If English isn’t your primary language, coffee cake must be very confusing. I mean, there’s no coffee in it normally. It should be called “Cake you eat with coffee.” Of course, that doesn’t roll off the tongue really so people just say coffee cake.
My point is that some people are probably disappointed when they eat their coffee cake and discover that it has no actual coffee IN IT.
My kitchen has a cut-out section that overlooks our living room. It’s awesome for entertaining because I can still be a part of the conversation while cooking. I used to constantly watch TV while cooking when we didn’t have guests over because it was easy.
Since we’ve canceled cable though I’ve been listening to a lot more music in the kitchen. There’s something about music and cooking that go really well together I think. Sometimes I listen to a few customized playlists that I have, but lately I’ve been jamming out to a few specific albums.
So in true High Fidelity style, here are my top five cooking albums. To make the list the album has to be an all-around good album (I don’t want to be skipping around a lot). It should be up-tempo but also chill, if that makes sense.
Here are my top five of the moment:
5)Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards – Kind of an Indie Pop band that I started listening to a few years ago. I think they’re coming out with an new ablum soon, but this is one of my favorites for the kitchen.
4) CCR – Best of CCR- There’s not a bad song on this album. There’s not even an okay song on this album.
3) Eric Clapton’s – Unplugged- Classic songs with a cool acoustic vibe. Just amazing stuff on this record clean through from the first song to the last.
Flammkutchen with Red Onions – Ok. So I’ve never even heard of this dish, but it seems a bit like a pizza pie. The difference is that this is not quite as fussy as pizza. The dough can be thrown together relatively quickly and it bakes up into something really delicious! (@ Delicious Days)
The Bocce Ball - I’m always up for a good cocktail especially in the summer. This one looks refreshing and perfect. You could sip this anytime really. Say… while you’re reading the post about whether or not alcohol is healthy! (@ Savory Reviews)
I’ve been a bachelor all week because Betsy is in Colorado taking the bar exam. Well, a bachelor plus a cat I guess. But still. It means I don’t have to make the bed. So there.
I was super-pumped to make an awesome bachelor meal though and I was pretty excited when Chinese Take-out won the poll last week.
I had dreams of doing some pretty crazy stuff like a bunch of different dumplings or egg rolls or something, but then I remembered that I’m a bachelor and most bachelors are not gonna make dumplings for themselves. So I made chicken lo mein! (based on the suggestion of Julie the commenter).
I chose it because it’s pretty straightforward to make so maybe I can sway a bachelor to put down the phone and pick up the skillet! Plus it’s a ton of food. I’ve eaten it for three meals during the week and still have leftovers.
I was really itchin’ for a grilled cheese over the weekend but after my last sort of failed grilled cheese, I needed inspiration from others. So I sent out a Tweet and figured I’d get some delicious ideas from the Tweople. I got some really great suggestions!
Here’s a few of the suggested ideas:
@christianrock28 a caprese salad grilled cheese. Like tomatoes mozzarella cheese and basil. -Anita
I get a lot of really interesting emails from readers. Most of them are recipe-related but every once in a while someone will send me an article or story related to food politics, labeling, or other issues. I always check these out and sometimes link to them in my Friday’s Around The Internet Kitchen posts, but sometimes I get sent something that warrants its own post!
The email that this kind reader sent me was in regards to a recent study that was released, but as far as I can tell, didn’t receive much press. Maybe that’s because most people don’t find the results interesting, but I thought they were fascinating and worth discussing.
The survey was done by The Mid Atlantic Specialty Crops Research Initiative. This group, as far as I can tell, was formed from a USDA grant and is made up of members from a lot of varied backgrounds from food producers, to food sellers, to academics that study everything from food safety to food marketing.
What’s Natural Anyway? I think this report is interesting because it’s about a word that causes maybe the most amount of confusion on food labels: Natural. This word is super-confusing because it’s what I call half-regulated.
You see, it’s definition is regulated when it comes to meat and poultry, but not for anything else. Most consumers don’t know this so if they know the meat and poultry regulated definition, they think it applies to other foods as well.
If you see the term “natural” on a steak, for example, it’s regulated by the USDA and means:
“A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (such as – no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.)”
As it turns out, even this definition is pretty meaningless. You can inject cattle with all kinds of antibiotics, hormones, or whatever else you want and still call their steaks “natural” because you’re not adding anything to the “product.” Basically as long as you don’t dye it yellow or do anything else obviously weird to the meat, you can call it “natural.”
It’s not a great word to see on meat packaging because it doesn’t tell you much, but at least it tells you something.
Meanwhile, if you see the word on a non-meat product, it’s completely unregulated. That means that the word means whatever the producer of the product intends it to mean. I think you can see how this could be horrible for consumers.
So when you see “natural” on a product that’s not meat, remember that it can mean almost anything.
What do people THINK Natural Means? This is the real meat (ha) of the study. They asked about 1500 people in cities on the East Coast (although I’m not sure that the geography is important) what meanings they thought applied to the term “Natural.”
Participants could pick more than one and this bar graph represents what people selected:
Tacos need a revamp in America. Well, okay. A lot of food does, but tacos are the subject at hand. I think when most people think of tacos they imagine a cheesy, beefy situation that’s piled high with lettuce. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that on occasion but trust me when I say that it’s not the best taco.
It’s good, but you can do better.
And here’s the revamp that I’m proposing, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this: Kill the cheese.
A good taco doesn’t need cheese and in fact it can kind of get in the way if you use the wrong kind. Sometimes it’s good to go cheeseless.
These fish tacos are a perfect example. There’s only three parts to these tacos and adding cheese to them I just don’t think would get you anywhere.
Betsy heads off to Colorado today to take The Bar Exam and she asked me to make some energy bars that she could take into the test with her. As an aside, the people that administer the bar appear to be the most paranoid people in the world. A few of the things you can’t bring into the bar…
Garments with hoods, pockets, or linings
What’s funny about this list is that I’m sure the items on there are on there for a reason. Some genius student probably tried to cheat somehow by using costume jewelry and got caught. Given the ridiculous amount of information that you have to know for this test, I’m not even sure how you would cheat on it though.
I guess rather than actually study there might be people out there that will use the two months leading up to the bar to figure out how to print 1000 pages of material on the back of a Dr. Pepper label.
Anyway, so I decided to make these no-bake energy bars that are packed with peanut butter, nuts, coconut, and oats. For people that aren’t cheating, you’ll need some good brain food!