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Digital Dish copyright 2005 Press For Change Publishing LLC
Digital Dish is the first ever compilation of the best writing from food blogs. Find out more at Press For Change and place an order!

 

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The Meatrix I'm not a vegetarian but I dislike factory farming and I support small, family farms.

 

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Monday, February 28, 2005

Short month, so Paper Chef time is upon us... 
Well, the Paper Chef is upon us again. Right now we are just in the ingredient nomination phase. The contest will be hosted by Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess this month. It will be judged by Sam at Becks'n'Posh.

You can suggest ingredients until Thursday - either here in comments or at Is My Blog Burning? in the forums. The current ingredient list is:

anchovies, smoked paprika, chorizo, goat cheese, stale bread, yeast, tamarind, eggplant, lamb, chipotle en adobo, olive oil, cucumber, potato skins, chocolate and mustard. You may not nominate last month's ingredients: flour, oranges, creme fraiche and cinnamon. Anything else will be added to the list and three ingredients will be selected at random. A fourth ingredient will be picked out by our host and you will have from noon PST on Friday March 4th until noon PST on Monday March 7th to make something using the four ingredients and any others you like and then post about it on your blog. If you have no blog, then Jennifer or I will happily post your entry for you. Please check back here for ingredient updates but also check Jennifer's site, The Domestic Goddess, since control will be passed to her during the course of the week...

Put all the rest here
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Distractions 
It's been a while since I last posted for various reasons. None of which have anything to do with not having anything to write about. I am "this" close to being ready to send the book to the printer. Just need to get the best possible halftone screens of the photos into place. I have been very busy with job-related activity. Plus all the usual stuff. I am ready when I have time to write about blood orange tartlets, yet another slow roasted lamb and this years twist on valentine's dinner (steamed whole striped bass with garlic chilli and black beans sauce on a bed of brocolli and spring onions with sesame-garlic-chilli noodles). I normally do crab for Valentine's Day but the crab was expensive and old-looking and the bass was inexpensive and had a twinkle in its eye.Put all the rest here
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Friday, February 11, 2005

Love Puffs: First ever entry for SHF (and a trip with REALLY good Indian food) 
Fridays are a tough day for me to do any blogging. I often cook if we and friends are getting together. As it happens, we were going out with friends for dinner and a movie, but kids were still in need of food and so I made their dessert, an after movie snack and a Sugar High Friday entry all in one.

Love Puff copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm

By the way while the movie was OK (Hitch - zero plot but some good gags) the meal was splendid. Perhaps the best Indian meal I've had in the US. And it cost $60 including tip and drinks for four. We had tandoori chicken with garlic naan, yellow lentil dahl and pilau. Naan and tandoori chicken were cooked after we ordered and still ready in 15 minutes. We had three crispy hot vegetable samosas, we had a silky smooth, creamy rich palak paneer (spinach and homemade whey curd cheese curry). We had the best tikka masala I've had in a while. We had Fat Tire ale on draught. All shared. They gave us some plain naan for free. Quality was exceptional for the US.

But I don't expect you all to rush out and eat there. This is in Concord, in a suburban culinary wasteland, and is actually IN the movie theater complex. This is Tandoori Chicken USA. For the adventurous there is another branch in El Sobrante in an old Dairy Queen that used to be a drive through where you could get a tandoori chicken leg, rice and coriander sauce for 99 cents. Not sure if you can anymore.

Now I freely admit I haven't tried everywhere but this place is a LOT better than almost every other Indian restaurant I've eaten at in the US. It would be middling to good in London. So what does this have to do with puff pastry? Nothing. Just needed to give them their due.

Back to pastry. I'm not up to the making my own puff pastry standard, so I used store-bought. Pepperidge Farm at that. Oh well.

[I added this note later - on reflection I didn't say enough about these puffs. First, I was in a tearing hurry. I started them at 4:45 and we had to hit the road by 5:30 with everything done and the stove off.

