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Fresh is really best- a 'doh' moment

Everyone knows in theory that the fresher the vegetables, the better they are. But I think that many of us fall into the habit of buying a bit too many vegetables, storing them in the fridge, and using them as long as they haven’t rotted away or become science experiments in some form. You know, things like carrots and celery, apples and other rather indestructible produce.

But once you see how produce does deteriorate, you start to wonder. Case in point I had some rhubarb stalks left over, and stored in the fridge for about a week after I bought them. (Normally I cook rhubarb right away, but it was cheap at the market so we’d bought more than we needed.) So, yesterday I took them out - they looked crisp and perfectly fine - and turned them into rhubarb crumble pie. continue reading...

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Making your own sushi? Proceed with caution.

While I’ve posted recipes for several different kinds of sushi on this site, I have never published a recipe for making nigiri zushi, the kind of sushi most people think of is the sushi, in spite of several requests to do so. There are a couple reasons for this, which you may want to consider before embarking on your own nigiri sushi making experiments. One reason, as I’ve written about before, is that it’s quite difficult to get the nigiri part (the forming of the rice ball and placing of the neta or topping) right. Of course you can practice this, or use a sushi former, or even - if you get fanatical about it - a sushi robot. But the more serious reason is that raw fish is something to be very, very wary of at all times. continue reading...

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The hoarding habit

The disaster zone kitchen has been largely cleared up now. The kitchen table is still piled up with foodstuffs that need to be re-housed, but otherwise things are mostly back to normal. Except that is for my general will to do some serious cooking. There is something about throwing away bags of ruined flour, sugar, and formerly dry pasta that damages ones will to live, er, that is cook with a light heart.

What I did discover though is that I am a hoarder. With a small household, there’s no need at all to have so many things stockpiled. Why did we even have 6 bags of sugar and buy flour by the ten-pack anyway, when it’s not even cheaper to do so? I don’t bake that much, and I only need sugar in large amounts during jam and preserve making time, which is still weeks down the road. Likewise, we have still 10 cans of tuna when we barely eat the stuff at all. continue reading...

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The kitchen as disaster zone

We’ve had a bit of a Plumbing Disaster in the kitchen, which has necessiated the removal of everything from shelves and such up onto higher ground (not to mention the disposal of many ruined food items). This has meant cooking activities have had to take a short pause. Hopefully the kitchen, my sanity, and cooking (and posting thereof on this blog) should be back shortly.

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My no frills kitchen was nothing like this

I’m a week late in reading this, but last week’s article in the NY Times by Mark Bittman about a low frills kitchen for $200 really reminded me how our cooking choices are influenced by our culinary heritage. In other words, I would not have made the choices he did in a lot of cases.

For instance he says that you need some expensive burner kit to ‘properly’ use a wok, so you might as well forget it. A decent wok was the first thing I bought for myself when I was starting out on my own was a decent wok from a local Chinese kitchen supply shop, and it worked fine on my regular issue gas range. Another thing I also got was an inexpensive rice cooker like this one (which you may note costs less than his totally extraneous vegetable cutter gadget). I may not have made rice ‘twice daily’, which he says is your criteria for purchasing a rice cooker, but I relied on it all the time, especially for making my own bento lunches which saved me tons of money in the long run.

Three steel bowls? One that’s big enough to handle most tasks is fine. If you need to lay out ingredients or something you can use your dinnerware (which I still do when I run out of bowls and such.) 3 different frying pans? I just had a small one, and the wok, which is much more useful than multiple frying pans. I still only own three frying pans and a large flat-bottomed wok, and the last gets much more use.

I think when you are equipping a kitchen, regardless of budget, you have to really ask yourself how you will use it.

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Food Stamp Budget post followup

Following up to my previous post about food stamp budget experiments:

Rebecca has left a comment, where she points out she is following the USDA Thrifty Meal Plan, on which food stamp benefits are based. This is where her budget figure of $74 per week for 2 people (not $74 per day as I erroneously typed…that’s sort of generous!) comes from, which comes out to $5.30 per day per person.

