Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

TDG: Diet-ribe


Recommended Posts

OK, my meeting is done, so I can elaborate about breakfast. Of course I save the marshmallows for the end! One time I was in a real hurry so I had to eat everything at the same time, but I always eat out the wheat puffs first, and then enjoy the marshmallowy goodness. Plus the fun of drinking green milk. I have to admit that I've never heard of sorting them by color, but maybe they taste better that way. It certainly appeals to my obsession with order.

I wish I still watched Saturday morning cartoons, so I could recite the jingle naming the marshmallows, but I can't remember what they were originally. I'm trying to recall it by speaking aloud, but all I get is gibberish: "Green hearts, blue clovers, yellow moons, and pink stars". The original shapes in my bowl are the pink hearts and blue moons. When I was a kid they added the purple horseshoes in a massively hyped, yearlong television commercial campaign answering the monumental question: "What will the new shape be". OK, maybe it was only a few weeks, but back then it felt like a lifetime. I think they've done similar ad campaigns for the other new shapes, shooting stars, rainbows, red ballons, pots of gold, Lucky's hat, and the white blobs. God alone knows what the shrewd marketers at General Mills will come up with next. Maybe Guinness glasses or something.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

God alone knows what the shrewd marketers at General Mills will come up with next. Maybe Guinness glasses or something.

At that point they might as well shape the grain-blobs into potatoes, and implant random boxes with toy car-bombs...

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After some Googling, i found that the original was "pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers." Later blue diamonds and that horseshoe were added. After that, everything apparently went to hell.

We now return you to wnissen's blog :cool:

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to admit that I've never heard of sorting them by color, but maybe they taste better that way. It certainly appeals to my obsession with order.

Hmm....

Sounds familiar.

Who needs to pay a therapist when you get eGullet FREE!

:laugh:

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great blog so far. For me in San Francisco, Livermore is, while technically "close," a real world away. I mean, like, you guys have warm summer weather! :biggrin:

I'll have to check out that Ravenswood Zin (and the German sparkling water).

The couple you had over sound like Jack Sprat and his wife. She really didn't eat the chicken? Even without sauce?

The apricot sorbet looks marvelous. My ice cream efforts have really not been worth it. Maybe I need to switch to sorbets.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a kid they added the purple horseshoes in a massively hyped, yearlong television commercial campaign answering the monumental question: "What will the new shape be". OK, maybe it was only a few weeks, but back then it felt like a lifetime.

we're about the same age walt - i remember this campaign vividly as well.

you might want to try the lodi zin again - i think it's great with cheese. there's another zin like from there - called "seven deadly zins" that i like a lot too.

though i hate lucky charms (irrational, but i got sick the one and only time i ever ate them) i am enjoying your blog...that sorbet sounds amazing.

edit: finish sentences!

Edited by reesek (log)

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi again, I'm really behind on replying to you nice people, so please forgive me.

sashimi: Champagne! That's what my cherry sorbet needed to give it punch! I've been looking for a way to add acid without adding citrus, and I think you've hit on it. Plus the alcohol will aid in flavor extraction. I can't wait to try this, although I'll have to because we've got at least a week's worth of apricot sorbet in the freezer.

Boris_A: Ravenswood was my first dry red, actually. This one came ex-cellars on a "stained label" sale, which I would recommend taking advantage of if you're ever in the area. I know, it's a trek.

Helen: I admit to having no idea that nectarines were exotic. Do they have peaches in Japan and/or NZ? One of the best white peaches I ever had was from NZ, I think. I was also surprised to learn that Ravenswood has such a wide distribution.

I wouldn't consider a dish being served for the first time leftovers, although "re-heated" is certainly accurate and could be off-putting to folks who taste exclusively with their ears. I do love my fresh food, but I wouldn't give up the sherry braised chicken or chili, two dishes that I always make the day before I'm planning to serve them, at least to company. Interestingly, the chicken does start to go downhill after the fourth day or so, not that it typically lasts that long.

DoverCanyon: I know how you feel. I lived with my wife's parents for two summers, and they had two trees then. We filled five-gallon buckets with good apricots, and yet more buckets with bruised, spoiled or otherwise inedible fruit. No matter how good something tastes, you just can't eat it every day for three weeks without getting sick of it. Good luck with a sorbet.

