Tuesday, July 31, 2007


One of my favorite summertime eats is tomatoes. I love having a tomato sandwich for lunch or maybe a BLT or just having them plain. But the one thing that has come to annoy me about tomatoes is that they can be eaten all year around! Now, I know that this is just a product of American commerce, but you must know that isn't how it should be!
Now, folks, let's remember there are in fact four seasons in one year, and there are fruits and vegetables that are best during those seasons. In order to not be completely put off one veggie or fruit, it only seems logical that you eat it while it's in season and at it's best. Which is why I stick to having fresh tomatoes only during the summer, and I look forward to them all year.
One of my favorite toppings for tomatoes is garlic cream cheese. It's a simple recipe but absolutely delicious! It's not only great with tomato sandwiches, but it also works well on BLTs or just having in plain with crackers.

Garlic Cream Cheese

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c mayo, Duke's preferably
garlic, enough to fill garlic press*

Combine all ingredients until well combined. Serve immediately or wait until the next day. It's better after sitting for a day, and continues to get better.

*You can change to garlic to suit your taste, more or less, but keep in mind that the flavor gets stronger after the first day.

Now, for those of you who don't like mayo(Dean....), it may have something to do with the fact that you're using Miracle Whip or something silly like that. But I feel the need to inform you that the only mayonnaise that is worthy of the name is Duke's. It may cost a little bit more, but trust me, it's worth it. And if that thought of mayo just grosses you out, just keep in mind that mayo is really nothing more that eggs and oil, so nothing really wrong with it. Just try the Duke's and then decide.

And so to end for today, have a tomato sandwich with some garlic cream cheese or just have it plain, but remember it's a summer food. That's when is grows and that is when it is best, so enjoy it at it's best. :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Grant Achatz

This being my first post, I thought I would start out with a chef that I have recently discovered. His name is Grant Achatz, owner of Alinea restaurant in Chicago. He has received multiple outstanding awards from people such as the James Beard Foundation, Gourmet magazine, and Food and Wine magazine.
I heard about him first through Food Network. His restaurant was featured in a show based mostly upon his cooking technique. He is known for applying the newest methods of molecular gastronomy, such as using liquid nitrogen as a coolant, etc. His restaurant features mainly two tasting menus consisting of 12 or 24 mini courses. Now, I've never been to his restaurant, but from what I've heard about it, it's spectacular and if I ever happen to be in Chicago, I plan on making a reservation.
What distresses me the most about the hot upcoming chef is that he has recently announced that he has squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth. Basically, that means that he has a malignant cancer in the mouth and it has reached Stage 4; this means that the cancer has possibly spread to his lymph nodes. But as far as I know, he is optimistic about chemotherapy. But even if chemotherapy works, there is the possibility that he may lose his sense of taste. This could be a severe blow to his culinary career, and yet I have read that he is hopeful. He stated that taste would not keep him from his career, just as deafness did not stop Beethoven from writing one of his greatest symphonies. I certainly hope that chemotherapy is successful because it would be heartbreaking to lose such a tremendous talent.
If you want, you can read the full article on Grant Achatz in the Chicago-Tribune. I found the article through Molecular Gastronomy News. Here's the link: http://www.topix.net/food/molecular-gastronomy
I hope that this first post has inspired someone to look into the career of this brilliant culinary mind, and that you will keep him in your prayers as he will be in mine.