Posts Tagged ‘cooking’


As previously stated, I’m of Romanian decent. Last week I was given the chance to really learn from some first generation Romanians about my cultural and culinary heritage. It was pretty awesome, to say the least. When hanging out with my new found friends I sampled a few different, home-distilled brandies (which are akin to moonshine) called tuica. I got to sample an assortment from both Romania and from the States that were made from plums, pears and apples. Also, I was given the opportunity to try homemade mici, also known as mititei.

Mici is kind of like kabob, in a way, and is like a handmade, caseless sausage containing beef, pork and lamb with an array of herbs and spices. Its absolutely delicious, easy to make and filling. After returning home, I promptly tried my hand at it. This is what I did.

Let me state now that I apologize for the cell phone pictures for this recipe (and, basically, for the whole blog), they make the food look less than appetizing but I promise this is a great dish. Okay, back to the recipe. First, I picked up some ground pork, lamb and beef. You can, by all means, pick up meat from the butcher and grind it yourself in a food processor or meat grinder for even fresher ingredients, but for time’s sake I went with ground.

In a bowl, combine a good amount, about a third of a pound of each meat, and some paprika, dried parsley, cumin, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and, I’m not completely sure why, a small amount of baking soda. Mash the mixture together with freshly washed hands until everything is good and mixed and then form into long, sausage-like shapes, a little more than the width of your thumb.

Heat up your griddle pan, grill pan, grill or, like me, a saute pan (with a little olive oil) to medium heat. Place the mici on the cooking surface and cook fully through. Mici definitely tastes the best when grilled, however my current living situation makes grilling a daunting task, so for posterity’s sake I used a pan.

Once the mici is fully cooked, plate and serve with some fresh bread and brown mustard. I’ve added a few slices of tomato with balsamic and olive oil for a vegetable. This is definitely worth making.


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As an Atomic Age enthusiast I feel like if you’ve seen one food advertisement from the era, you’ve seen them all, and you can see where our country was at its peak design and industry-wise but backwards in terms of food and nutrition. That being said, I had to post this image of corn beef hash from the fifties. Youngsters love it!

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I could go on about partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, etc. but I think the tag line on this 25 year old tub of Crisco really says it more eloquently than I ever could…

Photo Source: crapatmyparentshouse.com

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Pimentón, or paprika, is a great spice used in a variety of dishes in a variety of countries. The word Pimentón is inherently spanish, while paprika takes its roots in Hungarian, literally meaning pepper. It is used in everything from goulashes to sausages and everything in between and it contains Vitamin C and antioxidants, although the quantities ingested would have to be pretty high to make it a good source for either.

I was recently at a boutique spice shop and had the opportunity to buy some fresh Pimentón, which inspired me to make a few dishes that utilized it. Both of these are tapas dishes based on Jose Andres’ own:

This is a simple dish of potato and chorizo sausage, deep fried and then sprinkled with paprika and served over a bed of piquillo pepper puree and olive oil. Just slice the potato on a mandolin, wrap them around the chorizo and skewer them (the skewers should be soaked in water prior to use) then drop them in canola oil to fry for a few minutes. Drop some piquillos, olive oil and Pimentón in a food processor and let it rip for a minute and plate. Not hard.

This was originally supposed to be a tapa made from mussels and potatoes, but the store had no fresh mussels and I wasn’t going to buy frozen… so I got scallops. Get some fingerling potatoes and clean them, while putting a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Cut the potatoes into small pieces and drop them in the water to cook all the way through, shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. In a saute pan, saute your baby scallops in a little olive oil and butter, adding some white wine at some point.

After the potatoes are cooked, serve them as shown.

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Like I said, between work and the World Cup I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to this blog, and my other two, but here are two random pictures that are pretty cool, to me at least.

I’ve been trying for a weeks to achieve the level of frothiness on my Greek coffee that I’ve seen others accomplish. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Also, I’ve acquired a hand-cranked, burr grinder for grinding my own coffee into powder. Definitely worth it. I buy my coffee at the Coffee and Tea Exchange here in Chicago, which is a great place for spices, tea and a great variety of coffees.

I, also, have recently purchased a signed copy of Medium Raw. I’m huge Bourdain fan and I liked A Cook’s Tour and Kitchen Confidential, so this should be a good read. Plus, its signed, so that’s cool by itself.

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The Funnest Thing to Do

On my morning drive to work today I passed an ad on one of the CTA bus stops that, much like the Stouffers ad, left me a little perplexed. I can’t, for the life of me, find an image of this advertisement, but it was, basically, a large poster with a blue background and yellow text that read, “The Most Fun You Can Have With the Stove On.” In a corner was a bright yellow, plastic looking macaroni noodle.

There are countless things wrong with this ad, from a marketing standpoint, but let’s focus on the food part of it. Does the Kraft corporation seriously still believe that we are living in a time where this kind of ad works? Or do they know that there are many people who will see this ad and either forget about it or, like me, go on a rant about how presumptuous it is?

Yes, if it were real cheese…

Don’t get me wrong, Kraft macaroni and cheese was a staple of almost every American kid’s diet growing up, and I have some fond memories attached to it, especially of the Spider-Man shaped macaroni (come on, all that fake cheese trapped in all of those nooks). However, this type of marketing perpetuates the idea that one can’t function in the kitchen without the aid of a large corporation. I think anyone, who would actually give it a little thought, could think of plenty of ways to have more fun in the kitchen. Here’s an idea, maybe make your own macaroni and cheese, from scratch. It would take 10 extra minutes, be more fun, more interesting and it would teach your kids about cooking.

Or, perhaps, Kraft meant the ad to be sarcastic, in which case, I completely agree.

*With the World Cup going on I will be MIA for the next couple of weeks…

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MOJO HD is like the Arrested Development of TV Channels, it might not have had a huge audience, but it made up for it with having kick ass content and, in the end, it was cancelled way too soon. An entire channel devoted to drinking, eating, cooking and travelling that wasn’t successful? Had to be an advertising problem…

Here are some of the shows they offered:

Three Sheets. This show was the first one I discovered from Mojo on Hulu. I watched all three seasons (at the time, all four are now on Hulu) in the matter of a couple weeks. Its the perfect job. Why? Because, unlike a lot of travelling chefs and other tv personalities, host Zane Lamprey auditioned for the role and won it, simply put. Zane is hilarious and genuinely likes what he’s doing and actually consumes alcohol, a lot. Its right up my alley.

After Hours With Daniel. A TV show about small parties after midnight. In some of the best restaurants New York has to offer. Hosted by awesome chef/restauranteur Daniel Boulud and guest starring new chefs every episode. How can this show not be good?

Pressure Cook. This show is a bit gimmicky, following chef and Italian-American stereotype Ralph Pagano as he travels to different parts of the world and “works” his way back home in different food jobs. It gets better after the first few episodes.

Beer Nutz. As a long time homebrewer, I’m a bit hesitant to call this show “good”. Its in no way unwatchable, its just clear that this particular show was produced and hosted by people who know almost nothing about beer and it brings the show down, way down, for people who know anything more than a little bit about beer.

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