BMEWS
 
When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Tuesday - February 24, 2009

Formula for perfect pancake unveiled by scientists.  (TIME FOR LIGHTHEARTED STUFF. ONCE)

Right.

After this it’s back to blood and gore and politics and muslims.
But right now, this is more fun.

Attention Americans watching.  Measures here in UK NOT the same as home in USA.
For example, you might notice the chef in the video with what we (USA) call a soup spoon.
NOT OVER HERE.
No.  Over here that large spoon is a dessert spoon.

They have a pancake thing here during Shrove Tuesday. Pancake day. And their pancakes are NOT like ours either.
We’d call em crepes. And they are.

Sometime last year a returning Brit who’d been to Florida came back with horror stories of thick pancakes served as a meal and served with bacon and syrup. 

The crepes shown here are dessert. Not the main meal.

Whatever.  I’ll take Bisquick any day.  Do like crepes tho with butter and a dash of lemon and sugar after it comes off the stove.  Roll it up and yum.

Have fun.

music is pretty annoying. why do they think they need that?

Formula for perfect pancake unveiled by scientists
Dr Ruth Fairclough, a mathematics professor, has cooked up a complicated formula for the perfect pancake - just in time for Shrove Tuesday.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 8:35AM GMT 24 Feb 2009

Dr Fairclough, a lecturer of mathematics and statistics at Wolverhampton University, has plotted the pancake’s creation down to the last detail.

She says the frying pan’s temperature is one of the most important parts, together with the preparation of the tasty batter.

However, the secret recipe in full is: 100 - [10L - 7F + C(k - C) + T(m - T)]/(S - E) with the closer you get to a 100 - the better the pancake.

In the complex formula L represents the number of lumps in the batter and C equals its consistency.

The letter F stands for the flipping score, k is the ideal consistency and T is the temperature of the pan.

Ideal temp of pan is represented by m, S is the length of time the batter stands before cooking and E is the length of time the cooked pancake sits before being eaten.

She said: “I came up with it because I love making pancakes for my two girls, they can’t get enough of them.

“The first thing to do is that you must get the pan temperature exactly right. When the oil starts lightly smoking you need to pour the mixture in.

“The next thing is that you have to get the consistency of the mix spot on - it can’t be too runny as if it is the pancake just falls to bits.

“Saying that, it can’t have any lumps in it either.

“You can check it’s right by lifting up a spoon and the mixture should just fall lightly off it.

“You should let the mix stand for 20 minutes so the flour has time to absorb into the milk. Make sure you have a medium sized pan, too big and it could be really hard to flip it.

“The pancake should be served piping hot off the pan with sugar and lemon.”

Meanwhile Asda has seen a 13 fold increase in the number Non Stick Aluminium Frying Pan – perfect for Pancake Day.

Honey is all up 105 per cent year on year and maple syrup is up more than three fold in the same period.

PANCAKES


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 02/24/2009 at 08:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFun-StuffUK •  
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calendar   Thursday - January 22, 2009

Responsible Drinking

Thanks to João Faria da Silva




Peiper sends me things in the mail. Often it’s an envelope full of clippings from the English newspapers, writing about the knife crime, the nulabor government’s latest silliness, etc. Sometimes it’s the real estate section, showing all the gigantic old manor houses up for sale. And so forth; all interesting bits. Sometimes he gets wise and sends me vacation guides to fwance, where they have figured out that they can make money touring groups through all the local wineries, letting them buy bottles by the case right at the source, and even giving the tour in actual English!

A few weeks ago he sent me some coffee. English coffee. I know, that sounds like an oxymoron; England is famous for wonderful tea and God-awful coffee. But what he sent was so ... quintessentially English. “Lazy Sunday”, a blend from Taylor’s of Harrowgate [a-oh my!], a coffee blend made just for reading the Sunday paper and doing to crossword puzzle. And I thought we had specialization here in America! It was very nice, and very light. I noticed the bag was marked “a fair trade product” but didn’t look into that. I wrote back that while it was enjoyable, I usually drink a far stronger blend, more of a “Frantic Monday” than a Lazy Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, the Taylor’s of Harrowgate blend was very tasty. And I adore the brand name. I went around the house for days, playing at being English, saying “Ahye ahm dring-king Tay lawrs ohv Hahro gate” until my wife threw a pillow at me. [yes, I am easily amused.]

