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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Salade Nicoise Anyone?

I don't know about you but I'm more than ready for some alfresco dining! I was going through my pictures and found these shots of salade nicoise. What is your favorite alfresco meal?


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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ruth Reichl Rules!

I have always loved Ruth Reichl’s writing. Her NYT restaurant reviews always made me feel as if we were dining together and she was leaning over the table to whisper her observations. Now I follow Ruth Reichl on twitter. Her 140 symbol haiku's are sensual food images that put me in a food fairy land. I feel as if she has opened the door and whisked me into her culinary realm.

A few tweets from the master food tweeter~

Avocados - soft, gentle, butter-rich. Scatter of onion, tiny dice of jalapeno, lashings of lime and shower of salt. Seductive little lunch.

Winter night. Fire roaring. Snow plow on the way. C-food dinner: Chipotle chili , cornbread and cranberry upside down cake.

Made the spongecake. Ancient flavor.No fat. Great texture. Subtle. Barely sweet. Must have been SO difficult without electricy. Easy now.

Snow falling; fat flakes. Think I'm stuck here on the mountain for a while. I'll survive on banana bread (filled with rum-soaked apricots).

Poached araucana eggs. Bright blue shells, whites swirl around marigold yolks. Toasted bread, sweet butter. Apricot jam. Fresh orange juice.

Peeling oranges on this post-storm morning. Snow sparkling off the mountains, sun pouring through the windows, fingers scented with citrus.

Cold sake-steamed chicken, straight from the refrigerator. Pearly flesh smooth as satin. Cats twine hopefully around my ankles. Think not.

Wow! she is some writing dame to aspire to. She makes my tweet day!

Dear Readers-I thought I would leave my editorial comments about the haiku's off to highlight Ruth's prose. Would you have enjoyed my comments? or enough said?

What's all this about nutrition and food labels?

I’ve been pondering the food labeling conundrum recently and the proposed band aids suggested to right the wrong. I agree the food labels are a whisper of information printed a bit too small with portions contrived to make the food fall within the healthy realm.

You can’t base all of your food choices on those descriptions but when a pouch of Lloyd’s Pork BBQ in an 18oz. (510 g) tub tells you a serving size is 1/4C (56g) @ 80 calories there should be a tingle-ling in your little grey cells. Who is only going to eat 1/4 C of Q? You’re telling me there are 4 ½ servings including sauce in that tub?

Once you start double dipping the nutritional facts get skewed as well, 360mg of sodium (our new culinary hate word) bumps up to 720mg a sizable chunk of the old daily intake (1500mg or less for women, 2300mg or less for men).

To eat this glop responsibly is to measure out your portion and walk away. It’s tough and not satisfying. The easy thing to do (and that’s what these glop tubs are all about in the meat department) is to eat the whole damn thing, forget the salad (too messy) and pay the piper. Oops! High blood pressure? A niggle of diabetes? How did that happen? Not even good genes can fight this easy food onslaught.

Back to labeling- I do think it’s cheeky to sell a bag of chips near the premade sandwiches and state it serves 1 ½ people. Where are the nutritionists who are trained in the knowledge of what our body needs on a daily basis? They are the ones who should be setting the portion sizes not the various powers that be.

Quite honestly I’m a bit concerned that the food industry is going to make the portion sizes more in line with how we really eat the stuff. I don’t think we need to be told that a portion size Pork Q is now 3/4C or the same size has turned into a single serving. Eek!

Eating processed food is not a good gig for the Bod. With that said we know we will continue to do it. Think first, put it at the top of the pyramid with fats, sweets, and splurges not at the bottom with the grains, veggies, and fruit.

Oh, and watch those labels!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 James Beard Semifinalists!

This is a link to a Washington Post article with the list of James Beard nominees- FYI http://bit.ly/cSo37Q

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Martha, Eric, & Tony- The Coq au Vin Battle

I should have mentioned this yesterday but my cold is clogging my brain. I watched Martha Stewart, I hate to admit it but it was purely for a gander at Chef Eric Ripert he has teamed up with a culinary side kick Anthony Bourdain to push their new radio show on Martha's Sirius channel Thursdays 7-8 ET.

It was interesting to watch Tony the man who speaks in colorful paragraphs be muzzled by the masterful Martha as she coyly flipped her hair from one side to another pitting chef against "chef".

