Posts Tagged ‘food’

A Much Anticipated Post

(April 27th, 2010)

Dearest Planet Earth, our exotic and beloved home,

I had a ball celebrating this year’s Earth Day with the annual feature-length film by Disneynature. I have found that it is a tradition to go with my friends each year to see nothing more than landscapes and animals on planet Earth. I treated myself to the film, Oceans, which came out on Thursday and was rather impressed. My friend interested in Zoology pointed out the names of sea creatures mentioned and kept me fed with random facts throughout the film. Even though the film did not have a distinguishable plot, line of characters, or special effects, all I can say is that the visuals truly capture your eye  and keep you attentive to this documentary. Every once in a while we would feast our eyes on the impressive feat of a whale or dolphin shooting out of the depths of the water or gasp at the ocean-floor-dwellers devouring their innocent prey. We would laugh at the penguins sliding on the ice into the antarctic waters or stare in awe as the baby sea turtles slowly dug their way to the surface of the sandy beach.  There was some brilliant footage of certain parts of the ocean that I never knew existed. It is such a vast area, and there are probably parts in the dark depths that man has never travelled. I wouldn’t say that I am that interested so much as to watch the entire volume of Planet Earth CDs by Discovery, but I just feel that every Earth Day we should treat ourselves to a little piece of the grand world that surrounds us and understand the power of protecting the environment and promoting life of all living creatures. Just like almost every nature documentary, Oceans talked about how pollution of the waters  has disrupted the lives of innumerable sea-creatures. It was rather sad to see a transition from crystal clear blue ocean to rusty, dirty pools of trash. At one point it showed a whole shopping cart on underwater on bed of sand. I mean, really, of all things? It would be rather nice if humans could just get along with this other parallel dimension. For a small segment at the end of the film, it showed a scuba diver approaching an innocuous shark swimming freely through the water. The diver followed the movements of its tail in a peaceful way as to not frighten it and kept up for it for some time. Such a bond between man and shark clearly shows how people can come closer to animals and stop abusing them.

Ever since the end of winter break, the focus of junior year has been on achievement in the upcoming test: the ACT. So far I’ve gone to classes for the five sections, just so that I can work for a higher score. We’ve taken a practice five-paragraph essay twice in English class. This test is just looked upon so seriously: it decides the level of college that you get into and decides the direction of your life. The intimidation starts with the fact that juniors have to sit in a room for five hours with one twenty-minute break in the middle. Electronic devices are denied entrance; not even a book or a snack out in the open.  The test alone is not even built to finish on a humane level. Having to look down at a bubbling sheet for hours, the neck gradually starts to suffer from such pain. The rather mind-numbing part, the essay question, is right at the end: the last thing that one wants to think about at that point of the test. The reading section is what I am mainly worried about. It is preposterous that the test only supplies thirty minutes to complete four readings and answer questions on each, in no particular order of difficulty or appearance in the reading. My weakness of reading fights against me in this test. Luckily my strength in mathematics helps me a bit. The math section is not only simple, but actually enjoyable. I finished the practice test with plenty of time to spare since I viewed each question as a puzzle or brain-teaser. Well, this test is tomorrow and I hope to say that I feel ready for it. Sleep and a healthy breakfast is what every adult has to tell you to do the night before, so I will definitely strive for that. I just hope my brain can deal with the intellectual burden that the ACT forces upon everyone.


I discovered something rather new this weekend: the intense flavor and texture of a homemade pizza. A couple of months ago a new pizza delivery service, HomeMade Pizza Co,  was erected in our neighborhood. Without a doubt, they have a unique style of preparing dishes. The company pools all the dough and toppings together and allows customers to cook pizzas from home in the oven or on the grill to truly press the title of “freshly baked”. This literal interpretation becomes profoundly visible when this bakery-fresh delicacy arrives at the dinner table. Beforehand, the customer is given a variety of options on the structure of their pizza: from breading to cheeses, sauces, and toppings to spices. It is now perfectly acceptable to call this a finely crafted piece of art, suited to the consumer’s taste. I absolutely loved the first time I tried my own. I decided on a sausage pizza with basil and oregano spices; I could already smell the sticky dough brim when I tore the plastic wrap off. Overall, this pizza has a natural taste, unlike the greasy fast-food pizzas from places like Dominoes or Pizza Hut. The bread is just like heaven: it is nice and fluffy inside, feels and tastes fresh on the outside. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to any pizza lover, since the restaurant gives you the freedom to experiment with different flavors. Their website is located here.


