Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Foodgoaticious: Stuffed Avocado with Blue Cheese and Bacon and Mushrooms

The other night Foodgoat was hankering for something new for dinner. Actually, what he wanted was the same delicious ingredients he has been immersing himself in lately, but put together in a whole new and different way. Hence, elements from the avocado salad and the Point Reyes blue cheese and bacon sandwiches were combined to create the New and Exciting Foodgoat creation: Stuffed Avocado with Blue Cheese and Bacon and Mushrooms.

First, there was the making of the bacon. We were forced into using store-bought bacon and were surprised to discover it paper-thin, nearly translucent ripples of sheer bacon, rather than the fat strips strips we get at the West Side Market. They cook very quickly this way.

Then came the sauteeing of tomatoes and garlic and portabella mushrooms and olive oil and bread crumbs and I don't know what else kind of goodness.

Then there was the mixing in of the Point Reyes Blue. Don't be stingy.

The mixture is gooped into the handy nature-made scoop of a center of a fresh avocado.

The final product! Served with a side of (gulp!) peas topped with feta cheese.

Beer Cheese

Beer and cheese is a combination known to us as Good, but beer cheese? Not so known.

According to wikipedia, it's also known as Weisslacker, and it's a German cheese that's is now made in the U.S. too. I don't think there's beer in it - it gets its name from the practice of eating it with beer or dipping into the beer (this I did not try).

I can verify that it is a pungent and salted cheese. Not too pungent - but flavorful enough to stand on its own, making it a very good cheese to nibble on.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just Souper

There is an small, empty restaurant front around the corner from work, and each time that I pass it, I wish wish wish that the Souper Market would open an east side location there. University Circle needs it - nay, I need it. I could walk over every day, even on snowy days like this, and get a bowl of their hot, delicious soup, maybe even their lobster bisque, along with the chunk of sourdough, for lunch. And I would be happy. So happy.

Check out their awesome help wanted ad on craigslist:
Don't lie about your experience beacause I'll know. Resumes are a huge plus. If you dont have something to show me, don't bother to reply. We need people with good knife skills in the kitchen who can rock out some mirepoix in no time. We need personable people with good attitudes, that can wheel out some soup to the masses when the sh*t hits the fan and still keep a smile on their face for the most fickle of customers.
Unfortunately, what I do with a knife can only be described as anti-skills, and I don't even know what a mirepoix is, otherwise I would love to work there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Salad minus Lettuce

Lettuce salads are boring. Lettuce is boring. Lettuce sometimes resist being forked. Sometimes lettuce is not cut in the properly small, bite-size pieces, but instead into slightly too large, floppy pieces that end up flinging dressing everywhere but where I want it. Ergo, lettuce salads are a bore.

Instead I give you the celery salad, here mixed with pear and croutons and raisins and blue cheese dressing. Much more fork-compliant. And if you take out the blue cheese dressing, just as healthy.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

No Cleveland Reservations

Anthony Bourdain is in Cleveland! Anthony Bourdain is in town!
He’s filming an episode of his saucy show here through Thursday. Bourdain’s tour guide and foe is Michael Ruhlman of Cleveland Heights, who has written several books about chefs and food. It’s all in fun, and good publicity for Cleveland. The two are friends and sparring partners, who often go point-counterpoint on gastronomical issues on television and in print.

... Under Ruhlman’s guidance, Bourdain will see winter surfing on Lake Erie, taste pierogi at Sokolowski’s University Inn in Tremont and other ethnic eats at the West Side Market, cook with Lola chef and owner Michael Symon and visit Lake View Cemetery, burial place of John D. Rockefeller.

The Ramones fan will walk through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with drummer Marky Ramone. He’ll sample kielbasa at the Sausage Shoppe on the city’s southwest side, meet Gary Dumm, who illustrates Harvey Pekar comic books, and stop at Zubal Books, the landmark bookstore on West 25th Street.
Anthony Bourdain's irreverent and fun "No Reservations" recently received the distinguished honor of being the one and only food show to make the cut on my Tivo Season Pass list, so I'll be staking out the locations mentioned in order to get my celebrity sighting of the season. I don't see Stevenson's burgers on the list above, but I'm sure that it was an oversight on the reporter's part, while my invitation to Michael Ruhlman's pig roast at his house was probably lost in the mail.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Idaho? No Udaho!

Real Food, Uncensored & Out of Control!

The Post Foodgoat Never Meant You to See! Hidden in the Blogger drafts since 2000, made when he was first trying to break into the blogging business, now made public!

The Honorable Larry E. Craig, duly elected Senator of Idaho, once submitted the following recipe for Super Tubers (using, of course, the Idaho potato) to the Congress Cooks! website. Since the pizza delivery girl never showed up, Foodgoat whips up a couple of Super Tubers.

After washing and drying a couple of dirty potatos, Foodgoat cored the potato center, end to end, with an apple corer.

A generous rubbing of olive oil, along with nonstop giggling, helped stick a big hot dog all the way into the hole.

After baking in a preheated 325 degree oven for approximately one hour (or until the potato was fork tender), we topped the Tuber turned Super Tuber off with a sprinkling of bacon for good measure.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Does It Burn?

Does It Burn? is a fine game, for cool, leisurely nights. Not the night when season 6 of 24 premieres (which, damn, was a bang-up start). Not the night when the expansion to Warcraft comes out either (I'm waiting for my donut, Foodgoat). But on an earlier night, yes, it's a fine pastime.

Today's contestants: white truffle oil, stale Poppycock popcorn snack, and old Hungry Howie's pizza.

The how is simple: Build a fire. Add test subjects. Note ability to burn.