Basilgirl: I am a huge fan of A New Way to Cook, and will have to try the Tuscan Herb Salt. It is a big help when you are trying to cook healthy but are not scared of fat. I've never had a dud recipe, just stuff that didn't seem worth the effort. Two absolute favorites of mine are beans with fried sage leaves and the Tuscan-style beans with pancetta and sherry. Try the "Fried eggplant," (sage or thyme works well as an herb), also the young greens (I use chard) with garlic-infused oil, currants, and pine nuts. It's a bit of a pain to put together, but the "mole" is just super, and goes great with the foil packet chicken breasts. Steam-roasted fennel with pancetta, garlic, juniper berries, fennel seeds, and lemon zest is also a pain but super. I absolutely adore the potato-leek soup, as well. Since I'm gushing already, if anyone is interested here's an eGulletized link to the hardcover:

Amazon Link to A New Way to Cook

Ludja: I'll try to work in some stuff about Livermore wines, there are some good ones made in this area but because of the climate they don't tend to be as good with food as French, Oregonian, German, etc. That's why they only make up 10% of my cellar. Embarassing, I know.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is quite irrelevant, and completely off-topic, but for the first time in ???years I'm listening to 'Lodi' by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and - stone the crows - talk in this blog is about Lodi.

I need to lie down.

Thanks for the great blog though wnissen.

*leaves room with a shrug and glazed look in eyes*

Sheffield, where I changed,

And ate an awful pie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11:57AM - Lunch!

i9377.jpg

The original, lovingly crafted pictures of each individual item were lost, so here's a panorama of my lunch, already wrapped for transport on my bike. Clockwise from top left: More halibut with mushroom sauce, leftover saffron orzo risotto, blueberries, another heirloom tomato, the last remaining homegrown apricots, celery (and the rest of dip, not shown), and strawberries. The blueberries are from a farm that only visits the Pleasanton market when blueberries and blackberries are in season. They have an interesting take on organic; all their produce is produced without sprays, but if you want the certified organic with organic fertilizer, it's $1 more. The conventional berries (shown here) are made with conventional nitrogen-based fertilizers, and are identical in taste, as far as I can see. It's still early in the season, so these are small and somewhat unevenly ripe, but they are very flavorful. The celery is from a farmer with a very small farm, and she grows some fine stuff. She has invested in on-site refrigerated storage (the electricity bill is upwards of $1000 a month) and it results in crisp, fresh produce. Her leeks, broccoli, and celery are almost unfailingly excellent, and I love all the crazy varieties of melons. The heirloom tomato is unusual. You can see in the picture that the top is not quite ripe, but it's extremely soft, as if overripe. It's not, and the flavor is good (in comparison to other real tomatoes) but not great. Easy to see how its easily punctured skin and flesh would make it impractical to grow and transport on a large scale.

Two corrections: First, my wife reminds me that the onion dip is from Barefoot Contessa, not Martha Stewart. My apologies for confusing these two chefs. Second, the link to the potato leek soup recipe is here.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5:06PM - One perfectly ripe yellow nectarine (the remaining one from Monday's lunch pictures). Oh god, summer here is so great. Especially with a really good nectarine, I eat the skin off first. This one was vibrantly yellow inside, deep red outside, and yummy, yummy, yummy. Not a freestone variety, and so juicy that I have to eat them while they are still inside the plastic bag. Now all I have left is 20mL of golden juice at the bottom of the bag. Slurrrrp!

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6:53PM - Dinner

i9410.jpg

becomes

i9411.jpg

which then causes this:

i9412.jpg

on the bottom of the pan. I have this happen when cooking onions as well. Why is that?

i9413.jpg

The result. This cabbage recipe comes from "Joy of Cooking," a 70s edition. Sautéed in 1.5 tablespoons butter, then seasoned with "onion or garlic" (I used two bulbs shallot and two cloves garlic) and twice the 1/4 teaspoon of paprika the recipe calls for. Then, instead of 1 cup cultured buttermilk, a like amount of Better Than Bouillion chicken stock. Then into the oven at 375 for 25 minutes. Come to think of it, the only things that stayed the same were the 2 lb. cabbage and the butter. For some reason I always hated cabbage as a kid, but this is good stuff and when it gets hot we're not going to want to use the oven at all. Next time I'm going to double the paprika yet again, and add some ground pepper. The sausage is Hillshire Farm Turkey Polska Kielbasa, which is a reasonable facsimile of the pork version.

