I love hot sauces. Mexican, Asian, Southern, thick, thin, red, green, brown. I'm not picky. I love them all. Los Angeles' own Sriracha Thai-style hot sauce is one of my personal favorites. It has a white rooster and green screwcap on a backdrop of bright red deliciousness that is recognizable from 50 yards away. For those who have some difficulty pronouncing Sriracha, they just call it Rooster-sauce.
A Louisiana-style hot sauce is also always a staple in our house. Usually these are watery, vinegary, and often have a backbone of paprika and black pepper notes. Tobasco took the Louisiana-style to the moon and back. Even celebrity chefs like Jaques Pepin use it; like advocating the addition of a squirt or two into his French onion soup.
I'm not a big fan of Tobasco. Although I'll sprinkle it, I feel like it lacks much flavor. Maybe I'm just too used to it. Maybe your average bottle at the diner has been sitting next to the sugar, salt, and maple syrup for 6 or 7 years. In any case, for Louisiana I prefer Crystal and Red Rooster.
I decided to put Sriracha and Red Rooster into a Title Bout, pitting them in a no holds barred battle of the heat...
In the first corner with the little green cap, hailing from Los Angeles, at 31 years of age and weighing 17 ounces, fighting in a Muay Thai style, from Huy Fong Foods, SRIRACHA!!!
In the second corner with the bright yellow shirt, from New Iberia Louisiana, 83 years young and weighing 12 ounces, fighting in a Southern Preying Mantis style and from Bruce's Foods, RED ROOSTER!!!
Trader Joe's Toaster Oven Gorditas
Both levels of heat were appropriate and necessary, the Gorditas are pretty bland on their own. Although neither sauce was anything like a Mexican picante sauce, they both worked well. The dry corn pupusa-like shells absorbed the sauces almost completely.
The Result: A Draw!
Both were good and I couldn't eat these things without hot sauce.
Deep Dish Pizza
We opted for a layer of spicy Giardiniera on this and it was a load hotter than either of us expected. My face and neck sweated profusely as I pounded out this battle but I prevailed in determining a winner. I can't say I entered the fight without prejudice, I fully expected Red Rooster to win. I have been putting Louisiana hot sauces on my pizza since before I learned how to use a fork.
The Result: Sriracha!
I liked the strategic placement the squirt bottle top provided and how the thicker Sriracha stayed where it was placed. It also has a little sweetness which may have given me that extra edge against the heat to continue judging.
Tin Roof Sundae
Oh no he didn't! Oh yes he did! This half gallon of Tin Roof Sundae kept taunting me every time I went into the freezer, haranguing me, challenging me. Well, with great power comes great responsibility and I couldn't let anyone down in case they were looking for a hot sauce comparison with ice cream.
The Result: Sriracha!
Again, I came in with prejudice. I thought the garlic in Sriracha would make it an unbearable mix with the fudge swirls but when I hit a peanut, it reminded me of Pad Thai. The Red Rooster has no distant cousins on tin roofs.
This was a tough decision. I wonder if I did this battle with Taco Night 10 times what the end result would be. The sharp vinegary-ness of Red Rooster was strong and held its own against the seasoning of the ground beef.
The Result: Sriracha!
Again, both sauces worked well but it was the smart-bomb delivery system that comes from the magic green squirt top. I was able to place the exact amount on each bite right where I wanted it to hit my tongue. This was a close, hard-fought battle.
Eggs, cheese, English Muffins - a staple around here. Having a good hot sauce makes a good thing wonderful and this was another fight I was especially interested in the outcome. The paprika and black pepper notes in the Red Rooster aided their cause well, the garlic and catsup-y consistency of Sriracha benefited their camp.
The Result: Sriracha!
I think it came down to our American association of eggs with catsup. Sriracha is like catsup's bigger, more worldly older brother that spent time abroad and came back kissing women on the cheek and saying things like, "Ciao."
This battle was in Sriracha's back yard. We had some Pad Thai and some Eggplant in Green Curry. The squirt bottle top was playing in the Thai fighter's favor but the piquant acidity of the Red Rooster put up a solid defence.
The Result: Red Rooster!
Well, if you bet on Sriracha winning this one, you lost. I'm not exactly sure what it was that I liked so much in the Red Rooster; maybe it added some flavors that were not already present in the Thai dishes that gave it a little more depth. Who knows?
Chicken Tacos and Homemade Black Beans
This was another close one. The Red Rooster had an early lead, that Sriracha closed in on. Both faired well. Although either would suffice in lieu of a real Mexican hot sauce, I would have much rather had some Tapatio, Pico Pica, or Valentina (mmm, Valentina).
The Result: Sriracha!
In the end, it came down to delivery again. With a finger-food, like a taco, precise delivery is the key to success.
