How’d I Do On “The Omnivore Hundred”

A challenge is afoot! Very Good Taste created a list called the Omnivore Hundred and challenged people to post it to their blogs and bold the things they’ve eaten. So, here’s mine, most of them with commentary and I linked to the Wikipedia entries for the ones I’d never heard of:

  1. Venison
  2. Nettle tea
  3. Huevos rancheros – Many many times. I used to stop at Filiberto’s in Tucson on the way to work a couple times a week and get either huevos rancheros or a breakfast burrito.
  4. Steak tartare
  5. Crocodile – I had alligator sausage in Charleston, SC, so I’m counting this one.
  6. Black pudding – A couple times in Dublin. I prefer white pudding with fried eggs. Not a huge fan of black pudding.
  7. Cheese fondue
  8. Carp
  9. Borscht – My friend Becky had a Russian dinner after she got back from her LDS mission and we had borscht with sour cream. It was good.
  10. Baba ghanoush – Not a huge fan of eggplant, so this probably won’t be a repeat.
  11. Calamari
  12. Pho – Yesterday for lunch.
  13. PB&J sandwich
  14. Aloo gobi – In Bangalore and at a buffet in Herndon.
  15. Hot dog from a street cart
  16. Epoisses
  17. Black truffle – Not all by itself, but I’ve had several sauces with black truffle in them.
  18. ~~Fruit wine made from something other than grapes~~
  19. Steamed pork buns – Thanks to Cindy Li and Dim Sum Sundays!
  20. Pistachio ice cream
  21. Heirloom tomatoes – Several times from Great Country Farms and other places.
  22. Fresh wild berries – We used to pick our own on the side of the road when we lived in North and South Carolina.
  23. Foie gras – Oh yes. At my favorite restaurant in the entire world in the South of France, L’Hermitage du Riou
  24. Rice and beans
  25. Brawn, or head cheese
  26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
  27. Dulce de leche
  28. Oysters – Yes, hated them, and now with my shellfish allergy, no more.
  29. Baklava
  30. Bagna cauda
  31. Wasabi peas
  32. ~~Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl~~ – Again, with the shellfish allergy, not going to happen
  33. Salted lassi – I love mango lassis from Shalimar, in Mountain View, CA. I’m not sure if that counts. I had a weird cucumber one, that I hated, so I’m assuming that was salted.
  34. Sauerkraut
  35. Root beer float
  36. ~~Cognac with a fat cigar~~ – Don’t drink or smoke.
  37. Clotted cream tea
  38. ~~Vodka jelly/Jell-O~~
  39. Gumbo – In New Orleans even, but again, stupid shellfish allergy, I can’t eat it again.
  40. Oxtail – In Germany as a kid. One of the strongest tastes I’ve ever experienced, I can still remember it twenty-something years later.
  41. Curried goat
  42. Whole insects
  43. Phaal
  44. Goat’s milk
  45. ~~Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/\$120 or more~~
  46. Fugu
  47. Chicken tikka masala – Once in India even, but I prefer Butter Chicken.
  48. Eel – as sushi, not a huge fan, but I’d try other kinds of someone served it.
  49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
  50. Sea urchin
  51. Prickly pear
  52. Umeboshi
  53. Abalone
  54. Paneer – At least three or four different kinds.
  55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – I used to get them occasionally as a kid, but I don’t like the sauce anymore, and since watching Super-Size Me, I rarely eat fast food.
  56. Spaetzle
  57. ~~Dirty gin martini~~
  58. ~~Beer above 8% ABV~~
  59. Poutine – No, but after hearing my brother describe it, I want to!
  60. Carob chips – Mom used to “secretly” replace the chocolate chips in cookies with carob chips. We always knew.
  61. S’mores
  62. Sweetbreads – In Paris at an amazing dinner with Daniel Glazman, Jen and his wife. Amazing.
  63. Kaolin – The only mention I can find of Kaolin is a clay or Kaopectate. If it’s Kaopectate, you betcha I’ve had it.
  64. Currywurst
  65. Durian
  66. Frogs’ legs – Max and I tried them at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Sterling. He liked them. They were OK.
  67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – All four!
  68. Haggis – In Edinburgh with Arun and a whole host of awesome W3C people. One of my all-time favorite dinners. The haggis was actually pretty good too.
  69. Fried plantain
  70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
  71. Gazpacho
  72. Caviar and blini
  73. ~~Louche absinthe~~
  74. Gjetost, or brunost
  75. Roadkill – Not that I know of… but I have lived in the Deep South, so who knows.
  76. ~~Baijiu~~
  77. Hostess Fruit Pie – Not in years, but I remember going through a phase where I loved the cherry ones.
  78. Snail – Several times, once in France.
  79. Lapsang souchong
  80. ~~Bellini~~
  81. Tom yum – I’ve had it at least once, but can’t think of where at the moment.
  82. Eggs Benedict – Jen gets this whenever she can when we go out for breakfast. I know we both ate it at least once on our honeymoon.
  83. Pocky – My sister introduced me to this one.
  84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant – I don’t know how many stars L’Hermitage du Riou has, but I’ve eaten there at least 8 times so I’m counting that.
  85. Kobe beef – At the Microsoft cafeteria in Mountain View during a CSS Working Group meeting as a hamburger. One of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
  86. Hare – At L’Hermitage du Riou – baby hare wrapped in bacon – the best meal I’ve ever had.
  87. Goulash
  88. Flowers – My brother and I ate dandelions once, and I know I’ve had edible flowers before.
  89. Horse
  90. Criollo chocolate
  91. Spam
  92. Soft shell crab – But not anymore… sigh
  93. Rose harissa
  94. Catfish – All over the South, fried in filets, on a sandwich, as nuggets. You name it, I’ve had it.
  95. Mole poblano
  96. Bagel and lox
  97. Lobster Thermidor
  98. Polenta
  99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
  100. Snake\
    Of the hundred, there are a few I won’t do because they involve smoking or drinking, but I’ve tried 59 of the hundred, which isn’t too bad.\
    Things I’d add to the list:
  101. Ankimo – Monkfish liver, introduced by Alex Mogilevsky at a CSS Working Group dinner at my favorite sushi restaurant, Satsuma, in Mountain View. When it’s good, it tastes a lot like foie gras. Ask for it at your favorite sushi place. It’s rarely on the menu, even if they have it!
  102. Pylsurs – James McNally reminded my of them with one of his Iceland pics. We used to get them whenever we went to town when we lived in Iceland. Lamb hot dogs… yum.
  103. Club Orange – The best orange soda, hell, just best soda, on the planet. Like Orangina but with real flavor. You can get it imported from Food Ireland or just go to Dublin.
  104. Fanta Grape – The European version with real sugar.
  105. Sarsaparilla – Birch Beer would work too.\
    So, how’d you do?
Categorized as cooking

