Archive for the 'Food' Category

The Brown Rice Solution

I really like brown rice, which is nice because they tell me brown rice is pretty good for me, what with all the fiber and all.  The problem has always been that I cannot cook brown rice.  Maybe it’s because my pots suck (possible), maybe it’s because I’m stupid (probable), but every batch of brown rice I have made on the stove top has been unpleasantly sticky and gross. 

Alton Brown has provided the answer to my brown rice troubles.  Bake it! 

I know!  Who would have thought?!

This recipe has never not worked for me.  It creates perfect fluffy brown rice every single time. 

Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 cups brown rice (this recipe works for all the brown rice varieties)
2 1/2 cups water (you should have this available in your tap)
1 tablespoon of butter (for added deliciousness)
1 teaspoon of salt (for increased enjoyment)

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (pretty easy)
Place rice in 8-inch square glass baking dish (no prob)

Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil. (Easy)  Once the water boils, pour it over the rice and stir to combine.  (Don’t burn yourself!)  Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.  (This is kind of tricky with the pan all filled with hot water, but you can do it.)  Bake on the middle rack for one hour.

After one hour fluff your perfect delicious rice.  Eat.

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Minnesota State Fair 2007

It’s that time of year again, folks! Last week I ventured out to the Fair with my dear friend Sam to brave the heat, animals, and deeply fried foods. It was, as usual, amazing.

There were, of course, the usual food stands. You had your fried cheese curds, your mini donuts, your “hotdish on a stick”, your Pronto Pups, and your Scottish Eggs and Meatballs (Actually, I’ve never been too sure about what those are, but rest assured Scottish Eggs and Meatballs were represented at the 2007 Fair.). All the old favorites were there, but there were two new stand-out foods at the Fair this year, neither of which I tried, because…..ew.

The less said about the new Spam booth the better. I mean, honestly.

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There are so many things to love about the concept of “Fresh Fried Fruit on a Stick”. First of all, could this booth be more spangley? I mean, could Fried Fresh Fruit be any more totally outrageous and radically awesome? Look at all those blinking lights! Look at that impossibly bodacious signage! Secondly, why the f**k would you want to deep fry FRUIT! And doesn’t the act of deep frying fruit somehow make it less “fresh”. I think it does, people.

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As for oddities, it was a relatively slow year. I mostly ate and tried not to die of heat stroke, but I did manage to catch one new, totally bizarre Fair product.

Meet the “Make Your Own Hands” booth. Yikes! I guess this is for people who think their hands are really hot and want to make sure their hot hands are preserved before old age steals their beauty. I dunno. They give me the super creepers.

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And I would be failing you a a blogger if I didn’t show you this weird, anti-Cheney seed art. Yes, it’s made of seeds and beans, and nothing but.

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Oh, and here are some ginormous pumpkins for you to enjoy:

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We didn’t spend a ton of time looking at animals this year. Mostly we were eating animals, but here is a harrowing true State Fair Animal story: On the morning that we went to the Fair (but before we got there) an angry bull escaped from its handlers. The bull set his sights on a man in the crowd, and charged. (Dude! How freaky would that be?) Then, when the man managed to escape, the bull charged a fire hydrant and killed itself. Then, hundreds of Minnesotans took pictures of themselves standing next to the fallen bull before he was carted away by veterinarians. True story.

We didn’t see anything that excited. All we really saw were a few funky chickens.

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That does it for another year at the Fair!

Tofulicious

My entire life I have been extremely susceptible to food cravings. (I would make a horrifying pregnant lady.) I’m not talking about your typical chocolate cravings, or the occasional need to eat a greasy fast food meal, I’m talking about an entire month where all I really want to eat are canned black olives (the big, whole kind).

Until now, the most sustained food craving I have ever experienced was shortly after I moved to Buffalo when I ate an avocado every day for about three months. Of course I also ate other things during my avocado phase, but really, only an avocado could satisfy my true hunger during that time. Eventually I got sick of avocados, and my interest dwindled. I have always figured that when my body really insists on a particular food, that food must contain some element of nutrition that I am lacking. Every one of the cravings I have experienced over my life have been, for the most part, reasonably healthy. (It’s not like I’m calling my current obsession with Fudgesicles a craving. No, that’s just plain old gluttony.) While I don’t think it’s good to eat avocados every day for your entire life, I don’t believe I sustained any long term damage from my avocado binge in 2001.

