Saturday, May 30, 2009

Foodgoat Drives!

Four years after his Volkwagon Jetta went up in flames, two years after we first started to think about replacing it, months after our first test drive ... Foodgoat finally has a new set of wheels!

It's a Subaru Forester! It's amazing how the tiny GoatSpawn that prompted us to buy a big ole SUV when we've been such fuel sippers.

What I like about the Forester:
  • There is room for GoatSpawn's stroller, and luggage, and maybe even other stuff, in the trunk. It's also incredibly roomy for passengers.
  • It has air conditioning and a working radio.
  • Reliability. We keep cars for a long, long time.
What Foodgoat likes:
  • "I can now stop having nightmares about driving with GoatSpawn on steep, icy hills and driveways in the Cleveland winters."
  • "I can stand in the backseat and have your head outside the gigantic moonroof."
  • "How bad-ass it looks with tinted windows and red lights on the dashboard at night."
What GoatSpawn likes:
  • "It has 4 doors, which makes getting me and my carseat out of the back seat much easier. My feet no longer get banged up on the way in and out of the car
  • "All the big windows to look out of."
  • "It has a nice, smooth ride ... I fall right asleep once we get going."
What we don't like:
  • Mileage (20 mpg city/26 mpg freeway)
  • SUV guilt
(The runner-up car? The Toyota Prius Touring, which is a great car - fun to drive, surprisingly roomy for a family sedan, and of course, it blows the Forester away in fuel efficiency.)

Among the things I learned about car shopping:
  1. Do your research and know as much as you can about the car, the options, the financing (including your credit score!), before you walk in. Most helpful site: True Car.
  2. Don't go on a Saturday afternoon of a holiday weekend. Crowded, crowded, crowded.
  3. Do go immediately after the baby's nap, so she's well rested for the long (and for her, totally boring) day ahead.
  4. Do eat first! You'll be there longer than you think.
  5. Breastfeeding? Do bring a nursing cover! Otherwise you may find yourself nursing behind the desk of the service department.
  6. Do take the carseat! You'll want to know how well it fits and how easy it is to get baby out.
  7. Do make sure the car will fit in your garage.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Kitchen Pest Experience, The Movie

Genre: Horror
Starring:Foodgoat and Ladygoat

Synopsis: The tranquil lives of a good-looking couple Vincent (played by Foodgoat, in his most intense role to date) and Angeline (played by Ladygoat) in a Midwestern city are disrupted when they slowly begin to notice small, brown moths in their unusually large and tastefully decorated apartment.

As the mysterious moths begin appearing with greater and more frightening frequency, the couple attempts to get to the root of the infestation, pitting themselves against the
Tracking the moths takes them into the darkest recesses of their kitchen cabinets, where they not only find hidden secrets of their past but old bags of flour that hide Mediterranean flour moths! Forcing them to question everything they believe in.


Finally, a horror flick with a believable premise: moths breeding in poorly sealed bag of old and forgotten flour. It happens to everyone, or so they say, which is why people keep their grains and flour in big, airtight containers, or in the refrigerator. But what would happen if you didn't ...? This movie shows us what would happen.

Foodgoat and Ladygoat, after narrowly losing their lives in a desperate, senseless run through a chomping machine, come to the heart of the Mediterranean Flour Moth infestation. With their last gasping breath, they fling the whole wheat flour, the Wondra flour, the 3 half-filled bags of regular flour, and a bag of brown rice into the trash.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When She is Seven

Foodgoat and I once overheard a 7-year old girl turn to her mother and ask, "Can we have lobster ravioli and asparagus for my birthday?"

I hope GoatSpawn will say something like that when she's 7. And not something like, "Can I have EasyMac again? Where's the Lucky Charms so I can put them on top?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary, Foodgoat!

On the right day, this time!

It's been two years since the day Foodgoat and I got married and celebrated with our families and friends at a reception in lovely but cold San Francisco. While I made most of the decisions regarding the food served, it was Foodgoat who handled the beverages, and he who insisted early on that we have an open bar. (The open bar/cash bar and everything in between debate can be a fierce one for others.)

I didn't know what a big deal this was for my family until more than one cousin ran up to us in excitement, saying, "Open bar! Filipinos don't have open bars!!"

So despite the fact that my family doesn't drink often, and with the encouragement of one groomsman who took it upon himself to see that everyone, at any given point, had a drink in his or her hand, we drank the liquor provider dry that night.

Not a single drop of alcohol - no beer, no wine, no liquor - remained at the end of the night.

