Wednesday, August 31, 2005 

Grilling a Whole Salmon

A step by step guide to grilling an entire Salmon.

Olivia Wu says:

Three letters sum it up: O-I-L. To cook a show-stopping, stunning whole salmon on the grill this Labor Day, you need to overcome your ambivalence to oil.

You've failed before: Put a glistening, fresh from-tip-to-tail salmon on the grill, only to have it turn into a mangled mess of carbonized skin and flaking flesh. You leave half of it on the grate and transfer a fish hash onto a serving plate. Disaster.

You can succeed this time, but you must love oil. Copious, flowing amounts of it -- as in one cup. If your grill is in bad shape, you'll need about 1 1/2 cups. All of it is going to season the grates on the grill to keep the fish from getting stuck to whatever you put between it and the flames.

continue on to read the rest...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

...And I'm back...

Looking over the somewhat fuzzy pictures I posted from my camera phone over the last few days, you'd think I ate nothing but fast food for the whole time I was out there. Well, pretty close. I did eat in a couple nice restaurants, but didn't feel right with pulling out the camera at the table and snapping pictures.

Another couple meals were at homes, and I didn't take pictures of that food either. All in all, a good time was had. Hopefully this little experiment was something a little different for you.

Back to food've heard of "killer apps" in software? Well now the quest is on to create the killer tomato...

Sunday, August 28, 2005 

In-N-Out Burger

Antioch, CA


Krispy Kreme

Bringing donuts to grandpa

Saturday, August 27, 2005 

Charles Krug Winery


Joseph Phelps Vineyard

Friday, August 26, 2005 

Menu at Alcatraz


Bubba Gump - San Francisco


Breakfast at Starbucks


Princess Garden - Vallejo CA

Won Ton Soup

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 

Eating and Driving...

Ever stayed up at night wondering what the 10 most dangerous foods to eat while driving are?

Well, now you know.

In fact, there's a series on eating and driving in the Deseret News. Dashboard Dining examines the dangerous practice of eating while driving, and also has a few tips should you decide you absolutely must eat while on the road.

The domain is now pointing towards this site. You might want to bookmark that URL in case the site ever does get moved.

Monday, August 22, 2005 

Site News

A couple items of interest from this morning.

I am now the proud owner of the domain Sometime in the next day or two, you'll be able to go to that URL and be forwarded here. I haven't decided if I'm going to abandon blogspot and go to a hosted account yet, but for now this is working ok, and it's free. I'll keep you posted.

The other item is that later this week I'm heading out to San Francisco and the Napa Valley. I'm going to "photoblog" from there. I'll try to take pictures of the food I eat, and also of the vineyards we visit next Saturday in Napa, and some of the wines. Should be an interesting experiment.

The site is slowly growing in traffic, but I sure could use more...if you like the site...tell others about it! I'd like to get some increased numbers here of people looking for good food articles and information...

Thursday, August 18, 2005 

More Beer

Look What's Brewing
I'm not sure how much of the readership to this site is in North Carolina, but this article from Kathleen Purvis in the Charlotte Observer outlines some of the best brewing festivals in the state. However there is more to the article than that, it also gives some tips on beer terms to know, and how to properly taste beers. There are also some links to site outside the state that advocate microbreweries and sell brewing equipment.

With the weekend upon us, many us might be raising a glass or two this weekend as there is more preseason NFL games and the MLB pennant races heat up. It's good to know a little about what you're consuming.


The skinny on fresh herbs

The skinny on fresh herbs

This week's "Prep School" lesson teaches the reader how to slice fresh herbs into the thin strips known as chiffonade. As author James P. DeWan notes:
The ability to turn uneven leaves into neat little strips is a challenge to acquire, but once you start practicing, you'll never want to stop.
He goes on to outline 5 steps to achieve this technique correctly.

The article also features a technique for making your own herb-infused oil.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 

Hold your own Grand Aioli

Hold your own Grand Aioli

The flyers appear suddenly, tacked onto telephone poles and taped onto windows in cafes and bakeries. "Aioli Monstre de Cotignac" or "Grand Aioli de Tourtour," they read. Fifteen euros. Bring your own dishes.