The verdicts: The truffle oil, which we expected to go up in flames like olive oil and bacon fat, was shockingly slow and timid in catchin' afire. Really, we were almost embarrassed for it.

The old pizza? The box shrivelled into ash in good time, while the pizza itself took its time, turned black and all carbon-y, and put out a lot of smoke.

The stale Poppycock popcorn clusters were the big surprise of the night. A few minutes on a hot log in blazing fire was actually good for the snack. It returned them to crisp, crunchy goodness. Foodgoat plucked a few of the clusters from the flames, ate them, and declared them rejuvenated - returned to to its caramelized popcorn and nut ideal. A sort of Fountain of Snack Youth, if you will.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Best and Worst of 2006: Hungry Howie's Pizza

It was a rise and fall for the ages.

Pizza joints are a dime a dozen, and we don't usually go around trying each and every one that pops up. We have Guiseppe's square Sicilian pizza with bacon, onions, green peppers and when we're feeling especially naughty, Papa John's Hawaiian pizza with garlic butter sauce, and those usually suffice. However, during the hectic, pre-holiday, scramble, there was one especially night where we couldn't even manage those 10-15 minute drives. So we picked up a pizza at the brand new, bright yellow and brightly lit Hungry Howie's pizza place around the corner.

It was delicious - hot, tasty, a flavored crust. And the garlic Howie Bread? Yummers, absolutely yummers. We exulted - tasty pizza a stone's throw away.

So when Foodgoat's had extended family over one holiday night, we served up three Hungry Howie's pizzas, and it was quite the hit. All was well and good.

Little did we know that Hungry Howie's triggered something - something dark and frightening - in Foodgoat's brother. The mild-mannered Bostonian accountant was transformed into Crazy Obsessed Pizza Fiend.

We had Hungry Howie's pizza five times in a week and a half, racking up a pile of empty pizza boxes in the kitchen that made Foodgoat hang his head in shame whenever his mother came over. The very idea of pizza makes me slightly nauseous. We will not be visiting Hungry Howie's again - at least, not until President's Day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yay or Nay Wednesday: Cheese Wedding Cake

Having summarily dismissed any traditional wedding cake, I'm greatly tempted by this alterna-cake, posted at Bridalwave: not a cheesecake, but a cake of real cheese.

I would have wheels of Point Reyes blue cheese, smoked gouda, an English cheddar. Can you carve roses out of mozzerella?

Friday, January 5, 2007

Ordering the happy ending

Ah, the difficulties of wedding planning. Picking the groom was easy; it's picking the dessert that's hard. And the cheesy, overwrought descriptions aren't making things any easier.
  • Caramel Mystique - "A South American dessert with a tropical twist. A chocolate cake, filled with dulce de leche mousse, a chocolate dipped sesame nougat brittle layer, banana mousse center, wrapped in a chocolate jaconde oval pattern, apricot glaze finish, topped with a milk chocolate tuile garnish."
  • San Francisco Cable Car Dome – "Dessert lovers in the city by the bay are discovering our newest star. A chocolate mousse dome with a Cointreau cream center on a hazelnut dacquoise base, velvet chocolate finish, a generous drizzle of chocolate decadence glaze, garnished with a chocolate sunset transfer and a chocolate cable car with a hint of gold leaf."
  • Chocolate Pyramid – "A pyramid of chocolate mousse on a chocolate sponge base, raspberry mousse center, chocolate velvet finish, topped with a chocolate ganache rosette, garnished with chocolate chard and a fresh raspberry."
  • Chocolate Marquise – "A cylinder shaped mousse on a chocolate sponge base raspberry cream center, garnished with chocolate fan and fresh raspberry.

Worst of 2006: White Truffle Oil

Truffles, like foie gras and viable Cleveland Browns quarterbacks, are the stuff of rumor - much discussed, much hyped, but never personally encountered. We did try a truffle infused honey once, but it was very ... earthy, and earthy and sweet honey make for an odd combination that I just did not know what to do with. So when I saw a bottle of da Rosario White Truffle Oil, I snapped it up. White truffle oil seemed to be all the rage in the expensive coffee table cookbooks - surely we would now know what makes truffles so beloved and sought after.

Alas, much like the Browns' season, the white truffle oil was a major disappointment. Foodgoat took one taste, declared it dreadful, and hasn't touched it since. Anthony Bourdain ridiculed truffle oil as the "ketchup of the middle class," and after sampling it myself, I too am mystified as to why it seems to be used in every restaurant menu item besides the French fries.

And so, after months of sitting, untouched, on our shelf, this weekend I will ceremoniously dump the oh-so-trendy white truffle oil. Don't worry, it will go out gloriously, if not tastefully. I'm going to use it in the very popular backyard Does It Burn? game.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Best of 2006: Point Reyes Blue

On reflection, 2006 has certainly been the year of the Point Reyes Blue for us here at Foodgoat. We were late coming to it (it has been around since 2000), but we made up for lost time with still boundless enthusiasm. Through it, we broke through the seemingly impermeable fortress of the Cheese Lady's good graces. With it, Foodgoat took his BLT to the even loftier heights of the BABlue (Bacon Avocado and Blue cheese).

So tart! So creamy! So delicious with everything!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Happy New Year!

Our holiday season was jam-packed with shopping, family get-togethers, visiting relatives, board games, and many, many multi-course lunches over at Foodgoat's grandmother's house, with everything culminating in the New Year's Eve wedding of Foodgoat's cousin. The ceremony was aptly named Old Stone Church in downtown Cleveland, the reception at Ohio City's Massimo da Milano, but the food highlight of the evening was this spectacular sleigh ride wedding cake.

New Year's Eve also happens to be my parents' wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary!