask for an explanation. He tells me that because we're a large party, it's taking more work to find us a table, and he has to wait for a big enough table to open up for us.

I stop now to point out three things, which I also pointed out to him:

1 - since when is four adults a large party?

2 - it's real hard to keep a three year old calm and entertained for thirty five minutes, and he's running out of time before my son is going to start tearing stuff up. If you've ever tried to keep a three year old quiet, calm and entertained in an adult environment for thirty five minutes, you know - I wasn't making a threat. That was a promise.

3 - the entire front section of the restaurant was empty. And we'd been left waiting for thirty five minutes. For a table. In a restaurant that was half empty. Can you say "We straight up forgot to seat you?"

I jab a finger at that table, and go "Um, what about that empty table right there?", he claimed that that was in the smoking section (didn't see a single person smoking), and since we'd asked for non-smoking, he was waiting for a table for us.

I responded "I'll take it. Seat me.", and he did.

Our waiter, thankfully, was much better then our host, and we had a great time. He was quick with the suggestions for good eats (in fact, that's pretty much how I ordered. "Which of these do you recommend?", and he'd tell me one, and I'd order it. Dessert, same thing - "What do you recommend?", and he'd bring it.), he kept the drinks flowing, and he was always easy to find if we had a problem or question. I'd like to mention him by name, but I honestly don't remember it. It was an unusual name. Bennett? Benton? It started with a B, and it was an unusual name. I know that much.

The food was alright. I ordered the Fresh Lobster, and truthfully, lobster just isn't a food that's all that impressive to me. I'm a big seafood eater, and I know that Lobster is supposed to be seafood at it's finest's just OK to me. So that's pretty much all my entree was. OK. I did hear raves from the people around me for theirs though.

The desserts were good, although a bit perplexing. I ordered Key Lime Pie (which you know was a prepared dessert they cut a slice off. Red Lobster doesn't have a pastry chef!), and it came with a raspberry sauce, which seemed a strange match to me. But it was delicious, none the less.

At the end of the meal, the manager got a lobster out of the tank so that my three year old could touch it, which was really fun in its own right. My son loves to stop at the lobster tank at the groucery store, so it was fun for him to get to try to touch one. If your interested, he (the three year old), reported that it "felt like ice".

All in all, the waiter saved the day. Because we had a host that forgot we were there, I had an entree that was only OK, and a flat pop, but thanks to the work of the waiter, I left the restaurant with a positive impression. That was no small feet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gorilla Bread!

Yesterday, in a fit of sheer boredom, I made Paula Deen's recipe for Gorilla bread. Or, actually, I called it "Baby Gorilla" bread, because it called for two things of biscuits, and I only had one.

Since I was informed by my Comp 2 teacher that I legally can't reprint recipes without permission, and I don't have it, here's the link:

It's like cinnamon rolls on steroids. And I'm sure it's not the least bit healthy - cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, regular sugar, and some cinnamon on a biscuit? That doesn't sound even a little bit healthy to type it out. But it is quite tasty! I recommend it!

In the google search, there's a link for a modification to this recipe that includes bananas and chocolate, and that might have to be next weekends trial. Can't wait!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And The Reasons I Love Jon Stewart Just Keep Growing...

And the hits just keep on coming!

The Daily Show does Iron Chef!

I had some technical difficulties and couldn't imbed the video, but go watch it. It's funny.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Theresa/Paula Deen Project Is Off To A Rousing Start!

The Theresa/Paula Deen Project is off to a rousing start!

My unsuspecting first recipe was Mexican Chicken:

One 10 3/4 ounce can Cream of Chicken Soup
One 10 3/4 ounce can Cheddar Cheese soup
One 10 3/4 ounce can Cream of Mushroom soup
One 10 ounce can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 whole chicken, cooked, boned and chopped, or 4 cups leftover cooked chicken
One 11 1/2 ounce package flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, stir together the three kinds of soup and the tomatoes. Stir in the chicken. In a greased 13x9 inch pan, layer the tortillas and the chicken mixture, beginning and ending with tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


I put alot of footwork behind this recipe. I bought a package of chicken breasts, and I had a package of chicken legs, and boiled the both. Then I pulled the chicken - which admittedly took a long time, because the little buggers were HOT - mix up all the soups, throw them in the oven, good to go, right?

As we sat down to dinner, my fiancee confided that he didn't believe that this recipe was worth the amount of work that I'd put into it.

Can I tell you? The picky eater, who never gets adventerous, and hates to try new stuff? Had THREE plates. THREE! T-H-R-E-E. Can you tell that I feel like I've slayed giants here?! And not only did he personally have three plates, but my three year old, who eats like a bird, cleared his!

I'm on FIRE!

This recipe serves 8, so I divided the recipe into two different plates, and put one in a glass casserole dish that we cooked today, and put one in one of those disposable pan, that my non-chef picky eater fiancee has been given instructions for ow to reheat for another day this week. I take college classes on Tuesday and Wendesday, and that'll make a perfect dinner for another night. Even someone who doesn't cook can hang with "warm it up until the cheese melts"!.

I've also got a mess of chicken left to do something with. The Chicken Casserole recipe is probably my next suspect. I've got all the ingredients, save for pimentos. And you know, for having the reputation that all of Paulas recipes start with a pound of butter, an awful lot of them start out with a can of cream of mushroom soup.

Until tomorrow! :)

The Theresa/Paula Deen Project?

Last night, as a joke, I suggested The Theresa/Paula Deen project to my fiancee as a joke. He took me up on it!

If you don't know the spirit of which the joke was intended, here's a few facts:

The Julie/Julia Project is the blog that the movie Julie And Julia was based on. Julie Powell decided to cook her way through Julia Childs "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking", and keep a blog while she did it.

My fiancee is quite a picky eater. Like, the level of picky that it's easier to tell you what he will eat, then it is to tell you what he won't eat. And we got a new kitchen table this weekend, and for some reason, he got all sorts of inspired, and started talking about Paula Deen.

Which brings us back to my suggesting the Theresa/Paula Deen Project, and him taking me seriously. He was totally into it. Go figure!

So I selected "The Lady & Sons Too!" this afternoon at the bookstore, and I'm in the process of making the Mexican Chicken recipe as we speak.

The Theresa/Paula Deen Project might have gotten it's official start! Exciting!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Food Journaling

This isn't usually the sort of thing I write about here, but does anyone else food journal? I just picked up a notebook to start a food journal, and it's funny how fast it seemed to work.

Weight Watchers is an organization that really preaches the importance of the food journal, and they say that the reason is that once you have written record of everything going in your mouth, lots less stuff will go in your mouth!

And I've already got proof that it works. We went to Wal-Mart today, and got a big package of pringles. We get the ones that are portion measured out already (they fit in Jims lunch box the best), and I broke one out and gave it to James (my three year old).

I wanted one of those packages of Pringles so bad, my mouth was nearly watering. But I did NOT want to have to write down that I'd eaten it! So I didn't take one.

Viola! Just like that, the food journal worked! I lived, clearly, without the pringles and I got what I wanted and didn't have to write it down.

Yay for food journals! :) It doesn't have to be fancy - mine is a 30 cent notebook from Staples that's pink, and I just hooked an ink pen through the wire.

I'm weirdly proud for turning down those pringles. Man, that dress better look smokin'. :D

Friday, September 4, 2009

Michael Chiarellos Rules For Cooking

Right now, I've got pretty much every Michael Chiarello cookbook my library would let me take out at once, and I found something fun that I thought I'd share.

In the front of "Flavored Oils: 50 Recipes For Cooking With Infused Oils", he offers his "rules for cooking". They are:

1)Don't cook if you don't want to.

2)Don't cook when you are full.

3)Shop when you are hungry.

4)Cook with the ingredients in the biggest displays. This is usually produce at the peak of its season.

5)Make the food your own - substitute and experiment - just never say "I can't make that because I don't have that exact ingredient."

I like number four. It makes total sense, but who thinks of that? I never had.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

YouTube! What's UP?!