They're the markers of summer in the south of France, clarion calls for the grand aioli village feast -- a Provencal institution, but really an excuse to gorge on the freshest of summer vegetables, all dressed up in the thick, garlicky homemade mayonnaise called aioli.

In Provence, a grand aioli is a festive happening, a communal get- together. The food is simple to prepare in quantity and is served at room temperature, which makes it ideal for a summer party in a Northern California park, backyard or even cul-de-sac.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 

Essential Vinaigrette

Your essential guide to salad dressing

Kathleen Purvis outlines how you can make a variety of dressings for your summer salads. She also tells us a little about the science of salad dressing, why oil and vinegar won't mix and why you need an emusifier:

Oil and vinegar don't mix -- until you emulsify them. By whisking the oil into the vinegar very slowly, beginning with single drops, you break them into tiny droplets that link together. To keep them together, you need an emulsifier, something that will coat the droplets and keep them from jumping apart again.The handiest emulsifier in the kitchen: Mustard. It's got a little lecithin, a natural emulsifier that pulls oil and liquid droplets together, but it's also made of very fine grains suspended in liquid. The fine grains coat the molecules. Other fine particles also work, according to food scientist Shirley Corriher, such as the powdered sugar in poppy seed dressing or the crushed raspberries in raspberry vinaigrette.
She ends with a variety of dressing flavors and some handy tips to keep in mind when dressing your greens.

Need something else? Learn about Vodka Tasting.

Monday, August 15, 2005 

Football Food - British Style

Gordon Ramsay's recipes for Football Food.

Apparently the favorite sports of Britain and the United States share the same name, but little else. While we Yanks refer to the beloved European game of Football as "soccer" we can our Americanized version of rugby "football". Not only are the games totally different, but so is the food eaten while watching the games.

Here in the states while watching the National Football League on Sunday afternoons, a banquet of grilled steak tips and sausages, with chili, potato chips, and plenty of beer is typical. However for this article, Gordon Ramsay offers up a menu of Cornish Pastries, Crab Pie, Haddock in Beer Batter and and Pease Pudding. He says:

The sun'’s shining, everyone'’s in summer holiday mode -– it can mean only one thing: yes, the football season'’s back. But what'’s that got to do with food, you might ask. The answer, as any fan will tell you, is pies. Chicken and leek, beef and mushroom...all eaten from foil containers (and sometimes launched at the occasional opposing fan).

So this week I'’m offering up three recipes to make food on the terraces a bit more exciting. The pasty is a real classic, and the perfect thing to take along to a game. Make them fresh the night before and avoid all the queuing at half-time. The crab pie is seriously delicious. Try making them in individual foil tins so that you have your own "“posh"” pie to enjoy while your team are hopefully winning. Last is my look at fish with mushy peas. This recipe is for the armchair fan -– just make sure you open more beer than you need for the batter!
The recipes for each follow.

Friday, August 12, 2005 

Assembly Line Dinners?

Assembly line sells shortcut to dinner

Esther Shein in the Boston Globe has a look at Dream Dinners, a company which helps you provide homemade meals to your family...that you prepare, but don't have to shop for, or clean up after.

Shein explains:

Customers make reservations to prepare a menu of meals on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Upon arrival, they don an apron, wash their hands, and get to work. They rotate through a number of food preparation stations, each dedicated to a particular entree.

Step-by-step instructions for each dish are posted, and all ingredients are already chopped, prepared, and laid out by Dream Dinners employees.

Customers measure and pour the ingredients into plastic containers (Don't like one of the spices offered? No problem. Take less, or leave it out entirely). They then mark each completed meal with a label containing printed cooking instructions. The meals go home to be cooked that night or frozen for later.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 

Americans Teaching Italian Tuscany

Americans have cornered Tuscan teaching market

FLORENCE, Italy -- When tourists think of cooking classes in Tuscany, they likely imagine hovering over a chopping board or ancient stove with a pleasantly plump older signora, one who'll divulge generations of culinary secrets in gently accented English over a steaming bowl of rigatoni or zuppa di fagioli. But the reality might be much different.

