Wednesday, March 31, 2004

A new magazine! I never saw it before!

A new magazine! I never saw it before!

Of course you never! Only us explorers can get it.

My first two issues of my new Saveur subscription arrived in the mailbox today. Sure I got to borrow it free from the library, but it was always checked out and I just ended up photocopying whole sections anyway. Woohoo! It's my favorite food periodical (yup, even more than Cook's Illustrated): the National Geographic of food, with lush pictures, colorful articles about exotic locales, and recipes with hard-to-find ingredients. Adventures galore!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Memories of Apple Pie

Memories of Apple Pie
Today at McDonald's for lunch, just as the girl was about to ring up the final order, I threw caution into the wind and said, "Er, can I get an apple pie too?"

"Two for a dollah?" Two?

"Ummm, sure." I looked at Foodgoat. Foodgoat looked at me. I could contain myself no longer and flung my hands in the air. "YAY! YAY! APPLE PIE!!!"

That is today's story of how I got laughed at by the McDonald's cashier.

I haven't had the pies in years, but they seem to be ... smaller than they used to be. Didn't they used to fill out the box? And wasn't the box have more like a curved envelope? And wasn't the box green instead of red? And didn't the crispy crust have more air bubbles? Like it had some kind of apple pie plague?

Ah yes, but I do remember the rather pathetic number of actual pie chunks collecting on one end.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Be Lentil with Me

Be Lentil with Me

While Foodgoat will wax lyrical over a plate of lentils, I've always secretly been a little suspicious of them. They seem small and ... beady. Like the shifty eyes of a pickpocket who takes watches off the drunks while pretending to help them into cabs after last call.

Okay, so I'm being too hard on them, since lentils are quite tasty and healthy and cheap and versatile and protein-rich and an all-around food winner. Maybe it's because Esau sold his birthright for a "pottage of lentils." Maybe it's because I never ate them or even heard of them until recently. Maybe it's because I don't know if they grow on trees or underground or what. Maybe because it's traditionally eaten (due to its high nutrition) during times of fasting (lentils ... Lent ... ohhhh).

Mostly, though, I think it's because of the color. The lentils we get at the grocery store are brown. Not luscious, smoky brown like a well-done steak, but dull, dusty, muddy grayish-brown. Don't get me wrong, it tastes delish, especially when prepared with lots of bacon and a big smoked ham hock, but the color is just ... bleah.

That's why I got the yellow lentils, known as toor dal in India, from Urban Herbs. Bright yellow, sunshine yellow, highlighter-fresh-out-the-package yellow. They came in red and green versions too, but yellow is the color of spring, my friends. It tastes quite similar, but somehow I like it much better.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Goats Gorge on Gingerbread Houses

Goats Gorge on Gingerbread Houses

Thursdays are always my blogging downfalls. Today, instead of another witty episode in our lives (I'd only babble on about mortgages and interest rates and lender fees, so trust me, I'm doing you a favor), I share with you someone else's fascinating adventure:

Yes ... Goats enjoying a nice snack of gingerbread house.

You see, it was once someone's dream to build a gingerbread house and see it consumed by a hoard of hungry goats. You believe I jest, but I swear to you, this tale is a true one. And they have more pictures to prove it.

I'm thinking the new house should be christened "Goat House" or "Goat Hill". Do you think they allow pet goats in South Euclid?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Tea that goes BOOM!

Tea that goes BOOM!
I was a little disappointed to find out that the gunpowder tea was just green tea that had been tightly rolled into tiny balls. It just looks like gunpowder. I guess I was expecting more along the lines of Pop Rocks.

It's actually considered one of the highest grade of green tea, and while it is generally from China, gunpowder is the favorite green tea of Morocco and the Middle East. There, it is commonly prepared with mint and plenty of sugar. The gunpowder tea is often mixed with peppermint leaves to create a unique blend called Moroccan Mint. I see why: I thought the gunpowder tea was pretty sharp-tasting, considering that it's green tea, but Moroccan Mint is a great favorite of mine, and much more pleasant. Local custom dictates that it be served by men, and be poured in such a way as to create a sizeable foam atop one's glass. I leave it to any Freudians out there to make sense out of that, as unfortunately, I don't know exactly what that special way is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Between meals

Between meals
It's only Tuesday and I can't think of a thing to post about. My mind is a complete blank. It's going to be a long week.

