I'll quote the rules from the original source:
Hereís what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items youíve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
1. Venison - (sausage is best)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile - deep fried, tastes just like crocodile.
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses - I've had and enjoyed Camembert.
17. Black truffle - would gladly try some if not for the $$$$
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (Plum)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese - of the foods I haven't had and would try, this would probably be the most challenging for me.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - actually, Habaneros, but they are the same species and hold approximately the same number of SHUs.
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda - this looks really good. I may need to try to make some.
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi - looks delicious
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects - but only if cooked, not raw.
43. Phaal - this looks like my kind of dish.
44. Goatís milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu - One of the few I would not try, because of potential fatality.
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonaldís Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
62. Sweetbreads - depends on how they're prepared.
63. Kaolin - Yecch. I ate clay when I was a toddler, but wouldn't do it voluntarily.
65. Durian Anthony Bourdain, on Durian: "Try leaving cheese and a dead body out in the sun and you're in the same neighborhood as the smell of durian." Andrew Zimmern couldn't even handle it.
66. Frogsí legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain - I'm allergic to bananas. Love 'em but can't eat 'em.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - I think I get credit for this having eaten tacos de tripas.
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill - I might eat it to survive in the wild, but only if it were a matter of life or death.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
87. Goulash - the first and best I had was in Austria.
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab - just like eating steamed tarantulas. What?
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish - not too fond of this fish anymore.
95. Mole poblano Highly recommended. Best if you have to order it in Spanish.
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (Rattlesnake chili, to be precise).
Wow, 52 dishes I've tried. Only 5 I wouldn't try (and 1 of those only because of a food allergy). I'll have to get to work trying some new things.
Feel free to play along. Let me know if you post something, and please throw a link back to the original poster.
More Top Chef
Surfing around on the term "Top Chef," I found this great guest blog entry by chef Anthony Bourdain (whose No Reservations is another item of must-see TV for me). Bourdain served a stint as guest judge for Top Chef earlier in the season and his assessments of the various contestants (other than Ilan) squares with my own.
The finale airs tomorrow at 9:00CST on Bravo.
Top Chef Tragedy
My wife thinks the voting was rigged, since Ilan and Marcel have had so much bad blood this season. Say it ain't so! This isn't simply reality TV designed to draw ratings, is it???
The Substance of Style at McDonald's
Today's Business section in the Dallas Morning News tells the story of Ed Bailey, whose ownership of 61 McDonald's locations in the ultra-competitive Dallas dining market has made him one of the most successful restaurant franchisees in the world.
Mr. Bailey's success as an entrepreneur began in the fashion business. Having first worked as a traveling dress salesman, Mr. Bailey soon opened and ran a successful men's designer clothing store in Cincinnati for 10 years. When he got his first franchise from McDonald's in 1984, he moved his family to Plano (a great place to live!) and was successful enough in the difficult Valley View Mall food court location that he obtained a second franchise within a year. Over the next 22 years, he added 59 more stores to his portfolio.
His story could have ended there as a great tribute to the American Dream lived by so many successful small business owners. But as the article points out, there's a special angle to Mr. Bailey's success. In the early 1990s, Mr. Bailey decided to distinguish his franchises by spending money to make them more aesthetically pleasing at the same time as his corporate management was pushing cost controls:
In 1992, Mr. Bailey opened unit No. 7 at Preston Road and Royal Lane just as McDonald's was entering its low-cost era....
It was the most expensive McDonald's built in the United States that year, with a $650,000 tab. A company-owned unit less than three miles away was the cheapest, costing half as much. The regional vice president chastised Mr. Bailey severely for this perceived folly.
"Two and a half years later, I bought that store because McDonald's wasn't making any money," he says, stating fact more than bragging. "I was doing 40 percent more in sales in basically the same trade area."
Aesthetics--the look and feel of people, places, and things--is increasingly important as a source of value, both economic and cultural....