So this time, along with another fabulous greeting card, he sends me a little sack of Douwe Egberts. I’d never heard of him. Or it. Douwe Egberts. A brand name that sounds like they should be selling pipe tobacco. This is a much stronger blend, nearly as rich and potent as my usual grind. I like it. But the coffee isn’t sold because it’s good strong coffee. No. This coffee is sold because of the way it’s procured. Really! The blend line is called “Good Origins”, and the selling point of this “Utz Kapeh certified responsible coffee” is that it is “Traceable from farm to cup”. And it is! I hit the company web site, read the spiel, clicked on the links, and found that my beans were grown on the Fazenda Johá farm and picked by João Faria da Silva. Amazing. This is Liberal Guilt gone mad.

Fazenda Johá is part of the coffee project Terra Forte. This is the biggest coffee project in the world set up around the passion for quality coffee. The worldwide biggest single producer under the management of João Faria da Silva and the and Grande Leste Agropecuaria have joined their efforts to achieve professional management, production and commercialization of specialty coffees. The philosophy of the project is to invest in agricultural techniques, social and environmental projects, provide efficient logistic. Terra Forte is known for its quality coffee and high productivity as well as their social and environmental responsibility.

A little more exploration made me feel ever so much better, knowing that the poor exploited native worker’s lives are actually improved by their long days bending over the coffee bushes picking beans.

Impact on our organization

There was a change in the way we think and act. The farms have become well organized and managed. The workers have received extensive training and can conduct their work much more safely. The environment is respected and protected adequately.

Yeah. Extensive training. And adequate protection. “Jose, pick the red beans, not the green ones! But first you spray the bush with some poison to kill off the spiders and lizards. Then you pick the beans.”

And it’s not just Douwe Egbert doing this. I gather there is a whole worldwide - or at least Europe-wide - movement to better the lives and working conditions of the poor downtrodden natives who grow and pick the coffee. And it’s all “sustainable growth” with “natural fertilizers” that “minimize global impact” because ... the coffee bushes take several years to mature and can produce for a number of seasons, so you don’t just rip the plants out of the ground and shake off the beans. And you have to put all that donkey shit somewhere, so you may as well hide it under the bushes.

Yup, it’s a whole movement. “UTZ certified”:

UTZ Certified Responsible coffee growing

UTZ CERTIFIED is a global non governmental organisation which operates a mainstream certification programme for sustainable coffee based on pillars of economic, social and environmental well being.

Together with UTZ CERTIFIED, we are helping farmers look after their workers, their families and the environment in which they live and work. UTZ CERTIFIED certification assures that:

* Workers and their families have access to healthcare, clean water and decent housing
* Children have access to schooling
* Fertilisers and agrochemicals are used minimally and controlled
* Workers are trained and their labour rights are protected
* The use of water and energy is minimised
* Environmental pollution is reduced

UTZ CERTIFIED certification is renewed annually so you can be sure that it is up to date and continues to adhere to the UTZ CERTIFIED Code of Conduct – a set of criteria for responsible coffee growing practices and efficient farm management.

The UTZ CERTIFIED certification does not dictate or guarantee coffee prices, rather it enables farmers to achieve a better price for their coffee themselves and gain more competitiveness in their market.

You can explore this entire amazing, wonderful, guilt reducing world through the Douwe Egberts portal. I never knew. I never cared, or even knew I should care. Or knew that I should feel bad because I didn’t know that I didn’t know or care.

I’m off to the grocery store to pick up some hamburger. Now that I am enlightened, I’m going to ask the butcher what the cow’s name was, and if she was happy.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/22/2009 at 12:29 PM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessDaily LifeDemocrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsFine-DiningInternationalNature •  
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calendar   Friday - January 16, 2009

Hey Lardass

Obese Americans now outweigh the merely overweight



Two thirds of adult Americans are at least chubby, and more than half of those folks are BFFers. 

The number of obese American adults outweighs the number of those who are merely overweight, according to the latest statistics from the federal government.

Numbers posted by the National Center for Health Statistics show that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7 percent who are overweight. It said just under 6 percent are “extremely” obese.

“More than one-third of adults, or over 72 million people, were obese in 2005-2006, the NCHS said in its report.

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“Although the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980, the prevalence of overweight has remained stable over the same time period,” it said.

