Category Archives: Food for Thought
My crazy and random thoughts about food and all that accompanies it.
Ok, minions. Are you ready for this?
I’ve had the overwhelming urge to bee keep lately. And whatever look you just gave the computer, 30 people have given me in the past two or three weeks when I express interest.
But bees are awesome. And they’re crucial to the things that mean the most in my life: food. Without bees, there would be no pollinating (unless you count those NASTY creatures called flies). And I kinda, sorta love them. A lot.
Did you know a lot of farms (especially almond farmers) rent bees during February/March to pollinate their trees? They do! I wrote all about it last year on Coronado Patch. The particular farm I wrote about (Hopkins Ag) has 4,000 hives come in. 4,000.
These tiny, fuzzy creatures are responsible for producing yummy almonds, amongst other tasty crops. Kinda crazy. And for some reason, people fear bees? They say it’s because of the stinger, but I’ve met plenty of people who sting much worse than a tiny little bee. Um, and how can you be scared of something that produces honey? I mean, really.
If you need more convincing, go to your Netflix account (and if you don’t have Netflix…well, how else are you getting your Saved By the Bell and Dawson’s Creek fixes?!) and watch the documentary Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
It’s a look inside the necessity of honey bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeepers all over the world. It’s well-worth your time and I promise you you’ll fall in love with the cute black-and-yellow guys (Ok, who just started singing Wiz?). And it will definitely make you appreciate your food that much more.
Thank you, honey bees. You are magical and oh-so-necessary for us. Queen of the Sun states that every farm should bee keep on their property. Any farms out there reading this, I’m totally willing to start one up on your farm. Seriously.
Fun Fact: “Melissa” means “honey-bee” in Greek. Hello, fate.
The kitchen is somewhere where I feel pretty comfortable. But grease fires scare the $#!t out of me.
One of the first things I ever learned in my high school Home Ec class was how to put out a grease fire. And it’s really something everyone should know, not just
hotty hot firefighters.
Baking soda is the trick here. You need a lot of it to extinguish big fires, but if you get some of the salty substance on the fire as soon as it starts, you should be fine. Here are some steps to take when encountering a grease fire, which you hopefully will never have to take.
1) Turn off the heat and don’t move the pan around.
2) If you can, cover it up with a lid (basic physics tells us that no oxygen=no fire. Or something like that.)
3) Douse with baking soda.
My tip here is to always keep a large container of baking soda near the stove. Just in case. It’s kind of how like moms keep a first aid kit in their purse, complete with advil, midol, antiseptics, burn ointment, bandaids, cortisone, insulin, antihistamines, umbrellas, goulashes, extra underwear …you know, the whole nine yards. They’re always prepared.
Anyone here actually encounter a grease fire? did you take the appropriate measures and douse with baking soda or salt?
I recreated a dish my SO had in Little Italy a few weekends back.
Excuse the horrible lighting, and instead focus on the goodness happening on that plate.
You all know Kate by now, right?
I ran the Color Run with her, she introduced me to her aunt who is a former Bon Appetit editor and she braved the homemade Cheez-it journey with me. She’s quite simply the best, if not for her accent alone.
You see, Kate hails from Ohio. Ask her to say any word with a short “o” sound and it will inevitably come out as a short “a” that lingers. You know what I’m sayin?
Kate cooks every night for her man (which happens to be Max’s cousin) and last week she whipped up some “Skyline Chili.” I just stared at her when she told me that because I had no idea what she’s talking about. Have you ever heard of this supposedly infamous Skyline Chili? Well you’re about to…
I’m Kate Sullivan and I’m honored to be contributing to the stellar Melissa’s Love of Food. Melissa and I have become PiYo (pilates, yoga and cardio, OH MY! But that’s for another day) enthusiasts together and before one of our sessions last week, I happened to be throwing together some Cincinnati Chili and mentioned it to her. We got to talking and I realized that there’s a lot to be said about the subject. Coincidentally, on Wednesday, Nicholas Lambrinides, the founder of one of the first “chili parlors,” passed away at the age of 88; and that’s when it was decided that an entry had to be made about this fantastical phenomenon that is Cincinnati Chili.
I was raised in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio and have vivid images of my dad insisting that every family and friend coming to visit eat one thing: Skyline Chili. Most visitors were a little weirded out by the thin, saucy thing that we call chili in Cincinnati.
It is said that this “Cincinnati”-style of chili originated with immigrants attempting to increase their restaurant traffic by branching out from their ethnic styles. The chili began as a sort of stew and was served over hot dogs and spaghetti in the 1920s. Empress Chili Parlor was the first to serve this type of Chili. Not much has changed about the recipe, but in 1949, Nicholas Lambrinides started Skyline Chili. And, I must admit, among the several different chains of chili parlors today, I’m partial to Skyline.
The three top dogs in the Cincinnati-chili franchise business are now Skyline, Gold Star and Dixie. Aside from its catchy radio jingle whenever you’re feeling good and hungry, it’s Skyline time… and friendly staff, it’s the tastiest. Skyline now has franchises throughout Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Indiana as well as a few in Florida, so the craze is spreading.
Skyline Chili is to Cincinnati what In-N-Out is to So Cal. There are some wanna-bes, some restaurants are new and some are incredibly nostalgic, but the style of eating is the same—it’s not just eating, it’s an experience (and they both offer drive-thru).
