Monday, August 31, 2009

The Five Tastes and Tuna Tartare On Wonton Crisps

If you have been cooking (and eating) for awhile you can most likely pick out the ingredients of various dishes even if you've never eaten them before.

This is true for several reasons. The first reason is experience.

Oh, isn't that a dirty little word in today's world?

Experience isn't highly valued anymore as so many of the recently unemployed have come to realize.

But this isn't a post about the employment situation.

This is a post about cooking and tasting and food.

The other reason you can guess at ingredients is because there are really only five tastes that the human tongue and brain can distinguish.

They are:

1. salty
2. sour
3. sweet
4. bitter
5. and the newer kid on the block, umami

We all know the first four - the fifth is the more recently discovered Umami.

Umami is the flavor of one food that is transferred to another. Think tofu. Tofu takes on the taste and flavor of another.

Once you have experienced a taste it becomes familiar. Your brain charts it. Most of us had all this brain charting finished by the time we were three years old. At least the virgin five tastes.

Then, as we expanded our palates from say, mashed green beans to green beans sauteed in bacon and pearl onions, we added to the "mapping".. our brains registered more refined and more complex combinations of flavors.

One of the first things you learn in culinary school is how to taste food. What you ask? How can that be? You've been tasting ever since the day you were born.

Ah... but do you really know how to taste food? Can you identify the individual ingredients?

Try it sometime.

Do this.

Smell your food. I mean really smell it. Get a good whiff.
Take a bite of food.
Now close your eyes and let the food rest in your mouth, then chew slowly. The saliva will help break down the food and activate your taste buds.
Let the flavor and texture of the food wander over your entire tongue and roof of your mouth. At each different place on your tongue you will experience a different taste - because that's the way your tongue is set up.

Salty and sweet is at the front tip of your tongue.
Sour is on either side
There aren't too many taste buds in the center
Bitter is towards the back.

If you do this enough, you will become an expert at identifying ingredients (you have to do this with your ingredients as well).

The Best Husband In The World and I had dinner at a new restaurant in our town a few nights ago. I ordered an appetizer of Tuna Tartare on Wonton Crisps. As I often do after enjoying a new food creation, I recreated it at home.

I have a system for this that so far has served me well.

First, I draw a picture of the food. If I don't happen to have paper, I just use a napkin:

I don't take a picture because I think that's a little rude...

Then I make a list of ingredients that I can visually SEE on the plate.

Then I smell it.
Then I taste it.
If there are ingredients that I can't see, but can smell and taste, I list those.

This one was pretty easy because I had experienced all of these flavors before. I just had to put them together.

Viola. A recipe is [re] born.

Tuna Tartare on Wonton Crisps: makes about 30 appetizers

A nice slice of sashimi grade tuna, about 1 1/2 inches thick.
Wonton wrappers, sliced in half, on the diagonal
Sesame Seeds
Sesame Oil
1 egg white
alfalfa sprouts
wasabi cream (prepared) or wasabi powdered made very thin with water

Cut the tuna steak in half. You want it about 2 inches wide. You will have two pieces of tuna now.
Dip each tuna steak in the egg white, then in the sesame seeds.
Sear the tuna in sesame oil for 30 seconds on all sides (yes, count.. 1,2,3 until you hit 30, then turn)

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold. About an hour or so.

Pan fry (in about 1/2 inch of oil) the triangular wonton wrappers until just golden. About 30 seconds per side.

Drain on paper towels.
Make the wasabi. (or thin if store bought)


Slice the tuna very, very thin.

Place one piece of tuna on each wonton half.

Place a mere 3 to 4 alfalfa sprigs on top.
Dot with a bit of wasabi.

If you enjoy sushi you will love the crunch of the wonton wrapper, the cold, sweet tenderness of the tuna, the nuttiness of the sesame seeds, the fresh, peppery taste of the alfalfa sprouts and the bite of the wasabi on all parts of your palate.

A Cook's Notes: I don't do this every time we go out to dinner, that would drive TBHITW out of his mind. I also sometimes just ask the chef for the recipe. That works too!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Round 1: The Good Cook vs The Fourteen Year Old: Battle of the Bouef Bourguignon

I come from a rather large family (by today's standards). One of six children, third in line to the family throne, #2 of four girls.