Second, the name. It popped into my head while I was making them when I had the idea for the hearts in honor of Valentine's Day. However, the intended recipient, my darling spouse, said, "eewwwww!" when I told her the name. But then she said I shouldn't change it even though it made her feel a bit creepy. No cream is allowed apparently.

Finally, the photo doesn't do justice to the red. There is no other red like this red. Something about using blood orange juice, the touch of acidity and slightly darker additives like cinnamon and balsamic vinegar just made it a stupendous red. After the sauce had finsished I looked at it and thought why hadn't I just used raspberry jam. But the taste convinced me. Raspberry with a hint of orange, cinnamon and something more is a REALLY good taste. So no - don't use jam. The whole recipe can be done in about 40 minutes without jam, so do it right.]

Love Puffs


Cut one sheet of puff pastry into sixteen pieces about two inches square. Butter a baking sheet and place the pieces on it. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle on a little sugar in the middle of each (half a pinch will do). Cut the other sheet into thin strips to go around the edges of all the squares, reserving about a quarter of the sheet.

Meanwhile make the filling. Put two cups of frozen raspberries on high heat with 2/3 of a cup of sugar and squeeze in a blood orange. Add half a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a full teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Let cool and spoon into the cavity of the puff pastry. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with melted butter.

Take the remaining strips, stretch them slightly and twist and fold into heart shapes and lay them on top of the filling in the resevoirs. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven until the pastry is browning on top.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

May I have the envelope please? 
We have a winner! But to momentarily hold onto the drama, first, we have a second late 'entry' from the cooking diva at the Panama Gourmet, Melissa, who wasn't content with a stunning entry for the official ingredients but also made something with the supplementary ingredients: stale bread, chorizo, broccoli and tamarind. So go take a look at her Yuca Croquettes with Chorizo and Broccoli filling, served with Orange Tamarind Sauce!

Then mosey on over to see Jennifer's winning choice at The Domestic Goddess.

February 2005 Paper Chef copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm
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One last entry... 
One last entry. Requia had trouble with her internet provider and wasn't able to get this up until a ew hours past the deadline. So she gets in with another delicious looking baked entry.

One another note, we have a tough selection this month, so Jennifer has gone into seclusion to make her decision. Results are expected anytime from Tuesday evening to Thursday.
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Monday, February 07, 2005

Paper Chef 2005 Entries 
In no particular order, here are this month's entries for the Paper Chef. We ended up with 11 entries from all over the world. As was predicted, many of the entries were desserts, but by no means all and in fact some of the non-dessert entries were amazingly creative. Lots of nice photographs, lots of great descriptions and an amazing amount of thought and care went into these entries.

As usual, I also did an entry, but I will save it for a separate post so as not to detract from the official entries...
Melissa, of the Panama Gourmet gave us an amazing recipe for orange and cinnamon ice cream with cashew nut cookies and a passion fruit coulis. Amazingly, Melissa forgot about the date and put this wonderful tropical menu together in an amazingly short single day.

Alice over at teatime put together a highly inventive pair of recipes - Tequila-Orange Chicken with Ancho Chile Sauce AND Orange-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls - both while her partner was apparently rolling around on the floor laughing and swearing that she had made up the whole Paper Chef event AND my blog Tomatilla! just so she had an excuse to make cinnamon rolls!

Sam over at Becks'n'Posh put together a delightfully English snack/small meal with each element carrying a balance of the required ingredients so that all the pieces could come together in a harmonious whole: Potted Wensleydale Cheese with Mulled Port Wine Jelly and Home-baked Digestive biscuits. (I for one will be making the biscuits soon).

Debra at Culiblog (I think in the Netherlands) made us some delightful looking Pots de Crumble invoking a little meditation, after a false start involving stale cornbread and an intention not to follow the rules.

Meanwhile, Barbara at winosandfoodies made us some tricky-looking pinwheel scones that appear to be light enough to float in the air in her clever picture.

Moira at Who Wants Seconds also ended up with one failure and a belated dramatic success after what sounds like an epic struggle with her initial recipe and with her competitive nature! Her picture of Mexican Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream & Hot Chocolate is making my daughter drool as I type this...

