Not deadly, just gross

Online today we find this story out of Sweden, in which a typo in a cake recipe that was printed in a magazine sent a few people to the hospital.

“There was a mistake in a recipe for apple cake. Instead of calling for two pinches of nutmeg it said 20 nutmeg nuts were needed,” Matmagasinet’s chief editor Ulla Cocke told AFP.

“We know that four adults ate one cake made from this recipe, and they didn’t feel well,” she said, adding that “this is obviously very regrettable.”


Whole nutmeg is kind of like a whole olive, as far as size. Most recipes call for a fraction of a teaspoon of the bitter, potent spice, grated against something like you would use to remove the rind from a lemon or sand wood: a metal appliance. Adding 20 nuts to the cake in question probably required use of a dopey looking Christmas nutcracker or a small mallet to break them up. I feel like I shouldn’t need hardware to bake when other people can do it in high heels. (I could do that, but I choose not to.)

The four people had experienced symptoms of poisoning, including dizziness and headaches, but were now feeling better, she said.

The magazine’s first act was to notify 50,000 subscribers of the error, and also place a leaflet inside store copies telling newsstand buyers of the error.

I would have thought that 1) common sense or at least 2) the price of nutmeg would have kept people away. The magazine editor agreed with me:

“At first we thought this would be enough, because we didn’t really think anyone would bake or eat this cake, since so much nutmeg would give it a horrible, bitter taste, and because it is simply not that easy to get hold of that much nutmeg,” Cocke said…”We publish 1,200 recipes each year, and of course there have been times when they’ve had a bit too much butter or too little flour, but we have never experienced anything like this before.”

In the end, the magazine had to protect the Swedes from themselves and recall all the magazines.


Does this make me sound like I have a problem?

Long, long ago I watched some TV chefs boil pasta in a mixture of water and red wine. It seemed like a good idea, but varying Internet reviews reported that the wine only changed the color of the noodles, not really the taste.
So I moved on with my life, and continued to boil my pasta in clear, salty water, and serve the average pasta with a nice glass of wine on the side.

But  I read more about how jarred pasta sauces contain weird things that drive up the calorie count, and my dread of firing up the stove to brown lots of meats and make my own sauce on a hot July afternoon grew exponentially, I went back to the pasta-in-wine concept.  I had a half a bottle of red wine (purchased at Lemon Creek during last summer’s annual trip to Michigan wine country) left over from the previous weekend, I figured I had nothing to lose.
If it turned out really badly, I still had enough eggs in the house for omelets. And you can put ANYTHING in an omelet.

I used this recipe for from Real Simple magazine, and after a quick trip to Whole Foods for some cheese, I was in business (I did substitute lemon pepper for lemon zest and pepper, which seemed to work just fine, and I always use whole wheat pasta).

Seemed simple enough

The pasta had a savory taste without being vinegar-y, and the lemon freshened the whole thing up considerably. The Romano cheese was a nice sharp taste to round the whole thing out.

Worth the Risk

A fine summer meal.

Like Bad Theater

Another day, another food-related crime.

(Insert Dragnet music here)

I’ll lead with this quote from the end of an article I read in the Fond Du Lac Reporter, via Officers reported that both husband and wife appeared intoxicated.

It seems that a 48-year-old woman was charged with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and misdemeanor battery because she went after her husband with some tomatoes and a knife (at least that’s what he says. She claims he fell off a lawn chair while drunk).

The article continues, She was ordered to stay out of taverns and possess no weapons.

According to police and news reports, the victim said his wife had him on the floor and repeatedly hit him and possibly stabbed him with a knife as she made slashing motions at him, he told authorities. (The victim) said he begged his wife not to kill him and was struck in the face with large numbers of tomatoes, the complaint stated. Sheriff’s officers reported tomatoes were crushed “everywhere” in the residence.

The wife alleges that her husband was ticked off because a drink she made him wasn’t strong enough, and that he started the fight by calling her names and hitting her in the face, according to the complaint.

If convicted of all charges, the wife faces maximum penalties of more than 13 years in prison and $36,000 in fines.

Greek Meatballs

Fennel seeds.


Feta cheese.

Yup. That’s Greek.

Maybe that’s why the other eater in my household wasn’t so much of a fan: It offended his Italian roots.

I however, enjoyed them very much all week for lunch. He would argue it’s because I’m not real Italian. Just Sicilian. And I would remind him that this Sicilian prepares and serves all of his meals. Or that we have loveseats, not full couches (“Short couch. Long husband.”).

But I digress.

I found the meatballs in this magazine while I was waiting to have my hair cut, and I stealthily ripped the recipe out of a magazine.

Yes, I felt guilty. But it wasn’t the first page that was missing from the magazine, so I didn’t feel too guilty.

Moving on.

The meatballs seemed healthy because they were made with mostly turkey meat (I used a tray of ground turkey and some leftover bulk ground sausage from my freezer) and they didn’t have any cheese, eggs or breadcrumbs that most Italian meatballs use to bind the meat together. Also, these had a red grape in the center, like the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. Finally, the salad made use of the fresh basil I had in the house and was dressed with just lemon juice and olive oil – not a fatty, creamy dressing.

Greek Meatballs!

