Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fish Fry with Flare

Fish, in general, never used to excite me.

In fact, it usually causes panic, especially when I used to buy it at the grocery store. I never knew if the fish--tilapia, sole, halibut, etc.--had come in contact with shelled seafood, my arch-nemesis that has the power to kill me.

So for many years I just avoided the whole fish situation by not eating it at all, unless it was a McFish sandwich during lent.

Then I married a fisherman. Then I stopped eating fast food. Then I became a returning Catholic.

Now I'm eating fish.

Not just any fish, though. I'm eating fish that FD or his dad or his brother caught--mostly crappies, perch or walleye--at Mosquito Creek Reservoir or in Lake Erie near the Canadian border.

Most times I've left it to FD to prepare and cook the fish. That is until Lent started. As one of my Lenten meditations, I've taken up cooking fish.

And, of course, the best recipe I found fries it. Proclaiming to be a huge fan of fried food doesn't do hot oil and batter justice. Literally, I would eat anything fried--pickles, pizza, twinkles, crickets, roaches. That's how much I love fried food. I try not to eat it often, though. As we all know, it's not the healthiest preparation.

FD makes the most healthy of fish recipes: sauteing fillets in curry powder, baking them in parchment paper, etc. And I find this little piece of buttermilk-battered heaven.

Surely God is proud of my Lenten promise to cook fish.

Or more likely the fool who invented Epicurious is definitely going straight to heaven.

FD and I didn't have the time or ingredients for the pickled onions and peppers or the salsa verde--mostly because I refused to buy the ingredients at the grocery when I know I could make it at the end of the summer with all local ingredients, which would taste WAY better--but we made the Baja Cream, I marinated those little fillets in the buttermilk batter and we fried up in an inch of oil for 4 minutes, kept them warm in the oven, and found ourselves absolutely in love with this Mexican fish fry. (Justin Timberlake and Timberland, how come you couldn't sing about this recipe???)

We made a few adjustments, though. Use flour instead of corn tortillas; they hold up better and taste better. (Yes, we used both to make sure.) Add Cayenne Pepper to the flour for a kick; it's awesome.

Seriously, I force myself to eat fish. With this recipe I devoured, easily and happily, four tacos in one seating plus a few sneak bites of leftover fish before FD did the dishes.

It was sick. It was sickly awesome.

(Note: I use the word sick as a good thing. I didn't get sick from this recipe. In fact, it made my tummy very happy.)



Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeños
  • 1 red onion (about 12 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut thinly crosswise
  • 5 whole small jalapeños
  • 2 cups seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt

Baja cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel
  • Pinch of salt

Tomatillo Salsa Verde
  • 12 ounces tomatillos,* husked, stemmed, divided
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts separated
  • 1 jalapeño chile
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce--Sriracha!!!
  • 3 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 pounds skinless halibut, sea bass, or striped bass fillets, cut into 1/2x1/2-inch strips (or in our case, walleye, perch, crappies!)
  • 16 flour tortillas
  • 1t Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Fresh salsa
  • Guacamole


The title of this post is a bit misleading.

Maybe you thought I was going to write about carryout food.

That makes sense. Too much sense, in fact.

This afternoon on our way home from walking Bleu at Oak Openings, FD and I heard the song "Carryout" by Timberland and Justin Timberlake. I love my boy JT, but this song made NO sense. To the point that FD and I thought it was a McDonald's ad or a SNL skit.

We were wrong.

I can only assume that love has become a convenient commodity when people think a song that compares love to an iHop is "sooooooo good" and "sooooo hard." (I'm all for slang but what does "hard" mean? I thought it was slang for thugs, not cheesy pop songs that sing, "Take my order, baby, because you're body's like a carryout?")

As much as I find this song offensive, I'm fascinated by the idea that food is a cool enough topic to warrant a metaphor for a pop song that JT sings and that is played A LOT on popular radio.

I just wish JT and Timberland would have compared love to grass-fed cows, heirloom tomatoes, lacinato kale, community gardening, the Slow Foods movement, backyard chickens, and Revolver Restaurant. Then I would have been on board. To the point that the song would have actually turned me on.

