Blog of an aspiring foodie

Archive for November, 2008

Post-Ike rundown

Posted by beer_chris on 29-November-2008

Looks like a few places have reopened after Ike (according to B4-U-EAT). Benno’s on the beach is up and going, Outriggers in Seabrook is open again and Gilhooley’s in San Leon apparently survived OK.

Tookie’s is still down and out. I haven’t driven down that way in a few weeks, but last time I took a look all the kitchen eq was in the parking lot. Topwater in San Leon is still closed but the notice on B4 indicates a reopening in December.  

Stingaree is almost certainly still closed and likely heavily damaged. Swede’s posted rentals online again – I counted 25 TOTAL homes still on their website.  A quick look at the wayback machine from January shows ~300 homes. Yikes. However, Swedes is selling ‘Bring Back Bolivar’ tees.


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Is 2008/09 a down year for gulf oysters?

Posted by beer_chris on 29-November-2008

Jenny Latson wrote an article in the Chronicle that appeared this past Saturday about the state of Galveston Bay oyster operations post-Ike. According to Michael Ivic, owner of Misho’s in San Leon, the beds are likely silted and dead. This contradicts what I’ve heard anecdotally – that the influx of fresh water has made the beds healthier than before, and that we can expect great oysters this season as long as there are enough boats to get to them.

This echoes a post by Robb Walsh at the Eating…Our Words blog over at the Houston Press that basically echoes the same thing and quotes a specialist at TAMU (vis-a-vis the same Misho Ivic) – saying basically that while most of the reefs are likely dead oysters reproduce like mad in freshwater surges in preparation for potential repopulation

Nobody seems to know for sure, but this could be a down season for one of my favorite foods.

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Thoughts on Thanksgiving – and Top Chef

Posted by beer_chris on 29-November-2008

Just a couple of quick notes.

Did a smoked turkey this year. Although I have been singing the smoked turkey praises for weeks now I think my previous experience in doing it for a dinner party – and not a holiday – may have jaded me. Since the BBQ places are closed on Thanksgiving day the turkey must be stored in the refrigerator for a full day and then completely reheated. This dries it out and completely occupies the oven for a long time (our instructions said 2 hours reheat time) at a pretty useless temperature (200 degrees) for other things.

Did gingerbread stuffing again. Has onions, apples and bacon in it. Nigella’s guidance is to puree the ingredients in a food processor. Next time I do this I’ll spend the time and chop the pieces myself. The ‘mush’ melts away, and it’s hard to recognize what’s left as stuffing at all.

Did the mac and cheese recipe from the Kraft website. Easy bechamel, adding velveeta to make the cheese sauce. Ritz crackers on top – processed food goodness. Yum.

Did usual ATK green bean casserole recipe with the homemade mushroom soup. Simply stunning. I love this recipe so much.

Finished off my meal with my ‘improved’ grocery store egg nog, although this time I used rye whiskey instead of makers. It was tasty, but I got myself a little tipsy. I was so exhausted, drunk and stuffed by the end of the day I ended up ill. Perhaps not the best way to finish off Thanksgiving. I’ll probably dial back the liquor when I make this again.

Made apple pie using 100% Granny Smith (this gave it a nice apple bite) and a recipe with a limited amount of sugar. Crust was a cornmeal crust in a Southern Living magazine I picked up on a whim at the store a few months ago. I started at 425 as directed – but never lowered to 350. I opened oven 2 hours (!) later to find top of pies burning. However, crust held nicely, and pies were not overcooked – aside from a little blackening on the top of one of them.

Cornmeal crust is a winner – here’s the recipe for it and the pie:

Cornmeal Crust (makes a double crust)

2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup plain yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup cold butter
¼ cup shortening
8-10 tbsp apple cider (I used more, and it was still dry)

This is made using what they call a ‘mound, moisten, move and gather’ method, which avoids stirring and results in really large chunks of butter and shortening in the final product. However, 10 tbsp was not close to enough cider. I used more likely a bit more than 1/4 cup and still had issues rolling it out. Rolling out is done using the two sheets of wax paper method.

Recipe from Southern Living Volume 43, Number 9 (September 2008), p.120, Shirley Harrington

Busted Tees guy is out on Top Chef, although I can’t feel like perhaps he shouldn’t have been the on eliminated this week. I’m liking the bossy blond guy, seems skilled if not a little ambitious.

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I’m going dark . . .

Posted by beer_chris on 4-November-2008

I’m losing my DSL tomorrow at 4 PM – part of the pain that is switching to Uverse. I’ll get a dialup account in the meantime, but ultimately posting will be slow – literally. I probably will find a hotspot to post from the iPod, but we’ll see!

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Miracle Berries

Posted by beer_chris on 1-November-2008

I learned something today. There is a fruit called a miracle berry that does crazy things to taste buds – making sour and bitter taste sweet. A quick snip from

– citrus fruits like lemons and limes taste sweet

– oranges and grapefruits tasted dipped in sugar

– goat cheese tastes like frosting

– vinegar is smooth enough to drink

– cheap tequila tastes like top shelf

– bologna sandwiches taste like cheesecake

– stout beers taste like chocolate milkshakes

I just joined a local email group called Houston Chowhounds, and they are sponsoring a ‘flavor tripping’ party at The Social on Washington Ave on 7-Nov and 23-Nov. Obviously the parallels abound between these berries and drugs of sorts, so the ‘tripping’ moniker fits. Apparently someone had an idea to throw a  party (again, according to where individuals eat the berries – usually in freeze-dried, tablet form -and then eat all types of bitter or sour foods to experience the effects.

I can’t wait to try it myself!

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