The Chopping Block Gets Chopped

March 27, 2009

marcopierre-whiteSo after only 3 episodes NBC’s The Chopping Block is getting the axe.  For any poor soul who actually sat through a full 45 minute episode of this complete tragedy of a TV show, this comes as no surprise.  Because I love TV shows that involve food (or anything that involves food, really), I actually watched all three in the hopes that perhaps this would improve over time and hit its stride.  But no, it just continued to be pretty much some of the worst reality TV I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot.

So how exactly did a reality cooking show fail?  First of all, there was the set-up.  Pairs of 2 friends or family members formed two larger teams that each had a restaurant.  Across the street from one another, these restaurants would compete every week in a challenge, be judged by a secret critic who would dine at each, and then one of the pairs on the losing team would get the axe by Marco Pierre White.  Not only could I have cooked anything better than a lot of the “chefs” on the show, but no one was even interesting to watch.  Usually a few people emerge in a reality TV show who just add entertainment value.  But no Stephen or Marcel (both of Top Chef fame) existed; the contestants were untalented and uninteresting.  Furthermore, most of them were complete wimps.  They would complain that cooking with fresh produce picked out of Central Park was too hard, and a lame excuse for a “harsh judging” would have people leaving in tears.  I honestly wanted to smack them.

But the worst part of this show was the host, Marco Pierre White.  Hailed as a world-renowned chef who once made Gordon Ramsay cry, I was expecting him to be mean, loud and massively entertaining.  Instead he was conceited and annoying, and by the end of each episode I wanted to take an axe to the screen just to make him go away.  Read the rest of this entry »

Food-isms of the Day

March 26, 2009
  • Oatmeal for a dollar!  Print out your coupon and go get some delicious oatmeal at Jamba Juice right now!
  • The James Beard Awards are announced!  Check out the full list.  Anyone else a little disappointed by the food blogger nominees?  They’re One Block Diet, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and BA Foodist.  There are so many more innovative and more entertaining blogs out there by highly qualified people!
  • The Bread Art Project wants you to make your own bread art!  The best part?  For every piece you create, $1 gets donated to Feeding America.
  • Just when you thought people might start eating healthier, America proves us wrong once again.  Although if you want one meal for two days this will do the trick.  And if you can finish this monstrosity, you get a free t-shirt.  That is, if you can still fit into it…
  • There are a lot of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, but when did using “eco-friendly ice cubes” become one of them?!  Useful overseas where water isn’t clean, but in America?  How far are people going to go with this stuff?
  • I love coffee.  I love ice cream.  This is heavenStarbucks has teamed up with Unilever instead of the massively inferior Dreyer’s.  Unilever is the maker of both Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers.  B&J’s will always be number one on my list, and Breyer’s still destroys Dreyer’s in any match-up.  I’m already searching for where I can find these cartons of delight, not to mention ice cream bars!
  • In Chicago, the cops are called when a special at El Pollo Loco caused a complete mob of people looking for some low-priced chicken.  I guess people were taking the name El Pollo Loco (The Crazy Chicken) a little too literally!

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News: Bad Economy Brings 3 Buck Bites

March 22, 2009

3buckbitesWhen it comes to spending money I’ve never been one to turn down an incredible dinner at one of my favorite restaurants because it’s too expensive.  I’d rather splurge on a perfectly cooked steak or a delicious new dish than on a dress or electronics.  But as I get ready to leave college and face the grim prospect of finding a job in the seriously railroaded architecture industry, I am faced an unavoidable fact: I will very soon be flat broke.  Needless to say this has completely demolished my tendency toward fine dining.

Enter 3 Buck Bites, Citysearch’s remedy for the monetarily-challenged.  Foodies who have searched their local area for the best and cheapest food they can find can submit pictures and reviews of restaurants and dishes, and the best part is that everything is $3.99 or less!  Essentially this is the Dollar Menu for people who like good food (except not even Subway’s $5 footlong could make it onto this list). Read the rest of this entry »

Swapped and Popped Corn

March 21, 2009

popcorn2I am swamped with work at the moment and stress-eating like mad, so when I was craving something spicy today I threw together one of my favorite recipes: spicy guilt-free popcorn.  I air-popped the kernels in the microwave, threw some spicy goodness on top and indulged without feeling a single trace of remorse because these babies are packed with flavor and not with calories!  I highly encourage messing around with the spices; this is just one that I happened to throw together today.  I really like to use India Tree’s Paloma de Colores kernels because they’re tastier and less kernel-y (and actually barely need any seasoning), but regular store-brand kernels work fine, too.  I fully intend on making this again tonight for a guilty-pleasure Twilight viewing with my friends!

