September 30, 2008

harvest time

Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Originally uploaded by tallasiandude
it is that time of year when it gets dark earlier, the weather gets sharper even when it's still warm, and we get inundated with season-end produce that needs to be eaten immediately lest it perish.

so i'm playing catch-up in the kitchen these days, figuring out how to use as many tomatoes as possible -- and i'm finally resorting to cooking them, which is how i know that autumn is nigh. Under normal circumstances I would never allow heat to touch a garden tomato -- they must be eaten raw, with salt and pepper and oil, or possibly in a sandwich with mayonnaise and toast.

but i just cut a particularly vulnerable specimen into my bean-corn-beef stew, and i am drying bread cubes for scalloped tomatoes. and I have to tell you, scalloped tomatoes actually do ease the sting of oncoming winter, because they are just so darn tasty: roasty tomatoes, toasted bread cubes, Lawry's seasoned salt, hot from the oven. Yum.

then i have to figure out what to do with the last few watermelons now that it's cold enough that we don't actually feel like eating watermelon any more. i am thinking agua fresca...

[for Christi: this is the recipe i liked best when testing versions for the drink we had at the wedding: Watermelon Agua Fresca]

Posted by foodnerd at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2008

putting into numbers what one can guess instinctively

A coworker forwarded this today, about how world consumption overshoots natural resource regeneration capacity each year: World Overshoot Day

It more or less boils down to the idea that since 1986, we've gone further and further into natural resource debt each year. Which i suppose explains why it feels like the world has been going steadily down the tubes without letup for my entire adult life. I do not like it, no sir, I do not like it at all.

Posted by foodnerd at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2008

more chicken burgers - spicy korean style

Just a note to say that chicken burgers are also good made with:

1 lb ground chicken
minced onion (1/4 onion)
minced shiitakes (4, rehydrated in a bit of hot water and some teriyaki sauce)
tbsp of korean spicy soup paste
the rest of the mushroom hydrating liquid (there was as little as i could get away with)

and then sprinkled with a little salt once they're in the pan.

I made li'l mini-burgers, inspired by Just Bento, and they do seem to make it a little easier to eat smaller amounts of food. I had them with a scrap of leftover white rice and a pile of sauteed chard last night for dinner, and they was yummy.

Posted by foodnerd at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2008


Someone is awesome. Specifically, whichever someone sent me a subscription to meatpaper magazine. My husband denies responsibility, so whichever one of you did it, confess so that I can shower you with gratitude.


(update: it was my brother. he is awesome.)

Posted by foodnerd at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2008

100 chinese foods to try before you die

this one requires rather more thought and research, but I'm posting the link here for future reference:

100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die

I think I am doing rather better on the Japanese list at Just Hungry, but that may have to do with the 3 week trip to Japan in 1996 and lifelong fascination with all things Japanese. (Update: I just counted up and I am at 45 on the japanese list. There were 5-10 more that I'd tried, but couldn't count because the list specified certain handmade/in season/ultra-fresh attributes that I'd not enjoyed. So I'm at roughly half, which is what I was expecting and hoping. Yay.)

Posted by foodnerd at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2008

Omnivore's 100

I just ran across this while poking through Just Bento and Just Hungry. I'm not sure it's *exactly* the 100 foods I'd choose for such a list, but I'm too tired to think up my own list right now. And since it's a slow blog week for me (tired, sick, cranky from traveling last week), I figured I'd share. And then count up how many of these 100 I've actually eaten. Hee.

From VGT:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth 60 pounds/120 dollars or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I have eaten all but 11 of these 100 foods. And of the 11, most of them are because I've not yet had the opportunity to try them: I would totally eat roadkill or horse or haggis if the opportunity presented itself. I have had bagna cauda on the brain for a while, ever since I read a lavishly photographed magazine feature about it. Epoisses is just a luck-of-the-draw failure; I've eaten so many exotic cheeses, but I'm pretty sure never an Epoisses. I've had expensive whiskeys, but never one quite so rich, so I guess that one's a technicality. I'm on the fence about fugu, but I think if I really had the chance in a fine fugu-ya I guess I wouldn't be able to pass it up.