Stouffer's Frozen Lasagne
The Stouffer's product is a good one as is, and especially with some homemade garlic bread and a salad - but it could still use a little pick me up. I tend to touch this up with a dash of hot sauce so this was another result I was curious about.
The Result: Sriracha!
Again I thought Red Rooster would take the cake, again I was made a fool. The garlic melded well with the Italian fare. That little green squirt top is like a flavor laser, it goes right where you want it.
The Final Countdown: Sriracha wins with a 6-1-1 record. I didn't think it would be the landslide that it was. I love my Louisiana-style hot sauce and I especially love Red Rooster. There are always 4-6 hot sauces in the rotation at any given point in our fridge. It's not as if I am going to put Sriracha on everything and it does surprise me a bit that it won so many close battles. It is one heck of a condiment however, and there's good reason why Huy Fong Foods is now building a brand new $40 million, 655,000 square foot facility to keep up with demand.
Long live sauces with roosters on them!
Since we make a stir-fry or a curry at our house on a weekly basis, this has become a staple. This Coconut Saffron Basmati Rice recipe takes white rice and elevates it to regal status. I could eat a big bowl of this on its own. I could rub this all over my face and go to sleep in it. I could springboard forward 2 and 1/2 somersaults in the pike position into a swimming pool of this stuff.
It is amazing.
Adding coconut oil gives it a little tropical touch, but a serious tropical - sans umbrella. The saffron brings that floral nuance that basmati rice already has, but forgot to bring to the dance. The last part is the Better than Bouillon; which I think is really better than bouillon. Saltiness is what rice needs to keep it from going flat on you.
One trick is to add twice the saffron the cheapskate side of your brain tells you to add. Yes, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Yes, at $1,000 per pound, it is ridiculously more expensive than anything else. Yes, it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 dried flowers to produce only one pound of saffron. Yes, a little bit goes a long way.
My cheapskate brain has told me all of these things but the rational thought that comes next should be, "If I bought this little jar of saffron in 1988, why is it still here?" And that's the key. How old is your saffron? Was it picked sometime during the Carter Administration? Get over it. Dump it in some rice and buy some more.
The next trick is the coconut oil. Stir it in at the end, to fluff the rice, and not in the beginning. This is so that you don't cook the turquoise lagoon and white sand beach out of it. You want the pure essence of the coconut to remain. You may be pleasantly surprised how light coconut oil is, it is much lighter than olive oil or butter.
The last secret is Better than Bouillon. This adds a complex saltiness that lends more body and richness than stock. It can also sit in the fridge for eons. Along with the rice, the saffron, and the coconut oil, these can be kept for a long time ready to be formed like Voltron when needed.
Coconut Saffron Basmati Rice
- 1 cup Basmati rice, rinced well
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon of Better than Bouillon
- 1 large pinch of saffron, don't be a Grinch
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Add the saffron and the Better than Bouillon to the water in a small pot, covered, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, which will cool the water, bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Kill the heat and stir in the coconut oil with a fork, fluffing the rice as well. Serve hot with a shovel.
In case you didn't know what Voltron was...
The idea of slapping the term "FAIL" onto the title of something whenever someone does something wrong, nonsensical, or outright stupid is now a meme. A FAIL is usually funny, sometimes humiliating, and often painful.
A meme is a unit of culture. A meme can be nearly anything; a phrase, a jingle, a logo, a practice. They propagate, survive, spread, are imitated, mutate, and sometimes find themselves extinct. Memes are the units by which ideas are transfered from one person to another; when they spread rapidly, it is said they turn viral.
The FAIL Blog was created in January 2008 to document these FAILs and has quite the monopoly on those pictures and videos which exemplify the FAIL at its best. If you haven't heard of them, check out their blog and/or download their iPhone app.
Here is our list of the Top 10 Food and Cooking-Related FAIL Videos, sante.
10. Cooking FAILs! - from OriginalNakedChef
"We're going to make mashed potato, one of the simplest things in the world to do." Unfortunately, it takes 30 takes and a whole hard drive of digital memory. This is why we haven't posted many videos on Papawow.
9. Cooking Show FAIL - from failblog (picking on Sarah Lee)
[pulls meatloaf out of oven] "Look at that," says Sarah. Yea Sarah? It looks like you cleaned the elephant cage at the Los Angeles Zoo. Don't tell me you're going to serve that.
8. McDonald's FAIL - from failblog
Mmm, Deep Fried Chicken Head. Well, maybe it did come from the McDonalds in Chinatown. I like how it had the comb and the wattles intact. Delicious.
7. Baking FAIL - from meatwadisemo
Note to burgeoning Food Network Star. Next time you try and batter your hair, use a stand mixer... that would be far more hilarious.
