Do You Want That Hamburger With Or Without Ketchup?

With the Summer picnic time “officially” beginning this weekend, I thought it would be an opportune time to get some statistics on what people put on their hamburgers.

Remember the uproar when President Obama requested “spicy mustard or Dijon” on his cheeseburger? With all the knickers getting knotted and bunched, you would think that he had invaded a sovereign nation or perhaps shredded the US Constitution or ordered “enhanced interrogations” like waterboarding.

Here’s the poll…

My preference below the fold…

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Olive Oil Protects Your Heart

Recipes for salad dressing and a marinade made with olive oil.

According to new research olive oil surpasses all the other oils in protecting your heart from failing and arteries from hardening.  One of the reasons it is the healthy choice:

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels in your blood.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease.

There are many different types of olive oil, the most recommend is “extra-virgin” or “virgin” these are the least processed and have the highest levels of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant.

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Sunday brunch open thread

The Open Thread at The Zoo does seem to end up discussing food much of the time, so it seemed like a good idea to jump the queue and get right to it — and to introduce “Tigers & Strawberries”, Barbara Fisher’s food blog. This is Evil Genius Food Porn: Bacon-Filled Waffles with Chili-Fried Apples. In my book, you gotta love someone who has a recipe category for Appallachian Hillbilly, along with the Greek and French recipes.

Damn. This is making me hungry!

Yum Yum Yummy….

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti


4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1  3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch process
1  1/2 Tbs. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1  1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

For the chocolate coating:

8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp. vegetable shortening


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Food Lovers don’t read this, you’ll never fly Virgin anymore.

This is a hilarious letter to Richard Branson about the food on board of a Virgin flight:

Dear Mr Branson

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at thehands of your corporation. (read on and do look at the pictures)

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Pork and Sauerkraut – Happy New Year

It is the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) tradition to serve pork and sauerkraut as the first meal of the New Year to bring good luck for the year.  This dish is usually accompanied by some yummy mashed potatoes and sometimes a little apple sauce to sweet the meal.  This is definitely one of my all time favorite foods combinations and I make sure that I have this meal every January 1st.

There are many different ways to make this dish and I will provide my recipe for my favorite rendition.

Pork and Sauerkraut (crock pot version)

1 pork loin or pork country spare ribs (portion size according to your needs)

1 bag of sauerkraut (I prefer the bagged sauerkraut because it tastes fresher)

dash of cinnamon

dash of ginger

several whole cloves or dash of ground cloves

Place all items in the crock pot and cook until the pork is very tender.  You will need to use your own judgment as to how much of each spice to use.  I never measure and I use my sense of smell to tell me if the combination is right.  These spices sweeten the sauerkraut.  You’ll know when the sauerkraut is ready and spiced properly because it will darken in appearance and become very tender.

The Mashed Potatoes

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What’s for dinner?

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

It’s almost dinner time and many wonder what to eat tonight, or tomorrow. How about cooking a meal, even if you don’t have much time? Here’s a suggestion:

One chicken (free-range if possible) of about 3.5 lbs

Two organic lemons (if not organic, wash thoroughly with hot water)


And here’s how it’s done:

Wash chicken and remove excess fat, sprinkle salt and pepper inside and out.  Roll whole lemons firmly on the table to soften and prick about twenty times with a kitchen needle. Stuff lemons in chicken’s belly and use kitchen needle to close it. Preheat oven to 356 F put chicken in a pan breast side down, no added fat, roast for 30 mins. Turn chicken on it’s back and roast for another 30 mins, turn up heat to 395 F roast another 20 mins until nice and brown. If the chicken should look like a ballon, don’t worry – you did everything right. Remove lemons from belly, throw out lemons and cut chicken in pieces.

As side dish: Toss some salad in a bowl, add seasoning vinegar and oil.


This works for singles too. You can use any excess chicken meat for a sandwich tomorrow or chicken salad.

Try it out, it’s healthy and done quickly and tatstes great.

Summertime Foods

This video clip is way too long but eating what will most likely be my last crab of the summer, I got to wondering what foods others associate with summer. As kids my family would buy crabs by the bushel and have massive backyard feeds. You can’t get the sizes we used to but still a sunny day, lots of cold beer, and some “beautiful swimmers” means summer!