Obesity and overweight are calculated using a formula called body mass index. BMI is equal to weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Someone with a BMI of 25 to 29 is classified as overweight, 30 to 40 counts as obese and people with BMIs of 40 or more are morbidly obese.

In May, the CDC reported that 32 percent of U.S. children fit the definition of being overweight, 16 percent were obese and 11 percent were extremely obese.

In the rest of the world, mostly, it’s the rich people who are overweight, while the poor starve. In America it’s the rich people who are in good shape, while the poor are portly. Amazing. And according to Yahoo, it’s only going to get worse for them, as they start putting on the “recession pounds”!

Americans may reduce the amount they spend on food in response to a sour economy but some experts fear they may pick up weight in the process.

The specter of “recession pounds” is a concern weighing on health professionals, who point to numerous studies linking obesity and unhealthy eating habits to low incomes.

They fear that as people cut food spending they will cut back on healthy but relatively expensive items such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains, in favor of cheaper options high in sugar and saturated fats.

“People ... are going to economize and as they save money on food they will be eating more empty calories or foods high in sugar, saturated fats and refined grains, which are cheaper,” said Adam Drewnowski, the director of the Nutrition Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Things are going to get worse,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview. “Obesity is a toxic result of a failing economic environment.”

Drewnowski’s own research has highlighted the link between income and obesity.

“In Seattle we have found that there are fivefold differences in obesity rates depending on the zip code—the low-income zip codes have a much higher proportion of obese people,” he said.

A little bit of study will show you that the BMI is not perfect, since it doesn’t allow for people who are heavily muscled or have larger bones than average. But it is still a reasonable indicator. To calculate your own BMI, multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide that number by the square of your height in inches. Thus is you weighed 250 and were 5’10” tall, that would be (250*703) / (70*70) = 175,750 / 4,900 = 35.865, halfway to being a seriously BFFer. Yup, that’s me. Time to diet again. There are lots of BMI calculators online, and several variations on the theme which give you a comfortable “ideal” weight for your age and so forth.

But the bottom line is that most of us have more bottom line than we need. By far.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/16/2009 at 08:42 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Wednesday - January 07, 2009

Nothing To Eat

I’m sure you’ve been a bit hungry sometimes, and at odds about what to make. Perhaps your cooking skills are just as poor as mine. So you look around the kitchen and all you find is leftovers. A bit of this, half of that, a few things that will soon go bad. But nothing that’s really appealing all by itself. That’s where I was today, so I made this stuff up. Also, I wanted to find something I could make with all these cans of Spam. My brother found that Spam now comes in flavors, so he bought me half a dozen different ones, and a plastic case to store the can in, in case of leftovers. Awesome! [/sarcasm]

So I came up with this. You probably have most of the ingredients already.

Southwestern Toss Up

(aka Hurl)

1 1lb can black beans
1 1lb can “Hot ‘n Spicy” Spam
1 cup rice
2 cups of water
about half a bag of frozen corn
part of a red pepper
part of a green pepper
part of an onion
part of a jar of salsa
about half a pound of ground beef
some spices: chili powder, ground cumin, epazote
hot sauce

Put the water in a small pot along with a splat of oil and a few shakes of salt. Boil it. Take the pot off the heat, add the rice. Stir. Put it back on the heat, stir it until the water boils again. Reduce heat and stir for one minute, until the rice foam goes away. Turn off the heat. Stir the rice for another 30 seconds, then cover the pot and leave it alone.

In a medium pot, pour in the entire can of beans, sauce and all. Add a spoonful of epazote (this is the herb that Bean-O is made from. It cuts the wind. It really does.) Add a spoonful of cumin powder. Stir it all up and leave it to simmer gently.

Take the peppers and the onion and cut them up into little bits. Add them to another small pot along with the corn and about 1/2 cup water. Add half a dozen shakes of hot sauce. Boil it, covered, for about 5 minutes until the corn is softened.

Take a really large frying pan. Open the Spam and cut it into 6 slices. Fry the Spam. Take a big knife and a cutting board, and cut each slice into thirds lengthwise, then into quarters crosswise. That way you get 12 bite sized bits per slice.

Wipe out the frying pan and cook the hamburger. Break it up as it cooks. Add a few shakes of cumin and a few shakes of chili powder. When it’s cooked, drain off the fat. Pour the salsa over the meat, stir it up, and let it simmer for another few minutes.