Alas, comparing a woman to an order or thinking of her as a waitress is just setting us all back--to the 1950s.

For your enjoyment, included is a YouTube video of the song. If you prefer not to indulge in the moronic delights that are popular music, peruse the lyrics.

Just some food for thought.


Baby, you’re lookin’ fire hot
I’ll have you open all night like an IHOP
I take you home baby let you keep me company
You gimme some of you, I give you some of me

You look good, baby must taste heavenly
I’m pretty sure that you got your own recipe
So pick it up, pick it up, yeah I like you
I just can’t get enough I got to drive through

Cause is me, you, you, me, me, you all night
Have it your way, foreplay
Before I feed you appetite

Let me get my ticket baby, let me get it line
I can tell the way you like it, baby, supersized
Hold on, you got yours, let me get mine
I ain’t leavin’ till they turn over the closed sign

Check it

Take my order cause your body like a
carry out
Let me walk into your body until you
hear me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out

Take my order cause your body like a
carry out
Let me walk into your body till it’s
lights out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out

Number one, I take two number three’s
That’s a whole lot of you and a side of me.
Now is it full of myself to want you full of me?
And if there’s room for dessert then I want a piece

Baby get my order right, no errors
Imma touch you in all the right areas
I could feed you, you could feed me
Girl, deliver that to me, come see me

Cause is me, you, you, me, me, you all night
Have it your way, foreplay
Before I feed you appetite

Do you like it well done, cause I do it well
Cause I’m well seasoned if you couldn’t tell
Now let me walk into your body until you hear me out
And turn me on, my baby, dont you cut me out


Take my order cause your body like a
carry out
Let me walk into your body until you
hear me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out

Take my order cause your body like a
carry out
Let me walk into your body till it’s
lights out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out

What’s your name?
What’s your number?
I’m glad I came
Can you take my order?

What’s your name?
Girl, what’s your number?
I’m glad I came
Can you take my order?

Come over here (what’s your name?)
Come closer (what’s your number?)
I’m over here (I’m glad I came)
A little closer (can you take my order?)

Come over here (what’s your name?)
Come closer (what’s your number?)
I’m over here (I’m glad I came)
A little closer (can you take my order?)

Take my order cause your body like a
carry out
Let me walk into your body until you
hear me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out

Take my order cause your body like a
carry out
Let me walk into your body till it’s
lights out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out
Turn me on, my baby dont you
cut me out

Dont you cut me out!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes & Carrots

FD is a HUGE fan of chicken thighs.

And who can blame him? So juicy, so tender, so succulent. We should all be fans of chicken thighs.

Let me rephrase: we should all be fans of organic, free range chicken thighs.

9 times out of 10 I buy a whole chicken from Luginbill Family Farm, but in those in-between months when I'm out of Luginbill chicken and can't get to Pandora and we're craving a little farmyard friend, I turn to the organic, free range chicken from the grocery store.

Please know I'm not a fan of buying meat from the grocery store unless it's from Mustard Seed or Nature's Bin (oh, to live in the Cleveland area again...) because I feel the meat is already over-priced at Meijer and especially Kroger. However, I'm hawk when it comes to the sale meats, specifically organic, free range meats.

I found a package of chicken thighs on sale two weeks ago at Kroger. I bought them for FD. And after such a busy week for both of us, I thought I'd surprise him with one of his favorite meats.

For the recipe I turned to Epicurious but the actual recipe I used was in my archive of Bon Appetit magazines. The thighs were delicious. I'm sad to report, though, that my carrots overcooked and my purple fingerling potatoes also were a little over roasted. (Yes, I will use Yukon Gold and whole carrots next time.) It doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every single bite. I will make this recipe again. Especially after I have a kitchen with an exceptional hood. (I think I need to clean my oven; everything I roast smokes now...Ugh. How can I win a kitchen remodel?)

The herb and spice mixture of salt, pepper, thyme, and nutmeg was perfectly earthy with the root veggies. (Oh, I tried for parsnips instead of carrots, but the ones I bought a few days ago had already rotted. My detest of out-of-season veggies is only growing stronger. But it's in constant battle with my love of veggies all year round. What am I to do? *Sigh* I'm buying organic as much as I can...)

