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20 April 2010

How to Cook Everything app

You need this. Really you do. Mark Bittman and his team have outdone themselves and I know apps.
Read this Mark Bittman interview with @MattArmendariz over on his blog Matt Bites
I already used the app for a tapenade recipe and have spent a couple of hours getting familiar with it and reading. It is really really good.

22 September 2009

Friday Reality Check-Tuesday Edition

I am so excitedabout the new season, I am really looking forward to Grey's Anatomy on Thursday and NCIS tonight. How I Met Your Mother was alright but kind of a bleh start to a show that has really dragged out the Mother thing far too long. I forget that is supposed to be the premise of the show until they bring it up. It kinda brings it all down because they have dragged it out for so long, I don't really care anymore who their mother is.
I am still kinda wanting to see Sheldon nail Penny on The Big Bang Theory. There just isn't really any chemistry with Leonard. At least they do seem to have admitted that in this episode so maybe that can end.


The Emmys were fun, Neil Patrick Harris was great and the gowns were beautiful for the most part. I thought Sarah Silverman was funny-ish but that gown was horrid. I was completely shocked that Toni Collette won for a show that most people never heard of, seemed very strange.

I really liked how Kate Walsh commented that she was keeping it low key, I would really like for more stars or people in the spotlight to spend less money and be proud of it. She looked beautiful.

Have I mentioned lately how much I cannot stand Giuliana Rancic? She is such an idiot, asks the stupidest questions, no idea how to handle celebrities and her timing is terrible. She looks like a scarecrow and has no sense of style. She always looks like she gets her clothes from the teen section. More Jay, less G.


One more thing. Lady Gaga is a dude. I am sure of it.




Hahah I actually love Russell right now, I am sure I will get over it but the Dumbass Girl Alliance is just too damn funny. I checked him out a bit and he seems to be one of those stereotypical oil men that you love to hate. A pint sized JR with a little less drama. There are other interesting characters as well. I am excited for the season!

An odd bunch this time, of course I have to love Donny Osmond but I am pretty excited about The Chairman and that adorable little snowboarder Louie Vito. I would love for Ashley Hamilton to make a good showing but he has a long way to go. I honestly thought he was still in a wheelchair. It was so great to see him! I am more excited about the girls than the boys this season.
I hope Tom Delay is the first to go out of principle but I am not sure how many weeks I can stand to look at Nick Carter or Karina. She really needs to go, she comes off as a fame whore and I am over her.

29 April 2009

Trader Joe's Youtube

If I Made a Commercial for Trader Joe's
Too cute!

03 April 2009

The Cook's Illustrated is on Kindle

*EDIT: This book is no longer free to download but certainly still worth considering as an addition to your iLibrary!

Thank you so much @cpkimball for this gift! The Cook's Illustrated How-to-Cook Library: An illustrated step-by-step guide to Foolproof Cooking by The Editors of Cooks Illustrated is actually free to download to your Kindle or your Kindle app from amazon.com, I just got it for my iPhone and I am so excited! The illustrations are so nice, lots of recipes and tons of good information.
I don't know how easy it will be to actually prepare dishes from the iPhone but I read cookbooks like novels so it is not that important to me, when I am ready to prepare a dish I will sort it.
I love the clickable links that will take you right to the source. In the recipe for Potato and Leek Soup there is a call for 6c Chicken Stock which is linked. Click it, get that recipe and just hit the back arrow to return to the soup recipe. Fabulous!
Be sure you visit the Cook's Illustrated website for lot's of information, recipes and other goodies or to subscribe to the site or magazines offered. You can also follow Chris Kimball on Twitter @cpkimball

29 March 2009

Lessmeatarian Week Five

Mark Bittman said I could find a better pyramid so I did. This is from the Mediterranean Diet. A special meal once a month with meat if you even want it, is a good idea. I do not really see me cooking beef again anytime soon so it would be pork. I am not sure why I am off beef but pork doesn't bother me.
I have lost 6 pounds so far but to be fair I wasn't being as careful as I should have been the first 3 with the stress of Mary's baby coming. I am happy with an average of 2 pounds a week, of course 10-20 would be great haha but I have lost weight fast before and it came right back again. I have lost 100 lbs twice before in my life, that has to be incredibly unhealthy. I have a lot to accomplish over the next few months and I need to be in much better health to make it happen. I have never really been much of a one day at a time or living in the now kind of girl. That makes it hard for me to accomplish things as I am always looking ahead instead of focusing on this minute. I am working on that now. I can fine tune this as I go along but for now the crapfood elimination continues along with getting more exercise.
Eventually there are a lot of things I want to change but getting these 10-20 pounds off needs to be a priority, it is seriously holding me back from practically everything I need to accomplish. The struggle for me is determining if I am holding on to this weight for a reason and what that is. I think I know and am working on this. If losing weight were just about putting down the fork, most people would not struggle with it.

