When I was young, chicken parm was my favorite meal. I got it whenever I went out to eat. I liked it so much that my mom even made it for me on my birthdays. (which happens to be tomorrow...) As I got older and more into the food world, I started to shrug off chicken parm as cheesy Italian-American fare. Something these so-called Italian restaurants serve to the masses. Places that lay on thick accents, but the food doesn't resemble anything you would find in Italy. I try as hard as I can not to be snobby about food. Food is something that everyone shares, and if you are a snob about it, you will find yourself eating foie gras and sea urchin alone in a corner somewhere crying into your chilled melon and prosciutto soup(mmmsalty tears). If you set too many limits on your diet and only eat things people deep in the foodie world consider appropriate or acceptable, you may end up missing out on the best meal of your life! Last week I ate chicken parm for the first time in probably 4 years. I am sorry chicken parm and I hope you find it in your tenders to accept me back.
February 2009 Archives
It's unofficial tomato week here on TFimB. I didn't realize before, but every day has some sort of tomato in it! This is a healthy weeknight meal that Mandi and I learned from Ellie Krieger a few years back. We make it occasionally and have adapted the recipe to make it our own. We usually make this for 2, because it is an easily scalable recipe, but the quantities shown in the pictures are for 4.
"It Boggles the Mind" - Sarah
This episode opened on a beautiful day in England, a strong contrast from last seasons overcast rainy days. I swear it wasn't nice out once last season. The three challenge couples met Raymond at Trinity College, one of the many colleges of Oxford University. They were told that they each had to put on an event at a different Oxford college where they would have to serve 150 students and about 25 members of a "high table" containing "fellows" of the college (Old people with long beards who do a lot of research apparently.) Their challenge began with them each having an hour to speak with someone who is normally in charge of these dinners to learn about the customs.
Are you guys excited for the finale of Top Chef tomorrow night?? Is anyone else disappointed that Fabio went home? His drink was the main reason he went home, but it just sounded so wacky that Mandi and I needed to try it! Macerated red pepper? Macerated in what? Who knows? We also made one of my favorite drinks of all time; a basil-orange mojito. I first had this at a Thai restaurant here in Bermuda, and they took it off the menu one week later!!! Obviously I had to recreate it.
I had neither made, nor eaten cioppino before last night. I didn't know how it should taste or anything about it really. Mandi and I wanted some fish this weekend and couldn't decide which, so instead of deciding, we just got a bunch of different fish and put them all in a stew together. We took a few different ciopinno recipes and formed our own. I can not vouch for the authenticity of this stew, because no one had had it before, but the final taste was really really great. It's also fairly healthy and can be made in under an hour. The only real complaint I have was that it was really expensive. Back in the day, this used to be a dish of the people, made with leftovers of the daily catch. These days, decent fish has become so expensive that it isn't feasible to make this often.
The day is finally here. The new website is up! It's a few hours late because of DNS and nameservers and propagation and other big internet words, but you don't know how unbelievably proud I am to show you all this today.
Now before you go off checking out the new features, I want to explain a few things. First of all, this site is only about 90% done, but I had to put it up because I've held it off for too long. There will be more subtle changes in the coming weeks, but more importantly, if you see a broken link or missing picture, please email me and let me know so I can fix it! Do you guys know there is almost 5000 images on this website?? I do. Trust me, I do. You see, when I started this website, I didn't really think much of it, so I didn't do research on the best blogging software. I got an open source ASP.NET Blog engine because I thought it would help me with my web development career, I didn't really care about the content or anything like that. Flash forward a year, and I realize this software is compatible with NOTHING.
So check out the site! I would put links here, but I would rather you explore yourself. I will list the biggest changes. You can now log in to comment! You can still comment anonymously, but I think my loyal readers will be happy to make a login name so others can't steal their names on the site. Also the comment system is fixed, so no more errors and lost comments. I have added a section of my favorite basic recipes that I often use within other recipes. This is so I can link them easily and not have to repeat myself. That is up at the top under stubble. I think you will also notice general ease of use. There are way more tags, so the categories section will be easier and hopefully more fun to navigate. I also got a google search, and an automatically updating recipe index (cause we all know how often I updated the old one)
Lastly and most amazingly and obviously, is the incredible layout and new drawings!!!! My old site was starting to look a bit.... Retro? I can't thank the design team enough. Rich for the great artwork, and especially Kim for staying at work after hours listening to me tell her that her hard work was not what I wanted and that she would have to start over! I couldn't have done it without you! Also thanks to nick, the "anonymous lurker" who helped me with the server admin and linux stuff. So what do you guys think? Try out the new commenting system by putting gushing compliments below!
