Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

How To Make Great French Toast

This is the first item I am crossing off my 101 goals in 1001 days list. I really liked my French Toast experience, and I am happy to recommend it. Here are my tips for doing it right (based on my vast experience (of cooking it once)):

  • Follow Alton Brown’s Recipe. I thought it was exceptionally tasty and very easy, even for a novice like I am.
  • Use a loaf of Challah bread. If the loaf has raisins, then even better.
  • When slicing the loaf make straight cuts. This allows the whole slice to make even contact with the pan.
  • Cut the slices a few hours before you need them, and leave them out. This helps them dry out and lets them firm up a bit.
  • Don’t heat the honey for 20 seconds. This is dangerously long. Five or eight seconds should be fine.
  • Add cinnamon and a little vanilla extract to the egg mixture.
  • Use fresh eggs that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. (No, you won’t taste any difference, but they are better for your health and your soul.)
  • Keep the heat on medium low, NOT medium. Otherwise they will brown or burn too quickly without the middle cooking.
  • I didn’t try it this time, but I bet that some cooked bananas, apples, or peaches would be an excellent addition to this meal.
  • The oven serves dual purpose of finishing the cooking process and holding the pieces till they are ready to be eaten. So, don’t skip this step.

Good luck and bon appetite!

Personal Challenge #12: Five a Day for Good Health

Fruits and Veggies.My fiancee has offered the next personal challenge: To eat a total of five servings of fruits and vegatables each day. She is planning on doing this for a whole month, but the challenge is only for two weeks. We are hoping that eating more good food will fill us up and leave less room for junk food. With our wedding rapidly approaching, maybe we will be heathier and fitter for our big day too.

We can still eat chocolate and ice cream. She hasn’t gone completely crazy.

What Happens When You Fail?

CookiesExcuses are the biggest obstacle to adopting and maintaining good habits.

For this reason, these “Do Something Everyday” challenges are easier than a “Do Something Three Times a Week” challenge. The absolute nature of these “Do Something Everyday” challenges apply tremendous positive force to integrate new habits into your life. They are bulletproof to excuses. You can’t say, “Maybe I’ll skip today and do it tomorrow instead.”

There is a flip side to this though. The problem with these “Do Something Everyday” challenges is that every once in a while you will really, really need to skip a day. That skipped day isn’t even that big a problem. The problem is the day after that and the day after that. As soon as the challenge loses it absolute nature, it looses its teeth.

This is like the dieter that has two pieces of chocolate cake, and then says, “Oh well. My diet is ruined. I might as well have a few more pieces.”

Failing one day does not mean that you have failed the challenge. It means that things just got harder and it is up to you to overcome, persist, and prevail.

Before you start a personal challenge, make up sensible rules and even escape clauses. For example, if you are trying to give up caffeine:

  • “I can have X units caffeine if I’ve had less than Y hours of sleep” is a sensible rule.
  • “I can have X units of caffeine if I am driving and staying awake is a safety concern” is a sensible rule.
  • “I can have caffeine if I’ve had a bad day” is the type of bad rule you would make up in the middle of a bad day. Don’t let yourself do this.

So, make your rules first and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t give up. You haven’t failed. Stay the course and try harder.

$100 Philly Cheesesteak

$100 Philly Cheesesteak When I lived near New Haven CT, and would go to a social gathering, an inevitable age-old conversation would come up: “Whose pizza do like better Pepe’s or Sally’s?” When I moved to Boston, the same conversation was, “Whose cannoli you like better? Mike’s or Modern’s?” Now that I have moved to Philadelphia, and the conversation here is, “Whose cheesestake do you like better? Pat’s or Geno’s?”

Not too long ago, a local up-scale restaurant had a brilliant marketing idea and created an indelible and fascinating new add-on for the local conversation: “Have you heard about the $100 cheesesteak at Barclay Prime restaurant?”

My fiancée loves these conversations about local food lore, and when she first heard about this intriguing food oddity, it captured her attention, and she has been taking about it ever since. When her friends at school noticed this admirable and persistent fascination of hers, they decided to buy a gift certificate for her to experience this strange and exotic culinary mystery.

So, Friday night we went and she had it. It was a brioche roll filled with shaved Kobe beef, lobster, and garnished with shaved truffles and melted Taleggio cheese and accompanied by a half bottle of Champagne.

I don’t eat meat, but from what I hear the combination made for an over-the-top, rich, decadent, incongruous, epicurean Frankenstein that was less than the sum of the parts. Fortunately, the cheese steak was just one part of a larger experience.