My blogging meltdown…

Archived: March, 2010

So, I’m having an existential blog crisis I think. When I launched The Hedonist Cook I said to myself “I’m gonna post something EVERY day, no matter what! It will keep me motivated.” Then after a few weeks a couple days would go by and nothing really inspired me. Or maybe I was inspired, but I was too busy enjoying life to stop and write about it. Or I wanted to spend an entire weekend giggling with a cute boy. These things happen you know. And this little voice would say, “You’re failing! No one is going to look at your blog unless you post every single day!” And all of a sudden, posting to the website started to seem like a chore instead of the wonderfully fun thing it was intended to be.

After a week or so of thought, this is the conclusion I’ve come to:  Why would I want to post crap I don’t care about just to have something new up? My lovely readers are smart enough to notice if I’m posting things I don’t care about. And on top of that, it’s such an un-hedonist way to go about it, you know? It’s not that I’m going to stop working, but I’m cutting myself a little slack. I’ll be posting at least one video a week, every Thursday at 4pm est. In addition, I’m committing to post at least one new recipe a week. Besides that, I’ll write when I feel like it, which tends to be pretty regular when I’m not freaking out about it. (In case you haven’t noticed, me and obligation are not great friends.) The crazy thing is, just admitting all this makes me feel soooo much better, I already want to write again! :)

Whew, thanks for listening to all that… If you feel like it, let me know what you think. Is one video a week enough? And if so, what kind of things do you want to learn to make? Is there some random cooking technique that you’ve heard about but don’t know what it means? Are you dying to find out how to rice a potato? Tell me. I love a challenge, and I love hearing from you guys. It truly makes my whole day. I hope ya’ll are doing good and enjoying the hell out of your life.

xoxo,

Melanie

P.S. My brilliant friend Leo writes a blog about editing, and all I can think of is him reading this and mentally red marking all the errors! Good thing I know he loves me anyway. If  you appreciate humor, intelligence and writing, you should check out his website.

Video: How to Dredge Meat

Archived: March, 2010 | Related topics: , , ,

Ingredients

  • Beef for stew (that what it’s called on the package, it’s easy to find at any supermarket)
  • Flour (All purpose is fine)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cayenne powder
  • Garlic

Here’s a quick video on how to dredge meat. I know, it sounds weird but it’s really simple. When you dredge meat you coat the meat (in this video it’s beef for stew) with flour and some seasoning. Then you put it in a pan with some oil and brown the meat. This is done because it creates a nice “crust” on the meat, it increases the flavor and most importantly it helps thicken your stew. Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions.

xoxo,

Melanie

Truffle – Definition

Archived: March, 2010 | Related topics: , , , , ,

It’s hard to believe that one of the rarest and most expensive foods in the world is located by pigs and dogs. This exceptional fungus grows 3 to 12 inches underground near the roots of trees (usually oak but also chestnut, hazel and beech), never beyond the range of the branches. The difficult-to-find truffle is routed out by animals that have been specially trained for several years. Pigs have keener noses, but dogs are less inclined to gobble up the prize. Once the truffle is found, the farmer (trufficulteur) scrapes back the earth, being careful not to touch the truffle with his hands (which will cause the fungus to rot.) If the truffle isn’t ripe, it’s carefully reburied for future harvesting. This methodically slow and labor-intensive harvesting method is what makes truffles so extremely expensive. Truffles have been prized by gourmets for centuries and were credited by the ancient Greeks and Romans with both therapeutic and aphrodisiac powers. A truffle has a rather unappealing appearance-round and irregularly shaped with a thick, rough, wrinkled skin that varies in color from almost black to off-white.

