Cheese – the perfect food

my cheese sense is tingling!Cheese is one of John’s and my most favorite foods, and I just couldn’t resist making a little cheese design for the shop. *grin* If there’s cheese around, we’re bound to find it. And I AM the master of the baked macaroni and cheese casserole, after all. Now I’m hungry for lunch… I’m thinking… grilled cheese….. (Click on the design to see it on an apron, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and a tote bag!)

Just too hot….

It’s just been too HOT here to eat anything, much less even think about cooking. For the last week or so we’ve had temperatures up to about 100 degrees. Go turn on your hair dryer and point it at your face – that’s what it’s been like. We’ve been living on seltzer and yogurt most days, it seems. Anyway, cooler weather will be returning, bringing back with it our appetites, so something more interesting will be here again soon – LOL.

Bagel World Record?

I clicked on an article about a half-ton bagel at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY – 660 pounds of flour, 900 gallons of water, half a pound of dry yeast, 53 pounds of malt and 12 1/2 pounds of salt to make an 868 pound bagel. I can just imagine how much cream cheese you’d need for that. And I’m not a fan of lox, but I suppose you could put large trout or even swordfish on that thing – LOL.

Another Reason To Love Carbs

This is a TAD offtopic here, but I think it still relates: Promising Thai fuel cell converts carbohydrates to generate electricity – “Cellennium Thailand, a small research and development company, has successfully developed and commercialised a sugar fuel cell that uses carbohydrates from sugar or tapioca to generate electricity. The vanadium-based fuel cell works by electrochemically converting the chemical energy bound in carbohydrates into electricity. Cellennium chairman Krisada Kampanatsanyakorn said the fuel cell, which has already been patented in Sweden, was able to store electricity for up to 15 to 20 years, or up to five times the life cycle of normal batteries….”

The Good and The Bad

There are some restaurants which seem to do things really well, but other things really poorly, so you only end up going there if you’re in the mood for the ‘good’ things. For instance, there’s a local diner-type place that makes what they call the ‘colossal burger’ – it’s a huge hand-made burger that’s fire-seared and just completely tasty. And their natural cut fries are just plain GOOD. This same place serves breakfasts (all day) as well, but most of what we’ve had there has been disappointing. Flat, thin, and tasteless scrambled eggs, pancake syrup that’s bland and runny… all the breakfast foods just seem to have no flavor at all. Before we stopped trying that place for the occasional breakfast out, we’d always leave feeling like none of the food actually made physical contact with our taste buds.

There’s also another local eatery within a store that we’ve dropped by a few times. They, too, had good burgers and fries, so we thought we’d go back and order their burritos. (It’s a limited menu kind of place.) I’ve never HAD such a horrible meal in my life. The chicken was on the edge of being either spoiled or doused in so much MSG that it tasted like salt gone bad – if that’s even possible. There was no cheese at all, the drop of sour cream had been placed inside the burrito and you couldn’t tell it was there.

Is it who’s cooking? What the cook knows how to do? What the cook LIKES themselves? Do cooks generally TASTE their own food? I guess I’m suspicious that the food that doesn’t taste good was made by those who consider cooking just another job and who don’t really have passion or joy for it. I guess those who aren’t in it for the taste tend to judge it by other critera, such as what the full plate looks like when ‘dressed’, etc. (John had a fellow cook tell him one day that if the food LOOKED good, the customer’s imaginations would fill in the rest. Both of us wondered, why not just make the food taste good in the first place? You don’t eat food with your EYES, right?) Anyway – that’s my rant for today – LOL.

Pink & Purple – The New White?

John and I went to a local, inexpensive eatery today to get some Italian pasta dinners – manicotti and lasagna, specifically. We quickly discovered that they had purchased some new (and cheaper, plasticky, reusable) plates to replace the old, white, ceramic ramekins that they used to use. We certainly liked the old ramekins better overall, but the new dishes would have been at least tolerable, except that they were trimmed with a large border of purple and pink flowers. Have you ever SEEN red-orange colored tomato sauce next to pink and purple? Of course, it may just be me, as I tend to be very attentive to colors in the first place, but let’s just say that this particular combination doesn’t necessarily ENCOURAGE the appetite. (All they were missing was a unicorn in the middle that you discovered upon clearing the plate.)

I AM hoping these cheap plates are just a stop-gap measure before they get new ramekins. I’m guessing they aren’t meant to last very long with commercial use. Hmmmm – maybe the pink and purple border will scrub off in the dishwashers! Well, one can HOPE!

I’d like my hair on the side, please…

The less hair you have, the less you pay at Gary’s Uptown Restaurant and Bar on Wednesdays, and you’re also privy to a special menu which includes flat iron steak, filet of snapper, and chicken fettucine. No hair? 100% off! No kidding! 😉 (I wonder who decides what percentage of ‘bald’ someone is?)

Ignore the Hype

Recent experiences have led us to concoct this equation: the quality of a food experience is inversely proportional to the amount of media hype (even local) that it gets. First case is a local bakery, which shall remain nameless – we finally stopped in there and bought a loaf of their sliced white bread. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place, mostly in the paper, but the bread itself was almost completely tasteless, and rather substanceless. Didn’t even make good toast when buttered and jammed.

Second case is all the television, radio, etc. ads for California Cheese. All of the cheese we’ve gotten that’s been stamped with the ‘real California cheese’ has been pretty basic. Not bad, but nothing amazing. My feelings on this might be skewed, of course, coming from Upstate New York, where the cheese section in Wegman’s supermarkets is simply amazing – LOL – without advertising. That, and the fact that they always show cows enjoying sunny skies with lush green fields – in many parts of CA the lush green only happens a few months out of the year or with intensive artificial watering everyday, that’s why the phrase, ‘the golden, rolling hills of California’ exists – dead hay/grass for most of the year.

Anyway, I’m taking the time now to notice things that I DON’T see a lot of hype about, and I’ll say that California wines, for example, seem to sell themselves pretty easily just by word of mouth – now THAT’S saying something. 😉

From the Google Kitchen

Looks like they’re having a lot of fun with the newish Google Blog, including a post from a Google Cook, Charlie Ayers, with a recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken which Elvis apparently loved. As I was glancing through the ingredients list, I noticed that it calls for ‘organic, free-range chickens’ – Go Google!

This reminds of the time I had the opportunity to have lunch with a group of friends at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, WA. I wish I could remember exactly what I had, but it’s been a number of years now. Mostly I remember that it was really good, that they had an excellent array (programming pun – heh) of dishes, and it was not typical cafeteria fare at all. Now, if I could just get myself invited to lunch at Google, all will be right with the world. *grin*