Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Random Cheez-It facts

Random Cheez-It facts

-Ladygoat can eat a whole box of Cheez-Its in one sitting.
-She did not take Osama's Cheez-Its. But she might if she could.
-Is she a Cheez-It? No. Are you?
-You can see the old Sunshine Biscuit Company factory when you ride the BART. It was shut down when the company was acquired by Keebler in 1996, becoming part of the post-industrial wasteland that is West Oakland.
-Now apparantly random people go there to have barbeques.
-Ladygoat had the new Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion Cheez-Its for lunch today. But not the whole box. She also had a granola bar. But she liked the Cheez-Its a lot more. Gotta love those new flavors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

It's cold in Cleveland. Time to bring out one of my cold weather dishes - Hungarian goulash!

Back in college, my roommates were blessed with this dish every Wednesday evening. And we never got sick of it. My version is slightly different from the traditional version. It's more stew-like than soup-like: more potatoes! more meat! more everything! (Except water, of course. That would just mean more soup.)

1. Dice one large onion & 1 Hungarian pepper & saute in olive oil with several pinches of caraway seeds. Cook in medium heat for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent but not brown.

2. As in any traditional Hungarian dish, add paprika! As much or as sweet or as hot paprika as you wish.

3. Add some water & cook at medium high for 15 minutes.

4. Through a wire mesh strainer pour off onion mixture into a large pressure cooker.
5. You want to get all the juices out of the onion mixture, so add water through the mesh strainer onto the skillet and press the juices out with a wooden spoon, or your hands, several times. Add the juices to the pressure cooker too. The point is you're adding liquid volume and getting all the flavors out of the onion/peppers, because now you're going to discard onion/peppers.

6. Add about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds of beef. I like to use London broil & cut it into small cubes. Or you could buy the pre-cut stew meat.

7. Add salt & pepper to the pressure cooker. Turn on the heat, close the lid, and let the pressure do the work! I cook with pressure for about 45 minutes.

8. The next phase is cooked like a traditional soup. Remove the lid from the pressure cooker and add chopped celery, 4-6 peeled & diced potatoes, and a chopped tomato. Cook at a boil for 30 minutes.

9. And now for the least traditional ingredient (this is ladygoat's influence): add half an ounce of patis (Shhh! Don't tell Mom! Let alone Grandma!).

10. This is a good spot for a taste test: Do you need to add more salt? Pepper?

11. After the 30 minute boil is up, I make egg-drop noodles. One egg into a mug, add flour and mix until gooey. Using a hot spoon, scoop into boiling soup. Cook for 10 more minutes and serve!

I like this dish with bread and sour cream.

I made this dish for my old high school buddy/college roommate/video-game chum/hell-on-wheels friend Igor, who is presently recuperating from tonsillectomy. [Side note: each one of his tonsils was as big as a fist! :( ] Fortunately, he's recovering quite well.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Beer-butt chicken

Know what I feel like having for dinner? A chicken carcass on a half empty can of cheap beer swill!

What is it?
Beer-butt (or beer can) chicken ... a chicken grilled on top of a half empty beer can. The metal can acts like a roaster, while the liquid inside the can provides flavor and moisture.

Where do you get it?
Foodgoat's brother introduced us to this ultimate hillbilly delight last Easter (it took me a while to find the misplaced pictures, okay?). We went out to visit him and his lovely family in the quaint Appalachian village of Cadiz, Ohio (birthplace of Clark Gable!). Cadiz is kind of out in the hinterlands, but it's not hillbilly country. We know because everyone seems to have a satisfactory level of book larnin' as well as most of their teeth.

How do you make it?
Spice a chicken.
Grill it, covered, propped up on a half-full can of something (I think Coke may have been used here).
While it cooks, exercise your influence as beloved Uncle over small, impressionable nephews ...

By getting George to wash your car ...

... and to give Sienna a bath ...

... and by encouraging the enjoyment of wanton destruction (I mean, by teaching hand-eye coordination) through video games.

When the chicken's cooked, remove the chicken from the grill, and the can from the chicken.