Cookies Are Yummy

Macro Cookies

In case you didn’t know, chocolate chip cookies are yummy. Max and I made a double batch while Brian was pretending to take a nap (he serenaded us over the baby monitor with babble-singing, then whining, then crying). They turned out really well. The keys?

  1. Use the Toll House recipe
  2. Mix the sugar and brown sugar before adding the butter and then break up any clumps before adding the butter.
  3. The butter should be about half softened / half melted
  4. Use about a half a teaspoon more vanilla than it calls for
  5. Use about half a cup more chocolate chips than you should
  6. Use half semi-sweet toll house chips, half Ghiradelli bittersweet.
  7. Cook them about a minute less than you think they need. There’s nothing better than a gooey chocolate chip cookie.
Categorized as cooking

Haggis Virgin

Until last night, I’d never tried haggis and never really wanted to. But, we went to a lovely Scottish restaurant last night (“we” being Arun, Bert Bos, Chaals, Chris Lilley, Shawn, Carolie, Richard Ishida, Thomas and Liam – they were all here for the W3C AC Rep meeting), and they had haggis as an appetizer. And well, that was the opening. We all convinced each other than it was OK to try it as an appetizer because it would be a “wee little haggis.”\
So, we got it, and shared a few. Shawn and I were “haggis hosts”, and Arun and Thomas were our “haggicytes.” And you know, it was actually quite good. It’s really rich, but the barley gives it a kind of weird texture. I don’t think I need to eat it again, but I’m no longer a haggis virgin. My haggishood has been taken by a charming wee chunk of barley and sheep organs. Yum.\
Dinner was a lot of fun. I love hanging out with really smart people, and these guys fit the bill. They’re all brilliant, and terribly funny. We laughed a lot (I think the whiskey and wine helped), and told a lot of embarrassing stories about ourselves. Good times.\
Today, it’s conferencing, which probably means less fun (and wouldn’t you know it, it’s not raining today).

The Perfect Milkshake

Jen decided that we needed pizza and milkshakes for dinner tonight. Since I’d recently scored a sweet blender from Woot! and we had lots of ice cream in the house… we were all set. They turned out so well, I thought I’d share the process (since milkshakes are kind of hard to get “right” at home… and I’ve tried).\
Makes three awesome servings.\
h4. Ingredients

* 1 ~~gallon~~ half gallon (or whatever their round regular container holds) of Edy’s (or Dreyer’s, or any other creamy ice cream – Breyer’s probably wouldn’t work because it’s too icey) Cookies and Cream ice cream.

* 3 cups of milk

* 3 small bags of Mini Oreos

* Some chocolate syrup.

