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Best lawsuit response EVER

28 Jan

 

LOL

Are you surprised?

25 Jan

flickr/erikmarcus

Fast food is under attack once again. It was not too long ago that McDonald’s fries–which were found to be incorrectly categorized as vegetarian because of its added meat flavoring–made headlines. This time it’s Taco Bell’s turn to take the spotlight because of the questionable mixture used to make their “seasoned beef” filling. Philip Caulfield over at NYDailyNews writes:

A law firm is claiming that the fast food chain is using false advertising when it says its Mexican delicacies are filled with “ground beef” or “seasoned ground beef.”

In fact, the lawsuit claims, the “taco meat filling” used by Taco Bell contains is only about 35% beef, with binders, extenders, preservatives, additives and other agents making up the other 65%.

And just so you have some reference for what is considered to be “ground beef”, he also provides the USDA definition:

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website, “ground beef” or “chopped beef” consists of chopped fresh or frozen beef with or without seasoning, should not contain more than 30% fat and should not contain water, phosphates, binders or extenders.

Is this really any surprise to anyone? I mean, look at the food they sell. It tastes damned good (especially those steak and potato burritos…mmmm) but can barely resemble what it’s supposed to be–especially the “beef” filling.

For some inspiration

13 Jan

As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of fusion cuisine. The blending of flavors and pairing of various cooking techniques bring excitement to familiar dishes and adventure to our culinary adventures.

But recently I’ve found myself stuck in a rut. Part of it is the kitchen (I’ve found that the layout and state of the kitchen greatly influences my desire to cook) and the other part of it is my busy schedule. With so little time to cook, I don’t have time to both cook food that I can easily pack for lunch everyday and experiment with new dishes. (I tried to at the beginning of the year but found that I usually ended up with enough time for one experimental dish which I was stuck eating regardless of the results.)

It’s time to change things. And for once, I know where to begin. I stumbled across this article, which features a new modern, cross-continental preparation of soba noodles. From experience, I’ve found that nearly such dishes are never as fulfilling as the traditional zarusoba which is, in my humble opinion, a nearly perfect preparation for these noodles. But this recipe, may change that for me. I’m excited to see how the cumin and pine nuts interact with the texture of the soba noodles and the arctic char (although, to be quite honest, I will probably end up using salmon).

Once I try it out, I’ll be sure to post the results here so stay tuned!

The price we pay

8 Dec

Would you eat this?

I’ve found over the past four years that the following: blog surfing, facebooking, and game playing, increase exponentially during finals week. Counterintuitive, yes, but it’s the truth. In my defense, it prevents me from going crazy.

But sometimes my lack of focus and increased procrastination result in something useful. In this case, something for the blog!

This week California approved the use of methyl iodide as a pesticide in farming despite findings that the chemical is more toxic and harmful than its predecessor, methyl bromide, which was banned years ago:

“It is my personal opinion that this decision will result in serious harm to California citizens, and most especially to children,” wrote panel member Theodore Slotkin, a professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University.

I’m not comfortable with this at all. There’s already enough carcinogenic crap (excuse my language) in our lives, why add another to the mix?

Is it time to move again? Let’s hope not.

I don’t blog surf enough

23 Nov

flickr/stu_spivack

I realized today that I really don’t blog surf as much as I used to. When I started following food blogs I would visit about 20-40 sites daily–a bit extreme, I know, but it brought a lot of joy (and much needed) inspiration into my life. Now, with undergrad drawing to a close I’ve realized that now I only visit about 5 sites every few day– if I’m lucky.

I think it’s about time I start up the old routine again: blog surf one day, cook the next day. Yes, believe it or not, that’s how it used to be. I would cook new dishes I found online almost every other day. It didn’t really help me deal with my ring of love (think love handles but more…like a donut), but it definitely kept me sane.

So here we go. First up on the list: pierogies.

Last month, Momofukufor2 featured a post on these delicious European dumplings (check it out here) and now I can’t stop thinking about pierogies.

The first time I encountered these European dumplings was two years ago. It was love at first bite. My pierogies contained a cheese, potato, and bacon filling and were pan-fried in browned butter, (more) bacon, and green onions. Delicious, right? But I’m definitely interested in trying out Momofukufor2’s version that uses a green onion oil and mashed potato mixture for the filling. If I have time to, maybe I’ll also try putting some shredded rafute in the mix as well for a bit of Okinawan fusion.

But first I need to go grocery shopping (something I haven’t done for the last two weeks). So the picture commentary on the results will have to wait until later. Check back in about two days–they should be up by then! But if you have some time to make those pierogies NOW, don’t let me stop you. Here, you can even have the recipe:

Pierogi Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine April 2004 as found on epicurious.com

yield: 48-50 pierogi

For dough
3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
1 cup water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

For potato filling
1 1/2 pound russet potatoes
6 ounces coarsely grated Cheddar or 4 tablespoons green onion oil*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter

Make dough:
Put flour in a large shallow bowl and make a well in centre. Add water, egg, oil, and salt to well and carefully beat together with a fork without incorporating flour. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually incorporating flour, until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting with flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (dough will be very soft). Invert a bowl over dough and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Make filling while dough stands:
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes, then equally divide in two bowls. In one bowl add the cheese, salt, and pepper, in the other bowl, add the green onion oil. Mash the potatoes until smooth and mix thoroughly.
When mashed potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a small cookie scoop to scoop out the filling. Cover and keep the filling in the fridge until you are ready to fill your pierogi.

