Not at all refreshing

This is undoubtedly one of the least comfortable summers I can remember in the long time, ad when I’m not hugging the AC vent I’m wiping water rings off the tables when my drink glasses have sweat themselves to room temperature or swatting at one of the amazon mosquitoes that have sent up tents in the yard. Popsicles nearly always sound good these days, except for this one:



The Consumerist writes:


Beat the heat with this cheap and cool treat, the beer popsicle, aka “The Hopsicle.”

The Diablo Royale Este saloon in New York takes a Tecate, inject it with simple syrup and lime juice, then jam a wooden stick in the can hole and freeze it. Four days later, they pull it out the freezer and saw it open with a serrated steak knife. Sounds awesome! I look forward to soon saying, “I make my own beer popsicles at home.”

Can you imagine the cross between a hangover and brain freeze??

Roll out the Barrel

According to this report in the Houston Chronicle, Rice University students are developing a beer that fights cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

BioBeer — a more consumer-friendly name than the original Frankenbeer moniker — will be brewed using yeast genetically modified to produce resveratrol. Resveratrol, a naturally occurring compound found in red wine and a few other foods, has been shown to have cancer-fighting and cardiovascular benefits, at least in mice.

The beer is part of the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. The team of student scientists (only one of whom is old enough to rink legally, by the way) expect to have something drinkable by the end of the semester.

Most of the materials — chemical solutions, pieces of DNA, common lab bacteria — were available from scientific suppliers. But making beer required something else. Brock Wagner, a Rice University alumnus who owns Saint Arnold’s Brewery, donated the yeast.

A key ingredient of beer along with water, fermentable sugar and hops, yeast is responsible for converting sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide.Students are working to modify the yeast with two sets of genes, including one that will allow the yeast to metabolize sugars and produce an intermediate chemical. The second set will convert that chemical to resveratrol.That should result in a healthier beer, produced at no additional cost.

Why beer? Stevenson points to the numbers: Americans consumed 20.5 gallons of beer per capita in 2005, but only 2.5 gallons of red wine.

Cleaning out the Refrigerator

I’m sure I found this recipe for orzo salad because I was looking for something to do with all the fresh mint that grows from my window boxes (gotta love townhouse living), but it solved so many of my food problems this weekend:

  • 1) LEFTOVER FISH I enjoyed a fabulous Mexican meal Friday night with old friend who recently moved to my hometown, but I came home with half the blackened fish from fish tacos. Hot Tamales makes some of the best around, served with fresh tomato salsa, pineapple salsa, warm flour tortillas, and a HUGE portion of fresh fish. But, I’m always a little unsure of what to do with leftover fish. Microwaving it for lunch at work seems unkind to my colleagues, but the fish needs to be addressed quickly, if at all. Thus, this orzo provided the perfect bed for the fish. I split the leftover portion in two, laid it over the orzo and was quite happy with the results.
  • 2) LEFTOVER VEGGIES In my refrigerator I had a few cherry tomatoes from pesto pasta I’d made earlier in the week, parts of a red onion from the Barefoot Contessa’s shrimp salad I’d tried, and some sliced black olives from something so unremarkable I can’t even remember why I opened them. So, I ignored Giada’s recommended veggies (especially the chickpeas. I love hummus, but not so much the whole bans) and used up my own mix of leftovers. It worked great!
  • 3) SURPLUS FRESH HERBS I love the way my window boxes look from the outside of my house (which is for sale, by the way) and the way you get a nice scent in my kitchen with the warm summer breeze blows just right, but sometimes I feel pressure to trim them back and make use of them before they get all spindly and weird. This recipe make use of just enough herb to give my boxes a little haircut early in the season.
  • 4) COOKING IN BROTH I’d read a lot about this, but never tried it. It was great! I’ll definitely do it again soon.

Also, I served it with a yummy lime spritzer. 10 Cane white rum makes everything better.

Welcome to my world!

My name is Joanna, and this is my blog.

I like to cook. I like to think that I’m a pretty good cook, in an amateur-forever-beholden-to-other-people’s-great-recipes sort of way. Maybe the problem is that I like to eat so much that I’m driven to find great recipes for the things I like, and then I concentrate really hard on making them exactly as the recipes says to. Maybe this dogged determination is what has twice landed me in one of America’s leading weight loss programs.

On the nights I don’t like to cook, I like to shop for things that make it easier to seem like I’ve cooked: “bottled food enhancers,” frozen foods that reheat well, and gadgets that make it more difficult for me to draw blood while cooking. In fact, now that I’m looking for a new house, my biggest concern is a kitchen big enough to hold all my food-related stuff.

I have a full-time job that is not food-related, but it allows me lots of time to read about food. There are some great sites for amateurs (like me), dieters (like me), and readers (like me). They are what inspired me to start this silly blog anyway.

Most recently, I hosted Easter dinner in my home. This is fun because I get to pick the menu AND I get to enjoy all the leftovers in the comfort of my pajamas for the next several days. The real challenge is finding uses for all the leftover ingredients after everyone has gone home. I made a nice creamed spinach dish this year, but was left with half a container of half-and-half in my refrigerator. I prefer milk in my coffee, so I turned to the folks at Every Day Food for this late-night treat:

Chocolate soda
¼ c. half and half
2 T. chocolate syrup
5 oz. seltzer water (I used club soda and that worked well, too)
Mix the chocolate syrup and half and half in a tall glass. Still stirring, mix in the settler water until the top gets foamy. Serve with a long spoon so that you can get all the chocolate off the bottom at the end!