But those thighs.

Those thighs.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 large chicken thighs with skin and bones (preferably organic; about 2 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 2 pounds unpeeled medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick spears
  • 2 pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/2-inch-thick spears
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Lent: A Challenge in Not Eating Meat

For Lent I'm not eating meat on Fridays and on holy days.

As many of you know, I love meat. A lot.

True to my midwestern upbringing we eat meat and potatoes for almost every meal, as you probably have seen.

And the fallout from being on the Atkin's Diet is I have a fear of pasta.

But I've been pleasantly surprised by the pasta dishes I've started making during Lent.

On Ash Wednesday I cooked up my own spaghetti sauce thanks to a Cook's Illustrated recipe from May 1, 1997. (Old school and delicious!)

I was really pleased with the consistency, texture, and flavor. It's definitely one I'll use again and again.

I've been thinking a lot about the connection between food and religion. But I still have more thinking to do before I can post anything intelligent.

In the meantime, I hope you have as much success with this recipe as I did.


1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or 1 can whole tomatoes ( not packed in puree or sauce)
2 medium cloves garlic , peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves (about 8 leaves)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 pound pasta


  1. 1. If using diced tomatoes, go to step 2. If using whole tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid. Dice tomatoes either by hand or in workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade (three or four 1/2-second pulses). Tomatoes should be coarse, with 1/4-inch pieces visible. If necessary, add enough reserved liquid to tomatoes to total 2 cups.

  2. 2. Process garlic through garlic press into small bowl; stir in 1 teaspoon water (see note above). Heat 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  3. 3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente in large pot of boiling, salted water. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water; drain pasta, and transfer it back to cooking pot. Mix in reserved cooking water, sauce, and remaining oil and salt; cook together over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A British Kind of Day

Today began with Jamie Oliver's crumpets for breakfast.

For lunch JB's Sarnies Shoppe. (Thanks, Jen!)

And dinner: Jamie Oliver's Wild Mushroom & Venison Stroganoff for Two Lucky People.

And we were lucky. Totally.

Even though I used lime peel instead of lemon, whiskey instead of brandy, and dried parsley instead of fresh.

Our recipe doesn't look as good as Jamie's but it sure tasted stupid good.

Another keeper recipe in terms of game. Another notch for Jamie.

I sooooo can't wait for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC.

wild mushroom and venison stroganoff for two lucky people

main courses | serves 2
This venison stroganoff is absolutely fantastic – of course, you can use more traditional beef fillet instead of venison, and any mushrooms you like, but there’s something about venison and wild mushrooms that works so well together. Have a go at this and you’ll know what I mean!

The whole point of this dish is that by the time you start cooking the meat, it will all come together quickly. The meat will be quite pink – cook it for longer if you want but it will go slightly tougher.

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions until it’s just undercooked and drain in a colander. Put the rice back in the pan, cover with tinfoil and leave to steam – this will give you incredibly light and fluffy rice.

Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and pour in a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until softened and golden. Remove from the heat and spoon the onions and garlic out of the pan on to a plate. Keep to one side.

Season the meat well with salt, pepper and paprika. Rub and massage these flavourings into the meat. Place the frying pan back on a high heat and pour in some more olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes until they start to brown. Then add the meat and fry for a minute or two before adding the parsley stalks (you can do this in two pans or in batches if your pan is not big enough) and the cooked onion and garlic. Toss and add the butter and brandy.

You don’t have to set light to the hot brandy, but flaming does give an interesting flavour so I always like to do this. Once the flames die down, or after a couple of minutes of simmering, stir in the lemon zest and all but 1 tablespoon of the crème fraîche and season to taste. Continue simmering for a few minutes. Any longer than this and the meat will toughen up – it doesn’t need long as it’s been cut up so small.

Serve your fluffy rice on one big plate and your stroganoff on another. Simply spoon the remaining crème fraîche over the stroganoff, then sprinkle over the sliced gherkins and parsley leaves. Eat at once!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Red-Cooked Rump Roast

We're almost out of our beef, Clementine.

Next time we're NOT splitting our 1/8. LOL!