But although it's been Dullsville, eating-wise, around here, other interesting developments have been in the works.

If you're still reading, I'll just assume you're as captivated by our non-culinary adventures as you are by our food ones.

1. Ladygoat gets a haircut.
There comes a time in the season of every girl's life when she gets tired of the split ends and ponytails and bravely cuts her hair off. I'm hoping the weather gets the hint and warms up.

I think I look more like a blogger now, don't you?

2. Foodgoat rises from the smoky ashes
Remember when Foodgoat's Jetta, literally, spontaneously combusted in a ball of fire?

His car didn't look too good after that. Well, the insurance company, after a bit of resistance, coughed up a reasonable $7000 ...

... which Foodgoat has turned into a down payment for His Very First Mortgage.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Beer alternative of the day

Beer alternative of the day
In liquor, as in French and deodorants, some things are maculine and some things are feminine. Manly drinks are noticably potent and taste lousy. All the better to build their self-possessed, stoic characters, I suppose. Hence the dark, fibrous beer and extra dry martinis.

Girly drinks, on the other hand, are refreshing and taste good, though if you have enough of them they can still knock you off your ass. Think of margaritas and other drinks that lend themselves to miniature umbrellas. They help us women escape in some small part the sociocultural, political, and economic institutions which serve to subjugate our autonomy, self-awareness, and potential powers in a historical system of patriarchal oppression. They're among of the master's tools but at least they go down easy.

Smirnoff Twisted V (that's a 5, by the way), a new line of premium malt beverages, falls distinctly into the latter category. Like the Smirnoff Ice, which bridged the gap between plastic-cup-and-keg-at-frat-party and cosmopolitans-at-the-nightclub, the Smirnoff Twisted V in Raspberry (also availabe in Green Apple, Mandarin Orange and Cranberry) is sweet and light and summery and make you forget that there's an intoxicating substance in them. In other words, I like them.

In an odd coincidence, Smirnoff Twisted V is sponsoring the Fetish Ball and Fetish Fashion Show in Cleveland next month.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Something's Fishy

Something's Fishy
This Lent has been all about expanding our fish horizens. After all, how many cans of tuna can we go through? This week's adventure was catfish.

Foodgoat doesn't recall having catfish before, but I had catfish once: last year in the Philippines, my cousins took my brother and I to a catfish farm and handed us bamboo sticks with string and a fishing hook. Okay, so it wasn't the most challenging fishing location, but we did catch a lot of fish. Afterwards they skewered the fish and grilled them whole, and we had delicious catfish-on-a-stick.

The catfish Foodgoat made wasn't quite as fresh, but it was quite tasty: he made blackened catfish on a cast-iron skillet. The catfish skillets were covered with the fish spice rub from Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food, which consisted of ground fennel seeds, ground celery seeds, freshly ground pepper, confectioner's sugar (?), paprika, onion powder, ground chile pepper, and file powder. Don't they look good?

He dropped them into a hot, hot cast iron skillet. Then, he poured some melted butter over them, which had a dramatic and (for me at least) unexpected result:

After that, the entire kitchen filled with smoke and I had to hold up a fan and hope that the smoke detector wasn't going to go off. After about six minutes or so on each side, the fish was done but, considering our recent Jetta experience, I'm sure our neighbors were a little worried.

While all this was going on, I was conducting my own food experiments. The first was making baked sweet potato, but instead of baking them in the over for an hour, I threw the sweet potatos (poked with fork holes) in the microwave for four minutes. Then I put them in the oven for ten or fifteen minutes or so. The result is sliced open, patted with butter and sprinkkled with cinnamon sugar, and you'd never know I took a shortcut.

My second experiment was whole wheat couscous, which I picked up at my new favorite place, Urban Herbs. Boil water, pour water over couscous, cover, and ten minutes later, it's all fluffy and ready to eat. Well, except for the salt, pepper, and chopped green onions for good measure. It's SOO easy.

And that completes this edition of adventurous Lenten meals!

Friday, March 19, 2004

Oreo! Oreo! Oreo!