Sometimes it's nice to have a failure. When it's NOT nice is when you have people over and you are just trying some fun food experiments but everyone is really hungry and watching your every move waiting for their food. When it IS nice, is when it's just you, maybe with a friend, casually cooking and having fun. Hoping things will work out but being ok if they don't. Having a contingency plan. Plan B. Another time it's nice is when it takes you down a peg. When you haven't had a failure in awhile, and you are beginning to think you are the master of the kitchen.
"I am very happy with the gusto that you attacked this pig with, Momma Blanc would be proud" - Raymond
The theme of this episode was no waste. To show the couples a quick demo of how not to waste, Raymond has a very expensive fish, a Sea Bream in front of him. He chops it up showing the couples areas of this fish that most people would waste. Towards the end he starts beating on the fish with his knife and splashes Sarah with some fish juice! She jumps out of the way covering her face. After this demo, Raymond tells the couples to go to their restaurants where they will be receiving a present from him.
My favorite meal to order when I get Thai food changes all the time. I have to say that right now it is massaman curry. I love this stuff! To me, it is a perfect mix of Indian and Thai. It has the lighter and thinner coconut broth of a Thai curry, but has the pungent deep smells and flavors of Indian curry. The best way I had this dish was at Brown Sugar café in Boston. It was stewed and the beef had so much flavor! The meat was falling apart. This is the way we made it for some friends this past Friday. We got the recipe from chez pim. NOTE: I know I promised the new website would be up a few times already, but trust me; we are working hard on it! I feel that I can now say with confidence that the new site will be up on Friday!
Mondays are soup night in my apartment. Soup is just so comforting on a Monday night. Mandi and I get home from work and whip up a quick and delicious soup to comfort the pain of starting the work week. It is a great way to use up extra ingredients from cooking over the weekend, and it warms us up since there is no heating in our house! It gets pretty cold riding the moped home in this weather so a nice soup and an episode of '24' and we are feeling much better and ready to go back to work on Tuesday. This is a pretty healthy asparagus soup we made this past Monday. I usually use potatoes and yogurt to make a soup creamy instead of adding cream. It is healthier and makes the soup silky smooth.
It's that time of year again. Well, it is for me at least! Yep it is a perfect time to start growing in Bermuda. This year we have some different plants. We are even trying to start a few herbs from seed. But the fruit I am most excited for, we didn't even plant! It's all natural growing wild in my back yard.
A quick side note. Some of you may know that I love Norm Macdonald. There was never a reason to mention him on a food blog though... UNTIL NOW!! Norm has officially been a part of the single greatest cooking segment on a talk show ever!! Congrats Norm! This doesn't seem to be making the rounds on food blogs yet, so here it is, check him out on Conan with Gordon Ramsay.
Did everyone do their homework and catch up on Last Restaurant Standing?? Last night's episode was the first "challenge" of the season, where the 3 worst couples had to dance for their lives and try not to get eliminated. In the challenge were Richard and Scott of "Sorbet and Seasons," Mike and Harriet, the father daughter team running "The Blue Goose," and Michele and Russell, the couple running "Cheerful Soul." Their challenge was to work at a food court at a highway rest stop. Raymond wanted to see creative and exciting yet simple food, and of course wanted the teams to make money. He said marketing would be very important to this challenge to pull people in and have them choose your food over the plethora of options in the food court. Click through to continue with the review with spoilers of this episode.
The Mole recipe from yesterday called for 1/3 of a plantain. Really? 1/3 of a plantain? Now what to do with the rest of it? Well as I was making the mole, I tasted one of the fried plantains and thought that it would go well in place of a potato in hash browns. So here we are the next morning, making just that.
