Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sugar in itself isn't such a bad thing. I like sweets, I like candy bars and I like a bit of sugar in my tea every morning. What I don't like is sugar being added to the food I eat in a sneaky manner.
I used to go to the supermarket and buy name brand spaghetti sauce in jars. I thought it was pretty decent, and that having spaghetti was a pretty healthy way to eat. After all, it's just a bit of garlic and herbs, perhaps some olive oil, and a bunch of tomatoes, right? Well, I started to read the ingredient list and saw sugar in the list. Why add sugar? Simply said, the tomatoes used in sauce might not be ripe enough, so they add sugar to counteract the under-ripe tomatoes they are using. A name brand italian sauce I used started to add sugar after they were purchased by a large conglomerate and introduced it with banners saying "new better recipe"! Yeah, right. Sugar is also useful as a preservative, so the sauce will last longer on the shelf. Better ways of adding a bit of sweetness would be to add caramelized garlic, onions and/or carrots (thought I'm not a big fan of carrots myself in pasta sauce).
Sugar is also often added to bread. Sometimes this is to kick off the yeast, though I find in experience that I don't really need to do this. Often it is added as a preservative to keep the bread on the shelves longer. While still living in America, I noticed, strangely, that most bread had High-Fructose Corn Syrup added to it. The sweetness really doesn't make the bread taste that much better, it's just so that the bread can sit on the shelves for a couple of weeks and still be 'fresh'.
I'm not so much against sugar itself, I just don't like it being sneaked to my food. I'll just stick to having sugar in my tea..
Friday, January 18, 2008
I've been thinking of commenting on the additives I've been noticing one by one. I want to discuss why I think they're included, what they are, and why I don't like it.
This has been an idea floating in my head for quite some time, but as I noticed some weird ingredients showing up in some chocolate I was thinking of buying today, I finally decided to start writing about it.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The results were great. Though I still need to try it out with Marsala wine as she suggests. I think it's probably enough just to dump the risotto in after it cooks (I do things the easy way and use the pressure cooker, which is even easier than the cookbooks suggest) and keep it warm for a bit while mixing it around. This was also a very handy use of the big cooking pan that goes on my European Outoor Chef BBQ.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
I've neglected this blog for awhile, but I really should do a bit more with it. I've got a new BBQ, and have been cooking up a storm on it. But here's a recipe I've been planning to write down for quite a while, so here it goes.
Saltimbocca is a great dish to make for guests. It's easy, it tastes GREAT, it's quick and it goes with nice full-bodied wines. It's very flavorful, so even though it's not the lowest fat thing to eat, you're probably not going to be eating more that a couple of pieces, so you can round it out with a bunch of veggies, potatoes, rice or noodles and make it a pretty healthy meal overall.
As I mentioned it's pretty wine friendly. Both in that it tastes great with full-bodied red wines, and that if you've already had a couple of glasses, it's still easy to cook. And, it always impresses anyone who's never had this dish before.
- Two thinly cut veal steaks about the size of a deck of playing cards per person. (Beef, pork chops w/o bone, turkey or chicken breast can be substituted)
- Four slices Bundner Rohschenken per person. (Parma Prosciutto can be substituted.
- Two to Three sage leaves per steak. (dried is okay, fresh is great).
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
You can prepare the meat ahead of time and put in the refrigerator.
For each steak, season with salt and pepper (and I often add a bit of garlic powder) then wrap in the rohschenken or prosciutto. Use two toothpicks per steak to hold in place. If you have some nice big fresh leaves of sage, you can also stick these together on the outside of everthing with the toothpicks.
Start off cooking by heating some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Use a good pan and you won't need the heat too high. If you're using dried sage leaves put a couple down in the oil just before adding the steak atop the sage leaves. Fry the steaks until the Rohshenken is well browned. Don't worry about over cooking, it just gets tastier the longer you cook it. Serve when well browned. I like the sage leaves on top of the saltimbocca as they absorb a lot of flavor from the rohshenken/prosciutto, but some people prefer not to eat them as the look a bit burned.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
While we were on a trip to Budapest, Hungary, we noticed a post card with a wonderful looking market on it. We asked our friends who were showing us around where that market was, and they mentioned it was near our hotel. So, on our last day in Budapest we planned our day; First we would go up the hill with the citadel on it, and then we would walk across the Elizabethan bridge and go to the Market.
In Pest's market there are all sorts of intersesting stands and shops. Many sell vegetables, wine, meat, bread or even, as in the one in the photo, Paprika.
At first it was quite confusing what to buy. A lot of the paprika looks packaged for tourists, with wooden spoons and recipes attached. We wandered around the market, and asked one of the vendors what the differences were in Paprika sold.
The vendor mentioned there were hot and sweet paprikas, but the quality between brands weren't so different. However, there were differences in paprikas with some slightly cheaper varieties having seeds included in the mix, and those slightly more expensive having no seeds in the mix.
I purchased about 1kg of paprika to take home. With 500g being a big bag of regular grade sweet paprika, a small bag of flake and seeds, and two tins of paprika without seeds (and a inexpensive package of saffron threads).
I don't have a recipe yet to post on using paprika, though I plan on trying to come up with a version of the paprika potatoes I had at the open air museum near Szentendre. I have been trying out the paprika, using it to replace the chili powder in enchilada sauce and potato curry so far. I've also made some paprika chicken that turned out pretty tasty. While it is much milder than the hot red chili powder I use in most of my Mexican cooking, it has a nice subtle taste, and is great to use when you want a lot of nice color in the meal without too much heat.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
While I'm neither Greek, nor a salad. I often enjoy putting together a Greek Salad. It makes a nice light lunch for us and is also quite tasty. I put one together for lunch today, and promptly forgot to take a picture of it.
One thing that's good to have when you're making a Greek Salad is an olive pitter. It's really a pain to chew around those olive pits while eating the salad. A few minutes spent taking those pits out makes the salad much more enjoyable.
Traditionally, I think the salad will have raw onion, as we're usually having it for lunch, we skip the onions. I also add a bit of iceberg lettuce to make it more like a traditional salad.
- 1 large english cucumber
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 20 (or so) Kalamata or salty Greek olives
- 1 tablespoon Oregano
- 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce
- 100g Feta cheese (I use a great 1/4 fat cheese I find here in Switzerland and France).
- Salt to taste.
Grab your big salad bowl, and add the oregano, vinegar, olive oil and salt. Mix it up a bit, and let the vinegar and oil absorb some of the oregano taste.
Dice up the Feta cheese and add it to the salad dressing. Mix it up lightly.
Pit the olives if desired. Add olives to the salad dressing.
If desired, peel the cucumber, and then cut it four times lengthwise. Cut each segement into quarters across the end and then slice the four sticks so you get quarters of a slice of cucumber. Thow the cucumber into the salad bowl.
Cut up the lettuce, or if you do it the way I do and use a package of "Bag O'Salad" and put it into the bowl.
Mix the salad well. This way the dressing gets all of the blander parts of the salad covered with tasty salad dressing.
Dice the tomatoes and add them to the top of the salad. Serve immediately.
Serves two as main course, six as starter salad.