6. Pizza Delivery Fail - from failblog
I doubt this is real, but we have all been miffed in one way or another by having our pizza delivered. Maybe not this bad though.
5. Chef Rage FAIL - from failblog
This is pretty gangsta. We've all had bosses we wished someone would have lit up like that.
4. Food Critic FAIL - from failblog
Just goes to show that being a guest judge on a cooking show does not alow you to make up your own words. Having a lot of peas does not make something have "much pea-ness going on."
3. BBQ FAIL - from TheDarkSoldier09
Rule #1 about BBQ: Don't use a gas can to stoke the fire. There are better ways to get it going when it smolders.
2. Food Network nuts FAIL - from thebigflashbomb
"Everyone's going to love snacking on my nuts."
1. Three Sheets with Zane Lamprey - from FineLivingNetwork (not a FAIL unto itself, but there are several fails inside and who doesn't like Zane Lamprey and all his nonsense?)
I’ve spent a hundred life-hours waiting for the Breakfast Burritos from Nick’s Deli, their potatoes seem to soak up the essence of chorizo better than any other I’ve had. Let’s not forget the Carnitas at Super Mex either; my dad used to take me to the one on 1st and Alamitos before they opened one closer to home on 2nd.
If you are what you eat, I’m more than 25% burrito.
After living in San Francisco for 5 years I was surprised to discover a phenomenon that emerged while I was away from Southern California, the California Burrito. My jaw dropped when I pulled into the drive-through of a Cotixan and asked what one consisted of.
If I were to have guessed the contents of a California Burrito it would have been something with brown rice, black beans, avocado, maybe fish, maybe sprouts, and definitely a whole grain tortilla. Much to my chagrin, they are something down a completely different path.
In my research at more than a half-dozen Mexican joints in the San Diego area, the common thread that binds them all is carne asada (steak, for you gringos), cheese, and potatoes - which are overwhelmingly in the form of French fries.
French fries? Yes, French fries. CA Burritos have more DNA in common with a cheeseburger and fries than they do to any real Mexican food. No doubt they were the product of alcohol. They are greasy and dense and warrant a post burrito nap or Metamucil, depending on how well they were prepared.
What is most interesting is that controversy abounds at every turn regarding the California Burrito; where it orginated (was it really San Diego?), what restaurant first put it on the menu (many folks point to Santana’s), even what defines a true pure-breed (is it sour cream or guacamole? Does pico de gallo come standard?).
Urban dictionary user, Ren Daasnes, states that a real CA Burrito has sour cream and if guacamole is substituted then it is an imposter, called a Cyrus Burrito. Right or wrong, I love her logic. Besides, how to better honor the founder of the Persian Empire by ordering a Cyrus Burrito at a Mexican drive-through?
In any case, the California Burrito is metastasizing. It has been sited as far north as Sacramento (at Oscar’s), and I personally spotted one in Isla Vista, just north of Santa Barbara, at Cantina. When done right, they can be phenomenal; synergistic, just like you would imagine when you combine two comfort foods, the burrito and the cheeseburger.
Be forewarned; however, when done poorly they can be disastrous. The grease from the fries only fills the gaps in between the gristle of the carne asada and makes the salsa pool at the surface. The two oils battle for your attention by dripping out the bottom onto your pants, making it look like you may have wet yourself a little while at lunch.
Next time you are in San Diego County, or see one in a higher latitude, check them out. According to the San Diego Examiner, “Some of the top spots for the Cali meat-bombs in San Diego include La Posta de Acapulco's on Washington, Taco Surf in PB, Trujillo’s by State, Vallarta Express in CLMT and occasionally Santana’s.”
Green dentistry pioneer, Dr. Nammy Patel is the first dentist to make a serious commitment to green sustainable business practices in San Francisco. She takes a unique approach to combine dentistry and conserve the environment, using non toxic products, reducing waste and being minimally invasive.
Dr. Nammy conducts research and development to set standards in Green Dentistry and serves as a Enviro-mentor for the San Francisco Environment Agency to help small business become green.
Here is a recent interview we had:
1) Why the name Tooth Hugger? You can't really hug a tooth unless you have really small arms!
It’s metaphoric, you see tree huggers save the trees, and toothhuggers save natural teeth! That’s why we use small tools rather than arms to "hug" the teeth.
2) I'll bet you get this question all the time. Do I really have to floss?
Absolutely yes! Flossing is more important than brushing because it gets the bacteria in the gums and in between the teeth, so it cleans areas a toothbrush cannot reach.
3) By being green, do I have to use hemp floss that tastes like patchouli?
4) Can I use regular toothpaste, or do I have to use Tom's of Maine?
You can use any toothpaste that is SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) free. SLS causes sores in the mouth.