I speak with one of my sisters at least several times a week. Sometimes more in times of great need, crisis or glad tidings.

The other day I was speaking to sister #3 and as so often happens, the topic of "what's for dinner" came up.

I told #3 I was on my way to the store to buy ingredients for Boeuf Bourguignon* and she casually mentioned that her 14 year old son Wes had made that very dish in June.

*from here on in known as BB


It seems #3 and her merry band have a once a month family tradition of choosing a country, researching the cuisine of that country and then making a dish for the rest of the family.

June was Wes's month and he choose France. Imagine that.

So off Wes went to the library and checked out the following book:


"Yes", said M. "And that's not all. He made BB AND cream puffs from the book.

"Ohhhh REEEALLY, I replied. And how did it taste?"

"Oh, it was wonderful" she assured me.


"Can I speak with Wes?" I asked.

Soon Wes was on the phone and I was peppering him with questions.

What kind of beef did you use?
Did you dry the beef?
What kind of wine did you use?
Did you use the recipe for brown braised onions like Julia Child said to?
Did you pan saute the mushrooms separately?
What sides did you make?
Do you have photographic proof of this kitchen escapade?

Wes answered all my questions thoughtfully and knowledgeably. But I wanted proof that he had indeed mastered this difficult recipe.

Did you dad take pictures? Will you send them to me?

Herewith photographic evidence of Wes's culinary fete. His mom, serving as Sous Chef, did the knife work for him.

This is Wes's BB:

This is Wes and his mom. Wes is taste testing a cream puff.

I am so proud of him.

I am so proud of my younger sister for teaching her sons to cook.

Does your family have any kitchen traditions? Any budding culinary stars? Any favorite meals that you all cook together?

AND this question is for Wes,

Are You Ready for a Throwdown?

Oh, and for the record, here is my BB: In The Pot

And plated:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Throw Pillows and Magic Potato Pillows

We have a lovely family room in our home. The family room is used primarily by our three resident teenagers and their visiting friends.

This is a good system.

They have their television, music, Guitar Hero, video games, vast assortment of DVD's and a reasonable amount of privacy for entertaining themselves and their guests.

I rarely venture into this room as I have my own favorite places in the house, i.e. the kitchen where I too have my television, my work, my food, my stove and all my beloved kitchen gadgets.

We do all need our space now don't we.

However, it has recently come to my attention that some minor destruction has been going on in the family room. The destruction has taken the form of pillow ripping.

Hmm.. now I'm no genius when it comes to the construction of throw pillows but I am inclined to believe that they did not just self destruct or become suicidal pillows. That is not the brand I bought. Although I did commit the heinous crime of removing the DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG tag I'm fairly certain that the brand name was not Self Destructing, Suicidal Pillows, Inc.

Let's take a closer look at the mayhem:

Even to my unpracticed eye, these do not look like self-inflicted wounds.

So, like any good mother, I rounded up the usual suspects for some intensive questioning:

Suspect #1:
Jake (19) - good natured college boy, prone to acts of kindness touched by a somewhat scatter brained personality. Lovable and non-violent.

Suspect #2:
Julia (17) - nice girl in the throws of severe monthly hormonal imbalances. Is prone to fits of teenage girl tantrums, random acts of brattiness but basically nonviolent.

Suspect #3:
Zach (15) - somewhat lovable young teen. Loves action video games where someone or something is blown up at least 1421 times within the first few moments of gameplay.


Let's move on:
Suspect #4:
Holly Bear (10 months) - strong silent type, loyal to a fault. Does not typically inhabit family room preferring to stay close to me but can be sneaky AND destructive as evidenced by collection of chewed up beanie babies and flip flops she keeps in crate.

Holly Bear (pictured above) not talking, giving me the "Who Me?" look of innocence.

Suspect #5:
Not Me - frequent visitor to our home. Doesn't stay long but seems to be one of the most unruly and uncooperative of the bunch. Prone to leaving wet towels on floor, dirty dishes in sink and empty milk cartons in fridge.

