eleneariel: (Cooking)
Oh my gosh.

I rarely cook out of Saveur because it's ... well, it's rather esoteric. It's full of ingredients that are impossible to find in small-town America, unfamiliar techniques, and strange flavor combinations that are not always so pleasing to my (I suppose less-refined) palate. Although I would love to be the discerning foodie who cooks esoteric recipes on a regular basis, it's not practical to my daily life.


Mirtoga (browned-flour scrambled eggs) is easy, incredibly delicious, and probably very bad for my health.

Did I mention absolutely delicious? It tastes like a pastry, actually. I would eat it for dessert.

Or breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or a snack.

Also it is the first time that I've cooked anything Turkish.
eleneariel: (Cooking)
From Misc

Um yeah, that's good bread. It came out of the oven less than an hour ago, and one loaf is already practically gone.
eleneariel: (Cooking)
Especially for [livejournal.com profile] mattiescottage :

I couldn't find the exact recipe I used to make my roasted chickpeas, but this one comes very close. I added coarse ground black pepper, used fresh rosemary, and sprinkled parmesan cheese on towards the end of the roasting time. Also, I was too impatient to let them go a whole thirty minutes, so mine (while I thought them perfect) were not exactly crunchy.

Very soon I'm going to try the Smashed Chickpea Salad recipe that someone (who?) posted recently!
eleneariel: (Cooking (hands))

This is a picture of the best burger I've ever eaten. You can get one of your own at Diablo's in Flagstaff. I'm sad that this means I won't have one again for a long, long time.

But I DO have roasted chickpeas with rosemary. :)
eleneariel: (cooking)

My supper, created only from what I could find in the staff kitchen:

Toasted dinner rolls topped with diced chicken, cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and a healthy sprinkling of parmesan.

Why yes, it tastes delicious.

In other news, from 7:00pm-closing is now Happier Hour at Arby's, with drinks and shakes half price. I am so getting a jamocha shake on my way home tonight.
eleneariel: (cooking)
If you are a foodie and you haven't read Reichl's trilogy of food memoirs, do so. And that's all I have to say about that, except that she wasn't the resturant critic for the New York Times for no reason.

She's also the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, and I always look forward to reading her editorials. From the March 2007 issue, an editorial called "Teach Your Children Well":

...I recently read a laudatory article about the opening of a new shop in New York City dedicated to children's food, and the very notion drives me so crazy I simply can't keep quiet.

On the surface it seems like a rather charming idea: a shop dedicated to food that children will eat. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to feel that this epitomizes everything that's wrong with the way we eat today.

For starters, the notion that children are a separate species who require a different diet from the rest of us pretty much does away with the concept of the family meal. The point of eating together, it seems to me, is not just that we all sit down around the same table but also that we share the food. The same food.

Children study their parents - that is their primary job in life - and one of the things they absorb is the way the grown-ups eat. [...] But if little Suzy and Sam get applesauce instead of salad and naked pasta in place of meat sauce, the lesson is quite different. What we are really telling our children is "You won't like what we are eating."
[...] No conscious parent would really want to tell his children, night after night, that they are going to dislike the food that the grown-ups are eating.

[...] Sitting down to dinner, at any age, should be an invitation to the fabulous banquet that is life. The most important lesson we learn at the table is that great rewards await those who take chances. Do we really want to be telling our children, "Just eat your nice chicken nuggets"? It would make so much more sense to say, "Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.

This is a good blog post about the subject - and this paragraph, though not directly related to the kid food issue, made me laugh:

I'm going to preface this rant by stating that I really love Bon Appetite Magazine. They have informative and dynamic articles about food issues, nice photography and some lovely, super simple recipes that I've used myself. They even got me loving beets, which the Virgin Mary could not have accomplished even if she had been holding hands with Bobby Flay in a prayer circle.

If I'm someday given the opportunity to raise children, the two things I look forward to most are teaching them to love reading and learning, and teaching them to appreciate food.

... although we will still sometimes eat kid food, because corndogs are just plain yummy.
eleneariel: (girl (waterhouse))
This is basically a paler version of yesterday's outfit, with the shoes and bag remaining the same. I know which of the two is my favorite - but what do you think?

Just for fun, what I had for dinner on my Lazy Night In:

a tangerine mandarin
steamed broccoli with feta
salmon salad on crackers, with white cheddar
lime slush from Sonic

Day 111 + FOOD )
eleneariel: (cooking)
I've read over ten years of Bon Appétit issues, and this is still the all-time best recipe I ever found within those pages. It's ridiculously easy, and yes, it has a package of jello in it, but it makes a perfect cake every time: incredibly moist inside, with a sugary crunch to the outside.

You can tell the best recipes in someone's collection because they are the most food-stained. :) I've been using this one for years.