5) What natural things are good for my teeth, is there a secret blend of 13 original herbs and spices?
It’s great to eat foods that wash away easily. For example a apple is great becusec it does not get stuck to your teeth and saliva washes it away quickly. Almonds are a great source calcium and protein, which helps maintain calcium in the teeth.
6) Can I still eat chocolate? Coffee? Marbles?
You can eat whatever food you like as long as you brush and floss! Avoid the marbles they will crack your teeth!
7) What about mouthwash? Most mouthwash that I've used in my life is already the color green...
You technically don't need mouthwash! The bacteria is removed by mechanical act of brushing and flossing. Mouthwash makes your breath fresh. It is best to avoid mouthwash that has alcohol because it dries the mouth out.
8) I started using a tongue scraper recently, I'm not scraping my taste buds off am I?
No, using a tongue scraper is like exfoliating your skin. Your body makes taste buds have a natural exfoliation process. Just don't scrape too hard. My rule of thumb is scrape ten times.
9) If only do one thing to help my teeth last longer, what would it be?
FLOSS, use an electric toothbrush, and see your dentist
360 Post St. #704
San Francisco, CA 94108
There are many ways to have fun while cooking. You can have fun by creating new things: Hibiscus Bubbles, Lemon Verbena Fruit Salad, Spanish Almond Soup, Tomato Martinis, Oven Dried Persimmon, Gaucho Chili Verde, and Chelada Turkey Tacos. What is more fun however - is making the mundane interesting.
Let me show you some of the fun things we have incorporated into our daily lives.
Grains of Paradise (Afrimomum melegueta) are in the ginger family and taste like a cross between black pepper and nutmeg. Our current grinder (yes it's a plastic disposable that's earned a second life) currently grinds out a 50/50 black pepper / Grains of Paradise blend. It’s delicious, and it adds such a delicate nuance, unsuspecting guests cannot tell. For the next blend I think we’ll introduce some Sichuan pepper.
Never buy salad dressing: At the very least, an acid, an oil, and salt, make dressing. Use some fun oil (besides olive oil) and mix it up with different citrus fruits and different vinegars. Tangerines and Grapefruits make excellent dressings, as do Sherry and Champagne Vinegars. Add some Brewers Yeast, and try adding different mustards. One of my favorite dressings is with red wine vinegar, brewers yeast, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and stone ground mustard. Try it on a Spinach Salad.
So there you have it. Change up your nuts and bolts routine to make things more interesting and you will have more fun in the kitchen. Listen to my shorts, “Life is more fun when you’re having fun.” Or, if you don’t listen to my shorts, listen to Vince from the Slap Chop commercials, “Stop having boring tuna. Stop having a boring life.”
Is it worth it, and why would anyone pay $8.16 for a single donut? Ok, I agree with you. I think it is an outrageous price too, but I was emotionally compromised at the time. You see, my birthday was on 08/26/10, and I wanted to treat myself to something spectacular. And since I have an addiction to sugar, and love sugary things like lonely guys love porn.
I made a pact with myself at the beginning of the year to refrain from eating or buying donuts until my birthday, and then to splurge on the greatest expression in the art of donut making I could find. So I suffered and suffered, and suffered some more, vacillating between what donut could fulfill the bill as the best donut ever. And since I grew up on Krispe Kreme, I was too use to them. I thought of tapping Voodoo Donut in Portland, Oregon, and then there was this place in Texas that makes giant size donuts…..
But one night while I was watching the Food Network, I saw a segment on the Donut Plant in New York City. The donuts I saw on that segment blew my mind. They were big and richly glazed and had intriguing, exciting flavors----crème brulee, chocolate black out, and tres leche. For god’s sake—tres leche! A tres leche donut! I had to have them. But how could I get them? I live in San Francisco and after a quick Google search I found out that the Donut Plant only has locations in NYC, Tokyo and Seoul. Tokyo! Seoul! Come on, man! And they don’t deliver from any location!
I was bummed, but not defeated. I started pricing flights to New York (yes, Tokyo/Seoul was still a crazy option) and coming back the next day. That little plan was budgeting out to be around $500.00. I love donuts, but that was Paris Hilton pricey for a dozen donuts. I thought, you know, NYC is open 24/7, right? I could take the red eye, and roam the streets of New York City for eight to ten hours until my return flight that same day. The phrase “roam the streets of New York City” sounds as ridiculous now as it did when I first conceived it. I might as well have said why not see how long it will take me to get mugged, stabbed, and killed while holding a box full of donuts as I waited for my plane back to San Francisco.