27 March 2009

Losing the Baby Weight

So, my daughter had a baby 2 weeks ago. She gained a total of 17 pounds, yes I said SEVENTEEN pounds which she has already lost. I gained a total of 15 pounds, did not actually have a baby at all and have not lost an ounce. How is that fair?
I know I am supposed to be following the Lessmeatarian way and I certainly am but this week is going to be more about taking in very few calories. That will of course mean more veggies but there is not going to be much in the way of grains or carbs.
I actually wrote this post last week and was feeling pretty frustrated. I have been much more on track this week and have dropped 5 of those 15 pounds. Carly who lives in Marseille has been following the Scarsdale diet and lost about 15 pounds as well I believe. I cannot count calories like she does though, I would go crazy and do not think that really works for me. I just have to cut out the crapfood which I pretty much have. I did have some gummy bears last night.
My ultimate goal is to not even be on a diet or to not think about weight or food in a negative way, or to consider if everything I eat is going to make my jeans not zip.

24 March 2009

Lessmeatarian Week Four

This week I will direct you to this article by Mark Bittman. I was struck by the same statement Michelle Obama made, “You can begin in your own cupboard,” she said, “by eliminating processed food, trying to cook a meal a little more often, trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables.”
I also have to say that all this organic stuff bothers me, I have never purchased an organic product deliberately and I won't. To me it just seems like marketing. Many farmers actually are natural or organic or whatever but apparantly you have to pay to get a certification which seems like such bullshit. An apple from an orchard rather than an apple flavored treat has to always be better right?
I am glad the White House chefs Cristeta Comerford and Sam Kass have made the decision to put a garden on the grounds. I do not really see it making any sweeping changes in the economy which is where I would prefer the Obama White House were focused. I am not really concerned about the freshness of their vegetables.

I have made a commitment to myself to stop buying processed foods. Back when my kids were small and I struggled financially I never went into the center aisles of the grocery, only around the outside as all I could afford were meat, dairy and produce. Now it has shifted, those items are practically cost prohibitive and you can get 4 boxes of mac and cheese for $1. A gallon of milk is $4 and yogurt that used to be 4/$1 are now nearly $1 apiece. Some things are cheap like white rice but brown rice is 4x the price, plain white pasta is cheap but the whole wheat or high protein kind is ridiculously high. I am all for eating better but I am surely not going to make my own pasta, I do not have time for that anymore but then again maybe homemade pasta should be a treat, maybe a person really should only have something like that once a week or month instead of 3-4 times from a box.
In Holland we eat a vegetable and a small serving of meat all week long for dinner, lunch is bread with one thin slice of meat or cheese or peanut butter and maybe soup, breakfast is grains of some sort. Only on Sunday do we have something special . I never eat like that in Texas. I try sometimes but I never last long.

I think I might try to stop saying "I don't have time" I really don't have time to recover from a stroke either.

23 March 2009

Sea Salt & Olive Oil Hand Scrub

Try this spring pick me up with ingredients you have in your pantry. Mix a little sea salt with some olive oil and scrub your hands, in between your fingers and up your arms to your elbows. Follow with a thick body creme and your skin will feel like silk! This is great for feet and the rest of your body as well but it makes a real mess in the tub, be careful as the oil will make it slippery.

You can also use it on your face but do not scrub, apply gently with your fingertips and be careful not to get near your eyes. Did I ever mention I am also a licensed aesthetician?

20 March 2009

Anthony Bourdain and Me on Food Television

via Eat Me Daily I respond to Anthony Bourdain's opinions about some of the food tv out there.


