Thursday, September 26, 2013

Highlights of Three Months

Delicious Duck L'Orange from the French Restaurant in Epcot-
tasty and safe

I haven’t added a blog entry for three months.  Why?  Yes, I’m very busy but I’ve always been busy, so that’s not the right answer.  Did I cut back on cooking and creating new dishes?  No, because I just reviewed my iOS album on facebook and I have all kinds of food photos uploaded.  Do I tend to not blog as much during the summer?  I thought that was it.  But after scanning through the dates in my blog, it seems to be a cyclical phase.  Blog for a while, stop, then blog for a while, stop and so on.  I wish I could blog during my commutes, but Siri is not that advanced. But even if Siri was advanced, I would most likely only use it to keep a track of ‘to blog’ items.  Words and ideas flow better when we write. 

So it’s time to resume the updates.  A good way to start it up again is to think through the food type experiences of the summer. The three main food experiences of this summer are:

Disneyworld  – outstanding experience
Ahi Tuna Burger - NOT cross contaminated with shellfish
Scotch Eggs at the English Restaurant in Epcot - not fried with shellfish

Delicious appetizer in the French Restaurant in Epcot

In Morocco - NOT contaminated with nuts

We avoided allergens for my son in EVERY restaurant in the park.  While we are down to shellfish, nuts, and peanuts, Disney is known in the food allergy community for being able to readily and accurately cater to special diets (including multiple food allergies).   When the French chef (not Julia Child, while Disney is fantasy, resurrecting people is not one of the themes) comes out and tells you exactly why a certain food is safe for your child to eat, your evening becomes perfection.  Disney kitchens were extremely cognizant of cross contamination.  The best part was dining in the various countries in Epcot. Certain foods are typically cross contaminated with shellfish, but the fish and chips in England was not.   Yes, I gave the allergy ‘speech’ before every meal, but it was understood well and we had so many choices.

Grilling – the backyard and 4th of July

Traditional beer brats

Marinated chicken kebobs

Skewer I first saw on barbecue U -
 flat items don't turn
Grilling/barbecuing is not my forte.  Yes, I can do it and excel at it, but I prefer the oven and stovetop.   So while my son had the interest, he did grill and with a lot of care and perfection. 

One of my personal favorites was Portabella burger.  These were marinated and grilled and they were delicious (grilled by my son).

A key trick to grilling is indirect grilling.  But boneless meats and vegetables can be directly grilled. And of course charcoal, not gas.  While gas is more convenient, I still prefer the flavor.

Pan Frying and Dutch Oven Cooking

It’s always hard to cook after a long workday.  After a long workday and a long commute, it would be nice to just relax (especially in the summer). Dutch Oven cooking the night before, and pan-frying enable some relatively simpler (with respect to time) dishes.

Crockpots are popular, but I prefer the flavor and
consistency of dishes from the dutch oven (cassoulet)

New food processor

Never Fail hummus

organic spinach garlic pasta 
(note how each shell contains a garlic piece)

One of the easiest dishes I make - rack of lamb with roasted potatoes
(including purple)- has to be served on a pewter plate

Dining Out

Sushi in Cincinnati at Aroma - they really
 understood shellfish cross contamination

Yes, eating out real food is possible even in a restaurant (and outside of Disney World).  I plan on adding some information on this.

I also bought Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked” – this is a great read for any foodie.

One of my favorite quotes from the book (there are many and I’m still reading it):

Koreans traditionally make a distinction between the “tongue taste” and the “hand taste” of a food. (…)Tongue taste is the straightforward chemical phenomenon that takes place whenever molecules make contact with taste buds, something that happens with any food as a matter of course. Tongue taste is the kind of easy, accessible flavor that any food scientist or manufacturer can reliably produce in order to make food appealing. “McDonald’s has tongue taste,” (…)Hand taste, however, involves something greater than mere flavor. It is the infinitely more complex experience of a food that bears the  unmistakable signature of the individual who made it — the care and the thought and idiosyncrasy that that person has put into the work of preparing it. Hand taste cannot be faked, (…) and hand taste is the reason we go to all this trouble, massaging the individual leaves of each cabbage and then folding them and packing them in the urn just so. What hand taste is, I understood all at once, is the taste of love.
Michael Pollan, Cooked