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The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of the online newsletter The New Orleans Menu notes food facts and sayings.

Days Until. .
Valentine's Day--1

It is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the day after Mardi Gras. Today is the day that very devout Catholics give up meat for the duration of Lent (although the letter of the law says one only has to abstain on Fridays and today). Whether or not you're religious, I think it's probably a good idea to take a month and a half off from lavish, fatty, meaty eating. Enough people do so that restaurants take a business hit for the first week or two of Lent. Steakhouses tough it out for about a week, then start freaking out and running seafood specials.

Looking at the other side of this, it must be noted that eating only seafood for any prescribed period of time is no penance in New Orleans. Lent comes at one of the best times of year for eating seafood. Oysters are at their peak. Crawfish are here and improving week by week. In a few weeks, we'll start seeing soft shell crabs. Lots of fish are available right now. If Lent did not exist, we'd probably want to invent a Seafood-Eating Festival to highlight all these riches.

Chef d'Oeuvre du Jour
Char-Broiled Oysters @ Drago's, CBD: 2 Poydras. 504-584-3911. ||Metairie: 3232 N Arnoult Rd. 504-888-9254. It's a simple dish, a fact that kept fancy restaurants from offering it until the dish became such a phenomenon that almost any restaurant with a local theme had to add it to the menu. Shucking oysters is the first step, and most chefs don't want any part of that. So it fell to the city's great oyster specialist to create and serve them, by the hundreds of sacks per week, to people willing to wait quite some time for them. Are they really as good as all that? Yes. Why? Because the oysters are so good. Which also explains why other restaurants never quite get it up to Drago's standard.

In the unlikely case that you never had them before, Drago's char-broiled oysters are shucked fresh, blasted by fire and steam on an open grill, basted with a lot of garlic-herb butter, dusted with Parmigiano cheese, and left on the grill till the juices bubble. Simple, yes. But so good that you can eat dozens of them and still want more. This is one of NOMenu's 500 Best Dishes in New Orleans Restaurants. The entire list is here.

Food Calendar
The buzz on the Web is that today is National Tortellini Day. Tortellini come from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. They're small ravioli--little pillows of pasta usually rolled up around the stuffing instead lying flat. The filling is most often cheese, but spinach, tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, or other fillings--more often vegetable than meat--can be enclosed in tortellini. A slightly large variation is called tortelloni, which no doubt has its own special day. My favorite tortellini (or tortelloni) dish is a salad Chef Ron Wilemon of Allegro Bistro made at a party once. I badgered him for the recipe, and I have it below, in the Recipes department.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Fish Creek runs through a rugged desert canyon named for it in the Superstition Mountains, sixty-two miles east of the center of Phoenix, Arizona. Fish Creek is a tributary of the Salt River, and feeds a reservoir upstream from springs at about 1500 feet. A picnic area near the reservoir looks interesting. If you didn't make up a basket, you can dine at Apache Lake Restaurant, four miles west in Tortilla Flats.

Edible Dictionary
Bluefin Tuna, Gulf bluefin tuna is the species that you may have heard of selling for thousands of dollars per fish, with the buyers often as not being Japanese. Bluefin tunas weigh hundreds of pounds, with the record being 1496 pounds. Its size puts it at the top of the ocean food chain. It also explains its desirability to man as a food fish. It's a little too desirable, frankly, resulting in its being overfished. It's hard to eat bluefin tuna with a clear conscience.

Bluefin tuna flesh is amazing to behold. In its best parts, it shows no flake structure at all. It's solid meat, with an amazing silky texture. It's deep maroon in color, with a beautiful bright highlight. The flavor is vivid and wonderful. If you're going to eat bluefin, the only way to go is sashimi. No rice, no searing, none of that. Raw, all by itself. It's is better and much more expensive than standard yellowfin ("ahi") tuna.

Annals Of Food Research
G. Brown Goode was born today in 1851. His contribution to our tables was a new two-volume atlas of the fisheries of the United States, published in the 1880s. It was the first resource with its scope, and included over 500 etchings of the many species of fish and shellfish that were caught and sold at the time.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
If you have to light a stove burner with a strike-anywhere match, it will never ignite properly on its own ever again. Unless that happened to be your last match.

Food In Sho-Biz
In 1972, the musical Greaseopened on Broadway. A year later exactly, another musical, El Grande de Coca-Colaopened in New York City. A movie called Kitchen Stories premiered on this date in 2004. It was a comedy about making one's kitchen work by the assembly-line method. I hear it wasn't very funny. What was funny was a 1932 Our Gang episode called Free Eats. It featured the debut of George "Spanky" McFarland in the series.