Daffy, one of our Paper Chef regulars, as usual in a tearing hurry, dashed off an exotic soup: Spiced Roasted Pepper Soup. Why was she in such a hurry? To go to Paris for the weekend. So are we sympathetic? No - just jealous.

Dagmar at Cat in the Kitchen made the most exotic dish and was first in with her entry as well. She is justifiably proud of her Hot Fish Curry and Naan Bread and intends to make it again later this week.

Viv, over at Seattle Bon Vivant was our debut winner back in December and has entered every time, just like Daffy. This time around she makes us the very French Crepes a la Cannele et a la Fleur d'Oranger.

Lyn of Lex Culinaria also did a dessert and managed another great central American inspired dish with her Warm baby shortcakes with spicy caramelized blood oranges and cinnamon vanilla cream.

Finally, Brenda of the Culinary Fool entered another twist on the cinnamon roll with her Orange-Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls, all lovingly displayed against the background of a gorgeous snow scene.

I am absolutely certain to have missed somebody. Email me right away at owenl1998 at yahoo dot com and I will fix the mistake.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Paper Chef February 2005 Is Open! 
Paper Chef February 2005 Edition Is Open!

February 2005 Paper Chef copyright 2005 Owen Linderholm

For February 2005, the final ingredients are:

1)Wheat flour - if you are allergic or have gluten issues then by all means substitute something vaguely similar.
2)Cinnamon - I see a trend forming…..
3)Creme Fraiche - OK - this might be a little specialized. Past experience tells me that sour cream will substitute fine.[[UPDATE! Sam over at Becks 'n' Posh, who nominated the ingredient, disagrees with my original substitution suggestion involving sour cream and a little sugar and milk and prefers plain ol' sour cream with no mixatives. I bow to her superior knowledge. I have seen recipes for creme fraiche that involve taking the thickest heavyest cream you can get and adding a little lemon and/or yoghurt, stirring it in and leaving it for 24 hours to convert the cream.
4)Oranges - I had been wondering about broccoli but I couldn’t do that to you all. Since we have had oranges on the list for a while and we got blood oranges added this time around we will count both, so - any kind of orange will do.

Also, this is the first time I used the abandon rule on the ingredient list. The first three drawn originally were: tamarind, stale bread and chorizo. Yes, I can think of several recipes but there is a definite trend there. The clincher was thinking of the sour tamarind taste with the smoky, salty chorizo. On the other hand, how about a chorizo, and leek bread pudding with a tamarind sauce?

Anyway - bonus points if you can do an additional recipe with the following four: tamarind, chorizo, stale bread and broccoli.

Our judge this time around is Jennifer of Domestic Goddess (winner last month).

Start as soon as you read this - and email a link to your entry about what you cooked before Monday Noon PST.

Winner gets to put up the prestigious Paper Chef Winner icon (which will be supplied) and also some kind of prize. In this case it will be a free copy of "Digital Dish" - a compilation of the best food blog writing of the past year or so. The book will be published by Press For Change Publishing, the publishing company I am starting. You will start to see more details about the book online in the next month or so. The winner will have to wait until the end of the month (or maybe February - OK - maybe March - but it IS coming) to receive their prize, however.
Put all the rest here
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Paper Chef Preliminaries 
We have some basics to get through before the event starts at noon PST (it is now 8:21 AM). First, here is the final ingredients list from which we will pick three ingredients in an hour or so...

anchovies, cinnamon, smoked paprika, oranges, wheat flour, chorizo, goat cheese, stale bread, yeast, tamarind, eggplant, lamb, blood oranges (more specific than oranges), chipotle en adobo, olive oil, creme fraiche, cucumber and potato skins (skirting around the ban on potatoes), chocolate and mustard! You're all getting very creative! I know someone is just hoping we get somthing along the lines of stale bread, chocolate, mustard and anchovies!