All in service of getting happy drunk, which is the best possible goal for a day like that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ten Tips When Obesity Is Your Goal

I don't know who, how, or why someone ended up on this blog with the key words "obesity is my goal," but if obesity is indeed your goal, and the hugely effective Donut and Pepsi Diet isn't working fast enough for you, I can help! Here are some new concrete tips for getting fat:
  1. Eat those 100-calorie snack packages. Now, they are ostensibly for those for whom obesity is not the goal at all, but eat enough of them and you're on well on your way. And because they come in such small packages, and typically feature such non-filling, nutrient-low foods, eating a few at time, a couple of times day will make you feel like you're not eating much at all! You'll hardly notice those extra hundreds of calories!
  2. Go for a short, easy walk every day. Just because you get some exercise doesn't mean you can't get fat! And, let's face it, if you will be carrying around a lot of extra weight you'll want your heart to get used to the workout. Fifteen minutes of walking at 2.5 mph will burn some calories, but you can use that minimal workout to walk to your local coffeeshop where you can cool yourself down with an extra large coffee beverage with whipped cream and sugar! Don't wear yourself out though - use the drive-thru at the donut shop, liquor store, fast food place, whenever available!
  3. Finish your plate. Eat everything you have piled onto your plate, no matter how stuffed you already are. You don't want leftovers crowding up the fridge, and that poor starving kid in China is not going to be happy if you don't use those last bowl of pasta to become fat.
  4. Have lots of salad. Have a big, big plate of greens. But be sure to have lots of creamy dressing. Can you see green? Add more dressing! And don't forget bacon and cheese and anything else that can smother the slightly bitter taste of green vegetables.
  5. Eat at chain restaurants. Yes, fast food restaurants can help you become obese, but their portions tend to be small and well, transportable, while chain restaurants, like Appleby's, have gigantic portions, free refills, and endless breadsticks.
  6. Cut out a favorite food entirely. Do you love ice cream? Bacon? Whatever that high fat or high calorie food is, drop it completely from your diet. Don't let celebrations or holidays or being a guest in someone's home deter you! Over time, cravings will build and build, until you binge big time on a level that will more than make up for not having it every once in a while.
  7. Consider becoming a vegan. You might think a vegan diet would never get you to your goal of obesity, but not necessarily! Make up for the total avoidance of meat and dairy (which are high in protein and quite filling) by overeating things with too much sugar and simple carbs, including lots of processed foods.
  8. Wear scrubs, even if you don't work in the medical field. The very loose and stretchy nature of these clothes will allow for your steadily increasing body shape without you noticing at all. More form-fitting clothes may tempt you to stop eating or start exercising, neither of which will get you to your goal!
  9. Get pregnant. For you ladies! "Eating for two" is a societal license for eating whatever the hell you want, in whatever size portion you decide, even though pregnancy only actually requires 300 more calories (or two sensible snacks) a day after the first trimester. The downside is that the excuse only works for 9 months. The upside is that babies typically weigh less than 10 pounds at birth, so the other 25 pounds (or more!) is yours to keep!
  10. Succumb to depression. Throw out that Prozac! Give up on the power of positive thinking! Dwell on your problems and the next thing you know, you'll be self-medicating with bags of potato chips and pizza to go along with too much daytime TV. Don't forget about alcohol - use beer to drown your sorrows, and a beer belly is sure to follow.
There you have it - if obesity is your goal, with these steps you can be there in no time.

Next, look for our "10 steps to Financial Ruin"!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

You Want to Add What to the Chicken Paprikash?

Foodgoat's sous chef, the delicious bottle of beer, has made many excellent cooking suggestions to Foodgoat in the past. He has recommended more hot sauce, the adding of a new spice, the use of more beer. Once in a while, it doesn't work (usually, too many hot peppers), but overall, his suggestions have been good ones.

But this time, the suggestion was so out there, Foodgoat wasn't sure if he should listen or not.

The dish was chicken paprikash, which Foodgoat has made so many times he could make it in his sleep. Having perfected the recipe, he has taken lately to playing around with it, adding new ingredients and twists. But was this idea of new ingredient too weird for an old standby?

What did that bottle of beer suggest that Foodgoat add to chicken paprikash? Chocolate.

The extreme dark chocolate chips that we used for sourdough pancakes.

He added a handful, and wouldn't ya know it, it actually tasted wonderful. Because we used dark chocolate, it actually gave it an earthiness rather than a sweetness that didn't seem chocolate-y at all. Adding even more chocolate the next day turned the chicken paprikash into something akin to chicken mole, which was further afield, but still delicious.

Traditional? No. Tasty? Yes.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Best Meal Foodgoat Forgot About

Memorial Day weekend! The start of grilling season!

