Showing posts from October, 2009

Goodbye Gourmet Magazine Bento

Wow looky there I just crossed 20k visitors thank you all for dropping by! Today's post I bring you a farewell to an institution of the food magazine world. Gourmet magazine recently announced their closure and it's a sad thing to see a publication that's 70 years old go to the wayside. There's many opinions, "They needed to change with the times", "food publications have lost to the tv networks and how they present food", and my favorite "just goes to show how no one cooks at home anymore". I digest food magazines and rip out the recipes of interest, I use these as points of view to teaching me to "make it my own", the loss of one more point of view is always sad. Gourmet actually gave me my holy grail of black forest cake recipes, something I've only found at a small bakery in Ft. Worth. Granted I was always annoyed that most of their recipes spanned multiple pages, but certainly it was no reason that I would not buy a cop…

Home Cured Bacon Madness

Wow, two posts in two days will wonders never cease? Well I've had this one queued up for sometime waiting for a week where I have a bento intermission. So as I have long promised here's a brief post on my adventures in bacon making. This is something I've been wanting to do since I first taste home cured bacon by Ryan from NoseToTailatHome, it's so different from the regular stuff you find in the grocery store. The only way for me to describe it is it's got a fresher flavor (even out of the freezer) and a more substantial meaty quality. If you come over you can try some. :)

The hardest part about making bacon was securing the sodium nitrite necessary for the salt cure. Pink salt is the necessary ingredient in the cure to insure you don't get an unfortunate case of botulism. Why is it pink? I'm very glad you asked, after a bit of research, I found that sodium nitrite is naturally pure white and actually toxic in high amounts. Since it's used in kitchen …

Me and my hero

Ok no food post this week, I was away from the kitchen but my plan is to do a few non-bento posts while I am away. This first one is my media event book signing with Alton Brown. Mr. Brown is a huge part of how and why I cook. Cooking was in my genes growing up in a restaurant, but Alton was my reason for looking into the curiosity of cooking. Why? how? when? where? these were the fundamental questions of looking into various ethnic cuisines and my earlier food experimentation, heck even dissecting my father's cooking. Alton brought out this thirst for knowledge which really makes up a part of why and how I cook today (even a good part of this blog). My high point was that I was able to utter the phrase I didn't manage 7 years ago, "Um just wanted to say, Alton Brown you are my hero!" He looked stunned and gracious, and although he probably hears it everyday he seemed to have taken it with genuine gratitude.

I've been to a few of his book signings here's a pic…

Octoberfest Bento

It's cold, it's October, time for some more hearty food and where better to find such food than to celebrate with a German themed Oktoberfest Bento. It was tempting to go with standard well known Oktoberfest/German foods. I was ready to break out the meat grinder and sausage stuffer for some bratwurst when I stopped myself and thought, what else do Germans eat? Thinking back to my business trip this summer, the menus I saw in Frankfurt were chock full of great tasting foods. So I began researching German foods and came up with an nice list of stuff and found some good stuff from various "Omas" (grandmothers) and made some modifications for my own tastes voila we have lunch

Let's start with the main entree Kummel Klopse. I'm a sucker for meatballs, really, if there's a list of things I can make and meatballs is on that list, then I'm going for the meatballs. I'm fascinated that every society/culture has some form of meatball, they are all different …

Foodblogger Event: Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Whew, lots of events this week and plenty of pictures to be had. Tonight's event, I was invited to Fortune Chinese seafood restaurant, it's been open for four months now and is ensconced in the Chinatown Center in north Austin. They've taken over a previous restaurant and redesigned and hired a new executive chef hailing from Los Angeles. The menu looks very authentic and I for sure will be returning to order just about one of everything on the menu (perhaps with camera covertly in tow :) ). The restaurant is huge, boasting 9000 square feet of banquet space and a fairly good sized bar to the side. They pride themselves on serving dim sum seven days a week (one cart on the week day, but full on Friday thru Sunday) and specialize on Chinese seafood straight from the tank.

The tasting event was hosted by the owners Sara (pictured) and Pat Lee. The husband and wife team were quick to make everyone feel at home and seemed like proud parents of their new restaurant. Bacardi help…

Fall with Old Friends Bento

Yeah I know I'm really shoehorning in a theme this week. Another fall themed bento, this time I found a way to cook for my old audience. One of them lives very close by so I can drop my boxes off on the way to work. That's right folks, I'm officially up to 12 total eaters, my next few bentos will prove educational on scaling recipes. For today, I only needed to cook for three, my work just moved offices downtown so there was no way to know where or how I would be bringing food to the office, we'll see if I'm able to standup to the logistics of cooking for two destinations and 12 hungry eaters.

I decided on a set of fallish themed dishes. This time I had to clear out some things in the fridge and take the time to research what I was going to produce. So I had plenty of time to put together a plan and really think about cohesive themes. But the most important part was to use up some of the stuff I had stocked up. Which brings us to the main entree: Spiced Crab Cakes. …

Foodblogger Event: Zoes Kitchen

I was invited to checkout a new restaurant: Zoes Kitchen. It's tucked away in the arboretum area, it's got a nice hip vibe. The only way to describe it is "family friendly food with a Mediterranean influence" it's fast foodish in that you order at the counter but the setting is an enjoyable open space where you can share a glass of wine with your food. It's a nice in-between where dinner/lunch doesn't have to be a big production.

Our hosts for the evening, first we have Kevin Miles and Jennifer Mims from the corporate offices. Next we have Abraham Houma with his brother Hasoum (not pictured) are the local corporate partners that manage and oversee the Austin restaurant. Just a bit of background both brothers worked within the Zoes portfolio restaurants before joining Zoes and moving up to partnering and opening the Austin location. Zoes does franchise but many of it's restaurants are corporately owned. Everyone was eager to speak to Zoes young company…