Music To Chew Bubble Gum By
On the musical side of sho-biz, today in 1967 the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever was released. The Osmond Family had a Number One hit on this day in 1971, with their song One Bad Apple.

Food Namesakes
Eddie Pye, infielder for the Dodgers, was born today in 1967. German artist George Schrimpf was born today in 1889. Canadian musician Jeff Waters of Annihilator was born today in 1966.

Words To Eat By
"All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow."--Grant Wood, artist, who was born today in 1892.

"Fish should smell like the tide. Once they smell like fish, it's too late."--Oscar Gizelt, former manager of Delmonico's in New York.

The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - Recipes

Who doesn't love good ol' southern comfort food? I don't eat stuff like this all the time for obvious reasons. But some days I splurge and really enjoy myself. I went to mom's house last night for dinner and someone had given her a super easy cube steak recipe! Cube steak is most definitely not a 'pretty' dish, but it sure is GOOD. I've never made it before in my life because when you get into making gravy and all that jazz I get intimidated. Well, this is one recipe for the books. and I will make it at least once a month from now on! It was a hit with Devin too which makes it even better! It was so tender and the flavor was praise worthy! I really couldn't get over it. Not to mention it is fairly cheap to make, and I guess the bisquick topping fills you up really quick because I could only eat 1/2 a piece. which means the recipe goes a long way! Yay!

Pam Baking Spray (Optional)
Bisquick (Regular, Heart Healthy, or Gluten Free. your choice)
Light Ranch Dressing
Cube Steak
Butter (We used Parkay Squeeze Butter)

Spray your baking dish with Pam (I've cooked this without greasing the dish and the breading on the bottom came off but it was still good, that's why it's optional )!)
Coat Cube Steak in Ranch Dressing (Both Sides)
Sprinkle Bisquick on both sides of steak
Place Coated Cubed Steak In a Baking Dish in a Single Layer
Squeeze a little butter on top of each piece of steak
Bake at 375 for 45 Minutes

Creamy Salsa Verde

Yes, we typically think of these types of treats as a bag of potato chips or a box of cookies and subsequently associate a binge like this with a heaping side of guilt. However, polishing off a little jar of this creamy salsa verde is a guilt free indulgence! The only ingredients are healthy, real food: avocado, tomatillo, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, honey/agave and lime. (okay, so if we want to be technical, there may be some tortilla chips involved. )

Not only is the ingredient list simple, but the recipe is super easy to make. Just roughly chop the ingredients and give them a little whirl in the food processor or blender. Your friends and family will be amazed at your exotic, authentic Mexican flavor skills. Ahem. that is if you are able save any for them.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed )
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno (1/2 keeps it very mild, add more for more heat)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or agave
  • pinch of salt

  • Peel tomatillos of their husks and rinse off the slightly sticky texture. Roughly chop and add to food processor.
  • Open avocado, remove pit and scoop out into food processor. (See my avocado tips below recipe)
  • Peel and roughly chop garlic, add to food processor.
  • Roughly chop and add 1/2 white onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  • Add lime juice, honey/agave, and a pinch of salt.
  • Give it all a whirl in the food processor until you reach the consistency you like.

I ate a whole jar (!) of this by myself, with just chips, but my oh my, was it ever tantalizing on Chile-Coffee Braised Beef Brisket Tacos! See the taco recipe under the kitchen tab, or simply click here.

The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - Recipes

6 cups rice krispies
red food coloring (optional, but one can never have enough red food dye in one's life, right?)
4 oz (2 squares) Vanilla Almond Bark

Pour the rice krispies in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once it's melted add in the marshmallows. Stir until they are mostly all melted (this will take a few minutes--low and slow is key for perfect texture) then stir in the vanilla, crushed red hots, and a few drops of red food coloring .

Once fully melted, take them off heat and pour over the rice krispy mixture. Stir lightly to combine, then dump into a greased 9x9 pan. Allow to cool 5 minutes, then press into pan with greased hands. While they finish cooling, melt the almond bark in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each one until fully melted. Drizzle the bark over the treats. Enjoy!

L'chaim or Death

What’s up with this? Nine out of 35 of this week’s NYT Mass-market paperback bestsellers have the word “dead” in the title. Several others allude to death as the subject matter.

