Wednesday, February 29 2012
It is perhaps strange that there is no particular tradition associated with Leap Day, which occurs once every four years (duh).
Of course, traditions are associated with it here and there: According to European folklore, women can propose marriage to men on Leap Day, an offer that the man cannot refuse(!) without paying a steep price. There is even a society of Leap Day babies.
But it is not a holiday in the way we think of Christmas or even Labor Day or Memorial Day. You'd think there would be something one could do to celebrate a day that happens only once every four years.
With the yin and yang in this country of humans understanding better than ever before how and why to eat things and how to stay healthy contrasted with the obesity epidemic, we propose Leap Day as a Day to Eat That Which You Would Not Usually Eat, because it (a) is terrible for you, (b) is cruel and unusual or (c) is a giant pain to prepare.
There are certainly plenty of things that are terrible for you that you should eat only once every four years. Consider Paula Deen's now-infamous "Lady's Brunch Burger," a hamburger between two Krispy Kreme (or Krispy Kreme-style) glazed doughnuts, with bacon and a fried egg, a concoction that really should end up in some sort of Potentially Lethal Hangover Food Hall of Fame. Just a few weeks ago, a patron at the Las Vegas restaurant Heart Attack Grill suffered a heart attack while eating a "Triple Bypass Burger." Clearly, this is what Cookie Monster would call a "sometimes food."
Josh Watkins, executive chef at Carillon Restaurant, would indulge in sweets from the Texas State Fair. "Funnel cakes, fried Snickers, candy apples, cotton candy, fried Twinkies, fried ice cream, fried cookie dough," he said in an email. "And for dessert I'll have some fried butter, chicken fried bacon, a turkey leg, and Texas fried Frito pie." Ahem.
Then there are the foods that are morally suspect. One doesn't expect vegans to suddenly eat veal on Leap Day, but for omnivores, the possibilities are endless.
The most famous bad karma food is the Ortolan, the endangered French songbird that was rendered nearly extinct because of its popularity as a delicacy. Its demise seems unpleasant: It is captured, fattened and drowned in Armagnac. After being cooked, it is served piping hot. Then it is traditionally eaten — whole, bones and all — with a napkin over one's head, either to capture the aroma or hide from God. Its consumption is illegal, but a thriving black market trade remains.
And then there is the stuff that is just exhausting to make. To that end we present a very special chicken and waffles recipe.
Happy Leap Day. Go eat a songbird. Or chicken and waffles. Or a giant burger.
Fried Chicken and Waffles with Jalapeño Maple Syrup and Bacon Onion Marmalade
Chicken and waffles used to be much more of an indulgence than they are now, but chef Casey Simmons at Grille at Rough Hollow offers an over-the-top version served with jalapeño-laced maple syrup and bacon and onion marmalade during Sunday brunch at his restaurant overlooking Lake Travis in Lakeway. Read through the recipe before starting; there are several steps, such as marinating the chicken, that require working ahead of cooking time.
— Addie Broyles
For the chicken:
1 quart buttermilk
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 cup honey
1 cup maple syrup
2 jalapeños, diced
2 lb. chicken, cut into strips
In a large bowl, mix buttermilk, parsley, honey, maple syrup and jalapeños with a hand mixer until mixed well. Place chicken strips in marinade, cover and let rest in the refrigerator overnight.
For the marmalade:
16 oz. bacon
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1½ cups honey
1½ lb. brown sugar
2 cups chicken broth
In a large sauce pot, cook bacon until crispy and remove bacon from heat. Add onions and cook about five minutes. While onions are cooking, crumble the bacon. Once onions have started to soften, add bacon, honey and brown sugar and heat until all the brown sugar has dissolved. Add chicken broth to sauce pot, and reduce until a third of the liquid remains. Remove from the pot and refrigerate.
For the syrup:
2 jalapeños, diced (and seeded, if you want slightly less heat)
3 cups maple syrup
1 1/2 cups honey
Add all ingredients to a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer on low heat until reduced by a third. Syrup will thicken to desired consistency. You can store any extra in the fridge, and it will keep for at least a month.
