Wednesday, March 30, 2005

M&M's are going to the dark side. In a clever bit of cross-promotion (far cooler than McDonald's paying rappers to mention Big Macs in their songs), M&M's are rolling out their long-awaited dark chocolate version on Friday in conjunction with Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. The special edition "Darth Mix" features the dark chocolate in black, maroon, purple, dark blue and silver, while the "Jedi Mix" gets the milk chocolate in beige, cream, pastel green, gold and "light-saber blue" M&M's. Both the dark chocolate M&M's and Star Wars III: ROTS come with high hopes and expectations of souring grandeur. Can they live up to their promises? Only time can tell. I am looking forward to saying, in my best fake anguished voice, "I ate them, I ate them all, and not just the maroon ones, but the dark blue and silver ones too ..."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The portabella mushroom experiments continue. Here's Foodgoat's attempt to recreate the highlight of the Grovewood Tavern meal: portabella mushroom potstickers served with a balsamic vinegar reduction. It wasn't quite the same, but the spirit was right, it was nonetheless delicious, and it looked pretty. To go along with it, I made a very green asparagus potato leek soup, and it was very good. And we both finished cooking our dishes at the same time. Spooky.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Upon tasting this, his latest creation, Iron Chef Foodgoat turned to me with wide, awe-filled eyes and proclaimed, "This is a $30 dish!"

Even the celebrated Chilean Fish Stew was only judged to be a $20 dish. And we've never even actually eaten a $30 dish. Especially a $30 dish of pork and dumplings. But if we paid $30 an entree and got this, we'd feel it was well spent.

For it was not just ordinary pork and dumplings: this was a garlicky pork tenderloin in a luscious port wine sauce atop portobello mushroom and bacon dumplings. Sounds good, doesn't it? It was. Rich, earthy, and wildly tasty. Terribly satisfying.

He had some doubts about using port wine, which was a little rough (talk about fortified) going down in the initial chug, but the final product assures port's place in future cooking. I'm pleased that he's continued to push the dumpling boundaries. To think he once took convincing to try whole wheat flour instead of white flour for dumplings!

Monday, March 21, 2005

My God, what foul deed occurred here? Someone has snapped! Gone on a bloody rampage! Was it because someone has had one too many days of snow? Or was one too many Internet connection crashs during battle?

Actually, exhibit A is crime scene evidence that we had roasted beets for dinner, along with a roasted chicken breast stuffed with a mixture of avodaco, bread crumbs, and mushrooms.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Imagine coming across this Guide to Ethnic Fried Doughs Around the World just a few days after making a fried-dough-thingy myself. It was basically wheat flour and milk into a dough, with a bunch of corn and chopped shallots mixed in, pressed into cakes and lightly fried. Don't know where the recipe came from and what, if any, cuisine it represents, but the corn cakes were surprisingly good, especially the next day when put in a sandwich with a horseradishy sauce.

And where's the Philippines on this list? Surely there must be a Fiipino version of fried dough. Help me out, people.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tryout Tuesday: Grovewood Tavern

First, it took about half an hour to get to the Grovewood Tavern & Wine Bar. Not because it's terribly far, but because first, Foodgoat didn't know where he wanted to eat so we drove around in all the wrong directions, and second, he had an only vague idea of where the Grovewood Tavern was, since the one time he'd been the bar he'd arrived already hammered. We managed to find it, but how would the hazy recollection of Guiness on tap and phenomenal potstickers hold up in the sober light of day?

Upon entering, Foodgoat suddenly remembered: here, he was introduced to his favorite beer, Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Looks like Ladygoat's driving home tonight!

The potstickers, filled with portobello mushrooms and served with a balsamic reduction, were, true to Foodgoat's memory, truly delicious. Succulent and earthy. And artfully presented, which you'll just have to take my word on, because I forgot my camera.

The menu was full of fascinating choices, but Foodgoat ultimately settled on a burger. That may seem an unremarkable choice, considering he could have gone with steak and fried oysters, but when your stomach wants a burger, who are you to argue? And it was a good burger, too.

I, on the other hand, got the chicken pot pie. I should have gotten the duck. I'm sure the duck would have been delicious. I always enjoy the duck when I order it. Now, I love chicken pot pie. I always order chicken pot pie when it's on the menu. But you know what? I'm always disappointed. It's never nearly as good as when I make it at home, which I'd do more often if it didn't involve a bazillion steps. This time, it was too salty and the potatoes were undercooked. Chicken pot pie must now be added to French onion soup as just one of those dishes that never tastes good in any restaurant. Sigh.