Aesthetics shows up where function used to be the only thing that mattered, from toilet brushes to business memos to computers and cell phones. And people's expectations keep rising. New tract homes have granite countertops, so hotel rooms have to have granite countertops too. Family restaurants used to be all about price and food, but now they have to worry about their decor. We've gone from Pizza Hut to California Pizza Kitchen. If you're in business, you have to invest in aesthetics simply to keep up with the competition.
Or, as Mr. Bailey's experience showed, to beat the competition.
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream
Blue Bell's Tin Roof Ice Cream is simply the best ice cream flavor in the world.
Followed closely by Baskin Robbins' Chocolate Fudge.
Email me or leave a comment on your favorites and why. I'll expand on this.
Holiday Recipe Blogging - The World's Best Chex Mix
I've spent most of this weekend in the kitchen, making a couple dozen tamales from scratch and preparing two batches of Jackie's Chex Mix (named after my best childhood friend's mom, who invented this variation of the recipe).
I'll write about the (successful) tamales some other time. This post is devoted to the best Chex Mix you will ever taste:
1 box Wheat Chex cereal
1 box Rice Chex
1 box Corn Chex
4 C. Cheerios
1 bag pretzels
1 - 2 lbs mixed nuts
1 lb. butter
1 - 1.25 C. Oil
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Tabasco sauce
0.5 tsp. celery salt
1.5 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red (cayenne) pepper
1 tsp. allspice
Accent (MSG) to taste
Optional (my variations in addition to the above, never more than 2 at a time extra):
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
Preheat oven to 200 degrees (F).
Make sure you have plenty of room to work. Set out four 9 x 13 (or larger, if your oven will accommodate them) deep lasagna pans on a counter. I like to use disposable ones - you can get a package of 2 at Target for less than $2. Distribute the dry ingredients among the pans evenly (see picture at left).
In a 2-quart batter bowl, melt the butter; 60-90 seconds in the microwave should do the trick. Combine the remaining sauce ingredients. Add enough vegetable oil to make the sauce an even quart, usually just a bit more than one cup. After you've made this a couple times, you may experiment with the spice mix. However, the essential ingredients are Worcestershire sauce, garlic, tabasco, and allspice.
Using a 1/4-cup scoop, spoon out 1/4 cup of the sauce into each of the four pans. Using two spoons, fold and stir the cereal mix until the sauce is evenly distributed. Repeat until all sauce has been evenly spread among the four pans and has coated the cereal mixture. When you're all done, each of the pieces should be glistening slightly. This is the most important step! You don't want some pieces unseasoned and others to be mushy and oily. See the picture at right for how the mix should look after stirring (click for larger).
Let cool before serving. Enjoy!
Sentimental aside in the extended entry:
I have known Jackie since before I can remember. We moved across the street from her family when I was just a few months old. Her son and I are only 2 weeks apart in age, and except for eighth grade, two years of college, and grad school, we went to the same schools our entire lives.
Every Christmas, Jackie made batches of her party mix for family friends, but would only deliver a one-gallon ziploc to each family. Knowing how much I loved it, she started giving me my own bag in high school and college.
Shortly before my wife and I got married, we had a "recipe for a happy marriage" shower. Each of the invitees were to bring some words of advice for us to have a happy marriage. Jackie brought some great advice, along with the above recipe.
I hope it brings you much happiness in this joyous season.
A Great Winter Beer
I am currently sipping a new (to me) beer, from one of my favorite breweries in my second-favorite state, The New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado.
The brew is called "Abbey" and is a double ale. It has all kinds of wintery overtones (spices and coffee in particular). Still, it has a light bouquet and is much easier to drink than other dark beers (of which I am fond).
Texas Kraut Recipes
A significant number of the "Anglos" that settled in Texas in the early 19th century were, in fact, Teutons and Slavs. And until the current generation, one could readily encounter German dialects being spoken in small towns in the Texas hill country. (In my sophomore year of college, my German class took a field trip to Fredericksburg, where we struggled to understand the dialect of a 70-something museum guide whose German was anything but Hochdeutsch).