I dropped that plan, and went plan B. I call it the sane option plan. I have some good friends who live in Brooklyn, and who work in the City. They are both super nice, but also super busy people and the last thing I want to do is to put them out by asking them to schlep around NYC buying me a box of donuts and overnight mailing them to me in SF. But I did. I contacted my friend Leinana, a serious foodie like me, and I broke down my scheme and obsession to her.
She understood and agreed, but with one condition. She also had a craving for a sweet, sweet confection that could only be had on my coast. She wanted some cinnamon rolls made in Berkeley, and like the Donut Plant they also did not ship their product. Sweet! It would be a fair exchange, East Coast Donuts for West Coast Cinnamon rolls. The Day came and Leinana shipped me my box of 6 yeast glazed, 1 Crème brule, 1 Peach, 2 Tres leche, and 2 Blackout donuts.
One dozen donuts: $30.00. FedEx overnight shipping: $68.00. My reaction----Ouch!
So the deal was struck and the donuts came carried by an unsuspecting FedEx driver, who I am sure if he had known what was in the box would have pulled some lost in transport scheme. I opened the box and inside was sexy glazed bits of brown geometry. Each donut was wrapped in a delicate paper, like fragile fruit or dynamite. Where to start first? Let’s begin at the béguin I told myself. First the Great Baker created the glazed donut, and the other’s followed. I picked up one of the glazed donuts the way Godzilla picks up little Japanese people…examines them quizzically, and then Chomp!
The texture (now talking donut) was not the soft pillowy bite of a Krispy Kreme donut. It was more substantial than that. It had a little tug and chewy to it, sort of like an ultra soft bagel. The glaze was sweet but not teeth aching sweet. My fingers were sticky from the glaze but not greasy from the donut, and that told me they used new oil and fried the donut at the correct temperature. I munched on the donut, savoring the flavor, thinking, “yeah, this is good, but $8.16 good?
Hummm…chomp…chomp…chomp. Good. How much?! Chomp…chomp…chomp, who cares?” To an addict like me, I can justify the expense, it being my birthday and all. But next time I plan to hop a flight to the Big Apple and take a less expensive bite out of some pretty good donuts.
Another week, another 1000 miles, another box of wine. I found myself trying to eat less meat and in doing so getting an amazing sandwich and a sub-par burrito. Easter rolled around and we made some little bunnies out of deviled eggs and had a blast doing them.
We also made some of Cooks Illustrated's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, scored some tasty waves in San Diego, and found some houses in Enicinitas made from boats.
We made a trip to Stone Brewery, quite possibly my favorite brewery in the whole-wide-world, and if you like beer and come within 50 miles of the place, I highly suggest going. Not only did I have an Oaked Arrogant Bastard, I found an Arrogant Bastard Onesie, had a soft pretzel and a salad - but we also got their triple Crème brûlée . It came in citrus, green tea, and chocolate ginger.
Easter brunch came with a side of 7.2 on the Richter Scale, right in the middle of my second mimosa. We made an amazing Spiced Rum Banana Bread (recipe to come). We also had a ham which we doctored up with a tangerine glaze, potato and cucumber salads, and a lemon meringue pie.
I finally managed to finish off the Tagalongs Ice Cream after we made the leftover ham into an au gratin and served it with Brussels Sprouts. We've been loving these, "Just Mango Slices" from Trader Joes recently; that's exactly what they are, no salt, no sugar, just dried mango. We wrapped up with a batch of homemade Cincinnati Chili (recipe to come).
10. Top 10 Foods with Funny Names (via the Los Angeles Foodie)
With such classics as Super Dickmann's, Mini Dickmann's, Cock Soup Mix, and Fart Juice how could you go wrong? I didn't know that Heinz made a microwavable Spotted Dick Sponge Pudding in a can! Sounds scrumptious!
9. 10 Great Health Foods for Eating Well (via the Mayo Clinic)
Well, hasn't this subject been beaten like a filthy rug on a windy day? I thought this was interesting because it is from the freaking Mayo Clinic, not howtoloseweightin90days.com, bestfoodsforstaying healthy.com, or ilost200poundsinthreemonthsclickheretofindouthow.com. Let's get real, the list starts with Apples, Almonds, and Blueberries...
8. Top 10 Mispronounced Foodie Words (via Chicago Tribune)
I've been told that Bruschetta can be correctly pronounced at least two different ways but confusing Chicken Mole with a dish consisting of a flightless bird with a dark spot on its skin is unacceptable. Pączki? They got me on that one but I think there are at least two more common ones they missed: chipotle and asiago. No Vern, it isn't che-pote-el and ah-see-ah-joe.
7. Top 10 Food Hacks (via Lifehacker)
First there's the old "Open a banana like a monkey" trick. Hint: don't tear it from the stem. Then there's the "DIY microwave popcorn hack" and the "Making Super Mario-style mushrooms from radishes" how-to guide. Lastly, they teach you how to make edible shot glasses. Do all four hacks at the same party and you unlock a badge on Foursquare!