I have a cousin that is currently mourning the loss of the youtube, swearing that it just isn't what it used to be.

At the same time, I'm mourning the loss of Top Chef. Yes, it's true. I just moved, and the only cable company I could get doesn't carry Bravo as part of their basic cable package.

At this point, insert my "YouTube! What's UP?!"

I present, ladies and gentlemen...Top Chef!

Alright! Top Chef is back in my life, baby! I have know idea if this is the complete episode. The user that posted these seems to have only posted two parts, so it's either the whole episode, or all he was willing to post.

Interestingly, or maybe not, Eve, who owns a restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan (not far from where I am), is a brunette in all the pictures of her that the papers and blogs around here are running, and she's a blonde on the show. Bravo makeover?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gluten Free?

Little obsessed with the idea of trying to make a gluten free cake, won't lie to you. I got the idea in my head, and now I seriously can't get it out. Evidentally, I need a trip to a specialty store, because everything that I'm finding says gluten free isn't an easy think to do - there's alot of stuff that goes into substituting for cake flour!

But, I just found a gluten free red velvet cake recipe that in it's own way, looks better then original red velvet.

If I can, I'm doing it this weekend. Family cookout, and I'm gonna taste test, and make them decide which is better. Admittedly, I'm a pastry chef at heart, so they generally cringe when they see me coming for fear of what confection I've got neatly tied under my arm, but this might be a challenge their willing to take on!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farmers Market! Yeah, Baby!

I have been missing the Ann Arbor Farmers Market so bad! I finally, finally got to go this morning.

My customary first stop, as it was this morning, was the Zingermans food booth. I say food - usually all they bring out is cheese. If you don't know Zingermans from my constant bragging on it, hit them up online. They have a catalog, you could order most of their stuff. You should be ordering most of their stuff!

They have a deli in Ann Arbor, and they make, grow, bake, and come up with as much stuff as it's reasonable to do on their own, and anything they can't, they've pretty much got the inside track on what's the best out there. Apparently, they grow good olives in Iowa, because that's where they get theirs. Iowa. Who knew?

At any rate, back to the cheeses. They are always quick with a sample, or with a recommendation on how to use their cheeses. Although admittedly, I tend to not get as far as their recommendations, I usually smear it on a cracker, or a piece of fruit if I've got one, and go to town.

I sampled the Honey Almond today, which I went ahead and bought. Although, I need to find something to do with it, because it's a bit of an acquired taste, I think. I also sampled their Lincoln Log cheese. It's a aged goat cheese, and I think it's a little closer to what people generally think of when they think of goat cheese. Firm texture, nice feel in your mouth - a little similar to Ricotta in both respects - with a interesting aftertaste of beer. The suggestion for using the Lincoln Log was to slice it up, and melt it over a hamburger, which sounds really good.

But I knew I'd end up sharing with James (my three year old), and I knew he wouldn't go for beer, so we went honey almond. Got a yummy for dinner, stored right in the tank! :D

Our next stop was the Roos Roast booth. I've been recognized!

The last time I got to stop at the Roos Roast booth, I came here and blogged about my visit. The guy was totally cool, the coffee was good, the coffee names were funny, I was in love!

I mentioned today during my stop that I blogged about them last time I was here (I'd actually sent them a link to the post), and the man running the booth today remembered coming to my blog to read about it! Shout out! How funny is that?

I get a total, total kick out of giving a little extra press to local businesses, and I'll do it again today.

I love Roos Roast!

I just read something in Rachael Rays magazine that says that flavored coffees are out, and flavored teas are what's in style. Don't tell anybody at Roos Roast! Although they don't do flavors like I think the Rachael Ray piece was talking about, just the same - no one mention it!

Because I don't drink caffiene, I don't get to partake in all their yummy flavors - Lobster Butter Love and Rich French Neighbor are two that always stand out for me, but their De Calf is excellent! Smooth, mellow, with a little substance to it, if that makes any sense. I was driving home, happily enjoying my coffee, trying to think on WHY I liked the coffee. It's hard to describe - it's just got a nice body to it. It makes me happy. It's happiness in a cup - how's that for advertising?!

I was asked to pass along the message that Roos Roast is a hard drink to find. And it kind of is - they have a list of places that you can see them in the average week, and well, let's put it this way - if there's a Farmers Market to be had in Washtenaw County, they are there!

But if you don't have access to Washtenaw County and their Farmers Market schedule, might I suggest ordering online?, they ship anyplace. If you live in an area where it's possible to do it, they even deliver by bike!

Ok, I was just poking around on their website, and I found, and I kid you not - Coffee Camp. Really. Every way you can figure out how to talk about coffee - where it comes from, how to roast it, how to brew it, how to drink it...their talking coffee at Coffee Camp. Oh, I'm so there!

I love the people at Roos Roast, and I love their coffee. Enough that I'd consider buying a coffee pot to make some at home! The vibe at their stands is always really fun as well. Everybody's laid back, hangin' out, just making good coffee. Love!

Our next stop was the Stod's Berry Farm. I won't lie - not the cosmetically most attractive berries out there, but the price was good, and my three year old deserved some reward for trooping around the Farmers Market behind me all day, didn't he?

He got one. A pint of blueberries. And, our berry friend threw in a extra half pint for free! My son ate so many that his lips were starting to turn blue! I was joking that that would happen, but I didn't know that that could actually HAPPEN! It's very temporary - by the time we made it back around the corner, he was fine again.

We made another stop at a stand that I didn't catch the name of, and admired the gorgeous bounty of Heirloom tomatoes, and mused on the watermelons. I'm so curious on whether a orange or yellow watermelon tastes different then a red, but in the end, I decided I just didn't want to carry around a three year old AND a watermelon, so I figured that that'd be a quest for another day.

My last customary stop is the people at Pillar's. It's a little street cart that serves tamales, and plantains, and lots of other yummy treats. I usually walk up to the cart, go "I want the lunch special. What do you recommend?", and see what happens. The lunch special is a tamale, with sides of black beans and rice, some sort of slaw (that I always promise I'm going to know the name of so I can blog about it, and I promptly forget), and plantains, and a drink. The last time I went, the drink was a hibiscus tea, but I truthfully don't know what the drink was today. It was hot, so it wasn't the same hibiscus tea. I actually was so contented with my coffee from Roos, that I haven't tried the drink from Pillar's yet!

Alright, in the time I've been sitting here, I'm pretty reasonably convinced my three year old has lost every reasonable brain cell he's got left, and I need to remember to send my email to apply for coffee camp!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Got A Crush On Michael Chiarello!

Ok, I'm two timing on my Culinary Boyfriend Michael Symon, but I gotta do it.

All season long on Top Chef Masters, they've been showing promo shots of Michael Chiarello barking orders at some non-descript ponytail.

That non-descript ponytail, as it turns out, belongs to none other then Season Twos "I've got no apparent reason to be so angry, but what the h**l else am I gonna do in this joint?" villian, Miss Betty Frasier.

Have I told you all lately how much I love Michael Chiarello?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cat Cora Becomes A Mom...Again!

Cat Cora had her baby! I knew she'd been pregnant, but I'd not ever heard that she had the bub. She did, and fairly recently too!

I realize this is a questionable source at best, but:

Cat Cora Is A Momma!

July 24, Cat and her partner Jennifer welcomed baby Nash, who joins baby Thatcher who was born in April (no, Cat is not a superwoman. She and her partner were pregnant at the same time!), 2 year old brother Caje and 5 year old brother Zoran.

Yay for Iron Chef babies!

And from the "that's cool, but probably more information then I needed" files, I found this tidbit online:

April 4- Iron Chef Cat Cora and her wife, Jennifer, welcomed a son, THATCHER JULIUS. Jennifer gave birth to Thatcher and Cat is due with a baby boy in July. The couple are also moms to sons, Zoran, 5, and Caje,2. Zoran and the baby Cat is carrying are from Jennifer's eggs. Caje is from Cat's eggs. Thatcher's biological mother is unknown. The same sperm donor was used for all of their sons.

