Wednesday, August 31, 2005

How can I think about food when I have the Sawyer song stuck in my head?

Monday, August 29, 2005

IMBB #18: The Late Stuffed Mushrooms

I was so sad that I forgot to try and make deep-fried Girl Scout cookies in time for the latest IMBB event, that I didn't realize that I could post about the stuffed mushrooms until Foodgoat was in the middle of making them yesterday. And then I didn't actually get around to posting it last night, as we were nursing a serious caffeine hangover.

But better late than never. So for the Summer's Flying, Let's Get Frying! theme, Foodgoat presents his stuffed mushrooms.

I once spent an entire party hovering over the stuffed mushroom plate. And I wasn't alone. Who doesn't like stuffed mushrooms?

The initial step, which I neglected to document, involves mashing up the mushroom stems with cooked bacon, parsley, sour cream, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs (which are especially tasty when they have soaked up the bacon grease). This is spooned into the mushroom caps, and floured.
Then they are egged.

Then they are bread crumbed.

Then they are fried.

Then they are flipped and fried some more.

Consume. Heartily and with enthusiasm.
The highlight of a Disneyland trip is never food. Disney food is crappy and overpriced. But their 50 anniversay firework show, complete with a real live Tinkerbell zip-wired around Sleeping Beauty's Castle, could squeeze the ooohs and aaaahs out of the meanest, most hardened cynic. Especially if you score a comfy bench instead of the cold sidewalk or shuffling sideways through the fire lane.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Tryout Tuesday, on Thursday, Last Week: Roscoe's

Ever since Phil the Fire sputtered out in Cleveland, Foodgoat and I have been chicken and waffle deprived, left only to contemplate one of us picking up a KFC bucket while the other tries to convince IHOP to make waffles to go in order to build some sad semblance of real thing.

So the first stop while I was in LA was lunch at Roscoe's, the venerable chicken & waffle house. The dish originated in a Harlem restaurant, and an employee there took it with him when he moved out west and started Roscoe's. It's Roscoe's that made fried chicken & waffles famous. Now there are Roscoe's all over LA (and outside Los Angeles, even) but we were at the original, Pico Blvd location.

Two pieces of chicken, two waffles, two pats of butter, two tiny of cups of syrup ... surprisingly, it all fits into one Ladygoat.

My brother got the same thing I did, except with gravy and onions. My sister got - what else? - the Carol special with buckwheat waffles while my Dad ordered his own namesake, the Oscar. Mom passed on the Big Mamma special though.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Small world

Remember that story a couple of years ago about a robber who broke into a restaurant through a window and stole ketchup, mustard, and deli meat?

Turns out that was Stevenson's, Foodgoat's most favorite Cleveland burger joint (also much enjoyed of late by Adam and Patrick). They were even interviewed by Mo Rocca for the Daily Show!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Why Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth

Among the things that I ate this weekend:

Caramel apple
Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Giant turkey leg
Chicken and waffles
Candied yams
Foot-long hot dog
Nachos with shredded beef
Chocolate-covered pretzels
Sour candies
Broccoli and cheese soup in a sourdough bowl

Disneyland is the one place we can gorge on junk food without my mom making the Frowny Face.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Foodgoat is alone.. muHahahahaaaa

Ladygoat is on vacation in CA for the extended weekend – she is meeting up with her family in LA (so Disneyland here they come). In her absence I have been debating with my stomach if I should embark on a BUGERLUST weekend. I have been toying around with the idea of stopping at Stevenson’s every night that she is gone. My stomach thinks it is a great idea, but there is a part of my rational brain that is telling me ----- NOOOOOOooooo------. But hell, when have I ever been rational… Ahhh Burgers and World of Warcraft all weekend…. Heaven.

I have already started my burger weekend- I went to Stevenson’s last night. Bruce you make a wonderful burger.

Now lets see who wins the brain or the stomach

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lasang Pinoy*: Polvoron

* "the Filipino taste" - a new foodblogging event
highlighting Filipino food!

(edited to add that I posted a full recipe for polvoron here)

Once in a while I have a Filipino Identity Crisis.

This never happened when I lived in California, particularly while I was in San francisco. Filipino stores! Filipinos, walking the streets! Filipino family potlucks, every other week!