i9414.jpg

The wine is 2000 Thomas Coyne Mourvèdre from Contra Costa County, specifically near Oakley. Thomas Coyne is a former chemist who now makes some of the best wines in Livermore. His Detjens Farm bottlings are in essence his estate wines and carry the Livermore Valley appellation, but he gets grapes shipped in from Napa, Sonoma, Lodi, Oakley, and other areas. This wine is a good example of a Mourvèdre poised on the brink of ripeness. It has some of that brooding smokiness that I associate with Mourvèdre, but at the same time has some acid to go with it. A bit bitter, but not off-putting. Coyne ages his wines in barrel for a fairly long time, eighteen months in this case, but a little bottle age also adds a good roundness and smoothness to this now fairly sweet-tasting wine (although it is analytically dry). 200 cases, $16, I believe. A good match with both the cabbage and the sausage, and my wife likes it enough to pour herself another small glass.

Our dinner companions last night didn't leave hungry, so I can't complain about their eating habits. She did eat the sauce and sorbet and pasta despite the sugar, and liked them both a lot. He fed the green beans to their daughter. :smile: I did like the Ravenswood wine (I have ten bottles left, so I'd better), but really ripe Zin can be a tough match. I poured myself a small glass of it tonight, to try side-by-side with the Coyne, and it is just a little bit too chunky to really sing when fighting against sweet. Really good by itself, though. jgarner, this has actually been an unseasonably cool summer for us. I can remember a year when it was nearly 100F/38C on my birthday at the beginning of May, but this year I don't think it's reached that yet. It's just perfect now, 80s in the afternoon, 60s at night. I grew up very close to Washington, DC, where 95F and 95% relative humidity were not uncommon, so this is paradise to me. Helen, we mainly get strawberries and grapes here; I don't think it's too warm for them, although the strawberries come from Monterey County, which is much more coastal and cooler than my immediate area. One of the interesting things about the San Francisco Bay Area, as jgarner implies, is that the weather in San Francisco has nothing to do with the weather in San Jose or Livermore. San Francisco is right on the water, so except for a few days a year the marine influence swamps everything else. I'm enough inland that if a high pressure front blocks the sea breezes, it gets hot.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9:00PM - Homemade iced tea with Splenda. For whatever reason, I have a pathological fear that people will go thirsty when they visit our house. Therefore, I put in the fridge: four bottles of water, two Weinhard's root beers, two bottles of the sparkling water, two hefeweizens, two porters, and a pitcher of the iced tea. I didn't have any plain tea, so I used English breakfast, five bags for eight servings of tea, steeped for four minutes. Next time I'll use more tea and steep for longer; this is a little weak.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up very close to Washington, DC, where 95F and 95% relative humidity were not uncommon

maybe on their own, but not together, check it out at the bottom of the page here.

Nice job with the blog so far, wnissen. I'm enjoying seeing some dishes that look a little more familiar to me....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up very close to Washington, DC, where 95F and 95% relative humidity were not uncommon

maybe on their own, but not together, check it out at the bottom of the page here.

I'm sure you are right about that; I didn't realize how difficult it was to have them both happen at the same time. Interestingly, the long-term average data for Washington National Airport shows for August an average high temperature of 87F, but an average afternoon humidity of just 50%. The morning relative humidity is an average of 80%, but it's not that hot then. I've been spreading a myth for years and didn't know it.

9:45PM - Dessert

i9443.jpg

A scoop of sorbet. Tastes as if an apricot tree had been coaxed to grow in freezing cold temperatures, producing frozen, slushy fruit.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great blog so far.

Looking forward to hearing about (and being jealous of) all your summery fruits and vegetables as we are having winter here in Australia and missing them all.

Not sure about those Lucky Charms though - green milk??? :huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...here's a panorama of my lunch, already wrapped for transport on my bike.

You commute to work on your bike. Excellent. All year long? How far?

BTW, I love the first sorbet photo. Composition, color, texture, contrast....Nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up very close to Washington, DC, where 95F and 95% relative humidity were not uncommon

maybe on their own, but not together, check it out at the bottom of the page here.

I'm sure you are right about that; I didn't realize how difficult it was to have them both happen at the same time. Interestingly, the long-term average data for Washington National Airport shows for August an average high temperature of 87F, but an average afternoon humidity of just 50%. The morning relative humidity is an average of 80%, but it's not that hot then. I've been spreading a myth for years and didn't know it.