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News: Jacques Torres To Make Ice Cream

March 20, 2009

jacquestorresFor anyone who’s ever had Jacques Torres super-thick, super-incredible Hot Chocolate or his highly addictive chocolate chip cookies, something may be on the books for you: Jacques Torres ice cream! The Huffington Post revealed that he is now considering opening an ice cream shop complete with seating next door to his first chocolate store in Brooklyn.   Furthermore, we might have an ice cream truck on the books! I don’t even want to think how long the line would be for that truck if it started trolling the streets of Manhattan.  If it does, though, expect to see me there. I have in fact been known to wait almost two hours in line for Garrett’s Popcorn in Chicago when the irresistible urge hits me.   Currently he sells ice cream sandwiches during the summer (which I’ve never had, but I’ve heard amazing things), but the new store would be selling “ice cream with chocolate and passion fruit, raspberry, peanut butter, banana”.   Sounds delicious!  There’s nothing like going out for good homemade ice cream.

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Daily Food-isms

March 20, 2009
  • Bissinger’s Confections merges a hard-boiled egg with a Cadbury Cream Egg just in time for the Easter season.  Would you actually pay alomst $10 per egg for what is essentially a hunk of chocolate housed in an eggshell?
  • Burpee develops a Seedless Tomato!  This may be something that I will be attempting to grow this summer in my backyard!
  • The New York Times wants you to find out what your cooking personality is.  I actually fell under every single category, so I guess I’m a cooking mutant 🙂
  • Now that spring break’s almost over, some of us suddenly realize all the procrastination we’ve been doing was not a good idea. Yahoo helps in avoiding hyperventilation with 7 anxiety-fighting foods. Now I have an excuse to try and review Vosges’ Chocolate Bacon bar!
  • Smoothies aren’t always good for you!  ABC News teams up with Mat Bean of Men’s Health to highlight 4 of the worst mall foods you can eat. I don’t know about you, but I’d take the 13 chocolate frosted Dunkin’ Donuts over the grape monstrosity any day!
  • Fast food meets sustainability?  Enter Burgerville, the restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest that offers seasonal cooking with local and sustainable ingredients.  Anyone been?  I want to know if the food’s good, because to be honest, the name of the place is horrendous.

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Soy Vay’s the Way to Go

March 19, 2009

soyvayteriyakiIn honor of National Poultry Day, I am reviewing a way to use one of my easiest, tastiest, fastest ways to cook America’s staple meat: chicken.  Some time ago I impulsively found Soy Vay’s Marinades and Sauces at the grocery store.  Initially I just like the design of the bottles: little boats and fun looking writing on a larger-than-usual bottle.  I was further intrigued when I discovered that not only are all the sauces completely organic and preservative-free, but they’re also completely kosher because, in their cute little story, “Jewish Boy Meets Chinese Girl and SOY VAY!  A Sauce is Born!”.  Nutritionally, they’re relatively low-calorie, although the sodium content is very high (although expected in soy-based sauces).  My personal favorite in the line is Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki. In fact, this stuff is so good it’s not only the only teriyaki marinade I use now, it’s also the only teriyaki sauce that Trader Joe’s even sells.

Initially I used this alone just to figure out how it would taste cooked when chicken was marinated in it.  It’s a little thicker than regular teriyaki sauces, and you have to shake the bottle pretty well to ensure that all the sesame seeds that aggregate at the bottom are mixed in.  I had some chicken thighs, so I dumped them in a plastic bag with a generous amount of the sauce.  About 2 hours later, I removed them from the bag, put them on a baking dish with some of the sauce and cooked them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  What I ended up with were honestly some of the best chicken thighs I’ve had.  Read the rest of this entry »