Good Eats

I’ve been very conscious of my food intake for the past week or so… even though I did not gain a pound on our wonderfully excessive cruise vacation, I know I could stand to lose some of that excess flab. The added danger presently is the abundance of snackage here at home. I think I’ve done a fair job this past week of snacking on carrots, grapes and fat-free pudding.

The weekend is also dangerous, with eating out and socializing in the mix. But this weekend wasn’t so bad at all.

On Saturday morning, my friend Michelle and I went out to Santana Row to catch a glimpse of my hero, AB, giving a knife demonstration and book signing. The strange thing was that I had to reserve a spot weeks in advance for this event, yet it took place in an open courtyard with seemingly unorganized seating arrangements… so unfortunately, I didn’t have a prime seat for the demo. AB attempted to prepare a gazpacho, utilizing a few different knife techniques. Since he was primarily speaking about knife skills, he didn’t get the finish the recipe… but he graciously answered lots and lots of questions and interjected a lot of his signature humor into the demo.

After the demo, everyone scurried to Sur la Table to wait in line for the book signing. He stated that he would stay until he met every last person in line… this hinted to me that maybe he was responsible for changing the event from reservations only to free for all… which is actually a good thing. The line snaked through the store, which was a bit dangerous for Mish and I… we good some good looks at lots of kitchen equipment that we’d love to have in our homes.

He’s a very personable guy, very friendly, and his sense of humor persisted through the entire time we were there No wonder he has so many fans. Upon first sight, he would extend his hand and exclaim, “Hi! I’m Alton Brown!” to every single person.

As a good food geek would, he immediately looked at my shirt and exclaimed “Caffeine!”… and not to leave Mish out, he looked at her shirt and said, “uhh… BAT!” Michelle described the meeting to others that evening that AB “looked at our boobs”. 😉

Inspired by AB and a few recent Good Eats episodes, I took it upon it myself that evening to make the Fish Roll with Compound Butter for dinner, since we were staying in that night. If you can’t tell from the picture, it consists of an ocean scallop wrapped in a flounder filet, wrapped in a salmon filet. I would highly recommend this recipe… it’s easy, fast, and it looks pretty. The only white wine we had on hand was a Pinot Grigio, which didn’t necessarily go with the fish, but we drank a couple of glasses anyway.

The best part? The recipe made a lotta servings, so we were able to have leftovers last night. I threw in some stir-fried beans with toasted almond slivers, too (thanks to Erik for the inspiration).

Yum!

pigs in a blanket

We are happy to report, with full bellies, that AB‘s “Instant” Pancake Mix is really freakin’ good. Fluffy, buttery, and super yummy. The recipe makes a boatload of pancakes, so invite some friends over to share!

Thanks to Good Eats Community on Orkut, I got the lead on this recipe. Thanks, guys!

on organics

I’ve really been into buying and consuming organic foods lately.

Okay, before you start calling me a card-carrying California Hippie, hear me out.

A recent interview on KQED’s Forum started my quest. Scoff if you must, but plenty of good points were made by Nell Newman of Newman’s Own Organics. Not only are organic foods good for the environment, they can be better for you.

In a Good Eats episode aired a while back, Alton Brown mentioned his use of organic milk (lowfat, not skim, for the flavor is a lot better) in making fresh yogurt from scratch. This prompted me to try a carton of organic milk, especially since the local market had it on sale for an equal price to regular milk. There is a difference! The milk tastes more… milky. It’s a true flavor, maybe even a bit creamy, if you may.

I recently started buying Wallaby yogurt, which is also organic. I bought it at first because it was one of the few yogurts on the shelf that had no corn syrup in it (which, in itself, is a bad thing for you as well, but that’s another blog entry for another day). Labeled as low-fat organic yogurt, it tasted better than many high-fat yogurts on the market.

I could go on and on about my good experiences with organic foods. There’s really no argument from me on what’s best to buy. It’s a win-win situation. You buy foods that are better for you, they taste better, you support small and local farmers, and you’re promoting the well-being of our planet. As easy as it is to pick up the mass-produced products at any old market, the extra effort to find and purchase organics is worth it, IMHO… although most often at higher prices.

totally unrelated side note: this was an entry I started writing last June and totally forgot to finish.

Got Rice?

It’s funny that I am picky about something as silly as rice.

I guess it’s because I was raised on the white grained stuff, and have always had a well-stocked rice cooker available at my disposal for almost every meal.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a pinch and bought a small bag of cheapo California rice at the local market. We noticed an immediate difference when we made a batch that evening… I didn’t even have to tell Kevin that it was a different kind than we are used to (we normally buy a certain medium-grained “Extra Fancy Premium Grade” Japanese rice). We weren’t too pleased.

Heh, and we thought that the challenge on Happy Family Plan for a father to be able to distinguish between different rice brands (and name the prefectures where they are grown in) was crazy.

My question is for the rest of you rice-noshers out there: what brand of white rice do you normally consume? Short, medium or long grained?

choco fix

For those of you worried about those nasty ol’ trans fats, but love your Oreos

Not to fear! I’ve tried the Trader Joe’s “Joe Joes” cookies, and they are just as good, if not, better than those bad bad Oreos. Delightfully crispy wafers, and really good chocolate cream filling… *drool*

No, this isn’t an advert, you silly person.

But, oh my… these are really good. *munch munch*