Suspect #6:
I Don't Know - The most mysterious of all the inhabitants of our home, I Don't Know is behind any number of household infractions. Leaves doors open and unlocked when coming and going (must have been born in a barn), spills things on the rugs, breaks cell phones, dishes, wine glasses, etc.. NEVER cleans up after mishaps - just slides off into the night.. like I said, mysterious.

After lengthy questioning of all the usual suspects it seems that Not Me and I Don't Know are to blame for the pillow massacre.

I spent a rainy afternoon repairing the damage and now all is well in the Family Room once again.

Spending all that time with the pillows reminded me of Magic Potato Pillows.

The way these potatoes puff when you cook them will remind you of Magic AND Throw Pillows, only tastier.

Magic Potato Pillows: (makes about 16 pillows - enough for 3-4 people)

4 large baking potatoes
oil for frying (I like peanut, but canola is fine too)
Salt for sprinkling

This is tricky.
Cut the potatoes (unpeeled) into rectangular blocks, by slicing off each side of the potato.

Then just trim off any remaining skin.

Then slice the potato about an 1/8 inch thick.

Soak these strips in ice water for 5 or 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are soaking, start heating up your oil. Pour about 2 inches into a pan, and heat to 285 degrees.

Pat your potato slices really, really dry on paper towels and add them to the hot oil. Cook them for about 3 minutes, until they are just soft but not browned. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Crank the oil up to 350 degrees. Put the potatoes back into the oil and POOF! The potatoes will puff up like little throw pillows. Cook the potatoes until they are crisp and brown - this will only take a minute or so.

Drain on paper towels, salt while still a bit wet and enjoy! You only need 3 or 4 potato puffs per person.

A Cook's Notes: do not invite Not Me or I Don't Know over - besides being destructive, they are also gluttons and will eat the entire batch while your back is turned and before you can get a picture.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Product Testing 101 - Shrimp, Lamb and Rotisserie Chicken and more

It seems I've been noticed in the blogisphere.

Is that even how you spell it?

Blog-is-phere: Blog-a-sphere?

I have been approached to do a product test and asked to:

a. test a product
b. post about it
c. create a giveaway around the product (we're talking free stuff here)


At first I was flattered.
Then I was excited.
Then, I was nervous.
Then I was suspicious.
Then, apprehensive.

I don't use "products".
I cook from scratch.
What would this do to my credibility?
What would this do to my culinary senses?
What would this do to my food?

The Best Husband In The World advised me to "go for it". (He's in it for the free stuff)
The Second Son (19 years old) advised me to "not sell out". (He is still on the home dole)
My uppity culinary intellect told me to (in NJ speak) forgetaboutit.

But my curiosity told me "hey, why if and why not?"

So I took on the challenge. I basted and baked and marinated and rotisseried and grilled the hell out of:

The Original Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

Well and ahem. And I might add, oh my.

I ask you readers - because you are dear to me - do you want to hear about the results?

You should know before you vote [yes or no] I also suggested to the CEO, Country Bob himself, that I would like to interview him for the ultimate post...

Do you care? Do you WANT to hear about products???

I'm not giving it up here... you are my precious readers, my ardent followers, my fellow foodies...

What do you think?

a. Forgetaboutit?
b. Go for it?

I've done the cooking, the sweating, the basting, the baking, the grilling, the marinating, AND the eating (along with my most trusted taste testers...)

BUT it is up to you...

I await your response.

Stone Street and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches

Our 17 year old daughter recently "graduated" from camp. Julia is interested in Film Production (move over Spielberg) so her camp of choice this year was the New York Academy of Film.

She spent a week with other aspiring directors and producers writing, acting in, filming, editing and producing her own film short.

At the end of the week friends and families gathered at the school for the world-wide premieres of the films they produced.

There is some amazing talent out there folks. If any one of these kids fulfill their dreams, complete their educations and somehow make it through the maze of film production, we should be seeing some excellent movies in the next 10 or 15 years.

After her film debut, we headed over to Stone Street in New York City for a celebratory lunch.