Oreo! Oreo! Oreo!
The last "special" Oreo flavor I had was some 15 years ago, when, as a Christmas Day treat, I had White Fudge-covered Double Stuf Oreos.

That is when I finally understood the concept of too much of a good thing.

Since then, I've stuck with the dependable old-fashioned regular Oreos. But on Wednesday, I saw something that tempted me over. The new Uh Oh! Oreos. Instead of the chocolate cookies and a creme center, these have a chocolate creme center with golden cookies. You can't fool me, Oreo: this was no mistake. You did this on purpose.

But who cares if it was a mistake, these Oreos are yummy! I didn't think it was possible, but I like them even better than the other kind. The cookies are more like butter cookies and the center provides just the right hint of chocolate. The whole cookie is smoother, if you will. And let's face it, it did bother me a little to look at the white-as-lard creme center of the regular Oreos.

Now, this has provoked some debate over whether Uh Oh! Oreos can in fact be considered Oreos at all. I don't see why not, but Foodgoat is a traditionalist.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

All that Irish For

All that Irish for
St. Patrick's Day isn't a big thing around Foodgoat. I'm not into holidays that encourage physical abuse just because you wore the wrong shirt. Nor am I into binge drinking, or co-opting an ethnic identity in order to justify it. Not to mention that Foodgoat retains some residual animosity towards certain schoolyard bullies, coincidentally all Irish-American.

However, I will take this opportunity to introduce you to Dubliner Irish cheese. I picked up a big block of it at Costco because I thought it was cheddar, but it's not. In fact, it tastes like something of a cross between cheddar and Parmesan. It's a new cheese, I think only made by this one company, but I'm not sure (I'm even more clueless about cheeses than I am about wine, even though I love cheese). Along with Hungarian paprika, it really made the mac & cheese extraordinary.

I will also note that I've always wanted to go to Nighttown, the Irish restaurant down the street, not because I have a yen for Irish food. I don't even like corned beef ... unless it comes out of a can. (Once, Foodgoat made a dish for me and my siblings, out of canned corn beef and cabbage, just to show us how nasty the canned stuff could be. But it didn't work, because we like it. We like mashed potatoes from a box too. Take that, Foodgoat!).

No, the cool thing about the restaurant is that it tributes Joyce's Ulysses. I was English major, okay, and I'm dorky about things like that. But first I actually have to get around to reading the damn thing. At 783 pages, don't hold your breath waiting for my post about it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'm Tokay, You're Tokay

I'm Tokay, You're Tokay
A true geek, in order to survive, must consume a certain number of trilogies throughout his or her life.

Some return, over and over again, to the same trilogy, like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, but others may seek out new trilogies and new fantastic sci-fi/fantansy stories. A few years ago, the trilogy that sustained me for several months was Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, which begins with The Golden Compass, continues with The Subtle Knife, and ends with The Amber Spyglass. It is ostensibly a children's series, but it's darker and far more existential than anything I read under the age of 12 (except for Ray Bradbury's The Veldt, which scared the bejesus out of me). While the adventure tale of an alternate universe can't quite displace Tolkien (and activates the Annoyed Vein in Foodgoat's forehead that usually comes out when talking about George Lucas), I confess, I enoyed it.

But this isn't a book blog. However, the very first chapter, "The Decanter of Tokay," did spark a food adventure. In it, we are introduced not only to the charming protagonist Lyra Belaqua, but also to the mysterious Lord Asriel, who is partial to a particular wine: Tokay.

Tokay, I learn, is a Hungarian wine. In fact, it is known as one of the world's best sweet white wines, and comes from the area around the town of Tokay (known as Tokaj in Hungarian), located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in northeastern Hungary. Warm summers combine with the humidity from the streams and rivers can create an environment where a particular mold called "noble rot" ( or botrytis cinerea, which Hungarians call aszĂș) develops. This rare condition is what enables Tokaj to produce the legendary late-harvest dessert wines, sweetened within the grape before it is picked.

Now, what I knew from before, and what was confirmed at Wine 101, is that I love sweet wines. So what with Lord Asriel and the Master going on and on about how lovely the Tokay was, even in their alternate universe, I looked for it.