How was it?
Juicy and delicious and very tender. In a word, tasty (hence the craving for more 7 months later). And it's like recycling! Hillbillies sure are smart.

Friday, October 24, 2003

A ladygoat & her sister discuss Vienna sausages

A ladygoat & her sister discuss Vienna sausages

L: I got to have Vienna sausages for dinner.
Sis: Oh good!
L: Yeah. I like them a little bit fried.
Sis: Oh. I like them better cold.
L: You do?
Sis: But you know the sludge that Vienna sausages come in?
L: You mean the slimey stuff?
Sis: Yeah.
L: What about it?
Sis: You know how sometimes it's harder and has all these chunks in it?
L: Yeah.
Sis: And sometimes it's more liquidy?
L: Uh huh.
Sis: I like it better when it's liquidy. Because then that sludge just slides off.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

California Highlight #9

California Highlight #9

A stop at Pismo Beach on the way to Los Angeles is a family tradition. It's the halfway point, and it's got a lot of history for us, dating from the time that my dad worked at Diablo Canyon.

So, after driving for 4 hours in a stuffed-to-the-gills minivan, we do the following:

Walk down the pier.

Watch the surfers. Mock the ones who fall off even though they are right underneath and can probably hear you.

Eat at Mo's Smokehouse BBQ, where we eat pulled pork sandwiches, garlic fries, fried green tomatoes, tri-tips, and ribs. Foodgoat thinks the quality of the sandwiches has markedly declined in recent years, but I think it was still pretty good, and I'd rather have that than clam chowder, which Pismo Beach, host of the annual Clam Festival, is known for.

[Note: Should you go to the beach afterwords, do not take your leftovers with you. This is what will come to pass, if you should fail. They will try to take the leftovers. (You know of whom I speak!) They wait until you leave the boxes behind to dip your toe in the water. They will open the box quietly and they will eat the pulled pork sandwiches for themselves! ... Stupid seagulls.]

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Foodgoat has crabs!
Actually, he has a can of crabmeat. So he made crabcakes.

To the crabmeat he added 1 egg, salt and pepper, a dollop of mayonnaise, a couple splashes of Worchestshire sauce, some chopped green onions, a splash of lemon juice, some horseradish and some of Kelly Holcomb's Hometown Spicy Brown Mustard [excuse the lack of proper measurements ... Foodgoat prefers to go by look, taste, and texture instead]. Then he added a bunch of bread crumbs and flour, until it made a sticky ball and divided it into patties. After both sides were nice & brown he dolloped the cakes with mayo and horseradish (I, on the other hand, prefer banana sauce).

He also made potato cakes, which, if you ask me, look a lot like crab cakes ... you know, round and crispy.

But Foodgoat assures me this is a picture of a potato cake, so it must be so. It's okay, because it tasted good too. I'm all for fried things.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

California highlight #8

Everyone's happy at In-N-Out. Everyone. Even the workers. In fact, they are known for being cheerful. They smile. They're friendly. They really are happy to serve you.

It doesn't sound like much, but it's kind of freaky.

But In-N-Out, Southern California burger icon, is not your typical fast food chain. It's still fully family owned. They don't have freezers, microwaves, or heat lamps, because everything is fresh. You can even watch them make the fries starting with the potato (I very much covet their nifty french fry cutter). And if the workers are happy, it might be because In-N-Out pays the highest wages in all of fast food: the average manager has been with the company more than 13 years and makes more than $80,000 a year. All that and they only charge $1.75 for a burger.

The menu has a puny 6 items: 3 types of burgers, fries, shakes, and soda. That's it. So to the secret menu we go.

We got: Fries "well-done" (=extra crispy), a "grilled cheese" (=no meat, just melted cheese, tomato, lettuce and sauce on a bun), a cheeseburger with grilled onions, and for Foodgoat, a "2 x 4" (=2 patties and 4 slices of cheese) with grilled onions.

It was very good. We were happy.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Highly processed foods of the week
It's been a big week for trying out unhealthy, non-local, and over-packaged foods packed full of preservatives.