The full rules follow in the rest of the post - so click on the 'Read full post' link below...

Semi-Official Paper Chef Rules



On the first Friday of every month at some point prior to Noon PST, I will announce a list of four ingredients that must be used, along with any other ingredients you choose, to make a dish and then write about it by Noon PST on Monday, 72 hours later. Then send an email giving the link to your post to owenl1998@yahoo.com. If you don't have a blog one to host recipes can be found for you...

An impartial guest judge will pick the recipe that sounds/seems best to them and the winner will be awarded the "Paper Chef" title for that month along with a meaningless prize of no intrinsic value that I will donate. You also get to display the prestigious winner icon on your site. Anyone who wants to is welcome to submit ingredient ideas and all suitable ones will go onto a list. Three of the ingredients will be randomly picked from the list and the fourth will be seasonal or trendy or in the news in some way. If the list of four is totally unsuitable (maraschino cherries, english mustard, liver and suet) then we will redraw randomly until it is conceivable to cook different kinds of dishes with all four ingredients.

Other administrative bits



Ingredient suggestions go to the Paper Chef forum on Is My Blog Burning up to midnight the day before the event. Ingredients that are NOT selected will be rolled over for a month and then removed. Anyone at all can suggest one ingredient - not more. Suggestions that are not realistic or are in bad taste in the estimation of the powers that be (me for the moment) will be ignored.

No sign up is necessary to take part. Just send an email to owenl1998@yahoo.com before Noon PST on the Monday to point to your entry.


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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Why are food blogs suddenly so popular? 
Recently there has been a rash of publicity about food blogs. I won't tell you all all about it - just go to a few other food blogs and you'll start seeing signs of it. But why? I don't know the whole answer, but here I think are some contributing factors:

First, there has been huge growth in the number of food blogs. Since I am in the process of getting a book off to the printers that is made up of contributions from food bloggers, I track them pretty extensively. I have a special list of blogs that I want to invite to participate in books like this and when I sent out requests for participation to the first book late last Summer, I sent them to about 40 blogs (there are 24 in the final book). That list is now up to 190 blogs and I know I am falling far, far behind.

Second, there has been a growth in interest in blogging in general - eg the AP making blogs the news event of the year.

But there is another more important ingredient. I read a lot of other blogs and I realised that for the most part the blogs I read, especially the food ones, do something that the average blog doesn't do. That something is that they regularly contribute unique, original content, whether it is recipes, restaurant reviews, commentary or whatever, the amount of original content on food blogs is incredible. In contrast, most general blogs and even special purpose blogs, provide some commentary on something else they have found on the internet rather than by providing something new in and of itself. A link to an amusing satirical flash movie provides about 2 minutes of mild entertainment. A recipe for Crawfish Pie (to use an example from three minutes ago) is something that will provide a lifetime of lasting pleasure (during those periods when I can get my hands on some crawfish...)

So, I'm glad I decided all those (two) years ago to start tracking my recipes in a blog. It turned out that I was only one among thousands and that along the way I would make new friends, start a fascinating new project and have a huge amount of fun. Thank you all...

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Paper Chef February 2005 Update 
It is that time of month again. The third edition of the Paper Chef will take place a week from Friday on February 4th through 7th. As we muddle along, trying to find the method that works best for all of us, here is where the current ingredient list stands:

anchovies, cinnamon, smoked paprika, oranges, wheat flour, chorizo, goat cheese, stale bread, yeast, tamarind, eggplant, lamb, blood oranges (more specific than oranges), chipotle en adobo, olive oil, creme fraiche, cucumber and potato skins (skirting around the ban on potatoes).

Do not nominate: potatoes, savoy cabbage, chicken, lemon, ginger, almonds, cilantro/coriander or winter squash since they are previously used ingredients. Anyone can nominate ingredients but only one ingredient per person. The final three random ingredients will be chosen from this list on Friday the 4th of February and I will update the list at least once before then to reflect more nominations. You may also nominate over at Is My Blog Burning? where there is a Paper Chef ingredients forum.

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