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Donut Holes!

Donut holes: simple and spherical little morsels that every simple cook ought to make at least once. I was so excited when I had found out that we would make them in cooking club one week, so I decided to take a couple of pictures. The little donuts turned out to be pretty tasty, and I thought that I might share our success with them to the world. The process is pretty simple. Here is a list of things needed to create a batch:
* 1 canister of Pillsbury biscuit dough
* vegetable oil
* crock pot
* cooling rack
* large spoon that can strain liquids
*optional: granulated sugar, cinnamon powder, cocoa powder, any fruit jelly. These would be used for the toppings.
1. Start by preheating the crock pot to 350 degrees and fill the basin with vegetable oil: enough so that the donuts can fry in it later.
2.Open up the canister of biscuit dough. It should already be divided into sections. Divide each section into four equal parts and roll into balls.
3. Once the oil is hot in the crock pot, drop in the balls of dough and begin to rotate them in the oil so that they are cooked on all sides. Once they are golden brown, pick them up with the large spoon and let the oil drain out
4. Let the donut cool on the cooking rack, but still let it retain some heat so that toppings will stick to them.
For a chocolate glazed donut, mix granulated sugar with cocoa power in a small bowl and roll the donut hole in the mixture until it is completely coated. The rough surface of the coating will start to melt and become more of a glaze
For a cinnamon donut, mix granulated sugar with cinnamon powder and repeat steps above.
For a plain glazed donut, simply roll the donut hole in granulated sugar.
For a jelly donut, dip the donut into any fruit jelly of choice.

Donuts leave you with such a clear slate, so you can basically dress them up any way that is most desired. Be creative with your batch of donuts!




Macaroni and Cheese!

(January 8th, 2010)

Dear Planet Earth,

I was so delighted to finally come home from this long, dreadful week at school. I have been anticipating it all day and I’d worked up a massive headache from schoolwork by the last period. The walk home wasn’t so smooth, since I had to tread through deep snow on the sidewalks, unable to pass on the busy streets, but I was glad that I even made it to my doorstep. I’m glad to finally get a nice relaxing break from all the stress. It seemed as though as each day went by, the load of work increased. I was pleading for a snow day to come on Thursday, but the weather never responded back. Luckily I had a little break on Wednesday, which was the day of cooking club!  I had been called out of class the day before to answer a couple of questions for the yearbook, since I am one of the people in charge. I was so proud to be recognized; I deeply answered each question they threw at me in order to give them enough to write about.  By the time Wednesday came around I felt like I was in the groove of things, ready to cook up a new dish with some of my friends/ table mates. To my surprise we were cooking an all-time favorite: Macaroni and Cheese!

Yes, Mac & Cheese, an all-time favorite. How rather intriguing that my website and this delicious meal correspond. It sparked an idea inside me: how about including a delicious recipe of my own? No no no… I’m not talking about the cheap, microwaveable macaroni dinners that have a foul taste. I’m talking about a smooth, creamy, scrumptious meal that will cause a group of hungry barbarians to attack and devour it. Or, at least in my own case of trying this recipe. I was unable to grasp a photo of the bowl because people were already starting to take portions from it by the time I got my camera out. Anyway, here is what results when you cook this recipe:


Everyone starts to go after it!

Any delicious Macaroni and Cheese meal is based on how creamy the cheese sauce is. If it tastes bitter, dry, or chunky in the dish, it would be best find a better recipe, such as the one provided:

You will need just five ingredients to make the most gooey cheese sauce you’ve ever tasted in your life!
2 T. Butter
2 T. Flour
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 cup cheese
1 cup milk

Instructions:
1. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat, continuously stirring. Once melted remove from heat. (It’s best to do this so that the mixture doesn’t get burnt on the bottom)

2. Stir in flour and salt to make a paste; add milk a little at a time

3. Return the pan to the stove-top and cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Once thickened, remove it from the heat again. (It is best to remove it from the heat because when working with dairy products, they tend to overcook very easily, which causes the cheese sauce to come out not as smooth).