Last year I struggled with figuring out what to do with the rolled rump roast. Today I just happened to stumble upon the Red-Cooked Rump Roast recipe in my one of my fav cookbooks, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Not only was this recipe SUPER delicious, but also it was too easy to be sooo good. With a side of mashed potatoes and a salad, this spicy and savory beef dish is perfect.

And I have a feeling the leftovers are going to make spectacular sandwiches!

Red-Cooking Liquid:
1 1/2 c water
1 c low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c dry sherry
2 T sugar
2 green onions (white and green parts), roughly chopped
Two 1/2 inch slices ginger, lightly crushed
1 whole star anise
1 stick cinnamon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 strip (about 3 inches) orange zest, removed with veggie peeler


Pour red-cooking liquid into slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Put rump roast in cooker and turn to coat both sides with liquid. It is okay if the liquid covers the roast completely. Cover, turn the heat to LOW, and cook for 4 hours.

Turn over the roast, cover, and cook on LOW 3 to 4 hours more.

List roast out of cooking liquid and place on a cutting board. Allow to cool a bit, then carve into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick) and serve with a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid drizzled over it. Or, if you wish to serve it cold, refrigerate until chilled before slicing.

Allow remaining liquid to cool a bit, then pour through a fat strainer. Discard solids. Refrigerate liquid but do not cap until liquid has cooled completely. It will keep in fridge for a week to 10 days and in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw it before using. To reuse the liquid, remove and discard the solidified fat on top. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker crock, and proceed as directed int he recipe with fresh meat. After every 3rd or 4th use, refresh liquid by adding 1/2 c of soy sauce and half of the seasonings.

Recipe will work with a whole 3-4 lb broiler chicken too. Remove innards, dunk both sides, and go at it. (I hope to try this soon and report the outcome.)

Olympics Pizza Party

In honor of the XXI Olympics we had a pizza party with our good friends J, A, and Babs.

J & A made two delicious pizzas. One with a pesto sauce with mozz and fresh tomatoes, and the other with pizza sauce, fresh peppers and tomatoes. Of course, they homemade the dough; they used wheat and white flours.

FD & I made a pepperoni, salami, blend oyster-crimini-portobello mushrooms, and kalmata olives with pizza sauce. And, of course, we homemade our dough too.

Also, I put together a salad bar of kinds: organic salad mix, cukes, carrots, onions, edible flowers, kalamata olives, and radishes (which I tamed with salt and lemon). I offered two homemade salad dressings: a white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. (Will do a blog post soon with the recipes.)

But the main attraction of the evening was Babs' Ed's Chocolate Cake.

As we know, I suck at baking, but I need to learn to make this cake.

It rocks my world.


To the point, I give it a Gold Medal.

BTW, I'm enjoying the Olympics. They rock too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lighter Chicken Enchildas

If I could eat only one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be Mexican.

Growing up I always preferred Taco Bell to all other fast foods, and to this day it is still the only chain fast food I crave. And on my birthday when we lived in Fort Myers, Florida, my parents never asked me where I wanted to eat; they always knew I wanted Garcia's or Casa Lupita.

In Graduate school, I clearly remember one week in which I ate at Rio Grande in Saberton, WV eight times.

I'm not lying.

My biggest challenge since I started cooking and really caring about the food I eat is making Mexican myself. Back in the day I tried the box stuff, but since my palate and food values have changed, the box kits no longer appeal to me.

After testing countless recipes from the web and cookbooks, I finally found one that tested almost authentic.

Cook's Illustrated Lighter Chicken Enchiladas are my new food addiction. Of course, I didn't use the lighter cheese that the recipe calls for. But they still felt lighter and my scale didn't see any changes.

The best part of this recipe is the homemade enchilada sauce. It's easy, low in sodium, and incredibly tasty.

Hands down, this is the best enchilada recipe I've ever had. And the leftovers were even better!

Serves 6. Published July 15, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

Make sure that the cooked chicken is finely shredded, or the edges of large pieces will tear through the tortillas. Serve these enchiladas with lime wedges, low-fat sour cream, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.