In honor of Oktoberfest (excellent Oktoberfest picture here, btw), here's a site with numerous recipes incorporating sauerkraut, including a couple that might work here in Texas: Surprise Chili and Salsa Ole.
Tastes Like Chicken of the Sea?
Yobbo, who's been chronicling his ongoing debauched journeys through Asia (women, gambling, etc.) over the last several months arrived in Tokyo a few weeks ago, and soon embarked on a mission to find some whale to eat.
Read his account of the unique gustatory experience here.
Almost makes me curious to try it. Even the "lightly roasted" dish (more like whale sashimi), which I can imagine being palatable with some wasabi and ginger, chased by a large Sapporo.
Pictorial Food Blog
Undiscussable Realms is a blog I found while randomly trolling Blogspot.
It's like a one-woman Carnival of the Recipes, but with pictures. (Actually, she doesn't have many recipes, but some of the pictures illustrate the stages of putting together a dish).
Carnival of the Recipes #34
Since I was getting ready to leave town last Friday, I missed that the 34th Carnival of the Recipes had been posted at Aussie Wife. I believe this marks the first time one of our friends from down under has hosted the Carnival.
Carnival of the Recipes #33
Introducing the "Karn Evil" of the Recipes 33. We've a sight to make you drool, so keep it cool, keep it cool...
Nothing uses up alcohol faster than political argument.
-- Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
On a much less refined note, I must offer up my own Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster recipe. Drink at your own risk.
How about rousing your lazy carcass and finding a little snack for lunch? Say about four thousand calories each.
-- Lazarus Long in Heinlein's Time Enough For Love
Mostly Cajun provides a recipe to help us keep those leftover Easter eggs from going to waste: Pickled eggs. (Just what kind of "Cajun" would even consider this heretical notion of making the hot peppers "optional" in this recipe??!) Elizabeth at Harelipfrog tried this recipe and has pictures documenting the preparation of the eggs.
Like a perfect dinner, a revolution has to be "cooked" so that everything comes out even.
-- Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Ted at Rocket Jones, who kindly sponsored my membership in the Munuvian clan, gives us two choices of Tamales this week -- Chorizo Apricot and Poblano Jack. He has made the recipes almost idiot-proof, even offering diagrams on how to put the tamales together in the corn husks:
I'm a multi-generation native Texan who loves tamales, but I've never tried to make them myself. Now I have no excuse but to do so.
Ith is organizing a Gathering of the Blogs around Tartan Day on April 6. As a proud owner of Scots blood (about 75%), I would love to participate, but I'm doing this Carnival instead. I guess I'll have to try some of her Bonnie Prince Charlie Chicken instead.
Allan found a recipe for Southwestern Stir-Fried Shrimp that is low in fat and calories, but not in flavor. Cumin, bell peppers, and lime will keep this one interesting, though I suspect I would increase the Cayenne pepper from 1/8 to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon to get the heat where I like it.
Sissy Willis made a Crown Roast of Pork with Apple and Sausage Stuffing and Gravy for Easter dinner. Check out her variation on Sweet Potato Casserole, below.
One of the joys of cooking is learning presentation techniques. Caltechgirl at Not Exactly Rocket Science gets creative with her Meatloaf Cake recipe, which I would love to make just to see the looks on my kids' faces.
Shawn at Everything and Nothing provides this delicious-looking recipe for a Mediterranean Vegetable-Cheese Pie, perfect for the warmer months ahead. I couldn't decide whether to put this under side dishes or entrees, but it had so many yummy things in it, I thought it could go here.
Soups and Stews
"What would you say to a Kansas City cut, rare, with baked potato, Tycho sauce, green salad, coffee ... and a drink first?"
"I think so too, but we'll be lucky, this hour in this hole, to get algae soup and burgers."
-- Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Here's some Nordic Stew from El Capitan. It looked like the contents of a cirrhotic liver patient's bedpan, but it smelled wonderful. Caveat: most things taste and smell better when camping, much less while, ahem, in a chemically-altered brainstate.
