May 24, 2009

Two Words at a Time

Save money.

Go to

Eleven... soon.

Highly recommend

ordering the

Tasting Menu,

with wine(s).

Mmm Mmmm!

May 16, 2009

Chocolate and Spice, Pork Tenderloin... Nice!

As recounted to me by a very wise man...

So I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food & Wine, the grilling issue, and I says to myself, "That sounds pretty darn tasty."

The interesting thing about the recipe, see, was the rub: cocoa powder, ancho chile, and brown sugar. I says to myself, "Cocoa and ancho and brown sugar... That sounds pretty darn tasty."

But this recipe, see, it called for pork chops. And, you know, I just wasn't in the mood for no pork chops. So I says to myself, "You know what might work even better? Pork tenderloin! That could be pretty darn tasty."

But, you know, this recipe, see, there was something else that bugged me about it. This rub, it was dry, because those chops were supposed to go on the grill, I guess. But I was doin' tenderloin, now, and the weather outside, see, it wasn't so good. Cold, rainin', and, you know, I don't like to cook in no rain. Messes with the grill temperature... and my hair!

So I says to myself, "Why not add a little olive oil and salt to the rub, make it more like a paste, you know? Might be good. Then you could throw it in a really hot pan with a little more olive oil, brown it all over, throw in the the oven for, I don't know, like 10 minutes or somethin'. That would work. And I bet you that would be pretty darn tasty."

There's something else, though. See, I'm all into sauces these days. You know, a sauce, it makes everything better. So I says to myself, "Go get a little bit of white wine -- some stuff I been drinkin' called Cupcake, a Frenchy kinda name, a sauvignon blanc or something like that -- and keep it handy."

And when those tenderloins were done, I rested 'em for a few minutes, you know, 'cause they had just done some serious work in the oven. And then I poured in a little of that wine, gettin' all those little chocolatey spicey bits from the pan, watching the wine get brown and thick on the hot stove top. That sauce, it looked pretty darn tasty.

And then I stuck the tip of my forefinger in, you know, like those fellas and ladies on the TV do it, and put it in my mouth. And, by gosh, it
was tasty.

But, then, see, I says to myself, "That sauce, it needs just one more thing. Something else, you know, to give her a little what they call silkiness." And there it was. Butter. Just a little, see, dropped right into the sauce, watched it melt away in there. And that really did the trick.

Cut that tenderloin up, on a plate, drizzled some of that there sauce on it. And let me tell you, man, that pork, it was REALLY, really darn tasty.

I understand that the specifics of this said recipe went something like this.

Cocoa & Chile Pork Tenderloin

  • heaping tablespoon or so of cocoa powder
  • tablespoon of ancho chile powder
  • heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, enough to make it like a paste
  • teaspoon or so of salt
Two pork tenderloins

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the brown sugar, cocoa powder, ancho powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add a little olive oil at a time and stir until you have a fairly thick paste. Smear the paste over both tenderloins until they are completely covered.

Get a large enough, oven-proof pan very hot over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the tenderloins. Brown on all sides.

Put into the oven and roast until temperature of tenderloin is 135 degrees, then remove. Put tenderloins on a plate/cutting board to rest. Put the pan on a burner on medium/medium-high, add a half-cup of white wine to the pan and start stirring up the bits from the pan bottom with a wooden spoon. Let it bubble away for about 3 minutes or so, until reduce by about half.

Remove from heat, drop in a small pat of butter and any juices from the tenderloin plate, stir until it's melted, add salt if you think it needs it, slice up the tenderloin into medallions and serve with sauce drizzled generously over each serving.

May 13, 2009

Scrapin' Up the Bits... San Fran Style

A few things to share today...

To start with, as the (few/none) regular readers of LBoN know and appreciate, I regularly mine the New York Times food section for recipes, food news, etc. And while the Times' Mark Bittman and Melissa Clark tend to offer recipes that are more suited to the average home cook, I've found that the San Francisco Chronicle, which also does a bang-up job covering food-related issues, takes a different route.

The Chronicle's recipes, by and large, are geared toward the hard-core home cooks and foodies, those that don't mind putting in some tough time in the kitchen chopping and blending and transferring ingredients from a saute pan to a plate to a roasting pan to the oven to the stove top. So while I don't have as much time these days for meals that require long prep, given my affinity for chicken thighs, this Spanish-influenced dish totally got my tongue wagging. (Hint, hint... the recipe following this one on the page, "Chicken, Lemongrass, and Potato Curry," ohohohohoh my!).

