Tom’s “da bomb” Alfredo

Sun, May 31 • 0

“Hey why don’t you put MY recipe on your site instead of just listing me as ‘my “other” brother?’  The homemade pasta thing is da bomb and this sauce makes it that much better..it’s basically your sauce with a few changes.  It’s turned out very well the last few times I tried it.  It is a Jeff smith recipe you showed us but with small, but important changes. I know You know how to do this recipe, but I was shocked at how much sweeter it was with the shallot not garlic.  Even when I watch it carefully, garlic seems to give some bitterness to it as the shallots and butter sweeten the alfredo really well.  When reduced, it makes a great sauce over the homemade pasta.  We added lobster that was already boiled earlier in the day.  (2 of them) and then added some sherry to make it more like a St Jaque recipe…mahvellous!”

3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 SHALLOTS (not garlic)
1 small red onion finely chopped
3/4 cups whole milk (light cream)
3 tablespoons butter
finish with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (handful)


Foodie Lexicon, May ’09

Sun, May 31 • 0

bogo acronym In the retail industry that stands for Buy One Get One. “Unfortunately, the bogo deals tend to favor families with more mouths to feed than ours. What am I going to do with a second ham?”

bet dieting pp. Betting money on losing weight, particularly where the money goes to a charity or other organization that one disagrees with. “Bet dieting is the newest rage and there are a few websites that enable it, but stickk.com has an extra ploy: the ‘anti-charity.’ Choosing the most politically controversial non-profit charities to motivate someone to achieve their goals is a great idea. Science and the stock market know that risk is a much more powerful motivator than reward.

medible n. Food containing marijuana. marijuana + edible. “Eating edibles (often referred to as Medibles) gives some suffers of chronic ailments more relief or a different kind of relief than simply smoking or vaporizing it.”

jacket fries n.pl. They’re what some restaurants call “jacket fries”: oblong slices of fried skin-on Idaho potato. “Crisp at the edges but thick enough to be fluffy in the middle, they’re a lovely hybrid of chip and french fry that’s worth the 75-cent upgrade from the standard crinkle-cut fries.”

veggiedag n. The Belgian term for a day upon which people abstain from meat – literally, “veggie day.” Officials in the Belgian city of Ghent are to forgo meat once a week (on Thursdays) in an acknowledgment of livestock farming’s detrimental effect on the environment. “The UN says livestock is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, hence Ghent’s declaration of a weekly ‘veggie day.’ Public officials and politicians will be the first to give up meat for a day. Schoolchildren will follow suit with their own veggiedag in September.”

eco-kosher adj. The trend among some kosher-keeping Jews to eat only food that has been ethically, sustainably and, where possible, locally sourced. “The book of Leviticus requires that meat come from animals that chew their cud and have split hooves in order to be considered kosher. But for eco-kosher Jews, those laws have come to represent only part of the equation.”

credit munch n. Recession-prompted comfort eating. “There is an apparent correlation between dwindling finances and expanding waistlines. Stressed-out Britons have piled on 20 million stone in a year trying to ‘comfort eat’ their way through the recession. The condition – dubbed the credit munch – has seen three-in-five Britons put on weight in the past 12 months. The term has also been used to describe a trend for bringing home-prepared lunches to work.

cookprint n. What do you call the impact you make on the planet when you cook? It’s your “cookprint“— the entire chain of resources used to prepare meals, and the waste produced in the process.

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary, Word Spy, and Schott’s Vocab.


Cheater BBQ

Sat, May 30 • 0

I picked up a new cookbook last week, and I’ve been trying some of the recipes in it, with varying success. The cookbook is called Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather, by Mindy Merrell and R. B. Quinn. The basic premise of the book is that you can bypass hours of slow roasting over a fire, using wood to create smoke and flavor, all by using a bottle of liquid smoke.

(If you are a bbq purist, I’ll wait for you to finish screaming now.)

Ok. Here’s the deal. I don’t think the premise is completely true. I think that long, slow roasting over a flame with natural wood smoke produces really great results that you really can’t replicate in any way. That being said, if you live in an apartment building, or just don’t have the time or inclination to wait around for 16 hours while your hunk of meat gets from raw to succulence, then this book just might be something that might interest you.

My first foray into the world of bbq bogosity
Keep reading…


Cooking for a Crowd

Tue, May 19 • 3

I don’t often get a chance to cook for more than one or two, so when I go up to Cincinnati to visit my in-laws, I’ve fallen into the pleasurable habit of doing all the cooking. It’s almost a given that I’ll be doing it, too. My mother-in-law prepares an envelope full of cash, so they subsidize all of the grocery shopping. My sister-in-law’s kitchen is pretty well stocked, but each trip always means she’ll be getting something new. Last time, she got a food processor out of the deal, this time, all she got was an oven thermometer and a few new utensils.

My menus are never particularly elaborate — in fact, when I do try to get too fancy, it usually fails. The trickiest part is to make sure that there’s enough variety each meal so that there’s something that falls into everyone’s dietary comfort zone. My wife and I, for example, can’t do a meal that relies too heavily on carbs, like pasta. My mother-in-law will only eat vegetables, and no red-meat. Each meal also ends up having the left overs from the day before rolled in, either wholesale or reincorporated.

This year, I started with two grilled and bbq’d spatchcocked chickens, with grilled asparagus, corn on the cob and cole slaw.

