50 Best Bars in America

Well folks, there were only two bars from Portland that made the list, but both are excellent.

Give a shout out to Clyde Common and Teardrop for being awesome!

You can check out the list at

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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Conspicuous consumption


Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

Before you reach for the candied yams this Thanksgiving, there’s something you need to know. They’re not actually yams! All this time Americans have been making the mistake of calling sweet potatoes “yams.” But there’s actually a difference. It turns out sweet potatoes and yams are not even related. They are two different species of root vegetable with very different backgrounds and uses.

So why the confusion? The U.S. government has perpetuated the error of labeling sweet potatoes “yams.” In most cases sweet potatoes are labeled with both terms, which just adds to the confusion. Since there are two types of sweet potatoes, one with creamy white flesh and one with orange, the USDA labels the orange-fleshed ones “yams” to distinguish them from the paler variety. Ok, so that sort of makes sense. But why call the orange-fleshed ones “yams” in the first place? So to understand the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, we have to dig a little deeper (tuber pun intended).

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) come in two main varieties here in the States. One has a golden skin with creamy white flesh and a crumbly texture. The other has a copper skin with an orange flesh that is sweet and soft. All sweet potato varieties generally have the same shape and size — they are tapered at the ends and much smaller than the aforementioned yams.

Americans have been calling the orange-fleshed variety of sweet potatoes “yams” since colonial times when Africans saw familiarities in them to the tuberous variety. The USDA decided to label them as “yams” to differentiate the two varieties. Both varieties of sweet potato, including “yams” can be widely found in supermarket.

Yams (family Dioscoreaceae) are native to Africa and Asia and other tropical regions. Yams are starchy tubers that have an almost black bark-like skin and white, purple or reddish flesh and come in many varieties. The tubers can be as small as regular potatoes or grow upwards of five feet long.

The word yam comes from an African word, which means “to eat.” The yam holds great importance as a foodstuff because it keeps for a long time in storage and is very valuable during the wet season, when food is scarce. For eating, yams are typically peeled, boiled and mashed or dried and ground into a powder that can be cooked into a porridge. Yams can be found in international markets, such as those that specialize in Caribbean foods.

From The Huffington Post:

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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Conspicuous consumption, Food, Food for thought



Twinkling Turkey (serves 15 to 20)
1 (8 1/2 ounce) package yellow corn muffin mix, prepared and baked according to package instructions
6 Twinkies halves lengthwise
1 (14-18-pound) turkey
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup honey

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Scrape the creme-filling out of the Twinkies with a small spoon and reserve in small bowl.

Cut the Twinkie pastry into cubes and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Rinse the turkey. Crumble muffins into a bowl, add the apple and toasted Twinkies and mix lightly. Loosely stuff the mixture into the turkey and truss the legs. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Roast the turkey for 12 to 15 minutes per pound, until the thigh temperature reaches 175 degrees to 180 degrees and the juices run clear.

In a small bowl, combine the honey with the reserved creme filling and mix well. Brush the turkey with the honey mixture during the last ten to fifteen minutes of roasting time.

Remove the turkey from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

From the Huffington Post

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Conspicuous consumption


How to boil water

Boiled Water Recipe

Boiling water is essential to many recipes. If you have never cooked before, don’t worry. It is not as difficult as it may appear. This recipe will guide you through the process, even if you have never set foot in a kitchen.

Special equipment: 12-quart stockpot
Ingredients: water


Open your cupboard or wherever it is you store your cookware.

Locate a 12-quart stockpot. If you do not have a 12-quart stockpot, you may use whatever size pot you have; in that event, keep in mind that serving size here is 1 cup and there are 4 cups in a quart. Do the math.

Place your pot in the sink under the tap. If you have never used a sink before, it is the large depression in your counter top. (If you live with someone else, they may have filled it with dirty dishes; in this case, wash them or simply remove them from the sink and place them in the oven — someone else will eventually discover them there and wash them.)