4. Add the type of cheese preferred. It is better to add in a variety of different kinds in order to have an interesting, unique flavor. Stir it until it is completely melted

Follow the instructions on the back of a box of macaroni. Usually one cup of noodles is enough to feed one person, so multiply that by the total number of people intended to feed. Once the noodles are done, you can just pour it in a bowl, top it with the cheese sauce and mix.

You can also add some spice to it afterword to give your mac and cheese a kick. I recommend sprinkling some onion powder on top; I just love the flavor it adds to the dish. If you can take the heat, try hot sauce as well! Try experimenting with other toppings, you never know what you are going to find!

The cheese recipe could also be used for fondue, and it can also be used to top other foods such as different types of vegetables. Have fun working with the recipe.

Bon Appétit!

Crêpes!

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I felt like sharing a recipe that I had prepared a couple of days ago for some delicious crêpes. I’ve been dieing to make them ever since I got something to top it with! My creation is shown above in the form of a dessert crêpe: decked out with chocolate syrup, a french vanilla ice cream filling, nutella, and powdered sugar! Of course, crêpes can be prepared in several ways, including a breakfast crêpe (with fruit  whipped cream, or pancake syrup), or a savory crêpe (with cheese, turkey, chicken and/or vegetables). Depending on what kind of mood one is in, a crêpe can be prepared to fit that style! Below is a basic recipe that I used to make the one above. It serves about four people, so make sure there are some hungry guests who would be delighted to try some as well!

Ingredients:
2 Large Eggs
2/3 a cup of milk
1/2 a cup of flour
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1/4 a teaspoon of salt

1. To start off, melt the butter in a microwave. It ought to take only 30 seconds depending on the type of microwave.
2. Mix together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl:  the eggs, milks, flour, butter,  sugar and salt. It could take a little while! The lumps should disappear after about a minute or so. Even if there are still some small lumps afterwards, it really shouldn’t affect the taste or texture in the end
3. Place a skillet of medium size on a stove top at medium heat. Apply some form of grease to the surface. It is best to use vegetable oil or a small amount of butter. Sprinkle a small amount of water on the pan to see if it is warm enough. If the water starts to dance (aka sizzle), then you are set!
4. Measure 1/4 a cup of the batter and pour onto the hot skillet. Tilt the pan so that the batter flows to clear the empty areas on the pan. Once the edges of the crêpe start to turn a little brown, it is ready to flip! For the first crêpe, this may take a while, but the time required on the skillet will decrease as the cook makes more. I’ve found that it is best to use a spatula to scrape the edges off the sides of the pan before flipping it so that it does not collapse into pieces. Let the crêpe cook on the opposite side (it shouldn’t take as long to cook).
5. Dress with toppings and eat immediately. These crêpes cool off very quickly!

Have some fun spicing up your crêpe! I had one other thing to say: the Mikeroni page is now going to be merged in with the homepage. All of my past entries will still be located on the page, but the ones for 2010 and later will come out in the form of posts. I’ve found this to be more efficient and visible to viewers, which is why I’ve decided to bring this into effect. Anyway, I hope everyone had a great New Years. I decided to spend mine at my friends house this year, which is a complete change of plan for me. Anyway, I came around six and we had snacks, played video games, and watched a movie. Most importantly, we tuned in to watch the ball drop in Times Square. I barely recognized it since my trip there during last spring break; there were so many people cheering and partying! Anyway, some wise guy decided to light some fireworks at midnight, so we all went outside in the below-freezing weather and started yelling and screaming. A while later, my friend showed me how to use my iPod, since I had just gotten one a couple of days ago (I know, I don’t really keep with the times *heh*). iTunes still bothers me greatly! I still am confused how to navigate its many tabs, pages, and clickables. I do hope I will eventually get used to it. In the mean time, I’ve been relying on my family to set it up for me. So far it hasn’t been great, since one wrong move in syncing it with my computer completely clears away all of the songs I had put on it. I slept over at my friends house that night, it was just so late to get a ride. Luckily there was a guest bedroom: it was sweltering hot during the night, but I managed. My friend told me that I finally fell asleep around 2:25am -exhausted. I don’t know how, but he managed to fall to sleep in a rocking chair! How uncomfortable! We woke up around eight o’clock. I’m not sure why, but waking up during a sleepover is always an awkward moment, since the early bird has to check over on their friend to see if he/she is up yet. Plus, it is nearly impossible to tell whether someone is fake sleeping, resting, actually sleeping, fake resting, or just lying in bed. The signals are so screwed up, that early bird just has to wait for that other guy to make a move. My panic about “what to ask/what to say” finally ended around ten: we decided to actually get up. I enjoyed a nice bowl of cereal and freshened up for the day.

