Blog of an aspiring foodie

Archive for January, 2009

Food related in the sense that this is good indicator of whether I will be eating well

Posted by beer_chris on 31-January-2009

YAY!

http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/17105/Exxon’s+Earnings+Peak+in+2008

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Kolache bread – a recipe

Posted by beer_chris on 25-January-2009

Updating to add a link to a kolache bread recipe – thanks to Food Princess, Jay Francis and an apparently famous unnamed person (apprently in NY) that has the recipe on her blog – – link

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Adventurous eating

Posted by beer_chris on 23-January-2009

I’m an adventurous eater, but there’s a difference between being willing to experiment with new flavors and foods and just eating things for sport. In general, I find that I can eat just about any type of western foods, but it takes me a longer time to gain an appreciation for eastern cuisines. It took me years to gain a taste for (much less a desire for) sushi, but I have always loved fresh seafood. I am most certainly not the type of person to eat random regional specialities like hakarl just because it’s extreme or something. Although I’ve often wondered just what defines ‘disgusting’. I don’t eat terrestrial insects, but I sure do like crabs and lobster. I’m not a fan of liver and blood-based foods, but I love foie gras. There are plenty of cultures that would never touch my beloved crusty, moldy, stinky cheeses, and some others that believe alcohol is evil. I used to hate pickled and cured fish – now these foods are among my favorites.

Ultimately, the human body is capable of processing and creating energy from such a wide variety of foodstuffs – it really is an amazing machine – and the human mind is equally capable of adapting and even finding pleasure in just about the same gamut of variety. I suppose I’m unique in my own tastes and preferences just like everybody else – but always willing to change them as I learn.

There may be no absolute standard for what’s ‘disgusting’ to eat – however, I certainly hope that if there is a uniform line in mankind about what is not ‘OK’ to use as sustenance, this crosses it:

The little girls had gone missing

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Real-time tasting of Shiner 100

Posted by beer_chris on 19-January-2009

Finally picked up a sixer of Shiner 100 this weekend. I’ve got my first one poured (ironically, in a Diamond Bear pint glass) here in front of me. Nominally this is a dopplebock, but at a pretty low 6%. (BJCP guidelines are about 20% higher) Color is nice – red definitely dominant. Head retention about normal for other Shiner beers. No lace. Carbonation seems even, with bubbles continually releasing as I type. Crystal clear. No chill haze – filtered? Probably – everything but the hefe is filtered from the little brewery in Shiner.

Aroma is a little sweet, not noticing the heavy, malty notes from another example like Optimator.

Taste – my example is a little cold, but I’m noticing lots of pilsner malt, with the distinct crunchy, nutty flavor of munich as well. Although not surprising, this is more of these flavors then I’ve tasted in even the Helles. Little to no hop bitterness on the first taste, but notice some Saaz funkiness (the good, James Brown kind) in the finish. There’s a sweetness in the front of the sip that I can’t place. It’s not malty – perhaps a residual sugar? This seems typical of Shiner beers, come to think of it. I may do a comparative of 97 (black lager) when I’m done with this one. Carbonation is a little distracting. Aroma not improving. I’m getting the distinct slightly oxidized notes of pasteurization, which is not surprising. At the tour I went to back in October, I asked about this – the only beer not heat pasteurized is kegged Shiner and the Shiner Hefeweizen, which has a live yeast culture in the bottle. This is the ‘proof’ behind the taste difference of Shiner in the bottle and Shiner on draft (IMHO). However, these apple cider kind of flavors were not initially evident in the beer itself, but are getting moreso as the beer warms. Mouthfeel is heavy for Shiner beers, but a little thin compared to other Dopplebocks I’ve had. There’s not a lot of residual malty sweetness. I think the 97 is actually a sweeter beer. This tastes an awful lot like the 98 – Shiner Bavarian Amber Lager, which I was a big fan of.
Appearance is nice.

With the red color I expected more bread and cereal type flavors from an unmalted roasted barley component to be more evident, but I’m not detecting those save for some very late flavors (minutes after tasting) near the back of my tongue.

I keep smelling this beer and keep getting nothing! Strange.

This is a solid beer, a nice balance of the very normal straightforward european flavors – pils, munich malts, a german crystal that’s likely lending the red color without a lot of roastiness. No notes of fusels, or any real noticeable alcoholic warmth at all. This beer really tastes like a vienna style lager to me (see Negra Modelo). I would really like to try it on tap and see if some aroma is evident.

