Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Pointed Bento

Monday, May 17th, 2010

That’s right, I did it. I realized that I needed to hold myself more accountable for what I eat so I joined Weight Watchers. The plan is to at least follow it through until my sister’s wedding in October and then focus on maintenance. However, I promise this won’t become a diet blog. Really, I want to focus more on better and whole foods rather than talking about what strange non-food based packaged product I can eat for hours without racking up the points. Food is not my enemy, and I’m the one who is choosing what to put into my body. Eating crap makes me feel like crap, so it’s time to move on for now.

While I do have a more exciting durian post in the works, here is an example of my new quickie but good for me bento:

P5172016

Contents:

1/2 blood orange
1 cup turkey breast
1 plum tomato with cilantro, and kalamata olives
English cucumber with seasoned rice wine vinegar

Point Total: 8

Notes: Seasoned rice wine vinegar has a surprising amount of points. I am guessing this is because “seasoned” rice wine vinegar has the addition of sake, salt, and sugar. Lesson learned.

Next post: Durian? Don’t mind if I do!

The New Arrival

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

While my wrists continue to be a rather painful annoyance, I’ve decided that I really have gone too long without blogging.  Frankly, there are too many exciting things happening right now NOT to be blogging about them.  The most exciting of these things is Mokey, my new dog.

P4181977

Please feel free to take a second to marvel at the size of those ears.

Kitsu, the fluffy little Pomeranian who is often featured in my blog is moving with his owner/mommy to California in a week or so, so Mokey will now be assuming the mascot duties for this blog. She doesn’t seem too thrilled about the silly outfits, but it’s possible some progress can be made if there are enough treats involved. Oh, and in case you are wondering, she’s a rescue, so we aren’t entirely sure what breed(s) she is. We just know that she seems to be made of awesome, and ears.

And it’s back…

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The dreaded Carpal Tunnel has hit again. This means that updates are going to continue to be a bit sparse lately. I will still try to post some pics if I make anything good, but even holding pots and pans has become a bit difficult. Maybe I can get The Boy to guest post again. :)

You get what you pay for…

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The thing about cheap bento boxes is that they exactly what they are, cheap.  No matter how careful you are to never put it in the dishwasher and treat it as gentle as can be, there is still a pretty good chance the once adorable designs on the top are going to get scratched and look a little worn.  I think of these $1-3 bentos like those gladware containers, no matter what, I’m just going to have to replace them at some point.

Now some of you know and some of you may not know that I am turning the big 30 pretty soon.  So as prepare for my biological clock to start ticking, I am also looking to start by 30s by getting rid of things (other than myself) which are starting to show their age.  Worn out zippy with holes in the pockets and sleeves?  Gone!  Socks worn so thin you can see through them?  You are out of here!  Scratched up and cracked bento boxes meant for preschoolers?  As much as it pains me to say this, it’s time for me to see other boxes.

The good news about all this bento cleansing is that I was able to make a trip to Kam Man market.  I’ve mentioned this place before, but it seems like they realized just how popular bento culture was getting in the US because I h ave never seen such a selection there before.  And the prices?  Well, let’s just say that I am ready to have quite a wild fling with several new boxes.  Here is just a sample of the goodies they carry:

Sweet Family

BuBee
See that? Sensible, understated, and microwave safe to boot.  But since old habits die hard, I did manage to throw these lovelies in too, you know, to mix things up.

Deer Bento

Overall these boxes ranged from $2-$8, with the $8 one being made of sturdier stuff with an additional microwave top underneath the colored outer one.

A Food Adventure…

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

This weekend I went on a trip to Quincy to check out both JnJ Turo Turo and get some supplies at Kan Man Market. I will take some pics of the goodies I took home with me, but until then I would like to direct you all to check out the blogs of those who also went on this little food adventure:

Erin – who already wrote a nice blog post about Turo-Turo complete with pictures!

Elise – With even more pics of the food and some descriptions from the menu to boot!

Yes, I realize that I am lazy and allowing them to do the work for me, but frankly, they both did such a great job on their reports that I felt there wasn’t much left to add. We are hoping to find a reason to go back and sample some other menu items in the near future, but if you are local and like to suggest any other places we should check out, please comment below. Hooray for culinary adventures!

Whoa…

Monday, December 14th, 2009

and i’m back. Though once again I must admit to being neglectful. Part of the reason I was away was a rather nasty cold, ad the other part is just being too worn out from work and my hectic schedule to feel like posting a bunch of stuff. The trouble is that this leaves me with a bunch of pictures on my camera that are just forced to sit there sad and neglected. I do have some plans for posting this week, especially since I am hoping to attend a french themed night at my local watering-hole/pub.

While I am forcing you wait wait once again, here is a little something to entertain you:

Disney seems to have started a push to utilize the Muppets again and there have been a couple viral videos out there lately. I sure hope this is a sign of more to come.

Philly, Here I come

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

It’s time for another one of my trips to Philly.  This means that I will be spending my day tomorrow lazily looking out the window of my train and dreaming about Top Gear.  I am going to try to remember my camera for some pics because I’ve realized that I have yet to post anything about some of my favorite places to visit there.  Then again, there might not be all tht much to see other than leftover turkey sandwiches.