The next day was rainy, so I knew I needed to cook indoors. I was going to try pan fried trout and baked beans, but when I got to the store, the only trout they had was still floating, alive in a fish tank. While part of me knew that they’d be the absolute freshest fish I could ever get, another part of me just couldn’t bear to order the execution of 5 of these trout. If they were already fillets in the butcher case, I wouldn’t have thought twice. So I ended up making baked flounder fillets with fresh pesto, brown rice risotto, more corn on the cob, plus salad and cole slaw.

The third night, I was cooking for 9 people, total, so I made grilled strip steaks, and a whole salmon fillet, along with grilled yellow squash, salad, coleslaw, and fresh corn bread, with leftover corn. (I tried to turn the fish and rice left over from the night before into fish cakes, but I ended up using all of my eggs in the double batch of corn bread, and the fish cakes disintegrated in the frying pan with nothing to hold them together.) For dessert, a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

The final night, the goal was to finish off everything that was left over, so it was the most varied menu of the week. I grilled up some marinated bratwurst and italian sausages, plus the leftover steaks from the night before, as well as the last of the chicken (a wing and a thigh). The leftover salmon was turned into a cold salad with macaroni. I made some more grilled asparagus and yellow squash. For dessert, angel food cake with blackberry preserves, and fresh berries, topped with whipped cream.

As I said — this isn’t haute cuisine, by any stretch. And there also wasn’t a cookbook in sight. The recipes were stuff I either make so often, I know them by heart, or I improvised. Nevertheless, I end up pleasing everyone at the table, and they all leave happy and satisfied, so what more can you ask than that?


Holy Crap.

Sat, May 9 • 2

For her third anniversary of blogging, Pioneer Woman gave  away five 14-cup food processors last week. She asked people to post what they were making for dinner last Wednesday.

The contest rules specifically insisted on only one entry per person. Still, she got 18,710 entries!


Southern Restaurants

Mon, May 4 • 0

On a recent trip down south, my (other) brother, his son, and I managed to hit a couple of fine and famous eateries on a road trip to Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, ending up in Huntsville, Alabama. Although we only went to each place once, we tried to go for variety in what we ordered.

We all agreed that the Loveless Cafe in Nashville was, hands down, the best meal we had. Down-home-style food, friendly waiter, and an endless supply of homemade buscuits. I had the country ham plate, with a side of collards and carrots. My brother, Tom, had their pit-smoked turkey breast with cranberry barbecue sauce. My nephew, TJ had the fried chicken. (TJ, 16, born in Richmond, but raised on Cape Cod, claimed it was the best fried chicken and the best biscuits he’d ever eaten in his life.) I have a feeling, if I were a local, I’d be a fixture at this place. So, so very good, and definitely worth revisiting. (Open 7 AM – 9 PM, 7 days a week. 8400 Hwy 100, Nashville, Tenn. 615-646-9700.)  Review @ Roadfood.com / Loveless Cafe Menu

I’d intended to make this trip all about southern barbeque, but neglected to confirm this with my traveling companions, who only had a very limited appetite for the delicacy. Internet searches claimed that the best bbq in Nashville was in the touristy part of town. Called Jack’s, the ribs were pretty smokey, almost too smokey for my taste, and they were served dry, though there were several options of sauce to choose from. Tom had a pulled pork sandwich, and my nephew had the pulled chicken. They both thought it was pretty good.

The other bbq restaurant we tried was called Interstate, in Memphis, the city of bbq. I’d gotten several recommendations about this being the best place in the best city for bbq. I ordered the combination platter, so I could try everything they had to offer. It came with a couple beef and pork ribs, some pulled pork, and pulled beef, and some smoked sausage. It was all covered in a thin bbq sauce, so the plate looked bloody. The spicy sausage was the best, I think, while the pork ribs and the pulled beef were close runners up. It also came with a side order of bbq’d spaghetti, which I was told to specifically look out for. I wasn’t too impressed, unfortunately. Regular spaghetti coated in more of the sauce and bits of pulled pork, I think. I guess I was hoping for a transcendental experience, being in the best of the best bbq restaurants, so maybe I was expecting too much. I almost think I’ve had better bbq here in Virginia than the stuff I got that day. I’ve since read that some locals think the place has gone downhill in recent years.

I really should have sampled more places while I had the chance. The other places we ate were unmentionable — chosen for convenience rather than quality food — a necessity on a road trip. I do hope to get back to the Loveless Cafe again, though.


Foodie Lexicon, April ’09

Fri, May 1 • 0

A monthly look at new words and phrases about food.

Citrus Fruit Conspiracy n. A theory proposed by an Iranian official to explain how Israeli citrus fruit were (illegally) imported into Iran. “The media showcased the contraband citrus, the warehouses where it was stored were shut down, and the authorities pledged to bring to justice the miscreants involved. A senior Iranian politician even accused the opposition of a citrus fruit conspiracy.”

Georgia ice cream n. Rogers merely shifted the ideas that worked at Toddle House, such as waffles with pecans, into the Waffle House concept. He always served lots of grits, which Rogers likes to call “Georgia ice cream.”

cheat meal n. By setting aside one day a week to eat junk food or whatever you want you take control of your cravings and eat on your terms. This is often referred to as a cheat mealbecause you are deliberately cheating on you diet. This is a method of rewarding yourself for eating well during the rest of the week and provides a much needed psychological boost.

black and pink n. Pity the coffee vendor in New York who doesn’t know that a black and pink means a black coffee with a packet of saccharin.

Courtesy of The Double-tongued Dictionary and Schott’s Vocab.


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