But out here in the Vast Whiteness that is the American Midwest, it might be months before I am face to face with someone else who pronounces pancit correctly and whose first comment on learning my ethnicity is not "I once had a nurse from the Philippines" or "Ha ha - do you have a lot of shoes?" or "Oriental women are very beautiful".

And then, if I start to think about how only an obscene amount of alcohol can get me karaoke, and about how I actually have to look up the recipe for chicken adobo, and worst of all, my shameful Tagalog illiteracy, I succumb to an ethncity panic attack.

Am I Filipino enough?

The cure: Go back home to California. Eat lumpia. Stock up at the Filipino store.

The next best cure: Make polvoron.

Polvoron is unlike any other dessert that I know of: a fragile cake of sweet, buttery powder. How polvoron was invented, I don't know; I suspect it was a way to use up the huge amounts of powdered milk that was brought in during the American occupation.

But what I like about polvoron is that much like making lumpia, making polvoron can be a group activity. Picture it: my mom standing over a large wok, efficiently forming firm little cakes, and me and my siblings wrapping them in tissue paper squares and stacking them into a box.

I'm able to make polvoron on my own because it's such a simple process.

Step one: Toast the flour in a skillet until light brown.

Step two: Mix in sugar, powdered milk (infant formula, oddly enough, works too) and melted butter until it has about the consistency of damp sand. Some recipes suggest lemon extract or vanilla extract, or toasted rice, or other such additions, but I'm a purist.

Step three: Shape them into compact bite-size cakes using a polvoron shaper. A tiny ice cream scoop, which we normally use for chocolate truffles, also worked.

Step four: Wrap them in tissue paper.

A little taste of Filipino-ness ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The replacement

My glazed donut touched the peanut butter donut!! Eek! Bleah! *spit*

You win this round, Arch Nemesis Peanut.

But you cannot prevent me from making mafe. Yes, mafe! The peanut butter stew, the Sengalese standard, the recipe that is in this month's Saveur!

How can I do it, you ask? Little did you suspect that I can now use almond butter ... in cooking! Mwa ha ha! I am no longer limited to almond butter and jelly sandwiches!

Witness the power of almond butter to substitute for peanut butter in my first ever African dish! A chicken stew with a peanut almond butter sauce over rice!

Monday, August 15, 2005


I did feel any inclination to take up the Eat Local challenge. I did not sign up to participate in the Eat Local challenge. And yet I have found myself buying even more local foods than I normally do. Go figure.

So I picked up my first Ohio wine that wasn't an ice wine: Old Firehouse Winery's Frosty Peach. I bought it because the label has a picture of a dog in a fireman's hat. And because it sounds like it came out of a self-serve machine at the 7-11. And because at 41.3 miles away, it qualifies as local. It's not the closest winery to me, otherwise I might have submitted it to Wine Blogging Wednesday #12, which features local wine.

We sat at the table, poured it into glasses. We noted that it was light, slightly sweet, quite nice and very appropriate for a hot, hot summer day. We conversed about the merits of red wine versus white whine. We ate smoked gouda and cheddar with Ritz cracker Asian knockoffs arranged artfully on a cheese platter. We felt civilized.

Until I saw the label with the dog in a fireman's hat again.

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's not enough to eat food, to talk about food, to blog on food ... we also prefer to smell like food.

Hence Foodgoat seeks this almond-scented shaving cream, while I have been dousing myself in sweet-scented Demeter Angel Food cologne spray.

I was happy enough with the few Demeter choices I came across at Sephora, imagine my delight when I found the extensive Demeter library online well stocked with foodie scents. Pity they don't seem to sell samples, otherwise I'd be ordering up Cinnamon Toast, Condensed Milk, Dulce de Leche, Mango, Mint Julep, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Waffles and Black Pepper right now. Less immediately appealing are Beet Root, Rye Bread, and Lobster (though even they sound better than Funeral Home and Glue).

No Bacon yet, but I'm sure they are working on it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Foodblog linkiness

-One of my fondest memories is of waking up my very first morning in the Philippines in 1987 to the smell of freshly delivered pan de sal, which turned out to be the BEST BREAD EVER. Still oven hot, with a litttle cheddar cheese from a can, so yummy. It all came back reading Market Manila wax poetic about her own pan de sal memories.

-One of the most vexing problems of my recent life is finding a convenient way to use loose tea at work instead of tea bags. Why not just stick with tea bags? Pim patiently explains why loose tea rules.

