May 30, 2014
Breaking News: The sky is blue, it’s warm outside, we’re wearing shorts (and flip-flops) and grilling season is officially on.
Two weeks ago it was still cold and miserable. Now it starting to look like it’s going to be summer after all.
Summer and barbecue have always gone together, well, like summer and barbecue.
And when you've got hot coals going, it is a natural instinct to grill up some burgers.
The two go hand in hand, just like summer and barbecue.
If we were to apply the transitive property of equality: if summer means barbecue and barbecue means burger ⇒ then summer means burgers.
In other words, burgers are summer. Let me rephrase that, burgers are the epitome of summer.
Another breaking news, people. As you may have noticed, today I’m all about pulling rabbits out of the hat.
Any-hoo...beef, buffalo, turkey, veggies, tofu or salmon, having a burger is never more satisfying than when you make it yourself.
So in the unlikely event that you haven't fired up your grill yet, these juicy, delicious and simple kofta burgers are the perfect motivation to do it.
May 28, 2014
What part of the newspaper do you read first?
Not surprisingly, I read the sports section first.
I enjoy sports. I love doing sports. Probably I have an unhealthy passion for sports.
Football, tennis, athletics, soccer, basketball - not to mention triathlon - I pretty much want to know all about ut. Who’s doing good. Who’s doing O.K. Who’s doing bad.
After the sport section I usually go to the comics. The comics always amuse and relax me.
Which is a good state of mind to have before getting into the heavy stuff like World news, business, op-ed and all that kind of Jazz.
Let's talk about comics for a minute. I love - more like worship - Calvin and Hobbes.
It’s been my fave comic since I was 10 (i.e., since I was able to read and understand wittiness and humor!)
May 26, 2014
To be honest, this recipe should actually be called Shawarma-style chicken.
The real shawarma (i.e., how they actually make it in the Middle East) is spice-marinated sliced cuts of meat, like chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey stacked and cooked on a vertical spit.
As the shawarma turns, the meat is cooked by a heat source that is located behind the actual spit.
What’s amazing is that the meat is basted in fat and its own juices.
Marinade + fat = awesome flavors.
Afterwards, the cooked meat slowly falls off or is shaved with a large knife; and it is either eaten on its own or tucked inside a pita, with tahini, garlic sauce, veggies and sometimes even french fries.
May 23, 2014
Today I want to be obnoxious and snobby.
So I labeled these patties as “the best”.
To be honest, I always think it’s very pretentious to name a recipe “the best” of anything.
Best means “of the most excellent or desirable type or quality”; so who can actually claim that something they’ve made is the best?
Unless you’re Daniel Boulud or Ferran Adrià, then you probably can. Running a bunch of Michelin starred restaurant grants some of sort of authority in that department.
But for the rest of us - commoner cooks - it’s better to take a more understated approach.
Something can be good, amazing, awesome, mouthwatering, but the best? That’s too much.
However, sometimes you make something and you just knock it outta of the park. Just like that.
And there’s no better way to describe what you’ve just made than “the best!”
This situation here is sort of the best eggplant patties I’ve ever had . Like, ever. So here we are with this super pretentious recipe title. Sorry folks.
May 21, 2014
It’s caramel time people.
I know it may sound a bit equivocal, here I am, presenting you with supposedly healthy recipes and talking about nutrition and then throwing in your face a recipe for caramel sauce.
But you see there’s caramel sauce made with loads of sugar, butter and heavy cream and then there’s caramel sauce made with coconut milk, honey and coconut oil. And it is, to put it mildly, amazeballs!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that this Paleo version of caramel will make you healthier or increase your lifespan, but of one thing I’m sure: it will improve your mood dramatically.
Let’s say you feel like the biggest loser on the face of the earth, and want to hang your head in shame; you take a spoonful of this caramel sauce and Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo: rainbows, unicorns and puppies.
Seriously, it is a known fact that happiness is one of the biggest keys to longevity, and this Paleo caramel sauce is guaranteed to make you happier, and generally more amazing. Trust.
To be honest, it is probably healthier too. No refined sugars, no dairy, just coconut milk, coconut oil and honey (or maple syrup) some of the best ingredients Mother Nature has to offer.
May 19, 2014
So, Tapenade, huh?
First things first. It’s ‘tap-uh-naad’ not ‘tape-nade’ nor “tap-and-aid”. Please don’t ever call it tape-nade or tap-and-aid in public; especially in one of those upmarket delis where the staff feel compelled to correct your pronunciation with a condescending look. Like they have majored in French literature at Columbia Uni, while you’re nothing but an ignorant who has never set foot outside your home town.
I genuinely hate those food shops with surly and pretentious staff; where you are left feeling unwelcome throughout and a mere inconvenience in their day. Like they have something better to do notwithstanding the fact that you are actually spending 10 bucks for a ¼ lb of cherry tomatoes.
Overpriced food and paraphernalia with a side of indifferent customer service...deffo not my kinda spot.
That’s why I love Farmers’ Market instead. Vibrant gathering places, good prices, top quality produce; where it is common to see people lingering to chat with vendors and maybe even meet friends.
To me, a farmers’ market has a real sense of community, even in a big city.
Or maybe I’m just fooling myself and I’m seeing things that are only in my head.
Guys, am I becoming a tree hugger? Be honest.
The Iron Tree Hugger...weird.