The recipe has a base of ground beef, water and some tomato but what really makes this chili unique are the spices, including, but not limited to: garlic, Worcestershire sauce, unsweetened coca, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Is your mouth watering yet?
Sure, there are “recipes” available on the internet and grocery stores now sell canned product (in local groceries) and even frozen Skyline but there’s just nothing like having it hot out of the pot at the restaurant. And, as the craze spreads, the menu becomes more extensive, including things like burritos and chili cheese fries, but stick to the basics. You’ll thank me later.
As if the chili itself weren’t unique enough, there are several different ways of getting this stuff in your belly, and we natives call them the 3-way, 4-way, 5-way and Coney. All of the ‘ways’ include a bed of spaghetti, a layer of chili and then the 3-way has a heaping pile of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, the 4-way has cheese and onions and the 5-way has cheese, onions and kidney beans. The cheese coney begins with a hotdog on a bun and a layer of the yummy stuff itself topped off with cheese and your choice of mustard or onions (neither or both). Ya dig? Now, of course, bowls of the stuff are available, but they’re reserved for the people we call boring.
So now that you have a preliminary education on the experience that is Skyline, you might be closer to understanding what a Cincinnati Native goes through living in Southern California (could you live without your In N Out?!) I hold this stuff in such high regard that I will not attempt to create it from scratch. Instead, during my trips back and forth from Cincy, I load up on packets of the pre-made spice combos.
From there, the job is easy. You simply beat a pound of ground beef with a fork into a couple cups of water and a can of tomato paste and add the packet of spice. Let that beautiful “stew” simmer for a couple hours and while that’s happening, you boil your pasta (following all of Melissa’s PERFECT spaghetti-cooking advice), chop your onions and rinse your kidney beans. It must be said that you’ll NEVER find the gloriously thin-shredded cheese they use in the restaurants, but I’ve gotten close by buying a brick of sharp cheddar and grating it myself using the teensy option on the grater. If you’re into dogs, this would be where you prepare the hotdogs (but I usually go the spaghetti route at home).
And, if you ever find yourself roaming through the Heart of it All, find yourself a parlor and have a four-way. Together, at last, it’s Skyline time.
Are you all itching to try Skyline chili, now? I’ve told Kate she’s gotta make it for me. If just for the fact alone that I can ask her for a three-way.
And a random poll, because it’s Friday:
This ingenious invention was posted way back in 2010 as one of my kitchen must-haves.
It still makes the list and I get giddy every time I see one in a friend’s kitchen.
I use my immersion blender mainly for soups. Before I acquired mine, I used to have to let my soup creation cool, then blend in batches in the blender. And when soup is being made, I’m a pretty impatient person.
Now, I just turn off the heat to my pot, stick this baby in and go to town. Voila! Instant creamy soup.
Seriously. It makes things creamy. Like this tomato soup I make? There is zero cream in the recipe but once I blend it with the immersion blender, it gets all thick and velvety. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
My friend, Coop, who did the color run with me, has one that she uses to whip up protein shakes. It creates less mess than a blender and you can whirl a shake up in half the time. All you have to wash is the blade of the blender and your cup!
Thanks, immersion blenders, for making our lives easier, our kitchen sinks less full and soup-making more fun.
Do you have an immersion blender? How much do you love it? What do you use it for?
No sneak peek for your eyes this week, folks.
I didn’t cook today. I was too busy going from this:
Yup. I ran the Color Run in Irvine this morning with two of my dear lady friends. It wasn’t an absolute blast or anything like that.
Nope. Totally not worth the time that could’ve been spent cooking…
Did you do anything fun this weekend? Did you partake in the color run, too?
So um…I apparently forgot to show my thanks yesterday. It’s what some call an epic fail. Or a brain fart. Or being busy.
Either way, shame on me. I had a great thing to be thankful for. It shall make an appearance next week.
I was originally planning to share with you an article I did on a San Diego chef, but my editor hasn’t published it yet on the site, La Jolla Patch. So I’ll just tell you what I did and link it up later.
There’s this place called George’s at the Cove in La Jolla. I’ve talked about it here and here and other places before. The food can only be described as exquisite here. There’s an upper terrace that overlooks La Jolla shores and a below-level dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. The two act as separate restaurants in one, if that makes sense.
That guy up there? He’s the exec chef and part-owner of the fine dining establishment. Trey Foshee. I got to interview him for Patch because Andrew Zimmern (yeah, that Andrew Zimmern) paid Chef Foshee a visit for a Bizarre Foods America episode.
I talked to Chef Foshee over the phone about the whole filming experience and if he felt offended that his food could be considered “bizarre.” As mentioned before, I’ll link the story once it’s up. He had a good answer for that last question.
I may have mispronounced his name in the beginning and quite possibly gushed too long at the end of the phone about his food. Did I mention that it’s exquisite?
Whatever. I was starstruck talking to this guy. And I totally have his cell number now, which he said I could call anytime I want. (that’s what “call me if you have any questions” means, right??)
It also should be noted that he’s the partner chef for the California Avocado Council. You all know how I feel about avocados. Think Trey will hire me on as an apprentice, or am I getting too stalker-y?
Have you ever eaten at George’s? If so, would you consider their food, like the deconstructed taco and sea urchin, bizarre?