-The always hysterical Impulsive Buy reviews McDonald’s Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich and finds that "premium" and "McDonald's" really don't belong in the same phrase.

-Bitter Greens seeks to rescue us from our paranoid fear of dirt. Since I've started to compost, I developed a great fondness for dirt and an admiration for decomposition. Food should not come in sterile plastic wrap and styofoam.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

The PR blitz continues

In case you missed it in Sunday's Plain Dealer PDQ ...

Scottish Highland beef: the fallout

Boo! Scary, isn't it?

In my version of a unicorn chaser, I offer a meat update.

We have dipped into our grass-fed, Scottish Highland beef stockpile twice now, and can confidantly report excellent results.

First, there was the ground beef into the chili, which looks freakishly red in this picture but which tasted quite nice.

Then, there was the vadas. Foodgoat's favorite dish was extra yummy with falling-off-the-bone tender meat. So good. In case you missed that, I'll repeat: sooooo good.

We're already hatching plans to buy half a cow to share to goodness that is grass fed beef. Can one go back to McDonald's burgers after beef like this? I think not.

So check out Eat Wild and find yourself some grass-fed beef.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Like everyone else in the world, I signed up to be a recipe tester for the Good Home cookbook.

The first recipe was no problem: pasta carbonara. It was just like how Foodgoat's mom makes it. True, he had some doubts about taking the garlic out of the olive oil after sauteeing it, but he was reassured by the end result. I had my doubts of cooking eggs solely through the heat of the just-boiled pasta, so I put my serving right back on the heat just to sure.

But the second recipe, for broiled clams. Good Home Cookbook, we are insulted. First of all, clams were IMPOSSIBLE to pry open. I steamed them, even though the recipe didn't say to do it, and even then, pulling off the top shell was no picnic. Second, spooning butter onto half clam shells and putting them under the broiler is not much of a recipe. Was there also a recipe for putting bread slices into a toaster? Third ... the taste was so not worth all that work. Give me oysters any day.

I haven't tried the third recipe yet, because here in Cleveland, live crabs are not exactly crawling on every street corner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Hey Caylee, We're Gonna Eat You

When Foodgoat saw Scottish Highland cattle on a Discovery Channel show, he announced, "I must eat it."

So when I saw that Max VanBuren's farm was having a visitation day, featuring a tour of live organically-raised, grass fed Scottish Highlands cattle and a meal of dead, cooked ones, I signed us right up.

It seemed particularly appropriate leading up to August's Eat Local Challenge, as the farm is just under 90 miles away.

My previous exposure to cattle ranches was pretty much limited to hitting a stretch of I-5 flanked by endless miles of bumper to bumper cow and frantically closing the car windows to block out the godawful stench.

This farm was something else.

Located on top of a hill and former coal strip mine, the 50-some head of cattle live a good life. That is, until that one bad day. But up until then, they graze on large, open meadows and fields of organically grown grass, clover, even leaves and trees. Even the fuzzy looking baby cows get to stay close to mother.

Scottish Highlands, an ancient breed, don't look like my idea of cow (admittedly based mostly on the Laughing Cow cheese logo), with their shaggy coats (ranging from white to red to black), bangs, and big horns.

While at first the cows didn't seem to want to talk, after we had hung out for a while, they didn't seem to mind. I think this is Caylee (it might be Guinevere ... I lost track of all the names). Scottish Highlands are known to have gentle temperaments, but it also seemed that Max takes disposition into account in breeding as much as muscle mass. Mean cows get the fast pass to the butcher block.

We met the herd, we learned about raising cattle and raising them on grass (of which there are many ecological and health benefits). But we are foodies, so our question was: does a Scottish Highland cow, raised on organic grass, taste good?

For dinner, they served roast beef: delicious and so tender that a plastic spoon was all that was needed to cut it up. During the meal, they also passed around samples of various cuts, such as Swiss steak, a burger patty, and ribeye, which they were grilling up. Each cut tasted quite flavorful, with each having distinctly different qualities. The porterhouse steak was particularly wonderful: incredibly juicy and tasty. This was quite different from meat you might find at the corporate grocery store!

We left with two styrafoam boxes filled with various cuts of his beef. You know, just to be polite.

Also, we want to know when that cranky cow with no tail that wouldn't come near us gets the ax, because we'd be happy to eat her.