Many months later, we enjoyed a bottle of Tokay with, appropriately enough, traditional Hungarian dishes stuffed cabbage (which, oddly, has no cabbage in it) and cream of spinach (which has the non-traditional, but extremely tasty, addition of feta cheese). The recipes for those excellent things will have to come another time, as Foodgoat is out band-practicing. But it all tasted quite nice together.

Having just attended a wine class, I was able to decipher the wine label a little better: The vintage was 1996, the region was Tokaji, the grape variety was Furmint, the vineyard Oremus (the site of the first Tokay to be made in 1650).

And the taste? As hoped, quite sweet and fruity. Light and dessert-y. Which is definitely my style.

Monday, March 15, 2004


Perhaps you are wondering, "Whatever happened with the chocolate truffles Foodgoat was selling a while back?" For a while it looked good: we made an extra big batch of espresso truffles, experimented with a new chili truffle flavor, and I began to have idle daydreams of licking melted chocolate off my fingers all day long.

Well, it turns out that Foodgoat does not have the killer business instinct. He doesn't have the heart to charge his friends money for the chocolates he made for them. They're made with love, after all.

But now his band, the Firmary, has a really big show coming up May 18 at the glorious Agora Theater, where Foodgoat (AKA Icewater) has dreamed of playing since he strummed his first chord. The Firmary is opening for Orgy and Godhead, two national acts.

So, they need to sell tickets. Lots of tickets. This is their chance for the big time, folks!

What does this have to do with the chocolate? Foodgoat may not be able to sell the truffles, but he'll give them away! Buy a ticket from the Firmary show now, and you'll not only get a great night of music and Foodgoat's sincere gratitude, but also some of Foodgoat's yummy chocolate truffles as well!!!

Tickets for the May 18 show are $15 if you buy them directly from the Firmary ($10 off the Ticketmaster price, I might add), and if you are in the Cleveland area, we'll bring them, along with some fine chocolate truffles, right to your door. Espresso truffles. With a chocolate-covered espresso bean on top. I defy you to turn down a deal like that.

Email Foodgoat at (or contact the singer Doug at or 216-376-0238 ... mention you're a Foodgoat reader).

Hurry though, because as I type the truffles are sitting in my freezer. And they're calling my name. Laaadygoat ....

Sunday, March 14, 2004

A breakthrough

A breakthrough

Well, it finally happened. At 28 years and 10 months old , I ate my first nut butter and jelly sandwich.

Being part of that 1% (and growing!) of the population that's allergic to peanuts, I never got to have that paragon of the American lunch: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Everyone else seemed to eat them all the time. Even Foodgoat ate them daily for years, keeping two jars and a loaf of bread in his car. It was hard being different. And jelly sandwiches are not all that interesting. I had to content myself with butter-and-sugar sandwiches.

But then last week I went to Trader Joe's, where I spied, next to the poisonous peanut butter, jars of creamy almond butter. "A delicious and natural alternative to peanut butter!" a sign proclaimed. I can eat almonds, without so much as an itch, though for many years I didn't know it. One day I bravely decided to try them, and popped a Hershey's Kiss with Almonds into my mouth. But there was no almond in it! Just chocolate. I had never heard of this happening before! Was it a sign? I decided to try again. This time ... there was a nut ... 10 minutes later, I was still alive. I could eat almonds.

With that in mind, I picked up the almond butter. That week, for lunch, I made myself an almond butter and raspberry jelly sandwich on wheat bread. The almond butter smelled like peanut butter, which made me nervous. The almond butter looked exactly like peanut butter, very thick and sticky, which didn't help. Foodgoat reported that it tasted very close to peanut butter. With a glass of soy milk on hand, I took a bite.

Hmmm ... I taste nuttiness, definitely almond-ish... and sweetness ... and hey! My tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth!!

Now I see what the big deal is: something-butter and jelly sandwiches are good. An intriguing combinations of flavors. A weirdly fun experience in textures. A healthy protein-filled snack. And really, really easy to make.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Wine class

Wine class

In my ongoing quest to become a real Grown-Up (and time, I think, is not on my side), this afternoon I went to a Wine 101 class. In the wine aisle, my general technique is to wonder aimlessly about and look for a nice-looking label. I don't have wine often and I've found it to be enjoyable even less frequently, I hate to say, but at least I could know what I was talking about.