My current intense craving is tofu. After a lifetime of relative indifference, suddenly all I want to eat is tofu. I wish I could say that my interest in tofu is part of an overall move towards a healthier meal plan, but no, that is really not the case. I’m not choosing tofu over meat because I am trying to be a pious; I am choosing it because something deep down inside of me is demanding that I do so. I realized last night that I have been craving tofu for about a month, so it’s official: I’m in my Tofu Phase.

The trouble with tofu is I really don’t know how to cook with it, and I also don’t know where to begin looking for recipes. So, Dear Readers, I turn to you for ideas. Do you have any cherished tofu recipes? Can you recommend any good cookbooks? To give you an idea of my tastes, I will just say this: If there is one thing I HATE, it’s that vegetarian style of cooking that doesn’t have any fat or flavor and all it is is a big pile of disgusting vegetable mush. *shudder* For example, I have over the years tried to make recipes out of the original Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, and for the most part, I have hated them all. I’m not looking to be healthy. I’m just looking for a delicious way to shove more tofu down my throat.

Please advise.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I made this.  It only took me twelve million hours. 

The Answer To All Of My Prayers

small diet cokeIt turns out God does love me.

In His infinite wisdom, He has invented a new and marvelous product- Diet Coke, fortified with vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and Minerals, people! Diet coke is now HEALTHY.

In a side-by-side taste test, I was unable to detect any difference in flavor.

I’ll never drink water again.

Thank you, God. Seriously, nice work.

big diet coke

Culinary Misadventures

I have had a rough string of culinary mishaps over the last week. 

Look at this:

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This, dear readers, is Mulligatawny Soup.  I don’t think this picture does the color justice.  In person, this batch of soup looks like cherry jello.  It is the color of artificial red candy.  It looks like a scary dessert.  Although it tastes fine, I can’t bring myself to eat this soup, mostly because I believe firmly with every cell in my body, that chicken based soups shouldn’t remind me of parfaits.

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Lesson Learned: 
Beets are not an ingredient that can be added to recipes all willy-nilly.  Beets, although delicious, come with a high price, and that price is RED.  Chicken + beets = gagging and sadness.

2. The other day I watched Robin mix up a fabulous batch of homemade macaroni on the stove top.  She started with milk and butter and then added cheese, and soon she had a pan of what looked like perfect Cheez Whiz.  To this she added cooked macaroni.  Perfect, easy, and delicious.  Or so I thought…..

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Today, when I attempted to recreate Robin’s macaroni and cheese, I ended up with a gross, mealy pile of horrifying terrible-ness.  When I melted the cheese it separated in a most unappetizing manner.  I tried to stuff a few bites down my throat, but I didn’t get very far. 

Lesson Learned: Cheese can become surprisingly disgusting in the wrong hands.  Kraft macaroni and cheese is affordable and delicious.  Also, Robin is possibly a witch- this would account for her inhuman ability to melt ordinary cheddar cheese into a smooth sauce.

Safety First

My eyes are extremely sensitive to onions.  Some days cutting an onion becomes a major ordeal, what with all of the crying and the burning.  I love onions, but honestly, sometimes it doesn’t seems worth the drama.

Not too long ago I was introduced to the onion goggles by way of a food blog.  I have been sort of coveting the onion goggles, but $20 seems like a lot to spend on such a silly product.  The onion goggles sort of piss me off, to be honest.   I want them, and yet I hate them. 

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Yesterday I was in Home Depot and I picked up these beauties for the low, low price of $2.95. 

I think they are quite fetching.

I have not had occasion to try them out yet, but I will do a full report as soon as I cut an onion.  I can’t see any reason why these wouldn’t work as well as the onion goggles.  I feel a moral responsibility to protect my eyes from the harsh sting of the onions, and to protect my pocket book from the unreasonable demands of the onion goggle industry.

Safety first, that’s what I always say.

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