February 24, 2011

Dear Miller Marketing Staff

Hi, there...

Just a quick comment on your ever-present "man up" series of commercials. I've seen some really stupid beer gimmicks in my day. The "sour beer face," the bottle that changes color when it's at its optimal temperature (whatever the f@#$ that is!), the vortex bottle (oh, wait, isn't that yours too?).

But this "man up" thing is just, well, really really really ... moronic. In no way, shape, form, or manner is drinking Miller Lite, the flavor of which -- if I recall correctly from the decade or so since I last tasted one -- resides somewhere between mildly soapy dish water and a mix of heavily watered down bottom shelf liquors, an exercise in manhood. It's actually the total opposite. It is an action of somebody who really doesn't like beer.

Also, the whole "man up" thing -- with the skinny jeans, the fake tan, the European thong -- it's not funny. Hell, it's not even remotely clever. Do us all a favor. Go talk to the Volkswagen folks. They know a thing about funny and clever.

Thanks for listening, and no hard feelings, eh?

February 5, 2011

Pork & Ricotta Meatballs

Love this recipe for pork & ricotta meatballs. Made it last night -- using 2 lbs of ground pork from Heilman's Hogwash Farm, the best pork around -- for dinner tonight. The recipe is fairly straightforward and I generally follow it.

A few recommendations, though, to make the process easier.

First, if you have a convection oven, I'd recommend using the convection setting for these. On our old oven, which was not convection, I always had to watch the meatballs carefully throughout the process or whatever side was bottom down could get overly brown.

Second, don't be afraid to use a little more fennel seed and crushed red pepper than is called for, and if you have fresh oregano, to me that's always preferable to dried.

Third, when you're combining all of the ingredients, I recommend tossing everything fairly well before you put the eggs in. Once the eggs are in, ingredient distribution can be difficult.

Fourth, it calls for "white bread." We typically use some type of bakery bread, crusts removed. Maybe it's a wasted expense, but the results have always been hard to argue with.

Finally, if, like me, you like to put out all of the ingredients you'll be using and put them back as you finish with them, don't forget to put out the m@#$#f@#@#ing ricotta, otherwise it might not make it into your pork & ricotta meatballs!!!

I tasted one last night and it was excellent, so not a huge loss, I guess. Just another sign that I'm getting old, I suppose, or that a martini and a glass of wine can make a cook forgetful...

February 4, 2011

Some Video to End the Week

WQED gives a little love (heck, practically a commercial!) to Salt of the Earth on a recent episode of "Pittsburgh 360." The segment starts around the 17:15 mark. That Chris Fenimore dude must be a regular at Salt, as it appears regulars prefer to call it, because the one time I was there, so was he.

February 3, 2011

Scrapin' Up the Bits... Too.Much.Information Style

I have so many food-related things to blog about that I don't even know where to begin. Guess that's what happens when you don't post for a while. It's the kind of situation that's just begging for a digest.

Off we go:

For those who are into food policy and other food industry type stuff, the Food Fight blog on bnet.com is a must read. Just discovered it a few weeks ago and have really been enjoying it.

Next, a really cool video on the  making of Chinese noodles:

And I guess it had to end some time: Mark Bittman is ending his Minimalist column in the Times. Will miss this feature in the Wednesday Dining & Wine section. Have made a lot of stuff from it over the years. But at least he'll still be writing for the Times, focusing more on sustainability and other policy issues, and has promised the occasional "minimalist" recipe.

Speaking of a Bittman recipe, I highly recommend this flatbread recipe. Easy and delicious.

And yet more from the Times. This time, an interesting article on the FDA and Big Dairy battling over testing for antibiotics. I hate to admit it, but the Big Dairy folks actually have somewhat of a point. Read it and see what you think.

Planning on serving hot dogs as part of your Super Bowl party on Sunday? Now this is what I call a hot dog!

Back to the policy tip: In case our members of Congress need more convincing, the overuse of antibiotics in animals on factory farms is not a very good idea.

Finally, if you happen to see these in the grocery store, Loaker's Quadratini, which are bite-sized wafer cookies, I urge you to buy them. I got some lemon-flavored ones at Labriola's. And I have not regretted the decision for.one.minute!