6. Top 10 Food Trends for 2010 (via Epicurious)
Lamb is in, Pork is out. Home Made Beer is in, Mad-Science Cocktails are out. Mini Whoopie Pies are in, Mini Cupcakes are out. Vancouver is in, Barcelona is out... I'm so bummed right now because I just booked my tickets for the 1st Annual Spanish Basil-Lavender Gin and Tonic, Cupcakes, and Chorizo Tour. I leave in May.
5. Top 10 Foods Only America Could Have Invented (via the Endless Simmer)
From staples such as a ground pig parts, dipped in batter, skewered with a stick, and deep fried (the Corn Dog) - to more delicacies like impaling a turkey with a duck, that's been impaled with a chicken, that's been packed like a musket with sausage stuffing (the Turducken), this is a solid Top 10 of American gluttony.
4. Top 10 Common Food Poisoning Risks (via the New York Times)
"Each year, about 76 million people in the United States become ill from the food they eat, and about 5,000 of them die, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Harmful bacteria are the most common cause of food-borne illnesses..."
3. Top 10 Food Related Stand-up Comedy Bits (via LA Weekly) - Mature Audiences
The highlights? 9 minutes with Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III talking mostly about Chinese food. CK Lewis discussing how he won't even try duck vaginas lest he finds out how much he likes them. There is also Patton Oswald lamenting on how KFC piles everything they have in to their Famous Bowl, and we Americans proceed to eat out of them like dogs.
2. Top 10 Most Common Ingredients in Fast Food (via The Learning Channel)
Would it surprise you if I told you that there are 67 ingredients in a Big Mac? How about if I told you that Xanthan Gum was in a lot of fast food? Do you know what Xanthan Gum is? It is produced by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris and is used as a thickening agent and stabilizer the world over. Enjoy!
1. 10 Food Feuds (via Chow)
The list includes such [sort of] heavyweights as Jerry Seinfeld's wife, Scanwich, and Rick's Original Philly Steaks. They close each showdown with classic quotes as: "The intern has been dealt with, we took away his zero pay," "Mr. McFarland called the allegation that he was a Caesar salad thief ‘a pretty ridiculous claim,’” and “I want to be a good neighbor, but I am nobody’s fool, and nobody’s pushover, and I should not have to carry a baseball bat on my truck in order to sell cupcakes.”
This week we broke up our burritos with a trip to a farmer's market where we grabbed some baby turnips. The little guys made it into our salads and we satueed their greens up with a little shallot and olive oil, mmm mmm delish. I also saw the biggest squash I've ever seen. They were Tahitian and the purveyor said they grew some as big as 80 pounds.
We had a proper St.Patric's Day meal complete with Corned Beef and Boiled Cabbage. We managed to find a nitrate-free Corned Beef at Whole Foods, not that we normally care but one of us is pregnant. Just when I thought it was safe to back to the grocery store... the Girl Scouts struck again. Another box of Samoas, another 22% of the RDA of saturated fat per 2 cookies.
We ate a lot of Strawberries which are just now coming into season. The baskets later in the week were far better than the ones in the beginning. I don't know if it makes any difference, and would love to know if there are any strawberry experts out there, but we noticed that in the better ones, the redness had penetrated closer to the center. The less flavor they had, there seemed to be more white inside.
I found a joint called Bite of Boston that some days has a Lobster Roll. It was amazing and they are now on my radar whenever I'm in the area. We also had an amazing meal at Mario Batali's Pizzarria Mozza, unfortunately they weren't selling orange Crocks at the attached market or I may have bought some.
To wrap up the week, I had a great meal at Stone Brewery, likely my favorite brewery. I was warned about the food from multiple people so my expectations were set low; unfortunately, they came in right at mark. Nevertheless, the place is amazing. If you like beer, the place is worth making a haj to.
Soda. Pop. Coke. Cola. Soda-pop. Coca-Cola. Whatever you call it colloquially, carbonated sugar water has been part of the American diet since the mid 1800's. Originally sold as health-foods, veritable tonics, a panacea; their benefits have been revealed to be nothing more than snake oil.
I recently perused the soda aisle at a supermarket and was amazed at the variety of soda they stock. Some of the more unusual ones boasted a new type of Diet soda, made with Splenda, so it's better now. Some even touted vitamins and minerals! Rejoice! Finally they put vitamins in my soda!
There may have been 30 different SKU's of Coke products when you count 2-Liters, 12-packs, and mini-cans and multiply by Coke Classic, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Coke with Splenda, Vanilla Coke , Coke with Lime, and Banana Bread Flavored Diet Coke Plus Ginsing, Vitamin D and Coemzyme Q10.