Give the beans a stir. You want to simmer them for at least 10 minutes to get the epazote working. The rice is done when the pot has cooled enough so that you can hold it with your hands.

When the corn is done, pour it into the pot with the beans. Stir. Add in the hamburger and the Spam. Stir. Transfer the cooked rice from the little pot to the big frying pan. Set the heat to medium and break the rice up. Pour on the bean mixture from the other pot and stir the whole thing up. Serve it. There is enough here for at least 4 people, maybe 6.




Ok, it isn’t very pretty. The alternate name is accurate but not appealing. But it’s got a lot of protien, a lot of carbs, and enough flavor to not be bland. A bowl full will fill you up. You can add some to your eggs in the morning. Instant South West omelet. You can wrap some up in tortillas and bake them with some cheese on top. Instant enchiladas.

The only downside is that now you have several pots and pans to clean up. Here’s some more hair porn.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/07/2009 at 05:19 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Tuesday - January 06, 2009

Another Fishy Story

Sushi Tuna sells for $100,000 at Auction



Can you imagine being the lucky stiff on the party boat who reeled this one in? You’d be set. Still hungry, but set.

TOKYO (Jan. 5) — Two sushi bar owners paid more than $100,000 for a Japanese bluefin tuna at a Tokyo fish auction Monday, several times the average price and the highest in nearly a decade, market officials said.
The 282-pound premium tuna caught off the northern coast of Oma fetched $104,700, the highest since 2001, when another Japanese bluefin tuna brought an all-time record of 20 million yen, market official Takashi Yoshida said.

Yoshida said the extravagant purchase — about $370 per pound — went to a Hong Kong sushi bar owner and his Japanese competitor who reached a peaceful settlement to share the big fish. The Hong Kong buyer also paid the highest price at last year’s new year event at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the world’s largest fish seller, which holds near-daily auctions.

A slightly bigger imported bluefin caught off the eastern United States sold for $15,400 in Monday’s auction.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/06/2009 at 06:45 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Wednesday - December 17, 2008

Good eats, maybe

Ok, the rib roast is out of the oven, and it looks like it came out just fine. We haven’t had a roast beef in so long. It’s just the two of us, and to make a good roast beef you need a nice big one. At least 6 pounds, 8-10 is even better. So we found this 4 pound prime rib in the grocery store ... and said WTH.

I gave it a nice rub with made from

1/4 cup Penzey’s addictive Turkish seasoning, dampened with 1 Tbs water
2 Tbs olive oil
a few shakes of pizza peppers

because a) Turkish seasoning is awesome, and b) we like things a bit spicy here

Okay, into the roasting pan, 10 minutes at 450 F, reduce heat to 250, come back in a couple hours. When I checked it, the internal temperature was 140 F, so that’s done enough. Looks great, smells heavenly. And there are drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan. And that means only one thing. Yorkshire Pudding!!

Ok, I know the English take a lot of grief for their cooking. I guess it just isn’t fancy enough for the rest of the world. Too bad. Properly made Yorkshire Pudding is a delight. And it’s dead easy to mix up.

1 cup sifted flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt only if you haven’t rubbed the roast with a seasoning with salt in it. I did, so no extra salt is really needed.

1/4 - 1/3 cup pan drippings, set aside

Heat the oven back up to 450 F. Mix the milk into the eggs, mix the salt into the flour, then pour the liquid into the dry and have at it with the mixer. Wipe a bit of butter around the inside of a glass baking dish and put it in the oven. Return to mixing the batter. When the baking dish has had a couple minutes to warm up, pour in the pan drippings. They will sizzle! Now pour in all the batter, and put it all back in the oven. Give it 15 minutes at 450 F, then reduce the heat to 350 F and give it 10-20 minutes more. It will puff up enormously and start to brown. Pull it out when you think it’s brown enough ... with luck it will look about like this:


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The moment this comes out of the oven it starts to fall. That’s OK. When it’s cooled a bit cut it into nice sized slices and serve.