1 medium onion , chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sugar

2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), trimmed of excess fat

Ground black pepper
8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)

1 can (4 ounces) pickled jalapeños , drained and chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas

Vegetable cooking spray
1 lime , cut into wedges (for serving)


  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

  2. 2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. 3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, the jalapeños, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. 4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

  5. 5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.

  6. 6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Little Burrito Craves Mayo

My godson, Little Burrito, has moved onto baby food, and from what his mama says, he enjoys it quite a bit. Here's a very funny email Little Burrito's mama sent me about his recent food discovery:

"[Little Burrito] tries to grab everything within reach now and he is so close to rolling completely over. He squawks and makes his little pterodactyl noises all the time! He hadn't really started to try and grab things yet and I was making a sandwich for my lunch and he was sitting in the Bumbo and his sister says, "Mommy - Frankie wants the mayonnaise." I turned around and he had leaned clear over the side of the Bumbo and had a fistful of mayo! I almost died!"

This image still has me in stitches.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Say Cheese!

This past week my Honors 1120 students and I taste tested 5 different cheeses to further develop our palates and to practice source synthesis. The five cheeses were:

Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar by Rosewood Products, Ann Arbor, MI bought at Happy Badger.

Canal Junction Grassfed Sharp Cheddar from Defiance, OH bought at Kazmaier's Family Grocery.

Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar from Vermont bought at Kazmaier's Family Grocery.

Kraft Natural Mild Cheddar Cheese from Kraft Foods Global bought at Meijer.

Velveeta from Kraft Foods Global bought at Kroger.

Here's our collaborative narrative. We hope you enjoy it!

Most of us associated cheese with mice, "holes," and pasta dishes. Mostaccoli is one such dish that came to mind. Megan writes, “In Chicago we have a really popular restaurant called Barnelli's and I always get their baked mostaccoli, it's the best I've ever had. Cheese is kind of like a comfort food to me cause I have loved it ever since I was a little girl.” Jessica agrees with Megan and further describes Mostaccoli: “My favorite cheese-related dish is a baked penne pasta in tomato sauce. You can get it at the italian place called DiBennedito's downtown on the same side of the street as Panera. It's penne pasta and chicken, prosciutto, mushrooms, peppers, and all kinds of good stuff in a thick cream tomato sauce and the whole dish is covered in baked mozzarella and parmesan cheese, which is the best part.” As a class we determined that when most people think of cheese, they think of pasta and comfort foods, such as Mostaccoli and Macaroni and Cheese. Megan and Jessica illustrate this love of pasta cheese dishes.

After many taste tests, the Happy Badger cheese turned out to be a well accepted cheese by most of the students in the class. The raw milk sharp cheddar cheese appeared to be white in color and it smelt just like a regular cheddar cheese. Erin says, “I didn’t think that it had a whole lot of flavor but I still enjoyed it.” Her opinion is echoed by Megan: “I like most cheeses, especially cheddar cheese and I thought this one was really good.” Rachel describes this cheese as having “a nice flavor to it.” Several students described the cheese as difficult to cut and it appeared to have a firm consistency. Some students were skeptical about the appearance of the cheese, however most of them decided to try it. Lin-z says, “This cheese looks a lot like the gross Canal Junction cheese, but I gave it a shot.” We would recommend this particular cheese because overall it was well-liked by most of our classmates. It maintains an original cheddar taste, but was not too extreme.

Canal Junction Grassfed Sharp Cheddar from Defiance, OH bought at Kazmaier's Family Grocery is a cheese that is loved by some and hated by others. The majority of the class disliked the Canal Junction cheese. When describing it one person, Lin-Z Tello said said, “This tasted like cow poop. Disgusting. It smells innocent enough but once you take a nibble its like 'KA-POW' and your mouth is fighting against the farm. Not cool.” Erynn was one of the taste testers who preferred the taste of this cheese. When addressing her ideas on the cheese she shared knowledge of cheeses produced in different areas to give insight to why this cheese has the distinct taste. She wrote, “I love this cheese. … There is a distinct flavor you can tell what the cows were eating. It Italy, the people who live on the flat part are so obsessed with their cows and cheese, they keep them in barns and only feed them certain grasses and herbs so the milk tastes a certain way, and the cheese produced is very strong like this.” Though these opinions are very diverse, it appears to be a matter of person taste preference for the Canal junction cheese from grass-fed cows.