3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2¾ cups milk
6 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. powdered sugar, for garnish
1/3 cup thinly sliced basil, for garnish
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl combine milk and eggs. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in melted butter and vanilla. Spoon batter into preheated waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
When ready to fry the chicken, heat a generous amount of cooking oil in a fryer or cast iron skillet to 280 to 290 degrees. Working in batches, dredge the chicken strips in flour and place in a single layer the fryer or skillet. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip the strips. Continue cooking until golden brown.
To serve, place a few slices of fried chicken on top of a waffle, drizzle with syrup and top with a spoonful of marmalade. Garnish with powdered sugar and basil. Serves 6, with leftover marmalade and syrup.
— Adapted from a recipe by Casey Simmons, executive chef at Grille at Rough Hollow
Tuesday, February 21 2012
What food could you see being added to just about anything and making it better? If your answer is bacon, you are not alone. Wondering why bacon has become so popular, we reached out to Kat Kinsman, managing editor of CNN’s Eatocracy blog.
“Bacon, the food, is, full-stop delicious, but so are plenty of other foods. Bacon, the concept, has taken on a life of its own.” It's shorthand, Kinsman said, for, “Hey, I’m a food freak, but I don’t take myself too seriously.”
"Pork, fat and salt are pretty much the antithesis of what any nutritionist would counsel you to eat" Kinsman said.
But, as Pete Wells quoted a bacon maker’s wife as saying in his 2003 James Beard Award-winning essay, "Captain Bacon," “And if I can't have bacon on my salad, I just don't care about it."
From a bacon-wrapped pork dish to the fan-favorite Bakon Vodka, we’ve got your craving covered with today’s Gotta Watch.
Monday, February 20 2012
You already know it: fruit can help you in many ways. Fruit in every meal can help you lower your cholesterol, it can help you lose weight. It can increase your life power.
Even if you are completely healthy, the addition of fruit to your meals is certainly a good idea.
Not only are most kinds of fruit tasty, but all of them are fiber rich. Fibers are good for various reasons. First of all they help us cut down on the intake of food.
They satisfy the stomach because they fill it up. They help our digestive system to do its work with more ease. For this reason, they will help you lose weight if you have to. If you don't have, your weight will stay where it is..
You are just having a healthy meal.
I would suggest you try to incorporate a banana into your breakfast. You may eat it as it is or cut it down and have it with your cereals. You may add a 100% fresh orange or grapefruit juice to your breakfast as well..
A banana gives you approximately 80 calories but a wealth of fiber and vitamins like the complex of the B-group with the exception of B12. In other words a banana contains the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9. But that is not all. It also contains the vitamin C and the vitamin K. It is furthermore rich in potassium. The vitamin K helps you to maintain the cardiovascular health and the potassium helps you to avoid cramps in your limbs.
At lunch, whether you eat at home or at work you may consume, a part from your bread, an apple, an orange or grapes. If you want you may also eat another banana. The apple and the orange give you fibers and a good deal of vitamin C. The grapes that are both sweet and fresh, can help you prevent cardiovascular disease as they contain the vitamin K that regulates the density of your blood. If the grapes are dried, their content in sugars is much higher reason for which you should eat less of them.
For dinner you may add pineapples or apples to your salad. You may also prepare a waldorf salad with apples, celery and walnuts. Consume with a light dressing. This is a fresh dish that contains only vegetarian components and highly satisfies your stomach and also your cravings for sugar.
You may also add fruit to meat like chicken. Add apricots or mango chutney. I also recommend a combination of carrot salad with ginger in syrup. Prepare the carrots with a little salt, lemon juice and some olive oil. Then add this chipped ginger in syrup. It is very tasty and gives you fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients.
Fruits are also perfect for snacks. Eat a cup of fresh berries. They all come with a great taste and most of them have many health promoting nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. Cranberries, for example help prevent bladder disease, whereas blueberries contain lutein that is indispensable for a perfect eyesight. For a snack also grapes are a good solution. Whether you prefer white or red grapes, depends on you. Both types of grapes give you important and precious help for your health.
You can also add fruit to your dessert. Eat a baked apple. it is a delicious sweet. You can also consume pears or prepare a fruit salad that contains various kinds of fruit.
As you see, fruit is always precious in every meal. The various kinds may be combined with meats or with other ingredients of dishes, like rice, pasta, potatoes, various kinds of vegetables.
You name it.
In any case, the addition of fruit to every meal during your day is a good habit. Start it now. Your health will be thankful for this change in your daily habits.