Actually another blogger did a month-long Thrifty Meal Plan experiment 2 years ago, though she did not stipulate organic/local as Rebecca is doing. Half Changed World ate on the Thrifty Food plan for a month (followup posts are here, here, here, here and the final wrapup.) She had the additional challenge of feeding her two small children, including one who was (is) a picky eater, as well as her husband.

(It seems quite illogical to me that the food budget or food stamp allocation is the same for all people, whether it’s a tiny baby or a growing hungry teenager. But I guess that’s government for you.) continue reading...

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Food Stamp Budget experimenters

[The following has been edited to correct some things from the original posting and add a couple of links. Serious Eats lists some more congresspeople participating.]

Last year the most popular food plan experiment was “eating local”. This year so far it seems to be “eating on a food stamp budget”. The main reason for this is upcoming debate on the 2007 farm bill. Bush administration is proposing to make big cuts in food assistance for the poor, a large part of which would mean cuts to the food stamp program. [Edit: as an anonymous commenter pointed out, that was a link to an article about the 2005 farm bill cuts.] (A NY Times editorial about the subject [Edit: this actually is about the 2007 Farm Bill :)].) So a number of politicians are doing the Food Stamp Budget Experiment at least in part to protest against this.

Here are the ones I’ve found so far (Note, some of these links were already posted to my del.icio.us, so my apologies for the duplicates if you follow that also.) continue reading...

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How far do you go for food knowledge?

After writing my previous entry about The Sushi FAQ site, I received a very nice email from Warren, the site owner (which I especially appreciated since I wasn’t totally positive in my review). One question he raised which got me thinking is where he should go from here to get more information and knowledge about sushi. I think this question can be extended to all areas of life, but keeping it in the food realm: how far should you, and do you, go to gain knowledge and experience, especially about food and cuisines you didn’t grow up with?

Let’s say you fall in love with Thai food as it’s served at your local restaurant. You might search out for other Thai restaurants. You might buy some cookbooks. That far I think almost anyone remotely interested in food will do. The next step might be to take a class in Thai cooking. So far, so good. A trip to Thailand? Maybe, if budget allows.

What beyond that though? Would you move to Thailand for an extended period (more than a few months) to immerse yourself in the food, language and culture? Would you learn Tagalog? Would you apprentice with a Thai cook? How far would you go?

I’ve gotten to to the trying various restaurants and buying cookbooks stage on numerous cuisines, and the travel level on a few more. I’ve gone to the learning-language and living there level too. I didn’t do this just for the food, but my decision to take French for three years in college certainly had a lot to do with the fact that I fell absolutely in love with the food I ate at small, inexpensive restaurants around Paris the first time I went there by myself.

Years later I ended up living here in Switzerland, which wasn’t a food based decision, but there’s no denying that living here gives me great access to great cuisines around Europe. And there’s the great cheese and chocolate of course…two of my favorite foods in the world.

I have a feeling that I am much more obsessive than the average person in this way, but surely I’m not alone…

The place and cuisine I’m most interested in immersing myself in at the moment is Hawaii. Spam musubi, here I come! (One day, soon I hope.) continue reading...

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Rebecca Blood: Eating Organic On A Food Stamp Budget

Rebecca Blood, one of my favorite (non-food/general) bloggers, has started an interesting challenge: eating for a month organically on a U.S. Food Stamp budget. Naturally she is blogging the experience. Given the current ongoing discussions in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere about the cost of eating ethically, let alone organically, it’s a very timely experiment. Rebecca’s budget for 2 is “$74.00/week or 320.80/month, the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] ‘Thrifty’ standard for a family of 2 adults, aged 20-50 years.”

(My only very minor nitpick would be that Rebecca lives in the Bay Area, which has to be one of the easiest places in the world to conduct such an experiment. :) Now I’d like to see a similar one by a blogger in say, Iceland. Any takers? )

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Top Chef Season 3 starts June 6 with an all-star competition

It only seems like yesterday (actually it was in January) that season 2 of Top Chef ended, leaving many of us baffled and rather disillusioned at the Ilan over Marcel decision. Nevertheless, season 3 is already looming on the horizon. It’s set to kick off on June 6, with a season 1 vs. season 2 All-Star Clash. It’ll be the final four of season 2 vs. the final four, minus LeeAnne Wong (who is presumably not included since she’s on the show’s staff, so to speak) but with everyone’s love-to-hate-him target Stephen Asprinio. Marcel vs. Stephen! I have to admit I am looking forward to that at least.