So that means that Zoran and Nash are biologically Jennifers, Caje (which I assume is pronounced "Cage", but I don't know) is biologically Cat's, and Thatcher was a wildcard? In a weird way, I like that they all had the same dad. That's funny that they are all boys too. I don't know why. It just makes me smile. Perhaps because I live with all boys, so it makes me feel better when other people do too?

Jack In The Box Commercial. Woah.

This commercial is SO messed up. I'm laughing thinking about it, but I seriously couldn't help but go "OM...What the what now?" when I was watching it.

Pasta Salad...Forever. Pasta Salad Forever.

My mom is in town this week, and I made a couple of pasta salads for the big grill out fest on Sunday.

I made a "summer salad". Saute up some zucchini and summer squash, green onions, parsley, dill and goat cheese, and toss with some orzo pasta.

I also made an Asian pasta, without anything to dress it up. Angel hair pasta, toss it with 1/3 cup of Soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, and green onion.

The Summer Salad was terrific as it was (might have used a little lemon zest or something to brighten it up just a touch), but the Asian pasta was too plain. My fiacee asked me if I'd made ramen noodles. Hah! It could have used something to make it a little more fancy.

Incidentally, I've got both of these salads coming out my nose. I didn't think anything about it - I fired up two pots of water to boil, and when they did, I tossed in the pasta. I never guessed that little envelope of dried orzo pasta was going to cook up to like, two pounds worth of pasta. Seriously. It goes on forever!

Is delicious though. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Live Blog Of The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

I'm trying the craziness known as live blogging!

OMG, The Best Thing I Ever Ate Pizza. Are you kidding?!

Ted Allen: Graziella's Pizza in Brooklyn, NY. He prefer the Arugula and Parmesan. Incidentally, he says that's about two blocks from his house, so if your in for a little Ted Allen sighting, hit it!

Duff Goldman: Gino's East in Chicago. Sausage and Pepperoni. Why am I not surprised? He seems like a pepperoni and sausage guy. At any rate, he's FLIPPED over the disk of sausage. Like, FLIPPED. They also ship too, so if your dying to try the sausage disk, you totally can.

Mark Summers: Osteria Pizza in Philadelphia. He's a purist - he likes the Margarita pizza. Talkin' trash about LA too - says you can't get a good pizza there. True?

At this point in the show, I've lost interest in the "fight" aspect they're trying to bring in. Just talk to me about the food!

Tyler Florence: Serious Pie in Seattle. Chanterelle mushrooms and truffle cheese. Why is it not that surprising to me that Tyler Florence likes a pizza with toppings like that? I think they thought that would be more interesting then that. Heh.

Alex Guarneschelli: Five Points Pizza in NYC. The Yukon Gold Potato. Is interesting, yes? I'm intrigued by that. I'd try that. Actually, I'd try all of them, although Duff and his sausage disk flipped me out a little bit.

Adam Gertler: Likes pizza for breakfast. And he wants you to know about it. Little Dom's in LA. The Breakfast Pizza. See - Summers was wrong!

John T. Edge: Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, and the Rosa is the best choice. Pistachio, red onions, and a whole bunch of other stuff I was trying to process. lol! It looks a little intriguing. Hmm. The guy that runs the place insists that he be the only pizza maker. Hmm. I bet that place always has a line! Heh. "Blistered to hell crust". lol!

Commercial note: What Would Brian Boitano Make? How much do I love whatever marketing person came up with THAT?!

Aaron Sanchez: Chocolate Pizza at Max Brener in NYC. OMG. Is anyone besides me a little bit in love with Aaron Sanchez right now? It's chocolate, and marshmallows, peanut butter, hazelnuts. OMG. I just...OMG. That's all I've got.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cube Steak Mania!

To give you a idea of why this was such a big deal...I haven't eaten a cube steak in over three years. But I had this recipe, and I couldn't resist trying it out, and so I made it. My fiancee was convinced that I'd lost my mind, asking him to buy cube steak when we went to the store, but he obliged.

Cube Steak Dijonnase

2 12 ounce cube steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup whipping cream or half and half
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks in single layer and cook until browned, turning once, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to work surface; cut each steak in half.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sage, saute until soft, about 30 seconds.

Add vermouth; boil until slightly reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in cream and mustard.

Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide steaks among plates, spoon sauce over top, and serve.

Busch's Market Recipe Card

I won't lie to you. I substituted my butt off for this recipe. I couldn't find sage, so I substituted thyme. I forgot to get Vermouth. Google recommended that I use a dry white wine, white grape juice or chicken stock. I didn't have any of the three, so I substituted Bourbon. I didn't have half and half, so I substituted milk with a generous amount of butter. And I didn't have whole grain Dijon mustard either.

So basically, I took the idea, and made it my own. :D

First time I've eaten a cube steak in three years! It actually gave me a little bit of anxiety, but I did it!

And the sauce makes good pan gravy for mashed potatoes too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Playing With The Wendy's Nutritional Information. Feel A Little Ill.

So, just as I'm about to suggest burgers for dinner, I see a blog that lists Wendy's Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty as being a high calorie item. I scurry to Wendy's website, to find out the calorie requirements for my usual choice, a number one, no cheese, and one of these frosty treats. I've only had the coffee toffee frosty once, but you know...

My usual? With the frosty? Runs me a tally of ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY CALORIES. Really? Is it that tasty?

If your on Weight Watchers, that's roughly 32 points. In one sitting. Last time I was on Weight Watchers, that was like two days worth of points. In one sitting!

Pardon me while I scrape my jaw up off the floor. Holy jeeze.

Just to see what it'd take to tap this thing out, I did a little Wendys math - the fully customized burger, which includes cheese, cheese sauce, 4 strips of bacon, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, honey mustard, dill pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato. Large fry. Large sprite. Large Coffee Frosty.

One thousand seven hundred and eighty calories.

For only a slightly larger amount of calories, you can have (and stay with me here):

A grilled chicken Caesar salad
A order of Sweet Asian Boneless wings
Broccoli & Cheese baked potato
A cup of mandarin orange slices
A small cup of chili
A junior vanilla frosty
A medium light lemonade

Which is quite a bit more food then I think anyone would want to eat in one sitting. All that weighed in at one thousand eight hundred and ten calories.

Wendy's math. A little gross. lol!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Middle Of The Week Farmers Market!

So, thanks to the wonder that is Vacation Bible School, I got to make it out to the Ann Arbor Farmers market in the middle of the week this week!

Gorgeous eats this week - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to be had, everywhere you looked. Made me a little sad I was doing Farmers Market on a budget. :D The snow cone lady, who is a customary stop when I've got my two year old with me, had fresh blueberries with her this week. Between snow cones and blueberries, he would have been her best friend!

So I made a couple of my usual stops, and added in one new friend. When I get to the Farmers Market, I usually make a cruise through once, scope the sights, and then go back to the stuff that looked interesting.

Roos Roast

This was my first stop, the really cool people at Roos Roast coffee. They make free trade coffee, with funny names like "Lobster Butter Love" and "Rich French Neighbor". If you order in an area where it's possible to do so, they deliver your coffee on bike, and all their stands are set up off the grid. This is my first experience with the cool people at Roos Roast, but I hope to make it back to see them again!

Because I don't drink caffeine, I'm a bit of a tough coffee customer. Most places only have one coffee I can have, if even that. Wednesday was kind of a dippy, dreary day, and so Roos Roast was running a special that you could get a hot coffee for only $2.

The guy running the stand (who I learned later from their twitter was named Brian. Shout out to Brian!) forever earned a soft spot in my heart for a few reasons:

1)Not only that he had decaf (their decaf is called "Decalf". Hah!), but he acted shocked that I dared to think they wouldn't. And

2)He patiently allowed me to stand there while I doctored the coffee up. I'm a coffee doctorer, I admit it.

