June 21, 2009
Uncle Jack's is a steak place very much like Keene's, which I like quite a bit, although I find the atmosphere to be a bit stuffy there at Keene's. Uncle Jack's is pretty posh. I wore a t-shirt and jeans and Kevin wore a polo shirt and jeans. We both felt underdressed, but since it was an early dinner, we got over it. I would recommend at least a button-down if not a jacket at a minimum for this place. A tie would probably be ideal.
The service was phenomenal and I noted something a little remarkable even for NYC from our waiter. If you have an ounce of social perspicacity, you know I'm gay. And you see me with another male and you will conclude that there's a date or something going on. Our waiter appeared to be rather typically straight. When he approached out table he was open and congenial. But he gave no sign at all that he thought we were a gay couple, but realizing the possibility, he very evenly asked, "Are we celebrating a special occasion?" This may not seem like a big deal, but it's a very even question that applies to all possible scenarios. We might be two straight guys just out for a steak. We might be friends celebrating a birthday. We might be on a date. We might be celebrating an anniversary. Or any number of gay or straight possibilities. I really appreciated not only his discretion, but the directness, friendliness, and openness with which he delivered the inquiry.
In addition to this, he was very helpful and friendly. I will say it was rather American-style service.
European wait staff tend to leave you alone. You often have to ask for more water or drinks. You have to ask for the check.
American service is a lot more hands-on. They check in frequently. They volunteer the check -- a gesture which Europeans apparently regard as rude and as an indication that they are being asked to leave the table.
I like a slightly higher amount of attention, but prefer to ask for the check. Even as our waiter volunteered the check, he made it clear that we were welcome to stay and sit longer. He was very good about it in my opinion.
Now the food.
We started with the Maryland crab cakes. They seemed to be solid crab meat with some cheese and herbs. Very, very good.
We skipped the salad and went straight to the steaks. We both had the Kobe filet mignon. It was absolutely, hands down the BEST steak I have ever had in my life. We both ordered the steaks "rare-plus" which is where the middle is pink, but warm, as opposed to pink and cool. The texture was softer and smoother that any beef I've ever had. They seared the steak in something sweet and there was a very flavorful crust on the outside. The inside was moist and tasty. Words fail when I try to describe this.
For sides, we asked for sauteed onions and some garlic mashed potatoes. Both were good, but I only had a bit eof each because the steaks were so large. The steaks were supposed to be 15oz. They seemed to be the size of footballs. SO GOOD.
We also got some kind of chocolate cake thing for dessert. The name escapes me. I had a few bites and it was also quite tasty.
But I have to say that since I've had this steak, all other food pales in comparison. It was insanely good.
The prices were actually moderate for the kind of food we were eating. Our filets were only $75 each. Other so-called Kobe and Wagyu steaks in the city run about $100. This was nearly 1lb of steak for just $75. Bargain.
So, I strongly recommend Uncle Jack's. They have three locations in the city for your convenience, so make a point to try it out. Food is great. Service is very strong.
April 12, 2009
Tangy Slow Cooker Pot Roast
I like to try different recipes for pot roast because I have yet to find one that doesn't start tasting bland after a few meals. This particular recipe was appealing because it called for browning the roast after a spice rub, which should lock in more flavor. Further, it asks you to start at a high temperature and then drop to a low temp after an hour, which should help keep more flavor as well. Also, I've never made a roast that called for honey and vinegar. So, I'm excited to try this one!
Since I put minimal veggies in with this roast and it's getting to be springtime, I decided to try to make a chopped salad this week.
One of my favorite restaurants, Jane, has a delicious chopped market salad and I wanted to make a variation on that. I did a bit of improvisation that I think will turn out nicely. My big worry is that I doubt the salad will keep all week. We'll see.
My chopped salad consists of:
- 2 bags of those ready-to-eat herb salads from the grocery store.
- 1 jar of sliced olives
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes with onions and celery.