Some more highlights according to the press release after the fold: continue reading...

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Okonomiyaki ingredients sale (UK/Europe only)

Update: Want to make okonomiyaki from scratch? Try this detailed recipe! continue reading...

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Zürich Culinary Snapshot up on thepassionatecook

Johanna of the passionate cook has been running a series called Culinary Snapshots, of cities around the world. The Culinary Snapshot of Zürich that I wrote is now up there. (The pictures there were taken in late March by the way, when it was warm enough for t-shirts!) Re-reading it now I think I may need some armor against proprietors of Asian-Fusion restaurants in town. :) continue reading...

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Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop night today

A shoutout to all U.S. readers who have a Baskin Robbins store nearby: tonight (May 2nd) they are holding a 31 cent scoop promotion from 5 pm to 10 pm. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of the 31 flavors, seduced as I’ve been by richer ice creams, but for 31 cents…why not? Spread the word!

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A slightly slower pace for the next couple of months

Things may be just a bit slower on Just Hungry for the next couple of months, since I’ll be on the road a lot. I do have several articles piled up on the back burner though, so you shouldn’t miss much (hopefully) in the way of new stuff to read. What may be slower is my comment and new user registration approval rate, as well as replying to comments, but I’ll try to get to them when I can.

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A way to log in finally

A number of people have created accounts here to avoid the necessary evil to reduce spammers that is the CAPTCHA thingy. But you may have noticed that there was no way to actually log in. Oops. Now there is - on every page you should now see a login / register link. I’m still trying to figure out what additional benefits I can bring to registered and logged in users…but for now, if you are logged in, you’ll no longer have to solve the math question.

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A lonely way to die

Yesterday, I found out that one of the most talented sushi chefs I’ve ever known had died. He was still relatively young (in his 50s). He was at one time one of the itamae at the late, lamented Sushisay in New York.

The authorities are investigating the cause of his death. They have to do this, because his body was found in his bath, at least a month after he had died. continue reading...

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Swiss Chocolate junk mail

Normally, all the junk mail we get goes straight to the trash. Not these things we got in our mailbox yesterday though.

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These are two full-size bars of Cailler (Nestlé) milk chocolate. No messing about with tiny sample sizes here. continue reading...

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Hosting a green tea tasting party in May

Reader Nanette has posted a great question here, about hosting a fund-raising green tea tasting party for a large group (50 people). I had to think about this for a bit, and here are some of the ideas I have come up with. continue reading...

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Keys to bunny bao success

I’ve gotten a couple of emails from readers who had some trouble with the bunny bao. Just in case you plan to try these tomorrow or any time (why limit bunnies to just Easter?), here are a few key points to watch out for. continue reading...

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Swiss food bloggers?

I received a lovely email from Myriam of Once Upon A Tart, a beautiful food blog unknown to me up until now. I should have, since she is a food blogger in Zürich - just a few kilometers (or miles, whatever) away from where I sit now. This did get me thinking though about Swiss food bloggers - or to be strict about it, food bloggers who write from Switzerland. (The very popular 1x umrühen bitte is written from Andalusia, Spain I think.) continue reading...

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The New Jersey Spaghetti Harvest

I couldn’t let Sunday pass by without posting this: the New Jersey Spaghetti Harvest. Oh, the pathos, the corporate evil, the…. Just go watch. Now.