Like I've been saying this whole time - I love the people at Roos Roast! Smooth, mellow, delicious coffee. My cup was filled to the brim, and as I happily walked away, Brian told me if I needed any more ice (I got an iced coffee) or anything like that, to just pop on by, and he'd be happy to help me out. Shout out to the people at Roos Roast! I'll probably be back this week for another! :)

My next stop was my main man, one of the reasons I go to the Farmers Market at all - the Zingermans cheese guy. Aah, Zingermans. How do I love thee?

Zingermans Creamery

Zingermans Creamery hand makes fresh cheeses that they sell at Farmers Markets all through the area. They are always really good to you when you stop by their booth - they generally have a few cheeses out that you can sample to, and they are always ready with a recommendation if you want to try something new, like I did on Wednesday. I usually run in, get my City Goat, and split. I told the guy that I wanted something new, and he suggested the Sharon Hollow.

Sharon Hollow isn't totally new to me, I've had it before, but I wanted something different, so I was game. He said that they'd made a really good batch of cheese that day (yes, THAT day. I was buying cheese at 9 in the morning that had been made the same day. Hows that for service?!), and I had to try it.

Man, he wasn't kidding. Smooth, mellow, with a nice creamy flavor. Delicious! I got the Sharon Hollow rolled in chives, which was really good - every time you bit into a chive, it offered a little spike of peppery goodness to offset the creamy goodness from the cheese.

He's also quick to offer suggestions on how to use the cheese. I think he said that the ways he liked it the best were over a crusty baguette, or crumbled into a pasta salad. I won't lie - their cheese is so good, I just sit down with the cheese and a sleeve of Ritz crackers. :D

My last stop was the street cart of Pilar's Catering.

Pilar's Catering

I am a total convert to the ways of Pilar's. I made my first stop there a few months back, got just a order of plantains, came home, and went "I don't get it!", and kind of wrote it off.

Oooh, no, no, my friends! I had to get the whole deal!

The next time I went back, I got the "Farmer's Market Special", which is a tamale, a little salad, some rice and beans, the plantains, and a drink. Oh man. My life was changed forever!

They use everything as natural and organic as they can get it, and the recipes are really authentic - their website says they do "traditional Salvadorian cuisine", and their head chef, Chef Sylvia Nolasco-Rivers is from Salvador!

I've tried the Vegan Tempeh tamale, and the JalapeƱo and Cheese, and their both delicious. I'd actually be hard pressed to name a favorite! And the plantains, in the context of the entire meal, are fantastic! I wish I could figure out which of their salads listed on the website is the street cart salad, because it's a knock out.

And the hibiscus tea is delicious as well. It's an acquired taste - the first time I had it, I took my first swallow, and went "What is happening in my mouth right now?!", it was a little sweet, a touch tart, and had a little bit of a woody note on the back of my tounge.

By the last swallow, I was ready to get back in the car and drive back to Ann Arbor for more! Hibiscus tea is an acquired taste, but try it - you'll love it!

So here's to my tasty adventures at the Farmers Market! :) I met my son at Vacation Bible School, and we went out, and got ice cream! As you can tell, Wednesday was a very good day to be a foodie at my house! :D

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's Time For Everyone's Favorite Game Show...

...thanks, Bobby Flay!

I've long been on the quest for all the necessary ingredients for Bobby Flay's 16 Spice Rub, with one mythical ingredient escaping me. Pasilla Chili Powder. I don't know why it seems so illusive, but it does.

I just googled pasilla chili powder, and found this most excellent little store, Dean & Deluca.

Dean And Deluca

And they've got EVERYTHING. It's kind of out of control. It must be an amazing store in person! They've got black truffle barbeque sauce, pure foie gras, brillo de treviso cheese, and a million of other things. If you've always wanted to try something you saw on Food Network or Top Chef, but it was never anything your market carried, chances are Dean & Deluca has it - and they ship!

I'm positive that I'v seen Bobby Flay in this store on his show Boy Meets Grill. I like that show alot, because he shows lots of cool shops around the city, in addition to the cooking.

Pasilla Chili Powder, $6.25 for 1.9 ounces. Thanks, Bobby Flay!

Joes Crab Shack...Oy, Vey...

Yesterday, I convince my fiancee to take me to eat at Joes Crab Shack. I've been seeing their delicious looking steam pots whirl around my TV for a while, and I wanted one like WOAH.

So, we go. And to eat at our local Joes, it's quite a trek - it's not anywhere you'd just go - you have to make a pretty specific trip.

We get seated by a hostess that I can only assume was under the influence of something, because she was looking at the restaurant like she'd never seen it before. Kid you not.

We put in our order. And we wait. And we wait. And we bloody wait some more. Eventually, a manager turns up to explain that because we've waited more then 20 minutes, he'll "take care of it", but offers no explanation for what that actually means.

The food eventually turns up from around the corner.

My steam pot? I won't lie - I got the West Coast steam pot, and the crab legs were so hot that I could hardly touch them, and I probably could have played basketball with the shrimp. And as for the delicious looking pot full of seafood? Don't be fooled. They bring a normal, regular size plate inside the pot. It's just like any other entree, just a little more gimicky. Like I mentioned - the crab legs were so hot I could hardly touch them, everything else temperature? I ate the majority of it (the "majority of it") pretty much consisted of the crab legs and shrimp. And a ear of corn on the cob, which is a food you just can't screw up, even if you serve it cold, which they did)

My sons food was freezing cold. He's pretty temperature sensitive, so it wasn't an earth shaking tragedy, but really? That's pretty gnarly. If I sat there for 20 minutes, the very least you can do is serve me hot food.

The bill comes, it's $58. We were pretty rattled. Food that was OK if you were being optimistic about it, a server that I'm not sure remembered we were there, and cold shrimp - that weren't supposed to be cold?! And you want $60 for that!?

The managers offer to "take care of it" meant my fiancees dinner was free. Which brought the meal down to $31. Which isn't bad. Crab legs for 2, and a kids meal shouldn't be $60.

Every time I go eat at Joe's, it kind of just serves to remind me why I don't go there more often. Something ALWAYS happens - the service is lagging, the food is weird, or like in the case of yesterday, the quality control takes a bit of a holiday. For families in this economy (I mean really. Two adults and a kid, it was $60. I come from a family with five kids. There's no days that we could have afforded to eat at Joe's), Joe's just isn't a practical buy. People these days don't have alot of extra money or time, a fact the good people at Joe's apparently don't understand.

Battle Pineapple The Follow Through

So I guess I was reading the room wrong. Chef Symon won Battle Pineapple pretty handily, with a score of 50 to 41.

Incidentally, he used Speck, which makes this the second time I've seen that on a food show this week. The impression Top Chef Masters left me with was that it was some kind of breading technique, but apparently according to AB, it's actually a form of proscuitto?

Guess what that means it's time for!

According to our friends at Wikipedia:

Speck is a distinctively juniper-flavored ham originally from Tyrol, a historical region that since 1918 partially lies in Austria and partially in Italy. Speck's origins at the intersection of two culinary worlds is reflected in its synthesis of salt-curing and smoking.

...and there you go. Apparently, if your going to google Speck, you gotta be a bit more specific. That was the 6 or 8th result down. But Speck Electronics (shout out!) is doing great. lol!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Because I Can't Edit...

I have an Iron Chef follow up...

One of the dishes was especially interesting to me - they took fresh tuna loin, cored out the center with an apple corer, cored out a slice of pineapple, and then inserted the pineapple into the center. Then they took some Thai basil, and wrapped the basil and the pineapple and tuna loin in this big thing that sort of looked like a fajita, but it was thin like a piece of puff pastry. The name is entirely escaping me right now. Grr...

At any rate, they then pan seared it, unwrapped, sliced and served. So you get this delicious piece of bright red tuna with this perfect little spot of yellow in the center. It looked delicious and fun - I'd love to try it!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Iron Chef!

I've made little secret of my entirely in my head love affair with Michael Symon, and guess who was on Iron Chef America in an all new episode this past Sunday?! My boy, Chef Symon!

