Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Turkey Carving Tips for Real Guys

November 24, 2014

Turkey Carving Tips for Real Guys
Oh no! Despite reading Turkey Torching Tips for Guys you have a great big, fully cooked, deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey on your hands. You examine it minutely and discover there’s no little red zip tab to open so you can take out slices. What now?

That’s some big old avian cadaver you got there, buddy. There’s only one manly way to divvy it up. That’s right: chainsaw.

Step 1: De-grease the chain and call the manufacturer to see if you can safely spray it with Pam or a similar food-grade lubricant. Use a clean bedsheet as a dropcloth to gather the “sawdust” for making turkey salad.

Step 2: Observe all chainsaw safety rules, including use of protective eyewear. Imagine having to answer the question “Hey, what happened to your eye?”

Step 3: Start ‘er up. Slice away. Man, that sounds great!

Step 4: Clean out your Shopvac; use it to remove pulverized turkey shreds from the bedsheet drop-cloth before sneaking the linen into the laundry hamper. This may save your marriage. Reserve meat shreds for turkey salad.

Step 5: Chow down, dude!

Remember: Clean the saw completely before using it to prepare the winter woodpile or those goofy lawn sculptures.

Disclaimer:The above is provided for amusement, not actual cooking. Chainsaws have been known to malfunction when used on small objects and/or soft matter. NotionsCapital is not responsible for interpretations by the humor-impaired, mentally challenged, or emotionally disturbed. If English is not your native tongue, please ignore this post. Yes, we are aware that people are injured while improperly using chainsaws, so keep it to yourself. Jeez, what a country.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Turkey Torching Tips for Guys

November 23, 2014

Turkey Torching Tips for Guys
The National Fire Protection Association claims “turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.” Wimps! Thursday is Thanksgiving, when we give thanks for college football and a four-day weekend. That’s when Real American Men generate Code Orange air quality by incinerating poultry on the patio. Yeah, buddy!

Any pantywaist can cook on those SUV-sized natural gas, propane, electric, or gelignite-powered barbecue grills with all those fancy features (good subwoofers can help spread sauce evenly, though). Nah, let’s get ready to deep-fry us some turkey. Here’s how:

1. Put Fire Department on Speed-Dial. Keep your cell phone in your welding apron pocket. It is unwise to enter a flaming residence to use the telephone.

2. Purchase more equipment. You can never have enough Real Guy outdoor cooking gear. Buy some new stuff at Home Depot first. Forget about those electronic gizmos from Leading Edge, you can never read their LCD screens outdoors anyway. Williams-Sonoma? Isn’t that the California wine the wife likes?

3. Don’t forget the turkey. It should be big enough to bother messing with. Double-check to make sure you are not buying a goat or lamb.

4. Check interior compartment of poultry (note: light does not go on automatically; use your Maglite). Any paper-wrapped parcels inside will not contain Surprise Creme Filling. Remove; give to wife or cat. If the bird is frozen, use your Benz-0-Matic torch judiciously or the meat will be dry. At this point you may marinate the turkey in any fluid mixture as long as it contains beer.

5. Equipment check list. This will vary but should definitely include safety equipment (welding apron, Kevlar™ gloves, safety glasses, fire extinguisher, cell phone, well-stocked beer cooler or full beer keg with ice), fire ignition tools (lighting chimney, matches, butane torch,  highway flares, flamethrower, etc.), food manipulating tools (tongs, skewers, forks, knives, pneumatic jack), cooking implements (meat thermometer, meat hygrometer, count-down timer, 55-gallon deep-fry container, perforated deep-fry container insert with turkey stand and handle, caulking gun for stuffing insertion, brushes, sprayguns, and hypodermic needles for applying sauce, tattoo gun for decorations, crane), deep-fry medium (vegetable oil is better than animal fat; Marvel Mystery Oil is not recommended), sauces, rubs, marinades, condiments, spices, and essential vegetables (potato salad, cole slaw, ketchup). Anything missing? See Step #2. Got everything? Cheers! Begin beer consumption.

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Fast Food

October 9, 2014

Fast Food

“It’s no coincidence that fast-casual restaurants are on the rise; we don’t even have time to eat anymore.

Nor, it seems, does anyone have time to cook. The publishing world has created a whole genre of cookbooks designed to help the harried put food on the table during a workday that seems to end only when head hits pillow.

Now one of the most influential and prolific voices in food has joined a crowded field of meals-in-minutes celebrities: New York Times columnist and author Mark Bittman has just released How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food  (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35), the fifth in his series of dense, recipe-rich tomes that place an emphasis on food preparation, not food-porn photos. ‘Fast’ spans more than 1,050 pages, most packed with recipes (approximately 2,000 of them, including variations), techniques and tips for working smarter in the kitchen.”

— “Mark Bittman’s ‘How to Cook Everything Fast,’ reviewed,” Tim Carman, Washington Post

Related:

“The Truth About Home Cooking,” Mark Bittman, TIME

Mark Bittman will talk about his new book with Joe Yonan on Saturday, October 11th at 7 PM at GWU’s Marvin Center (tickets here). He’ll also be at the Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market Sunday morning at 10 AM.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Perfect Pizza Through Science!

October 8, 2014

Perfect Pizza Through Science!

Researchers at the University of Auckland (in partnership with Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy products exporter) used a machine to measure the integral elements of possible pizza ingredients as precisely as possible, and then published a paper about it in the Journal of Food Science. … ‘Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality.’”

“For cheese to brown, the paper explains, it needs to lose moisture first. For the moisture to evaporate, blisters need to form, because where they lift the surface of the cheese, free oil can run off and expose the surface to raw heat. And for a blister to form, steam needs to collect in a pocket and push up the cheese.”