I was tempted to purchase a box of TaB, I was like an archeologist sumbling into an artifact that I thought was destroyed in a great fire. I didn't know Coca-Cola still made the stuff. TaB has an interesting story: It was introduced to the US market in 1963 and was originally sweetened with cyclamate. Congress banned cyclamate in 1969 and instead, saccharin was used.
In 1977, Congress moved to ban sacchrin also, they didn't but all products that contained any had to carry the warning, "Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals." Remember this? It was also present on every diner table in a little plastic boat, on the little pink packet of Sweet-N-Low.
In a twist of sweetener fate, saccharin was banned in Canada in 1977 - so now Sweet-N-Low in Canada is made from cyclamate (banned in the US) and Sweet-N-Low in the US is made from saccharin (which is banned in Canada).
I always thought TaB was the first ever diet soda, but it was not. According to the Wiki, the Kirsch Bottling Company launched a sugar-free Ginger Ale called No-Cal in 1952. The Royal Crown Cola Company "RC Cola" released Diet Rite in 1958. No-Cal fizzled out and died but was resurrected in 2005 by the INOV8 Beverage Company in 2005 with the flavors Cherry Lime, Chocolate, Clementine, and Vanilla Cream.
I enjoy a cold soda now and then over ice. Everything in moderation, I say, even moderation.
Happy St. Patty's Day! Kiss me I'm 3/8ths Irish (and I just found out that I'm 1/8th French Canadian too, but that's another story). I plan on drinking beer in green bottles if I don't find green beer today and we're making some corned beef and cabbage. Maybe I'll post the recipe. Maybe I won't.
Looking back at last week, we've got a veritable mish-mash of meals.
Exhibit A (above): I started making myself a "shake" in the mornings made up of psyllium husks, water, and yogurt. I have some gross rituals that I blame on my pre-coffee sleep walking. It either isn't that bad, or I'm a complete zombie in the AM.
I finished off my Samuel Adams variety pack called the Brewmaster's Collection (Boston Lager, Ale, Noble Pils, Cream Stout, Scotch Ale, and Coastal Wheat). I was somewhat surprised to read the the Coastal Wheat actually had lemons on it. Not bad though, hmm. I also found a $29 beer at Whole Foods (no, I didn't buy it), and I tried two of Dogfish Head's more bizarre brews, Midas Touch and Palo Santo Marron.
At times Wheel of Fortune was on in the house, against my will, and I noticed they went through several food-related puzzles: Hungarian Goulash, Kiss the Cook, Swiss Cheese, and Dinner Menu. I still don't understand how people leave that show with more dough than the nerds on Jeopardy.
The Girl Scouts struck again this week... in ice cream form, with Tagalongs ice cream from Dreyer's. We made huge vat of Chili Verde that took a few days to finish off. I ran out of coffee for the last two days and had to drink tea; although I bought more today (and got a free tote bag from Peet's, thanks!), I wasn't in dire tea straights like I thought I was going to be.
To close the week, we had an earthquake last night. A real, bona fide earthquake. Enjoy the video.
This week has been a busy one at work. Outside from the normal intake of fast food, fine dining, home cooked meals, coffee and beer, I bought a box each of chocolate and strawberry milks. There was another Black Box of wine, I kept making Yogurt Sodas, and had a great night of kine beer with one of my oldest friends in Los Angeles.
On the road, I saw a school bus getting towed (you don't see that very often), twice the people in front of me ran into the people in front of them, I watched the Goodyear blimp take off, and I saw a monster truck that looked like it had tattoos. We made fresh popcorn from scratch - you know, with a pot, a lid, some oil, some elbow grease, and a handful of corn. I hadn't done that since I was a little kid.
We made waffles! Picked some grapefruit and lemons, ate a bunch of peanuts, and saw a warning at a restaurant saying that they served food and/or drinks that contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer. Sure, I'm assuming they were referring to tuna and swordfish; nevertheless, no one wants to read that.
Following Papawow Dave’s Kombucha Rave described here, I started tasting GT Dave’s Kombucha from local stores. I soon became addicted, and started drinking the stuff on a regular basis. GT Dave’s is not cheap, however, and having just read about Dave Koch’s Kombucha-making adventures, I decided to give it a try myself. Being experienced in beer making and other various culinary compilations, I was well prepared for the Kombucha challenge.
Three batches later, I realized that with a little experimentation and adjustment, homemade Kombucha could resolve my craving and save me some money at the same time. I was really starting to enjoy my homemade Kombucha when disaster struck…well, sort of.