And that’s all there is to it. This is an old recipe, and a simple one. And about 10,000 variations exist on it. I even asked my wife’s sister’s husband’s mother, who is an ACTUAL English Persontm about the recipes, and [horrors!] not only does she make hers in fairy cake tins (muffin pans for us gauche Yanks), she doesn’t put in any drippings. And I gather she cooks them stone hard. I’ve gone to English restaurants (this is not an oxymoron! Visit the Ship Inn in Milford NJ, right around the corner from those idiot neo-Nazis I posted about earlier) and been served YP done the same way. It’s terrible. You get a giant crispy popover filled with air. Tasteless.  So don’t overcook it!

My mother’s YP always came out soft and chewy, with a consistency somewhere between jello and bread. It was truly beef-cake, and is slightly greasy when cold but just as tasty. She might have put in twice the amount of drippings?

Gotta go turn down the oven. It’s time. Mmmm, I can’t hardly wait.

PS - the zeitgeist of your seasonings will be magnified about twenty fold in the pan drippings. So be warned. Which means “Drew, you probably shouldn’t have put ANY pizza peppers in at all!” LOL


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/17/2008 at 04:39 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 11, 2008

If I cook it they will run

I tried my hand at making Swedish Meatballs for dinner tonight. I faithfully followed the recipe in the Joy of Cooking cookbook. Page 723! And it sucks. The gravy comes out Ok, but the meatballs are pretty much tasteless. I hate when typos get into cookbooks. I Googled up a few recipes on the ‘net, and most of them look just as awful. They all have at least one screwed up or missing ingredient. One calls for FIVE CANS of condensed milk. Another neglects to include any meat. Give me a break already.



The Joy Of Cooking Flavor-Free Swedish Meatballs

meat mix:
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 cup water
butter
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt

sauce:
flour
2 cups beef stock

makes 90 meatballs



You can tell right away something is wrong here. This recipe must have been put together by someone allergic to taste. 1 tablespoon of onion? Oh come on. 1/4 teaspoon of allspice? For 90 meatballs? Sheez. And notice that there is no sour cream/milk/condensed milk/condensed cream of mushroom soup to make the gravy with. Funny, just about every other Swedish Meatball recipe out there uses it, including the world famous IKEA recipe:

IKEA gravy:

* 100ml cream
* 200ml beef stock
* soy sauce
* 1 tbsp white flour
* salt, white pepper

Nope, not The Joy of Cooking tasteless food

So away we go ... melt a little butter, soften up the onions [Drew: next time, chop up a whole frickin onion. 1 tablespoon of minced onion is only 1/4 of 1 slice. Maybe they meant dried onion?]
bread crumbs in bowl, add water, let sit.

Measure out spices, separate eggs. [what am I supposed to do with 2 eggs whites??]

Put everything in a big mixing bowl and have at it with the power mixer for several minutes. The mix gets just about fluffy after 5 minutes on High, which is what you want. Hey, I get fluffy after 5 minutes on High too, but those days are behind me.

Heat half a stick of butter in a big frying pan. Slowly. When the bubbles stop forming it’s hot enough. Turn the oven on to about 325.

Form the meatballs using either the “2 spoons and some cold water” method, or the “just grab a little baby squeeze of meat from the bowl with your fingers, and then a fast dip in a bowl of water and ball it up” method, . Keep them small. Really small. Quarter sized or less. This recipe should make 80-90 meatballs! Fry them up 2 dozen at a time ... set up a production line:

While heating the butter in the frying pan, turn out a dozen meatballs. Butter done bubbling? Good, it’s ready to go. Set heat to medium.
Put the meatballs in to fry. You want them to sizzle gently. This isn’t Burger King.
Make another dozen
Turn the meatballs in the pan
Add the new batch to the pan
Make another dozen
Remove the first dozen from the pan, put on paper towels on a big plate
Turn the second dozen
Add the third dozen
make another dozen
Remove the second dozen from the pan, put on paper towels on the big plate
Turn the third dozen
Make another dozen
[lather, rinse, repeat. You get the idea]

When all the meatballs are cooked ... c’mon, scrape that bowl, you know you can make another meatball from the little meat bits stuck to the sides ... transfer them from the big plate to a baking dish in the oven. Turn off the frying pan. [ you did use a non-stick pan, right? Good! ] Scrape all the greasy goosh in the pan loose with a rubber spatula. Leave it in the middle of the pan.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of flour to the buttery grease in the pan. Stir it around, then turn the heat back on low. Let the mess cook for a couple minutes while you open up two 14oz cans of beef broth, or one 24oz can of beef stock [ huh, I never knew there was a difference. Beef Stock is much tastier! ] Add a bit of stock to the pan and whisk away. Hey, we’re making gravy now! Keep adding stock a little at a time until each new splash comes back to a boil. Cook it gently for about 5 minutes.

