Monday, December 18, 2006

Around the world in an hour

As I was browsing the net, I stumbled over an interesting page on the CNN website. I strongly recommend that you spend some time reading the articles under the heading Trips of great taste .

Are you a foodie? How do you tip where? How do designers change the iconic american diner? These are topics on this great page. I was up for the challenge that would determine once and for all whether I am a foodie or not. I was a foodie, at some questions by knowledge, others by deduction. The animal bit in the creme brulée question was the most intriguing. Try it, and see whether you are a foodie?

Another intesting article was how to tip in different parts of the world, on safari, in New York when the bartender buys you a round, and do you leave a tip when you leave the cruise-liner?

In Europe the guests tip moderately, as the waiters usually have a decent salary. In the US, however, the tipping rules are very, very complicated. Basically because hard-working professionals in the restaurant industry are grocely underpaid, relying on the tip from the guests. This reflects, in my opinion, a corporate greed from owners who want as much as possible of the profit for themselves.

And this is spreading to other professionals too. The last time I had a haircut in the US I had to pay for the haircut and then pay a tip to the hairdresser! I had to have my cousin (who is a qualified bartender) explain where to tip and where not to tip and how much to tip. After this article you are a little wiser, but not much.

There are articles on trends, on how the greasy old american icon, the diner, are turning into designer eateries, and how the American staple-dish, the hamburger, is getting a serious gourmet makover in the hands of trendy cooks.

And if you want to eat cheap in Reykjavik, or as expensive as possible in Barcelona, you get some of the information you need. So dive into this page and see this and more, and have a great time!!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The last of the Eastman Secrets

My cousin Ann Eastman McDonnell sent me the last secret recipe in her portfolio. This is the Cheddar Chicken - and I'll tell, this is absolutely delicious!!

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into serving sized pieces
4 cloves of garlic smashed or minced
Olive oil for frying
Seasoned bread can season them yourself with Italian seasoning
1 cup of white wine (dry)
2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil and garlic in a frying pan. Do not singe the garlic!

Roll chicken pieces in bread crumbs. Fry chicken pieces until just brown, but not cooked.

Place chicken pieces in baking dish. Pour oil and garlic over them, pour white wine into bottom of dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Bake until chicken is done (about forty minutes at 350F) and cheese is melted.

I sometimes line the pan with spinach leaves just for fun and add a bit of
cream and it is the same, but a bit different. Sauteed mushrooms also make a good topping under the cheese

Nice dish to serve with a salad or mashed potatoes.


Roast duck with stuffing - the result!

This was the end result of yesterdays struggle. After nearly five hours on a very low heat the meat was extremely succulent and tender. I increased the heat the last 30 minutes to 200C / 400F. This made the skin crisp and enhanced the flavour of the spices in the marinade.

The last 40 minutes I placed the brussels sprouts in the oven with the duck and they roasted in the fat and the seasoning in the bottom of the roasting tray. The gravy was made from some of the duck fat mixed with flour, then adding some chicken stock, double cream and some cherries to sweeten the sauce.

To this I also served boiled potatoes and sauerkraut, Norwegian style, made from red cabbage.

We had some gode bottles of red wine served to the duck:
- Barao de Vilar, Douro 2005, a wonderful wine. Spicey with red berries
- Dolcetto d'Alba, 2005, smoother than the former but much the same character

And the film was great, too!!