Archive for the ‘ Food – Cooking ’ Category

It’s What’s For Dinner…

So last Sunday after I rustled UP a homemade replica of Chili’s Blue Ribbon Chicken Salad, I was so impressed with myself I post a picture of it on Facebook.

It’s pretty simple.  A bag of field greens, chop UP  your favorite salad veggies, like cukes, radishes, onion and the like, and you’ve got your base.

The Chicken was cubed, double breaded and fried in vegetable oil.

Double breading is simply that, dip the raw chicken into egg, then into flour, and repeat before frying.

Decadent; a bit, but really, really good.

Sunday’s meal being a hit on FB, I tried again on Monday.

Sliders and onion rings are always a hit, so why the heck not?

The burgers are smash burgers; super thin hamburgers that are small and fit on dinner rolls.

The onion rings are an Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa recipe.  Soak raw onion rings over night in a mixture of buttermilk, salt, and pepper and then dip each one in cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper and fry in oil until golden brown.

Don’t over crowd the pan.

And remember to schedule the haz-mat crew to clean UP the kitchen afterward.

It’s worth the mess.

That picture being a hit, I was inspired to try again on Tuesday.

This one is potage parmentier from none other than Julia Child.  I found it in an issue of Esquire a few years back.

It calls for leeks, but never having them on hand, we used onions.

Really, I’m sure there’s a difference, but the onions work so knock yourself out…

2 lbs potatoes diced, 2 lbs leeks (or onions) finely chopped. 1 tablespoon salt, 6 oz heavy whipping cream, 6 tablespoons butter . Parsley and chives . Cover potatoes and leeks/onions with water about 1 in over. Cook for 40-50 mins. Use emersion blender or place in a blender in small amounts to purée. Add cream, butter mix well. Too w chives, parsley, and radish slices.

Just make sure the onions and potatoes are chopped well.

It is probably my favorite winter soup!

Wednesday’s menu was Pesto Chicken over Pasta.

Pretty simple, saute the chicken, add the pesto until heated and serve over pasta.

Easy, quick, filling and 2 pans to clean UP!

I had planned dinner on Thursday, but a 12 hour day caused a change of plans.

So, I posted what I was having…

Hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Knowing I had to redeem myself on Friday, I went all out with some left over beef roast from the freezer, brown gravy, bread, and mashed potatoes, for a winter-time comfort food favorite, Hot Shots.

Green beans for color and to prove to the world I do eat veggies added a nice touch.

“Is every week like that?” you might ask.

Well, no, but there are always Oreos!


Fifty Years of Fake…

Pringles are 50 years old.

People call them potato chips, but in reality they are a brand of potato and WHEAT based concoction marketed as a “chip.”

When they first came out back in the Summer of Love aka 1967, they were pimped to us as “Newfangled Potato Chips.”

Technically they are a chip, but they are not all potato.

Nevertheless, they remain the fourth most popular snack brand after Lay’s, Doritos, and Cheetos.

Yeah, I was surprised too.

Created by Proctor & Gamble because they wanted to create a “perfect” chip and shut the customers UP who had been whining about broken, greasy, and stale chips.

Another complaint was the chip bags had as much or more air in them as chips. (Which has not changed I might add.)

Consumers, just sayin’.

The chore of making all their chip customer happy fell to Fred Baur a chemist and food storage tech from Toledo, Ohio who worked for the Cincinnati company.

He created the can and the saddle shaped chips, but could not for the life of him make them taste good.

Another Ohio chemist, Alexander Liepa, rebooted Baur’s work with a goal to improve the taste.

Some say he was successful.

Well, at least enough people at P&G thought he was.

Liepa snagged the patent and Gene Wolfe, a science fiction novelist invented the machine that cooks the little posers.

The saddle shape has a real name, based on math of course.  In reality, each chip is a hyperbolic paraboloid, and supercomputers were used to test the aerodynamics!

Really, who knew so much went into fake food processing?

Theories abound as to how the little critters got their name.  Mark Pringle did file a patent for a method and apparatus for processing potatoes in 1937, and his work was cited by P&G when they filed their own patent.

One urban legend says that two P&G employees lived on Pringle Drive and another says they picked the name from the Queen City phone book.

When P&G introduced them as Newfangled Potato Chips, other shack makers had a hissy.  They claimed Pringles really weren’t potato chips.

This just in, they were right!

The US Food and Drug Administration decreed in 1975 that Pringles could only use the word “chip” if the phrase “potato chips made from dried potatoes” followed.

P&G had a big confab and re-named them “crisps” giving the competition and the FDA the big bird!

In 2011, P&G agreed to sell the brand to Diamond Foods for a cool $2.25 billion but after a year of lawyering, the deal fell through and Kellogg stepped in and scooped them UP for $2.695 billion.

They are manufactured in several places across the globe, but the ones you get at your local K-Roger are from Jackson, Tennessee.

So, what’s in them?

They are about 42% potatoes.  The rest is starch, flours (potato, rice, corn), vegetable oils, salt, seasoning, sweeteners such as maltodextrin and dextrose.

