Thursday, August 28, 2008

Omnivore top 100

Yeah this is a little off topic. But being the blog is about food I find it appropriate. Andrew from Very Good Taste Posted the following list of 100 things that every omnivore should try. The idea is to copy the list and Bold everything you've tried and cross off anything you'll never try and see the result. On first pass, I'm really only missing 16 items. (I plan on crossing as much as possible lots of them are simply things I need to cook. There might be about 3 things I won't be able to get to. And I don't think I'd pass any of them up if presented the opportunity so no crossouts for me. How bout the rest of you?

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I'll be updating as I bold off the last of these :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birthday Bento

Special bento today. It's my wife's birthday tomorrow, so I figured on making a special bento just for her. Pulled out the stops and splurged a bit on the menu. Hopefully a great week to start birthday week. Well on to the box.
We'll start with the sides: First up we have Steamed Vegetables with a ginger miso dressing. I've latched onto the wonders of pre-bagged veggies that you toss into the microwave. They even have this one brand that also have a couple of slots of butter so that when you finish microwaving it's all done for you. What a great idea and timesaver. I'll have to re-use this one.

Our second side is a Lobster salad with tarragon and chives. Picked up a couple of frozen lobster tails and put this little number together. I could easily have substituted chicken in place of this for a more budget conscious menu item. Note to self: a little tarragon goes a *long* way.

For the main course we have Filet Mignon with a shitake wine sauce. Pretty self explaining, Found the basis for the recipe online somewhere and had bookmarked it. Did a bit of tweaking to get it more to my taste, but very appropriate with a nice hunk of steak.

And for dessert I had to dress it up a bit, some tuxedo chocolate dipped strawberries to end the bento on a sweet note. I think dipping the 5 or so strawberries took the most time of all of my bento items. All well worth it of course. And since I was only cooking for one I have plenty of left over for myself :)

Box Contents
  • Fillet Mignon with Shitake wine sauce
  • Lobster salad with taragon and chives
  • Steamed Vegetables with Ginger miso dressing
  • "Tuxedo" chocolate covered strawberries

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good for what ails ya

No bento this week. The wife was ill (my fault, got it from the guys at work). What better way to aid in recovery than to make some homemade chicken noodle soup. Simple as it may sound it is a time intensive soup to produce if you want to do it right. My wife of course is worth every minute, so no complaint here :)

A good soup always starts with a good stock. The added benefit of course is you're cooking the chicken you'll be using for the soup. Standard stuff here, chicken (of course), celery, thyme, carrots, peppercorn, and bay leaf. I cut some time out of it by only simmering the stock for an hour, as opposed to an hour and a half. I didn't want the chicken to fall apart in shreds.

On to assembling the soup. Simple here, lots of the same veggies that went into the stock are chopped fresh. Gotta remember to pull out the thyme and bay leaf at the ends but all you do is dump the whole thing in and put the noodles in at the last second. I think I ended up with like 3 quarts of soup. mmm mmm good.

Hopefully we're get to a regular bento soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Gadgetry: Indoor Grill

Got a new kitchen gadget! I bought an indoor grill with some holdover gift certificate that we had. I've always had a problem with grilling stuff. It's just too much effort to fire up the grill just to make something for one meal. You gotta clean it, you gotta fire it up etc. etc. Perfect solution: an indoor grill you can temperature control and fits on the counter! I couldn't help it, I had to build a whole bento around the fact I could grill on demand.

I found these amazingly huge sea scallops at the store. I couldn't help it I had to put something together. So a simple soy honey sea scallops grilled to perfection. I think it'll be interesting to hear back to see how well they re-heated. I tried to undercook just a touch so that the microwave wouldn't produce a tough chewy scallop. I think the right thing to do was to grill at the max setting, I would have gotten some better grill marks. Still yummy, just not as pretty as I would have hoped.

Had to add a bit of color and what better than some grilled asparagus. Easy enough, but I came across this recipe for a parsley sauce (similar to a chimichurri actually, just no cilantro). It provides that lemony hit that I would normally just squeeze on to finish. A little bit goes a long way here.

Yes light on the number of items this time around. This was actually the first side/dessert that caused me to 1) buy an indoor grill 2) center my theme around grilling. Drunken grilled pineapple. Basically, you're grilling a pineapple and glazing it with rum and brown sugar. Top it off with a bit of coconut and you have a proper Caribbean treat.

Mixed reviews on my grill I think it's a larger issue of not understanding how to gauge temperature and appropriate application towards my recipes. That just requires some time to get past it. The grill itself was super easy to use and clean which makes it perfect for those times I want to get a grilled steak or some kebabs.

Box Contents
  • Soy honey grilled sea scallops
  • Grilled asparagus with parsley sauce
  • Drunken grilled pineapple with coconut