It might sound like heresy, but native Italians don't have the market cornered on teaching traditional Tuscan cooking. These days, some of the best hail from places like California, New York -- and even Wyoming. These pros prove that Italian chefs can be made, rather than merely born.

Explains cookbook author and instructor Faith Willinger, who put down roots in Italy more than 30 years ago and since then has created a cooking class program at the popular Tenuta di Capezzana wine estate and headed culinary programs at the famed Cipriani Hotel in Venice: "This is all stuff I had to learn. It's not that I grew up with it; it's not natural to me. If you have to learn it, you're in a better position to instruct people on it."


Wednesday, August 10, 2005 

Über Beer

You call this a beer?

John Balzar in the Los Angeles Times looks at the growing popularity and interest in craft brewing. It has been reported that wine has recently passed beer as the most popular alcoholic beverage. What isn't reported that that craft beer is the single fastest growing alcoholic beverage period.
In 2004, the quickest-growing segment of the alcoholic beverage industry in the U.S. was craft beer, not wine. Earlier this year it was reported that craft beer sales grew 7%. That turns out to be more than twice the 2.7% increase in wine or the 3.1% growth in spirits, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Assn.
One of the top craft beer brewers is the Boston Brewing Co, brewer of Samuel Adams Beer.
For more than a decade, Jim Koch of the Boston Brewing Co. has been in the vanguard of redefining our very concept of what beer can be. Beginning in 1993 with Samuel Adams Triple Bock, he has been ratcheting up the alcohol and flavor concentrations in small batches of limited-edition brews that have come to be known in the industry as "extreme beers."
A look over at the Samuel Adams webpage has more information on these "extreme" beers, specifically their Samuel Adams Utopias:
Truly the epitome of brewing's two thousand year evolution, Samuel Adams Utopias™ offers a flavor not just unlike any other beer but unlike any other beverage in the world. Its warm, sweet flavor is richly highlighted with hints of vanilla, oak and caramel. Our 2003 batch topped out at a record breaking 25% ABV, beating the records that Samuel Adams® Triple Bock® and Samuel Adams® Millennium had set before it. And like those groundbreaking brews, Samuel Adams Utopias™ is not carbonated and should be served at room temperature. In one of many examples where Samuel Adams Utopias™ pushed the boundaries of beer, it received the highest recommendation (96-100 points) from the prestigious Wine Enthusiast Magazine (November, 2003 edition).
Back to the Times article, we find that the availability and pricing of the Utopias is unique indeed:
Utopias is a beer created to make a point. It claims the record as the most potent beer brought to market, at 25% alcohol, or 50 proof. Only 8,000 individually numbered 750-milliliter, kettle-shaped bottles were produced, and while they are available, they cost $100 to $119 retail.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 

More Tips for the Best Burger

Since we can never get enough advice in the ongoing quest for the perfect burger...

Perfect burgers: Grill or cook flavorful, juicy patties.

Kathie Smith of the Toledo Blade relates some tips passed on by Jeffrey Starr, executive chef at Trinchero Family Estates in Napa Valley, Calif.

The basics:
3 cooking tips for better burgers from Jeffrey Starr

1. Don’t overhandle the ground patty.

2. Don’t push down on it with a grilling spatula or you push the juices out.

3. Use quality ingredients like good ground beef and fresh seasonal ingredients.

Those are tips that have been repeated often, but still worth being reminded about. The article goes into more detail on each of those basic steps. Since the Chef is from Napa, naturally there is a section dealing with wine, both to put into the burgers and also to drink with them.

Monday, August 08, 2005 

The ultimate cheese on toast

From across the pond:

Want to make the ultimate cheese on toast?

According to Heston Blumenthal, the secret ingredient in this "utterly delicious" and "truly pleasurable snack" is garlic wine...which he tells you how to prepare as well.

He says of this simple fare:
Accompanied by a simple salad and a glass of unoaked chardonnay, it is elevated to something quite special.
It's worth checking out and giving it a try for something a little bit different.

