Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shish Kebob

We made shish kebobs last week, when the weather was warmer, for the sole reason that when we went to to the grocery store, GoatSpawn would NOT STOP STARING at the premade shish kebobs in the meat department. Even when I tried to move on to the next section she made me turn back so she could keep on looking at them. 

Shish kebob is Turkish for ... “pieces of meat roasted on a spit or skewers.” While they say shish kebab was invented by soldiers of the Turk tribes using their swords to grill meat over their military campfires, surely meat cooked on a stick over fire has to date back a lot farther than that.  Even marinated meat cooked on a stick must be an ancient technique.  

The red onions on the shish kebob came out really, really onion-y, but everything else was delicious.  And grilled corn on the cob is always a winner for everyone. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Uh Oh! Spaghetti-O's, Filipino Style

Despite Foodgoat's great skill at making all kinds of delicious, and authentically Italian, pasta dishes, sometimes the pasta dish I feel like isn't Italian at all.  It's Filipino-style!

Filipino style spaghetti is spaghetti with a sweet meat sauce and hot dogs.  Trust me, it's good.  
The sauce can be sweetened by using banana sauce or banana ketchup or with sugar, or both.   Don't know what banana ketchup is?  Banana ketchup is a Filipino condiment that is just ketchup made with some bananas (banana ketchup was made when there was a shortage of tomato ketchup during World War II, due to lack of tomatoes and a comparatively high production of bananas).  It's sweeter than regular ketchup.  
Can't get any banana ketchup?  You can substitute regular ketchup or regular tomato sauce, with a little more sugar to make it sweeter.  
The hot dogs are the other key part of this dish, and the part people might question.  But I actually think they provide a nice meaty, salty balance to the sweet tomato sauce.  They should, however, be sliced diagonally, in my opinion.  Why?  Because that's how my mom does it, and it just seems better.   

I decided to use pasta shaped like little rings instead of the usual spaghetti shape, because GoatSpawn picked it out at the store (we always let her pick out the pasta at the store) and because it seemed like it might be easier for her to eat.  So my Filipino spaghetti really actually turned out to be Filipino SpaghettiO's!

I don't recall every having SpaghettiO's as a kid, and I don't remember wanting it.  It never looked good, coming out of a can like that.  I didn't know that they were specifically marketed to parents as 'less messy' than regular spaghetti ("The neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon!"), and also use a sweetened tomato sauce. 

My homemade Filipino version turned out to be a hit with GoatSpawn, and even Foodgoat. 
This recipe is adapted from Cook Mobile's recipe for Filipino-Style Spaghetti.  Check out the original!  

1 lb anelli (ring-shaped) pasta, or any other pasta shape you like
1 lb ground beef
2 to 3 hot dogs, sliced diagonally
1 cup banana ketchup (can't find banana ketchup/sauce?  use regular ketchup, or tomato sauce)
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce (this can be a mix of sauce and paste, depending on how thick and tomato-y you like it)
1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 to 2 minced garlic cloves
1 spoonful sugar to taste (smaller spoon if you use banana ketchup or regular ketchup, more if you use regular tomato sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, saute hotdogs until lightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute onions and garlic. Add  ground beef, and cook until browned.

Pour in tomato sauce and ketchup. Stir the sugar. Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, until meat is fully cooked and sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Add broth or water if it gets too thick for you.  Stir in the hotdogs to heat through.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta! 

Once the pasta is done and the sauce is done, mix all together.   Top with grated Parmesan cheese if you like and serve!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beet It: A Review of Biotta Beet Juice

I like beets.  Beets are messy to make but a perfectly nice tasting vegetable when made fresh and roasted.  Beet juice is one of the ingredients in the very tasty Naked Berry Veggie smoothie, so I decided to try the Biotta Beet Juice, which is straight up,100% beet juice.  Beets are sweet, so I figured the juice would be pretty good.