* 3 straws

* Whipped Cream\
h4. Directions

  1. Pour the three bags of oreos in the blender and pulse on the chop setting until they’re broken up.
  2. Add about half of the ice cream into the blender.
  3. Pour in one cup of the milk.
  4. Liberally apply chocolate syrup (if you like that sort of thing).
  5. Pulse in 3 second bursts on the highest setting, about 10-12 bursts.
  6. This should give you a really think mess of wonderful, and it should have brought the ice cream down to a level where you can add the rest of the ice cream (whatever will fit and still give you enough room to add the rest of the milk).
  7. Pulse again in 3 second bursts until the rest of the ice cream and milk are incorporated – should take about 10-12 hits.
  8. Split it up among three cups, stick a straw in it, and douse it liberally with whipped cream.
  9. Enjoy\
    I have never heard such happy noises from my family. We even let Brian have a little bit and he cried when it was all gone. It was awesome. It is the only milkshake that has made me want to cry. I think I might have actually shed a tear when it was all gone.\
    Oh, and the measurements are all approximate. I don’t measure stuff… sorry if I guessed wrong, but you’ll still get a milkshake out it, so how bad can it be?\
    Tomorrow night, mint chocolate chip.
Categorized as cooking

Start The Day With A Good Cry

I swear, this almost never happens to me. This morning, before work, I cried uncontrollably. It was like floodgates opened, and all the liquid in my body left through my eye holes. Did I have an emotional breakdown because of all the things I can’t tell you about? Nope, it was those damn boiler onions. I was throwing a roast in the crockpot, and for some reason, those little onions hit me wrong. I couldn’t open my eyes for almost five minutes, the sting was so bad. That almost never happens to me, especially with those little onions (now, white onions are a whole different story).\
It wasn’t all bad… now my eyes feel great, perfectly refreshed and ready for a long day of staring at a monitor.

Categorized as cooking

Cooking Shows That Don’t Suck

This Salon article on cooking shows was entertaining, and I can’t agree more with their take on Good Eats, but I think they missed one: Molto Mario. In 24 minutes, Mario can make you believe you can create good Italian home-cooking, and he’s right. He gives you the basics, and the tools for doing pretty much anything you want. After three shows, you’ll be braising to your heart’s content. And, he’s entertaining to boot.\
I don’t agree that you can’t learn anything from Iron Chef. I’ve learned a lot from it – how to cut up a chicken, carve a roast and some really cool ideas for soups, stews and roasts. Yeah, it’s out there, but when you break it down, it’s still a cooking show.

Categorized as cooking

How To Buy Sushi

You’re Google is my command. So, I’m on the first page of yet another weird query at Google. This time, it’s “how to buy sushi“. Since I aim to please, I’m going answer this one. Not because I’m an expert with sushi. I’m not. I’m a pale chubby American, like I assume the person who ran the query that brought them to this page on my site (which really had nothing to do with buying, but with NOT buying sushi). Since that post didn’t help anyone, maybe this one will.

Kevin’s Suggestions for Buying Sushi

  • For your first sushi experience, go to a Japanese restaurant, better yet, go to a sushi restaurant. I know, if you live in Vicksburg, Mississippi, this may take some travelling. It’s worth it. Anything you buy in Piggly-Wiggly will be a real crappy first sushi experience (if it can be called “sushi”).

  • For your first pieces, stick with rolls (they’re the ones with the seaweed wrapped around them). Start with a California roll, or some variation on it. They usually contain cooked fish or crab and are a good place to start.

  • Go really easy on the wasabi (the green stuff). That little bowl that came with your sushi is to mix a healthy amount of soy sauce with a little bit of wasabi. And make sure you mix it in well. You don’t want an errant chunk searing your nostrils closed.

  • If you dig the rolls (and you will), move on the tuna and salmon. I love tuna sashimi. I love salmon sashimi. You will to. Remember, dip in soy/wasabi mix and pop the whole thing in your mouth.

  • After you’ve conquered your fear of raw fish, you should check out red snapper and yellowtail. If you’re still up for an adventure, try octopus and eel (I personally don’t like octopus – it’s like eating a big pink eraser).

You will find fairly early on that sushi is surprisingly filling. It’s all the rice. Trust me, you won’t need a lot to make your belly happy. OK, I hope that helps the next person that comes looking for tips on buying sushi. My work here is done.

UPDATE: To address Tim’s comment, you can get sushi that contains fully cooked fish!! A lost of the rolls, and other pieces use cooked fish. If you’re concerned about it, ask at the restaurant. They usually have a whole section of the menu for you chickens.

Categorized as cooking

The Gardening Geek

It all started so innocently. I took Max to the Farmer’s Market last summer, and I bought a basil plant (because every three year-old needs to learn about death, right?). We took it home, put it in a pot on the window sill, watered it religiously, and watched it grow. It lasted the rest of the summer and most of the fall. I decided my black thumb curse was over… It was actually kind of fun watching it grow and using it in my cooking. So, I started a little window sill garden, just a couple plants. Max and I bought a cilantro plant, an oregano plant and a sage plant (that met an untimely death while I was in France). We had an extra pot, and Max and I took some crushed red pepper seeds, a couple snap peas, some peppercorns and (I think) a couple others I don’t remember and planted them. Surprisingly, two plants sprouted!! I have no idea what they are, but they’re both getting a little unruly and I had to replant them. Of course, I was out of pots. So, off to Lowe’s for more pots…

Now, it’s June, and I think I’ve officially gone over the cliff. I planted some roma tomato plants about a month ago, some new basil (the old one got old and feeble) and recently some rosemary and chives. I also moved our two gigantic plants and the tomatos to a big window box that’s still not outside. I even built a trellice… see for yourself:

the left side...

and the right

Max helps me water them, and we check on them every day. Like I said, it all started so innocently.

Categorized as cooking