Thursday, August 04, 2005 

Google Gourmet

It seems that the food in the Google Cafes is better than you're going to find in many restaurants.

Keyword: chefs

One of the most fantastic perks at Google is free meals for employees. I've always loved having fresh food available, and today that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. As our Mountain View HQ grows, so does the need for people who know how to make good food, and plenty of it.

The search is now on for not one, but two, executive chefs to fuel Googlers. We already serve umpteen meals a day (not including snacks). We go through 55 gallons of olive oil a week. At our breakfast bar, the chefs turn out two fresh smoothies, or one custom omelet, each minute.

This is why we're looking for industrial-strength chefs who know how to cook with fresh and organic ingredients. People who will thrive on the accolades - and demands - of repeat customers who come to eat day in and day out.

There's a cook-off for the finalists - a team of Googlers will taste their dishes and vote for their favorites. And then we'll announce the winners with great fanfare. Till we do, check back here for updates, menus and a recipe or two.

And if you're a chef, you can join the Google team in a "Hell's Kitchen"-like cookoff for the honor of working for the company.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 

Use that squash!

August is here and that means that here in New England if you live in a small town you need to roll up your car windows and lock your doors if you stop at the store of post office. If you don't, you're going to come back to your car and find it filled up with bags of Zucchini.
Maybe its that way all over the country, but that has been the joke around where I live since I was kid. Everyone seems to plant Zucchini and it is all ready at the same time, causing people to desperately look for ways to dispose of it. Dumping it on other people is one way, I guess.

Peggy Grodinsky in the Houston Chronicle has an article today on how you can creatively use this vegetable.

She lists a couple of her favorite ways to enjoy Zucchini:

• Grilled: Slice zucchini lengthwise with a mandolin. Paint the thin "ribbons" lightly with good extra-virgin olive oil, then grill on both sides until golden. Squeeze a bit of lemon over them and add another drizzle of olive oil, if you like. Dust with a shower of chopped herbs (basil and mint work nicely). Salt and pepper to taste.

• Fried zucchini sandwiches: This treat is described by Lidia Bastianich in her new book, Lidia's Family Table (Knopf, $35). Use a mandolin to slice zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons. Dredge the slices in seasoned flour, dip in beaten eggs, then fry in a small amount of canola oil. Drain the strips on paper towels. When you've got enough, pile them into a crusty roll with tomato slices, fresh basil and mayonnaise.

There are several other recipes in the article as well for ways to use all the excess squash should you make the mistake of leaving your car open in the summer in New England.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 

Essentials for authentic Mexican food

Essentials for authentic Mexican food

Mexican food continues to grow in popularity. People will search far and wide for good, authentic mexican. This article from the Arizona Republic by Karen Fernau tells what ingredients you should snatch up at the market should you be in the mood to whip some authentic Mexican in your own home.

Enjoy the flavors of a Mexican cantina in your kitchen anytime by stocking up on chili powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin and fresh cilantro. Always have garlic, onions and tomatoes handy, too. What other foods do you need for a Mexican pantry? Phillip Vigil of El Rancho Market in Chandler suggests the following ingredients to help you cook authentic Mexican food any day of the week.

The article lists out nine other essentials ingredients, defines them and gives the uses for each one. Click on the article for the details.

1) Huazontle
2) Piloncillo
3) Queso cotija and crema
4) Masa
5) Tomatillos
6) Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
7) Diced nopales
8) Dried chiles
9) Tamarind

Monday, August 01, 2005 

More Grilling Tips...

Grilling guru's tools of the trade

We just can't get enough grilling tips.

This article from Sandy Thorn Clark in the Chicago Sun Times focuses on Steven Raichlen, who is dubbed "The Michael Jordan of Barbecue" and is releasing a new product line in his name which is titled the Best of Barbecue tools. His contract called for him to create 12 items, he came up with 53.
He also is creating new rubs, some of which use coffee, which he predicts with be the big flavor in the next year.

The article also contains the "10 Commandments" of Barbecue, and a recipe for "The only marinade you ever need".