On Rocco DiSpirito's The Restaurant:
It was a slow-motion car wreck, wasn't it? It could have been a great show. It was a great concept. But I think Rocco's hunger to be famous did not put him in a good light. It was painful to watch. Since that show, there's been a lot of ill-will toward Rocco. It might be out of proportion to his crimes; a lot of chefs have gone on TV and acted silly. I think Rocco's particular crime was that he was always such a talented cook. This is a guy who made really good food. A lot of us would have cut off a pinky to have that kind of natural talent and ability. We see him now as having wasted that talent. I think he's penalized for being so talented. But Rocco doesn't want to be a chef. He wants to be an entertainer. I was rooting for the guy on "Dancing With the Stars." Compared to Kim Kardashian, he's a fairly impressive guy. When he's not shilling something on "Top Chef," he's actually a thoughtful judge and offers constructive criticism. But I don't see him as a chef anymore, so I don't feel like beating up on him.
Me: I have to say I have never seen this.

On Ace of Cakes:
I like this show. It's kind of cool. I like Duff and the people he works with. That's the real world of cooking.
Me: I think this is an interesting show but not a favorite.

On Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern:
I don't know how he does it. I respect his stamina. Most of the food that he's been eating, I've had. I've got to hand it to the guy for being able to get up in the morning and face nothing but lizard parts and testicles, especially in some tropical climate without the benefit of alcohol. I honestly don't know how he does it. I would have hung myself in the shower stall.
Me: I love this show, everything except the stuff he eats, I cannot really call it food. I have to spend a good part of the time with my hand over my eyes. I appreciate that he makes the sacrifice, he is entertaining and the editing and filming is very good.

On Spain ... On the Road Again:
I love Mario, worship the ground he works on. I think "Molto Mario" is the greatest stand-and-stir cooking show that was ever on the Food Network. It was valuable and informative. Mario is good for the world as few chefs are. He's changed the landscape of restaurants in really great ways. He's used his celebrity constructively to move dining in America forward. That said, I hate that show. I think it's no fault of Mario's. I just think it's badly produced. There's nothing worse than seeing a genius like Mario -- he's the smartest, funniest guy I know -- waste his talent. I hope he had a great time making the show. And Mark Bittman, I don't think he adds value to anyone's TV show. He doesn't come off well on TV. Let's put it that way. I saw him make paella once on a TV show; he's been dead to me ever since.
Me: Wow, okay well let's see. I already blogged about this show and how much I love Mario Batali. I cannot imagine what moron decided to dump him from Food Network. That basically leaves them with Alton, Bobby Flay and Giada. I liked the series for the most part but it was not great.
I hate that Tony said such nasty things about Mark Bittman. I will have to agree that he is not the most engaging person on tv as a personality sometimes, but he has a lot to offer and should be appreciated a bit more. I think Tony should see him speak and read his written work. That is really where he excells although I do feel he did a great job on this series and was much more entertaining than Gwyneth.

On Iron Chef America:
I have a soft spot in my heart for this show. But the judges, man. Have they had Richard Grieco on yet as a judge? I think they had Criss Angel on, for chrissakes. Who are these douchebags they put on there? Jeffrey Steingarten at least knows what he's talking about. The show gets really good chefs to go on there, and to have them judged by the likes of Mo Rocca makes me want to vomit in my mouth. I like Michael Symon, and I'm friends with all the Iron Chefs. I like all of those guys.
Me: Yep, have to agree with everything Tony says. I would like to see the actual cooking and no judge rather than some of the assholes they put on there that probably have no business even eating food prepared by these chefs.

On Paula Deen:
Paula strikes me as a hard-working, likable woman. I'm glad for her success. I like her Southern-based shows, but I don't know if I want to see her in a muumuu cooking a Hawaiian luau. That makes the blood run cold.
Me: I struggle with this one also, I am sure Paula is a delightful person and I would probably love to know her but I cannot bear to watch her show and the food she cooks is basically a heart attack on a plate.