So, with Foodgoat feeling "sick" I walked jauntily down to the wine bar Varietals. There, I and a bunch of other CWRU alumni, seated primly in front of several wine glasses, were led through a tasting of a sparkling wine and the "Big Six," the three white (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay) and three red (Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) varieties that make up about 90% of the wines out there. (Turns out these are grape varieties).

As the server poured out the first wine at our table, where we all carefully studying the "How to Taste Wine" handout with its aroma wheel, she said "When it starts, everyone's so serious. Don't worry, after a couple of wines, you'll all be chatting like old friends!" She was quite right, by the Chardonnay we were all sort of giggly, and by the Merlot, downright chummy. There was a big bucket on the table where you were supposed to dump out the rest of the wine sample if you didn't like it, but no one really used it. We were all trying to get our money's worth, I suspect. And you know, the more you drink of a mediocre wine, the better it tastes. Weird, huh?

All classes should be like this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I scream for ice cream!

I scream for ice cream!

I think I'm addicted to sugar. The week after my wisdom teeth were pulled I ate ice cream every day. Sometimes twice a day, for a total of one gallon in one week. Poor Foodgoat only got a couple spoonfuls.

However, the result seems to be that I am addicted to sugar. Whereas before I went for months with nary a dessert, now, after every meal I'm trawling the apartment looking for something sweet. I'm pressing my nose onto the plastic window separating me from the 55-cent Twizzlers, trying to tell myself that God really didn't want me to give up vending machine snacks at work for Lent. I'm even reduced to using the Junior Mint chapstick just for the taste of cheap chocolate.

No wonder I decided to try out Cold Stone Creamery, the latest super-premium ice cream chain, dragging Foodgoat with me, even though my brother and sister had already warned me that I wouldn't like it.

The first sign of trouble came before we even got inside. From 20 feet away we found ourselves walking into a light scent, then a waft, then an overwhelming death cloud of sugary sweetness. We that close to being choked to death on sucrose vapors. If a suicide bomber, at this moment, chose Cold Stone as the location of his/her martyrdom, we'd all be caramelized on the stop.

But no, nothing catastrophic happened (please excuse me, I am suffering true-life crime show withdrawal, which I have also given up for Lent). The menu is not what I'm expecting, though, and as I do when confused, I panic and do something I'm used to. I ordered a medium scoop of chocolate, two spoons, no toppings.

What I should have ordered is a bunch of toppings, because that's what they're known for: mixing toppings into their ice cream on a cold marble counter.

So I didn't get the full experience. But I don't usually care for a lot of toppings anyway, and my sister, who had Oreos and M&M's and chocolate chips, said I didn't miss much: it's way too sweet. The ice cream was pretty good: definitely creamier and smoother than usual.

But at $3.50, it wasn't that good. And seriously, if I need a sugar high I just need to stand inside the store for a few minutes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Two Foodgoat misadventures

1. Last weekend I went with Foodgoat to go house-hunting and I insisted on stopping by a lemonade stand run by a ragtag group of kids. How sweet, I thought. How enterprising, said Foodgoat. The lemon-and-limeade was 50 cents a cup, but since they were offering Girl Scout cookies for free, well, I gave them $2.

Unfortunately, it was the nastiest cup of lemonade I ever did come have in my life.

I couldn't even quite bring myself to finish it off. Not to mention the bits of dirt clinging to edge of the styrafoam cups.

"Well," concluded Foodgoat philosophically, "at least we know they made it themselves."

2. The hardest part in making truffles is breaking the block of chocolate. So one day, in an effort to expediate the process, Foodgoat took a cutting board, one pound block of Belgian chocolate, another cutting board, and a hammer.

And what do you get with two cutting boards, a block of chocolate and a hammer?

Four cutting boards, a block of chocolate, and a hammer.

The board on top split in half on the first stroke. Two more smacks on the chocolate and the board on the bottom split in half too.

And the chocolate was barely dented.

The loss of the boards wasn't too painful. One had cost $5 at Wal-Mart, and the other I picked up off the curb back when my paychecks were considerably smaller.