If the gravy goes all lumpy, pour the whole damn thing into a Magic Bullet mini-blender and vvvvvrrrrrrriiiiiiinggg! Instant smoothness, no lumps. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Pour gravy over meatballs, let cook for 10 minutes in the oven. Turn meatballs over, let cook some more. Serve over noodles or whatever.

And the verdict is .... these things suck. Tasteless. Bland. Needs a ton of salt and lots more onion and lots more spice.

Next time, double the amount of spices. Add a big shot of pepper to the gravy. Use the whole damn egg, not just the yolk. Make the gravy, then add about a cup of sour cream or 1/2 cup of heavy cream or half ‘n half. Try adding a few shakes of cinnamon to the meatball mix, along with a little ginger and a dash of ground cloves. Not sure cardamom would work, but the Norskis use it in everything else so maybe. I’d think about adding a splash of Worcestershire sauce and maybe some cayenne or paprika to the gravy as well. Maybe another tablespoon of minced onions if I’m feeling daring. And some salt. Or at least I won’t pick up “reduced sodium” broth next time by accident.

So I guess I will be eating meatballs for the next few days. Hey, worst comes to worst, I have lots and lots and lots of hot sauce in the house.

Oy vey. And there is no beer here either. Damn.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/11/2008 at 08:49 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningStoopid-People •  
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calendar   Thursday - November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Graphics

A Peiper derived link to a simple animated greeting card.




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See More Below The Fold

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/27/2008 at 11:51 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFun-StuffHumor •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 30, 2008

HARD TIMES FOR AMERICANS?

Drew in a past post recently mentioned “research” which I confess I have not done with this story.
It’s being reported by at least one of the guys, Tom Leonard, from L.A.  Or at least, he was reporting from there earlier last week.

Mr Leonard, reporting from L.A., filed a story that mentioned the riots in LA and Rodney King who he wrote, had been “murdered by LA cops thus setting off riots.” He was referring of course to that unfortunate episode many yrs ago when some jerk video taped King being mugged by cops. yeah. They wanted his cell phone and play station I guess.

Anyway ... I just want my fellow Americans to know, should things get really bad over there, well ..... you could apply for aid from the EU who just love our asses. Not!

American portions reduce as food prices rise By Tom Leonard and Alex Spillius
Last Updated: 1:57AM BST 30/04/2008

Faced with growing delivery costs driven by higher fuel prices, many US restaurants have done the previously unthinkable and introduced smaller food portions served on smaller plates.

Hey really folks. Is that true? Nah ...

The increase in fuel prices was identified yesterday as the biggest issue affecting the lives of ordinary Americans. It surpassed even unemployment and home repossessions, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Until now, Americans have taken for granted the relative cheapness of petrol and food. Although $3·60 (£1·80) for a gallon of petrol still seems inexpensive by European standards, the 25 per cent increase from last year is causing considerable pain in a country that continues to run big gas-guzzling vehicles.

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America has reported that motorists are increasingly driving off from the pumps without paying.

The increase has hit the haulage business hardest. Truckers, who are now paying up to $1,500 (£750) to fill up with diesel, have launched a series of protests in US cities.

William Lockridge, of the Washington Metropolitan Area Truckers’ Association, said drivers were barely breaking even. “If the truck stops, the economy stops. We need help and we need it now,” he said.

The US has also been feeling the pinch from the rising cost of wheat, which has pushed up bread and pasta prices. The acreage devoted to the crop has fallen by 27 per cent since 1981, some of that because wheat farmers are turning to producing ethanol for biofuels.

President George W Bush tried yesterday to play down ethanol’s role, but still estimated it was responsible for 15 per cent of the food price rise.

http://tinyurl.com/6fpj4b


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 04/30/2008 at 03:37 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Friday - March 28, 2008

Thai Food Jones

Just a quick post. We got some take out Thai tonight from the fancy little place downtown here, and I’m a bit let down. It’s not that we didn’t know better, it’s that we’re spoiled. There are at least 6 top notch Thai places within an hour from where we live, several even garnering top Zagat ratings, but the local joint isn’t so good. But when you’re hungry, and you’ve got to have it now ... well, you know.