In the cooking segment she asked Tony if he brought his own knives and he shook his head answering no, that he just grabbed one. Then putting her full Martha wattage on Eric she asked him the same.

His answer? " Yes, I always bring my knives." BINGO!! right answer.

Poor Tony did more smiling and tongue biting than I have ever seen. Eric laid on the French charm and deftly taught and cooked the coq au vin to perfection. There was a food porn moment when Martha the All Knowing taught Eric how to use the Kitchen Aid pasta roller he was giddy with delight stroking the machine.

Once the sheets were rolled she flipped them unceremoniously to Tony for a final cut. Watching his technique. Then full wattage back to Eric.

Of course the dish was deemed a stomach growling success with Martha reigning supreme.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Mantra for Food in Your Life

I love www.seriouseats.com it's a site that gives me a daily infusion of food for thought, recipes, books, and random food centric videos (9 year old in Atlanta throwing pizza anyone?).

Today there was a snippet about a new book, Salt to Taste by Marco Canora a NYC restaurant chef with good creds. It's on my radar to buy but in the mean time I think I will follow his 6 rules to eating well.
1.Buy it with thought
2.Cook it with care
3.Serve just enough
4.Save what will keep
5.Eat what would spoil

Don't Waste It!!

It feels like a slow food prayer. A clean distillation of how to approach your relationship with the food you eat.

1.Buy it with thought~ Can be taken several ways. Don't break the bank, buy what makes sense in your household, organic? local? Just think before it lands in your cart.

2.Cook it with care~ Respect what you bought and give it the best recipe and skill you have. Whether it's tournedos Rossini, or grilled filet mignon make it the best you can.

3.Serve just enough~This is easy- no gorging, eat responsibly. If you have followed #1  you will have made a tasty meal. Enjoy the right portion size.

4.Save what will keep~This is something I need to work on. I'll go to the grocery store, buy several meat and fish entrees, then come home and have a hankering for the one item that will stay fresh the longest fore going the more perishable fish or chicken.

5.Eat what would spoil~Linked to #4

6.Home grown is best~I like this thought because it pushes aside the the organic furor. Yes, I do eat organic as much as possible but if the zucchini is locally grown and the organic asparagus is from Mexico...Closer is better, fresher, and keeps the local farmers planting.

Don't waste it. I bet we are all guilty of this, a little nudge reminder is a good don't you think?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Valentines? Chinese New Year?

This looks to be an even bigger weekend than last weeks! We have Valentine's Day, a day that NSSP says boys don't like and Chinese New Years! Year of the Tiger.

My culinary yearnings are in a snit. Out to a romantic dinner or slurping noodles? NSSP's Sky High Souffle or my Veal Marsala? I know I will be wasting many brain cells on this conundrum. And you dear reader? Any thoughts, menus or traditions for the day of red?

Don't be shy lets brainstorm! Talk amongst ourselves and leave a comment.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Crispy Winter Salmon

Winter is a grim time to buy fish On The Edge. Usually our fish glistens with freshness that peaks my imagination into creativity. Winter brings frozen at sea to the market. Intellectually I know it is a superior product but the texture isn’t the same. It doesn’t say come hither and cook me.

So I outsmart myself, giving it some heft with a crust. I buy a little piece, between 1/4-1/3# of fish, (the poundage is my unit for all main course proteins). Instead of using a summertime marinade or doing my poach/broil technique, I skin, pluck any wayward bones out, and dust it with salt and pepper seasoned Wondra.

A glisten of olive oil in a medium hot pan and it’s time to sauté. I love the crispy texture that Wondra gives food. It’s not panko crackly. It gives a smooth crust that seals in moisture and doesn’t get gummy the way regular flour can.

In the meantime I boil potatoes for mashed and snap and boil green beans.

A squeeze of lemon on the fish and green beans completes the plate. It’s a meal that is toothsome and doesn’t say ho-hum winter fish.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hamm & Buble

I couldn't figure out how to link this post but if you are a fan of John Hamm (Mad Men) and Michael Buble you'll love this SNL skit. Go to www.hulu.com type in Hamm Buble and sit back and smile. Food related? Heck yes! there's a restaurant involved.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Woody Allen: Udder Madness: newyorker.com

Woody Allen: Udder Madness: newyorker.com I am a New Yorker junkie, even though I wish it's plug was pulled instead of Gourmet. If you love Woody Allen's knife like humor you'll like his skewering himself in this short story.
I guess the post is about food- there are animals involved!