Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The grilling ... doesn't ... stop!

The grilling continues. One of the reason I like grilling is that because it's just me in the kitchen doing the prep work,, the kitchen doesn't seem too small and cramped. And every time Foodgoat grills, he has a beer, gets tipsy and adds too much charcoal while waving the hatchet around.

Last night Foodgoat grilled chicken. Not just any chicken, but chicken (Amish chicken, if you must know) breasts stuffed with baby Swiss cheese and blue cheese and grilled ham. Looks nice, no?

When I first had Swiss cheese, I got a stomach ache and was convinced I was allergic to it, so I didn't eat it again for years.

Foodgoat comes up with the meat, but I pick the vegetables to grill. Anything's fair game in my mind. Here we tried corn on the cob and beets.

And the final product! The corn is freakishly bright. As you can see we also had a salad, making the vegetable/meat ratio unusually skewed. It was a lot of plants to eat. And four hours later I was ravenous again. Vegetarians must be hungry all the time.


Instead of going to the West Side Market for our weekly supply of FAIR TRADE coffee beans on Saturday, we watched a bunch of Tree Monkeys chop down 2 giant spruces and 1 really giant locus trees from the backyard. We are running out of coffee but we have enough firewood to last through the next ice age.

In the process of tree killing, two tomato plants were tragically crushed. :(

On the bright side, we can now see the sky. And because there is so much more sun, I planted 4 sweet basils and 3 purple basils. I also planted some pumpkin, melon, arugula (I don't even know what this is), parsley, Hungarian peppers, and more tomatoes. :)

Although these were sad-looking plants to begin with so the odds of them making it, coupled with the odds that ANY plant that comes under my care will survive, are not so good. :(

Fortunately, the kiwi vines, which were battered by falling tree branches and Tree Monkey feet, look like they will pull through. :)

Unfortunately, I saw yesterday that SOME WICKED ANIMAL has eaten all the leaves off my Adams elderberry tree, leaving only a pathetic stem. Considered the height of my brand new tree, deer is suspected. I am sending Foodgoat out with his hatchet to exact my revenge. :(

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Foodgoat Philanthropy

Inspired by Pim and Wena, we here at Foodgoat have decided to use our power for good and not for evil. Well, at least on Saturday, July 24. On that day, along with dozens of other bloggers around the world, Foodgoat & I will participate in Project Blog. We will blog every half hour for 24 hours straight, starting bright and early at 8 am, to raise money for charity.

It wasn't easy choosing just one out of so many worthwhile causes, but I am excited to announce that our efforts will be supporting the organization TransFair USA.

What's TransFair USA?
TransFair USA is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade practices in the United States. Through regular visits to Fair Trade farmer cooperatives, TransFair verifies that the farmers who produced Fair Trade Certified™ products were paid a fair price.

What's Fair Trade?
Fair trade means that farmers, workers, and artisans: 1) receive a fair price (rather than the low market price), 2) are small-scale producers in democratic co-ops (like family farms), 3) don't use abusive child labor or forced labor, and 4) use ecologically sustainable methods.

Why does Foodgoat care?
Because fair trade is is good for the small family farms in developing countries, good for communities, good for the environment, and ultimately, good for food, which is what Foodgoat is all about.

While free trade can (and has) pushed farmers (particularly of coffee) and workers into malnutrition, drug cultivation, child labor, and deforestation, Fair Trade ensures that the farmers are receive a decent price for their work, allowing them to send their kids to school, get health care, keep their farms, and generally have better lives.

Fair Trade criteria also require sustainable farming techniques, offering an extra premium for organic production, making their products healthier and better-tasting, as well as a Good Deed. Read more about fair trade here.

So, what are you going to do again?
Foodgoat and I are going to blog every half hour for 24 hours on July 24. Our theme will be Fair Trade: we'll be sampling various fair trade products, including tea, chocolate, bananas, and whatever else we can find. And since I haven't pulled an all-nighter since my undergrad days, the second half of the day will likely feature lots and lots of fair trade coffees as we blearily try to keep on bloggin'.

And, what do you want me to do?
I want you to read our posts, I want you to learn more about the value of fair trade practices, but I especially want you to sponsor our marathon, which you can do by signing up at Project Blog. Once the marathon's over, you can make your donation to TransFair USA here.

This is an important cause, so I plead for your generosity. Any little bit would help!

Friday, June 25, 2004


After a long hiatus, we're back in the salad mood. This time, it's different.

I buy the pre-washed, packaged salad greens. There, I said it. I realize it seems like a waste of packaging and that salad is not that hard to prepare. But the prepared ones are sooo much more convenient.

We've been using bottled dressing. Same argument as above. Same defense, too.