Speaking of the Times, did you know that Lays potato chips qualify as "local food." Well, I didn't. And, really, they don't. But Lays thinks so, and is beginning to market it as such. As Michael Pollan said of the big food and grocery companies...

“They can turn any critique into a new way to sell food. You’ve got to hand it to them.”

Now that we're talking about local food, this is really, well, nice.

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato was on one of the top floors of the Grant Building a few months ago when he looked below and noticed the expansive roof of the nearby County Office Building on Forbes Avenue.

"I looked over and the idea came to me: We can use this roof as green space," he recalled yesterday as he unveiled plans to create a plant garden on the roof of the building at 542 Forbes Ave., and a water garden in the courtyard of the county courthouse.

The county, he said, plans to use half of the roof of the County Office Building for a green roof. The 8,400-square-foot area will be covered with waterproof fabric, soil and plants native to Allegheny County.

Speaking of gardens
, the Post-Gazette also unveiled this great interactive map of farm markets in the area.

Speaking of the Post-Gazette, while I'm not personally a fan of the garbage-bag headed restaurant reviewer Munch - not sure why you need Munch and a more, I guess, professional reviewer like China Millman - the brown-faced one recently visited a new Vietnamese restaurant in the Strip, Vietnam's Pho.

I know that Tram's in Lawrenceville is supposed to be the area's best Vietnamese restaurant, but, despite Munch thinking that a quail egg was a particularly adventurous ingredient - does he not watch the Evil Food Channel ever? - the review really got me jonesing for some pho, vermicelli-style noodles with grilled meats that have been bathed in lemongrass, and this...

Cari Ga ($7.50), a chicken curry with potato and onion served with a small baguette.

The curry was sweet and delicious, similar to a Thai yellow curry but slightly chunkier. But the real revelation was the bread, which sopped up the extra curry sauce so well that Munch's plate was sparkling clean when the friendly waitresses cleared the table.

May 6, 2009

Hockey game food blogging - This was good!

I love pesto. Love it.

McGinnis Sisters had some fairly big bunches of basil, so picked up two, some arugula, and, with the help of a curly-haired 4-year-old, made an arugula-basil pesto.

Also had some cherry tomatoes, which we had put in a flank steak salad (recipe coming on that one). Being that they're not in season, hadn't really had any tomatoes, and really enjoyed them in the salad. So wanted to use them again. Some sweet, roasted tomatoes sounded good. So, tossed with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, into a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Fusilli would be the pasta of choice this evening. Topped with pesto and a spoonful or two of roasted tomatoes. It was a successful pairing. My highest recommendations.

Yes, I know the picture stinks. UPDATE: Picture removed. It was just too ugly. New picture courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

May 5, 2009

Carbs, Carbs, and More Carbs, Baby!

It's been a while since LBoN's has had a worthy Fast Food Abomination of the Week. But we have a worthy winner this time.

Domino's new Bread Bowl Pastas! That's right, pasta, no doubt plastered with a ton 'o cheese -- such as the 3-cheese pasta -- in a bowl of bread. It's double the carbs for $5! Woohoo!

Other options include allegedly Italian favorites, like the Chicken Alfredo and the Chicken Carbonara, because pasta just isn't pasta without some chicken in it!

Point deductions, however, for the fine print explaining that these delightful past dishes are available in a regular, inedible bowl. How health-conscious of Domino's. Pshaw.

Beautiful Words... and Beautifully (profane) Words

Two good, quick reads.

First, with a tip o' the hat to The Ethicurean, the words of acclaimed chef/sustainable food advocate Dan Barber, at a recent food conference in Brooklyn.

Well, actually, his words had been there a day or so ago, in the form of what appeared to be a mostly complete transcript of his talk. They have been replaced with this:

We hope to publish Dan Barber’s speech pending his review of the transcript.

One always wonders what happened in these situations. Did Mr. Barber get a little pissed off that this transcript was made and blogged about without his knowing? Was there some sort of legal agreement by which this was not supposed to have happened? Hard to speculate, but disappointing that it's no longer there. Hopefully, Mr. Barber will quickly review the transcript and give his okey-dokey.