Sara Lee Butter Struesel Coffee Cake
When butter is one of the main components and not just another ingredient, I'm interested. This one was pretty good for something you just toss in the oven for 15 minutes. I recommend just eating it off a plate because seeing all the butter actually soaked up in the napkin that you wrapped a piece in so you could take it to work for breakfast does not make for an encouraging sight.

Hershey's Strawberry Syrup
It's usually a bad sign when a food label reads "No refridgeration needed." And no has to tell you that the strawberry flavor is totally artificial and that's it's pretty much just bright red high fructose corn syrup, which is evil. But sweet, pink milk does make me feel like I'm eight years old again, so what better way to celebrate the long-awaited completion of my root canal? Now I'm on the lookout for the banana flavor.

Red Baron Deep Dish Singles
Where oh where are the Pizzeria Unos? Not around here, so I guess to fill my deep dish pizza cravings I'll have to hit the frozen aisle of the grocery store. Contrary to Foodgoat's estimate, one of these pizzas was enough (the box comes with two), and two was too much. So they really are singles. And they're much better than the flat, cardboard-tasting pizza at the cafeteria at work.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

California highlight #7
Ladygoat, her sista & brudda iz cruising da dark streets of their old 'hood, Irvington. When dey realize they's near Mickey D's, they head that hooptie Honda Accord right over. Yo, what's da big deal, you axe? It's September 17, foo', an' dat particular McDonald's iz celebrating 34 years with a 34-cent menu. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, cookies, 34 centizzles, fo' shizzle!

The line at the drive-through goes out an' around but inside da lines iz only a couple peeps deep. They strategize: cuz dere's a limit o' 10 per menu item. They order: 5 hamburgers, 10 cheeseburgers, 10 fries. Total: $8.50. Das what I'm talkin' about, G.

The posse takes dat boo-yaa grub back to the crib for the blanco nino.

30 minutes later: We're a not feeling so phat ... just fat. Turns out 10 orders of small fries = a lot of fries. But it was an adventure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

You offer it to me freely ... I doughnut deny that my heart has greatly desired this
(I throw down the gauntlet: 15 points for naming who we're punning)

California highlight #6

Ah, Krispy Kreme. We missed you. Yes, technically we can get you in Cleveland, and now at the grocery store, but you and I both know ... something's missing ... something's just not the same. The real you comes right off the Great (no, the Glorious) Machine.

A real Krispy Kreme doughnut is thus melt-in-your-mouth-soft, warm, and airy with just a hint of fried crispiness. Oh yes, it's worth getting excited about. When this Krispy Kreme (the first in Northern California) opened, people drove for miles and stood in lines that snaked out the door for over an hour.

We bought a box of a dozen doughnuts, but, probably owing to the fact that we were carrying on like the pastry paparazzi, the nice workers also gave each of us a super-fresh doughnut, just off the assembly line, to eat right away, no extra charge.


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Here, fishie, fishie

The rock and pool is nice and cool, so nice for feet!
I only wish (whack) to catch a fish (whack), so juicy sweet! (whack some more)

[10 geek points if you can name the speaker]

We were strolling around the West Side Market Saturday when the fish stand caught my eye. They had "regular" salmon (i.e. Atlantic farmed), but they also had wild Alaska salmon. And I was very surprised to see that they looked completely different! The farmed salmon (the kind that's usually in the supermarket) was the usual peachy color and very thick. In contrast, the wild salmon was leaner, and bright red:

Juicy sweet, indeed! Okay, I'll bite: one pound of environmentally-important, commericially-endangered, healthier-for-you, preferred-by-chefs-everywhere, $9-a-pound wild salmon please.

Some might prefer to give it to ussss raw (and wwwriggling!) but we plopped them down into a hot pan with olive oil and cooked it on both sides until it seemed done (which always takes longer than we think it should).

I made a sauce of honey, hoisen sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and basil, Foodgoat made cream of spinach and corn.