One reason this caught my eye has to do with what I read yesterday in Philip Yancey’s book, Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church.

In the chapter about G.K. Chesterton, Yancey writes, “Chesterton himself said that the modern age is characterized by a sadness that calls for a new kind of prophet, not like prophets of old who reminded people that they were going to die, but someone who reminded them they are not dead yet.”

Pow! That bullet whizzed past my head, waking me up.

Back in 2005, when I read Soul Survivor for the first time, I had seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption (1994) on television the night before I came upon this enlightening paragraph. In the margin of my book, I noted what the character played by Morgan Freeman had said.

“Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

I was in seminary at the time. I thought I was gonna die. I decided to act on the truth: I'm not dead yet.

So what’s up with this post-modern preoccupation with death in music, movies and books? Can you feel the sadness? Smell the despair? Feel the pain?

Some funereal tone signifying approaching apocalypse threatens to eclipse the light of the message that Chesterton upheld to his own generation. He was jovial, full of life rather than preoccupied with gloomy forecasts.

W riter, philosopher, humorist and Christian apologist, Chesterton sparred with contemporaries George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Sigmund Freud to defend the faith. Yancey said, "He took on, in person and in print, anyone who dared interpret the world apart from God and Incarnation."

Chesterton wrote Orthodoxy, which Publisher's Weekly classified as one of 10 "indispensable spiritual classics" of the past 1500 years.

Philip Yancey carried that same light-dispersing torch when he highlighted the life of G.K. Chesterton, a man who understood that “a stern prophet will rarely break through to a society full of religion’s cultured despisers.”

The Night Owl Trader

S igh - sometimes you just can't win for losing. Two days ago I said the market would go up, so it went down. Last night I said the market would go down today. so it went up. Arrgh! This is starting to remind me of a mini version of last summer. Remember when we had four days in a row of triple digit yo-yo action? We're basically stuck in a consolidation pattern where it's tough to call each individual day. But for some unknown reason, I keep trying. Fortunately, the market is like baseball - you can strike out the majority of the time and still be considered pretty good. Tonight, I'll take another swing at it.

The Dow: What a difference a day makes. Last night the daily Dow was looking pretty gloomy. Today's 123 point pop changes the picture and brings us right back to the top of the recent 12,800-12,900 trading range. From a candlestick point of view, we've got a bullish engulfing pattern, which is usually works pretty well. And the indicators have all hooked back upwards before ever reaching oversold levels. The stochastic in particular is very close to making a bullish crossover. On the downside, every time we've been at the 12,900 area since the 7th, the next day has gone lower. There's no resistance until the upper BB at 12,957. The only question is how to get there.

The VIX: Remember last night when I said "You have to go back to last August's insanity to find an instance where the VIX did not turn lower right after hitting the upper BB."? Well today the VIX dumped 9%, putting in a big red candle that formed a classic bearish engulfing pattern, one of the strongest bearish reversal patterns around. I found several instances of a bearish engulfing pattern off the upper BB over the past two years and in every one, the VIX was lower the next day. The VIX correctly predicted today's market gains, and from the looks of it, it will go lower on Friday.

Market index futures: At 1:15 AM all three futures are essentially flat. ES is down just a half point. But unlike in the Dow, today's big green candle decisively took ES out of its recent trading channel. And its stochastic just barely formed a bullish crossover. And taking the longer view on the weekly chart, the uptrend is still very much intact.

ES daily pivot: Tonight rose from 1346.08 to 1348.75. With ES meandering aimlessly in the overnight, this is still bullish but a bit less so.

Dollar index:The dollar chart looks like the VIX - another bearish engulfing pattern, strongly suggesting more dollar downside on Friday, which would be good for stocks.

Morningstar Market Fair Value Index: After spending three days stuck on 0.94 (which I noted was a positive sign), yesterday the index ticked up to 0.95, also encouraging.

History: According to The Stock Traders Almanac, Friday is historically quite bearish, with the Dow down 16 of the last 20, possibly because traders don't want to be invested over the long weekend..

And the winner is.
Although the charts all seem to suggest more upside possible Friday, I'm just not feeling it. My problem now is that I think we ran too hard on Thursday and therefore need a day or two to regroup. And there also seems to be little enthusiasm in the overnight futures. Therefore I'm going to call for a small-range doji day on Friday - no big moves either up or down ahead of the holiday weekend, though history suggests a downward bias.

