Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fatty Like, Healthy Eats

Browned butter. Whipped cream. Creamy mac and cheese. Fried egg. Anything that drips and oozes sauce. Deep fried anything.

That's a sampling of a list of things that often catch my eye at a restaurant and will make me pause and go mmmm. I'm a glutton for delicious food and man, can I be a total fatty.

In honor of a recent Bon Appetit blog, I decided to go through some of the photos of the fattiest awesome things that I've eaten as well as incredibly healthy awesome things I've eaten.


Eating healthy and eating deliciously isn't mutually exclusive; one of the best dishes I've had in recent memory was a kohlrabi salad from Spinasse that wasn't smothered in butter and creamy dressing. In fact, you can still eat out and eat well while watching your figure or gasp, paleo diet.

I started a weight loss challenge at work as an impetus to help me get back into shape so let's hope this serves as an inspiration to myself to enjoy life while eating fewer calories.

Here it goes:

Make-your-own burger is a bad idea. For me, anyway. I routinely try to figure out how to make the burger with so many toppings, you need to eat it with a knife and fork. This one was a thai-themed burger with peanut sauce, a fried egg and likely the kitchen sink. Fatty.

My friends and I make-your-own sushi parties so people can do hand rolls. This was actually healthy since we mostly ate vegetables and raw fish.

I would say this dish from re:public, while pan seared in butter, was actually pretty light and tasty. However, you have no idea how much butter goes into a dish so it may be deceptively bad for you.

My gluttonous self knew no bounds when I encountered a restaurant chain in Kyoto that allowed you to select tempura to go with your udon. I was very liberal with the tempura. It's a good thing I had a long walk back to the hotel afterwards.

Oh Austin. Damn you with your Whataburger fries, spicy ketchup and Torchy's tacos.

I love pickles! Here was a variety from the Walrus and the Carpenter. Pickles are delicious and not so bad for you. It's also a good way to eat your veggies.

Italian pizza in New York with extra mozzarella. It's  good thing this is thin crust... I gotta find a photo of a Chicago-style pizza because a single slice has got to have my day's worth of calories.

The infamous frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity in NYC. Although this one is a frozen peanut butter hot chocolate so even worse... Or even better?
One of my favorite Revel brunch dishes is the Dutch Baby with apples, raisins and smoked cheddar. The pancake batter they use is light with crispy edges and an unctuous center but this is definitely a splurge.
I adore Poppy's thalis since it allows you to eat a little bit of everything but this Dungeness crab, grapefruit, fennel and avocado salad was fresh, light and healthy.

Molly Moon's ice cream!!! No explanation is needed but the flavors were honeycomb and maple nut.

The Dahlia Bakery coconut cream pie and tartlets are heavenly because they are soft, airy, creamy but not too sweet. However, this isn't going to belong on the healthy list.
How to Cook a Wolf is one of our favorite neighborhood spots but we always order the Hamachi crudo because it is always light, perfectly balanced, flavorful and an ideal starter to not blow your appetite for mounds of pasta to follow.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Easy-to-make fancy salts and sugars

Attending a dinner party soon? Want to wow your hosts? Homemade gifts are usually more special and thoughtful than random things you happened to pick up at Safeway along with a bottle of pinot noir. Don't worry - you won't need to learn how to crochet a tea cozy, knit a potholder or hit up a pottery painting spot to create plates that your friends will never use.

Here are a couple of easy-to-make, inexpensive and awesome things to give your pals as gifts or to have on hand in your own kitchen. Just store these items in smaller mason jars and tie ribbon around it.

Rosemary Salt

  • At least three ounces of coarse-ground sea salt
  • One bunch of fresh rosemary

Wash and dry the rosemary and remove the leaves. Blend leaves with the salt in a blender or food processor until the leaves are coarsely chopped up and the salt is greenish. The salt mixture should remain pretty coarse and not too fine. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in an oven about 225 degrees F. This is just to dry the salt and take out any remaining moisture from the rosemary and should take 15-20 minutes.

Store in a jar. If you have a giant rosemary bush, or if you get a lot of rosemary at the farmer's market, buy a big bar of coarse salt and make a ton of this. You can also use other herbs like oregano if you'd like. The salt is great for sprinkling on top of breads you're baking like focaccia or pizza crusts or as a rub for lamb, grilled steaks or kebabs. I think this is a great gift for anyone but is especially useful for people who love to barbecue.

Vanilla Sugar

They always have vanilla sugar on hand at Macrina bakery and that stuff is fantastic to add to coffee or for baking.

  • One vanilla bean
  • Two cups of granulated cane sugar
Pour the sugar into a jar. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the sugar. Mix up the seeds into the sugar and bury the remaining pod into the sugar. Seal tightly with the lid. Shake up the jar and make sure the vanilla is evenly distributed. The seeds are pretty gooey so it doesn't need to be too even if they stick together. Wait a couple of weeks and the sugar will turn golden and be ready to use. Use it in lieu of normal sugar in recipes if you want a light vanilla flavor or use to stir it into coffee, tea and hot cocoa. Just remember to remove the halves of the bean! This is a fantastic gift for your pals who love to bake.

You can also make lavender sugar pretty similarly except that you will want to use dried lavender flowers and sift out the lavender later or wrap lavender in a cheese cloth and remove the sachet after a couple of weeks.