Turn the cold-water knob to the “on” position. Some people (like my dad) prefer to let the water run a little bit. This is optional but encouraged — if it’s a hot day or someone has previously used the “hot” water knob, the warmer water will eventually be replaced by truly cold water.

Fill stockpot to within a couple inches of the rim.

Lift stockpot from sink and transfer to stove. (Although appearances may vary, the stove is the thing with 4 or more circular metal bands on top of it; alternately, it may be a completely flat black glass surface. If you are unsure, ask your family, roommate, or neighbor for guidance.)

Find knob on stove that corresponds to the “burner” you have placed your pot on. In addition to words like “Right Front” or “Left Rear,” there are usually little pictures near the knobs to indicate position.

Turn knob to “High” and wait until water boils. Depending on strength of your stove and amount of water, the boiling time may vary. Note: DO NOT WATCH THE POT; it will never boil in the event that you do.

Boiled water may be used for any number of applications. Serve hot but do not drink.

Alternate methods

Depending on water application, you may want to salt the water. Do this after the water has come to a boil.

Placing a lid on the pot will help it boil faster, with the additional benefit of blocking water from your line of sight, which, as stated above, inhibits the boiling process.
I must give credit where credit is due.  ~


Roadkill Cafe

Roadkill Cafe

If you have to you have to. However….

Rats, mice, foxes, owls, pigeons, moles, snakes and pheasants: the makings of a pleasant episode of Winnie the Pooh, an autumnal diorama of woodland life at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia — or, for one 44-year-old UK man, 30 years worth of dinner.

Jonathan McGowan, a professional taxidermist, started eating roadkill at age 14, when he found a dead adder on the side of the road and decided to cook it, reports the Daily Mail. That first snake wasn’t very tasty, but he was intrigued. Over time, McGowan came to see the ecological and culinary benefits of eating only meat he found dead on the side of the road. (It seems his forager-instincts were limited to the flesh: he would buy fruits, vegetables, grains, spice and so forth like any other person.)

McGowan detailed the logistics of his diet in a rollicking essay in The Guardian last spring. He writes:

Rabbits, badgers and pheasants are my most common finds. Rabbit is actually quite bland. Fox is far tastier; there’s never any fat on it, and it’s subtle, with a lovely texture, firm but soft. It’s much more versatile than beef, and has a salty, mineral taste rather like gammon. Frogs and toads taste like chicken and are great in stir-fries. Rat, which is nice and salty like pork, is good in a stir-fry, too – I’ll throw in celery, onion, peppers and, in autumn, wild mushrooms I’ve collected. Badger is not nice and hedgehog is hideous.

In a way, McGowan’s roadkill-centric diet is the logical terminus of a few recent strands of thought in the culinary world. He is at once a locavore forager in the tradition of Rene Redzepi, a nose-to-tail carnivore like Fergus Henderson and a freegan in the same vein as Gio Andollo. (Never mind that he embarked on his unusual project decades before any of those figures rose to prominence.)

McGowan doesn’t fess up to having experienced any negative consequences as a result of his roadkill diet, except for the occasional grimace from a friend or acquaintance. So if you’re feeling cavalier, eco-conscious and in the mood for meat the next time you see a deer carcass on the side of the highway, you might want to consider following his lead — at least after reading this guide to roadkill on Slashfood.

~From the Huffington Post




Preserving food is nothing new; people have been salting, pickling and canning food for centuries. Preserving is an easy way to reduce food spoilage and make the fruits of one’s labor last all winter.

Just about anything can be pickled- even pig’s feet. While pickled pig’s feet is not my choice of cuisine, cucumbers, beets, asparagus and onions are. Pickling is easy enough to do at home, following a few simple rules, and pickling can be quick. Of course, if you are going to take the time to pickle correctly, you might as well pickles as much as you can. So sometimes pickling isn’t so quick.

A note on preserving: Pickling, canning and salting can be done safely in your own kitchen. What cannot be done in your kitchen is packing food in oil. We do not have the capacity to safely preserve food in oil in our home kitchens!  Botulism is colorless, odorless and tasteless.  It will also kill you.  Just don’t do it.

