Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

How to: grilling with Le Creuset

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Grilling indoors made easy!

You can get the pan through Amazon, and support this blog at the same time.

This year’s favorite gift: the mini-crockpot

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

1.5 quarts is big enough to cook a stew containing 1.5 lbs. of meat, plus vegetables, which will feed at least two. The inner pot comes out, can be taken to the table, and is dishwasher safe.

My friend gave me one for Christmas, and I love it!

Pod brewers: Shopping for coffee perfection

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

For those obsessing on what to give (or get) the coffee perfectionist, the WSJ has a list, video, and interactive graphics:
Making a Better Cup at Home
More U.S. Homes Adopt Single-Cup Machines as Coffee Culture Goes Self-Serve

My mom makes her expresso in a traditional stove-top brewer that is decades old. Amazon has one for $20.56. The 3-cup size leaves you the option of having more than one cup, or boiling some milk for a nice cafe au lait.

And remember, if you buy through the above links, I make a small commission at no cost to you, which is a nice way of supporting this blog.

How to braise

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Cute guy Michael Ruhlman pitches Le Creuset while teaching you how-to:


He’s using a braiser, or as it’s called in France, the “everyday pot,” and a hand-held blender.

Prior in the series: how to bake bread.

It’s the carbs, stupid

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The new nutrition guidelines are out, and the NYTimes headline tells you Government’s Dietary Advice: Eat Less

I went to the graph and found it startling (click for large version),

It shows a list of “whole grains, vegetables, fruits” and an additional “fiber” category, as if the first three didn’t provide fiber; the only proteins are “seafood, dairy”; and then they clump “solid fats and added sugars” as one category. Whoever came up with graph aimed to confuse.

The article itself is a list of “no”

The latest nutrition guidelines released Monday by the federal government reiterate much of the advice from previous years: eat less salt and saturated fats, eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

More specifically, the guidelines urge Americans to drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, and it suggests that they avoid fatty foods like pizza, desserts and cheese (albeit deep in the report).

No cheese? Cheese is one of the pleasures of life! So is dessert!

Tom Maguire of Just One Minute takes a more balanced look at nutrition,

Ooops!  The case (based both on biology and anthropological history) is strong that excessive consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates overloads the body’s insulin system.  Since insulin regulates both the intake of blood sugar by muscles, organs and fat cells and the release of stored fat energy reserves by fat cells, having a dysfunctional insulin system can lead to grim results.

For example, muscle cells can become resistant to insulin, and take up blood sugar only reluctantly, prompting the release of more insulin; fat cells, seeing all that insulin, respond to the signal by grabbing all the blood sugar they can and refusing to release any fatty acids back into the bloodstream as an alternative energy source.  The result – a person on a carb-overloaded diet has constantly starving muscles sending out hormonal signals of hunger while the fat cells grow and hoard their energy reserves.  The nearly-inevitable result is both lethargy and excess weight, with obesity as the end-point. [Here is a 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article with a real explanation.  The gist - if you want your body to burn fat, eat fat.  Yikes!  The medical establishment is having coronaries!]

I agree with Tom 100%,

The obesity epidemic in this country is primarily due to excessive consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. The rest is waltz music played by the USDA to avoid admitting their past sins.

I am severely hypoglycemic (to the point of being incapacitated by it) and do not tolerate a large amount of carbs. Because I have to keep to a low-carb diet, with no added sugars (including honey, maltose, corn syrup, etc), I have to keep a low-carb “diet”, where I eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, lots of meat, poultry and fish, and the only way I can maintain my weight is by adding fats (butter, not margarine).

Since my blood pressure is on the low side, I also add salt to my food.

My bad cholesterol is low enough that my physician checks to make sure it’s not too low, my BMI is 20.1, and I feel great.

Additionally, I’m allergic to soy, so I have to avoid anything with soy, soy lecithin, miso, and the like.

The thing about having to not eat a lot of carbs and avoiding added sugar is that you have to prepare most meals yourself. While that may be inconvenient, and you do have to spend time reading labels, it’s worth it.

Give up the sugar, give up the starches, and you’ll see results.

24998

The apple pie recipe

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Yes, it’s that time of year again.
Since I don’t tolerate food with sugar added, here’s the sum total of my baking:

Apple and pecan pie:
The day before: marinade 1/2 cup of raisins in a glass dish and add enough bourbon to cover the raisins. Cover the dish and set aside overnight (no need to refrigerate).

The day you’re serving the pie:
Heat oven to 400F.

In a very large bowl, mix:
8 large apples, peeled and cored, and cut into large (1/4″ thick) pieces
(You might want to caramelize the apples slightly, by sauteing in butter and a dash of freshly-grated nutmeg)
the raisins marinated in bourbon
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup pecan pieces. You can also use chopped walnuts.
Mix all ingredients until well coated.

Line a deep pie dish with one Pillsbury pie crust (or you can make your own crust).

Pour the apples, raisins and pecans into the pie plate. Cut 1/4 lb (one bar) of refrigerated butter into chunks and dot the apples with the butter. Please use butter. Cover the apples with the other pie crust, seal the edges and perforate the top with a fork.

Bake at 400F for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with Vermont cheddar cheese, or with Edy’s No Sugar Added vanilla ice cream. I prefer the cheddar.