His competitor is Chef Akhtar Nawab, the executive chef at elettaria in NYC, and he comes to elettaria via Louisville Kentucky, San Franscisco, and a Indian mama. Aah, the mama! :)

They are in Battle Pineapple, and I was kind of hating it for Chef Symon because I often feel like they stack the ingredients for or against one chef or the other, and I didn't feel like pineapple looked that great for my boy, but he seemed pretty stoked. So maybe I'm reading the room wrong here. We'll see.

If your FAST, turn on Food Network right now, and you can see it. If not, check out elettaria online:

Elettaria NYC

ETA: Follow up. I was reading the room wrong, because Chef Symon won the battle, 50 to 41. There you go.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Temporary sign off...

I'm going to be temporarily signing off the Chef blog.

Yesterday, we had a random summer time black out...and it zapped my computer. Like, it won't even turn on. Since we're busy trying to get ready to go out of town, and then we'll be out of town where there's no guarentee to internet anyway, I bid you a sad temporary adios.

Food for thought on the way out:

Next Food Network Star. I'm baffled that Katie is still there, and they sent Teddy home. Yes, I understand their reasoning - that he just didn't have the chops to be on TV. But you know what? She's not interesting TV and she's serving them raw food.

What's a girl got to do to get kicked off around here?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Twitter Taught Me Something. Get Out!

So, I just got friended on Twitter, if that's even the right way to say it, by the Ohio Food Service (shout out!), and I learned something from looking at their feed! :O

We all learned yesterday that I have a weird fascination with Michael Symon, and he's opening a new restaurant!

Bar Symon will open in Avon Lake Ohio, on June 29th. The head Chef will be Matt Harlan, who is coming to Bar Symon from Lolita. Andy Strizak will be taking over as head chef at Lolita.

Matt Harlan To Head Up Bar Symon

That is a link to a blog from a guy named Douglas Trattner, who is the food critic for the Cleveland Scene magazine.

Who knew?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Theresa Learns!

Thanks Bobby Flay!

I'm watching Throwdown: German Chocolate Cake right now, and I just learned something.

German Chocolate Cake is, in fact, not German. It's named for a man with the last name German.


German Chocolate Cake is an American creation that contains the key ingredients of sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans. This cake was not brought to the American Midwest by German immigrants. The cake took its name from an American with the last name of "German."

1852 - Sam German created the mild dark baking chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852. The company name the chocolate in his honor - "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate." In most recipes and products today, the apostrophe and the "s" have been dropped, thus giving the false hint as for the chocolate's origin.

1957 -The first published recipe for German's chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 and came from a Texas homemaker. The cake quickly gained popularity and its recipe together with the mouth-watering photos were spread all over the country. America fell in love with German Chocolate cake.

Food Network Is Doing Better Then I Thought, And I Still Love Michael Symon!

Food Network has been running advertisements for this show called "The Best Thing I've Ever Eaten" all week, and I've been looking at the commercials all week, going "zuh?". That sounds like a pretty one off situation, right? Like, how could they make a whole show out of that?

They did better then I thought. Every show has a theme - this weeks is "Totally Fried", and they are trotting out a mess of celebrated foodies to talk about the best thing they've ever eaten. So far, they've interviewed Aaron Sanchez, Duff Goldman, Giadia De Laurentis, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, and my culinary boyfriend (and I'll admit to that!) Michael Symon.

And if your interested, their favorite things included the fried shrimp heads at The Red Cat in New York (note: they aren't on the menu, you've got to request them), the doughnuts at Lola in Seattle, the pork rinds at The Publican in Chicago, and the Fried Brussel Sprouts at Lolita in Cleveland.

I'll tell you - I've personally had the fried brussel sprouts at Lolita, and they deserve to be up there on the list. Their kind of amazing - crunchy, soft, salty, with this little tang that you can't quite place. It's really, really unreal.

Guy Fieri is on right now, and his favorite fried thing is Mufungo. i'm kind of just getting a kick out of hearing him say Mufungo.

I love Michael Symon. Don't know why. I'm fascinated by the guy. I celebrate getting to watch him on TV, I drove all the way to Cleveland to get to eat his food (note: don't pass up the roasted caramelized onion soup with duck breast. Don't. You won't be sorry). I might lose it if I ever got to meet the guy. So he says the pork rinds at The Publican are the best there are, they are the best there are! And if you know Michael Symon, or if by luck you happen to BE Michael Symon, please introduce us! :D When I went to Cleveland, they said there was no guarentee if the Chef would be in town, which he I guess wasn't, because they said he was out of town most of the month I was there. If you had your choice between meeting with a tourist foodie and wannabe food writer, and going to South Beach in FEBRUARY, which would you pick?!

Me too. Hate to say it, but me too. :D

So, to sum up, since this got all kinds of tangent-y...

-The Best Thing I Ever Ate is a better show then I expected. Very informative.

-As if I didn't have enough reasons to want to go to Chicago already. I don't know how everyone in Chicago doesn't weigh 10,000 pounds. All the food!

-I am in love with Michael Symon. He is my culinary boyfriend. I should make that a little less stalkery and say "culinary hero", but I'll save the political correctness for when I've made it famous. :D

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Theresa Learns!

I'm watching a rerun of Top Chef Masters right now, and Hubert Keller made Scottish Salmon Mi Cuit.

I couldn't help but go "ok, but what did he DO?"

Oh, google!

Apparently, you can Mu Cuit lots of stuff. Tomatoes, chocolate, caramel, plums. Salmon. Lots of stuff!

After chasing all over google creation to find out, I learned that it means "semi-cooked" (you'll also see "partially cooked" as an option as well). So he served semi-cooked salmon.

And there you go...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Macaroni Grill And Some Twitter Randomness

Went to dinner at Macaroni Grill in Ann Arbor today.

Caesar Salad with almost no dressing. The waiter swore that that's just how they do their salads, but like - really? What restaurant is saving a ton of money by not putting dressing on their salads? The only people who got dressing were the people who requested it on the side.

Got Shrimp Alfredo. It was actually very good - not overly saucy, shrimp were cooked perfect. Enormous portion - I've got enough to have some for dinner tonight, and don't think I won't! :)

I got a Lemon Passion cake, and really, that's where it all started to go a little pear shaped. The waiter told me it was alot of citrus, and I was like "Yeah, dig it! Bring it on!" It seriously tasted like straight sugar. It was SO sweet. I didn't start to taste any citrus until I got into the frosting, but by then, my teeth were so itchy because of the sweet from the cake, that I didn't even make it into the frosting. Blech.

I did try my cousins chocolate cake, and that was out of this world. Deep flavor, sweet, mellow. Great mouth feel. Knock out. If I knew the official name of it, I'd name it, but I didn't order it, so I don't. Heh.

So it was a bit of a mixed bag, but I'd recommend it. The appetizers were good (they've got a basil pine nut pesto aioli on the menu that I seriously HAVE to find a reason to try. Like, what is that?!), the basil in the bruchetta tasted so fresh it was practically straight out of the ground, the chocolate cake was to die for, and they kept the wine flowing. Which, if your on the wagon, you don't care about. But I'm just putting that on the table.

So thumbs up-ish.

As for my twitter randomness...why? I'm searching out and following foodie people, and I don't understand. I searched for Bobby Flay (who has over 10,000 followers), and six or eight things came up. Who would fake being Bobby Flay? Why do you not have anything better to do with your life then that?

And don't sign me up for the "Twitter is teh awesome!" brigade just yet. It's OK. I'm not in love.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chef Searches Youtube...

...for foodie videos, naturally.

I found a kind of cool one, with Tom Collichio. Check it:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top Chef Masters

I'm going to kind of try to write this up week by week. My analasys might get a little more in depth as I watch reruns through the week.

Let me just say, I'm kind of glad that this is a show that isn't taking itself all that seriously. As much as they're all chefs and they want to win, they sort of all are acting like this isn't the be all and end all (which is the way some chefs act on Iron Chef, so this is a nice change). This is a show that kind of has the potential to choke on itself a little bit, and I'm glad to see that at least so far, it's not.