I am a professional translator, coach and energy worker. My aim is to help people live a fear-and anxietyfree life My ebook Anxiety,Goodbye! gives you a wealth of tips and advice. Get it at http://www.kissanxietygoodbye.com
Thursday, February 09 2012
If there is one thing I love more than travelling, it's food. A common joke that flies around the office about me is my ability to eat just about anything and a lot of it. I will usually graze throughout the day, but I find that eating the same old sandwich from the corner shop can get a bit tiresome.
My love of food comes with not being picky and that's what every foodie should be like. I've never heard of a restaurant critic that doesn't like sea food or only likes their steaks well-done. This means that I'm always open to taste new things and, to be honest; this should be everyone's outlook in life. Trying new and unfamiliar dishes is an exciting discovery and this is where it goes hand in hand with travel.
The prospect of seeing new sites while travelling is always high on the agenda, but another reason for a lot of travellers to visit destinations is to try new smells and taste new foods. It gives people a chance to break away from the sensory routine of their everyday lives and expose themselves to a sensory barrage of unfamiliar scents, sounds and palettes. So, which destinations can provide the best culinary delights?
Walking through the warrens of the souks and the infamous night market, visitors are instantly drawn in to try the local dishes. A popular refreshment is mint tea, which can be quite relaxing and should be savoured over a long, lazy afternoon or evening.
The most popular dish here is the tagine which is usually meat cooked in a clay pot, providing a rich flavour as the herbs and spices marinate. You can find these dishes in any restaurant, but the best can usually be found in riads, small boutique hotels, within the old walled city.
During one evening, I found myself relaxing in the courtyard of the riad I was staying in, a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was here I had the best lamb tagine I had ever tasted, complimented with apricot cous cous. For one evening during a stay in Morocco, it is recommended to stay at least one night, relaxing in the hotel and trying their dishes, because it might just be the best you have during your entire stay.
The Americans love their food and the like it big. Travelling through North America and visiting the various local eateries feels more like an accomplishment than a discovery. On most menus, you can find a culinary challenge that only the most experience foodies should take part in.
The US doesn't really have a national dish, but instead take bits and pieces from other nations and make it their own. Take the hamburger for example. The humble burger is originally German, as is the hotdog, but has now become synonymise with the American culture.
However, if it's one thing I will always remember eating in America, it's the pulled pork, slowly roasted, allowing it to fall apart in your mouth. During my stay in the south, venturing on all the Florida attractions like a little kid, I was lucky enough to try a local pulled pork sandwich with BBQ sauce and I will never forget it. Not the most nouveau cuisine, but we all have our guilty pleasures.
The Mediterranean, the sun and the sea. What could be more relaxing for a summer holiday than chilling out in the south of Spain?
The array of dishes that come with Tapas has become so popular that it has found its way over to many restaurants here in the UK. We're obviously a sharing nation if we're happy to sit down on a big table with our friends and eat patatas bravas and albidongas together. We usually find that the small dishes weren't so small after all however and collectively they defeat us time and again.
Regardless, there is nothing better than settling down for the evening with a bottle of white wine and the most famous of all Spanish dishes, Paella. You can get this recipe anywhere and try it in most restaurants, but you have to go to Spain to get a taste of the real thing. Simmering away in a huge pot with an assortment of chicken, chorizo and shellfish, a traditional paella will be creamy and bursting with flavour from the prawns, muscles and calamari.
I wasn't going to finish this article without being patriotic. The UK has had a bad rap in the past for our inability to produce tasty food. Well, it looks like the last laugh belongs to us as we turn into a nation of foodies, inspired by TV cooking shows and competitions to encourage us to try new things and even cook it for ourselves.
Admittedly, we take other recipes and adapt it, experimenting and coming up with new creations all the time. However, there is one dish that will stand the test of time and is often overlooked.
A Sunday just wouldn't be complete without a roast dinner. Whether it's beef, turkey or lamb, a good roast dinner is a reason to look forward to the weekend. It's almost become a sort of unspoken competition within families as fiery discussions of how to cook the best roast shoot back and forth.
Personally, I believe my grandma cooked the best roast, from the homemade gravy and Yorkshire puddings, right down to the roast potatoes in goose fat. It's something that I aspire to, but unfortunately can never meet the standard no matter how hard I try. Therefore, a good old fashioned roast dinner has to make to the list.
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