A sneak peek:

A "sustainable" farmed fish company that feeds lots of chicken parts to its fish vs. a fish farm in Spain that is more like an entire self-sustaining ecosystem, complete with tons of flamingos that fly 150 miles on a regular basis to eat some of the seafood being "farmed" there!

And, for those like me who can never get enough pizza talk, especially when it's replete with expletives, Chris Bianco, proprietor of the famed Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, lays forth with his f#%$ing philosophy on pizza and life.

A sneak peek:

“Don’t worry about eight hundred degrees, don’t worry about the bullshit of time, don’t worry about tripping out your fuckin’ home kitchen to reproduce something. Those things to me are not organic."

Whether Bianco actually said "tripping" or that was a transcription error and it was supposed to be "tricking," I don't know. Needless to say, they reiterate something I touched on recently: You Ought to Make Pizza at Home.

May 1, 2009

That Infectious Piggy Thingy

One cannot be a responsible (poorly read) blogger and not comment on the whole Swine... I mean, H1N1 flu outbreak. Nearly 300 schools have been closed in the U.S. There have been a handful of deaths. Millions are in a panic -- whether they should be, I don't know. Seems like a serious situation, but panic can just make things worse.

On some of the food blogs last week, reports surfaced that the outbreak may have started at an industrial pig farm in Mexico half-owned by Smithfield, famed antagonist of the famous Rolling Stone article a few years ago about stinky, filthy, disease-causing industrial pig farms in North Carolina.

The blog reports focused on articles in Mexican newspapers from towns near the pig CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) that were pinning the blame for the outbreak, or at the very least some illnesses, on the CAFO, but without providing any real evidence to support it. Nevertheless, those blog reports sparked a flurry of activity on other food and politics blogs, all pointedly faulting this CAFO for the current Swine... H1N1 flu outbreak.

It's easy to believe that this could be the case. In fact, Dr. Michael Greger from the U.S. Humane Society makes a very a good case that a pig CAFO is the likely origin of this particular flu.

Factory farming and long-distance live animal transport apparently led to the emergence of the ancestors of the current swine flu threat.

This analysis, first released by Columbia University’s Center for Computation Biology, has now been reportedly confirmed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and virologist Ruben Donis, chief of the molecular virology and vaccines branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Robert Webster, the director of the U.S. Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization, and considered the "godfather of flu research,"[1] is reported as saying "The triple reassortant in pigs [first discovered in the U.S. in 1998] seems to be the precursor."

This is a must-read column, well-supported by reputable references, often from the top peer-reviewed science journals, for anybody who wants to learn just one very good reason for why CAFOs are bad, bad, bad.

That said, it really does nobody any good to spread the idea -- minus any good evidence -- that this particular CAFO in Mexico was reponsible for this particular outbreak. Heck, as the Columbia Journalism Review reported... far, authorities have yet to find an infected pig in Mexico, let alone at the Granjas Carroll farm. None of the pig farm’s workers appears to be sick, either.

On Grist, where the CAFO-Swi... H1N1 flu connection was first made, Merritt Clifton does a good job of explaining why, even with the best of intentions, its best not to go beyond what the available evidence supports.

Until the medical evidence is in, we just don’t know. And focusing prematurely on the presumed factory-farm connection could prove a dangerous distraction from identifying and responding to the actual source of a potential pandemic.

You've Seen the Commercials...

And this is why you should not take supplements that promise they'll make you slim and trim.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to immediately stop using Hydroxycut products by Iovate Health Sciences Inc., of Oakville, Ontario and distributed by Iovate Health Sciences USA Inc. of Blasdell, N.Y. Some Hydroxycut products are associated with a number of serious liver injuries. Iovate has agreed to recall Hydroxycut products from the market.

The FDA has received 23 reports of serious health problems ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes, an indicator of potential liver injury, to liver damage requiring liver transplant. One death due to liver failure has been reported to the FDA. Other health problems reported include seizures; cardiovascular disorders; and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to other serious health problems such as kidney failure.

Nutritional supplements -- and I use the term "nutritional" with great disdain -- are minimally regulated and make claims that are simply unsubstantiated. Whether it's weight loss, muscle mass, male "enhancement," or happy mood pills, with most, it not all, of these things, it's too good to be true because it's too good to be true, plain and simple.