Stone Street is one of the last streets in NY where you can still see what the city looked like in the late 18th. and early 19th. centuries. Nestled in among the sky scrapers of the financial district, this little stone paved street is lined with some of the best little bistros in the city.

We chose The Dubliner, a quaint little Irish Pub as the restaurant dejour.

Here is my version of their smoked salmon sandwich. I've named it after Julia's film, "Find A Penny"

Find A Penny Sandwich (makes 2 sandwiches)

4 slices Rye or Black Bread, thick sliced
4 ounces smoked salmon
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon dill
1 tomato sliced thick
1/4 red onion sliced thin
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 avocado, slightly mashed


Mix the dill into the cream cheese and divide among 2 pieces of bread.
Layer half the salmon, then the onion, tomato, and alfalfa sprouts on top of each cream cheese topped bread. Spread the avocado on the remaining 2 slices of bread, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top each sandwich. Slice into 1/4's. Serve with kettle chips and an ice cold Guinness.

I have to go now, I'm shopping for a suitable dress to wear to the Academy Awards, 2020.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Blog it Forward

What inspires you? 

Is it nature? A sunset, a sunrise? 

Is it another person in your life?

Is it someone who has overcome an insurmountable obstacle? 

Is it art?

What is inspiration, anyway?

According to my handy-dandy dictionary the definition of Inspiration is:

1. a breathing in, as of air into the lungs; inhaling
2. an inspiring or being inspired mentally or emotionally
3. an inspiring influence; any stimulus to creative thought or action
4. a prompting of something written or said
5. a divine influence upon human beings, as that resulting in the writing of the Scriptures. 

I like all of these definitions - but mostly I'd like to propose a combination of all of the above, I give you my [combined] definition:

6. A intake of breath of the creative, inspired by those who came before us prompting us to action in either thought, word or deed.

I am inspired by people. Average normal people who get up everyday and attempt to do the impossible in our crazy, ever changing world. 
Raise a family. 
Be fair.
Write a book. 
Write a blog. 

The blog world is full of people like this. People who are just trying to BE. Take a look at the blog list at the left of this post and you will find many of these people. 

These folks are just a few who inspire me. There are many more who don't blog - but who fit the "inspiration" definition. 

For those of you listed on the left hand side of this blog - come get the INSPIRATION AWARD - and blog it forward to those in your life who inspire you. 

Now, just for fun and inspiration watch this video that I stole (with their permission) from fellow bloggers John & Steve at John & Steve are having a baby

This is the story of Z and Vielpunkt (inspired by a true story - there's that word again...) - thanks John and Steve - you are an inspiration. 

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Inspiration and Biscuits A La Cuiller (Ladyfingers)

To my surprise and delight when I checked my email this morning I found a lovely compliment and an award from another blogger, The Confused Homemaker. 

The award is an "Inspiration Award" and Confused said that "I inspired her to do more in the kitchen".. awww..

How nice is that? 

This immediately put a smile on my face, a spring in my step and piled heaps of guilt on my soul. 

Smile. Get that. 
Spring in Step. Check.

Heaps of Guilt?? Why Good Cook, why the guilt?

Well, since confession is good for the soul (and the digestive tract) here is my true, never before told story of Biscuits A La Cuiller (also know as Ladyfingers - which I find truly apropo since so many of my dear readers are of the female persuasion and I'm assuming ladies. ahem)

But I digress. 

As some of you may remember, I offer "personal chef" services, where I come into your lovely home and cook, right there in your very own kitchen, for you and your guests. I love these gigs and spend hours on the menu, table settings, prepping, and just all around obsessing with the details. 

My next gig is for a lovely woman whom I have cooked for before. As a matter of principal and sound business practice, I always under promise and over deliver. Over deliver means I cook up or bake up something special that is not on the menu. This item is for my client and guests to enjoy the next day - or as a late night snack before the end of the party. Sometimes it's as simple as a floral centerpiece or fresh vegetables in a basket or fresh herbs in a bouquet from my garden. 

So anyway, dessert for this particular dinner party is sabayon with fresh peaches and mint garnish. I've given you all this recipe so don't feel cheated. My "extra" was going to be ladyfingers on the side.. a little something crunchy to go with the silk and sweet of the sabayon. 