I have shied away from making Mole for a while. Mainly because it seemed very complicated. Well it is! But it was SO WORTH IT! This meal took us a really long time to make and a lot of effort, but now with one mole under my belt, I feel like I understand the dish a bit better and would be able to make another much easier. Now in my head, Mole has become like a curry, but instead of making the paste with raw spices and herbs, we must first cook the ingredients, make the paste, and then cook them some more! With this mindset, Mole becomes more approachable to me. There are many shortcut moles out there, but you know me, I have to go to the most authentic recipe I can find. This is where Rick Bayless comes in. We got this recipe from his book "Authentic Mexican." I was not going to put up this recipe, and just suggest buying the book, but lucky for you all, I found it online! The link is at the bottom of the page, along with the tamale recipe.
Thursday nights I watch a lot of TV. I love The Office and 30 Rock the most, but afterwords I usually flip to Ace of Cakes and see what they are making. Last night, each person at the bakery had to make their own shoe for a charity auction. As you would expect, Mandi really loved this. Towards the end of the show, the girls started getting really competitive about it, each claiming that their shoe was going to bring in the most money at auction. They started saying they would "throw each other under the bus" and laughing about it. "Do they really say that on a reality show?" Someone asked. Mary Smith replied "Yes, they say it on almost every episode." This is what I love about the show. They are really all just hanging out making cakes and talking about the same things I talk about, but it is pretty subtle. A lot of times the editing cuts stuff that they aren't really allowed to say, but if you pay attention you know exactly what they are talking about. In this case they were clearly talking about "Top Chef", the only place in the world where "throwing someone under the bus" is a commonly used phrase. Food Network hates "Top Chef" and pretty much denies its existence, so they decided to chop up the scene leaving it confusing to the general public! It's more fun this way though, because if you get it, you feel like you are an insider.
Ok, enough off topic rambling, here is the post! I have made a lot of omelets in my life. At different times, I have preferred different methods, but I think I have officially found the ultimate omelet! I can't take credit for this, its Mandi's creation. She really loves working on a flat grill and used to make omelets like this for herself when she worked at a college food court. The key to a perfect omelet to me has always been the contrast of the crisp browned outside, with the creamy, just barely cooked inside. With this omelet, you get many layers of crisp and soft. Its hard to describe, so lets go to the pictures!
Awhile back, before anyone ever read my website, I used to write a weekly review of the TV show Last Restaurant Standing. I enjoyed watching the show, it was always good and interesting, but never great. I had no plans of reviewing the show this year. I actually didn't even know there was a second season. Watching TV last night, I saw that the 2nd and 3rd episode would be on. I checked it out and I was very impressed by the new season! The show is much much better than it was last year! The couples were more serious about the food and much more accomplished. They went into the show with strategies and solidified restaurant concepts, and it is going to be a tough battle to decide the winner.
So here I am the next morning with a review! But first, a plea to all of my fans. Watch this show! It's gonna be no fun if I'm just sitting here reviewing the show and nobody cares. If you guys start watching you can laugh with me about the people on the show and write funny comments and stuff. Last year I reviewed the show because no one else was. I thought it would get me some hits, and it definitely did. This year, I am reviewing the show for a different reason. Because I love it! And I want you all to love it to. Do I sound like they paid me to say this stuff? Cause they didn't. anyway, ya'll got TIVO. Set it up. Don't worry about missing the beginning, the first episode was before they got their restaurants and Raymond Blanc got rid of the worst couple. Then in the 2nd and 3rd, NO ONE went home! So you guys didn't really miss anything! What you DID miss, I will tell you right now. On to the review!
Today's post is pretty short for a number of reasons. First being because you've already seen us make dishes similar to this before. Probably because we make stuff like this a lot. I call it "clean out your fridge pasta". Second, i left my memory card at home this morning and this is the only post i have with me. Third, I am very busy working hard on the new website. The fourth and final reason is that it was a long tiring weekend and between that and a rough Monday... i am very tired and this is all i could muster, i will be back at it full force on Thursday ready to rock once again.
Mandi has been on a chickpea kick lately. We thought chickpea curry would be a healthy and quick weeknight dinner to make so I set out online to try and find recipes. Traditionally, chickpeas are used in a curry dish called "Chana" or "Chole", but I don't have access to some of the more exotic ingredients in this recipe (asafetida and dried mango powder) so I decided we would just wing it. Our end result was delicious. I used dried beans because they are better for you, taste better, and are cheaper than canned, but if you want to make this quicker and easier, go for the cans.