The Vermont cheese is one of its own, a truly unique piece of cheese. This variety of cheese is white, has a thicker substance, and was generally liked by the entire class. In regards to this cheese, Eryn writes, “This is a good cheese. It's not to sharp, not too smooth, a good consistency in your mouth. It breaks apart crisply from the brick and sort of cushions your teeth as you chew, truly a pleasure for the mouth.” Stephanie also liked this type of cheese, writing, “It had a little bit sharper of a taste than the Raw Milk one, but way less sharp than the Canal Junction one. Overall, it had a nice consistency.”

In America, when we think of cheese Kraft is a brand that comes to mind. It's a very common and accessible product in all major grocery stores and food chains. There is no preparation involved for this product. All you must do is simply cut the cheese, place it on a cracker and enjoy! People seem to have different reactions to this cheese, with some enjoying it and others not. As one classmate, Jessica, stated, "The Kraft cheese had a sharp flavor, but it tasted a little fake, like it had wax or oil or something added to it. It's after-taste made me feel like I was sick for a split-second." This shows that she was not very fond of the Kraft cheese. Rachel, on the other hand, really liked the Kraft. She said, "I enjoyed the Kraft cheese...the cheese stays together when I cut into it, and long after. The flavor seemed like what classic cheddar cheese should taste like - the flavor I imagine whenever anyone mentions cheddar cheese." These classmates reactions are an example of how different people enjoy different things.

Velveeta cheese is made by Kraft Foods Global and can be bought at Kroger grocery store. Jessica Miller thought that Velveeta cheese was "gross. It looked like margarine...and it kind of tasted like it too." Tracy Zack had like thoughts, asserting that "[it] smooshed together when I cut it. It didn't smell authentic...It was packaged in a foil wrap inside of a box." Jessica believed the cheese was too processed to the point it didn't feel or taste like cheese, and Tracy would agree. Both girls had immediate reactions of distaste for Velveeta cheese, and they would not recommend it to others.

As a class we were struck by the differences between each cheese's texture and taste. We realized, too, that even though Velveeta was clearly the most processed of the cheeses, it was one that recalled many memories and feeling of "home," which we found important because it showed us that all food has meaning.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Food for Thought

Happy cows live in Northwest Ohio.

Look at these lovely ladies at Luginbill Family Farms.

They look quite happy.

And look quite tasty too.

Babs and I went to Luginbill so I could stock up on even more pork, beef, lamb, and chicken. Apparently, we fit the stereotype of the Midwest who eat meat and potatoes at every meal. I can live with that. Especially if I'm eating such high quality, grass-fed meats.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This weekend I was blessed with many wonderful gifts.


Thursday evening my dear friend Babs brought over two samples of carrot cake: Betty Crocker and Holden Village.

She said that many testers preferred the Betty Crocker recipe, but I enjoyed the carroty flavor and density of the Holden Village recipe.

Babs is probably the best baker I know, and I'm always grateful to her for all the treats she brings us. Thanks, Babs!


Friday evening my good friend Sarah L. brought over a loaf of her bread.

The recipe seems even easier than Rulhman's and the taste of it rivaled Zingerman's.

It was so warm and fresh and crusty when she brought it over in its little bundle that looked like a happily wrapped baby. This is definitely a bread I'm going to try to make and I think I'll succeed at.

What I love about Sarah is "DAMN, that girl can cook!" And I adore how she so thoughtful about and in her food writing.


On Saturday, at my parish retreat, I received a box full of letters of support and love from my family and loved ones. I was overjoyed by all the expressions of love I received. FD, my parents and siblings, my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, my close friend DH and AL, and fellow parishioners helped me recognize the good in me that I sometimes forget, and it made me feel better about the world, my life, and myself. My words here are not doing justice to how I feel, but know that I appreciate and cherish all of your kind words with all my heart.

I have to give a shout out to the cooks of the retreat, too. The food was AWESOME! It fed the tummy and the spirit!

So now I'm thinking, How can I give something back? I have ideas. I always have ideas...