Friday, March 27, 2009

The Very Good Taste Omnivore's 100 List


1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

1. Venison don't like it
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile does alligator count?
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue hells yeah!
8. Carp
9. Borscht hello, people, I'm Polish!
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle can you believe I hate 'em?
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes I'm not sure
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper are you kidding?
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters ocean boogers
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda No, but I'd love to!
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut I'm Polish, Hungarian, Irish and German, what do you think?
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat I hate goat meat
42. Whole insects hells no!
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala this isn't fair, I love Indian food
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi not a fan
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine can you believe I was in Montreal for three days and didn't have poutine? criminal!
60. Carob chips the work of Satan, I tells ya!
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads I couldn't swallow it
63. Kaolin didn't he live in OJ's guest house?
64. Currywurst like, what?
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake check, check, check, and check
68. Haggis I wouldn't feed that to Elvis
69. Fried plantain Had them before, allergic
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette I'm not going to google this, because I think I know what it is
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill No. No. No.
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail please see #68
79. Lapsang souchong I love it!
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant Damn, I missed it by 1 star!
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano I hate mole
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wait...only 53? I thought I would have scored higher.

Monday, March 23, 2009

From Russia, With Love

I've started reading the Pioneer Woman's website recently, specifically the cooking section. She's pretty cool and her lodge house is straight-up dope. She posted the other day about something she bought at Anthropologie. I didn't even finish reading the post. I went straight over to the Anthro website and bought it. I couldn't help myself. I swear I never do this, and these days, I don't usually buy stuff unless it's on sale. However, I gave in since it was only $28 (plus tax and shipping). Let's call it a "Congratulations to me on getting into pastry school" present.

You're dying to know what I bought aren't you? Without out further ado, let me introduce you to the new girls...
(Oh, and by the way, it's nearly impossible to photograph anything in my kitchen.)

Hello. I am ceramic and adorable.

Oh, this messy kitchen has made me lose my head.

Please meet our tiny friend.

Take a closer looks at what's inside these little lovelies.

Hello. Our bottoms are measuring cups.

Just a pinch.

Now, you may be wondering why it is that I had to immediately rush over to the evil, evil Anthropologie website to spend $28 that I really ought to be saving rather than spending on matryoshka measuring cups. As well you should. However, let me enlighten you.

My collection, started by Grami.

My favorite. It's the story of Thumbelina, my favorite childhood story.

And then there were five.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Restaurant review, or I am so stuffed, I might explode.

The Fast Fare has been around as long as I can remember. These days it's called The Go Paks Bazaar, but it's still a convenience store. It's owned by a Muslim Pakistani family that is super nice. Beyond nice. Think of the nicest family ever. This family taught them. In the back of this convenience store, there's a little counter where you can order food, called Laziz Biryani Corner. I think it used to be sandwiches in the past. These days, it's Halal Indian-Pakistani food. In my opinion, the best in town. I am a huge fan of Asian food in general, and Indian food in specific. I am lactose intolerant, so I don't really have to worry with Asian food. Needless to say, I eat a lot of Asian food.

Don't be fooled by the fact that you are walking into a convenience store. Laziz Biryani Corner serves up serious grub. There's an older woman, around my mom's age, who's usually in the kitchen. She doesn't speak much, if any, English. She's always happy to see gringos show up. If you're lucky enough to get there when she's stirring a giant pot of something, she'll pack up a small cup of that something for you, on the house, in addition to whatever else you might get. The first time I went, she was making a batch of the mixed vegetables. She gave me a half order of the mixed vegetables in addition to the thali platter I got. I literally had enough food for three meals. They have everything, for the most part, hot in a steam table but this most certainly does not detract from the quality. It's also important to remember that this family is Pakistani. Essentially the food is more or less the same, but it's going to be a little different.

Each day they have two thali platters, one with meat and one vegetarian. Each platter comes with two half portions of something. Today, the vegetarian thali had Rajma and Eggplant and Potatoes. I've had the Eggplant and Potatoes, as a freebie naturally. It's good. I'm not 100% keen on eggplant, but this was good. The thali also comes with a small salad (lots of onions, YUM), a side of the mint yogurt stuff, and a heapin' helpin' of rice. Some of the best Indian rice I've had, in fact. It's also served with some kick-ass naan, too. So good, in fact, I usually get a few extra pieces. As equally fantastic are the mixed vegetables and the Dal. They make the best Dal. I haven't tried the meat options, but I feel comfortable saying they would be as good as the veggie options.

While I almost always get the thali, I was not in the mood for that combo today. I opted for the Shahee Paneer which I have been meaning to try forever. Man, why did I wait so long? Why, Santa, why? I ate half of my Shahee Paneer. It physically hurt me to not eat the other half. I am showing considerable restraint, you should be proud. Seriously, it was so good, I wanted to pass out. Yeah, I know I said I can't do dairy, but I still love paneer. And Shahee Paneer is love in a bowl. I've had it at Azitra in Brier Creek. It was much more yellow, a bit coconutty with chucks of tomato and a little soupier. It was good there, just different. This dish made at Laziz was amazing. Amazing. The sauce was bright reddish orange, thick, very fragrant, with lots of spices. They gave me a rice mixed with peas that was fantastic, instead of the normal red and white rice.

They seemed to be quite busy this evening. I normally get mine to go so I've never really stuck around to see how busy they get. The prices are, well, cheap. The portions are generous. It really is some of the best Indian (Pakistani) food I've ever had. If you happen to be downtown or near campus, you really ought to try it. You will not be sorry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Linguine with White Clam Sauce In A Hurry

When I got home from work tonight, I was starving. As in, "feeling woozy and should have eaten a snack earlier" starving. I whipped this up in the blink of an eye. So easy, so good.