- 2 chopped green peppers. (Orange or yellow would have been a cool color addition, but the flavor difference is minor but the price difference is a little shocking.)
That's it! Hearty and spring fresh!
April 08, 2009
I used to love drinking Pepsis and I would have one or two a day. Today, I had several small sips but ended pouring it out.
I don't remember it tasting so plain. Yes, it's sweet, but it has a flavor like sweet cardboard. This is why I now only take my cola with Jack Daniels in it. Or perhaps some Jim Beam if I'm feeling particularly sophisticated.
March 31, 2009
I'm not done reading it, but so far I have learned that it will give you diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, blindness, fatness, cancer, old age, and dead.
Do you want dead? Go for another bon-bon and let me know how that works out for you.
In seriousness, it doesn't CAUSE cancer, but it feeds cancer. Have you ever given a stray cat some food and then you wake up the next day and there are 75 felines perched on your headboard watching you sleep? Sugar is like that for cancer except cancer kills hence the deadness you also get from sugar.
I'm tempted to just eat steak constantly and wash it down with that delicious half-and-half I love.
March 29, 2009
So, this week, I decided to use the leftover squash and meat sauce to make a couple of caveman-friendly casseroles. I just got some eggplant and zucchini and took the meat sauce and leftover squash and layered it with a little bit of cheese and it's baking in the oven.
Well, I still had some meat sauce and eggplant left over from the casseroles, so I took some flaxseed flour (I'm sure almond flour would work, too, but the grocery store didn't have any this week.) mixed in some salt and pepper. Then, after slicing up the eggplant, I breaded it in some egg and the flaxseed mix. I fried it up in some olive oil. Then I took the meat sauce and used it as a little condiment on the side. DELICIOUS!
It was so easy and fast.
February 21, 2009
Maybe it's because I simply don't drink as much these days (although, I've never really been a big drinker) when I do have a couple of drinks I always have a hangover.
I had two drinks last night and although I did not feel any more inebriated than two drinks usually makes me feel, but this morning I feel far worse!
If for no other reason, drinking less might be a good idea just to feel better.
February 02, 2009
No, it's definitely true. Half-and-half, which, I suspect, does not require hyphens, does have less saturated fat per serving than our whole milk.
Lo and behold, guess how much a serving of whole milk is. One cup.
Guess how much a serving of half and half is. Two. TWO TABLESPOONS.
I poured myself a whole glass just to spite the FDA and it is delicious.
February 01, 2009
But I wanted to give my readers a warning about this recipe. I had never tasted plain heavy cream before and I tasted it this evening and I discovered that the key ingredient in heavy cream is pure China White. That's right. Heroin.
This stuff is so good. I dumped all of my cream into the squash because I was scared that my roommates would find me face down in the middle of our kitchen beyond all help with an empty carton of the stuff the only clue to my untimely end.
It's that good.
Oh! And add butter? And squash? And... well, let me just recommend that you make sure the mixture isn't hot enough to burn you when you dive in.
Update: The meatloaf is also SUPER yummy. I added salt and pepper to the recipe because it seemed wrong to leave it out.
January 31, 2009
Well, I've also been lacing my whole milk with half and half. I did it once and I liked how the half and half looked, so I did it a few more times. And then I looked at the labels. Did you know whole milk has more saturated fats than half and half?!
I don't know a lot about milk or fats still these days. I learn a little at a time. But I was really surprised by this. So, I just started having my whole milk plain.
January 28, 2009
NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM!
When I am allowed to spend money and invest in making food like cookies, I will definitely have to make some of these on my own. They were so moist and delicious and they were largely sugar-free. (The ones he sent me seemed to have peanut butter chips in them, but as you can see from his recipe, you can leave those out.)
I think if you ate just one or two of these in a day you'd have plenty carbs/sugar in your life. I, of course, ate every single one of the cookies he sent me because they were so good. I didn't count them, but it was probably a dozen of these delicious little monsters.