Can you believe the school week is coming back in two days? It is rather frightening to think about, since I’ve been away from academic thoughts for so long. I hope I didn’t knock out any brain cells! It’s going to take a little while to readjust, but I believe in myself.

Breakfast Delight!


Happy Thanksgiving to all! I’ve been dieing to write about a recipe that I’ve made in the past several times that I have completely made and perfected. As you might not know, I adore cooking, and it is something that I continue to do in my free time. I help out at the cooking club at my school and we play with tons of recipes. In short, I just want to put a little more of myself into this website, since I have been working on it for over two years. The recipe I want to share with you today is one that I’ve created myself based on my love for the very first meal of the day, Breakfast, of course! Whenever I eat out at pancake houses or other joints serving breakfast foods, I am usually torn apart on what to order, because of the number of options available. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve discovered the legendary “Breakfast Sandwich” which combines several continental breakfast based foods into one delicious, not-quite-so-nutritious sandwich. This mighty burger is packed with various flavors that I have come to know and love. After enjoying myself a couple of times, I came up with the idea of creating my own recipe to make at home, with all of the flavors I adore. After several attempts, I finally perfected a delicious sandwich, which I am dieing to share with the world. Above is a picture of my culinary masterpiece. Isn’t it just beautiful? I decided to make them in the style of a slider, or a mini-burger. Two should be enough to quench any size of hunger in the morning. I’ve come up with a list of steps to follow in order to make your own in the kitchen!

First of all, there are a couple of ingredient that need to be acquired before setting off to cook:
2 plain mini bagels (whole wheat bagels could work as well.)
2 sausage patties (feel free to substitute it with bacon.)
2 slices of American Cheese
1 medium-sized potato (Idaho potatoes work the best for this.)
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. of vegetable oil (olive oil works too)
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of pepper

1/4 tsp. of minced onion (onion powder works as well.)

Along with that there are a couple of other things that should be on hand:
Medium-sized frying pan
Small frying pan
Cheese grater
Cutting board
Apple peeler
Spatula
Paper towels (in the case of any spillage)

1. Form the sausage patties to be about 1/4 inch in thickness and place in the medium-sized frying pan. Turn heat on to the lowest setting and let the meat cook until it turns brown on both sides. This will take quite a while to cook, so set it aside.
2. Meanwhile, peel of skin of the potato and grate it over a cutting board. Use a paper towel or a strainer to get rid of all of the liquid from the potato. Add in minced onions.
3. Heat up 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in the small pan on Med-High- High setting and add in the potato and onion. Flatten out using a spatula into the pan until a thin pancake shape is formed. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper on one side. Flip once the opposite side is of a golden color. Once cooked fully, remove from pan.
4. Crack eggs into the same pan (it should already be greasy from the vegetable oil still) and scramble on Med heat (frying them would work too).
5. Set bagels with open ends up on a plate (toasting them would be beneficial to do beforehand). Assemble in any order, as long as the cheese is not on the bottom, since it will seep through the hole in the bagel.
6. Enjoy your precious creation!

This really is a simple recipe that doesn’t require the purchase of that many extra ingredients, but it sure is a tasty addition to any morning. Enjoy! 🙂

Tribute To Potatoes

My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.” ~Oprah Winfrey

The classic game, Hot Potato involves players gathering in a circle and tossing a small object to each other while music plays. When the music stops, the player with the “Hot Potato” steps out. In the real world today, who would even dare to give up one of those darling little foods? The potato is just one of the most delicious, nutritious, and most widely eaten foods on the planet. So next time that “Hot Potato” lands in the palm of your hands, don’t pass it around to the next person. If it is too hot to hold, just put it down on the table, pull out your fork and eat it right up!