There’s some MSG, disodium inosinate, and a whole lot of other stuff that sounds scary as well as sour cream, cheddar cheese, and dried black beans!

The London High Court in 2008 saw P&G lawyers successfully argue that Pringles were not crisps as the potato content was only 42% and their shape is “not found in nature.”

Feel better?

This victory allowed P&G to escape a 17.5% tax bill!

Originally, Pringles were advertised with slogans such as “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop,” which is a little off putting until you realize they are talking about opening the can.

That was eventually changed to “Other potato chips just don’t stack UP.”

Which is probably a good thing…unlike Pringles…at least in my book.

Now, what’d I do with my Mike-Sells!

Whip It!

While re-reading some older posts recently in my constant search for inspiration, I came across a post on the Butter v. Margarine debate.  I talked about the chemical make UP of margarine and how it’s just nastie.

Actually, what sparked it was a Facebook post from an old friend, Jody, down in Florida.

Back in the day, Jody and I had some great times working together, selling network, and setting off alarms.

But I digress.

In one of the comments, someone asked about Cool Whip and what it contained.

Frankly, I missed the query or forgot about it, but as it sparked my interest, I thought, “Why not?”

OK, so it’s been a long time coming.

So here goes.

Clinically, Cool Whip is a brand of imitation whipped cream, referred to as whipped topping by its manufacturer, Kraft-Heinz.

It is used in North America as a dessert topping and in some no-bake pie recipes. It was originally described as “non-dairy” as it contained neither cream nor milk and no lactose; however, it did contain the milk derivative caseinate.

It was 1966 when General Foods’ Birds Eye division introduced Cool Whip.  England had won the FIFA World Cup in Soccer, Brigette Bardot was the reigning sex-symbol, Patty Duke and Barbara Eden were TV stars, and Twiggy was on the cover of every fashion rag out there.

The Mamas and the Papas bemoaned Monday, the Beatles assured us we could work it out, and Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel provided the sound of silence.

Captain Kirk told Scotty to beam him UP for the first time, Burger King was letting you have it your way, and United Airlines was encouraging you to fly the friendly skies.

OK, so things have changed!

By 1968, Cool Whip had become the largest and most profitable product in the Birds Eye line UP.

George Lorant, a food scientist at General Foods, created the stuff and pimped it to the bosses as a whipped cream-like product that could be sold in a frozen state and kept for a while in the fridge at home.  He claimed each serving had 25 calories.

There were high fives everywhere!

Over time seasonal flavors were added, French vanilla, chocolate, sweet cinnamon, strawberry, peppermint, and even cheesecake.

To date, there is no pumpkin spice.

Can I get a Praise the Lord!

Cool Whip is the most preferred whipped topping brand in the US, and there is a tub of the stuff in just about 45% of American households.

So, what’s in it?

Well, there’s water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, coconut and palm oils, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skimmed milk, light cream, less than 2% sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysobate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene.

Not sure what all that is, but the USDA says we’re fine if we eat it.  And we all know our government wouldn’t do anything to harm us, right?

To get to the chase, it’s not like margarine, and it’s probably OK, but really folks, whipping cream at home ain’t all that hard.

Grab a hand mixer, a chilled bowl, 1 and ¼ cups heavy cream, ½ cup sugar, a drop or two of vanilla, and whip it until till there are stiff peaks, and voila! you’re done.  Put it in a strainer over a bowl, the excess liquid will seep out and it will last longer.

Healthier, home-made, and cooler than Cool Whip!

A Holiday I Can Get Behind!

Today is National Banana Split day!

Once again, that’s a holiday I can get behind.

See what I did there!

In case you were born last night, a banana split is an ice cream based dessert which in its traditional form is served in a boat type dish.

The bananas are cut lengthwise – as in a split – and placed in the boat.

Traditionally one scoop of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream comes next, then chocolate syrup, nuts, pineapple, whip cream, and it’s topped off with a cherry!

A 23 year old apprentice pharmacist named David Evans Strickler is credited with the concoction.  Seems he liked creating sundaes at the Tassel Pharmacy in Latrobe, PA and while bored one day came UP with this version.

When it debuted in 1904, it costs a whopping 10 cents.

Word spread, the “recipe” was copied nationwide and the America’s love affair with banana splits began.

Strickler went on to purchase the pharmacy, renamed it after himself, and 100 years later, the city celebrated the centenary anniversary of the concoction.

The National Ice Cream Retailers Association certified the city as the birthplace as well.

Of course, there are posers.  Wilmington, Ohio’s Ernest Hazard clams he created it in 1907 to attract students from Wilmington College during the winter when ice cream sales were slow.

Wilmington takes his claim seriously and each June has a Banana Split Festival.

Charles Rudolph Walgreen of Chicago adopted the dessert as a signature dessert.  His soda fountains were customer magnets, and the banana split had a big pull.

Either way, PA or OH, have a banana split today.

That’s a real reason to party.

Banana Splits can contain UP to 1,000 calories, but the one from Dairy Queen is a mere 510!