The replacement board, from Sur La Table, was bigger, sleeker, and conveniently (and hygienically) labelled with a chicken on one side (for meat) and a carrot on the other (for vegetables).

In an effort to keep this board in pristine condition, every couple of weeks I (plan to) wipe it down with mineral oil. You can buy fancy cutting board treatments and waxes, but mineral oil works just as well.

In addition, we have tried to avoid whacking it with a hammer. The meat tenderizer, though, is fair game.

Monday, March 8, 2004

Visiting Cadiz, OH

Benefit #1: Getting a slice of Foodgoat's brother's made-from-scratch, good-to-the-last-moist-crumb layered chocolate cake with frosting. Yum!

Benefit #2: Getting to lick the spoon. Hey, after a hard day running away from monsters, playing video games, interrupting parents while they wallpaper the living room, climbing furniture, and zealously exercising newly-improved conversational skills, somebody has to.

Benefit #3: Designating Foodgoat's nephew and godson as his gastonomical heir as well, henceforth to be known as "Babygoat". His omniverous tastes were already legendary, but his status was confirmed when this 1-year old cheerfully ate not just one, but two, wasabi-flavored shrimp chips. And he would have eaten more, too, if he had had his way.

Benefit #4: Driving by the exact same restaurant where a woman found a finger in her salad. Okay, so it's a very minor benefit. But I am easily amused.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Is my blog burning? Tartine d'tuna

Is my blog burning? Tartine d'tuna

I was sad, because it was 5 o'clock on Sunday and I thought I was going to the miss out (again!) on the Is my blog burning? event. I'm not even sure what a tartine is, let alone come up with a recipe at the last minute!

Foodgoat to the rescue!

Learning that a tartine is an open-faced sandwich, he whipped up for dinner this tartine version of his famous tuna melt.

Here's how he did it:

To two cans of tuna in a bowl, he added mayonnaise, hot sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, Worchestire sauce, and mustard, along with sprinklings of salt, freshly ground pepper, chili powder, and Hungarian (is there any other kind?) paprika.

The real key to this recipe, according to Foodgoat, is that you don't just use any old mustard -- you use stadium mustard. What is stadium mustard, you ask? If you're from Cleveland, you're probably wondering why anyone would have to ask. If you're not from Cleveland, you're still wondering what stadium mustard is.

Well, it's a spicy brown mustard that was served for over fifty years at Municipal Stadium, former home of the Indians and the Browns, and it has become such a local mainstay, available now not only in sports stadiums but also at all the hot dog vendors and grocery stores, that Foodgoat was shocked to learn that it was a strictly regional product.

Anyway, back to the tartine d'tuna ...

Pile the tuna mixture onto some lightly toasted slices of bread and heat up in the broiler. Add a slice of American cheese, fresh from the plastic wrapper (and share some of that love with a doggie, if one happens to be nearby), and some sharp cheddar cheese, and continue to broil until the cheese is melted.

Usually tartines are on top of a bed of greens, but since we didn't have any, I settled for some chopped green onions around, under and on top.

And voila! Foodgoat's first tartine.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Hey ... wanna try some weed?
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I can't stop adding blogs to my RSS aggregator. Really, I think I have a problem.

But in food news, I'm also ashamed to admit that I spent money to acquire something that most people pay even more money (not to mention time and effort) to get rid of: weeds.

Yes, I paid $1 for a bunch of dandelion greens.

It was a conflicted decision for me. On the one hand, I've read that dandelion greens are often used in salads. And that they are full of healthy goodies, especially vitamin A and iron, as well as being a natural diuretic and gentle laxative. Plus, I dislike lawns: they are tyrants, leading only to environmental destruction and suburban angst. But that's another story.

On the other hand, dandelions are weeds.

But, we at Foodgoat will try anything (well, most things) once.

It's mostly stems, and not too much of the lion's teeth leaves. I cleaned them up, cut off the tough lower stems, and sauteed them in olive oil and butter, with some salt and pepper.

Foodgoat picked one out of the pan, and bravely ate the first bite. And very nearly gagged.

"Bitter?" I ventured, not really needing a reply.