Triple Lemon Cake - Bon Appétit recipeTriple Lemon Cake


the recipe )
Oh and hey, [livejournal.com profile] franciscanorder, I made that ginger chicken tonight and it was not at all what I expected and it was so good. I didn't exactly follow the recipe, so I don't know if it tasted like it was "supposed" to, but I'll be making it again. Probably soon.


eleneariel: (Default)
I think next year I will blog about food. This sounds like a good idea, especially since I am hungry right now.
eleneariel: (imagination)
I think I just ate my body weight in cucumber sandwiches.


Nov. 23rd, 2008 07:41 pm
eleneariel: (cooking)

The pumpkin? Was totally awesome. Two apples, a pear, an orange (including zest),
raisins, vanilla, brown sugar, walnuts, and spices.

eleneariel: (cooking)

Pizza for supper (sauce: summer in a jar, straight out of our garden.)
 And tortellini for tomorrow's lunch. I ended up using very slow-cooked carmelized
onions for the filling, with the addition of some mushrooms and, naturally, cheese.
I was going to make it into ravioli, but tortellini is just so darn fun to make.

eleneariel: (cooking)
Hi, I'm just warning you: I think it's going to be a weekend full of food pictures.

I started out the day with butter-seared bananas. They're amazingly good, particularly when topped with cinnamon sugar and popped into a crepe and covered with a generous spoonful of caramel.

eleneariel: (cooking)
Not about food: I really, really, really, really did not want to go to the gym tonight. And then I did.

About food: I've been dashing through Ruth Reichl's books (no wonder I've been constantly hungry all week.) Garlic and Sapphires. Read it! I might become a restaurant critic for the disguises alone.

About food: I have this idea for a baked stuffed pumpkin. It actually started with reading how Reichl stuffed a pumpkin with bread, cheese, and ... wine? mushrooms? Something. Anyway, that sounded delicious, but I don't like soggy bread, and half my family doesn't like mushrooms, and I'm the only one who drinks wine, so what I think I'll do is hollow out the pumpkin (toasting the seeds for other uses, naturally - great on salad) and fill it with apples, oranges, pears, walnuts, and possibly pineapple. I dunno. Is the pineapple too much? Of course lots of butter, brown sugar, and spices will be involved. I think it could be good, but I'm just not sure about that pineapple. I might throw cranberries in instead. I'll take pictures, assuming it doesn't catch fire in the oven and burn into a pumpkin-shaped cinder or something.

About food: I also want to make some ravioli for Sunday dinner, but I can't decide what to stuff it with. Ideas? I'm tired of the same old spinach-cheese filling. I thought about pumpkin filling, but that's a little much with the stuffed pumpkin as well. Cream cheese and green onions, maybe? 

About food: I'm also doing curried potatoes, which I'm not sure is an actual dish or something I made up.

Not about food: I filled up my gas tank for a mere $17.50. Yes.


Oct. 11th, 2008 07:52 am
eleneariel: ((pratchett) i wrote a book)
APPARENTLY, when I say "bacon" people think "[livejournal.com profile] ruthette ".

Hmmm ...

eleneariel: (jumping scotsman)
Somebody gave me a pound of bacon.
eleneariel: (women are scary)
1. Listening to my younger brother ... sing bass.
2. I have a new culinary specialty: Ginger Pear Jam. (Simmer equal amounts of grated pear and sugar with a bit of grated fresh ginger and a hint of allspice until translucent golden brown and somewhat reduced. Dynamite, as Ms. Kasper would say.)
3. [livejournal.com profile] aftondays is hosting another photography contest. The theme this time is "Orange" - Unless I change my mind, I already have my picture. :)
4. Some prayers were answered this weekend, and it leaves me hopeful that the rest may be soon.
5. I have a new hat:

eleneariel: (knowledge wins)
Today's weighty topics included a discussion on why no peanut butter cookie is a peanut butter cookie without that crossed-fork design on the top.

(Because that's the way your mother and your grandmother and your great grandmother and your great great grandmother and all the peanut-butter-cookie-baking paragons of female virtue throughout history have done it, that's why, and who are you to decide that a peanut butter cookie could be unadorned, anyway?)

eleneariel: (cooking)

Apropos of nothing, I decided to make my next big family meal* an Indian one.  I have eaten real Indian food exactly once, but I think I like it and I'm feeling the itch to cook something wildly different than normal.

I have mastered falafel, and I have Biz's naan recipe, but other than that I'm on the hunt for ideas. If you have a favorite curry, Indian dessert, or anything else, do comment!

* for those new to these parts, my parents and I take turns staying home from church on Sunday to take care of the Very Elderly Grandparents. The person staying home gets to cook Sunday dinner. :)
eleneariel: (cooking)

So I read this book called In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. I though it was interesting, and useful, and worth talking about. So I decided to talk about it, but then I got busy with work and vacations and so here we are, much later.

I'm not really sure where to start or where this will end up, since I read the book a week or so ago about three weeks ago now and don't have it in front of me, so I'm working off some rudimentary notes I made as I was reading.