So, HUGE thank you to Kevin for sharing his cookies with me!
January 27, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Many common foods made using commercial high fructose corn syrup contain mercury as well, researchers reported on Tuesday, while another study suggested the corn syrup itself is contaminated.According to this latest round of commercials, High Fructose Corn Syrup has the same nutritional value as regular sugar and is fine eaten in moderation.
Food processors and the corn syrup industry group attacked the findings as flawed and outdated, but the researchers said it was important for people to know about any potential sources of the toxic metal in their food.
In one study, published in the journal Environmental Health, former Food and Drug Administration scientist Renee Dufault and colleagues tested 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup and found detectable mercury in nine of the 20 samples.
Mm hm. Well, since I have adopted the Primal Blueprint as a guide for choosing what I eat, I would recommend avoiding both HFCS and sugar alike. And now I can add my desire to stay completely sane to my list of reasons why.
January 25, 2009
Here's the book:
It's on page 70. It's their Quick Chicken Soup Recipe.
This cookbook is really, really great if you're just learning to cook and you want some solid recipes. My mother bought it for me several years ago hoping that it would be similar to her 1953 edition of the Betty Crocker cookbook. (It's not.) But I still recommend it.
This recipe is also really good if you're not a very patient cook or if you're really pressed for time.
It does call for pasta, which I left out, of course. I did add in some frozen corn before I remembered that corn is high in starch (duh!) even though the recipe doesn't call for it.
I also use canned white chicken meat. Yes, it is less flavorful than if you baked some chicken on the bone and then chopped it up, but it makes the recipe a lot faster and a lot easier.
Last night, I actually boiled some extra chicken quarters in the soup because I didn't have enough chicken bouillon (I was short 6 cups!!!) and with a few more spices it still turned out AWESOME. So, when I tell you it's hard to mess this recipe up, believe it.
January 21, 2009
Until this morning.
I now have meat-flavored charcoal strips for snacks this week. Mmmmmmm...
Just a note to all y'all making jerky: 12 hours is WAY too long to leave jerky in the oven. Aim for some amount of time between three hours and 12 hours depending on how thickly you cut your strips.
January 11, 2009
When I was little, we had a dairy farm about 2 miles from our house and I remember going with my parents to buy milk and then we'd bring it home and skim the cream off of it. I remember my parents telling me that it was pasteurized, though.
But with all the talk about it and a DIY impulse to make my own butter and even cheese from raw milk, I'm giving some thought to joining some other New Yorkers and seeking out a black market source for the stuff.
I just read the NYT article on the Raw Milk craze. They make raw milk drinkers sound like Competitive Russian Roulette players, though.
There are pro-raw milk resources, though. RealMilk.com has some of them. I'm not a food scientist, though, so going through all of the discussions would take me a fair amount of time and energy.
One of the biggest sources of my reluctance isn't that I might get a criminal record, but the simple fact that I rarely drink or cook with milk. Buying a gallon of milk would be very wasteful for me as most of it would spoil before I got around to drinking it. A quart of the stuff would meet and exceed my milk needs, really. The only reason I can foresee needing more would be for making cheese and butter and yogurt and things like that, which I can't imagine making with any frequency or regularity.
So, I think for the time being I'm just going to keep reading about the stuff, but not actually pursue it.
Jerky that you buy in stores is full of preservatives like nitrates and other things that sound like they'd be better for my potted plants than for me.
So, you can make your own!
The first time I made this, I sort of followed this recipe. I hate how that recipe is written, though, and this time I tweaked it a little, so I decided to write down what I did both for your reference and mine.
- 4 lbs of London Broil
- 3/4 c of Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 c of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- 3 tsp of Salt (I use fine-grain sea salt)
- 3 tsp of Black Pepper
- 1½ tsp of Garlic Powder
- 1½ tsp of Onion Powder
- 1½ tsp of Cayenne Pepper
- 3 tsp of Other Stuff that Seems Like it Would be Good
- Put the meat in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour. This makes it firm enough to cut into thin slices.