1 large or two small spicy Italian sausage
1 TSP minced garlic
1/2 medium white onion, fine dice
1 cup white wine
2 6.5oz of canned chopped clams, reserve the juice
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP butter, cut in half
1/2 box linguine, cooked al dente

Brown sausage in pan, but do not cook completely. Let rest on cutting board for a few mintues. Add 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP olive oil to deep saute pan. Add garlic and onion and saute for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice sausage thin and add back to saute pan. Saute for 5 minutes. Add white wine to pan to deglaze. Add reserved clam juice. Stir well, scrape up the flavor bits from the bottom of the pan. Add clams and stir well, saute two minutes. Add parsley and remaining 1 TBSP of butter. Mix with linguine, serve, and enjoy!


I bought my sausage from the Fresh Market. I believe they make their sausages in house. They are easily twice the size you'd expect. If you're near the Fresh Market, I would totally recommend them. They are $3.99 a pound. The one I bought was $1.54, or just under a half a pound!

I'm lazy these days, so I've been using minced garlic in a jar. So easy!

If your feelin' fancy, buy a nice bag of clams from your fishmonger (I love that word!) and toss them in the sauce. But save that for some night when you're not racing home to make dinner before you pass out and are trying to put on jammie pants while your pasta is cooking...or whatever it is that you might do after work. Ahem.

I like adding a bit more butter than usual to this. It adds a richness to the sauce that I like. I do not like cheese with seafood, generally speaking. I also don't want to add cream to this lest it taste like clam chowder on noodles.

Double this if you want two-er, four servings.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Save the date!

David Kinch of Manresa will battle Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America on March 15 at 9 PM. Why should this matter any more than any other ICA episode? Because this is my brother's boss, that's why. My brother started his second internship in July of 2008 at Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California. It's one of the few restaurants in the US to be awarded two Michelin Stars and four Mobil Stars. After having dinner there, it somehow doesn't seem like enough.

This episode was filmed just before my brother arrived, so alas, Lil Brotha will not be there. Perhaps next time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mushroom Spinach Polenta

The complete recipe this time. I swear.
There's a restaurant nearby called 518 West, which makes the best mushroom polenta appetizer. It's a few different mushrooms, rosemary and cashew butter, and romano cheese on a firm polenta. I love it. As usual, I had some things to use up and have made this version that satisfies my craving well enough. Enjoy!


1 cup white cornmeal
3 cups boiling water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 TSP salt
1/4 cup grated hard cheese (I used an aged French gruyere)

Bring to boil water, bouillon cube and salt. Whisk in cornmeal and lower heat to medium low. Add cheese. Let bubble for 15 minutes uncovered, stirring often. Pour out into a foil lined pan and let cool. Cut into squares. Reheat by baking, pan frying, or grilling.


1/2 white onion, diced small
1/4 pound proscuitto, diced about 1/2 inch (optional)
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced thin
1 TSP minced garlic
1 TSP each fresh thyme, sage, rosemary, chopped fine
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed well and chopped
grated romano, for topping

Saute onion, prosciutto, herbs and garlic on medium high in combination of butter and oil, for about five minutes. Add mushrooms and saute for another five minutes. At this point add 1/2 TSP salt. Add spinach, cook until wilted. Drain well, discarding liquid.


When you add the cornmeal to the water, whisk hard. Whisk like your life depends on it. Add the cornmeal slowly and whisk hard! This will prevent lumps.

I didn't add a ton of seasoning to the water for the polenta since I want it to be more of a vehicle than the star. Add more seasoning, if you prefer.

I used white cornmeal because that's all the market had that wasn't self-rising. Here in The South where cornbread reigns supreme, it's really hard to find a non-self-rising cornmeal. Use what you can find, white or yellow. Heck, blue could be fun if you're making polenta for something else.

I recommend pouring the hot polenta into a square or rectangular foil lined dish. It make cutting easier later. However, you can use whatever pan you have available.

Because the prosciutto is salty, you don't need to add a lot of salt. Adding salt after sauteing the mushrooms for a few minutes will cause the mushrooms to release their liquid, which will deglaze the pan.

I prefer Knorr Vegetarian Vegetable bouillon. A lot of vegetable stocks are heavy on carrot, which I don't like. The Knorr has a nice balance of veggie flavors.

I like to buy the fresh herbs in the mixed packets. The one I used here is called "poultry blend" and is a mix of thyme, rosemary and sage. When cooking for one, I find it tough to use the whole herb packet before it goes bad. Except basil. I can put a hurtin' on some basil. I suppose I could grow my own, but with the kitten, I'd expect him to eat them before I could use them.

Ridiculously easy hash, or what to do when you realize you bought 2 pounds more beef than you eat in a year.

1/2 cup onions, diced small
2 Idaho potatoes, diced small
leftover brisket, diced small
1 TSP minced garlic
1/2 cup left over liquid from crockpot

Saute potatoes, garlic and onions in large saute pan with lots of oil over medium heat. When potatoes are golden brown and tender, add brisket and liquid.

This would be darn good if it was topped with a poached egg.


If you can, cook this in a non-stick pan. This will cut down on the amount of oil you need and keep the potatoes from sticking to the pan. Trust me on this. (Mental note to self, buy a non-stick pan)

I found some young Vidalia onions in the Fresh Market the other day. The look like scallions on steroids. I used closer to a cup of onion here to use up the Vidalias and because they are a bit more mild than a regular onion.