Monday, August 18, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

Here's the game:

The Omnivore's Hundred is an eclectic and entirely subjective list of 100 items that Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste, thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his life.

His rules:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here , linking to your results.

I impressed myself with my list. I guess growing up in a family where "strange" foods were the norm and when Michelle and I travel, we try to eat locally as much as possible (haggis, black pudding, aloo gobi, chicken tikka masala, etc).

However, I don't think I'll go out of my way to eat the things missing from my list, except maybe jello shots.

Here's the list:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine

60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Couch Potato to 5k - Week 1

Day 1: 8/2/08
Time: 26:26
Distance: 1.66 miles
Pace: 15:50
Calories burned: 309

Day 2: 8/6/08
Time: 26:02
Distance: 1.63 miles
Pace: 15:55 min/mi
Calories burned: 303

Day 3: 8/7/08
Time: 33:01
Distance: 1.91 miles
Pace: 17:11 min/mi
Calories burned: 356

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Getting off the couch, wandering Highland Park and Grand Avenue and lunch at Punch

This morning, Michelle and I got up close to the regular time (we're trying something new, and actually getting up early on weekends) and decided to start the Couch Potato to 5k program from CoolRunning. I finally tried out the Polar heart rate monitor that Kirk gave me when he got a fancy new one. It's pretty much idiot proof, but lacking in some basic functionality. You set it for a minimum and maximum rate for your workout zone, then decide if you want it to annoy you by beeping at your when you're below or above the zone. Needless to say, I shut that off. Once you begin your workout, you simply hit the only button it has once to begin your workout, then hit it when you're done. It then gives you your time of workout and the average heart rate. Very basic. I also use the Nike+iPod trainer. That thing is awesome. I have the iPod mini from two versions ago, so it works really well for this, but the armband that fits that style doesn't allow you to see the face, so it makes it tough to use for the running program we're doing, since you need to be able to see the timing. I figured that wouldn't be a problem since I was wearing the watch for the heart rate monitor, but that only shows your heart rate while you run, not the timing. That caused a bit of an issue since I couldn't see the timer for 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. I abandoned the armband and just held the iPod in my hand to watch the timer on it. Next time Michelle is going to wear the heart rate monitor so she can give it a try, and I'm going to find a running watch with interval timing. All in all though, it wasn't a bad morning. Unfortunately there was absolutely no breeze this morning, so it was a bit stuffy and muggy on the run, but not ridiculously hot. Could have been better, could have been worse.

Day 1:
25 minutes
1.7 miles
148 avg. heart rate

After the run, Michelle had breakfast plans with Gosia and Julie. She hasn't seen Julie for over 18 months (she just moved back from Baltimore) and with Gosia living in Appleton, she doesn't get to see her nearly as much as they would all like. It was great for her to get to hangout with her college friends again. I wish they all lived here so Michelle could have that girlfriend time. It was really nice to see her happy and talking with them. Of course, Gosia's pregnant and Julie has an 18 month old, so there was a lot of baby talk. Yet more pressure!!!

While she was breakfasting with the girls, I headed over to Fish Ave (66th Street in Richfield, the location of World of Fish and Something Fishy), to pick up 10 gallons of R/O water and 5 gallons of salt water as well as some Forumla Two and Prime Reef for my fishies. Something Fishy had Formula Two on sale, buy one get one free, so I saved myself $5.99! While there, I saw an absolutely beautiful silver arowana. It's odd that Something Fishy would have a large freshwater like that, but this thing was something special. It had to have been at least 28" long and was in pristine condition. Needless to say, it had a hefty price tag at $299. Mike would have died. His arowana isn't nearly that size yet, but with time, and considering it lives in a 310 gallon aquarium, it definitely has a chance to get there.

After they were done, I met Michelle and Gosia at the Starbucks attached to Barnes & Noble in Highland Park. We talked for a bit, then she headed off to register at Babies R' Us. We decided to walk around Highland Park, and check out Patina before lunching at Punch. Michelle loves Patina. It's a very eclectic shop with a very wide assortment of gifts, knick-knacks, decorations, etc. We walked in and were immediately drawn in by the "Pretty Useful Tools" line by the V&A Museum. Now, the V&A was the one thing we definitely missed when we were in London. Michelle's still kinda bitter about it. Now, with her affinity for design and all things "period", that museum would have been outstanding for her. These tools were right up her alley. A tape measure covered in a William Morris wallpaper design from 1837, stuff like that. They definitely screamed "Michelle."

