Care to know what chef Tony Bourdain thinks of the current “stars” of the Food Network? Check out his post on ruhlman.com. His prose is hilarious, as always. And, I have to say, I pretty much agree with him on every point.

Hey everybody. This is just a heads up that this coming Monday’s episode of No Reservations, chef Tony Bourdain‘s irreverent food and travel show, will cover the Pacific Northwest. I hear that, in this episode, he will be traveling around with Fight Club author and Northwest native, Chuck Palahniuk, who will explain to Tony why all the wierdos gravitate toward our corner of the country. I’ve always wondered why!  I’m excited to see Tony’s take on my city. No Reservations airs Monday at 10:00 on the Travel Channel.

This got Robert and me thinking, where would we take Tony Bourdain if we were in charge of his show? I heard that someone took him out for nachos a couple of years ago at my old stomping ground, the College Inn pub. I’m not sure that would have been my first choice but, hey, Tony’s not a snob so he probably enjoyed it. They do have great nachos. Robert says he’d like to take him to Jack’s in Pike Place Market for some cioppino and also to the fish vendors where people who are serious about their seafood shop (hint: places that do not partake in fish-throwing activities.) I would take him to someplace in the International District like Shanghai Garden where they are doing really interesting and different things with Asian food. Hand-shaved green barley noodles anyone? I would probably also hook him up with Tom Douglas who could show him where the city’s chefs like to dine. Oh, and he would have to visit Salumi if only to give Mario Batali’s dad a hard time. Where would you take chef Tony if he were to visit your city?

Hey everybody. I haven’t written in a while and you’re probably all thinking, “Sure, she sets up a new food blog and promises to write more often, and this is what we get?!” The truth is I haven’t really been interested in food since I came down with a horrible bout of food poisoning last weekend. I started feeling crappy on the 4th of July and it just got worse after that. You don’t want to know. How did I come to be poisoned? Well, faithful readers of my blog may note that I made some salmon and mayo sandwiches to take on a recent hike. Sounds like a perfect recipe for food poisoning, right? However, that was not the culprit. I read online that mayonnaise is wrongly accused in a lot of food poisoning cases. In fact, commercial mayonnaise is too acidic for bacteria to grow in it and can even be stored safely at room temperature after opening (I’m not going to try this, though.) The main problem is cross-contamination; mayonnaise is sometimes mixed with poorly cooked meats or, more often, mixed using unclean utensils. So, considering how safe and clean I was in mixing up my salmon salad and the fact that Robert didn’t get sick, I don’t think my sandwiches were to blame. I think that I actually got sick from a cantaloupe that I had been eating. I know it sounds strange but it turns out that salmonella are often present on the rinds of melons and, if you don’t wash the rind before cutting it up, you put yourself at risk. Since melons have a low acidity, bacteria can continue to thrive on them. Who knew? I didn’t and I certainly paid the price for my ignorance. I don’t even like melons that much! So, during this season of picnics and barbecues, please remember to practice melon safety! Believe me, you want to.

It’s Tuesday which means Great Chefs of the World is on the discovery home channel tonight. I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen all of the episodes but, I always watch anyway because I find the show to be very relaxing. I’m not sure if it’s all the gentle whisking, the oh-so careful placement of extravagent garnishes, the soft accents of the, usually French, chefs or the acoustic guitar music in the background but watching this show really calms me down. I also love that they make these crazy dishes that I will probably never in my life even attempt to make. I mean, sometimes, they are really far out there…like chicken cooked in pig’s bladder. No thanks! I think I’ll leave one that to the Tony Bourdains of the world. Great Chefs also has this cool retro aspect to it. Sometimes they’ll show a really old episode (like from the 80’s) and it’s interesting to see how much cooking has changed since then. Back then, there weren’t too many cooking shows on television. Now, I think there are too many. I rarely tune in to the Food Network anymore. The cooking shows on that channel focus too much on the basics, most of which I already know or could easily figure out on my own. Watching somebody on TV cook something that I could easily make myself isn’t interesting to me. But watching somebody tediously cut baby potatoes into the shape of mushrooms and then pan-fry, braise and broil them only to completely cover them with paper then slices of rare meat and $30 worth of garnish, now that’s fun!

