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December 2007
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February 2008

Starbucks Refocuses on Coffee

Well, I am bummed after reading this NY Times article. The yummy lower fat sausage sandwiches, and all their friends, are about to leave Starbucks' menu boards. Major bummer. They were some fo the tastiest, most consistent breakfast sandwiches around. Good thing I switched back to oatmeal this week.

“In short, the scent of the warm sandwiches interferes with the coffee aroma in our stores,” said Howard D. Schultz, the company’s chairman and chief executive.


Foodie Reads Around the Web

  • I thnk I am going to try the chocolate-amaretti waffles over on Serious Eats, though I'm not going to use a heart-shaped waffle iron. No, that would be too cute for even me. Now if anyone has a spare hello kitty waffle iron lying around...
  • Cold wintery nights drive me to make more potatoe dishes than ever. The twice-baked potatoes from Rachael Ray look yum.
  • I hope to get in gear to make some chili from scratch. The Miami Herald had a southwestern style white chili I should try.
  • If I were going to a Super Bowl party, I would be on the lookout for artichoke dips. This recipe reminds tho that folks with food allergies need to ask hosts before diving in. I'm allergic to crab, and you usually can't see it at a glance in stuff like this. Here's hoping hosts use little notecards to keep guests aware of any potentially problematic ingredients.
  • Not sure I would actually make chocolate cake balls, but I love the photo posted along with it at Serious Eats.

Work Day Eats

I stopped to do the math this weekend regarding how much money I have been spending on eating breakfast and lunch downtown every day. It looks like I am spending about $20/day. Sure I have a few work at home days each month, but we are still talking about spending $300 per month on eating (often mediocre food) each work day. I am bored to death with the close by lunch places anhow, so I have gone back to bringing my breakfast and lunch, like I used to do almost every day.

The breakfast is usually the hardest part. I can not get up and eat breakfast. I have to wake up before I can even think about eating. So that rules out eating at home. And our kitchen at work = refrigerator and a microwave. No toaster. With those limitations in mind, my breakfasts at work are now instant oatmeal or Galaxy almond crunch granola with milk.

My favorite lunch item these days are sandwiches. sometimes more fancy, but usually pretty basic. I don't actually want sprouts or pickles on my sandwiches. Give me a good quality bread with roasted turkey and some havarti, easy on the mayo and mustard, and I'm happy. Today's sandwich is ham and mozarella on La Brea Bakery pugliese. And thanks to our Costco visit yesterday, I have a wee bag of goldfish crackers to accompany it.

It's going to be a good week, rain or shine.


Buttermilk Pancakes

OK, I have to admit it -- my made from scratch pancakes are always made with Bisquick, unless I am using sourdough starter. For whatever reason, they just turn out better (and save me from washing measuring utensils.) Here's my recipe.

Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups bisquick
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk

In a bowl, mix the ingredients in the order listed, until combined. Heat a grill until a few sprinkles of water on the grill sizzle. Ladle 2 full spoonfulls of batter per pancake onto the griddle. Cook on 1 side until it is brown (the top should have bubbles and no longer be liquid), then flip and cook other side until brown. Makes about 4 large pancakes. Serve with butter and maple syrup.


Ode to the Panini Grill

I had a very foodie holiday season. And Santa brought me all sorts of new toys that I will eventually blog about. But a week after the holiday haze cleared, my beloved panini grill stopped working. I'd used it to make quesadillas that turned out perfectly, yet a few days later, it just would not turn on. Thus, I was stuck looking for a new panini grill, after all the sales were done. Grrr.

The newly not-working panini grill had been my first such electronic device. After two years of using it, I had learned a lot about what I would want in a grill. My old grill was difficult to clean, and took up all available counter space when in use. It as also difficult to tell when it was ready to use since its red light/ green light system was erratic at best. And, with its lack of temperature control, it was equivalent to using a really hot iron to toast your sandwich.

This is how I decided on the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler. Unlike my old panini grill, this one had removable grilling plates that can even be washed in the dishwasher. It also comes with removable flat griddle plates, which, thanks to the ability to pop the lid and lay it out flat in 2 pieces, is great for making pancakes or french toast.

Since getting this home on Friday, I've used it to make buttermilk pancakes and grilled salmon. There are controls used to set it up for using the griddle or the grill, and regulating the temperature from low-medium-high-sear, giving me as much control with my cooking temperatures as my stove (and perhaps more so.)

The surfaces are truly non stick which makes it easy to clean. My last grill, with its non-detachable plates, was nearly impossible to get truly clean. It always felt somewhat grungy. Also, it comes with a notch out in the grill pans to drain grease, plus a cup to capture it, and a tool for scraping congealed grease off the griddle, so I have to mention again that it's really easy to clean.

The only difficulty I had was ordering this baby. I had two separate orders on macys.com be cancelled without notification to me due to it being out of stock for the foreseeable future (which begs the question of why would they let me place my order without telling me that?) I finally ordered it from Amazon, and had it in hand within days.

So, for once, it feels like my latest kitchen fatality was a good thing. I foresee using this one a few times every week, rather than once a month. Now, I need to get started with that wok I got from Santa...


Dine About Town Returns to SF

Once you've recovered from the holidays' overabundance of food, you'll be ready for SF's Dine About Town, January 15-31 2008. If you're new to this annual event, it gives you an excuse to try out one of the City's restaurants at a reduced price. The 3-course Dine About Town menu at the participating restaurants goes for $21.95 lunches, $31.95 dinners. My recommendation from the list is Maya, one of the city's best showcases of fine Mexican cuisine (i.e. this is a place for great mole, not for a burrito.)