CATEGORIES

Five things I crave every so often

You know you have them–call them vices, foods you love and have to have every so often, or just items you are just a slave to. I could probably list 50 things here, but I’m going to start with five and maybe do another one of these soon. Here are five food items I crave either weekly, monthly, or a few times a year.

1. Buffalo chicken wings–It’s probably the sauce more than anything, but it’s also the fried. The crispy fried skin of chicken wings soaked with buttery, tangy hot sauce. You may as well inject this stuff, but then you wouldn’t get to taste it. I have gotten by of late by ordering those fried chicken tenders (or even grilled if I’m on a diet) at Buffalo Wild Wings (sorry, nobody does it better….it’s just true), but the real deal is sometimes the only way to kill the craving.

2. Green curry–an amazing combination of spices, hot peppers, coconut milk, fish sauce and other stuff that makes up a thick, spicy and addictive sauce that is cooked with meat and/or vegetables, and served over sticky rice. Sometimes you have to find the best green curry where you live, and that’s not always easy. But once you find it, you are golden. Or at least that’s the case with me.

3. Steak–I’ve tried to eat little or no meat before, but I’m just not wired for that. I love beef, and I especially love a great grilled steak. I also make a killer steak sauce, but if the steak is good enough I don’t like to drown it in anything extra-curricular.

4. Fried chicken–We have a diner here in Madison called Hubbard Avenue Diner. They have fried chicken every Thursday and Saturday, and sometimes on Saturdays I have to practically beg my wife to let me take us there. Their chicken is just phenomenal.

5. Donuts–I can’t always walk past them, but I really can’t walk past Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme without buying a donut or twelve. Yum. Nothing like fatty, doughy, fried sweetness. Sadly, there are not many donut shops in Madison–only grocery store and gas station donuts.

What are your cravings? Let me know in the space below, or e-mail me at mikeyskitchen@gmail.com and I’ll post your replies soon!

Nick Offerman’s Slam Poem to Bacon

This is hilarious. I don’t watch Parks and Recreaction, but I do eat bacon. And I love bacon. I also love funny videos, and funny poetry videos. Funny poetry videos about bacon are even funnier. Anyway, watch Nick Offerman’s “Slam Poem to Bacon” and see if you don’t want to go “slam” some bacon immediately afterward.

Football season = smoked meats time

One of my favorite things about football season is that while there is a chill in the air outside (for the most part, as even in Wisconsin we have some pretty warm weather through September) is that it’s a great time to break out the indoor smoker my wife bought me a few years ago. And while typically I make chicken wings in my Cameron Indoor Smoker, and occasionally ribs–the first two weeks of the season I went a tad healthier to honor the fact that I’m trying to lose weight.

Last week it was chicken tenders–extremely easy as I put them in the smoker frozen, sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with salt, pepper and other spices. The cooking time is minimal compared to the low and slow time needed to “tenderize” wings and ribs. I am pretty sure the chicken smoked for about three hours and came out perfect, albeit maybe slightly overcooked before I finished the tenders on the grill. I mixed up some homemade ranch dip by mixing light mayo, light sour cream, a splash of vinegar, onion and garlic powder and salt and pepper. Perfection.

Then yesterday I made a flank steak in the smoker. And it was made even more perfect by the fact that I was in Nashville this past weekend, and picked up some Loveless Cafe dry rub–an awesome sweet, spicy and savory blend to rub on meat before grilling or smoking it. I had the steak in the freezer, so also put that right in the smoker frozen and rubbed it generously with the spice mix. Then I smoked it for about four hours until tender and slapped it on the grill for about five minutes. Done deal: meat snacks! It’s like homemade jerky, but more like a combination of thick steak and jerky that is nicely smoked and seasoned.

Product review: Pizza Free Fat Free Pizza

So once again, I have found myself in need of losing a few pounds. Only this time, it’s doctor’s orders because of high blood pressure and being about 20-25 pounds overweight. I like South Beach because of how easy it is…i.e. you don’t really have to count calories or weigh food. But after the brutal two-week period in which you eat no carbs, you have to gradually add carbs back in. That’s hard if you like eating fruit, cereal, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, even if it’s the healthy versions of those things. And your breath stinks during those two weeks as well. So this time, my wife talked me into doing Weight Watchers. She told me I did not have to go to meetings, but that even though it’s a pain to count points and log everything, you can eat anything you want. And I figured, why not? If Charles Barkley can do it, why not me?

Luckily, someone told me about Pizza Free, a fat free pizza company in Ohio. I love pizza as much as anyone, but when I first heard this, I thought, “Fat Free is so 10 years ago!” But alas, since the single serving pies are just 6 points on Weight Watchers (a number listed proudly on the website), I had to try them. So we ordered the smallest quantity available, which was six pizzas, and they were $39.99 including shipping.
But regardless, I was still extremely skeptical. Fat free cheese to me is like rubber, and since we live in Wisconsin now I was even more skeptical about that. But hey, the pizza is delicious, and the cheese isn’t flavorless rubber! You can’t overcook it or the crust and cheese will burn, but if you do it until the cheese just melts, it’s perfect. The tomato sauce has a nice flavor as well, not the processed flavor that dominates frozen pizza or Italian meals.

Of course, Pizza Free does not taste like traditional pizza, but as healthy pizzas go, and especially THIS healthy, you absolutely can’t beat it. And not only is the cheese and crust fat free, but the whole 6 inch pie comes in at just 248 calories.

Intrigued? I figured you might be. Check out www.pizzafree.com for more information.

Product review: House Foods Tofu

I know, I know. A food blog geared toward guys talking about tofu? Well, I’m not the biggest fan of the stuff, but its health benefits, especially for weight loss, are real. So when the fine folks who represent House Foods Premium Tofu reached out, I thought I’d give tofu another chance. They touted the prospects of cutting tofu into chunks and grilling it, with House Foods extra firm variety really standing up to the grill, whereas that is not always the case with standard tofu. For you novices, keep in mind that tofu typically comes in the extra firm variety like that, or the softer versions which are more like scrambled eggs (and can be used as such) and can be used as a salad dressing or “cream” soup base.

Anyway, I tried the firm variety, not extra firm, and used it cubed in a miso soup. I should preface this by saying that my doctor instructed me to lose some weight to help bring down my spiking blood pressure, so I’m doing Weight Watchers, which really has come a long way in being more guy-friendly. I mean, Charles Barkley does it, why can’t I? Anyway, this soup kicks ass–you fry some mushrooms in a bit of oil, add some broth along with sliced bok choy, and the tofu. And to make it more flavorful (and with some spice), I sliced some fresh jalapeno and put that in the soup. Delicious.

But wait, this is about the tofu. Well, tofu is the type of food that absorbs flavors, but it’s usually the texture that separates good tofu from not-so-good. And House Foods is good–the firm is firm, and it doesn’t fall apart in soup. It has a nice texture that isn’t offensive. And hey, I’d use it again, and I probably will!

Related Posts