Today I decided to get while the getting was good and dumped my long from two days ago for a quarter point profit. At least that was better than selling yesterday at a considerable loss. So now the account goes to $112,750 after 14 trades (11 wins, 3 losses) starting from $100,000 on 1/1.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tears On My Pillow

Last night's ABC News featured a follow-up story on Susan Boyle. The release this week of her debut album, "I Dreamed a Dream," went straight to the top of the pop charts––best-selling female singer debut ever.

Later, after returning from a meeting, I found this surprise on my pillow.

My husband had gone out in the cold, dark night with snow falling on glistening streets to make my birthday hold as much happiness as possible. I cried.

Kudos that here the music-loving world has recognized in this video-driven age of celebrity illusion that talent comes in all sorts of packages.

A music industry spokesperson said, "She's not the most beautiful flower in the bouquet, but she's a special flower." Indeed.

She is, as my husband said, "the real deal," not a studio creation, but a testimony to the Creator's creativity.

Inside the CD cover, Susan wrote:
"I would like to dedicate this Album to my beloved Mother, to whom I made a promise to 'be someone.'"

Mid-life, Susan has become emblematic of dreaming dreams that may yet come true.

Our best dreams distill the hope of being someone, not to the anonymous masses, but as Victor Hugo wrote, to those who love us in spite of ourselves.

City of Fairfax police have arrested and charged a Chantilly man with shoplifting. He is Moises Argueta Barahona, 20, of Novar Drive. The alleged incident occurred last Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Best Buy store at 9652 Main St. in Fairfax.

According to police, employees reported that afternoon that a man had been observed picking up an item of merchandise there and trying to leave the store without paying, at which point he was detained.

Police say investigation revealed that he’d also allegedly stolen a laptop computer from that Best Buy on Jan. 10. Following his arrest, Barahona was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and charged with two counts of felony larceny. His bond was set at $500.

Free Carseat Inspections

Certified technicians from the Sully District Police Station will perform free, child safety carseat inspections Thursday, Feb. 14, from 5-8:30 p.m., at the station, 4900 Stonecroft Blvd. in Chantilly. No appointment is necessary. But residents should install the child safety seats themselves so technicians may properly inspect and adjust them, as needed.

However, because of time constraints, only the first 35 vehicles arriving on each date will be inspected. That way, inspectors may have enough time to properly instruct the caregiver on the correct use of the child seat. Call 703-814-7000, ext. 5140, to confirm dates and times.

Food Donations for WFCM

The Western Fairfax Christian Ministries’ (WFCM) thrift store will reopen this Saturday, Feb. 16, at 13939 Metrotech Drive, near the Lotte Market, in Chantilly’s Sully Place Shopping Center. Store hours will remain the same –Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. But starting Tuesday, Feb. 19, donation hours for clothing, household goods and furniture will be Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

In addition, WFCM’s food pantry urgently needs donations of spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, rice (2-lb. bags), canned pasta, peanut butter, canned tuna and meat, hot and cold cereal, fruit juice, and pancake mix and syrup. Bring all items to WFCM’S new food-pantry location at 13888 Metrotech Drive, near Papa John’s Pizza and Kumon Learning Center, also in Sully Place.

Citizens Fire and Rescue Academy

Area residents wanting to learn more about the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department may now have the chance. They may participate in a nine-week program showing them what firefighters and paramedics do every day.

Applications to the first-ever Citizens Fire and Rescue Academy will be accepted until Feb. 18 or until the class of 25 is filled. The free program is open to those at least 18 years old. The academy will begin March 28, meeting for nine consecutive weeks, from 6-9 p.m., at various locations.

Each session will cover different aspects of the organization, providing an in-depth overview of it and its uniformed and civilian workforce. Program topics include fire suppression, emergency medical services, training, recruitment and special operations. Apply at

WFCCA Land-Use Committee

Child care and a cell tower are on tap for the next meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee. It’s slated for Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., in the Sully District Governmental Center, 4900 Stonecroft Blvd., in Chantilly. Agenda items are as follows:

A proposed change to the county’s home childcare policy. In January, the Board of Supervisors authorized public hearings for a zoning ordinance amendment which, if approved, would allow state-licensed, home childcare providers to care for up to 12 children with special- permit approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals. The amendment could also reduce the current special-permit application filing fee of $1,100 to as low as $435.

Milestone Communications has filed for permission to build a 115-foot cell-phone tower at Stone Middle School to accommodate multiple carriers.