Foodgoat got a head start - making this delicious brisket. However, it didn't quite go as planned.

The original plan: put a dry rub on the brisket overnight, smoke it slowly outside for several hours, and enjoy a nice piece of well-cooked meat for dinner.

It started off right - he got a nice piece of brisket, covered it with spicy dry rub (mostly paprika, but with lots of other spices) he made himself, and put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, he took it out and put in the grill with a not too hot fire to smoke. In the meantime, he got out the brand new rototiller to prepare the garden patch.

And that's when the plan veered off course.

Because ripping up dirt with a gas motor and fierce blades is FUN.

He not only got our regular garden tilled and turned and ready for planting, he expanded it by about 60%!

He had so much fun, he took the rototiller to Culturefilter's house to till away the afternoon there too.

A couple of tilled plots and several beers later, Foodgoat realized he had left the brisket at home, still smoking away five hours later. So he went back, pulled the still warm brisket off, and popped it in the fridge.

The next day, the brisket went into the crock pot with barbeque sauce, gin, and a couple of other things that he happened to have on hand, and there it cooked for another couple of hours.

The results though were yummy - smoky, flavorful, and very tender and just perfect for sandwiches.

So the actual process turned out to be: put a dry rub on a brisket overnight, smoke for a couple of hours, get drunk on power tools and beer, forget about the brisket, put brisket in fridge, cook brisket in crock pot for several more hours.
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Great Lakes Grassroots

When Foodgoat first opened a bottle of the new Great Lakes Grassroots ale, he took one sip, then handed it to me saying, "I think you'd like this." Which, I think, was an insult.

Yes, it's light and mild and not too alcoholic and it does have that hint of chamomile ... okay, yes, it is kind of a girly beer. But it was refreshing and tasteful and sweet and perfect, I think, for Memorial Day weekends when it's hot outside and you're finally putting those tomato and pepper seedlings in the garden.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Toy

One day, our oven died. It just didn't work anymore.

For five months, we couldn't bake anything. No brownies, no roasted Brussels sprouts.

And then one day Foodgoat couldn't take it anymore. He had to make a pizza.

So we bought a new stove.

And we couldn't be happier. This GE is much nicer than the old Maytag that the house came with - a central oval burner! A griddle! Continuous grates! Power boil! A broiler at the top of the oven instead of underneath it!

Even Sabbath mode, which I'm pretty sure we will never ever use!

Most importantly, we have already made pizza twice.

What a difference a good appliance makes.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wrong Date but the Right Bottle of Wine

Foodgoat and I were halfway through a bottle of sparkling wine tonight when we were informed by Foodgoat's mother that actually, our wedding anniversary is next week.

It's bad enough when one spouse gets the anniversary date wrong, but both? At least we both remembered it was around Memorial Day weekend.

At least we got to discover Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut, which was smooth, fresh, and an entirely enjoyable sparkling wine. Approximately 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, it was not too sweet, but quite nicely flavored, and went well with the crepes (or supper pancakes, as he grew up calling them) Foodgoat made for dinner.

We may have to open up another bottle next week.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sourdough Pancakes

Just about the time we ran out of the 25 pounds of flour that we ordered around the holidays (somehow I thought it would last much longer), King Arthur Flour had another free shipping deal and we got to order not only another 25 pounds, but other cooking products to try from one of our favorite stores. So far a big hit has been the Schokinag Extreme Dark Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, which is 75% chocolate liquor.

At first we enjoyed just popping the delicious, deep flavored chocolate chips in our mouth, but then Foodgoat added them to something he's been making Sunday mornings often these days, sourdough pancakes.

Thus was born bittersweet chocolate chip sourdough pancakes, which are really quite delicious. Despite the chocolate chips, it's not a kid's pancake: it wasn't sweet at all, just warm, subtle sourness with intense, rich chocolate. Just a drizzle of maple syrup for a touch of sweetness, although it really didn't need it.

The recipe is a modified version of one in the Good Home cookbook, which lately has been my go-to cookbook for classic recipes.

Sourdough Pancakes

1 large egg, separated
1/2 cup mixture of sour cream and milk (because it's what we had on hand, you can also use evaporated milk only)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sourdough starter
bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat griddle or skillets on medium high.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg white until stiff but not dry.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolk, sour cream/milk, oil, sugar, baking soda, and salt until blended. As quickly as possible mix in the starter with a spoon. Gently fold in the egg white.
  4. Grease the griddle, ladle about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Add a couple of chocolate chips. Let cook 2-4 minutes, flip, cook a few more minutes. Keep going! Keep warm and serve immediately.

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