In a fit of insanity and pure stupidity (I forgot in a moment of self UNawareness, who I AM).. I bought these:

Imported all the way from Italy. Low fat and low cholesterol no less. (or more)

Sweet mother of all that is holy, what was I thinking?? Store bought ladyfingers? Store bought anything??? Say it isn't so Good Cook! I can only surmise by this act of treachery that my mind is finally going - snapped if you will. Insanity has finally got a hold of my senses. 

Thank You Confused Homemaker for reminding me of my true identity. Thank you for restoring my mind to its methodical cooking self. In the name of all that is good and home made, thank you. 

Without further ado, and just before this confessional post, I whipped up these, from Mastering The Art of French Cooking (of course) I give you: Biscuits A La Cuiller

Ladyfingers: (makes about 24)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Butter and flour 2 baking sheets (I used parchment, but also buttered and floured the parchment). 
Assemble a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch opening. 

1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour, measured then put in sifter.
powdered sugar for dusting

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks, add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted (about 2-3 minutes on high speed).

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over and continue to beat until shiny and stiff peaks form. 

Scoop 1/4 of the egg whites over the yolk mixture and sift on 1/4 of the flour. Delicately fold in until partially blended. Then add 1/3 of the whites and 1/3 of the flour, fold until almost blended. Repeat with 1/2 the whites and flour and end with the rest. Be VERY careful, fold gently until just combined. You don't want to deflate the batter. 

Scoop into your pastry bag and pipe out batter 4 inches long by 1.5 inches wide. 
Dust with powdered sugar placed in a sifter or sieve. About 1/16 inch thick. 

Bake in middle and upper 1/3 of the oven for 20 minutes. The ladyfingers will be just slightly golden (very pale brown) underneath the powdered sugar. 

Remove immediately and cool on wire racks. 

These keep beautifully in an airtight tin for up to 10 days (but who really keeps cookies around for 10 days??)

Ah... I feel so much better getting that off my chest. I think I'll have myself a cup of tea and a few Biscuits A La Cuiller

NEXT: Who inspires me?? Tune in tomorrow. 

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baby It's Hot Outside & Grilled White Pizza with Greens

It is hot. 

It is so hot, I have taken to getting up early just to walk the dog. Any later than 10:00 am and that fur coat Holly Bear wears everyday is enough to kill her. 

It hasn't rained in some time and the ground is rock hard - I swear the heat is seeping up from the ground AND down from the sky. 

Every morning, I set the sprinklers out to give the tomatoes a drink. When Holly Bear and I return from our walk-about, I set her out in the yard. This is how a very smart puppy (10 months old on Sunday) deals with the heat:

Just like a 4 year old kid, she is jumping through the sprinkler. 

If it's hot where you are, you may enjoy this "keep your kitchen cool" white pizza that you make entirely on the grill. It is sophisticated enough for company appetizers or simple enough for dinner for two. 

Grilled White Pizza with Greens*: makes appetizers for 6 or dinner for 2 to 3

Flour for rolling dough
1 ball (8 oz) prepared pizza dough (store bought, homemade or purchased from your local pizzeria)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for drizzling on arugula
1/2 cup roasted garlic paste (recipe follows)
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
2/3 cup Asiago cheese, grated
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup baby arugula, rough chopped and drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt
4 ounces thin sliced prosciutto
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to medium high. Turn off the center burner, leaving the outside burners at MH.
Roll out the dough and gently brush 1 tablespoon olive oil on one side. Grill oiled side down for 2 to 4 minutes in the center of the grill with the grill cover down. 
Brush ungrilled side of dough with olive oil. 
Flip over to reveal grilled side of dough. Spread garlic paste all over grilled side. 

Top with mozzarella:

Then the Asiago:

Then dollops of ricotta and put back on grill for 2 to 4 minutes,:

When the crust is crisp and the cheese is hot, remove from grill. Top with rough chopped arugula:

And finally the prosciutto and fresh ground black pepper.

Slice and serve hot! 

Roasted Garlic Paste:

2 heads garlic.
olive oil
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Cut heads off of garlic (top 1/2 inch). Place on a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap both heads in (tightly closed). Drizzle each head, cut side up, with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. 