- While your meat is chilling, get a big bowl (preferrably one with a lid) in which to marinade your meat.
- Mix all of the other ingredients into the bowl and stir it up.
- About that "other stuff." For marinades, soups, and cooking in general, I rarely measure anything very carefully. Measurement is FAR more critical in baking. Here, I was looking for some liquid smoke. My roommate cooks a fair amount of cajun food, so you'd think we'd have some. Nope! So, I used about 1½ tsp of Browning and Seasoning sauce. And then he came in and suggested this smoked pepper, so I tossed in about 1½ tsp of that. I wanted my jerky to be a little smokier and a bit spicier this time around.
That's a lot of requirements, but I've managed to come up with a meal that meets all of that AND can be prepared in a single pan for easy clean-up!
- 1 Tbsp of butter
- 1 Tbsp of minced garlic (if you like that)
- 1/2 bag of california blend frozen veggies (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli)
- Eggs (as many as you plan to eat)
- Parsley (fresh or dried)
- Put the butter and garlic in your frying pan and sautee while you're opening the bag of veggies.
- Dump in half of the bag of veggies. You can use the whole bag if you have a large frying pan and a large appetite
- Sprinkle some parsley, salt, and pepper all over the veggies and stir it up real good.
- Scoot all the veggies to one side of the pan.
- Add your eggs to the empty side of the pan.
- Sprinkle the eggs with parsley, salt, and pepper to your particular taste.
- Cover and let cook for 5 - 7 minutes over a medium-low heat
- Serve when it looks good to you.
If you let it cook longer, the yolks will solidify depending on how much longer you let it go and how high your heat is under the pan. If you do this, you might want to stir your veggies to prevent any charring.
It's delicious, cheap, fast, easy, and healthy!
January 10, 2009
- 2 cans of cubed tomatoes in juice
- 2 bags of baby carrots
- One medium Spanish Onion
- 2 lbs of stewing beef
- 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 jar of jalapeno peppers
- 1 large yellow squash
- 3 small zucchinis
- 3 cups of beef bouillon
- 3 Tbsp chili powder
- A bunch of fresh, chopped cilantro
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Brown the meat in a skillet.
- Add everything to a pot and cook over low heat, covered for a long time.
There you have it!
January 08, 2009
January 02, 2009
Instead of baking apples, I used two Gala apples and one Granny Smith because I couldn't find anything called "baking apples" in the grocery store and because I thought this combination would be delicious and I was right!
A couple of tips:
- My crust never behaved the way Mark describes. It was never crumbly before adding the water. And when I was trying to roll it out, it made a big, sticky mess and so I wound up just pressing it into my pie plate with my hands.
- I used the crushed pecans tip. I recommend including this to balance out the flavors a bit.
- Serve with a spoon. This pie just doesn't hold together like a pie. The crust is now VERY crumbly and the chunks of apple do nothing to hold it all together.
- If there were a way to make the crust stay together, I would also consider making a top crust.
- I would also consider peeling the apples next time. The skins are delicious, but they add a strange consistency to the pie that I think may be best left out, unless there were some way to arrange the slices so that there are uniform layers of peels throughout. hmmm...
December 29, 2008
I tried to steer around those things for the most part, but there were two meals at home in which I had lots of corn and potatoes. We had a low country boil, which is one of my absolute favorite meals. And then again last night, I went with some friends and had Mexican food in which I had a large margarita and a quesadilla.
I really didn't notice any ill effects from this food until last night, one of which I inadvertently documented for you. Remember the post about my mind racing? Well, similar things happened to me last night after my quesadilla dinner. Thinking back, this seems to be one of the symptoms I experience when my blood sugar spikes at bed time.
Last night, I had restless sleep all night and crazy dreams. (I even had a dream in which Dr. Monica asked me if I was still cheating on the caveman diet.) And that's when I put it together.