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Quick thoughts on Bedford/Glass Wall

Posted by beer_chris on 11-January-2009

Had dinner with K and D on Friday at Glass Wall. Was really good. A few thoughts:

  • LOUD!
  • Appetizers a little fussy on presentation, but good.
  • Isidoro is a great waiter.
  • Potato chip crusted CFS is a good idea, and tastes about as good as the idea for the first half, but gets downright greasy by the time you make it through the whole thing. Jalapeno cream gravy is YUMMY!!!
  • Seared ahi tuna steaks that look like cocktail sandwiches rule. -and taste just as good.
  • Shouldn’t bartenders at least know what Sazerac ‘is’, even if they can’t make the cocktail? I would have taken the whiskey neat, even if no bitters/absinthe was avail.
  • Dublin Dr. Pepper, ice cream and rum = YUM!
  • Cryogenically frozen Zin grapes make an interesting counterpoint to ice wine.

Went for a drink at Bedford after dinner. What a beautiful restaurant:

  • PACKED! Still very popular.
  • Cool bar. But, WHY is it so hard to get a drink at Bedford? Bartender + 3 bar backs, 10 ppl in bar, none can get a drink <SHRUG>
  • Asked for a slightly dirty martini. Got the filthiest martini I’ve ever had. I couldn’t even finish it, and I like filthy martinis. This one had a ‘I just gulped some seawater’ kind of flavor.
  • Looks like the best thing to do is go for the chef’s table. Jaime heard someone in the bathroom say they had been at the table for two hours and hadn’t had entree yet, but Gadsby was looking inspring as he cooked for the approx 6 ppl sitting at the little chef’s table/bar. 
  • Bedford’s bathrooms are a delight. I really like the backlit sinks.

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Meena’s Lemon Pickle

Posted by beer_chris on 11-January-2009

Lemon Pickle Recipe
From Meena – edited to recipe format by Ytee
 

25 Meyer Lemons 
2 tsp Turmeric 
4 oz Fenugreek (Methi) seeds 
pinch Hing powder (asafoetida) 
3 oz Carom (ajwain, bishop’s weed) seeds 
2 tsp fine grind white salt (Indian rock salt) 
2 tsp Indian black salt 
8 oz Garam Masala 
4 oz Red chile powder
1/3 cup Sugar

 

  • Cut 25 lemons in eigths and put into a large mixing bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and turmeric. Mix roughly and put aside.
  • Spread fenugreek seeds at the bottom of a large (8 qt at least) pickling jar. Best jar seals tightly with a screw top.
  • Place lemons over the fenugreek, close the pickling jar and place in the sun or a warm place.
  • Stir and mix the lemons daily without disturbing the fenugreek at the bottom
  • After about 8 days or when the lemon rind is soft, pour all the contents out into a large mixing bowl
  • Add Hing powder, Carom seeds, rock and black salt, garam amsala and chile powder. Mix thoroughly.
  • Feel the lemon rind. If soft then you can add the sugar also at the same time. If not, you should add it later. Put the pickle back in the pickling jar, seal it, and put back in the sunny/warm spot. Continue to stir everday, letting the lemons marinate in the spices for about 8 days.
  • The pickle should be ready to eat in about 2 weeks. Store in normal preserving jars. Keep final product refrigerated to preserve, although a hot pack into the jar may work as well to maintain shelf stability.

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    Are we eating plastic?

    Posted by beer_chris on 9-January-2009

    The answer, unsurprisingly, is very likely ‘YES’. I had heard of the trash heaps in the ocean created by currents, and that many of the plastic items found there tend to break up into very small particles but not actually biodegrade. This study seems to confirm this, and hypothesizes that these little microplastic particles are spread heavily all over the oceans. This likely means that our fave top of the food chain seafood contains a nice cocktail of synthetic chain hydrocarbon bits.

    I would think that the majority of the really nasty VOCs are freed/degraded before the tiniest residual particles are formed (noted in the arcticle as Mermaid’s Tears), but of course no one will ever know for sure.I’ve often wondered  – especially after working inside a refinery for a few years – how much synthetic material has actually accumulated and resides in my own body. The human body is an amazing machine, capable of processing, managing and eliminating just about anything from the external environment. However, I can’t help but think some of this man made detritus must accumulate somewhere inside me. There’s likely no way to  know for sure I guess.

