March 27, 2009
So 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 »
March 22, 2009
When 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 »
March 20, 2009
For 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.
March 19, 2009
In 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 »
March 18, 2009
I don’t know about you, but I’m always frustrated when I’m looking for a recipe for something specific and come across literally dozens of variations that all seem pretty decent. So along comes Foodista.com, the first collaborative cooking website of its kind. Essentially this is a fully editable Wikipedia for recipes, tips and techniques. The duo behind the site gathered some 2 million recipes from around the web and then edited and combined them down to an initial compendium of about 1,500. In their words, “Foodista is a collaborative project to build the world’s largest, highest quality cooking encyclopedia. With your contributions, we can create a free resource that helps millions of people learn how to cook everything and anything”.
Sounds pretty good, right? Searching terms like “chicken” or “stir-fry” produced a plethora of recipes with nice pictures and easy-to-follow directions. Furthermore, there were links to information on techniques and equipment involved. All together, it was a pretty sweet package for someone who hasn’t been to culinary school but wants to try completely new things and cook delicious food.
Read the rest of this entry »