School Boundary Meetings Set

Chantilly High, Fairfax High, Falls Church High, Oakton High, Robinson Secondary, Woodson High, Franklin Middle, Frost Middle, Jackson Middle, Lanier Middle and Rocky Run Middle are all schools involved in the boundary study students to relieve overcrowding at Fairfax High and Lanier Middle School.

The public is invited to participate in community dialogues regarding possible scenarios for the movement of students from one school to another. All meetings will be from 7-9 p.m. and are as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 20 - Lanier Middle School, cafeteria, 3801 Jermantown Road, Fairfax (snow date – Feb. 27).

Tuesday, Feb. 26 - Woodson High School, cafeteria, 9525 Main St., Fairfax (snow date - March 6).

For more information, to sign up for the meetings and to submit questions and comments, go to

Recycle During Electric Sunday

Residents may recycle old TVs, computers, peripheral electronic devices – such as keyboards, speakers, printers and scanners, as well as household hazardous wastes – including fluorescent light bulbs and tubes, for free, during Fairfax County’s “Electric Sunday” events.

The next one is slated for Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the I-66 Transfer Station, 4618 West Ox Road, Fairfax. For more information, call 703-324-5052.

Meals on Wheels Volunteers

Fairfax County needs Meals on Wheels drivers in Chantilly and group Meals on Wheels coordinators in both Chantilly and Fairfax. Contact Volunteer Solutions at 703-324-5406, TTY 711, [email protected] or visit

Give Caregivers a Break

Fairfax County needs Respite Care volunteers throughout the county to give family caregivers of a frail older adult a well-deserved break. Volunteers visit and oversee the safety of the older adult for a few hours each month. Volunteers are matched with families in or near their own neighborhoods. Support and training is provided. Contact Kristin Martin at 703-324-7577, TTY 711, or [email protected]

Women's Self Defense Program

The Fairfax County Law Enforcement Foundation is partnering with the Fairfax County Police Department to offer the Women's Self Defense Training program. It’s based on the SAFE program formerly provided by the Police Department, but now being taught by C&J Security Corp.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mizzou Basketball at Wobbly Boots

Wobbly Boots is THE place to watch Mizzou Basketball.

Come to Wobbly Boots to watch Mizzou as they try to finish strong in the final games. The Tigers currently sit at 19-7 (8-5 SEC) for the season with 5 games remaining, 2 of which are at the Mizzou Arena.

Wobbly Boots is always the best place for you and your friends to cheer your Mizzou Tigers on as they make their way to the SEC tournament.

Below are the remaining games for the regular season schedule:

Feb 23 - Kentucky
Feb 28 - South Carolina
Mar 2 - LSU
Mar 5 - Arkansas
Mar 9 - Tennesse

SEC Tournament will begin on March 13 - be sure to make your plans to be at the best sports bar at Lake of the Ozarks. Wobbly Boots is always ready to serve up your favorite cold drink and we have lots of great appetizers and the BEST BBQ in the Midwest to fill you up during the big games.

We can also help you out if your watching the game at home - be sure to call ahead and we can have your carry out items ready to pick up!! 573.348.2277

The Food Almanac: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - Recipes

It’s time for another Ingredient Spotlight! This week, Tiffany and I are featuring Chocolate! Hopefully if you haven’t already found some delicious ideas for Valentine’s Day, you’ll be able to find a few great recipes here.

Here are our top 5 favorite chocolate recipes:

Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Caramelitas – These are downright amazing. Frog Prince’s favorite dessert, hands down. Get the recipe here. Not a caramel fan – check out this oatmeal dark chocolate fudge bar instead. Get the recipe here.

The Best Homemade Brownies – These brownies fudgy and gooey, but what I love about them, they get that crunchy top layer so characteristic of “really good” box mixes. This recipe relies on chocolate chips rather than cocoa powder and we love it. Get the recipe here.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream – Love this ice cream, even though it’s not green. Easy to make, and even easier to eat! Get the recipe here. Top it with hot fudge!

Decadent Dark Chocolate Frosting – Put down the can and say hello to the easiest and best tasting chocolate frosting you’ve ever had. Trust me. Get the recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake (or Cupcakes) – This recipe comes from my grandmother and is a family favorite. No one will ever know you have them eating veggies for dessert – I promise. Get the recipe here.

Now it’s your turn! Link up your recipes containing chocolate – you can link up as many recipes as you’d like, just link back to Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

Watch the video: Friday, August 2, 2013- Evening Edition (June 2022).


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