I've come up with a graphic for my profile. The two characters represent the two blogs I operate. Comments are always welcome.
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Observations on Food, Writing on Food and Recipes from a Middle-Aged Guy who Knows How to Use a Kitchen.
Last week I broke one of my kitchen rules: keep the gadgetry to a minimum. I broke it by getting a $30 Crock-Pot at Wal-Mart.
Since I'm a Canadian, of course we had Thanksgiving last month. But that shouldn't prevent me from wishing our neighbors across the border a happy holiday.
One of the franchise restaurants I like to eat at is The Old Spaghetti Factory. I've eaten at the franchises in Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnipeg, and I've always found a consistent high quality. This is something to be cherished, in a restaurant franchise.
About the amount of cheese to use, there are times when the Factory overdoes it. If you've never tried mizithra before, I'd recommend no more than 2 tablespoons for your first try.Ideally, for a complete meal you accompany this with a green salad. Spumoni ice cream and coffee come afterwards.
I suppose that, technically speaking, I'm a Trekkie. (I like the Original Series, and my favorite of the new ones is DS9.)
There are certain recipes that a guy can make off the top of his head, if he does it often enough. I like fried rice, so when I first moved out to be on my own I learned to make it using a recipe from Stephen Yan, of Wok with Yan fame. Over the years I made it often enough that it pretty much burned into my brain.
It's amazing just how prevalent these gourmet coffee shops are. Not just Starbuck's, but Timothy's, Second Cup, Seattle's Best, et cetera. And that's just the franchises operating here in Ottawa. I'll bet there are tons more where you live.
Note: this is not to be confused with airline food, which will be the topic of a different entry.
You'll have to forgive me if I seem inebriated. I spent much of the late afternoon at the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival, and am in the middle of the transition from feeling heartburn to feeling hung over.
"Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh…? And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick."
Of the four recipes written by Canadian author Pierre Berton in the 1950s, this is the one I use the most often. Mainly it's because the basic ingredients are cheap and readily available, but also because with a few modifications it makes for an acceptable breakfast or dinner.
1 can corned beef
2 large potatoes
1 large onion
2 tbsp dry red wine
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp Bisquick mix
1. Crumble the corned beef into a mixing bowl.
2. Chop finely or grate the potatoes and onion and add to the bowl. Mix together, break and add the egg, and mix again.
3. Add the red wine, seasonings and Bisquick mix, taking care to mix everything together after each addition.
4. Heat up a skillet. Add oil or use a cooking spray, then ladle the hash into the skillet. You can either form them into patties or fill the entire skillet, depending on its size.
5. Cook for about 10 minutes per side, brushing dry mustard on the top surface while it's cooking. When done, slide onto a platter and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
One of the more interesting manga on the market today is ComicsOne's Iron Wok Jan. It's about a teenage prodigy who's an arrogant genius when it comes to cooking. Volume 6 is noteworthy because it features a recipe that looks easy to make in North America.