Sunday, May 4, 2014

Food, Glorious Food?

Yes, It's Real!
Yes, that is a slice of scorpion pizza, which is supposedly for sale at the Calgary Stampede this summer. Fans of cable celebrities Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown have long seen scorpions and tarantulas offered up as street food snacks in Asian and South American countries. There are protein bars on the market made from cricket flour, while insects and arachnids are staples in many non-Western diets. I had chocolate-covered ants, once. It was like a Nestle Crisp bar. And I really don't mind the idea of cricket flour, as long as I don't feel legs and antennae in my mouth. That's the biggest problem I have with this pizza. I can only imagine it's like biting into an unshelled shrimp. UGH! I'd rather eat anchovies. And I LOATHE anchovies.* That very comment led to a discussion of fish (naturally) with a Facebook friend. Like myself, Pam doesn't eat much fish. 

For Uncle P, it's cod; flounder; shrimp; crab (in crab-cakes only), scallops and clams (fried only - which means I haven't had clams in forever); tuna, though NEVER hot! Nothing salty, slimy or fishy. Nothing unborn or unhatched and NEVER anything that has tentacles or is an eel of any kind. All seafood MUST be fully cooked, ONLY. Don't give me raw tuna and charge me $30 for a 'steak.' That's like paying for the flu. I will always prefer battered and fried, but have learned to like some things grilled and others broiled. If I MUST eat clam chowder, it's Manhattan style (I NEVER eat any kind of chowder). Oh, and I do like conch fritters with a nice remoulade or papaya chutney with a side of deep-fried dill pickle chips.

Last weekend, Uncle P and his regular band of foodies got together for yet another of our themed dinner parties. Thankfully, the theme was NOT 'Seafood.' It was, however, another particularly successful meal. Breakfast for Dinner included gigantic, fluffy waffles; sausage meatballs; bagels; a supper-yummy hash-brown casserole; citrus scones; clotted cream and assorted jams, preserves and syrups all topped of with pineapple/orange Mimosas. I haven't found a name for that particular combination, so if you think of a good one before I do, I'll give you full credit. My dish was a variation of a recipe I found on Facebook: a breakfast ring of eggs, cheese, veggies and pastry, served with salsa. The photo below does not include the final layer of cheese on the top. And no, it is NOT burnt on the right. My lame kitchen lighting makes everything look darker than it actually is. 

Uncle P's Breakfast Ring
On Tuesday, most of the first floor at the Day Job will be holding a Cinqo de Sies party (I know... ) and I was going crazy as to what to make. I needed something easy that didn't need heating. I found some pasta and beans and an interesting vinegar and decided to create a new recipe I call "Fiesta Salad." Too Corny? Too Martha? Too gay? I will say this: White Pineapple Vinaigrette. Yes, you read that correctly. I received it as part of a gift of several specialty vinegars from a local presser called "Olive n Grape." It seems to pair quite nicely with the peppers and green onions in the mix. If it's a hit, I'll share the recipe. If it flops, we shall never speak of this again.I think it's yummy, even if I undercooked the pasta by just a bit... More dressing will fix that, I hope... It has a while to marry.

I love to cook and love it when people like what I cook. I hate cooking for just myself. Tonight I tried a Parmesan-crusted chicken that was not bad but not what I'd hoped it would be. The brown rice and peas side-dish I made to go along with it wasn't exactly thrilling, either. I ended up toasting half an egg bagel and spreading it with butter and an all fruit raspberry preserve with fiber. That seemed to do the trick. 

Of course, despite all these carb-loaded meals I seem to be having, I have lost 16 pounds since October, without trying. My appetite seems to have diminished quite a bit and I rarely find myself finishing everything on my plate (and I NEVER go back for seconds anymore). I'm not sure if that's anxiety or a manifestation of grief or something else altogether. I take supplements (my sister finally convinced me to include CO-Q-10) and try to eat plenty of fiber and protein, though I'll admit I should eat more vegetables. And it's not that I don't like them. I do. But the way many markets package produce (I'm looking at you, asparagus) makes it difficult to by some of them for just one person. Packaged salads and greens go bad before I can use all of them and loose versions of the same products end up being even more wasteful. Ask the dried-out asparagus and nasty Brussels sprouts I just threw away. And don't tell me to can and/or freeze them. Ain't nobody got time fo dat!

*And my dear Q is allergic to them, so feh!

More, anon.

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