I'm not exactly sure how I was getting sleep on my diet before, so all I can think is that I've grown more sensitive to this sort of thing since having been on this diet.
On the other hand, I haven't been very good at doing this diet the way it should. My problem is that I still tend to do lots more veggies than meat.
I went to my doctor for my annual physical the week before last and had my blood tested. But my lipid panel was not much improved. (I have to call them to get the exact numbers for you.) It's not that my cholesterol is high, it's not. The issue is that my HDL level is low. And I'm sorry to report that according to my doctor there has not been much of a change, although I can't remember what I had eaten in the days preceding the test.
So, anyway, there's another food update for you!
December 14, 2008
I started out wanting to make a vegetarian chili in my slow cooker like the one Fresh Direct sells.
I bought John David a slow cooker for Christmas along with a cookbook and I saw a recipe that looked promising. But then I got into a discussion about intellectual property rights with John David and, not wanting to violate those, decided that I wanted to merge it with another recipe in the book that contained meat.
So, I made my own recipe and what follows are the step-by-step instructions so that you can enjoy the same with your family.
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 2 diced carrots
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 can of diced tomatoes w/ juices (28 oz)
- 2 cans (19 oz) of black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can (4.5 oz) of chopped chilis
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 2 lbs stewing beef
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 3 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
- Immediately decide to double the above amounts without any regard to the capacity of your slow cooker because you didn't eat breakfast or lunch on the day you went grocery shopping.
- Get to the grocery store and substitute three regular yellow squash for the butternut squash because you can't find the butternut squash and you're not sure how big a medium one is. Besides, squash are delicious and pretty.
- Buy three zucchini instead of two because you love zucchini.
- Choose to buy beef stock instead of chicken stock because it just seems to make more sense with the addition of beef to the veggie chili recipe.
- Buy a bag of baby carrots because the adult carrots look weird and the baby ones promise to be a good snack while you're cooking.
- Wander around the store for 45 minutes looking for canned chili peppers. Instead of asking for help, buy a jar of chopped jalapenos because, after all, you're a manly man and the Spanish word for peppers is "chili," so it's really kind of the same thing.
- Brown the meat in a large skillet.
- Combine all the other ingredients, but don't measure too carefully. It's chili. So, maybe put a bit more jalapenos and a bit more chili powder. Oh! And just dump all of the beef stock in because why waste?
- Just chop up all of the baby carrots that you haven't eaten because no one really knows how many baby carrots it takes to make a grown-up carrot and why would you even consider such a thing when the babies are so cute and delicious?
- Add some more jalapenos because the chili seems like it might be a little bland and you also think maybe you didn't add a full 9 ounces to the mix because the jar you bought is 12 ounces and you were just eyeballing it anyway.
- Use sea salt instead of regular salt because you bought some last week and unless you have a real fear of night blindness, you don't want it to go to waste.
- As you're chopping and dumping things into your slow cooker, you will come to realize that you obviously have some kind of problem in your brain that makes you completely unable to gauge the volume of all of these ingredients.
- Dump everything into a stock pot that your roommate left out.
- Realize that the stock pot is not big enough, either.
- Dump everything into a larger stock pot and put it on the stove.
- Put over a low heat and cook for 4ish hours stirring now and then mostly out of curiosity.
- As you stir it, feel free to dump in some other stuff that you think will make it taste good.
Update: Whilst stirring, note how much like the Fresh Direct chili it smells and then get very excited about the big chunks of beef you see in there. Perhaps you might let loose a manly roar, "IT'S GONNA BE SO GOOD!! NOM! NOM! NOM!" And feel free to thump your chest in triumph over your culinary greatness.
Update 2: I'm enjoying a bowl of my chili now. It actually cooked in about 2.5 hours, which makes me think I should have lowered the heat a little and let it go a little longer, although the meat is still very tender and delicious. If I had to do it again, I would likely use less beef stock and maybe some more tomatoes -- because I love tomatoes and because it's pretty watery. The extra water makes it much more like a stew than chili, really, but the flavor profile has the kick of chili.