Masaman curry is my current favorite. While I cherish many of the other dishes, this one to me is just plain old comfort food. It’s a cross cultural delight; Masaman means Musselman, which is an old way of saying Muslim. So, to support our side, I always order it with pork. See, back in the day the traders brought spices and recipes to Siam from India and the Middle-East, and this one caught on there as an exciting foreign food. All it really is, is marinated meat simmered up in coconut milk with a hot and sweet red curry sauce with extra cinnamon and cardomom, with potatoes and onions added. Sometimes green beans or green peas find their way in, but the best recipes will always have some cashews cooked into them too. Or peanuts, but boiling cashews in coconut milk does something wonderful, whereas peanuts just get soft. Served over steamed rice, a good Masaman isn’t that hot*, just rich and flavorful. And so wonderfully addicting, if you can find a restaurant that makes it right. Our local place can’t. And they don’t even serve it with Ahjaad, which is cucumbers and onions in sweetened vinegar, and has to be the easiest and cheapest side dish on earth.

I’m going to try my hand at making it again. I’ve done this before, and failed. Badly. What I made was edible, but it was Masaman. Here’s one very basic recipe, and here’s a much more authentic one. I’ll get a can of the curry sauce from my favorite Thai place Sunday, and see what I can come up with.

image

Masaman Curry with Ahjaad on the side

It’s just meat and potatoes done foreign style with a side order of almost-pickles

graphic snagged from Thai Table

* To those unused to eating hot spiced food, ”not that hot” means enough heat to make the top of your head or your upper lip sweat a little. This might be an upsetting experience to those folks whose spices are limited to salt, black pepper, and the occassional shake of paprika from a 20 year old can. “Quite hot” will cause your tongue to sting and you will sweat. Buckets, in my case. Proper Thai Hot is usually only experienced in a bowl of the classic shrimp, mushroom, and lemongrass soup called Tom Yung Goon. It really ought to be called Tung Sai Ow. Talk about an aquired taste - made properly this stuff smells like last year’s socks. The soup comes to you boiling hot, with little globs of death-pepper oil floating on the surface. DO NOT EVER slurp this soup. If you do the pepper oil will jump off the surface and blast the back of your throat, giving you a sensation akin to loading up a 12 gauge with needles and firing it right into your mouth. After weekly eating for over a year at a Thai place run for Thai customers, not for ”farangs” (foreigners, ie, you and me) we felt we had built up enough resistance to try the soup full power. WRONG. Forget the sweat or the searing mouth burn. Forget that your lips are on fire halfway across your face. No, even ignore that you swear your eyes are bleeding fire. REAL THAI HOT means you fingers sting from coming in contact with a couple drops of the soup. That’s too much for me to handle, ever. On a more positive note, this is the bad-ass dish, and everything else is much milder in comparison. But please, take my word for it, and start off with “not spicy”. After a dozen or so meals you might be able to work up from “mild” to “medium”, and honestly, that’s enough. Any hotter and you’ll miss out on the wonderful give and take of all the different flavors that makes Thai food such a great adventure in eating.

In the USA, a really good Thai restaurant will not serve you proper Thai spice levels until they know you on sight. At which point it’s over, and you can never get anything mild there again, regardless of what you ask for. Lesser restaurants will serve anyone anything, but their idea of hot is usually just piling on the red chili powder. This is hot, but it misses out on the whole idea. Hot should also mean rich, a balance of increased heat with increased flavor.

Neither of the recipes I linked to makes a curry anywhere near as hot as I like, I can tell just reading them. But I’ll try them first, and if they’re good I’ll add more chiles next time around.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/28/2008 at 08:34 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Wednesday - February 27, 2008

Python eats family dog.

Python eats family dog in front of children
By Nick Squires in Sydney
Last Updated: 12:00pm GMT 27/02/2008

An Australian family whose pet guinea pig, cat and dog were eaten by giant pythons menacing their tropical home fears their children could be next on the predators’ menu.

The Peric family watched in horror this week as their much-loved Chihuahua was swallowed by a 16.5 ft long scrub python on the verandah of their home in Kuranda, Queensland.

for the story and GRUESOME pix >>>> http://tinyurl.com/ywlajk


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 02/27/2008 at 12:39 PM   
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calendar   Thursday - December 13, 2007

I knew it!