Be at Bebere.com gives us another spicy soup perfect for warming any lingering chills in this early Spring (and for keeping any of our friends Down Under warm as their calendar moves toward Winter): Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup).
Sandwiches, Sides, Salads, and Sauces
That'll be three beers--Coors--and three sirloin steaks, one rare, one medium rare, one medium. With the usual garbage. Baked potato, fried promises, whatever. The usual limp salad. Hot rolls. All the usual. Dessert later. Coffee.
Steve the Truck Driver in Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice
Jay at Accidental Verbosity shares a recipe for the crockpot: Barbecue Shredded Beef. He uses London Broil; I have used Brisket in a very similar way to make shredded Barbecue sandwiches. A great recipe for when you're too busy to fire up the grill or smoker and make "real" BBQ.
One of Marybeth's Random Thoughts is a simple sandwich recipe: Silver Morning Sandwiches. She suggests rye or wheat bread, but I bet pumpernickel would work really well with the Russian dressing and slaw.
FrazzledDad figured out a way to make a decent Shortcut Mole (generically, a complex sauce or gravy used in Mexican cooking). Jim uses apricot in the sauce, so this might make a real nice complement to Ted's Chorizo Apricot tamales, above.
I've never much liked sweet potato casseroles at holiday dinners, but I may have to change my mind after looking at Sissy Willis' Easter creation: Pureed Baked Sweet Potatoes topped with Peeps. If nothing else, the presentation was perfect for the holiday. Great job!
Though I'm a third-generation Texan (second-generation native) and my wife is a relative of Sam Houston, I've never been able to acquire a taste for grits. Too "southern" and not "Texan" enough for my taste. David at Third World County has a recipe that may change my mind, however: Chilis and Cheese Grits. He suggests (but hasn't tried) substituting chorizo for the bacon. Sounds perfect, and I may just have to try them that way.
Triticale - The Wheat/Rye Guy has created a Peach Salsa that might possibly impress a Texan. Apparently the recipe burned the tender palates of some Wisconsin salsa judges, but I wouldn't give them much credibility. Let a panel of Texans judge this one. Kidding aside, I bet this would really complement Ted's Chorizo Apricot Tamales (above).
Son, crying in your drink is bad enough; crying into a hot fudge sundae is disgusting.
-- Jerry in Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice
Feisty Christina helps us finish things off with Gooey Cake, a simple but delicious-looking recipe.
It has been my pleasure to host this Karn Evil. I have had a great time reviewing your recipes, and can't wait to try them all out. Please feel free to drop by my blog anytime.
Carnival Coming Soon
I will be hosting the thirty-third Carnival of the Recipes this coming Friday, on April Fool's Day. I'm flip-flopping among SciFi generically, Heinlein specifically, and April Fool's Day as themes for the presentation.
If you have a recipe that you would like to see featured here, please submit it to Beth, the kind coordinator of the Carnival at recipe.carnival(at)gmail(dot)com.
Superbowl Cupcake Recipe
Not entirely safe for work.
Carnival of the Recipes #2
Be sure to surf over, and if you try the recipe, please let me know.
On a self-centered note, readers following the Carnival link finally pushed my blog over 10,000 visits total. Yay! (I'm sure Glenn's link to the Carnival helped boost the readership).
I like hot and spicy foods. I love jalapenos and green chile. I add tabasco or picante to about half of my foods. So far I'm the only one in the family who really likes foods that have "the burn." (That might be changing; my second son eats pepperoncinis -- the halting first steps toward more challenging peppers. And both boys like hot link sausages now, too).
Still, I don't really seek out the "nuclear" hot sauces described in this Tim Blair post and comments. Check out the eating habits of some heavy-weight blogging talent -- Lileks, Jarvis, Treacher, and, of course, Blair. As Lileks puts it: How many different ways can you say ‚Äúmy mouth hurt and I blew napalm from my hindquarters‚Ä�?