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    DVRblogging Top Chef

    Posted by beer_chris on 8-January-2009

    Trying to do this as I watch. I love you WordPress for iPod.

    Quickfire is the first time I am impressed by the creativity of the chefs. Maybe the first time we really see Arianne’s simplicity as weakness.

    I love the quickfire judge. Keep on picking at them. He’s gonna have his own show? Kewl.

    Hooray! Two of these losers going home.

    Oooh. Stefan creates stress in the kitchen? Nice.

    I’m with Jamie – Daikon and tomato sauce? I’m hating you less lady.

    If I hear one more time how ‘I make this all the time’ or ‘I do this at my restaurant’ I’m going to puke. Isn’t this supposed to be about creativity?

    At least Carla is trying to to something creative. Crazy as Eugene may be, at least he’s trying to do something original too.

    Serve time for group A
    Tuna tacos? Sux.

    Ugh. Judge your competitors. SUCKS!
    So one loser in each group. That’s the only fair way.

    I like new judge!!!! WMD reference on Radikah’s soup.

    Ouch. Fish tacos taste like cat food? Sheesh. Anthony Bourdain should be so kind.

    C’mon Arianne, cauliflower purée AGAIN? Get creative.

    They love the Arianne. Ugh.

    Regardless, this is easily the best ep of the season.

    PAUSE-beer time.

    Nice – chefs sitting & drinking beer after dogging one another.

    Melissa and Eugene going home! That’s my guess pre judges table.

    On top: Stefan, Jamie, Arianne. Winner (my pick is Jamie-I bet they pick Stefan)

    Hooray for Jamie! Who’da thought I’d be cheering for her a few weeks ago.

    Melissa Eugene & Carla at bottom. I’m sticking with Melissa & Eugene, but Carla failed really badly on all fronts in the quickfire and the elimination.

    Uh oh. Melissa saying she should stay just because she should – again. Carla – ‘If you take my scallops off it’s perfect’ – What?

    Tom is bummed out because Eugeme mistreated ingredients – well said.

    I’m switching. Carla & Melissa are going home.

    Judges table + Christmas ale = good.

    One – Melissa
    Two – Eugene – I’m kinda surprised.

    Still best episode of the season. Cleaning out the chaff. Sucks for those two, but this is what was needed. Maybe this season can have some hope. I think Eugene was the last self taught chef on the show. The chefs were way more creative in the quickfire I think.

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    Heart Attack Grill

    Posted by beer_chris on 8-January-2009

    Side trip to Arizona in order?

    Heart Attack Grill

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    Behold, the power of cheese!

    Posted by beer_chris on 7-January-2009

    OK, so a couple of reactions to the cheese pie:

    1. WA-A-A-AY better at room temperature, or maybe even slightly warmed. Right out of the fridge the little chunks of cheese come loose when you’re eating it, and the Meyer lemon flavor is overwhelming in some of the bites. Additionally, for some reason the cold really obscures the masa/corny flavor of the crust.
    2. I think it might actually be better with less Meyer. However, I’m going to let it warm up and try again. I’m concerned that the lemon flavor is really ‘maturing’ into the custard.

    I did some searching as I’ve been wondering exactly what this is. Is it a pie? Is it a quiche? Is it a custard pie? Is it a tart? Bottom line, it’s a custard, although since it’s made with crema and not cream I’m not quite sure it can be called a quiche – it’s definitely quiche-like. I don’t think it’s a tart, because some definitions I’ve seen make a tart in a shallow pan (a tart pan, after all, is pretty shallow – shallower than a pie pan). However, the Food Lover’s Companion leaves it wide open – specifying that a quiche is made only with a custard and a savoury filling in a pastry crust that 1-1.5 inches deep – and is not topped off. The same book defines a tart as a pastry crust with shallow sides, a ‘filling’ and no top. So, according to that defintion a quiche AND a pie are potentially BOTH tarts!

    Whew.

    The literature seems to offer me no respite. In my opinion, this custard simply isn’t ‘eggy’ enough to be a quiche. The use of a soured cream also makes it slightly different from any quiche I’ve ever had (albeit I’m not a huge fan of quiche, so perhaps that’s my inexperienced palate talking).

    Bottom line, I’m going with sour custard and cheese pie. I’ll call it cheese pie for short.

    Click for cheesy goodness.

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