Form and cook pierogi:
Halve dough and roll out 1 half (keep remaining half under inverted bowl) on lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 15-inch round (1/8 inch thick), then cut out 24 rounds with lightly floured cutter. Holding 1 round in palm of your hand, put 1 potato ball in centre of round and close your hand to fold round in half, enclosing filling. Pinch edges together to seal completely.

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pierogi, stirring once or twice to keep them from sticking together, and cook 5 minutes from time pierogi float to surface. Drain and pan fry in butter or oil over medium heat until crisp.

 

 

For the scrap hoarders out there…

22 Nov

Photograph: Cakespy

No, not scrap as in trash. But scrap as in those delicious leftover bits of food you find yourself mindlessly nomming on throughout the day.

One of the biggest predicaments I face after carefully laying a made-from-scratch pie crust into a pie tin and trimming the excess is: what to do with the leftover crust? For those of you who have ever attempted to make a pie crust, you understand just how serious of a situation this is. After carefully cutting the butter (or whatever fat you choose to use) into the dry mixture to make a flaky ball of dough the last thing you want to do is toss the bits that just don’t make it into the final product. (And for those of you who have never tried, try it. You’ll understand after the first attempt–guaranteed.)

Jessie Oleson over at Cakespy has a solution–a simple solution that will leave you feeling like an idiot for not thinking of it before. Make pie fries. Not only is the name catchy, the idea will leave you salivating.

Just brush with some butter, sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon, bake until crisp, and WAH-LAH you have pie fries!

Oleson cutes it up by adding cute packaging:

Photograph: Cakespy

For the scrapbook-baker fanatic out there, this is heaven. For those who want to take it one step further I would suggest using cookie cutters to cut out some cute shapes in addition to the fries. (If I have time I’ll try it out and post it here!)

What I especially love about this idea is its versatility. You can flavor it any way you please and pair it with a variety of dipping sauces. Did I mention it makes for a super cute (and easy) holiday gift?

Here’s the link to the post on seriouseats.com. I’ve also included the recipe down below for your convenience:

Pie Fries (courtesy of Cakespy)

Serves 2 to 3 – active time 5 minutes – total time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Pie dough scraps from cutting a 10-inch pie

Melted butter, to taste

Granulated sugar

Cinnamon

Nutmeg or other spices of your choice

Jam or preserves, for dipping

Procedures

1. Collect your pie dough scraps. They may already be in slivers; if not, put them together into one clump, and roll out. It’s OK if the dough looks slightly lumpy when rolled out.

2. Slice the dough into “fries”, approximately the size of fast food restaurant-style fries.

3. Place the cut “fries” on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Brush with as little or as much butter as you’d like using a pastry brush.

5. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and any other spices you’d like (I used nutmeg).

6. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 10 minutes, or until crispy around the edges.

 

 

Which pumpkin-spice latte should I choose?

21 Nov

Just in case you were wondering:

Whole Foods

Whole Foods’ version was a little modest on the coffee flavor and lacked anything remotely pumpkiny, but was very nutmeg-forward and had a sweet, caramel-like coating on the tongue. The aftertaste was superlong and somewhat cloying, but the flavor overall was really aided by the nutmeg. A little more cinnamon would probably balance out the cup pretty nicely, though the drink overall was pretty enjoyable and very autumnal.

In the meantime, am I the only person who always forgets that most Whole Foods have a cafe in the bulk-coffee section? All this time I could be warming my paws on an Americano while perusing the frozen vegetables. Sigh.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Surprisingly, Dunkin’ Donuts’ offering had a much more recognizably “coffee” taste to it, though whatever else in there that’s supposedly making it a pumpkin-flavored drink is hard to discern. Sweet like butterscotch, it has more of a vanilla or hazelnut sort of warmth to it, and almost no detectable spice at all—it almost tastes like the kind of push-button “French vanilla cappuccino” I grew up on haunting the aisles of Wawa as a New Jersey teenager.

Starbucks

“It’s seriously awesome,” the barista at Starbucks assured me. “It’s totally the thing that turned me on to espresso.” Well, that’s really nice and everything, but it’s hard to see how that’s possible, as the Green Mermaid’s pumpkin-spice latte has the least coffee flavor of any coffee drink I’ve ever had in my entire life. (Including the Wawa special mentioned above.)

know there’s espresso in there, because I saw our man put it in the cup. But underneath a cap of (actually pretty decently textured and generously “spiced” from a handy shaker from the baristas’ arsenal) white foam, there lurked an orange (yes, actually orange) drink that tasted almost exactly like taking a sip of Libby’s canned pumpkin mixed with sweetened-condensed milk and not much else. Basically it’s a drinkable version of not-yet-cooked pumpkin pie filling.

So who won this battle? Find out here.