Roast in oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the foil packet. (about an hour)

When cool, unwrap and take the entire bulb in your hand, cut side down, over cutting board. Squeeze gently and all the cloves of garlic will come out. Repeat with second head of garlic. 

Sprinkle the cloves with a little salt and using the back side of your knife, smash the heads into a paste. This is easy to do and doesn't require a lot of muscle. 

Can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Have to go now and join Holly Bear in jumping through the sprinkler... 

*Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, Summer Issue 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Busy and Fresh Pasta Sauce Two Ways

My posting has been a bit sporadic lately. This is all due to one thing:

My garden has exploded. 

Everyday, she (yes, my garden is a she) presents me with baskets full of tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini. 

You would think that I would be overjoyed at these gifts. After months of seed coaxing, seedling planting, staking, weeding and watering, the fruits of my labor are now on my table... everyday:

But the sad truth is, I can't keep up. I have given away, frozen, canned, eaten, mashed and blanched myself into a dither. 

It doesn't help that I also have a habit of visiting every farm stand within a 50 mile radius of my home. I can't help it. I'm a sucker for any locally grown fruit and vegetable. Peaches, blueberries, corn, melons... oh my! 

I know the way Mother Nature works though. Just when I'm about to say "uncle".. my garden will stop producing. The road side stands will fill up with apples and pumpkins and then slowly close their doors until next year. 

So for now, I hole up in my kitchen, in 95 degree weather and can and freeze and blanche and cook and eat my way through this glorious season of plenty. 

Fresh Tomato Sauce Two Ways (one for eating, one for freezing)

Recipe #1
4 to 5 ripe tomatoes (I used plum and yellow because that's what I had)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup shredded zucchini (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced (chiffonade)
1/4 cup freshly grated (very small) parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper
olive oil

Blanch the tomatoes in boiling, salted water until the skins split (about 2 minutes) Remove to a bowl to cool enough to handle. 

Working over a large bowl to catch the juices, slip the skins off. Using a small paring knife, dice the tomatoes, throwing away the seeds. Squeeze the tomatoes with your hands to slightly crush. 

In a large pot, drizzle in some olive oil and saute the garlic just until fragrant. Add the crushed, diced tomatoes and zucchini* and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer. Add tomato paste, basil, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so. 

This simple sauce is ready to eat right now on some pasta. Leave it chunky and serve hot. Pass crusty bread on the side. 

Follow all of the steps above. After simmering, spoon the sauce (in batches) into a blender, puree. Be careful to put a kitchen towel over the top of the blender and hold the lid down. Don't fill it more than 1/3 full. Blend in batches until smooth. 

Pack into very clean, hot mason jars, allow to cool, put lids on and freeze. Remember to give your jars at least 3/4 inch head room. The sauce will expand when frozen and you don't want any broken jars in your freezer. You can also let the sauce cool and freeze in ziploc bags or any container you wish. 

When you defrost this sauce around January, you will get a taste of summer that will have you browsing seed catalogs all over again. 

Anyone out there having the same "problem"? I'd love to hear what you are doing with your excess garden output.. 

Don't have a garden? Don't forget your local farmers. They work all year to bring you the very best from their fields... why not pick up a bushel of tomatoes and make this sauce? I guarantee come January and February, you'll be glad you did! 

* A Cook's Notes: I like to sneak a little zucchini in my sauce. No one will be the wiser, you'll get the extra nutrient kick AND use up some of those squashes that seem to grow overnight! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Kid On The Block


There's a new kid on the block - the newest little in my family, please meet my grand-niece,
my brother's newest grand-daughter:

Annemarie, 7 lbs. 2 oz. 19 inches long... 

Is there anything better than a newborn baby??? (that isn't your own and you can't hear cry at night????)

Monday, August 17, 2009

What I'm Reading....

Ever wonder what a cook reads? Well, pretty much anything that has to do with food. Surprised? 

I am pretty much obsessed with food, the food industry, chefs, recipes, biography's (currently on my night stand, "My Life In France" by Julia Child... 