[via raincoaster]

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Enjoy the Swiss spaghetti harvest

This Sunday is April Fool’s Day. Too bad it’s on a weekend, since that reduces the opportunities for good old office fun. I am going to take the weekend off again from the online world, but in the meantime enjoy the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest from the archives. The weather’s been so nice, maybe I’ll go down to the Ticino to check out this year’s crop…

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Tune in to the Big (Cheddar) Cheese

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Don’t forget to tune in to Cheddarvision.tv (previously mentioned on Just Hungry here) today! They are going to turn the Big Cheese over, take a core sample, and see how it’s doing! If they haven’t already…I’m not sure. Was that label on the other end before? (thanks Mimi!) continue reading...

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The sushi that knocked me out with a vicious punch, and the perils of food blogging

Yesterday, I had some takeout sushi that was so terrible that I still shudder, more than 24 hours later, thinking about it.

No it didn’t make me physically sick. I did not get food poisoning. But it was bloody awful. It was sold as ‘fresh’ sushi (and it certainly hadn’t been frozen), but it had been refrigerated for some time, for who knows how long. (It had a ‘sell-by date’ but not a ‘made-on date’. Sushi must, must, be eaten the same day it’s made.) The rice was mealy, the grains hard. The neta (the fish) on the nigiri, salmon and tuna, was mushy and utterly tasteless. The rolls, filled with cucumber and some sort of tuna mix, were no better. continue reading...

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Encore Provence

Speaking of travel…we’ve paid in our house-rental deposits now, so once again we are going to be spending the better part of a month of our summer in Provence. We’ve been there at least once a year for the last few years, and no matter where else we go I just have to go there or I don’t feel my year has been complete. Last year we even went twice, for a total of six weeks. (Thank goodness for broadband or our clients would just fire our asses. :) ) I’m not sure we can manage that again this year but at least I will have my Provence fix.

To see my way of experiencing Provence, start with A Food Lover’s Way of Exploring Provence. This year I plan to do a bit more around the coastal area to the east of Marseilles - I fell in love with the small resort town of Cassis in November, and want to see it in its summer glory. Otherwise it’s going to be markets, vineyards, and as many visits as we can squeeze in to my favorite bakery in the world. Ah, heaven.

Are you making your summer travel plans already? Where are you going? Do you let your tastebuds and stomach guide where you go as much as I do?

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Two food travel related links

People email me about their food sites and blogs all the time. I don’t mention those that I don’t find interesting or think would interest any Just Hungry readers, but here are a couple that came in recently that did catch my eye.

  • Foodtripper is a new site that reviews restaurants and food shops. What makes it stand out in this very crowded category is that they seem to have a European outlook on things, that aren’t limited to the usual places. I found several unusual and intriguing places listed, such as a restaurant in Pompeii that takes its inspiration from ancient Roman cuisine (though hopefully they don’t have authentic garum) and a chestnut factory in southwestern France.
  • If you’re visiting a major food-obsessed city where you don’t know anyone, finding your way around can be a bit daunting. A culinary tour may be one way to get your bearings. Zerve.com offers walking and noshing tours of New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and New Orleans. If anyone’s gone on one of their tours I’d be interested to hear your impressions.

Let Them Eat EU Cakes!

This year is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), which lead to the formation of the European Union. Over the weekend they had a big party in Berlin, where among other things they sampled two traditional cakes from all EU member countries. Here is the official list of cakes. continue reading...

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Cute yet modern Swiss Easter bunny bread

Swiss people love cutely formed bread, just as much if not more than Japanese people. Behold, this masterpiece of adorable yet modern design, in the form of an Easter Bunny bread. (click on the image from the web page to see it larger).

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The almond slices scattered on top were a bit misleading. I was rather anticipating some kind of sugar-almondy filling, but it was just slightly sweetened white bread all the way through. Perhaps the cuteness is enough sugariness for one small bread.

For more Swiss Easter Bunny goodness, read about the chocolate Easter Bunny making class I took last year. continue reading...

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Oh no! A chocolate shortage?

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My friends Alan and Mimi from Cornwall alerted me to this alarming article in the Independent. Could we be facing a global chocolate shortage? continue reading...

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Food Destinations #5 roundup is up

Natalia has the roundup for Food Destinations #5 up on her blog now - go and check it out!