And the salmon? You ruins it! Stupid fat blogger! Nah, it actually came out very, very well. Impressive flaking ability. Delicate texture. Excellent taste. Plus extra feel-good points for actually following the Seafood Watch card. Foodgoat doesn't think he can go back to the farmed fish.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Ladygoat's first live football game

Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns

I was excited (after all, whoever won, I'd be happy, though of course Foodgoat didn't feel the same way). We picked up lunch (at 10:30) before the game at Panini's: sandwiches with coleslaw and french fries on the inside. (Dare I mention that such sandwiches are a long tradition and signature dish of arch-rival Pittsburgh? Okay, then, how about the fact that such sandwiches seem to known in parts of Europe as "American sandwiches"?)

The sandwich was just okay. Not nearly as fun as the world's largest touring grill cooking up sausages outside the stadium. Not that's a grill.

We didn't have any food actually inside the stadium, because it's a pretty long haul to the concession stands from the seats on the very last, the very top row (which also happen to be the only two seats out of 73,200 that didn't have a wind-blocking screen behind us, thus directing the full force of bracing Artic winds directly onto my neck). But it was still fun: the crowd was literally deafening, the Raiders fans were good sports (Darth Vader was there!), and, oh yeah, the Browns won.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Mall food, Hollywood-style

Lowlight #3

"New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin." (Mark Twain)

Unfortunately, not so when you pick up a late dinner at Downtown Disney's Jazz Kitchen Express. It's a bad sign when you're looking at right at them, but can't tell which one is the gumbo and which one is the jambalaya. I'm not even sure we were able to taste the difference. It was particularly disappointing since Foodgoat & my brother were hungry from a fierce air hockey battle at the ESPN Zone in which the puck went flying into the crowd several times.

I think the food was a little better at CityWalk, where you see Foodgoat having Cuban food two years ago at Versailles, across the way from the Hard Rock Cafe.

Considering that it's all really just mall food, I guess you really can't expect too much, even if they are stylish, showy, and glitzy "entertainment complex"-type malls.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

Stick to the jam

Lowlight #2

We didn't go to Knott's Berry Farm theme park. But we did go, for the first time, to the famous Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Or rather, we went to the take-out counter, since as always, there was a line going out the door for the sit-down part. And after a long day on the road and a very close billiard game at the hotel, everyone was hungry.

While waiting we perused the many gourmet food shops attached to the restaurant. I almost got a jar of jam, although my mom did get some raspberry shortbread cookies, which my sister is sampling. If I'd known about it at the time, I'd have gotten boysenberry jam, since the place first gained fame way back in the 1934 when Farmer Knott and his partner Farmer Boysen developed a new strain of berry crossing the raspberry, blackberry and loganberry ... the boysenberry. With people coming from all over, Mrs. Knott start serving up her fried chicken, and from there grew a theme park (now owned by the same Ohio-based corporation that owns Cedar Point).

We walked back to the hotel, encountering a crazy man/religious freak along the way, and sat down to a big bucket of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and beans. But despite its local landmark status, we regret to report that the food wasn't all that good.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Growing celebrity and airplane food

We love publicity. Publicity brings more readers, and that's all the more people who can leave comments and sign our brand-spankin'-new guestmap (hint, hint). First the St. Petersburg Times, then a plug on Metafilter (woohoo!), and now the Forbes website has written up a nice little review as well, reprinted below, as part being picked as one of the top 5 food blogs:

It's easy to like Foodgoat. From eating dulce de leche straight from the can and Swanson TV Dinners to whipping up the ultimate burger for the kick-off of the NFL season, Foodgoat's tastes are delightfully omnivorous and egalitarian. The Bosworth to Foodgoat's Johnson, and the main author of the blog, is his significant other, Ladygoat aka Rochelle Ponsaran. Ponsaran celebrates virtually everything the couple ingests, much of which would give a dietician the vapors, but they are also happy to share their family recipes for such delicacies as Hungarian potato dumplings and chicken paprikash. The blog's apt motto is "daily adventures in eating, cooking, drinking, and more eating" but it's also about tangential subjects such as the "History of the food world, part I." We wish there were more practical recipes but the random zaniness is appealing, and the range and creativity of consumption impressive.