(Query: what kind of mind looks at the handicapped rails in a bathroom stall and thinks of Elvis' last moments?).
Who Are the Britons?
Cue Graham Chapman voice: "We are all Britons. . . "
Guess that makes me British, too, tho' my Scots blood rebels at the notion.
I also like tea (I'm a teasipper, after all) and sausage-and-egg breakfasts.
One For Mr Mouse
I like Jalapeno Jack, Camembert, and Blue Cheese.
Velveeta is best for Chile con queso.
White cheddar's good, too.
Although the presentation is a little "nouvelle" for my tastes, the selection and mix of native foods looks positively mouth-watering.
While you're at Alan's site, be sure to leave him a congratulatory note on his recent degree in Info Tech.
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Recipe
The recipe called to mind the recipe for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster (the effect of drinking of which is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick) that I prototyped back in college. First, the original recipe, as defined by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
I translated that as follows:
(The approximate ratios in a large blender were: 4 rum : 1 everclear : 1 Schnapps).
A so-called friend of mine has some super-8 film footage of the aftermath (this was pre-miniDV handicam days, people). Oh, yeah, and I managed to get a decent education, too.
What I Gave Up For Lent. . .
I gave up ice cream for the duration, too. More to get rid of empty calories than anything, maybe I'll gain some spiritual insight, too. It's not really a Methodist (or, more generally, Protestant) tradition to give things up for Lent, but I have been noticing many of my [Protestant] peers doing so.
Vodkalanche. . . and a Friday Recipe
Roast Lamb and Vegetables
First, you want to marinate a medium boneless lamb roast (about 2 1/2 lb.) in a large freezer ziploc with the following for about 2-6 hours:
Preheat oven to 400F. Remove the roast from the bag and place it on a rack in a covered roasting pan. Save the marinade. Cut 6 cloves of garlic into halves and strip the leaves from about 4 branches of Rosemary. Cut evenly-spaced slits in the roast and then slip the garlic and rosemary into the slits. Arrange about 1 lb. of small red potatoes (unpeeled or peeled - your call) around the roast. Sprinkle all with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste. If the oven is still preheating, proceed to the next steps, otherwise put the roast in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Separate the oil from the marinade (use a turkey baster, or even better, one of these).
Toss the following with the separated oil and arrange in a shallow 9 x 13 baking dish (add a little more olive oil if necessary to lightly coat all vegetables):
Take the remainder of the marinade and add enough red wine to make it one cup. About this time, your timer should go off. Reduce the heat to 325F, pour the wine/marinade mixture over the roast and potatoes and cover. Set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, slide the vegetable dish onto the rack below the roast. Now start checking the roast for doneness. 145F for Medium Rare, 160F for Medium, and 170F for ruined -- er, Well-Done.
If you timed the vegetables right, they should remain in the oven for about 10 minutes after you remove the roast, which should sit for about 10 minutes before you carve it. Slice the meat across the grain, arrange it with the potatoes and veggies, and garnish with some more Rosemary.
Gather the pan juices in a small gravy boat for au jus. Serve with the wine you used in the marinade (I'm using a 2000 South Australian Shiraz tonight).
To Serve Man: Reverend Baker in Fiji
According to this article (available in pidgin here), the chief of the Nubutautau tribe in the remote Fiji mountain village Tui Navatusila has invited the descendants of the Rev. Thomas Baker to Fiji to offer them a traditional apology. The islanders, you see, ate Rev. Baker when he touched the head of the chief of the village some 136 years ago. They left nothing but his boots, one of which is on display in the Fijian museum in Suva. Reverend Baker went to Fiji as a member of the London Missionary Society, a non-denominational body founded in 1795 to spread the Christian faith throughout the world.
As far as I know, Baker's descendants have not sued the village for reparations. Instead, it seems the tribe would like to lift a curse they have been under since they roasted the Reverend. Apparently, the tribe are now Methodists. I wonder if they will invite Rev. Baker's descendants back to their village for dinner.