A pity, because dinner at Grovewood Tavern was otherwise a splendid experience.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

When I fall off the wagon, I practically leap off into the abyss. Hence in the space of 24 hours I ate almost an entire package of Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies, very thin, crispy and so, so good butter cookies. An entire cookie that seems be all crumbly, caramelized edge. All because I didn't have breakfast that morning. Whether that also explains my sudden nostaligia for Mark Linn-Baker, of that classic show Perfect Strangers, I don't know. But I do think Cousin Larry has been sadly underappreciated.

Monday, March 14, 2005

WWII posters

My first thought concerning food as weapons was of those big salami sticks to beat people on the head. The next thought was of dropping durian bombs (until they figured out that it tasted good). Then it was of serving those weird meat and Jello molds. Eating all your food does not seem to be much of a weapon. Indeed, I am opponent of making people, even kids, eat everything on their plate. When a meal starts to feel like it's getting into extra innings, it's time to call the game.

According to this poster, meat was rationed to 2 1/2 lbs each week per red-blooded American during the war. Today, the nutritional recommendation is for 3 oz of meat a day, or less than 1 1/2 lbs per week. Would support for a war in the Middle East go down if we had to ration our meat to the daily recommendation? Just wondering.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Luther Vandross once said, "If you win a Grammy, you eat to celebrate; if you lose a Grammy, you eat to drown your sorrow." I'm not sure which situation explains his invention of the Luther Burger, the bacon cheeseburger between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

But it seems positively lightweight compared to the helpful illustration of the Atlanta hamdog. That's a hot dog wrapped by a beef patty that's deep fried, covered with chili, cheese and onions and served on a hoagie bun, topped with a fried egg and two fistfuls of fries.

I'd eat it. If I was on death row and it was my last meal. If I was 93 years old. If I had just been rescued from the brink of starvation on a deserted island.

Or at least, if I'm in Atlanta. (Do you really think I'd pass up on tasting it? I won't eat it all. Unless it was good.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

It's that time of year again. Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us.

I'm not a particularly big fan of those cookies. If there was an American Cookie reality show and I was Randy, I'd be all, "That Thin Mint wasn't the BOMB, dawg, it was just a-ight". And there's something a little problematic about girls funding their activities primarily through trans-fat filled sweets, when the next thing you know, their mothers may be telling them to go on the South Beach diet on national TV. Mind you, I'm still in a fiercely bad mood, though today I've decided to blame Tom Wolfe for the irritant that is Charlotte Simmons rather than the sudden drop in tomato consumption.

Still, one is wary of missing out on this once-a-year opportunity, and an a-ight cookie, let's face it, is better than no cookie at all. Pass me another shortbread.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

I usually regard marshmallows in anything except Rice Krispy Treats a freakish horror, but I would be remiss if I didn't blog about the new Ben & Jerry flavor, the oh-so-Brady Marsha Marsha Marshmallow (via pop culture junk mail).

Gotta love that Brady Bunch, with their shiny hair, their cheesy plots, and their fake lawn! The food left something to be desired, though. Very bland, very middle America. The Cosbys ate much better stuff, and they didn't even have an Alice.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Today, I am annoyed by picky eaters. Not the people who don't like the taste of particular flavors, or who decline based on moral or religious priniciplies. No, it's the pickiness that's born of fear of the unknown, the ones that won't even try new foods.

I'm annoyed because their narrowmindness is so often accompanied by rudeness. Because food should be viewed with celebration, with excitement, not with suspicion. Because they willfully and without any good reason deny themselves the wonderful flavors and tastes and experiences that comes from culinary adventurousness. Such yumminess in the world! Such succulence! That they won't even try!

Mostly, though, I'm annoyed because I want to enjoy the cornucopia of foods, and I can't. After a round of testing, it turns out I'm allergic to Balsam of Peru, an aromatic liquid from the bark of a particular tree found in El Salvador. The allergist has put me on a diet low in balsam-related foods for one month, which means no citrus fruits, no chocolate, no pickles, no ice cream, no tomatoes or tomato sauce (ouch!), and no spices, including cinnamon, ginger, curry, cardamon, cloves (ouch! ouch! ouch!).

It doesn't seem fair that so many people, who can have all these tasty things, won't even try them, while so many others, who want them, can't have them.

Did you ever have one of those days where someone supposed to make chicken curry for dinner, but they can't because when you get home from work there's like a foot of snow in the driveway that needs to be shoveled and you can't make chicken curry because you don't know how but there's nothing else to eat and you can't go out because you had Wendy's the night before and then you remember you still have some lumpia that your Mom made in the freezer and everything turns out really well after all even though you don't have any banana sauce because the lumpia fries up in just a few minutes and tastes really good with Thai chili sauce?

I did.