May 16, 2014
Don’t worry people, I’m going to cauliflower crust rehab in a day or so.
They say the first step in solving a problem is to admit that you have a problem.
So, here it goes: “Hello, my name is Mike and I’m a cauliflower crust addict”
“Over a year ago I’ve first tried cauliflower crust and since then I’ve been making it at least twice a week. It started out with pizza, then it was calzone, hot pockets, breadsticks and stromboli. I can’t seem to stop. I need help!”
Seriously though, when I made the cauli crust stromboli (about a month ago), I thought that was the end of my experiments with cauliflower crust.
But before we move on, let me say this: If you’re sick and tired of this cauli crust thing, feel free to leave. It’s okay, we can still be friends (or at least I'll pretend to be your friend...)
If, instead, you’re willing to cope with my cauliflower madness in all its psychotic glory, then I can show you what I believe is one of my biggest achievement with cauliflower crust.
I made cauliflower crust grilled cheese! BOOM!
May 14, 2014
There's a long line at the grocery check-out counter. Do you sneak a peek at the contents of other people’s carts? Or do you peruse the gossip magazines?
I confess: I definitely peek at other people’s carts.
I try not to be obvious, but I am always curious what other people buy.
It's an entertaining game. I try to guess if they are buying for a family or if they are a single person or a gourmet eater or a convenience food junkie.
Like 10 cases of pop and 20 bags of chips, yeah, maybe they were on sale but still. Or an entire cart filled with lean cuisine, nothing else...weird.
And I try not to judge (even if I do it), because, sadly, healthy food is expensive and I think people are creatures of habit for the most part. They are comfortable buying the same things, making the same 8 recipes in rotation.
Sometimes it gets pretty damn funny. Like this one time I was in line behind someone who had a monster size case of toilet paper, gallons of water and several family size bags of prunes. That's all. Pretty obvious what his plan was. Poor guy.
The only thing that bothers me a bit is when families with kids are buying tons of sugar and junk, but, again, who am I to judge?
Anyway, if I see actual ingredients, like fresh produce or organic meat I’ll give that person a little gold star (mentally of course!)
May 12, 2014
Energy bars, granola bars, breakfast bars, protein bars, the grocery store aisles are full of them.
However, the majority tastes like artificial flavoring (ugh, fake chocolate and PB!), chalk, and misery.
Plus, they all have a way of “looking” healthy no matter their chemical/y flavor profiles and suspect textures.
To be honest, it’s actually pretty rare to find energy bars that are healthy AND tasty.
I, for instance, like Larabars. Each one has between 2 and 9 ingredients, all of which are whole organic foods like fruits and nuts.
Okay, I suppose the few with chocolate aren't "whole" foods in the strict sense (there must be some processing going on there), but here's the thing about Larabars: they actually taste pretty good.
Like fruits and nuts (except the lemon bar; I had it once and it really grossed me out.)
Oh yeah, because - and you probably already know this - I only eat things that taste awesome. I am not interested in bland, gross energy bars. Not worth it.
(Just to be clear, I haven’t received any money nor products to review from Larabars. I just like ‘em so much, I thought you should know!
May 7, 2014
I try not to whine too much. Honestly.
While I am writing this post, my legs hurt like hell from doing intervals very fast last night.
I’m actually sitting with straights legs, because they seem to cramp if I keep them bent for more than 1 minute.
But I am well aware that it is my own fault.
I shouldn’t have done intervals, but wanted to because...well...since I’ve promised you guys that I was not going to bore you with my training running mis-adventures, let’s just say that I shouldn’t have done intervals. Period.
Still, I made my choice. I’m an adult, I know what can happen when I overtrain.
There are no accidents to report around here. No whining possible.
May 5, 2014
There are some things I’ll just never be able to grasp. Like physics. Or how the trashcan fills up so fast. Or where all my socks go.
For real folks, I have 18 unpaired socks.
And I’m sorry for them. Being a sock isn’t easy already (especially MY socks). But being an unpaired sock is even worse. Forced to make their own solitary way in a world of pairs.
A beautiful love story of Left + Right that started out in a factory faraway, and that ends in separation.
I held the dryer responsible for all these losses.
Because sometimes socks get lost before and after they go into the laundry, but most of the time it seems like the dryer ate them for a snack.
If you ask around, you'll find that pretty much everybody shares my suspicion for the dryer — evil machine.
Or maybe between the washing machine and the dryer, they run way. There's probably a huge black market in runaway single socks somewhere. Who knows...
Anyways, I have 18 unpaired socks, and I’m holding onto them in hopes that their twins will return from the space wrap before I do my annual sock purge.
May 2, 2014
Apparently all of the food blogosphere is going Cinco de Mayo.
Tacos, burritos, nachos, enchiladas, tostadas, pico de gallo, margaritas, horchatas, you name it.
I mean, take a look at my lad Chris over at Shared Appetite; he’s going berserk over it (in a good way, of course!)
He’s been posting the most amazing Mexican-themed food ever lately. Head over there and be ready to salivate!
But I - being the rebel that I am - refuse to participate in this charade because....well, just because I haven’t cooked any Mexican food in the past few weeks. That’s pretty much it.
I actually CAN’T be part of this Cinco de Mayo bonanza, because I wasn’t smart and organized enough to plan around it. My loss.
So, no Mexican for me.
But I made some tasty Chinese-inspired food though if you’re interested.