Dashi stock granules, Ajinomoto, MSG and health considerations

Seamaiden, who has a lovely gluten-free blog called Book of Yum, asked in the comments here whether Ajinomoto is gluten-free. Since I know that a lot of people become interested in rice-centric Asian cuisines, including Japanese, because of the wide variety of wheat-free dishes, I thought I’d post some of my findings here about Ajinomoto and dashi stock granules rather than bury them in the comments.

Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a concentrated and manufactured form of umami. It is a flavor enhancer with a lot of controversy. I won’t get into that at the moment, since reactions to MSG really vary widely depending on the individual. The reality is that MSG is present in many manufactured food products. continue reading...

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Out of love with silicon for baking

Some years ago, when silicon baking wares came out, I jumped on them with glee. No more scraping off baked on crud from the baking sheets! Muffins that popped right up with no greasing of the cups required! Easy washing up!

But these days I’ve definitely fallen out of love with silicon sheets and silicon muffin pans and the like.

About those muffin pans first: while muffins do brown on the outsides, they don’t get as crispy-brown as I’d like. They also seem to rise a bit less than I’d like.

Also, they are totallly useless for popovers and Yorkshire puddings. You can’t really heat them up, so you can’t make them piping hot and pour in hot batter. The alternative method for making popovers ‘pop’ is to start them in a cold oven, but that doesn’t work either. So I end up with flat, boring muffins of a sort, rather than high and airy pockets of trapped air and eggy, moist insides. Yes, I know I could just get separate pans for the popover and Yorkshire puddings, but I don’t have that much storage space in my not-too-large kitchen, and I like to avoid ‘single-use’ type equipment as much as possible.

As for silicon baking sheets, used to line heavy baking sheets, they do okay on the browning front. But what I dislike about them is that, after a few uses they take on an unpleasantly ‘greasy’ feel to them. No amount of washing or soaking in soapy water seems to cure that. I don’t know if I’m over-sensitive to this, but it drives me nuts. So I end up throwing them out over maybe 3 uses. This doesn’t seem too economicalor environmentally friendly to me. (Do those things disintegrate at all in landfills?)

So, I’m back to good old metal baking tins and lining my baking sheets with kitchen parchment paper. My old metal muffin pans tend to stick a bit on the bottoms, so for delicate cupcakes and such I just use paper cupcake liners. (Which means of course I avoid those individual silicon cupcake cups.) Paper, at least, does disintegrate after a while.

How do you feel about those silicon baking products? Do you love them or hate them? continue reading...

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Coming up next week: a week of sokuseki zuke (quick Japanese pickles)

I am going to take the weekend off from the computer because I have a Mountain Of Things to Do away from it. Next week, I’ll have a series of posts about quick Japanese pickles, or sokuseki zuke. Sokuseki zuke pickles are the busy cook’s alternative to ‘real’ pickles like nukazuke (rice brain pickles), of the kind that require nursing a pickling bed, long resting periods, and such complicated procedures. The word sokuseki means instant, and these pickles are usually ready to eat in a short period, anywhere from overnight to about an hour. continue reading...

A feast of genuine Irish recipes

If you are planning a St. Patrick’s Day feast but still haven’t decided what to make, European Cuisines has been posting a new real Irish recipe every day since the beginning of the month. There’s everything from colcannon to Irish Stew to boxty (potato pancakes) to crubeens, which are “crunchy Irish pig’s trotters”, and a whole lot more. They also have a rant about how corned beef is definitely not the Irish national dish. I wasn’t planning on anything Irish myself this weekend, but those, um, crunchy pig’s trotters sound interesting…. [via Diane].

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The Winner of Masterchef 2007 is...

[Update: Steven has a very gracious post about his win on his blog.]

The winner of Masterchef 2007 is Steven Wallis, a trend analyst from London. Here’s how he looked when he was proclaimed the victor.

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As with previous seasons the final three-course original menu test was the one deciding factor for determining the winner. While both Ben and Hannah tripped up a bit on at least one of their courses, Steven really excelled with all three of his dishes.