For this venture, I went to the Woodstock Farmers Market and bought pickling cukes. At the market I also bought some lovely beets and dill.  All for wicked cheap. I also got a plethora of cucumbers from a friend (you can pickle any kind of cucumber, it doesn’t have to be a pickling cuke.  She also gave me tons of green beans and purple green beans, which I pickled.  After the market, I strolled to Bi-Mart (the most wonderful store!) and got pint and quart size canning jars, pickling salt and jar tongs.

So here are the rules of pickling:

  • If you already have jars, be sure to buy new lids and rings.  Used lids and rings are bent, although you probably can’t see it.  You want to make sure to inspect new lids and rings for holes and other imperfections.
  • Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize everything.  This can be accomplished by boiling jars, lids, rings and tongs for at least 15 minutes.
  • Wash your veggies.  Make sure they are ripe and of good quality.
  • Use pickling salt.  Why?  It does not contain additives that can turn your produce brown and make the brine cloudy.  There are recipes that call for kosher salt, but use pickling salt anyway.
  • Follow the recipe exactly.  Do not try to alter the brine recipe or make smaller batches.  Vinegar is cheap enough that if you have to throw some down the sink, oh well.
  • Have fun!

Gather your ingredients.

Brand new jars!

Bring a very large pot of water to a boil and submerge the jars, lids, rings and tongs.  Boil to sterilize for 15 minutes.

I am using my All-Clad 12 qt. stock pot with the pasta insert.

Meanwhile, set the rack in the canner.

Place the canning rack in the bottom of the canner, fill with water and bring to a boil.

A basic canner is essentially a large pot. Pressure canners are also available for purchase. Some pressure cookers can be used as pressure canners, but not all. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions before canning in a pressure cooker.

Pickling cucumbers, scrubbed.

This cucumber has a great pair of legs

Prep the ingredients: Peel garlic, slice cucumbers (if you wish), rinse the dill.

Food porn!

Once the jars have been boiled, gently pull them out of the water with jar tongs.  I like to do can one jar at a time.  Feel free to leave the other jars in the boiling water until ready to be used.

Use caution. Boiling water is hot!

At this point, you want to start stuffing your first jar.  Add the garlic, dill, peppercorns and cucumbers.

I added a few shakes of chili flakes to this jar for a little heat. Jalapeno works well too.

Pack the jars as full as possible.  Add the brine mixture (not pictured).  Give the jar a shake and using a chopstick, poke the cucumbers to knock out any air bubbles.  Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch of room at the top of each jar, while also making sure all the cucumbers are completely submerged in the brine.  Wipe the rip of the jar, seal with the lid and ring.  Process in your canner according to your recipe instructions, usually 10-15 minutes- depending on what you are canning.

When the pickles are done, set aside to cool.  After a while, you will hear the lids start to seal (pop!).  Check to make sure all the lids seal, if not, do not use.  Store for 2-3 weeks in a cool dry place.  Open and enjoy!

Pickles, pickles, pickles!

Just remember, take your time, follow the instructions and enjoy!!

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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Food, Pickling, Preserving


Food Poetry

Food Poetry

From the Huffington Post:

Apparently the sidewalk hasn’t quite ended for Shel Silverstein’s bibliography. Today marked the release of a new edition of previously unpublished poems and illustrations by the children’s poet, who died 12 years ago. The collection is called “Every Thing On It,” after a poem in the collection on the topic of a fully-loaded hot dog.

But the titular frankfurter isn’t the only food mentioned in the volume. NPR gave listeners a sneak preview of “Every Thing On It,” appending one poem, “Italian Food,” that commemorates delicious pastas and antipastas, and their euphonic names. Here’s the poem:

Italian Food

Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Minestrone, cannelloni,
Macaroni, rigatoni,
Spaghettini, scallopini,
Escarole, braciole,
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Marinara, carbonara,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Ravioli, mostaccioli,
Mozzarella, tagliatelle,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Tortellini, Tetrazzini,
Oops—I think I split my jeani.