Mr Potato Head: the sacred shrine that represents the entire incredible, edible race of potatoes. All potatoes must bow down to the all mighty leader, the Head. Okay, maybe not, but the point is that Mr. Potato head symbolized one of the most tasty, delectable foods that has made such a positive impact on our planet. Remember when you were little, watching the Toy Story movies? They had just come out, and they were a hit at the box office. It was one of my favorite movies when I was about five. In fact, I loved all of those classic Disney movies from the nineties. But this movie had one peculiar character; he might have not stood out so much, but just the idea of him made me giggle.  A plastic potato with removable facial features is more fun than a barrel of monkeys! Ever since I was little, I have always loved playing with food, and what could be better than making a funky fresh potato with sunglasses, a cap, and shoes. It turns out that I was all wrong to think that the legendary Mr. Potato head started with the release of Toy Story. It had actually become a hit way back in 1952 when Hasbro released it to the public so that children all around the world could enjoy playing with food! A fantastic idea. Not only fun for the children, but also great for fastidious parents that like their dinner table clear of food, but also like their kids to enjoy playing with comida.

potatoes

Meet the dream team: the crops that are like heroes to developing nations, because they are the most important crops on the planet. Humans consume these more than any other. They are the potato, the rice, the yam, and the corn. There are more that apply, but these are the most well-known of the crops. Anyway, just push aside the other three, because our main focus is on that funny guy with the beanie on the left: the potato. If you did not know, last year was the international year of the potato according to the Food and Agricultural Organization! Oh yeah, go taters! So that gave declaration of the rights to potatoes and all the other starchy edible tubulars because they totally dominate over all other crops. If you did not know, the potato is the number one non-grain food commodity, with 325 million tons grown in 2007. The potato is getting most of its global support from the developing nations. They chow down on almost half of all of the potatoes that are grown. Because the population is growing by a large number of people every year, the world needs some reliance on a source of food, and the potato is there to take that role, and become the super hero of the food industry. I remember learning in Hebrew school (I am Jewish) that in Hebrew, potato translates as tapuach adama, which literally means apple of the ground. I found this interesting, because it is as if saying that potato has all of the sweetness of an apple. Although it is not literally “sweet” it represents everything good because it is just such a help to all of humanity.

There are so many different ways to prepare the potato, and there are also thousands of different species of the potato to enjoy, and so there are endless possibilities to enjoy this amazing food. In the United States alone, only 33% of the potatoes are eaten fresh. 61% is processed into frozen products such as those Ore-Ida french fries or potato wedges, dried out and turned into potato chips, and turned into starch – all processes that remove the majority of the nutrients in the potato. the other 6% is used for replanting the seeds to grow more. In the United States, it really is a shame that a fewer number of people are eating the potatoes fresh. The consumption has declined from 22kg per person in 1999 to 16kg in 2006. Probably one of the most famous states for growing potatoes is Idaho. What is so important about Idaho when it comes to finding a perfect potato? Well, the potatoes grown in Idaho have a high solids content, so there’s more potato and less water. They also get that light and fluffy texture when you put them in your mouth. The soil in Idaho is very dense with nutrients, which makes those spuddies so darn tasty.

Potatoes are great when they are mashed, baked and fried, but did you know that they also can be used as batteries to power up a clock or a small LED light? Last year, I had to do an experiment to show that the potato could be used to power a small light. It turns out that it takes only about ten potatoes to make that light bulb start to spark with light. Me and my partner for the project had set up a system. We turned off the lights and connected to final wire.  To our amazement, there was a small flicker of light coming from the bulb. Unfortunately, we couldn’t present it to the class because we had to set it up from scratch at school. So after a week of research and collecting of supplies we had to start over and do origami instead. Anyway, I still remember how awesome it was to figure out that potatoes could really have the energy to light it up. It shows the amazing, perplexing power of the legendary Idaho potato. There are a lot of complex answers that neither me or my partner could decipher on why this works. The simple answer is that the potato contains a lot of phosphorous, which transmits the energy to the light bulb making it glow.  I may be 100% off on that answer, but that is the reason that I have come to know and love after that research attempt.

The potato is eaten all around the globe. It truly is a global food because almost every culture on the planet utilizes this stupendous crop. In case you were wondering where the great potato comes from, let’s pull out our history books and turn to page– no you don’t have to do that. The short version of that story is that the potato was eaten in the Andes for over 8 thousand years, and after the Spanish got a hold of it, they realized how awesome the potato was, and so they spread it far and wide across the rest of the globe. Thanks, guys! I don’t know what I would do without that potato on my plate!

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