The dressing of choice these days is Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing with Bacon, which won Foodgoat over right away.

I scream for spaghetti ice cream!

It's spaghetti! It's ice cream! No need to choose between the two now: J-Walk has pointed the way to Spaghetti Ice Cream.

Somehow it just reminds me of those Play-Doh presses. And Play-Doh always offended me.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Lunches are my least favorite meal, the one I could easily dispense with if needed.

However, it would quite likely rise in esteem if the lunch time was as long here as it is in the Philippines, where they follow the Spanish tradition of a little siesta after a bite to eat.

The siesta was a tradition well worth adopting, after all, napping makes biological sense.

I'm thinking lunch should be two hours long. Time to have a small but slow lunch, a tall cool drink, and 20-minute snooze. At the very least this should be the policy on warm, sunny days.

See, even Foodgoat gets a little sleepy after lunch

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Improvising with Pineapple

One week = 3 meals made on the grill. It's a beautiful thing.

What do you have for dinner when all you have are bacon, leftover hamburger buns, and an overripe pineapple? If you're Foodgoat, you get out the grill (for the 3rd time in a week!) and invent the BPT - the Bacon, Pineapple, and Tomato sandwich.

(Handy hint of the day: your apple corer nicely takes out the tough pineapple middle, leaving a nice round hole for your pineapple ring)

But alas, what do you do with the leftover grilled pineapple rings? Why, put it on top of a scoop of ice cream, of course.

Tis the season for grilling

This ...

becomes this ...

(hamburgers with grilled onions and bacon, and corn on the cob)

Ahh, summertime ...

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Mmmmm ... cheese

Now that I've got any urges to disgust people out of my system ... let's talk about cheese.

Specifically, cheddar and jack cheese melted inside a flour tortilla, lightly fried on both sides, topped with salsa and sour cream.

Quesadillas are delish.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Unpleasant photos of the day

Beware! This post is not for the faint of heart!


Skinned lamb heads and livers for sale at the West Side Market ...

What happens when Foodgoat has a new hatchet and sees a mouse in his garden ...

Foodgoat's shingles rash ...

Representing the Lollipop Guild

At this moment, the family is toting my brother and a van packed with all his stuff back home for the summer. Whilst I was in Florida, he turned the grand age of 21. No more kiddies in our house! For his birthday, his friends improvised the most ghetto birthday cake ever: a lollipop stick stuck into a gummi bear and set on fire.

In semi-related news, David Bowie was hit in the eye by a lollipop. Thankfully, the Labyrinth star is okay. And did you know his left eye was previously damaged in a playground fight 42 years ago, leaving his pupil permanently dilated? I didn't.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Ready, set, escargot!

Yesterday Foodgoat and I had, firsthand, a culinary experience that we had, thus far, only heard rumors about.

We ate escargot.

Snails. We ate snails. With garlic butter.

Does this make us official gourmands?

We used bamboo skewers to fish out the brownish slug from inside the shell and dip it in the spilled butter. We didn't have those fancy tongs (the kind that Lucy put on her nose) to hold the shells so we just used our fingers.

Considering that these were the close relatives of the nasty things that I can't help stepping on in the sidewalk after a rain, it was surprisingly good. Rather like oysters. Foodgoat thinks he saw a head and little antennae on one of the ones he ate, though, which can sort of mess with your head. But as long as you didn't think of it like that, the texture was very smooth and pleasing and the flavor rich and tasty. And you are left with a pile of empty snail shells, which, had I thought of it, I could have left out in the garden for other snails to find homes in.

Is My Blog Burning?: Grilled Tuna

The day before the IMBB? was due, Foodgoat decided to have his Very First Cookout at the new homestead.

He bought chicken and pineapple and asparagus and corn. Fortunately, he also stopped by the fish stand.

I thought the salmon looked very good ...

But so did the tuna steaks, so that's what he decided on.

The tuna was bright red and good enough to eat the way it was (it was sushi quality!), but a barbeque isn't a barbeque without marinating everything. We drew our inspiration from Alton Brown's recipe, and plunked our tuna in a plastic bag with a mix of 1/4 cup of dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup of honey (with a little extra because it's good), and 1/4 cup of wasabi powder (yup, that's 1/4 cup of wasabi powder). About 1/4 cup of this mix was reserved for later.

A couple hours of marinating later, Foodgoat pulled out the brand-spankin'-new Weber grill (hardwood lump charcoal only please ... no briquets and no gas for this guy), fired up the chimney starter (an underappreciated device that renders starter fluid superfluous), and when the coals were nice and hot, slapped those tuna steaks on.

Once both sides were done, it sat around for a bit, getting itself together, and I poured on the rest of the sauce.

