Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So I have this Drinking/Writing Problem... Gendered Drinking

I have been asked to use a rye vodka and to try their his and hers cocktails for Valentine's Day. I jumped at the chance because I had an idea.

If you have been following me on twitter, one of the things that gets me going is using sex to sell booze, especially sexist claptrap. It is a bit odd to be pushing something that blurs judgement around sex where in the best of times it can get murky, like consent. Booze and sex are often paired. I'm betting many of us have made decisions involving alcohol that we would not have made otherwise.

There are whole internet memes around slut shaming dedicated to the night before leading to the day after. Jokes around what it takes to make a person turn gay, ugly partner jokes and courage; so many jokes about needing alcohol to get laid.

I'm not humourless about it, I just think that maybe we shouldn't use the same tired ideas to sell it. So, that is one thing that struck me about this request.

The his and hers drinking is an extension of this type of sexism. The idea that women like girly drinks that are fruity or wine is rampant. The corollary is that fruity drinks are drank only by females or, er, fruits is ridiculous. If it is true, and wine is higher ABV, then all you beer swilling gorillas can't hold your liquor. Have you ever tried to drink high octane drinks in high heels?

The male suggested drink is manlier in that it has mint instead of fruit because we all know that mint is a man's drink. Reminds me of mint juleps. I like them. Every time I bring them up, some one talks about how they are an old ladies' drink and southern and stuff, until they taste them. They have a seasoned soccer player's kick. Funny how time changes things like what constitutes feminine and masculine.

I guess the idea is that you both make different cocktails to get the engine started in either a new relationship that requires a loosening effect or you are in an established relationship that requires some soft mood lighting and numbing. Maybe I'll use some part of this post as a jumping off point for my review.

Anyways, there are a bunch of things that are swirling around in my head. I did decide to take the write up but hope to use some of these thoughts against themselves. We'll see how it goes. I expect to see a package in the mail today and start experimenting tonight and for the next few days. I waiver between drawing attention through comedy and doing a "straight" review with standard bits. I'm doing this for eat drink travel and my editor is urging me to push it a bit after I described the idea.

We'll know in about a week's time as I start to spool out the words onto the electronic page.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Foodist Resolutions: 2016

Yeah, I put foodist instead of foodie, cause I`m wicked like that... and I really liked that John Wayne movie, the Shootist.

Anyways, lists and resolutions abound so why should I miss all the fun. Here is my list clumped together like so much kitty litter.

Booze and Booze Making

  • Why not try making a cider recipe or two?
  • Dry hop some liquor stuff, like cocktails, ciders or lagers. Try not alcohol things too - tea, lemonade, whatever.
  • Make another beer at home. The last one turned out ... oops, spoiler alert and that brings us to the next section.

Food Writing Stuff

  • Finish those damned series. I have two to finish. The coffee beer thing and the gluten free beer. 
  • Write, write and write. A post a week would be good.
  • Be aggressive and publish somewhere else. I have published a bit but those have been requests. I really do need to publish elsewhere. I guess I should learn the business of selling.

Internet Stuff

  • Instagram, tweet and all that jazz. I eat so many new things, if I just instagram it, it will be the most popular thing on the internet except for cats and porn. Oh wait, I did start it and told no one. Hey everybody, here is my instagram account.
  • Fix up my lame ass blog site. Well it is. 
  • Learn how to take a few more photos and deal with layout. See point one here. 

Mad Skills

  • Learn to sharpen my knife. 
  • Learn to use attachments on the mixer - fresh sausage and pasta awaits.
And if that is not enough, use all the f'ing liver in the freezer and clean up your recipe box.

Sheesh. Almost sounds like a list of admonishments or an airing of grievances. Anyways, stick with me this year and I'll see how much I will disappoint or astonish you, me and all those new found followers from the internet stuff category.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Leftovers #3: Oven Baked Omelet

The waste series reminded me that a facility with leftovers creates less waste. Part of creating less waste is having a few handy go to recipes in your kit to pull out and adapt. This can be trying if you have kids or picky eaters in the house.

My kids have a wide palate but often resort to not wanting something or not liking a category when they like individual dishes. A good example is red peppers; one kid loves them raw but says he does not like them any other way, except when they are roasted they are good in a sauce or mixed in mayo but not left whole on a pizza. Get where I am going with this?

I'm not a fan of hiding the ingredients and we have adopted a try it once and if you don't like it, that's fine. On those days, I make sure there is something else on the table but not a whole other meal. Remember, this is a post about waste. I haven't forgotten but it seems that getting your kid to eat their food is a step towards that.

Here is one way that works mostly. Turn it into a baked omelet or a fritatta.

So leftover butter chicken sauce is added to beaten eggs. You could use any leftover saucy bits. Leftover rice from Chinese take-out, mixed veggies, frozen peas, almost any tiddly fiddly bits. French Fries. Bits of chicken from a roast. You know, leftovers. 

Anyways, the point is to add something just a bit different that is healthy or going to waste anyways or even both. If they like the whole egg thing, then this will most likely work. 

For advanced food waste management, use leftover food grease. Bacon fat is amazing. Above, I added the fat from stock making. I suppose the official name would be schmaltz. It is the fat from chicken. The stock had some seasoning that remained in the fat. If you are not looking for bonus points, just use butter or oil. 

Normally, I start the eggs on the stove, add the bits and then once the bottom has set, put the whole pan into the oven until it cooks all the way through. Is this gourmet cooking or the Jacques Pepin way? No. Is it delicious and good enough for my kids? Is it quick and easy for any schlub getting home from work with no ideas left and a half hour from taking one kid out to swimming while the other is getting back from karate? Most definitely. 

