Monday, October 29, 2007

Blade Noodles

We watched the sci-fi cult classic Blade Runner for the very first time a few weeks ago, and the only thing that really stuck in my mind was early in the film, when Deckard was eating at a noodle bar. Against the dark, noir future, that hot, steaming bowl of noodles looked so yummy.

So Foodgoat was inspired to make his very own bowl of noodle goodness, venturing into Asian cuisine territory. For this he employed not only frozen noodles from the Asian market, but some other new ingredients we happened to have on hand due to a failed Saveur magazine Thai recipe, including a root called galangal, which looks like a pale ginger. I've seen the taste described as similar to pine or to cloves ... different from ginger but still a sort of spicy root taste.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Foodgoat was sick last week, and treated himself partly with a bag of Horehound candy. (And here you thought this was going to be another Larry Craig post.)

Horehound, a weed in many countries and a member of the mint family, is an old herbal treatment for coughs and colds and other sorts of respiratory troubles. Claey's has been making the horehound herb tea candies for generations, and still brews and steeps them in copper kettles.

Horehound drops were commonly sold in pharmacies The FDA banned horehound as an active ingredient from cough drops in 1989 due to insufficient evidence supporting its efficacy, but horehound is still widely used in Europe, and can be found in European-made herbal cough remedies - such as Ricola. And it is still recognized as safe when used in small amounts to flavor beverages, candies, foods, and medicines. For Foodgoat, the horehound worked about as well to soothe his sore throat as any other cough drop or hard candy.

But how does horehound candy taste? Well, sort of root-beer-ish, somewhat bittersweet. Not bad.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

West Coast/North coast Beer Matchup

The Browns and the 49ers don't play until the last game of the season, but San Francisco and Cleveland recently went head-to-head in a Foodgoat Beer Battle, pitting the Anchor Liberty Ale vs. the Great Lakes Brewing Company Dortmunder Gold.

The Dortmunder Gold, which Foodgoat considers the best of the Great Lakes beers and his beer of choice at the moment (especially when the Cleveland teams are playing) is a smooth lager with "more body and less hops than a Pilsner, and less malt and more hops than a Munich style lager."

Against it we tried
the Anchor Liberty Ale, (first brewed in 1975 to commemorate Paul Revere's ride). Anchor describes this beer as "a heavily hopped ale (Cascade hops) with a copper color and a hoppy nose."

How would the West Coast ale hold up to the North Coast lager?

Oddly enough, they taste almost exactly the same. Foodgoat took a swig of the Liberty Ale and thought for a minute that he had the Dortmunder.

It's downright spooky. They're like long lost beer twins.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Marriage Made in Foodie Heaven

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join together Home-Grown Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella, which is commended to be honorable among all foods; and therefore not to be entered into lightly – but reverently, deliciously, and often.

Into this holy estate these two ingredients present now come to be joined, supported by a cracker or surrounded by a sandwich. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever enjoy the mutual tastiness of juicy, bright red tomatoes over smooth fresh mozzarella slices.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who Else Like Corbo's Cassata Cake?

Mario Batali, of course! He mentioned it in yesterday's USA Today article on 10 great places to discover Italy — in America:
"Corbo's Bakery has the best cassata (cake) I have tried in the USA," Batali says.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cassata Cake

This past weekend, for his father's 60th birthday party, Foodgoat hosted his first big dinner party. And so ended any desire for opening a restaurant, because now we know that cooking for over twenty people? It's work. It's hard work. It's fun at any given night to make pork and dumplings, salmon, spinach gnocchi with homemade tomato sauce, black bean and avocado salad, green salad, or roasted vegetables, but all in one day? With your cooking reputation on the line? We have a newfound respect for all who cook for large gatherings.

Fortunately, Foodgoat had the help of his brothers and his mother (good cooks all), and the food came out deliciously and was well-received and everyone was happy.

The one thing we didn't have to make was the birthday cake. While the rest of the menu was not decided until last week, for months Foodgoat had his heart set on a cassata cake from Corbo's Bakery in Little Italy.

A cassata cake is a dessert from Palermo, Sicily, but it's the dessert to get here in Cleveland. They appear at all kinds of special occasions, and locals turn dreamy at the mention of Corbo's cassata cakes.

Traditionally, cassata (introduced by the Arabs) is a tort of plain white cake filled with the same sheep's milk ricotta cream, topped with frosting and sugared fruits. It might have an orange liqueur and chocolate filling and a shell of marzipan or chocolate frosting.

The Corbo's version is a light, fluffy, white cake filled with creamy custard and fresh strawberries and topped with just-sweet-enough whipped frosting. Sooo delicious! It's so good I completely forgot to take a picture, so anxious was I to eat a piece.