They are also doing it a little different then Top Chef. They have 24 contestants (a full half a seasons worth more then they are used to on TC), and rather then bring them all out at once and pick them off one at a time, they bring out four, and determine the "master", and that "master" goes on to the final round. They'll go through six groups of four, which will leave them with six "masters", and they'll compete for the official title of "Top Chef Master".

Tonights competitors:

Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys)
Christopher Lee (Aureole)
Michael Schlow (Radius Restaurant)
Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro)

Quickfire: Make a dessert for a panel of Jr. Girl Scout judges
Elimination Challenge: Make a three course meal in a college dorm room

The far and away winner for both was Hubert Keller, which kind of left me wondering if the producers had been thinking the show was going to have a bit more fight to it then it did. Because it kind of didn't. You saw Huberts food, and you just KNEW.

And, recipe of the week, because Tim Love kept talking about his pozole:

Authentic Mexican Pozole.

Naturally, technology won't let me just straight copy the recipe, and my sinus infection that kicked my butt in the middle of class earlier won't give me the patience to let me find out why. Click on the link. It's worth it.

Although, if that one is "authentic", then check out Chef Love's pozole on the show (I'll give them a little time to get the stuff up on the website). Now I kind of get why they were busting his chops over it. It's not even close. I mean, I understand the constraints and stuff, but his kind of looks like chunky chili (if you can imagine), and that's not really what a pozole is, as far as I understand.

Overall, good show. Can't wait until next week. Michael Chiarello is in the previews, busting someones chops for not getting to the cutting board fast enough. Good for him - never thought he had it in him. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tofu Alfredo...I Gotta Say, I Kind Of Love It...

I am nothing, if not open minded. Cloth diapering? Why not? Soy Milk instead of Cow? Bring it on. Tofu noodles instead of regular? Oh, sure.

So my recent culinary experiment was tofu noodles. I don't know if anyone has heard of Hungry Girl, but they are often singing the praises of the tofu noodle - all of the fun of pasta, with none of the bad stuff (gluten, sugar, CALORIES), and I actually found some at my friendly neighborhood Meijer store.

So I got the fettucini noodle, and made some alfredo sauce out of my Betty Crocker cookbook...which I'm madly looking around trying to find, so I can give you the recipe. Alright, found it. Check it out:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
3/4 cup rated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

In a 10 inch skillet, heat butter and whipping cream over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and mixture starts to bubble; reduce heat to low. Simmer 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper.

That's just almost painful it's so simple!

The noodles, you just drain, rinse, microwave for one minute (or boil on the stove for two to three), pat dry with a towel, and serve. You can have vegetarian - or with a little more work vegan or completely gluten free - alfredo on the table in six minutes. Tell me that that's not completely dangerous information!

With the sauce, I'll admit to taking a bit of a short cut, and having it not entirely pan out. I got green can parmesan cheese, and the sauce had to be RIPPING hot, otherwise you could tell the difference in the texture.

As for the noodles - a little more snap then a noodle might traditionally have (although I'll admit to liking my noodles a little overdone anyway, so that might be why I think that), similar mouth feel, smooth in my mouth, didn't taste any different then I'd expect any other noodle to taste.

I was truthfully impressed with both the sauce recipe, and the noodles. So impressed, that I nearly drowned myself in tofu alfredo last night. Eesh. So it's low cal, but your probably not supposed to eat the whole package by yourself. :D

Friday, June 5, 2009

From The "Theresa's Sure Up To Speed" File...

I got Bobby Flay's new burger cookbook the other day, and I noticed that he mentioned a burger from Bolo, his first restaurant, and spoke of it's success on the menu in the past tense.

Back to Google - Bolo closed!

Long story short, the building got bought out and demolished. Bolo had been on the NYC Culinary scene for 15 years. So...there you go.

Cat Cora's Crispy Fried Chicken

One of my newest cookbook finds is Cat Cora's Cooking From The Hip, and I made her Crispy "Fried" Chicken for dinner the other day. I made the comment on our twitter (follow us on twitter, @ChefBlog) the other day that I felt like it was a good Zehender's substitute, and I realized that to most of the world, that means nothing. So I had some explaining to do!

First, the recipe, and I'll explain a few tweaks I had to make, and one I didn't have to make, but did:


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup light buttermilk
1 2 1/2 - to 3-pound fryer, cut into pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cornflakes


Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Pour the olive oil into a baking pan large enough to hold the chicken pieces in a single layer without crowding. Using your fingers, rub the oil over the dish so that it's completely but lightly coated.

Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry. In a wide bowl or on a large plate, season the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken piece in the flour until it's completely coated. Tap the chicken against the side of the bowl to loosen any excess flour and set the pieces aside. Discard the flour.

Crush the cornflakes by placing them in a big resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing the bag to push out the air. Seal the bag (leaving as little air inside as possible) and crush the flakes using a rolling pin. Pour the crushed flakes into a wide bowl or onto a large plate.

In a bowl large enough to dip the chicken pieces, mix the buttermilk, mustard, cayenne (if using), paprika and sage. Give each floured chicken piece a good buttermilk bath all over, then roll in the crushed flakes.

Arrange the chicken pieces in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375° F, and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. (The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.) Serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

As for my tweaks: I honestly didn't notice in the recipe that it says to put the spices into the buttermilk. I thought the recipe went "Dredge in the flour, dip in the buttermilk, the cornflakes, the spices", and I went "Yowza, that's alot of steps!" so I mixed the spices into the flour. Turns out, I was supposed to have put the spices in the buttermilk. So that was the tweak I made that I didn't have to make.

I also didn't have cornflakes, so I used crushed club crackers instead. I can't imagine the difference was enormous, but I'll try it the right way next time, so we'll see.

I also had to tweak the spices, because I found myself strangely out of both paprika AND sage when I went to make it. My Better Homes & Gardens cookbook says Marjoram is a good substitute for paprika, and Cayenne pepper is a good sub for sage, so I subbed. Cat Cora's tip for this recipe is that if it's got to feed kids, go a little light on the spices, and I did - not only because I had to feed a kid, but because I was subbing spices left, right and center. Next time I think I'll spice it up better.

Now, as for the Zehender's reference:

There's a restaurant in Frankenmuth, Michigan called Zehender's. They serve "authentic" German style chicken dinners. Fried chicken, cottage cheese, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes and gravy, butter noodles...trimmings that go on forever! And you can buy it all you can eat, so they will seriously just keep bringing you food for forever.

Now, I don't know that Zehender's would go winning any James Beard awards (sidebar: if you don't know the James Beard awards, I'll put it like this - a James Beard award is to a chef what an Oscar is to an actress), but it's good food, it's a crazy fun place to go, and sometimes, isn't that all that matters?

Cat Cora's Crispy Fried Chicken recipe is a pretty solid stand in for the Zehender's experience. I was really impressed. Although, it loses most of the "crispy" when you store it in the refrigerator overnight, so the leftovers weren't nearly as exciting. Ha!

Check them out online!

Zehender's Restaurant. Their website says they are the largest family owned restaurant in the nation. Who knew?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Silk Soymilk - Is Good!

At my sons tap class on Tuesday, we were talking about milk, and one of the moms said that she'd started her daughters on soy milk, after one of them had a stomach bug in the fall.

She said that the Very Vanilla flavor was delicious, and you'd feel like you were drinking a dessert. Suffering from an incurable sweet tooth, I figured I'd give it a shot.

I don't know that I'd go as far as saying it was like drinking a big vanilla cupcake, but it was good - smooth flavored, sweet without being overwhelming. A little bit of a different mouth feel then regular milk, but really, if you didn't know you weren't drinking regular milk, you wouldn't know.

If you twisted my arm and told me I had to tell you something was the matter with it, I'd say it's that you can't cook with it. I got the Very Vanilla flavor, and I'm flipping through the recipe index on the Silk site, and don't see a single recipe that says you can use the Very Vanilla. With the sweeter recipes, you could probably get away with it, but none of them are calling for it. At $3 a gallon, I kind of need my drinks to multi-task!