The meat was tender and well seasoned, and the warm grape in the center was a nice surprise – sweet to counter the peppery salad that held the meatballs. The arugula salad was overly peppery for my taste, but by the second day of leftovers I had to cut it with some fresh romaine lettuce for bulk and that helped a lot. Also, the warm meatballs made the feta cheese I used a little soft, which I liked. I served it with some nearly-stale pita bread and some seasoned olive oil for dipping.

The other eater in my household, however, ate the meat around the grape like a baboon in the zoo, and then ate the grape last. Considering that his objection to his sister’s favorite Salad Nicoise is that it’s not “mixed,” his efforts to separate the grape from the meat surprised me.

I’d make it again, through. It’s a nice summer protein without being necessarily a heavy meal, and it’s a nice use for the basil I frequently swipe from Dad’s garden.

It was the televised marathoners that did me in

But if I had Olympic Fever, this would really excite me: Michael Phelps’ Record Setting Gold Medal Winning Breakfast:

Breakfast of Champion

(Double click to make the image bigger.)

It’s obvious to me that he’s lost his chance for an endorsement deal with Wheaties, but I’m thinking the marketing teams at the American Egg Board and Barilla Pasta are drafting proposals as we speak!

New levels of grilling

Sunday night found me atop a roof in Wrigleyville, across the street and just outside the left field foul line. While not all the company was as I would have chosen,

the crowd was generally a fun one. The food wasn’t too bad either.

Shoulda taken this sooner

It was an unusually cold night in August, so I pulled a fleece out of the closet. I think the weather helped me to really be in the mood a thick hamburger of a dense roll with onions, tomatoes, pickles and BBQ sauce. You could tell that it had been grilled just before I arrived at Brixen Ivy, as the cheese was all oozy and it smelled like it was still on fire (of course, there were also these waves of smoke pouring off the grill two doors down every time the wind picked up, but that was probably part of the “ambiance” for which I was paying through the nose). Also, due to my popular diet program, it had been a REALLY LONG TIME since I had eaten a beef burger with a complete bun (I’m eating the turkey or veggie variety open face these days, with a fork) and full-fat cheese, and I loved it.

On the side, I chose crisp, fresh broccoli and cauliflower with salad dressing, and a small bag of cheese popcorn. And a diet Coke. All around, not a bad meal.

The sad part of the night came near the end. Dessert was promised at the 5th inning, and I went in search of something sweet about midway through the 6th. The plate was BARE. and the kind chef who served up my burger just hours before said “I told you it would be out in the 5th.” Thanks a heap. That was the most expensive brownie I’ve ever missed out on.

(For the record, the most expensive dessert ever was the champagne and strawberries served at Vanderbilt after Commencement in 2000. I don’t like strawberries. But I made the most of the champagne.)

My worlds collide

How is this even possible? I found a food note on a grammar blog (Yes, I am one of the 9,000 current card carrying members of SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar):

Susan F. takes no prisoners, at least when it comes to her snacks. She objects to language in a Power Bar ad that reads: “Eat Good. Look Great.”

She says, “I wrote a letter, saying that ‘Eat Well’ would have been a better choice of words and grammatically correct.

It turns out that Susan wrote two letters to the makers of Power Bar, and was eventually told that slogans don’t have to be grammatically correct. They also gave her coupons. She gave the coupons away.

While I am not usually one to shy away from coupons, I admire her loyalty to the cause!

So many things to do with jell-o

Have truer words ever been spoken?
It is the eternal cure for the stomach flu.
It identifies in no uncertain terms the pot-luck participant who doesn’t cook.
It’s got a hand in a great office prank (thanks to Derrick and Jenni for illustrating this one).
It does not, however, satisfy the sweet tooth of a hard-cord weight loss seeker, even when prepared with diet soda and whipped topping.
Sorry, Hungry Girl.
Having had such success with the shrimp and asparagus corn chowder in the Hungry Girl cookbook (recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World), I went a little wild and made two desserts from the cookbook in one evening – I know, I know, hold me back.
The first was a southern-style banana pudding with sliced fresh bananas, vanilla wafer cookies and pudding, which topped with the new Cool Whip in a spray can.

Reasonable Banana pudding

This was delicious in a fat-free-sugar-free-pudding-kind-of-way, and went over very big with the other eater in my household, as well. I used parfait glasses to stack 4 slices of bananas and 4 cookies in the glass before I dumped pudding over the top. I think I‘d even serve it for a small dinner party with close friends.
But the jell-o dessert was a disaster. I made a special trip to the store for unusual ingredients because it sounded so promising: sugar free jell-o, diet cream soda, and Cool Whip. It’s not bad enough to throw away (thanks, Dad, for that Depression-era mentality), but I found the soda overly sweet and the portion size totally unsatisfying. I was hoping it would be more like pudding than jell-o and thus become a new comfort food, but such is life.
But I’m still two-for-three in this cookbook, so I’ll keep trying.

…and a side of housekeys.

I don’t often remember my dreams, but the ones that I do remember are always WAY the heck out there. Like the morning several months ago that I woke up saying “the Swiss cheese is for the Kangaroo!” with great insistence to no one in particular.
So it was with great interest that I’ve watched this several times today, each time laughing out loud in my otherwise quiet office.
So goes August.

Chef Cooks ‘Dream Omelet’ From Recipe That Came To Him In A Dream