Archive for August, 2010

Quinoa [\keen'-wa\]

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Quinoa was revered by the Incas for centuries before the Spaniards invaded and forbade them from cultivating the plant they referred to (in their own language) as “the mother grain.”

I’d never done anything with quinoa until recently.  I knew of its reputation as a highly nutritious quasi-grain, the only vegetarian source of complete protein (all 9 essential amino acids in one food, as opposed to combining grains and legumes [think rice and beans]).  Recently, though, I’ve been cooking with it and I’m pleased to report that it is very tasty. Here is one great way to prepare it—enjoy!


Sustainable Energy Source?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

From News of the Weird:

Northern Ireland farmer William Taylor introduced his prototype Livestock Power Mill recently and claimed that the world’s 1.3 billion cattle, using treadmills for eight hours a day, could produce 6 percent of the world’s electricity requirement. (The cow must keep walking to avoid sliding down an incline.) [Popular Science, 4-16-10]“

Which got me wondering, what would such a contraption look like?  I imagined a huge treadmill that would require multiple cattle to walk in unison—especially after having seen the crowded conditions in which feedlot cattle are housed.  But, the prototype (at least) is a one-cow model—and is an interesting idea for a renewable power source.

As (which has photos of the machine) indicates, cattle walk while grazing, and one cow on a  treadmill can power four milking machines.

I gotta admit, it’s an interesting idea.  I still prefer the idea of cattle grazing, but if we’re going to pen them up, we’d might as well give them the chance to exercise, and being able to reap electrical energy from their efforts is an intriguing concept.

Next: using stationary cycles to illuminate gym facilities.

What I’ve Been Up to

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Introducing the superlatively adorable Angstrom Sharrard:

He’s already lending a hand in the kitchen:

I’ll likely be updating even more semi-regularly than I have been, but please check in for new content (the goal being at least once per week), and email me any cooking questions I might be able to help you with!

Cooking hint of the day: Replace vanilla extract with rum and add ground cinnamon, allspice, and ginger to your favorite blueberry muffin recipe for a fantastic jolt of extra flavor!

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Cut new potatoes into chunks: eights or quarters depending on the individual potato.  Halves if they’re really small.  Cut onions into one-inch chunks and peel garlic, leaving cloves whole.  Toss in bowl with oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Spread onto baking sheet with lip and roast at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are exhibiting some browning, tossing once about halfway through.

As root vegetables roast, snap stem end off of green beans and break into 1-inch pieces. Dice red bell pepper into 1/4-inch pieces (small dice).   Cut fresh heirloom tomatoes into chunks, or leave whole if using cherry tomatoes (can use mix of different size and different types of tomatoes.  As pictured, there are green zebra tomatoes, black cherry tomatoes, and yellow tomatoes (exact varietal uncertain).  Toss these vegetables in the same bowl used for the root vegetables with the same spices and another drizzle of oil.  When potatoes exhibit brownness from roasting, add these vegetables to the tray and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Slice green onions and basil thinly.  Add to tray at conclusion of 10-12 minutes of roasting the beans and the onions, and return to the oven for a final 3-5 minutes.

Serve immediately in the vessel of your choice.  Liquid from the tomatoes provides a stew-like image if served in a casserole dish (as pictured above).

Bacon Bash at the Harris Grill

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Last August, I had the good fortune of being invited to the Pittsburgh iteration of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour, and had a blast!  This year, you should go.  In order to help make up your mind to do so, I’m pleased to be able to offer two readers a buy-one-get-one free deal on tickets to the 2010 Bacon Tour at the Harris Grill, taking place on Saturday, August 14, from 11 am-4 pm at the Harris Grill (5747 Ellsworth Avenue).

The first two readers who confirm purchasing tickets ($35 apiece) will be able to bring a guest free of charge.  Readers 3, 4, 5, etc.—buy two tickets, please!  You’ll be glad you did—the event is a blast: all you can eat bacon food, 2 free drink tickets, a t-shirt, the possibility of competing in a bacon eating contest, and the companionship of dozens of fellow bacon lovers!  Click here for ticket purchasing information.

Click here to email me confirmation once you have purchased your ticket.