On Kitchen Nightmares:
The British "Kitchen Nightmares" is wonderful. It's much closer to the real Gordon than anything we've seen on American television. The American version is pretty good, though. I enjoy watching it. That's the Gordon I know and have a lot of respect for. The guy worked hard and came up hard. He worked like a maniac for some of the best chefs in Europe and did, in fact, achieve remarkable things in England. I love his restaurants. I like him. I wish him well. If having to be a caricature of his former self is going to get him bazillions of dollars, then why not?
Me: Totally agree, the British version is very very good but the chefs and restaurant owners over there actually have a love for the food or just need some help. The idiots in the States are too stupid to have a restaurant and you don't care about them or even want them to be successful. This show fails because of the contestants or whatever they are called, not because of Gordon.

On Hell's Kitchen:
Gordon doesn't get much love and respect in the States from his peers. No one really gives a damn about his restaurants here. This show is a freak show. It's a circus of cruelty, like shooting fish in a barrel with a cut-down 12-gauge shotgun. There's no cooking. It's just a bunch of dimwits -- the lame, the halt and the delusional -- and him pretending to be angry. There's no suspense. None of these idiots would be qualified to work a Fryolator at a Chuck E. Cheese much less ever work in any Gordon Ramsay restaurant. The whole concept of the show is ridiculous. He would never hire these guys. Executive chef at one of his restaurants? I mean, please.
Me: I have to agree really, this show is absurd and so beneath Ramsay, it was fun the first couple of seasons but you know those people are not really the executive chefs anywhere, it is unrealistic to make it seem that they would be. I have never seen a single contestant that I would trust to run my restaurant. There have been several that I would hire, give a chance based on heart or drive, but certainly not to put in charge of anything. The sad thing is Gordon Ramsey gives great tv, this is just not a good concept. I would love to see him paired up with someone somehow, like Tony or even Rachel Ray, now that would be something to watch.

On Emeril Lagasse:
I like Emeril a lot. We get along. We hang out. I love his work and restaurants. I love hanging out and drinking with the guy. But I've told him to his face many times, "I love you and respect you. I just hate your shows." I guess I'm not a guy who could handle a studio audience. Emeril's just so damned lovable. But compared to who's on Food Network now, he looks like Escoffier. In retrospect, that was pretty distinguished stuff compared to what that network's doing now.
Me: I used to like him, now he bothers me a little for some reason. His recipes are nice and seem easy enough. I can watch his shows but I usually don't.


On Man v. Food:
I find Adam really likable. I just worry for him physically. What he does on the show can't be good for him. I don't know why or how he's doing what he's doing. I'm not sure I want to watch. It's terrifying. I don't know how I feel about it all yet. I asked someone on the network, "Did this guy sign a 30-page liability waiver? You're going to kill this guy!"
Me: No, no. Make this go away.

On Rachael Ray:
Rachael Ray now is a talk-show host. My wife watches her, I hate to admit it. She's America's little sister, because she's a likable person. I think people respond to her because of her personality and not her cooking, which is pretty damned awful. She's very nice, and I base this on no inside information: She's big now, like Oprah big; the sooner she stops cooking, the happier we'll both be.
Me: I have to totally disagree with Tony about Rachel, he just refuses to get her and understand what she has to offer. She is relevant and the dishes she creates are fun, easy, usually afforable and taste really good. Certainly not to be served at Le Bernadin but who wants to eat that every day? Or rather who has the time or can afford to cook like that every day?

On The Next Food Network Star:
It's an interesting window into the cynical and terrifying real criteria of how they grow their own talent on Food Network. I mean, they're pretty straight-forward about what you've got to do and who you've got to please and what the real priorities are to get a show there. You see the shear naked ambition of these often minimally talented cooks with the maximum ambitions of being television. The way they're judged is unattractive but fascinating just the same. You really see the process though: Media training trumps cooking every time. I used to be on the Food Network, but I think I slipped under the wire. The network at that point used to be run by a cabal of people getting bored with their own programming. For whatever reason, they gave me two years of traveling wherever I wanted, doing pretty much what I've been doing on "No Reservations." After two years, they wanted me riding around on a pony in a parking lot doing chili cook-offs instead of going to foreign countries. My feeling was, "Let someone else do that."
Me: This show has no credibility. I will never watch it again. See this post for my reasons why.