Unlike last season, where the perceived failings of eventual winner Peter in tasks leading up to that final three-course test lead to some dissatisfaction about his being declared the winner over crowd favorite (and hottie) Dean, this season’s finalists were fairly even in the tasks during the final week. For me at least there was no clear favorite going into the final episode. continue reading...

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Masterchef Goes Large 2007 finale is tonight!

A quick reminder to everyone within viewing range of BBC Two: the one hour finale of Masterchef Goes Large 2007 is on tonight at 21:00 CET / 20:00 BT! Will it be artistic but palate-deficient Ben, passionate but nervous Hannah, or the man with a fine palate who has a problem with time management, Steven? It’s too close to call…and besides last year we all thought Dean was going to win and Peter won instead, so who knows what will happen? Although I haven’t written much about this season, it’s been a great one, with some amazing challenges. I’m really looking forward to tonight!

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A Taste Of My Life is yet another great BBC food show

A Taste Of My Life, currently airing daily at 19:30 CET / 18:30 BT on BBC Two and repeated the next afternoon, is a show that’s almost perfect. The show ran originally on BBC One last year, but I missed most of it since it aired on Saturday afternoons, not a good time slot for any TV program.

Hosted by well known food writer Nigel Slater, A Taste Of My Life is a warm, comforting show with lots of food porn, that traces the life of a featured celebrity through his or her relationship with food. continue reading...

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Irish stout cake for St. Patrick's Day

If you will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, and are looking for a great dessert to serve, try this one out from the archives: Irish Stout Cake with Whiskey Sour Icing.

It’s a light yet very assertive chocolate cake with beer undertones, topped with whiskey flavored lemon icing. How can you go wrong with that? :)

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Expat food blogroll update

I haven’t updated the expat food blogroll for a while, but I’ve just added three new ones: please check out the original expat food blogroll post, as well as the right sidebar on the front page.

Remember, if you are an expat food blogger and you want to be added to the blogroll please just leave a comment on that post or contact me.

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Fake strawberries

It smells like spring, and it feels like spring. It was so warm today that we left the windows open all day, and the garden is covered with snowdrops and wild pansies. And, there were strawberries! on sale! at the supermarket. They looked so red and tempting, I bought two boxes. By the time they got home though, some were already bruised beyond repair. The rest? Hard and sour, or tasting moldy in an odd way.

I guess I have to wait a couple more months for the real thing.

On a brighter note though, this felt strawberry cake from etsy seller kenshop looks nearly good enough to eat:

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I wonder if I am alone in finding comfort in imitation food when the real thing doesn’t satisfy… continue reading...

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Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Part 4: Traditional butchery in Spain, and chickens

In the fourth and final episode of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, they reviewed and summarized the previous 3 episodes, visited a small poultry ‘processing’ plant, and showed how a pig is butchered in the traditional way - no stun guns - in Spain.

(Warning: potentially disturbing details follow) continue reading...

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Certification for restaurant critics?

David Rosengarten, former Food Network host (his show Taste is still my all-time favorite Food Network show), former Gourmet writer, etc. sells a subscription service called the Rosengarten Report, but also has an interesting free newsletter called Tastings. In a recent issue, he steps into the recent restaurant vs. critic fur-flying incidents and proposes a certification program for restaurant critics. I guess certification fever is in the air at the moment. continue reading...

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Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Part 3: Pigs

Last night I finally watched the third episode of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, as it aired instead of recording it for later viewing, fast-forward button at the ready. (My reviews of Part 1 and Part 2.) In this episode, it was the turn of pigs to be slaughtered. (Warning: some gory details follow…warning put here since a reader complained about a previous entry. When animals get slaughtered, it is gory.) continue reading...