But here is where I impressed myself. Sometimes when we taste something, Foodgoat will have this look like "Something's missing ... ", and I'll say, "Needs garlic?" And he'll say, "Yes! It needs garlic!" He thinks my tasting skills are improving, but really, I just say garlic any time he has that look, and most of the time it'll be right. So then I look much wiser than I am.

But this time ... "Will lemon juice help cut the bitterness?" I added some lemon juice, sauteed just a little longer and let it sit for a while.

The results: the lemon juice worked! It tasted okay. The aftertaste was still slightly bitter, though, so we didn't particularly care for it. But Foodgoat informs me that it was inedible before the lemon juice. And maybe I waited a bit too long before using them.

Sometimes I think I may, just may, be getting smarter about food. Then again, it could all be a fluke.

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Sometimes you feel like a honey nut
All this week I've been having Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast at work. I don't get cereal a lot because when it isn't on sale it's highway robbery, but once in a while something I like will be 2 for $4, and then I indulge. Honey Nut Cheerios are one of my favorite standbys. A little sweet, but not too sugary, hint of nuttiness without a lot of fibrous chewiness.

Up next week will be my other favorite Cheerios flavor: Apple-Cinnamon, which is not at all the same but still pretty good. Less serious and more fun-loving. I was on the verge of trying the new Berry flavors, in particular, the strawberry-banana, but I just couldn't convince myself on it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

It's Beginning to Look Like Spring
Our next door neighbor has rigged a squirrel-feeding ledge outside their window. I wonder if squirrels ever get tired of nuts and acorns. Do you think they hoard the chesnuts for little squirrel Easters?

I hate to tell you all, but squirrel-hunting season in Ohio ended a while ago. I know what you're thinking: awww, shoot (he he). It never occured to me that anyone would hunt squirrels, but it seems that squirrel-hunting is a time-honored American rite of passage: proud fathers take their sons out to, for the first time, learn them the art of hunting before they graduate to deer and such.

I'm not terribly squeamish about eating meat (I do like dinuguan, remember) but I'm not sure that I could bring myself to eat squirrel. Well, maybe I could. But then, I'm still trying to psych myself into buying rabbit at the West Side Market. I always think to myself that this week is the week I finally try it, but then I get a look at the whole skinned carcass, with its head and all, and I think of Watership Down, and my resolve quails.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

The First Vegetable Voted Off the Island!

One of these days, I will host an Incredibly Shrinking Dinner.

I will serve baby carrots, those tiny corn things they have in salad bars, and the bitty dried fishies. And sandwiches made from those very small, very square loaves of bread in the deli section. Quail eggs. Sword fights with those little plastic swords you are supposed to use for hors d'whatever. Cocktails poured from airplane liquor bottles.

This will likely be the only time I will buy brussel sprouts again, which look exactly like very tiny cabbages. Trying new vegetables has been successful of late (i.e. beets and Swiss chard), so I had high hopes for brussel sprouts, which I've never had before.

I always think simple recipes are best for fresh foods, so I just boiled them, then sauteed them in a little butter and olive oil, with salt and pepper.

Maybe I didn't prepare them in just the right way, because I didn't like them. No wonder kids hate them. The outsides were okay, just like cabbage really, but they had this bitter thing going in the middle. Very plant-ish. Even with the butter, I wasn't too happy.

Monday, March 1, 2004

Open for Business

The Trader Joe's chocolate truffles may be sorta good, but Foodgoat's chocolate truffles are damn good. They're made only from the finest ingredients, like Belgian chocolate, Barbados rum, chocolate-covered espresso beans. Friends and family, I'm sure, will attest that they are absolutely decadent, delicious, and downright delectable.

And now, for those of you in the Cleveland area, Foodgoat is now accepting orders. It's for a good cause -- proceeds go towards the Firmary recording costs.
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon general, if you leave an open box of Trader Joe's chocoloate truffles in the refridgerator, there is a strong likelihood that Ladygoat will consume them, even if it is not exactly her box of chocolates but is technically Foodgoat's birthday present. (2) The likelihood that Ladygoat will consume your chocolate truffles increases the farther you are from the kitchen. (3) Consumption of Trader Joe's chocolate truffles impairs your ability to care about anything else, and may cause temporary, but significant, pleasure.