After picking up Erin's birthday gift at Patina (something eclectic and very, very cool for the new homeowner and soon to be newlywed), we walked down to Punch for lunch. Punch has, by far, the best pizza in town. There isn't even a close second. I had never been to the one in Highland Park, the original. I guess I never realized that this one was table service instead of cafeteria style service, so I was a bit confused off the bat and probably looked like an idiot, trying to find the line.

Once we were situated in our seats, and since Michelle had breakfast about 90 minutes prior, we figured one pizza would suffice. Typically we get a pizza and a salad to share or we each get our own. However, this time we settled on the Bruni (sausage, spiced salami, onion, oregano).

It was fantastic as always. Thin crust, baked in a wood-fire oven at 800 degrees for 90 seconds is just the way all pizza should be prepared. The edge had a nice char on it, the pizza was a bubbly, melty, ooze in the middle and the salami was crisp on the edges and perfectly placed. I adore Punch.

After lunch, we headed over the Grand Ave. to see what there was to see. Frankly, we didn't feel like walking around much, but I hadn't had my Grand Ole Creamery fill this summer, so we drove down Grand, parked and walked up to the familiar door. Shockingly, there was no line out the door on a lovely, warm St. Paul Satuday. Michelle tried something new and went for the Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet while I had the tried and true Black Hills Gold. Michelle's sorbet was light and tart. Frankly, it was perfect for a sunny, 85 degree day. My cone was creamy heaven. Seriously, it's the best ice cream I have ever tasted.

We then walked around the block, eating our ice cream and drooling over houses in Crocus Hill. WANT. After we finished our cones, we headed toward Golden Fig Fine Foods. I love that store. It's filled with all kinds of locally made gourmet products (mustards, oil infusions, organic pretzels, chips, breads, chocolates, etc) and locally grown/prepared eggs, meats and cheeses. They had fantastic looking pepper bacon, pork tenderloins and dry aged steaks. Today, however, I was in the mood for something a bit lighter. We decided upon a levain from Rustica and black bean and corn MinneSalsa.

After we left the Golden Fig, we decided to call it a day and head home. All in all, it was a fantastic day and we were home by 3:00. I kinda like this getting up early thing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Roasted Chipotle and Pineapple braised bbq country ribs and black beans

Deciding that I wanted to finally used the two pounds of country ribs my mom gave me a while ago, I was uncertain as to the best way to prepare them. Michelle doesn't dig on ribs, so grilling them was out (even though country style have no bones), but I thought to myself, "Self, why not take the easy way out and braise those suckers in the crock pot all day?"

Being the lazy man that I tend to be, I rummaged through the pantry to check out what we had for braising. It was either going to be teriyaki or Frontera Roasted Chipotle and Pineapple Barbecue & Grill Sauce. Figuring that the teriyaki wasn't exactly what I had in mind, I took the leap and went with the unknown commodity.

Step 1: 7:00 am

Pull ribs out of fridge

Step 2: 7:01 am

Drizzle olive oil into bottom of crock pot and place ribs.

Step 3a: 7:02 am

Open bottle of Frontera Roasted Chipotle and Pineapple Barbecue & Grill Sauce.

Step3b: 7:02 am

Dump contents over ribs and stir with tongs to ensure full coating.

Step 4: 7:03 am

Set crock pot to low and go to work.

Step 5: 7:03 am - 5:30 pm

Drive to work. Have ridiculous traffic on 35W to 280. Traffic opens up on 280 and is clear sailing to downtown St. Paul.

Work all day.

Drive home from work. Have ridiculous traffic on 35E from downtown St. Paul to Larpenteur. Clear sailing to 36, open on 36 then crap from 35W home.

Step 6: 5:32 pm

Feed Henry. Take Henry outside to do his bidness. Check on dinner. Looks outstanding.

Step 7: 5:48 pm

Realize that I forgot to hit the bank for Michelle and we have nothing to drink other than water and beer, and I can't have the booze for another few weeks. Head to bank and Target.

Step 8: 6:11 pm

Open crock pot and begin pulling the ribs. The beef is so tender it's just falling apart. Things are looking good for tonight! Time to let the pulled beef simmer and absorb all the juices.

Step 9: 6:31 pm

Open can of black beans, add some garlic hot sauce and simmer. Give pulled beef a last stir and prepare the plates.

Step 10: 6:40 pm


This was fantastic, and ridiculously simple. I hadn't used my crock pot in quite a while, and had forgotten how nice it is to be able to set something up in the morning and have virtually no work required when I get home. The flavor of the beef in the sauce was very nice. A little bit of kick in the Frontera Roasted Chipotle and Pineapple Barbecue & Grill Sauce, but the sweet of the pineapple seemed to be lacking.

I would definitely do this again, and would like to try a few different sauces and cuts of meat, but it worked really well on the country style ribs.