Regardless, here is a pic from my last time down there this summer when we spent a day out in Lancaster.

Lancaster

Is it wrong that this pic makes me think of pie and pretzels?

See you all in a few days!

The next step…

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

After a week in the fridge, my bacon was fully cured.  If I had a smoker, now would be the time to start thinking about wood chips and all that jazz.  Sadly, I had packed away my bbq weeks ago and I am way too lazy to build my own contraption like Alton Brown.  No, a simple roasted bacon would have to do for the likes of me.

And so, I liberated my pork belly slabs from the fridge, gave them a good rinse, and placed them in a cool oven (200 degrees) for two hours.  This helps  dry things out, and makes things a lot easier to handle.  I’m sure it serves other purposes too, but who cares about that when your oven smells so good that you can finally understand why someone would buy one of those bacon scented candles.

roasted bacon

While things are still warm, I removed the skin and there it was…slabs of bacon made by yours truly. My God, it was beautiful. The book suggested i cut off a little piece there and then to try things out. The warm fat and meat tasted like bacon butter, and it only hinted at the goodness left to come.

Slabs of bacon can be very difficult to cut, so the idea is to partially freeze it before to keep things from being too squishy while you use your sharpest knife to make thick even cuts.

Behold! The final product:

The spoils

There was some center cut in there somewhere, but I think The Boy and I had eaten it all before I got the chance to take the picture. While our favorite method so far has simply been to cook the bacon and eat it, we have also cooked chunks to add to our salad. Damn it’s good stuff. I don’t think I will ever look at bacon bits the same way again.

If the pictures haven’t been enough to convince you and you are still not sure if making bacon is worthwhile…let’s put it this way: I am already planning my next batch. I won’t make it right away because too much bacon isn’t good for anyone, but I have reached BLT nirvana, and I have no intentions of looking back.

The Search for Pork Belly

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Pork Belly

The first challenge I ran into when making my own bacon was finding the most import element/ingredient, the pork belly.  I think I’ll spare you the specifics on where on the pig this comes from, because really it is pretty self explanatory.  What I did find surprising was how difficult it was for me to find fresh pork belly at a reasonable price without having to order 30 lbs or haul it clear across the city.

The first place I tried was McKinnon’s in Davis Square.  After a brief talk with a woman who worked there who swore up and down that their “pork shoulder” was really pork belly, I went home only to discover that I should have trusted my instincts and asked to speak with someone else.  It was indeed pork shoulder and it also had a really unappealing smell to it.  Well, lesson learned.

Next stop Market Basket in Somerville, but when I discovered that several packages of meat were leaking into the case, I fled in horror.  This left me having to expand my horizons a little more.  The problem was that if I had to buy my pork belly from a shop that doesn’t always carry pork belly, that means that there can be a minimum amount you need to order.  In the end, a co-worker helped me get some fresh pork belly (bone-in, skin still on) from a different Market Basket location.

Since I am all about encouraging people to try new things and support their local butcher shops (two of my uncles are currently and my grandfather was a butcher), I am going to supply a list of other places you can check out:

Meat Again
Savenor’s
Dom’s Sausage
The Butcher Shop
Sulmona Meat Market
DiPaolo & Rossi Meat Market

Basically, you are looking for is a 5-7lb piece of pork belly, skin on. You can either leave the bones in or ask the butcher to remove them for you. In retrospect, I should have asked for the bones removed because in ended up taking too much meat off in a few places when I tried to remove the ribs myself. Still, eating the ribs was part of the fun too.

Let me end this section with one word of the wise to the squeamish. The attached skin is from the underbelly of the pig, tiny translucent hair and nipples and all. You won’t be eating the skin in the end, but I just wanted to throw that out there. You are gonna have to get your hands all up in raw meat and I know that can be a bit challenging for some.

Next time: preparing the cure.

The Quest for Bacon – Part 1

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

And so the saga begins…

Around my birthday a friend/partner in crime of prime gave me two amazing books. One was all about making cheese at home, and the other was Charcuterie the quintessential book about home curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. Honestly, google it. I promise you that mention of this book occurs on almost every omnivore foodie blog this side of the universe. Oh, and while you’re away, Michael Ruhlman’s blog is pretty darn nifty too. Way more shiny than this here blog, though I would like to mention that he has a link to Kitchen Aid mixers under his “favorite kitchen tools” section. Damn Skippy, my culinary kindred. Damn skippy.

Back to the task at hand however. Not long after receiving the book, I spent a day reading the thing from cover to cover. And while my mind could not completely wrap around some of the more complex projects, there was one thing that stuck out the most. With very little extra effort, I Smalerie, could cure my own bacon.

The good news is that the bacon recipe is found quite early in the book and is suggested as a starter project for newbies. It requires few extra tools, and nothing that is too hard to find so long as you are willing to put in the effort. Best of all, I am planning on even providing resources for those of you in the Boston area. Sadly, you are going to have to wait until the next post for that.

Next time: Getting what you need while the gettin’s good!