Me too! And I just learned this like a week ago, which is why I've been spreading the news.

Anyway, carry on, don't mind me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7:11AM - Breakfast

i9444.jpg

It's Grain Shop!!! Hey, I said I would eat what I usually eat, and this is it. But don't worry, for those of you who need your sugar and artificial coloring, here is:

i9445.jpgi9446.jpg

It's Lucky's magical changing marshmallow. The gimmick here is that you can tell where Lucky is hiding by using milk to wash off the outer layer of marshmallow. In this case, everyone's favorite leprechaun is hiding in a bright orange house. Should be pretty easy to spot with that paint job.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, a guy who ranges from Lucky Charms to Mourvedre - only on eGullet! Fascinating.

Sashimi, would you post the recipe for your Rainier cherry and champagne

sorbet? We have the best cherries right now, but the apricots aren't quite there yet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have A New Way to Cook too--was wondering if you had tried the spice powders, broths or sauces? They sound like great flavor boosters for few calories--but I'm afraid of being disappointed....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe it is the sugar in the cabbage that creates that mess on the bottom of the pan. The only way out of that is to add water and steam it some. Or cook it in lots and lots of oil....bad idea I guess.

I remember Cocoa Puffs from my childhood, wayyyyyyyy back in the 50's. I remember three things about them: the milk turned brownish grey; when they got soggy, only the outside sogged up and the inside stayed crunchy; and they had a vaguely medicinal flavor to them.

Which cereal had that neat newspaper on the back? With just happy news? We sure could use that again.In fact, it was three pages because you could cut up the side of the back and it became a fold out paper. ( Am I making sense here?? Help!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me the love was peanut butter Captain Crunch - the trick was to let them soften up just enough not to scrape the roof of your mouth but not too soggy, lest they lose their sweetness. We were not allowed anything but plain cheerios in our house but all my friends had Captain Crunch.

Walt - I'm so glad to see you blogging - I am having a great time reading it!

Lucy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11:56AM - Lunch

i9452.jpg

I learned something interesting from a physician's assistant once. She threw me a huge curveball when she was examining my wrist and said, "You eat a lot of carrots." Apparently a slight shade of orange shows up in the palms. I hadn't realized just how literally you are what you eat.

i9451.jpg

i9453.jpg

Two wings and a thigh from Tuesday's chicken.

i9454.jpg

A pluot from Smit Orchards. They have great apples, but this pluot is just OK.

i9456.jpg

i9455.jpg

Another tomato of the same variety, as well as some really good orange "cherry" tomatoes. Those perfect little orange globes taste great.

Also, they were giving away sample pieces of pizza in the cafeteria, so I had a slice of cheese. Doughy, but I like dough.

OK, I finally have a little time to add more autobiographical information. When I was young, my mom was basically a single parent, and did the best she could to get healthy food on the table, but it was lacking in taste and technique. My sister and I would always whine when she would make roast chicken seasoned with salt and pepper and baked till dry. To add to this, she wanted me to focus on academics, so when I got to college I barely knew how to boil water. In fact, I melted pots and kettles one more than one occasion trying to do just that. Regardless, I did take something of a liking to cooking and food, and began to experiment a bit in the dorm kitchen. When I graduated in 2000 I moved to Livermore to join my then-fiancee.

Those of you following along may have noticed that there's something of an emphasis on light cooking in our household. We used to have chicken and mashed potatoes, and go out to lunch and dinner quite a bit. Usually it was "What do you want to make?" "I don't know, I don't feel like making anything. What do you want to make?" So we would just go out. Roughly 11 months ago my wife decided that she wanted to live like a healthy person, and so we quickly adopted the habit of planning balanced meals for the week, and then having all the ingredients on hand to make them, so there's no excuse. That's why when I was tagged we already had the ingredients and menu. Between better food and her daily exercise, my wife has lost 110+ pounds/50 kg. No specific diet, we just try to get a lot of veggies and strike a reasonable balance between protein, fat, and carbohydrates. When I cook I try to extract maximum flavor without also using maximum fat and suger, but nothing is verboten. In fact, we go out for dinner once a week, and basically eat whatever we want. So maybe the meals you see this week will make a little more sense in that context.

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...