Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Links

USDA lowers pork safe cooking temperature. About time, I say! How about you? Do you still cook your pork to 160 degrees F? Will this make you change your mind?

Do you know someone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Some good information on what those terms really mean.

Looking for new recipes for Memorial Day? Picnic salads and beyond!

In the market for a new Italian cookbook? Jamie's Italy is on my birthday wish list and these sound pretty amazing, too.

Have you ever cooked with rhubarb? These rhubarb streusel muffins are a good place to start.

Local News:

Gourmet Underground Detroit reviews a few of the carts at Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor.

Have you tried Simply Suzanne's Granola? I recently saw it on the shelves of the Pure Detroit store in the Ren Cen and have been kicking myself for not picking up a bag. Great news - it's going to hit Michigan Meijer stores next month.

Hi there

I'm having a hard time finding the motivation to write. I'm doing better about cooking more regularly, but I'm not sure what to do about the blog. Is what you've been reading making an impact, had an effect? Are you cooking more? Are you still struggling? Are you bored?

Or do you go through phases like I do? I'm in one right now. It feels like it's been raining for days, if not weeks. Sometimes that makes me want to bake. Sometimes it saps my motivation to cook completely. Today all I can muster is some homemade soup. And that's OK. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

So please let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you - good, bad or anything else you want to share. Just click on that comments section underneath this post. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Links

Test your dairy IQ - are you getting 3 cups a day?

You might be getting enough dairy in your diet, but how about luxury foods? Gilt Taste has arrived. I might not be able to afford the products, but I'm thrilled to see Ruth Reichl (formerly of Gourmet magazine) back on the scene. The best part? It's a mini-food magazine, too!

Wondering about the calorie information for a recipe you've found online? A new recipe search engine, Foodily, will do it for you automatically.

More on recipe search engines - will they make you a better cook?

Local News:

Oran Hesterman, the head of Ann Arbor-based Fair Food Network, will appear at the Eastern Market this Saturday, May 21, to sign his new book Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All. For each book sold, about $15 will benefit Gleaners Food Bank.

Mark Bittman, on Detroit.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stamp Out Hunger 2011

Join me in the fight against hunger on Saturday, May 14.

What can you do to help?
  1. Place non-perishable food in a bag.
  2. Leave it at your mailbox on Saturday, May 14th.
  3. Your letter carrier will pick up and deliver to local food banks or pantries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Links

Ever wonder how people eat in other countries? The Guardian U.K. interviewed 5 families to find out.

While Bob was in Germany a couple months ago, he ate lunch daily at his company's cafeteria - and really enjoyed the food. How often do you hear that about cafeterias in the US? Read Mark Bittman's take on the future of American cafeteria food.

Do you count your calories? Few Americans do it correctly, if at all.

Some new (to me) food blogs to add to your must-read list.

And speaking of food blogs, Saveur magazine's brief history of food blogs shares how it all began.

May seasonal food guide - and some ideas how to make the most of it.

What would make this list of links complete? News about Jamie Oliver!

Local News:

Spring has finally come to Michigan! Check out this list of spots in Metro Detroit that offer outdoor dining.

New restaurant chain Twisted Rooster emphasizes ingredients grown or produced in Michigan.

Great news for fans of Slows BBQ.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Dinner Party

I'm in the middle of planning a dinner party for this Friday night. How do you plan parties? Do you have a list of recipes you always make? Or do you use the party as an excuse to try something new?

I like to try something new. Cooking for two may sound easy if you regularly cook for 4 or more, but it does have its limitations. Try making a leg of lamb roast for two and you'll be eating the leftovers for a week. Even something as small as a whole chicken is too much for two people - unless you use the leftovers to make chicken stock.

The advantage of a roast (beef, lamb or pork are the usual suspects) is that it typically only needs minimal work at the beginning and the end - leaving you with a good hour or two of hands-off cooking. After spending one too many dinner parties in the kitchen, trying to saute chicken breasts at the last minute, I'm a convert to the large roast. Or anything, really, that does the bulk of its cooking in the oven. Lasagnas and other baked pastas are great for that reason, too.

I also like to let the weather and the seasons guide my decisions. And although spring has finally come to Michigan, it still cools down at night, making my debate between something lighter (and more spring-like) and heavier (to combat the chill) that much tougher.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on party planning. Leave a comment and let me know how you do it. Are you inspired by food magazines? Or a new cookbook? Or would you rather meet your friends at a restaurant and avoid the cooking altogether?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Product Review: Trader Joe's White Salmon Alla Checca

While recently checking out the frozen fish at my local Trader Joe's, I came upon this little package. White Salmon Alla Checca, or Wild Salmon Fillets Marinated with Herbs & Spices. In addition to the white salmon (which I've never tried, or even heard of), the ingredients listed tomato, lemon juice, garlic, leeks, shallots and basil.  All those things sounded good to me and I'm always on the lookout for quick and tasty dinner options so decided to give it a try.

The package is sold by weight and the nutrition facts said the servings per container varied so I wasn't sure how many fillets I was buying. But $8/pound didn't seem ridiculous to me. Is that high? For an American product? It says it's a product of the USA so I hope that means the salmon is American, too.