 As you can see, beet juice is pretty intense in color.  But in terms of taste ... it's even more intense.  It's extremely - vegetable-y.  It really does seem like you are taking in a very concentrated beet.

I thought it might help to mix it with something instead of drinking it straight.  But also, I had heard you are not supposed to drink beet juice all by itself - beet juice can, according to some sources (none of which can provide me with acceptable sources or citations) can detox your liver and blood and kidneys so quickly that the release of all the toxins from your system can make you pass out or temporarily paralyze your vocal chords or something.  Is this true?  I myself did not pass out at all.  I did not feel particularly detoxified.  And my vocal chords worked well enough for me to say to Foodgoat, "Oh, jeez, you've got to taste this horrible thing."

But anyway, since I had a whole bottle of the stuff, I thought I'd try mixing it with something very sweet and light.  Like Sprite.  I'm sure this negates any health benefits beet juice might confer.  Alas, I found it didn't help the taste at all.  It just made the vegetable-y taste bubbly. 

So, despite the fact that I enjoy fresh roasted beets, I will not be partaking in the juiced version again any time soon.  Biotta also makes a couple of other vegetable juices, but none of them sound remotely appealing.  Potato juiceSauerkraut juice?  I don't think so. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Sequence of Photos to Explain Why GoatSpawn Got an Early Bath

Honestly, I think the photos really speak for themselves.

That's an ice cream pie from Mitchell's, by the way, made with Belgian dark chocolate ice cream.  Delicious!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You Call That Thai? I Call It Filipino!

On a comment on our recent post about Mr. Brisket, Cookbook recommended trying their Thai sausage.  So we did. 

And oh my goodness, that was some very good sausage. Succulent, juicy, wonderfully flavored.

But Thai? 

When I think Thai, I generally think spicy.  This sausage is not spicy.  At all.  It's sweet.

What it really tastes like to me is Filipino sausage.  It tastes like languanisa, the sweet Filipino sausage that is usually served with breakfast, and generally so juicy that when you poke it with a fork while cooking it squirts up these little fountains of fat.  and that's just what the Thai sausage did too.  Yummy!  Really, languanisa is a one of my very favorite things in the world.

Is this really what Thai sausage is like?  Did the Thai sausage come first?  Or did the Filipino languanisa come first?  Or do they share a common sweet sausage ancestor?  Or did the sweet sausages emerge independently?

I'll be stopping by for more, but in my mind, I'll be calling it Filipino sausage.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Day of the Scones

I tried to get excited about the royal wedding on Friday, because they seem like a nice and unobjectionable couple.  So what if the monarchy seems terribly, terribly archaic and pointless, not to mention sexist, in these modern times?  I suppose there are worse things than keeping around a royal family for the sole purpose of voyeuristic entertainment and to be, well, just very, very British. 

But I was not AT ALL motivated to get up at 4 am, or 5 am, or even 8 am, whatever God forsaken hour it was televised at.  I wasn't even motivated to try to get Foodgoat to change the channel away from NFL Draft coverage.  Weddings can be very boring to watch.  Of course if the Daleks started attacking in the middle of the ceremony I would have been sorry that I missed it, but alas, they missed a rather golden opportunity. 

But I did make up a batch of scones for the occasion (I just couldn't bring myself to try and make a fruitcake).  I feel like I must have had scones at some point in my life, but I don't remember actually having them or anything about what they are supposed to be like. They always just look dense and dry and sweet.  They never look as good as muffins do in the morning.  So I didn't have a lot of high hopes for my own attempt at scones.

Well, was I ever surprised.  I used the King Arthur Flour basic recipe, and added chocolate chips.  It was not only really easy, it tasted just wonderful.  Scones, as it turns out, are just what I know as biscuits, and they were buttery, moist, crusty on top, and not too sweet.  I loved them.  I'll definitely be making these again.

So if nothing else, at least the British monarchy has introduced me to the deliciousness of the scone.