And whole insects. Yeah. I am really not into insects, and I think that the little limbs would be grody grody grody, a worse texture experience than even chicken feet, but if it was a dare I'd probably do it.

But here's the other really interesting thing. Of the 89 items that I *have* tried, a shocking number of them fall into my "holy crap, yummy" category. I am not fond of pistachio ice cream, especially industrial versions. Raw scotch bonnets are a little insane. Cognac I just can't get into, not when there's delicious bourbon I could be drinking instead, for much much cheaper. Sweetbreads are a little mushy, but they're tasty enough; ditto for chitterlings, they're a little funky but tasty enough. Absinthe I'm mostly meh about. Baijiu tasted like gasoline, but it was kind of fun anyway, or perhaps because of that.

So that's 7 of 89 things that don't totally float my boat, but the other 81: NOM NOM NOM NOM, bring me some more. Am I weird? Or just lucky enough to be both omnivore and widely-traveled? Either way, I like it.

Update: my dad claims I've eaten kaolin because he gave me Kaopectate as a child... not sure if that counts or not, but if so that puts me at a solid 90% of the list. Woot!

Posted by foodnerd at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)

September 10, 2008

memphis: The Bar-B-Q Shop

OK, so i think i might have a theory on why people down South tend to be fatter on average: waitresses down here just keep on topping up your glass of sweet tea. You have no damn idea how much of that sweet, sweet nectar is going down your gullet, and it's not like you can just not drink it. It's far too delicious for that.

And while I'm at it perhaps I can describe the delicious barbecue available at The Bar-B-Q Shop. I'm here in Memphis visiting a client, who as it turns out is rather a kindred spirit and when I asked about barbecue recommendations she said she was friends with the owner of the best place in town. Okey dokey then, let's go!

Her husband said that the beef was better than the pork, so I went that way. They pull their brisket here rather than slice it, and it is fantastically aromatic and smoky. The sauce is sweet-based and dark, but the sweetness is not the primary note; just like in KC, it's surprisingly complex and balanced with spices and savory notes, but this sauce is distinctly different from KC style sauce -- though admittedly neighbors on the sauce spectrum.

I'm not sure if it's a Memphis thing or just a specialty of the house, but I had to order it regardless on a half-and-half plate with my beef: bbq spaghetti. Soft thick spaghetti with barbecue sauce and barbecue meat. I ask you, what's not to love about that?

Big thick slices of buttered Texas toast on the side (oddly enough), and slaw with bits of chopped pickle in it top things off. The drummettes are excellent, super crispy fried and with a little sprinkle of their house dry rub on for flavor. (This stuff is awesome, a southern barbecue version of Old Bay seasoning -- i was dabbing it up off the plate and licking it off my finger, salty and spicy and delicious.) Everybody working there is friendly and the place is actually rather huge for a barbecue shack, i expect because it's not really a shack so much anymore, being rather popular with Memphisians.

I have a hazy photo in my phone that i'll try and get uploaded soon. And I have a fridge here in my hotel room, so I'm gonna eat leftovers for dinner tomorrow night, oh yeah!

nom nom nom nom nom nom

Posted by foodnerd at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2008

hazy sleep-deprived thoughts

i just got back from swing dance camp, which was AWESOME. i danced all night on Sunday, straight through to breakfast at 7am, and didn't sleep except for about an hour nap in the afternoon when I finally got home.

camp food kind of sucks, unfortunately, so nothing exciting to report in that department except:

- brownies with peanut butter smeared on top are delicious, and great dancing fuel

- barbecue potato chips are much more satisfying as a mid-dance fortification than sweets

- a dark chocolate zone bar and a thimbleful of coffee is enough to get you through two dance classes if you sleep through breakfast (though a cabinmate came up with the genius idea of bringing instant oatmeal packets and using the hot water for tea to make instant brekkies)

- thousand island salad dressing makes everything taste good

Posted by foodnerd at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)