April 16, 2006

At Niman Ranch, the cows have no feet

Funny how none of the upscale butchers in town seem to have calf's feet. (In their defense, Golden Gate Meat Market did offer to special order it for me and said it'd take a couple of days to get it.)

Why a calf's foot? I'm making Beef Burgandy today (Boeuf à la Bourguignonne). The recipe calls for it, and I figured I'd give it a try (it's just for flavor and maybe gelatin or something). A lot of classic french food derives from peasant roots and use cheaper cuts of meat. I was hoping to go a little upscale and use beef that was well cared for (free range, fed with grass, rather than fed corn and antibiotics), but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

I've actually been cooking a bit in my new kitchen. In the last week, I've made:

  • Larb Gai

  • Panang Chicken (with a home-made curry paste)

  • Lamb chops with a fennel relish

  • A Roast Chicken with Prosciutto, butter, lemon zest, and thyme stuffed under the skin

  • Rogan Josh, Khatte chhole (sour/spicy chickpea dish), and Rice pudding

In the week or so before that:

  • Fusili Carbonara

  • Rigatoni con Salsiccia

  • Penne in Pumpkin Sauce

  • Chile Verde

  • the Panang chicken again

Lots of what have become old standbys.  (The chicken and beef are new dishes, though.)  I've got a bunch of recipes I want to try, but I've got to sort through them.  I am simultaneously working on the house and trying to develop software to keep track of them and present them on the web.  (Actually, I'm doing a bunch of semantic web related stuff, but that is one aspect of it.)

My other big problem is picking a direction to head in - I have done a lot of italian in the past, and was planning on learning more mexican stuff. I got Rick Bayless' book for christmas and figured a lot of ingredients would be available in the new neighborhood.  Then, I bought a Wok, which needs to be used more (to give it a good seasoning). And, finally, I'd like to gain a mastery of french sauces.

April 13, 2006


Like many people in San Francisco, I tend to avoid fast food and chain resturants. The tends to happen because of the density of decent resturants, health consciousness, and ego. I am however interested in restaurant-related health issues and ran into some interesting research on McDonalds' ingredients:
At a New York City McDonald's, a large fries-and-chicken-nuggets combo was found to contain 10.2 grams of trans fat, compared with 0.33 grams in Denmark and about 3 grams in Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic.
(From the Seattle Times)

Yet another reason to avoid fast food restaurants. (Also, avoid the ice. :)

The other concern of mine is high fructose corn syrup, which is suspected as a contributor to the obesity problem in the US. It only seems to be used in the US, because corn subsidies push the price down. And, apparently, the corn thing is tied to the feeding of antibiotics to cattle. (They're fed corn, they can't digest corn properly, they get sick, and the are fed antibiotics.)