Of the almost 70 known varieties, the most desirable is the BLACK TRUFFLE, also known as black diamond. Its extremely PUNGENT flesh is black with white striations. The next most popular the the WHITE TRUFFLE. Fresh imported truffles are available from late fall to midwinter in specialty markets. Choose firm, well-shaped truffles with no sign of blemishes. Truffles should be used as soon as possible after purchase but can be stored up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To take full advantage for their perfumy fragrance, bury them in a container of rice or whole eggs and cover tightly before refrigeration. The scent will permeate whatever truffles are stored with, giving the cook a flavor bonus. Brush any surface dust off the truffle and peel the dark species. White truffles need not be peeled. Canned truffles, truffle paste in a tube and, to a limited extent, frozen truffles are also found in specialty stores. Dark truffles are generally used to flavor foods such as OMELETS, POLENTAS, RISOTTOS and sauces, like the famous PERIGUEUX. The more mildly flavored white truffles are usually served raw by grating them over foods such as pasta or cheese dishes. They’re also added at the last minute to cooked dishes. A special implement called a truffle slicer can be used to shave off paper-thin slivers and slices of truffle. Dishes flavored or garnished with truffles are often referred to as à la périgourdine.

(There is a great essay on truffles in a book I love, “The Man who ate Everything” by Jeffrey Steingarten. I would highly recommend getting it. Here’s a short review if you want to learn more.)

Strawberry Tart… Hedonist Pic of the Day

Archived: March, 2010

Amazing pictures by my friend Shannon, check out her other stuff!

Click here for more amazing food pics from my friend Shannon…. Do it. Now.

Video: Quick, delicious pasta sauce

Archived: March, 2010 | Related topics: , , , , , , ,

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 32oz. cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (triple the amount if fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want heat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of black pepper (more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat till tender and somewhat translucent
  2. Add basil, pepper flakes, oregano, marjoram, bay leaf (and any other seasonings you may want into saucepan and stir for 2 minutes
  3. Add both cans of tomatoes (including juice), salt, sugar and pepper and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  • This recipe was soooo easy! What I like so much about it is how versatile it is. If you’re a new cook, just follow the recipe and it will turn out great. If you’re a little more comfortable in the kitchen, trying adding some things. Red wine, vodka, cheese, meat, different seasonings, there’s really no limit.
  • Also, don’t forget that this is a great recipe to double. It doesn’t increase your cooking time, and pasta sauce freezes great! I like to put it in zip-lock sandwich bags, freeze it, and then when I’m in the mood for a simple meal I can pull one out and defrost it real quick.

Garbanzo bean, lentil and vegetable Stew – Recipe

Archived: March, 2010 | Related topics: , , , , , ,


Close up of amazing Vegetarian Stew, yum!

makes 4 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 15 to 16 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 carrots, peeled and cup in 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup frozen Lima beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (looks great but you don’t have to have it.)
  • 1 oz bag fresh spinach leaves (or 1/2 a bag of frozen)

Stew on rice with cornbread

Directions

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium low heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft and golden (about 10 minutes)
  2. Add tomato paste, coriander, caraway and cayenne; stir one minute.
  3. Stir in broth, water and lentils. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are almost tender about 15 minutes.
  4. Add garbanzo beans, carrots, Lima beans and parsley. Cover and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
    (If you want, you can cool this and refrigerate this a day ahead. Bring it back to a simmer before continuing)
  5. Stir spinach info stew. Cover and cook just until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls, over rice, and prepare to really enjoy your meal!

Who knew vegetarian food could be so good?!

Hedonist Pic of the Day… French Toast

Archived: March, 2010

Keep an eye out for the video on how to make this deliciousness!

Polenta – Definition

Archived: March, 2010 | Related topics: , ,

[poh-LEHN-tah] A staple of northern Italy, polenta is a MUSH made from cornmeal. It can be eaten hot with a little butter or cooled until firm, cut into squares and fried. Polenta is sometimes mixed with cheese such as Parmesan or Gorgonzola. It can be served as a first course or side dish and makes hearty breakfast fare.

Hedonist pic of the Day… Falafel

Archived: March, 2010 | Related topics: ,

Heaven wrapped in Aluminum foil…

Yummy Falafel from Ali Baba's!