Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Day of the Great Garlic Massacre

So I'm an avid Babylon 5 fan, which my father introduced me to, and purchased the cookbook for my father on Fathers' Day a few years back.

Mr. Garibaldi's Bagna Cauda recipe was something I always wanted to try, and we finally did it tonight.

Looking over the recipe, I knew I couldn't use basil, I wanted to try something I could share with my roommate. The thyme worked well as a yummy substitute.

Anchovies are apparently hard to find in Germany, we were forced to use anchovy paste (which worked just fine).

But the garlic. I knew we had plenty of fresh garlic (almost a full bulb) and so didn't think about getting another one.

I started to chop, and discovered that the cloves I grabbed had started sprouting. So I grabbed more. Same thing. And more, and more... the entire bulb had started to sprout. I had been cutting the cloves in half and pushing them off the cutting board.

Cloves and garlic peels everywhere, trying to find something acceptable. There was naught but a clove. Whoops. Okay.

I shuffled through the carnage, trying to find the least green pieces. We were only doing a half recipe, but 2.5 tablespoons of garlic when you've got a clove to work with isn't the best feeling. I ripped apart the second best cloves, pulling sprouts out of them. I minced it all fine, and then measured it. Half a tablespoon short.

At this point, the garlic mess is all over the counter and my father is wondering if I need help (and not with the cooking).

I managed to get the last half tablespoon without too much more carnage (but have you seen how much space most of a bulb of garlic can take up when it's in about 100 pieces?!)

It came out perfectly, if a little salty (even without any extra salt!)

Bagna Cauda recipe from Dining on Babylon 5 (slightly modified, original in parentheses)
8 fl. oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
125 g Butter
5 tbsp minced garlic
10 anchovy fillets
Salt, pepper, (1/4 tsp) thyme (basil) and (1/2 tsp) oregano to taste

Heat the oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies in a pan until the butter melts. Simmer for 4 minutes and then add seasonings.

Eat like a fondue! (Toast was great, though the recipe also recommended carrots and bell peppers)

Bagna cauda keeps surprisingly well in the fridge. I reheated it in the microwave for about a minute and it turned out just fine (go by the smell. When it stops smelling like anchovies and starts smelling like bagna cauda again, you're good).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Let's talk about steak for a moment.

In my recent travels, I had the delightful experience of eating a perfectly cooked steak. I asked for a rare steak, my preferred method of eating them.

The kind waitress warned me that it would be "very rare."

The steak was beautiful. Seared on the outside, pink and cool on the inside. The center had obviously never seen 145 degrees. It looked more like a perfectly cooked piece of tuna than a steak. There was blood on the plate.

It was easily the best steak I had ever eaten. Now why can't we have such nice things in steak houses in the United States? Why are people so paranoid about the germs?

I do understand people who have compromised immune systems or other concerns, but what is it about over cooked steak that appeals to people?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Airports, oh Airports

It's been a while, but I've been traveling.

Airports are not the ideal place for eating healthy. Depending on the location of the airport in question, results may vary. In Toronto, I found a place called "Coyote Jack's" a burger place that wasn't fast food.

Chicago had a number of pizza places, though I didn't eat during my time there.

In Riga in Latvia there was a small sandwich shop that provided good food.

Some recommendations:

Avoid fast food (obviously)
Look for local food places if in a foreign country
Bring your own food if possible

So what is not "fast food"?
Any place that makes their own food (not just heating up pre-made food)
Places with a high turn over - not a lot of product sitting around
What is the local food like? Chicago = pizza, things like that

Following those guidelines, I managed to stay allergy-free despite spending nearly 2 days in various airports.

Anyway, I'm still jet lagged badly (went from Washington state to Germany!) so good night all!