Now understand, your humble host could stand to loose a few pounds.  I try and work out at least twice a week and watch what I eat, but I find it very hard to loose any weight at all.  My “bad” cholesterol is borderline high, but my “good” cholesterol is very low.

Then I read this:

What if bad fat isn’t so bad?
No one’s ever proved that saturated fat clogs arteries, causes heart disease

Suppose you were forced to live on a diet of red meat and whole milk. A diet that, all told, was at least 60 percent fat — about half of it saturated. If your first thoughts are of statins and stents, you may want to consider the curious case of the Masai, a nomadic tribe in Kenya and Tanzania.

In the 1960s, a Vanderbilt University scientist named George Mann, M.D., found that Masai men consumed this very diet (supplemented with blood from the cattle they herded). Yet these nomads, who were also very lean, had some of the lowest levels of cholesterol ever measured and were virtually free of heart disease.

Scientists, confused by the finding, argued that the tribe must have certain genetic protections against developing high cholesterol. But when British researchers monitored a group of Masai men who moved to Nairobi and began consuming a more modern diet, they discovered that the men’s cholesterol subsequently skyrocketed.

I’m convinced it is the amount of additives in our diet combined with the near total lack of real grain.  What say you?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/13/2007 at 05:46 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Friday - August 10, 2007

Steak, It’s What’s For Dinner

Being Friday and over 100 degrees each day this week, with no air conditioning on the main floor of our house, firing up the grill (outside) is very much preferable to cooking anything more than toast in the house.

We buy our beef from a local farmer (when we don’t slaughter one of our own), so combining that with the venison, rabbit, pork and chicken, there is always an abundance of something to grill in the freezer.

Mrs. DuToit has posted the defining work on how to choose, prepare and eat a fine piece steak.

Steak preferences are going to vary based on steak you had as a child.  What I will attempt to explain is how to make a good steak, starting with a great piece of meat.

This does not apply to cheaper cuts of steak.  And it is ONLY cheaper cuts that you put sauces on, such as hot sauce, A-1, etc.

It is the greatest of insults to the chef to add sauces to the food you are served, such as being served a fine steak and pouring Tabasco on it.  You might as well pee on the table.  It is THAT much of an insult.  If you weren’t taught that at home, now you know.

In addition, you never even ask for the salt to passed to you (or any other condiment on the table, unless it has been passed once, and you are on seconds).  The host/hostess will pass the salt or place salt cellars close to each person.  If, however, the salt is not in front of you (or not on the table), you do NOT ask for it.  Just to close that loop, you also don’t salt your food without tasting it first (exceptions are things like baked potatoes, corn on the cob, etc., that are condiment whores). 

On to steak…

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/10/2007 at 04:03 PM   
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calendar   Monday - July 16, 2007

What is Red Bull?

I admit, I never drink the stuff, but I know a lot of folks who do.

Wired has gone and done the analysis for us so you know what you’re pouring down your gullet.

Enjoy.

What’s Inside: Red Bull

Glucose
Like most popular soft drinks, Red Bull is largely sugar water. But don’t count on its glucose to “give you wings,” as the ad says. Multiple studies have debunked the so-called sugar high.

Taurine
Also known as 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, taurine was originally isolated from bull bile in 1827. Now made synthetically, it is the magical elixir said to bring out the kitesurfing extremophile in any Web-surfing nerd. Taurine’s actual effects, while not as drastic as the hype, are pretty wide-ranging, even from the amount found in a single can: Not only is it an inhibitory neurotransmitter (in some cases acting as a mild sedative) and an age-defying antioxidant, it even has the potential to steady irregular heartbeats.

Glucuronolactone
Internet rumors claimed this was a Vietnam-era experimental drug that causes brain tumors. Luckily, that’s not true. But don’t crumple up your tinfoil hat yet — hardly anyone has looked into exactly what this stuff does. So little research has been done on glucuronolactone (and most of it 50 years ago) that almost all information about it is mere rumor. Users generally believe it fights fatigue and increases well-being, but that could turn out to be bull, too.

There’s more, but I can’t imagine anything more satisfying already, can you?  LOL


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/16/2007 at 07:05 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningScience-Technology •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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