It's usually okay to go for the low-fat options: they're usually tasty enough, and worth the calorie cuts. Skim milk, reduced fat carbs like crackers and salty snacks, and low-fat yogurt are okay by me. But sometimes, you simply can't skip. Non-fat cheese? Impossible, and pretty non-edible.
The same does not go for snack dips. Sometimes, you just gotta admit something is party food, and go all out.
In my neighborhood, spring keeps trying to push through, but all the rain keeps things cold and blustery. But that's no matter, cause I'm ready to pretend that it's fresh and bright outside even if the weather doesn't cooperate.
So, this weekend, I'm shaking up the Coriander Mule, a tasty, lime, cilantro, and ginger cocktail
When is a sandwich not just a sandwich? When it's created by a five-star chef, of course.
Saveur magazine recently released its sandwich issue, and employed Tom Colicchio of Craft and sandwich spot 'wichcraft to share what goes into a truly great sandwich.
Anyone who regularly reads ManMade knows I have a deep love for regional Mexican cuisine. (It even infilitrates my Thanksgiving).
So, whenever I share this with someone local, they always say "Me too! El Vaquero is awesome." El Vaquero is fine, but it's about as Mexican as biscuits and gravy. (Actually, I had a pretty awesome Latinized biscuits and gravy at Dos Caminos in Manhattan, but you know what I mean.)
Most of the chips-and-salsa serving, combo platter, sombrero-laden restaurants near your local shopping center are better categorized as "Tex-Mex," that is, the north of the border food that uses the flavors of Mexico - masa, fresh and dried chiles, and aromatics.
Which, if it needs said, is delicious! (Well, El Vaquero isn't, but many can be.) It's just Tex-Mex, and most would be sorta unrecognizable to many Mexicans. But, that's okay, 'cause good is good.
Of course, I've thought of it. Standing at the counter, in the midst of dicing some veg, and I muse "Wow, this would be so much faster and accurate with the bandsaw!"
Prolly not safer, but of course, I love the idea of fusing my two favorite rooms in the house - the kitchen and the workshop.
It's no surprise that there's a healthy bit of finesse into making a perfect cocktail - combining the spirits with balance, shaking or stirring with ice so the water dilutes it just enough, garnishing just so.
But, in the case of a drink with multiple ingredients and components, it turns out there's a bit of chemistry as well.
Neil Da Costa, an expert in chemical analysis of flavors at International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., reports, "Each of the main ingredients has been shown to contain many flavor components, thus indicating that a Bloody Mary cocktail flavor is a very complex blend of several hundreds of flavor compounds. These include semi- and non-volatile ingredients with chemesthetic effects such a heat, burn, sour, salty and umami."
I eat a Cadbury creme egg about once every five Easters, just to see whether or not this might be the year I decide I like them. Hasn't happened yet.
I eat deviled eggs even less - I've had maybe three in my whole life. In some ways, they're the dish with the highest occurence of the five flavors I just can't get into: hardboiled egg yolks, things with mayo and sugar, and sweet pickle relish. (The other two being casseroles made with cream of anything soup and baby corn).
Yet, for some reason, I'm going to make these Cadbury creme deviled eggs this Easter...I just know it.
Everyone who loves Nutella can tell you the story of the first time they tasted it. While some of us may have grown up eating this chocolate-y, nutty spread, many sought it out after reading about it, seeing it in a recipe, or with the help of some tastebud loving friend. Me? I first tried it in a restaurant when I was in college, warmed into a ganache-y type thing as a dipping sauce for sopapillas. If only it were a bit more spreadable...
When I first saw this recipe on @Leethal's tweet, I was a bit shocked, thinking "you can leave milk out for three weeks, mixed with bacteria and yeast-loving sugar, and still drink it?" I mean, I've made some overnight cultured creams and yogurts, but this seemed wild.
And then I thought about it a bit more, and realized that the vodka, even in equal parts to the nutrient rich, germ happy milk and sugar, must be bacteriostatic enough to prevent anything from growing in there. (You like that? Bacteriostatic? See?! I paid attention in high school.)
Over the weekend, I rode by bike over to the secondhand book store. I often get in trouble here, since it's even more tough not to overload on goodies when they're much less expensive [and recycled, I tell myself!], so when I go by bike, I know I'm limited to just the few that can fit on my wheel rack.
I decided to live dangerously, and hung out a bit in the Food and Wine section (this and the Art/Design aisle are serious tempters for me), and noticed one thing:
There are a $%*load of cookbooks out there.
Sure, I know folks have different types of expectations when it comes to food, and even if you're not good at it, nearly everyone prepares some sort of food for themselves.
But, oh my, the genericness and redundancy of so many of these was overwhelming...I escaped a potentially credit-crushing trip with two very lucky finds (why anyone would sell these back is a mystery) - David Chang's Momofuku cookbook and Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits. I've checked out Chang's tomb several times from the library, and it's never gotten old, so finding it for $7.99 was pretty amazing. I'm headed to my local Asian market in a few hours to get started...
Guess what? It's completely possible to make an absolutely amazing cup of coffee at home. And while it might be a bit different from scooping out those Folger's instant crystals into some microwaved tap water, as my old office mates used to do, it's not terrifically complex either.
This Sunday brings us the *hmphrl Academy Awards (it's eighty-something, right?), and again, they'll be a bunch of self-congratulation, and the best movie won't actually win Best Picture.
Which is tedious enough to make you want to drink...a film-inspired cocktail, that is.
So, my girl got me the best Christmas gift of all time this year: a PID temperature controller, vacuum sealer, and a copy of Thomas Keller's Under Pressure. Which meeeaans.... I can now cook sous vide!
Sous vide [French for "under vacuum"] involves cooking food in airtight bags in temperature controlled water for long periods of time...essentially slow-poaching everything at an exact temperature. Since the food never rises over the desired doneness, it can never get overcooked! Neat, huh?
Of course, I played around in the week between Christmas and New Year's, but since it involves so much gear, I put it away with the decorations. But in the last few weeks, with all the crazy snow and ice, I've been staying inside, and really learning how to do it well.
I never had a real doughnut until I was eight or so.
Well, I guess by real, I mean "fresh, and from a bakery." See, my earliest doughnut memories involve 1) either those awful powdered sugary things that come in the re-sealable bag, or 2) those things my parents would cook in the crock pot..which actually had to be some sort of deeper fryer, but it lived in the lazy susan, and I wasn't allowed to touch it, so it was all the same to me.
Over the weekend, my local alternative weekly newspaper did a taste test of a new Doritos flavor: Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger. The consensus was: 1) yes, it is possible to make a chip taste like a cheeseburger; and 2) doing so is a terrible idea.
But, I do love the idea of whipping up an entire meal in an integrated, handy to-go package. And I especially love it when gravy is involved.
It's really cold today. There's snow in 49 states, and I'm doing everything I can not to turn on the thermostat before the program kicks it on at 3:30. And I need something warm to make it through. Not coffee. Not tea.
I need hot cocoa.
But I can't stand instant cocoa mix. Even the fancy ones are way too water-y. I need to be prepared for days like this.
I need to make my own.