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Chef Morimoto disses the "authentic" Japanse certification plan

On the New York Tiimes Diners Journal blog, which is no longer just written by Frank Bruni, Julia Moskin writes about a Japanese food symposium held at the Japan Society. She reports that “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto called the Japanese government’s plans to certify “authentic” Japanese restaurants “nonsense”. Now, fans of the original (and best) Japanese version of Iron Chef may remember Chef Morimoto’s ongoing “battles” with chefs who cooked “authentic Japanese”; while a lot of it seemed like fake drama for the cameras, perhaps there was some truth in it after all. He did make some pretty outrageous, not to mention downright odd, things under the guise of “nouvelle Japanese” on occasion, which seemed to get some more “authentic” Japanese chefs rather upset. If we assume that the standards of ‘authenticity’ might be dictated by such chefs, people like Chef Morimoto, not to mention Nobu Matsuhisa, may not pass muster. Not to say they don’t produce good, even great, food. (Though I must admit I’m not a big Nobu fan. To be fair I’ve only been there once, years ago, and had a ‘server problem’ which clouded things. And I’ve never been to a Morimoto restaurant.)

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Deep-fried and super light

I must admit that I rarely do much deep frying these days, since it tends to adversely affect the waistline. Still I do love crispy, light fried things on occasion. Deep-frying in batter is a rather tricky thing though, since it’s so easy to get it all wrong and turn out a soggy, heavy mess. The always interesting Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking and other must-have books, has a new article in the New York Times about two deep-frying techniques that yield crispy crusts. For one, you need a fish with its skin intact - not too practical for most of us who must buy fish from a supermarket or so. The other method is one I saw in last year’s Heston Blumenthal BBC series - making a beer batter for the fish part of fish and chips with half beer, half vodka. He also uses some rice flour, and (the don’t-dare-call-it-molecular-gastronomy part) a syphon to foam it up with carbon dioxide. continue reading...

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Tiny kaiten sushi-ya

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I normally stay away from kaiten-zushi (kaiten sushi) or conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, since the quality can be iffy. But I could really go for this adorable miniature kaiten-zushi miniature set! (I’m not sure why the itamae-san (sushi chef) has Angelina Jolie lips though….) It’s a new themed set from Re-Ment (US site) (Japanese site), a Japanese company that makes amazingly detailed die-cast miniatures called Puchi Petites, mostly of food and related items like cooking equipment, but of other things too. The miniatures started out as omake, or free gifts that came with the purchase of candy, but the miniatures have become so popular that the candy, while it’s still included, is now a mere afterthought. continue reading...

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Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, Part 2: Lamb

I’ve just watched the second episode of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. If anything it was more intense than the first. I just couldn’t watch it live, just in case I needed to fast-forward some spots, so I recorded it on my DVR and watched it a bit later. As it happens I didn’t fast forward anything, though I was very tempted to at times. I made myself sit still and watch. continue reading...

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Kill It, Cook it, Eat It: a BBC series that shows exactly how meat gets to our plates

Last night the first episode of a TV series called Kill It, Cook It, Eat It aired on BBC Three. The premise of the program(me) is to show exactly how meat gets to our plates.

The first episode jumped right in, by showing, in an actual working abattoir, the slaughter and butchering of real live cows. This was witnessed by several members of the public through glass windows in a special observation area built around the abatoir. Later on, the same people ate meat cut from the cows they had just witnessed being slaughtered and prepared on the spot by a chef. continue reading...

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Authentically Japanese?

Recently there was an article in the Washington Post about some attempts by the Japanese government to set up some kind of authenticity certification for Japanese cuisine served abroad. continue reading...

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An about page, please

I often find blogs that are new to me via my referer logs. If I see an unfamiliar URL, I will usually go and check it out. (I’m much less likely to go check out a site that’s just emailed to me, so the best way to get my attention is just to link to this site somewhere.) I’ve discovered quite a lot of great food blogs that aren’t that well known yet that way.

One thing that isn’t always on some new blogs is an about page. I would really love to know even a little about who is behind the blog. It doesn’t have to be as long as the one on this site but - just a little bit. Like, where do you live? Where are you from? Who do you cook for, and why? What do you like to cook or eat? Why did you start a food blog? What’s the objective of your site? Just a couple from that list would really bring your blog to life for readers.

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Just Hungry is a site about Japanese food and home cooking, healthy eating, the expat food life, and more. [log in] or [register]

About this site

maki Just Hungry is a site about food. There are lots of recipes and much more. You may want to read about Just Hungry, or contact the site owner, Makiko Itoh. To dive in real deep, try the site map.

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