Archive for June, 2012

June 20, 2012

Day 222

Japonica Rice

I ran across a description of Forbidden Rice in Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and knew I had to try it. It sounded so … forbidden. (Really, it was only forbidden to Chinese peasants, so it’s disappointingly lawful.) But my grocery store only had a Japonica variety, which is a combination of Japanese — not Chinese — black rice and mahogany rice. Close enough.

I’m going to throw this in the “that was weird” file. Looked weird when it was cooking (colored the broth deep purple) and when it was done (think a globby pile of cocoa crispies). And it tasted weird. Descriptions say earthy and nutty, but I detected a hint of olive. I thought I was just crazy — been accused of it many times — until my husband asked me what the olive flavor was. Overall, it was edible, but since olive is one of my least favorite flavors, I’m going to give it a pass.

June 19, 2012

Day 221

Bok Choy

When I was still pretty new to Chinese food, I accidently ordered Chow Mein when I really wanted Lo Mein. Big difference. Anyway, there was bok choy floating in it, but I ate around those strange vegetable rafts. Today work-buddy Annie, who joined a CSA and is drowning in vegetables, brought in some fresh stuff. Her produce provider told her that he eats it with peanut butter, like celery. I tried a slab — hold the PB — and it is very much like celery. Only with a little more zing.

June 18, 2012

Day 220

Porcini Mushrooms

I tried these in a Cook’s Illustrated recipe: steak tips with mushroom-onion gravy. I would include a link, but they’re a little less neighborly than Cook’s Country when it comes to sharing recipes on the Internet. I thought it was kind of weird that they only asked for a quarter ounce of dried porcinis. Until I realized how potent these little guys are — a genuine ‘shroomsplosion. But pretty good, even if it did take a little getting used to.

June 17, 2012

Day 219


My husband loves cheesecake. But, like most other things that give him pleasure, he doesn’t get a lot of it. So I decided to throw him a bone on Father’s Day — and score a new food while I was at it. (I like to make most holidays all about me, even when they’re not.) My daughter’s response to the cheesy cake aligned with mine. “Is it really made out of cheese?” she asked. Followed by: “Ewww.” But since I’m not 12 anymore, it was time for me to give it a try, weird name and funky texture be damned. And it wasn’t so terribly bad. Not anywhere near worth the calories, though.

June 16, 2012

Day 218


I’ve always avoided cherries because I thought they were super-sicky sweet things. Like the maraschino ones on top of sundaes … which, of course, I’ve never actually put in my mouth. I’ve just had enough run-ins with collateral juice from those unwanted toppers to know they’re a no-no. But today I tried a fresh cherry — mostly to avoid eating Frogmore Stew, which is what I had scheduled to eat today. Frogmore Stew*, for those who don’t live in South Carolina, is a concoction of shrimp (yuck) and sausage (yuck) boiled in Old Bay Seasoning (yuck) with potatoes, tomatoes and corn on the cob. I make it all the time for gatherings, but it’s not something I’ve ever wanted to sample. So I saw a bowl of cherries on my parents’ table and went for those instead. It turned out to be a fortuitous decision — since now I know I love cherries.

*To this recipe I add onions, 2 jumbo cans of tomatoes and 2 beers. Plus I brown the sausage before throwing it into the pot.


June 15, 2012

Day 217

Silly Coffee Drink

I love strong black coffee. I’ll drink it burnt. I’ll drink it thick as sludge. I’ll drink it day-old. I’ll drink it from disreputable gas stations. The only thing that ticks me off is when it’s coffee-colored water. It’s almost a point of pride that I’ve never ordered a designer coffee. First of all, why do you need all that crap piled in? Secondly, those fancy orders seem to take forever to make. And I like to keep my human interaction down to a minimum. Especially when I’m waiting on caffeine. But our Target has a Starbucks attached. So, as I was buying socks for my poorly shod husband, I decided to experiment. Didn’t know what half the things on the menu were. Finally settled on the Cinnamon Dolce Latte. (Although spending 3.50 on a small — excuse me, tall — coffee seemed positively insane.) It was pretty. And the first few sips were okay. But it’s more rich dessert than coffee. And a few sips were enough.

June 14, 2012

Day 216

Halvah Bar

Crisis in Picky Niki land. I had butter beans scheduled, but when I looked them up I realized that butter bean is just a more scrumptious sounding name for lima beans. Well, I’ve had lima beans, for heaven’s sake. If I hadn’t bothered to look it up, I might have accidently eaten a non-virgin food, ruining the entire project at one fell bite. Luckily, I had a halvah — a sesame-based candy bar — to act as pinch hitter. It’s not the most exciting new-food pick, but it was good. And it saved me from the lima beans in disguise.

June 13, 2012

Day 215

Mini Babybel Cheese

What kind of cheese is Babybel? It was hard to say. So I went to their website. But all that told me is it’s a “sophisticated cheese on-the-go.” That doesn’t really clear things up. It took a little more digging to find out it’s a variety of edam, a semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands. (Although the Babybel brand hails from France.) I’d never heard of edam cheese. And I hope to never hear of it again. The mini babybel packaging — with its teensy wax shell — is super cute, but that’s the nicest thing I can say about it.

June 12, 2012

Day 214

Red Banana

Which is really kind of purple. I don’t like yellow bananas at all. But this little guy went easy on the banana taste. And for that I thank him.

June 11, 2012

Day 213

Port Salut Cheese

More fun with “ripened” milk curd. This time only moderately successful. Port Salut is a soft cheese, so I decided to go with the tried-and-true grilled cheese test. (Because god forbid I put unadulterated cheese in my mouth.) It was okay. Just a little twangier than good ol’ American slices. Only I didn’t like it when the bread-to-cheese ratio was skewed toward cheese due to my limited slicing skills. Too much cheese in my mouth at one time = bad news.