First, show of hands, anybody read Pollan's first book, The Omnivore's Delemma? It was good. I don't accept as gospel everything he says (hardly!), but his first book opened my eyes to several things, not the least of which is how ubiquitous corn has become in our food supply, We eat it as a vegetable and as ground cornmeal, of course, but it's also force-fed to most of the animals destined for our tables (animals which are by and large are not naturally grain-eaters) and then, of course, corn syrup is in almost every processed food you eat.

In Defense of Food revolves around Pollan's simple answer for the question, "What should I eat?": Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

He urges us to ignore all the "nutrition advice" and just eat good food. Ignore the latest government studies telling us to eat more of this food or that vitamin -- He makes convincing arguments that most of these studies and edicts are driven more by special interests and lobbiests than genuine concern for our nation's health (a big surprise, I know). Ignore health claims on boxes of breakfast cereal -- "It's easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot." Ignore fad diets. Just eat food. Real food.
For most of human history, humans have navigated the question [of what to eat] without expert advice. To guide us instead we had Culture, which, at least when it comes to food, is really just a fancy word for your mother.
Eat food. Pollan asserts, quite rightly, I believe, that most of what is available to us to eat is not actually food. Take bread: you can make bread at home with three or four ingredients: flour, yeast, and water -- even salt and fat (butter, say, or oil) is optional. A loaf of store-bought bread will have an ingredient list a mile long, most of them unrecognizable and unpronounceable. Considering that the main ingredient, flour, will almost certainly be processed to death and rendered almost nutrition-less -- what makes that loaf the equivalent of one made with three or four pure ingredients?

I should note here that I still love Wonder Bread, though. It's a treat because all I got growing up was homemade ... how boring! I think Wonder Break makes fabulous toast. You can throw things at me now.

Pollan says that if you eat real food, you almost don't have to worry about getting enough of any one thing, be it protein or vitamin D or anything else. He cites studies of the diets of many indigenous tribes who have never been exposed to the western diet - African tribes that eat meat and blood products almost exclusively, South American tribes that eat almost exclusively plants. Each group of people were uniformly healthy, but as soon as any of them are exposed to the western diet, they develop diabetes, heart disease, and a myriad of other medical issues. It's not too much meat/too little fat/not enough vitamin B that's killing us, it's the over-processed modern diet.

Not too much. This is pretty clear. Eat what you need, don't eat out of boredom or for emotional reasons. Eat good food that you enjoy, and you'll find yourself satisfied with less.

Mostly plants. Pollan's not a vegetarian, but he does eat less meat now than he did before he started researching. I don't have anything against meat eating (one of my top favorite foods is bacon), but it's true that the western diet is much heavier on meat than it needs to be. If you follow Pollan's lead and try to only eat organic, well-fed (not grain-stuffed), and humainly-killed animals, you'd almost have to eat less meat just for cost reasons.

He also talks a lot about nutritionism - the assumption that food is just made up of chemical parts and if we get the right blend it's okay, even if we've added in nutrients to replace that which our processing took out. There is very little science so far about how all the nutrients that make up an apple, say, or a slice of bread, work together. An example he gives is baby formula: there are some very, very good ones out there now that provide quite well for a child's needs, but even the best formula doesn't quite replicate the perfect nutritional balance found in breast milk.

Our culture is falling in love with nutritionism right now: every week a new study comes out touting the new big discovery - it's antioxidents that's the key. No, wait, it's omega-3s. Saturated fats are the worst thing. Nope, caffeine is even is worse. Break out the wheaties: it's more dietary fiber that you need.

You'll see a lot of examples of nutrients being added back into processed foods. They bleached the flour for the bread, which leached all the nutrients out. Soon they realized that people were suffering from vitamin D deficiencies, so they added vitamin D to bread. But that bread will never be as good for you as a loaf made from a non-bleached flour that never had the vitamin D removed in the first place.

Here is an article Michael Pollan wrote that sums up In Defense of Food much better than I can.

And as for what this all means for me? It doesn't mean I want to switch to an all-organic, all whole-food diet, but it does make me want to take more care about what I'm putting in my body. It takes a great level of dedication to fully adopt all Pollan's suggestions, and it's not all that practical for me even if I did have the dedication (seeing as I share kitchen space and some meals with the rest of my family, and we do eat fairly well to start with since we have a large garden and eat fresh and canned foods from it all year.) But this book has raised my level of awareness and made me more conscious of the processed foods that I do eat. I won't be following the latest food trends or worrying excessively about the nutritional qualities of what I eat ... I'll just be, to the best of my little abilities, eating food.
Worrying so much about food can't be good for your health. (Paul Rozin)

What nutritionism sees when it looks at the French paradox is a lot of slender French people eating gobs of saturated fat washed down with wine. What it fails to see is a people with a completely different relationship to food than we have.

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