Wait, don’t eat that tomato…

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Isn’t shopping for food becoming scary? One doesn’t know what is safe and what shoud be avoided. First it was spinach, then lettuce and now tomatoes that were considered the source of a salmonella contamination. And now the Government is telling us that it isn’t sure of the source of this most recent contamination.

So what are we to do? We must eat something and we certainly don’t want to get salmonella poisoning by eating what we thought was a healthy salad.

One thing we can and should do is know where our foods come from. The best way to do that is to buy local produce which includes vegetables, fruits, meats, fowl, eggs and dairy. I live in a rural area and I am beginning to see more and more local farm stands. Even the local small food markets are selling local produce and meats. The closer one is to its food source, the more knowledge one can obtain regarding the food.

There are some links to sources for local farms at this link

Which brings me to Monsanto. This company is terrorizing the farmers of the midwest and around the world. Monsanto’s goal is to be the source for food on this planet. The current food crises is a direct result of nations allowing Monsanto to decide which crops to plant, what seeds to use and what (expensive) fertilizers are needed. And Monsanto is relentless in tracking down farmers and threatening them with lawsuits for saving seed and using this saved seed in subsequent plantings. Even if the farmer never bought Monsanto seed, this corporation has so much money that it would bankrupt a farmer in legal fees to prove their innocence.

Back to that contaminated tomato… where was the source for that contaminated vegetable? Either the Government really doesn’t know or they just won’t tell us.

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Toasterhead’s Crazy Good Apple Muffin Thing

Toasterhead’s stunningly dangerous TPWW Recipe Cabal has posted an amazingly yummy recipification for his Crazy Good Apple Muffin Thing, and it’s so good it makes you want to lay down and die — except then you couldn’t eat anymore of it. IT’S TRUE!! :)

Ok, this is a recipe I made this morning and it was crazy good. I call it the Crazy Good Apple Thing. Here’s the recipe, based on this one from the Internets but with some special “Toasty Touches.” For best results, use organics and fair-trade ingredients wherever you can:



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice blend
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded apple – gala or pink lady works crazy good but anything you can get locally is ideal
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground korintje cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 375F and grease a brownie pan or muffin tins whichever you prefer. I’m lazy and thuslike prefer the brownie pan.

Muffinness: Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and apple pie spice in a smallish bowl. Blend butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a biggerish bowl. Add apples. Blend in the flours and stuff. Pour the muffinness into brownie pan [8x8] or muffin tins.

Toppingicity: Mix butter, brown sugar, and flour. Blend in the butter. Dump it on top of the muffinness.

Bake 20 minutes or until finished. Enjoy!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner!

I’ve decided to be adventurous today and try out a couple of new recipes for our St. Patrick’s Day Dinner tonight.

Irish Stew with Lamb and Guinness

From GumboPages.Com

  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder with a little fat, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into large dice
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 quarts lamb or beef stock, or as needed
  • 12 ounces Guinness stout
  • 1 cup pearl barley (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For a real Irish country touch, include the barley — cook it for 20 minutes in 3 cups of lamb or beef stock, then add when you return the meat to pot with the vegetables. Cut off some of the parsley leaves and chop enough to make 2 tablespoons; reserve. Cut off some parsley stems, and tie them into a bundle with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme; reserve.

Season the meat with salt and brown the meat in a little oil. Remove and reserve, and sprinkle with a little flour, shaking off excess. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté, tossing to coat with the fat. Add the Guinness and deglaze, scraping up any caramelized meat juices. Add the potatoes, return the meat to the pot (and the barley if you’re using it). Add enough stock to barely cover, cook over medium heat until just boiling, then reduce heat to very low and simmer 2 – 3 hours, until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.

Check seasonings, add salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat, stir in parsley and the cornstarch (mixed into 4 teaspoons water) and stir. Cook over low heat for a few more minutes to thicken. Serve with plenty of Irish brown or white soda bread, tea and more Guinness if you like.

YIELD: 6 generous servings

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