I was watching Oprah the other day and she had a doctor on the show explaining which foods are really good for you and which foods you should avoid at all costs. Of course, I already knew about the bad foods – saturated fat, sugar, etc. And most of the good foods were pretty obvious too like spinach and olive oil. But, did you know that tomato sauce is an amazing antioxidant? Not raw tomatoes (which I hate) but cooked tomato sauce! The antioxidant lycopene is highly concentrated in cooked tomatoes and the oil in the sauce helps your body absorb it. This is great because I could eat pasta with tomato sauce once a week anyway and now I’m being told that I have to. Doctor’s orders. He suggested 10 tablespoons of tomato sauce every week. Another food that is really good for you is pomegranate (and not just because you get a workout trying to get all of those seeds out of the shell.) It’s good for the arteries and may help prevent cancer. I had bought a bottle of pomegranate molasses at my local Indian market a while back so I pulled that out of the cupboard and, even though it is sweet and syrupy, the label says it contains only concentrated pomegranate juice with no added sugar. I may try mixing it with club soda or do a pomegranate-glazed salmon with cous cous. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Hey everybody. I don’t really have much to say this week but I’m trying to post more regularly. My only notable food “adventure? of the week was finally remembering to use my way-too-old smoked paprika (I know for a fact it’s too old because I remember exactly when we bought it – December 2002 for our Spanish Christmas dinner.) It still had a lot of aroma but the roasted shrimp that I made with it was just OK. Smoked paprika is fantastic stuff – don’t let my failure prevent you from seeking it out. Anyway, the real reason for this post is that I wanted to share my newest favorite food website with you – Slashfood! Slashfood is a food blog that has been around only since August. Unlike many food blogs that I’ve come across (mine very much included), Slashfood actually has lots of things to say. It seems like new posts are added every hour or so. There are many contributors so they are always finding really cool, unusual food-related things to talk about. I go there once or twice a day and always find something interesting to read. The site is searchable by a variety of categories and has great, saliva-inducing food photos (particularly in the “food porn? category.) Be sure to check it out!

I needed to buy eggs but the only farmer with eggs at last Sunday’s farmer’s market was selling duck eggs instead of chicken eggs. When I asked what the difference was, he told me that duck eggs were richer because of their higher fat content and that they had a bigger yolk. They make wonderful poached eggs, he said, and can even be used in baking just like chicken eggs. He also warned me that the eggshells were very thick and that the raw eggs tended to come out like gooey jello. Yikes! Last night, I went with his suggestion and poached some of my new duck eggs. I was a bit anxious but it ended up not being as frightening as I was expecting (some of the gelatinous egg white did trail across my entire kitchen, however, as I took my empty eggshells to the trashcan.) I followed the directions for poached eggs in my “How to Cook Everything? book and they turned out perfect – pristine whites with a velvety-soft yolk. Like a beautiful egg volcano! I served them over toast with spinach, tomato, and bacon for a luscious mid-week treat!

Well, the results are in and not one of my recipes won in epicurious.com’s Best Vegetarian Recipe Contest. That’s so lame. The winning recipes are lame too. It’s not like I wanted a built-in microwave but the bragging rights would have been nice. OK, that’s enough ranting. I submitted my recipe for Bolivian corn chowder figuring that, although I feel chipotle chilies are now over used, people still tend to gravitate towards recipes containing them…apparently, I was correct because one of the winning recipes is Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin. I also turned in recipes for Asian Slaw, Cashew Korma and Posole Verde. I thought Posole Verde might have a shot because there are few good vegetarian hominy recipes out there. Maybe the 2 to 3 unseeded serranos called for in the recipe scared them off. Maybe I’ll enter my Green Bean Salad recipe in this month’s Best Summer Salad contest. It also has chipotles but I’ll have to check with my mom to see where we got the original recipe from (you know, in case it’s actually from epicurious.com or something.) In other news, I’m going to check out the Capitol Hill farmer’s market this afternoon. I’m really interested to see what they have there because it’s only about 7 blocks from my apartment!

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