Category: Food and drink

Now I’m a Counterrevolutionary Infidel Gourmet

From my comment to the post "You Don’t Have to be Jewish…" over at Gerard Vanderjeun’s American Digest

My wife and I alternate between amused and amazed that a trip to the grocery store has become a political act. First it was Danish beer and cheese, and now this. [buying Israeli products]

Henceforth I shall refer to myself as a Counterrevolutionary Infidel Gourmet.

Update (11 May).  Denmark begins exporting undesirable pests to Gaza.

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Torta Quevrada

A tip from Vodka Pundit reminded me of one of my "stupid recipes" — torta quevrada. I invented this out of desperation one morning when I completely flubbed a vegetable omelet; the recipe has improved greatly in the intervening quarter-century:

1/2 lb. chorizo
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, (barely) chopped
6 medium mushrooms, sliced thick
1 tomato, diced
2 to 5 eggs

Saute chopped peppers, onion, and mushrooms in the chorizo. When the onions start to glaze, dump in the diced tomato. Whisk up the eggs, pour ’em on top, and scramble the whole mess until the egg cooks. Serve with hot tortillas, sour cream, and salsa — my wife calls the combination California breakfast tacos.

Talk about missing the point…

The Instapundit wants one of these,
an "intelligent oven" that thaws out prefab food and heats it up for
you–"hands free"–so meals just magically appear when you get home
from work.

I’d rather eat cold pork and beans out of the can and wash it down with
warm Carling Black Label.  Or read the collected speeches of Spiro
Agnew.  Or sit through a three-day nonstop Jerry Lewis film
festival.

Meals, especially dinner, are only secondarily about the food. Cooking
time and dinner time is when my wife and I catch up on all our gossip,
trade news, tell jokes, and get synchronized.  We usually have a
glass of wine or a cocktail while preparing and eating dinner.  In our household, this is a daily and vital social event.  One of the reasons my wife and I are so sympatico is that we sit and talk a lot, every day.

Of course, there is also the food.  Prepared dinners?
Blechh!  Read the ingredients on those packages, folks.  Once
you get past the 3 major commercial food groups (sugar, salt, and
grease), you get macerated grains, vegetables, and meats provided by
the lowest bidder, all blandly prepared for the lowest common
denominator of a palate. And how long has that stuff been in that box,
can, or pouch?  Eating pre-packaged meals is like reading about
the meal instead of eating it.  Don’t believe me?  Go buy
some frozen hamburgers at the supermarket, and make a meal of
them.  Then try a medium-quality fast-food burger, like Burger
King’s Whopper–a big step up.  Then just dream about my fresh
longhorn beef burger on toasted ciabatta with tomato-avocado salsa, and
an icy Mexican beer.

The Economical Gourmet

I’ve written before about the pleasures of plonk, inexpensive palatable wine. Now I read that the best, cheapest cappuccino at Starbucks isn’t even on the menu. What a find! I like cappuccino, and boy! am I cheap.

Tip from the Geek Press.

Update (15 January) As
we often do, Jaime and I stopped at Starbuck’s this morning as part of
our weekend ride.  I had to try this out…and it’s real
deal.  The cashier didn’t bat an eye, just put my name on a
special, hid-beneath-the-counter short cup, and passed it over to the
barista.  A good strong shot of espresso and very dry foam, now that’s a cappuccino!

The Raspberry Martini

A favorite cocktail at our house is the cosmopolitan
Last week, I was checking the contents of the liquour cabinet, and I
had an inspiration–why not a raspberry version?  Here’s what I
came up with

Mikey’s Raspberry Martini

  • 3 ounces of raspberry juice (I used Frutzzo raspberry/pomegrante)
  • 1 jigger of raspberry liqueur (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 jigger of Bacardi  Razz (raspberry rum)
  • 2  jiggers of vodka

Shake with cracked ice until the shaker is completely frosted. 
Serve in chilled martini glasses with a sliver of fresh orange, and
squeeze a few drops of fresh orange atop the drink.

Strictly speaking, this would only be a (vodka) martini if you omitted the raspberry juice; try it if you’re so inclined.  However you mix them, I do not recommend drinking two of these.

Update (26 December):  I just noticed that the label on my bottle of raspberry liquer mentions something called a Rue Royal.  I gotta try one, soon.

Chronicles of Plonk: Tisdale 2003 Shiraz

Plonk bloggers have been aware of Tisdale Vineyards for quite some time;
but I have only recently encountered the label.  One of my
favorite wineshops has a special on all four of their vintages: Merlot,
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.  All are perfectly
acceptable plonks, although the Chardonnay was a bit oakey* for my
taste.  My favorite is the Shiraz, and at $2.70 a bottle, I
couldn’t pass up a case to fill that empty row in my new wine rack.  When it comes to plonk, have no shame; I graciously accepted the 10% case discount.  I’ve said before that "Happiness is buying a fine bottle of wine for your dinner–and getting change back from a fiver."  Two bottles and change is even happier.

*The Merlot, on the other hand, is heavy with fruit, so I could say it’s a bit Okie for my taste.  Since parts of The Grapes of Wrath seem to be based on my family history, I know whereof I speak.

Why am I eating in a boiler factory?

Sunday, Ms Gloria and I had an early supper at Paesano’s at the
Quarry.  Paesano’s has been an old family favorite from the time
they were a dinky place on McCullough Boulevard, so we were eager to
see the new place (they moved years ago, we’ve been busy).  I have
good news and bad news.

The good news:  the food is still great.  My only complaint
was the lack of traditional Italian desserts, and the Grand Marinier
souffle made up for THAT.

The bad news is bad.  For all its chic decor, Paesano’s has
adopted every annoying feature of 21st-century American restaurants,
and practices them as though they were virtures.  The restaurant
has a cubist decor realized in concrete floors, stone or stucco walls,
and flat metal fixtures, all of which reflect (rather than absorb)
sound.  Add to this a large open kitchen, 20% overstaffing, and
close wooden tables, and you get a room filled with constant
clamor.  The hostess apparently felt I wasn’t getting enough noise
in my diet,
so she had thoughtfully seated me next to a door with the squeakiest
hinge in all of San Antonio.  Our waitress had to lean over the
table to shout the specials out to us, and more than once could not
hear my order. The staff has obviously been trained to pester customers
every five minutes in the hope that you will either (1) order more
stuff or (2) take the hint to eat it and beat it, so Paesano’s can ring
up another sale.  This insured periodic shouting matches with the
waitress, who had neither the ears nor voice to prevail. To top it all
off, some genius decided to pipe in salsa music, with lots of
drums.*  I’ve had quieter meals at the Dairy Queen with a carload
of cheerleaders in attendance.

Just what is the appeal of dining in these noise factories?  Noise
isn’t fun, noise isn’t your friend, it’s just frickin’ annoying. 
I’ll be back at Paesano’s when they move someplace quiet.

*I was wrong, that wasn’t the topper. Check out their friggin’ website, which is playing Mexican music!  Don’t these guys ever just SHUT UP?

Update (September 13):  Maybe this helps explain the appeal of noisy restaurants–everyone under 30 is going deaf!