Check them out online!
Silk Soymilk

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's New Cookbook Day!

Here at Chef, we're still grinning over our new cookbook find - Cat Cora's Cooking From The Hip. The book encourages improvised cooking. Get the idea of the recipe, and then sub at will. I've not tried any recipe in full yet, but to celebrate the day, I'm printing up a new recipe for everybody. Not from the book though, although that's coming! :)

Beef in Chipotle Sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
3 1/2 pounds beef roast, such as English or Chuck
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies (we use canned)

Combine salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and coriander. Cut meat into 2 inch by 4 inch chunks and rub seasoning mixture over beef. Cover and chil about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add half of meat and brown on all sides, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining pieces of meat. Reduce head to medium.

Add onions and garlic to the same pot and cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits.

Add tomatoes, lime juice, and chipotle chilies. Return emat to pot and arrange in a single layer. Bring to a boil; cover and cook in oven until meat is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Tip: This is delicious served in a heated tortilla garnished with guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and sour cream.

active time: 25 minutes
Passive time: 2 hours
Roasting time: about 1 1/2 hours
Yeild: 4 to 6 servings

Eat well, in celebration of new cookbook day!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Steak Tartare?

As I was watching Iron Chef tonight, I wondered something - what is Steak Tartare, and why can we eat it?

Legend has, the Tartare tribe (who were so bad, that they are the reason the Great Wall of China was erected), were so busy causing mayhem, that they would carry cuts of meat seasoned with spices under their saddles. They wanted to eat, they whipped the meat out from under the saddle, and took a bite.


3 medium oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional, adjust salt if added), rinsed and minced
2 teaspoons brined capers, drained and rinsed
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 large egg yolks
10 ounces USDA prime beef tenderloin, cut into small dice, covered, and refrigerated
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon crushed chile flakes (optional)

Combine anchovies (if using), capers, and mustard in a nonreactive bowl. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, mash ingredients until evenly combined; mix in egg yolks.

Use a rubber spatula to fold remaining ingredients into mustard mixture until thoroughly combined. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with toast points or french fries.

They advise that if you intend to serve the meat tartare style, to let your butcher know, so s/he can be certain to give you the freshest cuts.

At any rate, the trick seems to be in the cut and treatment of the beef, that allows it to be eaten in a raw state. Got to say - I hear you, but I'm not convinced I'd try it. I'll take a Vegetable Tartare, thanks. ;)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Things You Find In The Supermarket When Your Not Looking...

I found tea. It sounds so easy, I know.

There is a company called Honest Tea (get it? Say it out loud!), and they make a "Peach Oo-La-Long tea that is "just a tad sweet", that I think I like very much!

And guess who's on the label? Opus! The creator of Opus, Berkeley Breathed (Opus is a charector from Bloom County cartoons. I'm sure you'd know him if you saw him) used to put sweetener into their Honest Teas, so the creators made a deal that they'd sweeten their tea a little, if they could use Opus on the bottle.

Opus is a heck of a cover model. And likes his Oo-La-Long on ice, if your wondering.

Well, File This Under "Who Knew", For Sure!

Carpet bagging. I've heard the term before. To be honest, I'd always assumed it was slang for something naughty. What? Who knows!

Turns out, at least to our Australian friends, it's not only NOT naughty, it's a method of steak preperation!

Steak. Rock Oysters. Teriyaki marinade, and some toothpicks.

Cut slits in the steak, stuff with the oysters, "seal" with the toothpicks, marinade, grill and enjoy.

Who knew? Something my finance WON'T do with a steak. I'm curious enough that I'd probably give it a shot, but just looking at it on paper? I'm wicked squicked out. Heh.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chef Caves To The Pressure...

...and gets a twitter.

Follow us as we tweet too! We're ChefBlog.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Chocolate Sugar Cookie Experiment

Last week, I decided I needed chocolate sugar cookies. No particular reason why. Just the curiosity of making a chocolate sugar cookie. You know - you can make chocolate cake and vanilla cake. Can you make chocolate sugar cookies?

I get my son enlisted in my chocolate sugar cookies, and I hit up my friendly neighborhood google, until I find a recipe. This is the one I pulled up:

Chocolate Sugar Cookies:

2 3/4 cups (355 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar.

Bake cookies for about 10 - 12 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure that the frosting on the cookies dries completely before storing. (This may take several hours.) Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Makes about 36 - 4 inch (10 cm) cookies.

So that's the recipe I pulled up.

Can I tell you - I didn't love it. And sometimes that sort of comes in the build up to something that you decide will be SO good, that by the time you get access to it, it's never as good as you want it to be. But still. It was kind of meh.

I was hoping for a nice, fluffy, cake-y cookie. It was a harder, firmer cookie, with much more snap to it then I was hoping for. Admittedly, I didn't hang with the "Let it settle in the refrigerator..." stuff in the recipe, and I just sort of made it work, so maybe some of that would change if I did it that way, but I can't imagine that it would have. And the reason I didn't hang with that stuff is simple - ever tried to tell a two year old that he's got to wait for a cookie? Yeah - you won't hang with that stuff either. Try it, and tell me I'm wrong!

So, overall, like I said - I didn't love it. I actually had batter left over that I didn't even bother to make. But the recipe is right - they do make a nice looking cookie:


I took my son James to the store, and we each got to pick a frosting to go with our cookies. Mine is the white (cream cheese) and his is pink (strawberry, don't ya know?). His pick was actually for the blue frosted sugar cookies that were already made, which would have taken this entry from "the chocolate sugar cookie experiment" to "how on earth did I eat the whole thing?!". Thank heaven for small favors. :D

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Didn't Forget That I Forgot!

I haven't gotten up to any foodie trouble in the last few days, but I've got some fun pictures to post. I just need to find some time to do it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big? Single? Chef? Fox Wants To Find You Love!

We all know how well this goes, right? Right?! This is the unedited text of the email that was sent to me from some site that I can't figure out how to pry my email out of their address book.

We are looking for "A Real Man" that America can relate to.
Are you loveable guy?

Finally, a relationship show about real people looking for real love.
The Executive Producers of the hit show "The Bachelor"
along with 495 Productions is looking for a husky leading man for a groundbreaking new show on primetime TV called "More to Love." The Bachelors we are looking for can have any occupation. Example: Perhaps you are a single Police officer, EMT, Fireman or cook who would love to meet fantastic women who have your same passion in life?
Not necessary, just an example We are looking for a REAL leading man... an outgoing, charming, handsome, broad & big single guy who appears 25-35yrs old & who is looking for love!
(no six pack required )
We are looking for a man that America will love!
If you think you are a great candidate or know someone who would be a GREAT STAR on this groundbreaking, prime time series, contact us immediately. Forward on to all your friends and family. You can be located anywhere in the country.

If you are a bigger guy who loves women--curves and all--then you could be the star of your own show. The producers of "The Bachelor" are looking for YOU!

Include your full name, contact number, age, current pictures, occupation & why you think you're the perfect guy for the show. The more information the better!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Theresa Finally Finds Out What Mille-Feuille Is

In one of my culinary classes, we went on a tour of the Oak Point Country Club. They had an item on their menu called "Mille Fueille", and that sounded so intriguing, that I wrote it down, so I'd remember to go find out what that meant.

I finally remembered to go look!

I found out a few things.

One, according to Google, they spelled it wrong. It was spelled on their menu as "Mille-Fueille", and Google immediatly corrected me as "Mille-Feuille". So there is that.

The second thing I found out? It looks amazing! It's slices of puff pastry, sandwiched with jam, cream, or confectioners custard. They are called "vanilla skies". Which I don't know French, but I'd imagine that that's what "Mille-Feuille" translates too, or close to it, anyway.

I pulled up a recipe, just for fun. Aww, technology. It won't let me copy the recipe. Google it. From the looks of the pictures, you won't be sorry!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Farmers Market Finds!