“This is why mozzarella makes for good browning. First, it doesn’t have much free oil. Second, it is very elastic. Third, it contains a lot of moisture. So steam pockets form easily, which create healthy blisters, which quickly expose the surface to browning.”

— “Here is the recipe for perfectly browned pizza cheese as established by science,” Sonali Kohli, Quartz (links added)

More:

“Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese,” Maanvi Singh, NPR

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Paula Deen’s ‘Comeback’ Makes No Splash

October 5, 2014

Paula Deen's 'Comeback' Makes No Splash
Disgraced Food Network star Paula Deen rolled out her new online video network last week and no one noticed, despite her best efforts. Much of  the new “network” content consists of reruns of Ms. Deen’s old cable shows. The price of entry: $9.99 a month, $119.88 a year (not including butter).

More:

“The Future of Cheesecake Will Not Be Televised: Paula Deen Moves Online,” Felix Gillette, Businessweek

“Paula Deen Documentary and $10 Reruns Coming to New Network,” Khushbu Shah, Eater

“Paula Deen Is Still Apologetic and Very Confused,” Daniela Galarza, Eater

“The Leftovers,” Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Medium

“Steve Harvey Recruits Paula Deen to Teach Culinary Arts,” Natelege Whaley, BET News

“What’s Really Behind That Crazy New Paula Deen/Steve Harvey Partnership,” Holly Eagleson, Takepart

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Labor Day Weekend: REAL Men Grill Meat

August 30, 2014

Labor Day Weekend: REAL Men Grill Meat

This is Labor Day Weekend, ceremonial End of Summer in the USA. During this three-day holiday adult American men are obliged to offer up sacrifices to their gods, incinerating animal flesh outdoors behind their homes. Families and  neighbors consume the charred remains, washing them down with copious libations of fermented grain or carbonated sugar-water.

This custom is said to bridge cultural differences and promote family and community cohesion, but the ceremony has a grave, unstated purpose. If American men do not burn meat for them on Labor Day, the angry gods will not end summer, preventing the start of the new pro football season.

More:

“Football: America’s national religion,” Chad Gibbs, Washington Post  blog.

“The Foodspin Cookout Reader,” Albert Burneko, Foodspin

“NFL Labor Day Cookout: Which Food Is Your Favorite Player Bringing?” Bailey Brautigan, Bleacher Report.

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Note: Canadian men sacrifice meat on “Labour Day,” which has something to do with their Ice Hockey cult. Or with Curling, maybe. Whatever that is.

Image (“BBQ Grill for Real Men”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Eating Leftovers

August 12, 2014

Eating Leftovers

“Chilaquiles: The best thing you can do with leftover corn tortillas, or one of the best, at least. You fry the tortillas until they are crisp (unless you made chips with them, in which case they are crisp to start with); broil the tomatillos, whizz them in a blender and simmer them; fold the tortillas into the sauce and let them soften; and add chicken, if there is any in the fridge. In my house we eat them for brunch, with a runny egg on top, though not often enough.

I was scraping the last smears of sauce from my bowl when it occurred to me that, though I think of chilaquiles as an odd regional one-off—something that makes Southwestern friends hungry and Yankee ones puzzled—they actually belong to a long tradition: recipes that use old bread, or bread’s local equivalent.

Think about it. In Italy, there’s pappa al pomodoro, a chunky soup of tomatoes, oil and stale bread. In Lebanon, fattoush, a salad of chopped tomato, cucumber, dry shards of pita, sometimes greens. In Thailand—most of Asia, in fact—there’s fried rice, made with previously cooked rice, never fresh; and across the same crescent, there’s okayu or congee or jook, rice porridge. In France, pain perdu, what we think of as French toast. In England, bread pudding.”

— “La Cuisine Des Perdus: The Art of Eating Old Stuff,” Maryn McKenna, National Geographic blog

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Burnt Offerings

May 24, 2014

Burnt Offerings
It’s Memorial Day weekend, and patriotic citizens honor America’s fallen heroes by incinerating and ingesting meat outdoors. Other observances include mass motorcycle runs, traffic jams, parades of children and pets, and ceremonial retail frenzy.

This weekend will fatten U.S. meat sales and heat up the economy. Citizens who do not eat meat grill veggies; religious Jews grill kosher meat. It might be said that burger burning, bargain-hunting Americans are celebrating the values our fallen heroes were defending, but only if gluttony and consumerism are mistaken for expressions of freedom.

Anyway, have a thoughtful weekend. Observe the traditional moment of silence on Monday at 3:00 PM. And try to avoid the traditional outbreak of Memorial Day motor accidentsboating mishapshouse fires, and food poisoning.

Related:

“National WWII Museum Poll Shows 80 percent of Americans Unfamiliar with Memorial Day’s Real Meaning” (Press Release).

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com [Note: I imagined this outrageous grill a few years ago; now someone is selling it].

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Seis de Mayo

May 6, 2014

Last night, the 5th of May, millions of people commemorated the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla (1862) with volleys of shots — of tequila — bravura barrages of beer, and murderous margaritas. Unsurprisingly, this morning finds heads held hostage and stomachs seared from nacho napalm. Today’s Spanish vocabulary lesson: crudo means ” hangover.”

If you celebrated Cinco de Mayo with cerveza, celebrate Seis de Mayo this morning with el desayuno de los campeones, the Breakfast of Champions. The traditional Mexican hangover cure is menudo  tripe soup or stew.

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Eating & Cooking

February 3, 2014

Michael Pollan addressed the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) about a simple way to eat healthy without a rulebook or fad diets. Video of his lecture is here, but the short animated excerpt above is more fun.

Illustrator: Kerry Hyndman for Damn Fine Media.

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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