On Martha Stewart:
I may not want to crochet or bring out the old glue gun, but Martha cooks correctly. If you watch her cook, she cooks with great proficiency and economy of movement. That's a stone-cold efficiency that, as a professional, I gotta respect. She cooks well. The recipes on her show work. She doesn't dumb down her food. She raises expectations. Meaning, if you watch her cook, you might actually learn something and your fight might actually be better than it was the day before. That can't be said of other people.
Me: I have always liked Martha and thought she really was smart and knew her stuff but recently I have begun to doubt that. She seems to have a real misunderstanding of her fan base and chooses to be friendly with people that I don't like. Her handlers need to bake her a clue.

On Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee:
She makes her audience feel good about themselves. You watch her on that show and you think, "I can do that. That's not intimidating." All you have to do is waddle into the kitchen, open a can of crap and spread it on some other crap that you bought at the supermarket. And then you've done something really special. The most terrifying thing I've seen is her making a Kwanzaa cake. Watch that clip and tell me your eyeballs don't burst into flames. It's a war crime on television. You'll scream.
Me: Gah. Seriously.

On Good Eats With Alton Brown:
It's an anomaly that his show is so informative. That's a pretty brainy show. I'm shocked that it's been on that long. Usually, anything remotely intelligent on the Food Network gets canceled. I don't know what happened, but he's on every other show on that network now. He legitimizes even their most atrocious product. He's kind of the front man for some of the various dubious enterprises. I think "Good Eats" is a good and smart show. His commentary on "Iron Chef" doesn't suck. You actually learn something! Of the Food Network personalities, he's a welcome anomaly.
Me: J'adore Alton Brown. He is so cute and smart and funny, a perfect geek. I have actually learned a lot from him and his shows, he keeps it all very interesting, lots of information without making your eyes glaze over.
On Top Chef:
I'm a fan. I like watching the show, even at its worst. I like being on the show as a judge. I watch that show because Tom Colicchio makes that show for me. First of all, they ask the chefs to do very difficult things; it is a genuine challenge that requires people to dig really deep. From a professional point of view, it's exciting for me. It's a good quality competition. It's the best cooking competition on television by far. It's due entirely to Tom. He keeps the show straight; no producer is ever going to go up to Tom and say, "We can't send her home this week because she's cute or she's got a good backstory." By virtue of his personality and his impeccable credentials, Tom makes the show riveting viewing. Toby Young, what's up with that? He's an egregious add-on. They were looking for a snarky British guy, and Toby wrote a successful book that made a good case for his uselessness. He's lived up to that promise.
Me: I do love this show because of the cast, guests and the contestants. The challenges are usually good and difficult enough to keep me interested but I detest the poor poor editing, there does not need to be so much made up or constructed drama. Tom Colicchio may be a stand up guy and all that but it is hard to feel the show is completely credible when you have nearly a dozen people blogging afterward to tell you what was real and what was shiteous editing.
I don't know what all the flack is about Toby, I don't see him as all that mean. I am just going to assume he has an abrasive personality in person that some people don't like. I think he is quite amusing myself. However, that said, losing Ted Allen was a huge mistake. Whoever is responsible.

On The Chopping Block:
There's something very Michael Corleone about Marco; he doesn't have to yell or scream like Gordon. This is a guy with enormous moral authority. It's interesting to note the relationship between the two of them. Marco is a natural-born genius. He's the original rock 'n' roll chef; he brought glamour and a sense of self-worth to all non-French-speaking chefs the world over. He's a revolutionary figure. He doesn't have to yell. But he can be deeply terrifying by just raising an eyebrow. Marco can walk into a room full of strangers and bark out a command, and everyone would do it, no matter what he asked. He's got a real commanding presence. He's physically imposing; he looks like a Venetian prince. He's just somebody born to authority. He is a legend to young culinary students and chefs of my generation. He's doing the show because, having never traveled seriously before, he likes it here. And he may enjoy sticking it to Gordon. I'm really looking forward to watching this because Marco just kicks ass.
Me: I loved this first episode, I already had a small crush on Marco, he is very sexy. I made the comment that I was not sure I could even watch it, because it was so realistic as far as how things happen. I was not real sure about using USFoods, I would personally close my doors before I used that company but I guess non restaurant people watching do not care about stuff like that. There were a lot of issues that didn't work, like what happened with the couple that left, I would like more info on that and wonder if they really just wanted 15 minutes. If they show Marco's Vans one more time I may have to rethink my commitment.


*photo from Austin Chronicle

iJuli Cooks
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