So, you know I love to come on and talk about all my delicious finds at the Farmers Market.

I was dissapointed that I missed the good people from Zingermans - I look for them every week!

I did find the Sansonetti Foods booth, which I had missed the last time I was there, and I was chatting up the woman a little, as much as the busy farmers market crowd would let me.

I told her that I had gotten their Michigan Apple Glaze, and I know I told you all about it last week, but I'll mention it again. The stuff is crazy good. I've tried it with everything I could think of - I've had it with Mexican food, I've had it with pizza, I've had it with Stir Fry. It's just really never NOT delicious!

Today, my son (my usual partner in crime) was with me, and we selected the Premium Marinara to try. Delicious as always. Smooth, mellow, and really tastes of fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic. I know that with spaghetti sauce, saying it tastes like tomatoes is like "Yeah, duh!", but sometimes you get spaghetti sauce that you have to doctor, or sauce that tastes more like chemicals and preservatives then the actual stuff in the sauce, and with my friends at Sansonetti's Gourmet Foods, you don't get that. They tell you tomato, they mean tomato!

It did get the two year old stamp of approval too. In fact, he asked for extra! If you've got any experience feeding a two year old, you know the two year old stamp of approval is no small feat!

I also made a stop off at the Pillar's Tamales booth. I had gone to their booth once before, and gotten Plantains, and kind of didn't understand the appeal. Not because of anything the lovely people at Pillar's did...just because I don't get the appeal of the plantain. If you've never seen one before, they look just like a overgrown banana, but they are a little more starchy, with a mouth feel kind of similar to a potato. If you can imagine a banana and a potato being cross bred to each other, the result would be a plantain. You can't eat them raw, they have to be cooked. So far, I've not come across a cooked plantain that knocked my block off. I've not come up on one I hated though, to be fair.

I got the Saturday Special at the booth. That included 2 tamales, fried plantains, black beans and rice, and a side the seemed to look similar to cole slaw, but was flavored differently. I also had a hibiscus tea to drink.

I gotta say - totally loved it. I finished my plate, and could have had another! I had the Vegan Tempeh for my tamale choice. No particular reason why - I'm not vegan - it just seemed like such an interesting choice. Even the plantains were really good. The only thing I might have taken a pass on seconds of was the slaw. Like I said - it looked like cole slaw, but it had a bit more of an herbal quality to it. I even took a picture of their menu so I could remember what it was, but of course, my camera is not with me right now. Figures.

The Hibiscus tea was a bit of an aquired taste - a little fruity, but with kind of a wooden note on the back of your tounge. It was an aquired taste, but I did come around, and found myself truly dissapointed when my cup was empty. The tea did not earn the two year old seal of approval. He took a drink, wrinkled his nose, and went "No, thanks!"

Two for two! I really just can't speak highly enough of the people from Sansonetti's. Love them, love their products. When I first found their products, I was told that their curry mustard is especially designed to go with Kogel Hot Dogs. Can't wait for the opportunity to have both of them in the same place at the same time!

Spaghetti Is The Perfect Toddler Food. It Is!

Today as I was making spaghetti for dinner, a thought occured to me. With a little jazzing up, spaghetti is the perfect toddler food.

Noodles for carbohydrates, mushrooms for vegetables, throw in a little meat for protein, toss some cheese on top. Perfection!

I got a $5 roast chicken for dinner last night. To be honest, it was just OK. I know I seem like I love all food...that chicken, I could have done without. Part of the deliciousness of those roast chickens are that they are so moist and delicious and this one kind of wasn't.

But, I didn't want to waste, right? So I shredded up a bit, and tossed it in the spaghetti. Can of mushrooms, handful of cheese on top, some good sauce. Perfect!

And speaking of kid nutrition, I found this article about sneaking in nutrition for kids. To be honest, many of these points just left me more confused then I started out.

The tips:

~ Most children will eat vegetables if they are a part of homemade soup.

~ Pass cooked vegetables in a food processor and add to hamburger patties, meatballs or meatloaf.

~ Finely grate zucchini or carrots and add to pancake batter.

~ Add finely chopped cooked vegetables to canned or packaged soup.

~ Add freshly juiced carrot juice to canned vegetable or tomato juice.

~ Add grated zucchini to square or muffin mixes.

~ Puree vegetables and add to chili or spaghetti sauce.

~ Add grated carrots to tuna or chicken salad.

~ Hide veggies in casseroles and main dishes.

~ Mix fat-free sour cream into a favorite salad dressing.

~ Serve raw vegetables with a favorite dip.

~ Mix regular peanut butter with freshly ground peanuts.

~ Use whole grain bread for grilled cheese sandwiches ~ the toasting will hide the color of the bread.

~ Go from white bread to 60% whole wheat for one month, then introduce whole-grain bread. You can make a sandwich using one slice of the 60% bread and one slice of the whole-grain bread. Serve with the lighter bread slice facing up.

~ Most children will eat a meal that they helped to prepare.

~ Let them make cookies with you. Use whole wheat and carob chips and they won’t know the difference, especially if they are the ones making the cookies. There aren’t too many children who will not eat their own baking.

~ You can create a desire to eat healthier treats by designating a new healthy treat as, mommy’s treat. You can say something like, "these are mommy’s very special yummy cookies, and you can’t have any, okay?" You can even place the cookies in a fancy cookie jar to increase the appeal. Let a couple days go by before ‘reluctantly giving in’ to their requests.

~ Sneak some whole-grain cookies into a bag of favorite mixed cookies, and eventually replace unhealthy cookies with healthier cookies.

~ Use cookie cutters to make fun sandwiches with whole-grain bread.

~ Mix whole-grain noodles into regular spaghetti or macaroni and cheese dishes.

~ Mix soaked soy bits in the ground beef. Slowly increase the soy/ground beef ratio in meals over time and they won’t notice that they are eating soy bits instead of ground beef.

To be honest, alot of these leave me confused. And I have a toddler, so I might be overthinking it, because I'm thinking in toddler terms, but really.

One of the points says to add fresh carrot juice to fresh vegetable or tomato juice. I don't know a kid that would drink tomato juice on a DARE. I'm 30, and I'd be pretty hard pressed to drink straight tomato juice. Oddly though, I quite enjoy carrot juice.

And what is mixing fat-free sour cream into your salad dressing going to accomplish, other then adding calories to your salad dressing? And adding peanuts to your peanut butter won't accomplish anything either. You may as well buy chunky, and save yourself the money it'll cost to buy the peanuts.

If we're talking the idea of sneaking more nutrition into a kids diet, letting them bake cookies seems sort of counterintuitive. Although I can speak to that - my two year old LOVES to get to bake!


So we all know by now that whenever I go to the Farmers Market, I love to come back, and talk about all the delicious things I saw.

Turns out, I credited one business incorrectly. I named a business called Pillar Farms, and it's actually Pillar's Tamales. And you should totally try her stuff if you see her on the farmers market scene, but I'll come back to that later. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stephen Colbert Is Awesome, And Michael Pollan Eats Fruity Pebbles.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Platinum - $1,000 Dishes
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

This is a clip of Stephen Colbert eating all the $1,000 dishes in New York. I'm a foodie, and I love to eat food, and I love to talk about it, but I can't fathom why I'd want to pay $1,000 for a Ice Cream Sundae.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Michael Pollan
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

In a slightly more serious note, this is author Michael Pollan, discussing his new book "In Defense Of Food". Because The Colbert Report is a comedy show at it's core, it's kind of a hit and miss shot on how much real information is going to get out there, before it just turns into comedy. But Michael Pollans message seems to be that we eat too much processed foods, and we're just eating more then our bodies can handle. Which is a really interesting idea. In particular, he named formula. He says that we've spent over 100 years trying to synthesize formula to be more like breast milk, and that we can't get it right. Which ought to be an indicator that we got it right the first time, and that we're processing the formula too much. He said it in a more educated manor, but that was the gist. :D