And yum! Tasty grilled tuna. So good I forgot to take a picture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Sofia, why? Why?

I've been a fan of Sofia Coppola ever since her gawd-awful cheesy death scene in Godfather III, but lately ... first her marriage to Spike Jonze (my current fave director ... I highly recommend Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) breaks up, then she starts dating Quentin Tarantino (!) (I can't help it, he annoys me), and now she's allowed her dad to put her wine in a can. With a litttle plastic straw, no less.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The latest in the recent string of sorry excuses of why I haven't been cooking ... I was in a parade.

There are many fancy restaurants in this area of town, but what we like to eat when we find ourselves in University Circle (which is every day, now that we can't run home for lunch) are hot dogs from the street vendor Russian lady, mine with ketchup and relish, Foodgoat's with stadium mustard and horseradish.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

You're toast

You're toast!

I like toast in all its manifestations (cinnamon, French, cheese, etc.) but I find these big-eyed plush toast toys vaguely creepy.

Friday, June 11, 2004

In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room

Ahh, Fridays ... the work week ends ... but the house work only begins.

Now that there are no shingles or vacations to deter us, we'll be a'fixin' up the ole homestead. Which means we have to settle on decor themes.

Foodgoat has final decision-making authority over rooms from the kitchen on down, so I must employ all my persuasive powers to convince him that the wet bar in the basement should inspired by the Tiki Room at Disneyland.

After all, how cool would it be to have this Monster Cabinet (via sensory impact)?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

So, how adventurous are you?

So, how adventurous are you?

I don't know about you, but if a weasel came to my coffee plantation, ate some of the beans, then vomited them back up, it wouldn't occur to me to go ahead and brew them up anyway. But that's the purported story behind weasel coffee.

Don't you believe that monkey-picked tea tale either.

But the scorpion vodka looks cool. Not fun for the scorpion, but looks cool.

(thanks to j-walk for pointing the way to edible)

Back in town


Foodgoat and I go away for a week (to a place with a dial-up connection, might I add) and it's only just when we come back that they decide to make Audioblogger free?

Phooey! We could have audioblogged our vacation in Florida.

Double-phooey! We didn't take a single picture while we were there.

Well, you'll just have to read about it. Foodgoat, just emerging from the nightmarish shingles attack, and I, worn down from the moving misadventures, hightailed it to Tampa, where we stayed at the luxurious Casa de Novotny Resort & Club (catering exclusively to Foodgoat relatives).

For the all-inclusive price of one bonsai tree, you get picked up and dropped off right from the airport, made-to-order breakfast (waffles, pancakes, crepes, and their famous butter ring), fine dining (order vadas, grilled pork, burritos! Or make your own fish stew and lentils!), satellite television, spacious accomodations (featuring airbeds!), wake-up call (using their foolproof Siberian husky/toy fox terrier system!), a side trip to beautiful Siesta Keys beach (the second-highest rated beach in the country!), laundry service, complimentary margaritas (ooooohhh), and of course, a heated pool (aaahhhhhh). Their attentive staff treats you just like family!

Of course, it wasn't quite as quiet and relaxing for Foodgoat as for me, as there was quite a lot of "(Uncle) MI-KEY!", followed by leg-grabbing, hand-pulling, watergun-squirting, poking, pool-jumping, chasing, upside-downing, game-playing, etc., often from two fronts.

We also visited my aunt, who moved to Tampa last year from New York, and had two delicious lunches. Yippy for Filipino food! So we had to karaoke for a song or two (my cousin AJ got a better deal though: $20 for singing "Puff the Magic Dragon"). The lumpia alone was totally worth it. Not to mention the shrimp, the barbeque chicken, the pancit, the roasted pork, and of course, the sticky rice. Foodgoat said it was best Filipino food he ever had.

No Disney World in this trip, but we did go to Universal Studios. Note to self: Always talk to my brother PJ before going to a new theme park. Had I done so, I would steered us to Islands of Adventure, the theme-park, ride-filled part, and avoided Universal Studios Florida, which is mostly cheesy shows about movie effects (I did like shooting aliens and racking up a score on the Men in Black ride). But it did have a pretty good, by theme-park standards, burgers (it almost tasted like meat!) at their Mel's Drive-in, even though it did cost 8-freakin'-dollahs.

Other highlights included Bruster's ice cream, introducing people to the wonder of the Great Machine at Krispy Kreme, buying 50 pounds of potatoes for $5, seeing a Black Mission fig tree for sale at the nursery (it didn't fit into my carry-on, believe me, I tried), pruning the sideways-growing mango tree, and causing mass fire-ant death in the citrus tree.

And of course, we dranks lots of fresh orange juice.

So how was your week?