In short, this is a recipe idea to keep in your back pocket for those type of nights where you have some small containers of almost nothing, a few eggs, and a deficit of time. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Waste Not, Want Not

Wow, I am lazy. I have a whole bunch of posts that I haven't done that kind of accentuate this topic. What spurred me to keyboard was receiving a text from my eldest son with a link to a survey around how much food waste your family wastes.

There was a huge amount of questions on how you know food is spoiled. I have posts on what to do with spoiled milk, leftover uses, and making things with traditional garbage stuff. I think I will try to focus on some of those posts in the next few weeks.

Also, I'm interested in keeping a waste diary. Maybe instagram the crap out of my food waste and see where it goes. I'm always a little skittish because there is the whole internet shaming thing. But I challenge anyone who wants to make a comment about what I ought to do, to keep a diary themselves.

There is another way of looking at this problem. I would guess, and I will fact check as we go along, that the food and restaurant industry has more waste than individuals. Where we intersect is at the supermarket and the restaurant. The pink sludge burger at McDonald's probably is less wasteful than a burger at Holy Chuck's for example. The desire for perfect produce places a part in this alliterative sentence and the waste in the industry. If we stop demanding certain things, it will stop being produced.

Conversely, I tend to hate packaged goods but buy baby cut carrots. Why? Because they are a traditional waste product that became a product unto themselves, and my kids will eat them for who knows what reason, I will often get them instead of other packaged carrots.

Now, if I can only find a way to stop wasting the food posts...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Day of the Dead

A few years ago, the kids and I started something similar to the Day of the Dead. It wasn't the splashy make-up and candy holiday but rather a meal where we remembered who had passed. The meal is planned by taking into account what those members of our family would like.

Here are some photos from this year's meal.

These skull candies are the closest thing to keeping with a more Mexican theme. The one had black garlic and caramel while the other had dulce de leche. It turns out the garlic one was a hit amongst all of us.

A chocolate cake mix doctored with buttermilk and glazed with dollar store jam with a touch of orange blossom water to make it taste a little more like wild strawberries (a hint from Herve This). 

This is for my kids' grandmother. She was of French stock and her claim to fame was tourtiere. We knew she was getting ill when her pie started tasting off. I wrote a little bit more about the memory for Mother's Day.

Fish. My Dad's favourite. This was rainbow trout. Fishing was also his favourite thing to do and he drowned while ice fishing. 

And a Polish lager. The type of beer my Dad would drink. This day is about memories, good and bad and keeping interest in their lives, as they lived them. There is something about the continuation of a story well told. 

I like the idea of keeping memories alive through food. Food creates such strong memory and this gives us a little bit of time to reflect and recollect. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Kids Ideas: Breakfast Pancakes

I know, "Aren't all pancakes, breakfast pancakes?". Well...

It's Canada Day and my son's birthday. This is the first year of living apart and I have enjoyed making things with the kids in the kitchen. Both of them are in the early stages of recipe creation. They have passed the whacky ingredient stage of putting a pile of things together. Now they are headed into the substitution stage. It is interesting to see how they develop their own sense of how recipes work and how you cook. I'm learning a lot about how people see cooking and recipes.

The substitution phase: You take something you know and swap out ingredients. It is an easy thing but it shows them how stuff works. My son wanted to make pancakes for his birthday breakfast but a cold and the lure of computer time interceded. His idea was to have something like a chocolate bar or jam in pancakes. So, dutifully I brought home a bunch of chocolate bars and several cans of pie filling. Hopefully, one of them would catch his fancy. On this day, his capricious self choice the Fruit & Nut bar. I'll leave the pictures to tell the story.

Look it even says on the back of the package that you an add stuff. Funny, I don't see any chocolate, candy or jam on the back. Most have been an oversight on the whole grain pancake mix. I could be all defensive and say the only reason that I bought the mix was the losing battle with grain moths but the real reason is the obvious one. I don't trust myself to get everything together enough to make pancakes in the morning. That gives me an idea on making my own pancake mix.

Also, when you have too hot of a pan and the butter starts to burn, turn down the heat and call it beurre noissette or browned butter. Tell the kids you pay extra for that in restaurants. Also note the lumps of treasure. Treasure pancakes is a good family name for this recipe, I think.

And this is what the final one of the batch looks like. I am sure there is a scientific explanation why the first few turn out a bit dodgy but by the end everything seems to work out. In reality, it is probably practice.

And this was our Canada Day and Birthday breakfast. It was fun to come up with the recipe with the kids. They do have a few more ideas for this one and a whole lot more.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pepperoni is the New Bacon

I had an aha moment a while back when I was messing around with pepperoni. Being a long time fan of the ideas in food blog which often prominently features pepperoni, I shouldn't be surprised by the versatility of pepperoni.

In the last, I have rendered the fat to use in cooking vegetables, added the crisp pieces to burgers, and of course, pizza. Pepperoni adds a little snap to meat loaf, spaghetti sauce, casseroles and even vegetables.

Other cured meats will work in the same way. Smoked sausage, salami and of course, bacon's cousin, hams such as proscuitto. I believe that the ideas in food people also have a recipe for pepperoni oil to flavour a neutral oil with pepperoni spices.

Think about that for a while. It could be used in baking, making salad dressings, frying and so many other applications. A savoury cheese doughnut with a hint of pepperoni or popcorn seasoning. Anyways, I'll leave you with a notion for a recipe that hasn't quite worked out. Pepperoni with oven roasted vegetables. The problem is to get the pepperoni crisp. Maybe the pepperoni has to be rendered a little bit before the vegetables are placed in the oven or chose vegetables that take a longer time to cook. I first tried this with asparagus.

The leftovers were chopped and used in a frittata cause that is the way I roll.