Note: While I add no sugar, if you use sweet apples the pie will be sweet. Bear that in mind if you must watch your blood sugars.
Additionally, this is not a low calorie dessert.

UPDATE, Thursday 26 November
Today’s pie:

IMG_2035

Hummerburgers! Yum!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

hamburger

Hamburgers are the Hummers of food in global warming

When it comes to global warming, hamburgers are the Hummers of food, scientists say.

Simply switching from steak to salad could cut as much carbon as leaving the car at home a couple days a week.

That’s because beef is such an incredibly inefficient food to produce and cows release so much harmful methane into the atmosphere, said Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Canada.

Well folks, let me lay it on line:

I am allergic to soy. I found out after suffering from a chronic stomach ache that lasted three months. You don’t really want to know what that was like. As a result, I have to avoid every thing that contains soy, including lotions, shampoos and cosmetics, but particularly tofu, miso and soybeans.

Adding to that, I am severely hypoglycemic. What that means is that I have very low tolerance for carbohydrates, which in turn means I must get most of my calories from proteins and fats. I tried living on salads and lost so much weight my doctor was worried.

And what foods contain proteins and fats?

Meat, fish, poultry.

Which means I’ll gladly remain at the top of the food chain, thank you.

Now that we established that, I’ll let you have my fries.

(If you must ask, my cholesterol is excellent, thank you.)

Linking to this post
Doug Ross

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“This is Julia Child, bon appetit!” – The spy version

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Via Maria, Newly released files detail early US spy network

Before Julia Child became known to the world as a leading chef, she admitted at least one failing when applying for a job as a spy: impulsiveness.

Details about Child’s background as a government agent come into the public spotlight Thursday with the National Archives’ release of more than 35,000 top-secret personnel files of World War II-era spies. The CIA held this information for decades.

The 750,000 documents identify the vast spy network managed by the Office of Strategic Services, which later became the CIA. President Franklin Roosevelt created the OSS, the country’s first centralized intelligence operation.

Child’s file shows that in her OSS application, she included a note expressing regret she left an earlier department store job hastily because she did not get along with her boss, said William Cunliffe, an archivist who has worked extensively with the OSS records at the National Archives.

You probably always thought she was a great cook with a falsetto voice, but now you know she was also a spy.

Here she is making two of my favorite foods, steak and chocolate cake, in 1978:

Now excuse me while I finish breakfast.

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Saturday blogging: the Doody faggots

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Here’s the Doody family who in spite of their last name, which would have brought chuckles from every preschooler in our area, look very nice:

So nice, they’ve been crowned The Faggot Family, and

to kick off their reign they will launch National Faggot Week.

which is sponsored by Mr. Brain’s faggots.

No, not this Mr. Brain.

Fred Doody, the dad, basks in his enthusiasm for the great British faggot:

“The great British faggot is full of flavour and a great belly warmer at this time of year.”

I’ll make a mental note of that, since I’ve never had a great British faggot (at least not to the best of my knowledge), but I really liked spotted dick.

Mr. Doody’s not alone; the Beeb article states, “Fans have published the Good Faggot Guide“.

Go on…grab some faggots for tea tonight

Update, Sunday 15 April: A friend sent two recipes for spotted dick:
the The Foody‘s, and the Beeb‘s which has two parts, the dick and the custard.

No, I didn’t need to make any of this up.

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Britain, not great, and today’s items

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Britain Was Once Great Britain

But today, the sun not only literally sets on an extinct British empire; it is figuratively setting on Britain itself.

Two recent examples provide evidence:

One is the way Britain handled the recent act of war against it by Iran. Everything about the British reaction revealed a civilization in decline.

Whether the British sailors and marines should have put up more resistance — i.e., any resistance — to the unprovoked Iranian military attack is something for military and other experts to decide. Whether the captured sailors and marines offered more information and more cooperation, and more smiles than was necessary to the leader of their kidnappers, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will also be determined in ongoing investigations. Whether the British government engaged in appeasement of Iran or ineffective diplomacy will also have to be judged.

What does seem clear, however, is that the British government did not confront the Iranians in any way reminiscent of a great country, let alone of Britain’s great past. If we judge the British government’s reaction alone — without any reference to the behavior of the British sailors and marines — Iran was the feared power, not Great Britain, which acted like the supplicant.

But what really makes one weep for Britain’s lost greatness is what has happened since the sailors and marines were released.

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The NY Sun has an interesting series of editorials on Antiquities and Patrimony; The New Yorker has more.
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There’s a fatwa against the Jawa Report.
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News Flash: People Get Nasty on the Blogosphere!
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Last Fall Harrods was throwing out soldiers in uniform on Veteran’s Day. Now the trend’s crossed the Atlantic and we have Marines in Dress Uniforms Kicked Out of Target Store
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Obama doesn’t know that Congressional ethics rules forbid the use of federal office space for political and campaign activity.

Thank you, Larwyn.

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In a lighter mode, after last Friday’s item on bamboo and kudzu – where Siggy said that bamboo is polically correct kudzu – Obi’s Sister sent a link to this:

from the author of

I’m sure Ms Balwin will never run out of kudzu to write about, but if she does, she can move North and write about bamboo.

It turns out there are TWO more books on kudzu cooking:

I don’t think that even my friend who loves spinach would go for the kudzu.