Might I delicately point out, however, that my name is ROSELLE, and not Rochelle? And that they probably meant to call me the BOSWELL, not the Bosworth, to Foodgoat's Johnson? And what the heck does "reputation," for which we got a high rating of 5, mean anyway?

Anyway, on to the food ...

Highlight #6

We were so impressed with the snack we got on the plane that we took a picture of it, are now sharing it with you, and are tempted to submit it to On the flight from Cleveland to Chicago, all we got was a tiny bag of pretzels. But from Chicago to Oakland, we got this nifty and generous snack spread: tortilla chips with salsa, mixed dried fruit, crackers with spreadable cheese, and a fancy sugar cookie.

Which just goes to reinforce my growing conviction that United has the best (which is to say, almost good) airplane food. I particularly recall a delicious tapioca dessert on the flight last year to the Philippines that I wish I had the recipe for. In fact, United increased spending on food to $7.91 per passenger, while other major airlines cut their spending (my usual airline, Continental, spends $4.75). Now you can even buy a Hard Rock Cafe meal on board (though I wouldn't want to).

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Greasy spoon par excellence

Highlight #5

The only thing Foodgoat has to say about Nation's Giant Hamburgers is ... mmmmm, burgers, ahhhhhh, pie. *drool*

Once you've had a Nation's bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions, cut in half, it's hard to go back to the bland things served up at chain restaurants. Seriously, they're really very good. (See me make a pig of myself ... I mean indulge.) Foodgoat thinks he figured out the secret: the bacon. It's particularly good bacon, flavorful bacon, plentiful bacon. Of course, the juicy burger, the abundant and melted-just-right cheese, and the sweet-yet-smoky grilled onions, might have something to do with it too.

And then there's the pies. They have a many pies, but it's the banana cream pie that Foodgoat always yearns for. With a hefty topping of whipped cream, flaky crust, and a banana-heavy middle, now that is a pie.

Friday, October 3, 2003

Alas, not everything in California was tasty & good.

California Lowlight #1
Perhaps I got a little excited at Trader Joe's. It is, after all, a fun place to shop, and by the time we got to the register, the basket had good things like kettle corn, pumpkin butter, and chocolate-covered cranberries. But then I saw the new, hard-to-find, and much-sought-after Ginger Altoids. I'm not a big fan of Altoids, so I don't know why I thought Ginger Altoids would be good.

Because they're not. They're awful.

The ginger flavor is really, really strong. And I'm not sure I even think any candy, even of the curiously strong mint type, ought to be so spicy, especially without a little more sweetness to balance it out. It doesn't seem so bad at first, and then ... it hits you. Hard. Add to that the Altoid-typical powdery texture and on the whole it was like eating a ginger pill and not a fun food adventure. None of us liked it. Yet another painful lesson of "don't buy the hype."

Thursday, October 2, 2003

Foodgoat 2004

Hey readers, we need your help. This is the first time that somebody can actually vote for me - or our blog actually. Here is the link and as a free citizen you should vote.

Thanks for your support
First I will win this on-line polls THEN I will take over the WORLD! HAHHAaHAhahaAHAHAHAHHAHAaAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa
Suddenly I want more
California Highlight #4
Bubble tea ... so many flavors, so little time. We went to Tapioca Express (five minutes away and where all the trendy Asian kids hang out) three times over six days, and we barely scratched the surface. My personal favorite was the the mango flavored black tea, but I also had the strawberry black tea. Everyone else was partial to the snow bubbles (which are more like slushees): Foodgoat had the mango (by far the best ... must be something about mango and tapioca pearls that just go well together), vanilla (just like a milkshake), and green apple, and my family had the pineapple, passion fruit and avodado (a little too avocado-y). I did try the mocha snow bubble, which was good too.

And they were all very refreshing and tasty and came in nicely sealed (and thus shake-able) cups with fat straws and soft but chewy tapioca pearls. That still leaves 139 other flavors left to try.

Fortunately, yesterday's Plain Dealer had an article on all the new places you can get bubble tea in Cleveland now (besides the auto body store). They're all coffeeshops, so I doubt they'll match the Tapioca Express in quality or sheer variety, but some first-hand visits are definitely in order.