AND everyday in my inbox, I receive this email from The Food Institute. It is their daily update on The Specialty Foods industry. Just in case you were wondering what is coming to a grocery store near you. 

Today's email: 

(to receive your own update, email: 

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. chose Sumner, WA as the future location for a new manufacturing and distribution facility for its Specialty Coffee Business Unit. Full Story 

P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc. and Unilever entered into an exclusive licensing agreement to develop a line of frozen Asian entrees for the U.S. under the P.F. Chang's brand Full Story 

Good Times Restaurants Inc.'s Board of Directors formed a Special Committee to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives aimed at enhancing shareholder value and explore alternatives to reduce the cost burdens of being a publicly held entity. The company hired Mastodon Ventures, Inc. to provide strategic advisory services and explore other strategic alternatives that will further the long-term business prospects of the company and provide incremental value to its shareholders. Full Story 

For Immediate Release: News from the Specialty Food Trade
Vino de Milo, Athens, Ohio, introduces its new line of all- natural wine-based bruschetta toppings.  Full Release

Pulled pork sandwiches, in varieties including po' boys, open face and sliders, are becoming a popular menu item in San Francisco's restaurants. Restaurants highlighted include Cafe St Rose, Hopmonk Tavern, Little Skillet and MacArthur Park, reported The San Francisco ChronicleFull Story (Free Registration Required) 

Burgerville will allow customers on bikes to order and pick up food at all to-go lanes currently used by cars. The company is considering opening dedicated bike lanes at its 39 drive-throughs in the Oregon region, reported OregonLive.comFull Story (Free Registration Required) 

New York City chefs are "bringing the beach to the streets" with clambakes, lobster fests and crab boils, according to The New York Post. For instance, the Fish Shack hosts summertime Rock n Roll Clambakes every Sunday and Monday. For $30 a person, the clambake, served in a cast-iron black pot for up to four people, comes with a mixture of steamers, mussels, a half-pound lobster, red potatoes and corn. Full Story 

Rice Epicurean Markets is now carrying Logan Farms Spiral Sliced Honey Glazed Hams and Turkey Breasts in all five of its Houston-area locations. Full Story 

Restaurant RoundupSmoothie King launched a vitamin and supplement line with products including Whole-Nutrition Total Body Multis for Men and Women, Acai Berry Cleanse and Flush, Green Tea Fat Burning, Natural Calorie Burning Weight Loss and All-Day Energy Rapid Boost. Full Story ... Diners at IHOP will receive one free Kid's Meal with each adult entree purchase from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 17 to Sept. 13. Full Story ... Whataburger added the Chop House Cheddar Burger to its menu for a limited time, reported Nation's Restaurant NewsFull Story (Free Registration Required) 

Salmonella in ground beef is more resistant to heat treatment than whole cuts of beef, according to research published in Journal of Food Science, reported Food Navigator EuropeFull Story 

When exposed to oxygen or stored for long periods, some oils lose healthy properties such as fatty acid levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science. Researchers suggest decreasing or removing a natural oxidized form of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) to reap the full benefits of healthy oils. Full Story 

New Store NewsThe Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc. opened a Pathmark store in Staten Island, NY. Full Story ... Chick-fil-A Inc. plans to open three locations in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region by next year, reported The Cincinnati EnquirerFull Story ... Giant Eagle plans to open a nearly 100,000-sq. ft. store in Ohio, reported Cleveland.comFull Story ... NexCen Brands, Inc. opened its first Pretzelmaker franchised store in Mexico. Full Story 

Some 32% of Canadians are spending less on food due to economic worries, according to a survey commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association. About 28% of those with annual income under C$30,000 stated they had skipped meals, compared to 8% of those with family income above C$90,000, reported The Globe and Mail. Full Story (Free Registration Required) 

A glass of wine a day cut the risk of treatment-linked skin toxicity by two-thirds in women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, according to Italian research published inInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, reported HealthDayFull Story 

Intake of fats from meat, eggs and dairy products do not increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, high intakes of processed meat were linked to a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women and high butter intakes were linked to a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women, reported Food Navigator EuropeFull Story • Study Abstract 

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