Back when I was waiting for my first batch of sweet tea to convert to Kombucha, I contemplated the packaging of my expected quaff. I was planning to use traditional beer bottles and crown caps, which I already had on hand. Dave recommended swing-top beer bottles, used commercially as the vessel of choice for Grolsch and some craft brews. His sagacious advice was that the pressure can build substantially in Kombucha, bursting traditional crown cap beer bottles. “No-no,” said I, “that will never happen to me.”
Then one day I was sitting in my home office on a quiet afternoon. A loud explosion followed by the sound of falling glass startled me out of my chair. What I thought was an RPG entering my living room, or at least a baseball to be followed by a “who broke my window?” chorus line, turned out to be a “chemical” explosion of sorts.
When I walked into the kitchen I was shocked to find a large, dripping gash in the ceiling, just above a six-pack of homemade Kombucha that just moments earlier was peacefully sitting on top of the fridge. Kombucha was dripping from every surface within a five food radius, and the six-pack was now one bottle short. One-inch shards of glass blasted as far as 20 feet from the epicenter, and cabinets five feet away sustained shrapnel injuries. It’s amazing how much surface area 12 ounces of carbonated liquid can cover.
Based on this experience, I advise strict adherence to safe Kombucha-making practices, or accept the “blind” fate of Champagne monks. Listen to your friends who know better. And for crying out loud, pay the extra $1.50 for the swing-top bottles; my exploding bottle could have seriously injured anyone standing close by.
We fought through the parking lot, dodging Dodge Stratus's, Chrysler Sebrings, Crown Vics, and Buick Regals. Many had today's newspaper tucked under one arm, there were the Members Only jackets, some were sporting the shades that they hand out at the optometrist. Why were we there?
Because yesterday Denny's did it again - the Tuesday after the Super Bowl, they lost their marbles and gave away their signature breakfast from 6am until 2pm, The Grand Slam. For those of you living in a cave or living with butlers, the Grand Slam is 2 pancakes, 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausages, and 2 eggs your way.
The Grand Slam exemplifies what Denny's does very well, their 'Bread and Butter' if you will, a hearty breakfast at an affordable price. We were in, seated, and out in no time, and we had service with a smile despite the obvious mayhem. They were rocking the T-shirts above special for the occasion; I love 'em.
Nelson Marchioli, Denny's CEO, Comments on Denny's Free Grand Slam Giveaway (from Market Watch):
"Once again our Free Grand Slam giveaway was a great day for Americans and a great day for Denny's. We welcomed millions of Americans into our restaurants and served them our signature Grand Slam breakfast.
We received an outpouring of the most genuine and heartwarming comments from our guests, servers and managers. We hope to continue to connect with our guests with real affordable offers all year long so they can fall in love with Denny's again."
We did notice; however, that the bacon and sausages were likely baked instead of fried, the texture being the key indicator. Different than what we are used to, although not unpleasant and yet expected with all things considered. Well, kudos Denny's, a bold move and a statement in this economy. "We are Denny's, hear us Roar!"
Good bye, Droste chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate ganche frosting. Bon voyage, Himalayan honey drizzled over hot, freshly baked cream biscuits slathered with rich European butter. So long buttery coconut brittle mixed into Leatherwood tree honey ice cream. Farewell, honey chili chicken from Chef Jia’s. Au revoir delicately tender lemon macarons with lemon curd filling. I must bid you all good bye. It has been fun these past two months of sugary excess, gluttony of all things sweet. I enjoyed making you all and consuming you all, but now I must don my vestal robes and re-enter the Life. A Life Without: sugar.
A life without simple carbs and refined sugar is what awaits me now. I tried to keep the glorious abuse going until the New Year, but my will could not scale the Wall. I hit the Wall, smashing into its hard crack stage surface, my face plastered against its mocha fudge mousse mortar. I had planned to end this salacious affair by making a pecan pie made with Lyle’s golden syrup and Maker’s Mark whiskey coated candied pecans. I had plans to concoct an Italian meringue frosted lemon curd cake, and the thought of crunchy, warm cinnamon sugar dusted churros dipped into a cup of thick, rich Valrhona hot chocolate was burning a hole in my mind.
No, I can not think of making any of those things any more. I must relinquish and release myself from those thoughts. I must become pure again. I must look with disdain upon that drug: Sugar. I must steel my will and shun all places where the demon Sugar resides and lurks, waiting for unsuspecting fools like me to walk into its sticky sweet trap, its prison bars made of carbs. I will seek not those flakey alleyways and dark coco corridors where that stripper of wills, defiler of good intentions lies. I will forgo the crusty sweet baguettes from the Acme baking company. I will not buy those golden
Artificial pork made from pig's stem cells. Boy that sounds delicious. Don't hold your breath folks, scientists say it will be at least 5 years before the meat is suitable for sausage... but what about bacon? Could that process be expedited?
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|We Did It! - Artificial Meat|