But the bottom line is that this is spicy without overwhelming and it is deeelicious! You need a fork and a spoon to eat this!
Update 3: Oh! And I think the substitution of black beans in place of traditional kidney beans really didn't make much of a difference to me. If I had to do it over, I'd examine the nutritional benefits of the two beans and make a decision based on that.
Update 4: If you follow the steps I followed above, please note that this makes a TON of stew/chili. I have enough here to eat a couple of bowls every day for the rest of the week.
December 06, 2008
So, this weekend I'm at L'Italiana's house and I decided to do a comparison between my caveman diet of the last week and what I used to eat. I like science.
Last week, I was a LOT better than usual at the primitive plan. I did eat out three times and had a few things (alcoholic beverages, one hamburger patty, etc.) that I oughtn't to have had, but by and large I did very well what with having cooked my lunches in advance with healthy stuff and cooking my own breakfast, too.
Well, what have I eaten here?
Last night, I ate half a pizza and today I had Chic-fil-A complete with waffle fries and sugarys BBQ sauce finished off with a DELICIOUS peppermint and chocolate chip milk shake.
It was AWESOME. So delicious.
About an hour later, I wanted to curl up in a ball and die.
I haven't talked much here about my general digestive stress because even I have some sense of propriety about these things and I know no one is interested in a blog about poop and farts.
I wouldn't say I have irritable bowel syndrome, but from time to time my body responds violently to things I've eaten. I've never quite put my finger on exactly what sets things off, but it is very, very unpleasant. This started in college and I'd simply learned to live with it.
Well, since I started eating like a caveman all of that stopped happening. Everything was proceding very comfortably and what I imagine is normal for people.
WELL. Peppermint milkshakes are not on the caveman diet for a good reason, I see now. And, yes, I do blame the milkshake.
I still feel kind of yucky and blah, but I am now convinced that I need to get back on my regular eating plan STAT. Say what you will about cavemen, but now that I know this condition can be avoided, I think the alternative is barbaric.
December 04, 2008
If you cook with the heat too high, whatever oil you're using will start to smoke. This morning, I experienced just this, but instead of being acrid, blinding, death-dealing smoke that you get from margarine or veggie oil it was rather light smoke and had only a faint, sweet odor.
Of course, I didn't let it really get out of hand. I just turned the heat down and opened the window in the kitchen, so I don't know if the smoke would have gotten smelly and gross after a time, but this was downright pleasant. Our apartment does not stink from it or anything!
Coconut oil also seems a little more "durable" than veggie oil. I'm not sure of the right word, but it stays in the pan better and lasts longer through the cooking process.
So, anyway, I'm really enjoying this stuff. You should check it out.
December 01, 2008
Is it just me or are his instructions sometimes a little vague on some rather important points?
Also, does it seem like his portions are unusually small?
So, I made a double batch. I also decided to spice it a bit with some cinnamon at the end.
Here are some lessons I learned:
1) Almond butter can be made into a liquid with very little heat.
2) Raw honey is solid at room temperature.
3) All of these hippie foods are crazy yucky to see or touch, but taste surprisingly good.
THEY ARE SO GOOD!
ZOMFG! NOM! NOM! NOM! NOM!
You should totally go out and make some right now!!
I do worry that they won't hold together very well, so I will likely play around with methods of making them a bit more solid at room temperature. Like, maybe if they were baked for a little bit. That might help, right?
I used cranberries, but I want to make some more and mix dried blueberries and dried cranberries. I'll bet that's even better.
And they have hazelnut meal at the store. I'll bet that's a crazy good option, too.
ALSO, instead of paying a zillion dollars for this flour, I think I'll just buy the nuts raw and then grind them myself in my blender or food processor.
So, basically, I'm telling you this is some good stuff here. You need to go get you some.
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