"A good meal is like a present, and it can feel goofy, at best, to give yourself a present. On the other hand, there is something life affirming in taking the trouble to feed yourself well, or even decently. Cooking for yourself allows you to be strange or decadent or both. The chances of you liking what you made are high, but if it winds up being disgusting, you can always throw it away and order a pizza; no one will ever know." (Jenni Ferrari-Adler)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Politically Incorrect Political Rants, because I care

Today I don’t want to talk about cooking. There are so many events going on in the world my mind has been all over the place. What happened in Japan, what is still going on in Libya, the price of gas, threats of inflation, etc, etc,etc. it seems like civilization has hit a wall. We can’t run, we can’t hide, there is no escape….. karma is there to get us. But then there are news like this  that make me think this is all a big joke and there is someone (call him “big Brother”) who not only out to get us but also is a big fat fucking bully trying to drive us to absolute madness?

So on the news this week the Portuguese Government is getting ready to lower the VAT (value added tax) on Golf from the current 23% to 6%. This is at a minimum ludicrous and obscene. In a country where non-processed fish and fruits will soon be taxed at 23% (currently 13%) and soy derived products will also see its current 6% tax increased to 23%, a 17% decrease in VAT on Golf is what they really need.  What message is the government sending to its people? Golf is an essential good, soy milk is not.  Try telling that to a lactose intolerant person. 

Why do I care? Well I do for 2 reasons. First, though I was not born in Portugal, I was raised there and have considered it my home country for the past 28 years. But most importantly and reason number 2, because I refuse to tip in one penny of my paycheck to bail out countries whose government leaders are as corrupt as any Libyan, Egyptian or Tunisian leader. In American we say “put you money where you mouth is” ok fine I refuse to put my money in my own country.  As a matter of fact when I pay my taxes here in the US to Uncle Sam’s bottomless pit, I don’t want any of my fucking paycheck to end up in the IMF funds to give away any bailouts in reinforcement this kind of behavior. 

But what really surprises me, is how little people in Portugal care.

How is that I in the US who make 5 or 6  times more money than the average Portuguese, and pay no VAT or sales tax on food (considered essential goods in California) am ranting about this calamity in my blog whereas most people there overlook it  in complete denial? I actually wonder how many people know fish and fresh fruits will now be taxed at 23%.

This last weekend 300,000 Portuguese protested in the streets against the misery the country is in, against unemployment, against their 3rd world salaries, against paying into a system that only benefits those in power. Where in the fucking world were the other 9.7million? Where? And then Mr. Mario Soares (former president) has the nerve of writing an opinion on the French and Germans not wanting to help them out. Why would they? As a matter of fact why should the IMF the EU or GOD even care? Only 300,000 people cared enough, to make their voices heard on the streets. And to these brave men and women goes my heart, for they’ve shown courage; the courage to challenge the status quo, the courage to start a revolution. Keep the faith my friends, you’re half way there! Don’t give up now! Get those fuckers in power by their balls.

SHAME on all of you who bitch moan and complain, but don’t get tired of seating on your hands, and rather seat in front of the TV or go shopping than make your voices heard. Unfortunately things will eventually come through for your lazy conformed asses as well………….But it will be nothing but charity crumbles given to you by those who hustle.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nutty Cheese ball

Ingredients

Servings (about 24) 

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded swiss cheese 
1 (8 ounce) package light cream cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Crackers or vegetable, for serving 

Preparation

Place all ingredients except pecans and crackers in mixer bowl (or Thermomix  (Bimby)).  
If using a mixer attach bowl and flat beater to mixer.  
Turn to speed 4 and beat about 1 minute, or until well blended. 
On waxed paper, shape mixture into a ball 
Roll ball in chopped pecans. 
Wrap in waxed paper.Refrigerate until serving time.


This recipe was taken  from the Kitchen Aid Standing Mixer Manual. I added some fresh thyme and Herbs of Province to my recipe as well as replaced the garlic powder bu real minced garlic, which makes all the difference.  If you don't like the taste of garlic use garlic powder or just leave it out completely.




Gateau a L'Orange

Gateau a L'Orange [Orange Spongecake]
recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Ingredients
9" round cake pan
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
the grated rind of one orange
1/3 cup strained orange juice
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Butter and flour the cake pan and measure out the ingredients. Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating until the mixture thickens and forms a ribbon. Add the grated orange peel, orange juice and salt. Beat for a moment or two until the mixture is light and foamy. Then beat in the flour.

Beat the egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the batter, delicately fold the rest. 

Immediately turn into prepared cake pan and run the batter up to the rim all around. Bake in middle position for 30-35 minutes Cake is done when it has puffed and browned and shows a faint line of shrinkage from the edge of the mold.
(According to Julia, American flour differs from French flour, and after reading about this i think now i understand why my baking sucked so bad, so i tried Julia's method on this one and it worked beautifully.  When a french recipe calls for flour combine American All-purpose flour and Cake Flour at 3-1 ratio. From my experience this proved to be right, and going on forward i'll be testing this on portuguese cake recipes as well)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Where did the week go?

Time goes by so fast these days its just hard to keep up.  I finally had time to submit one of my tested recipes reviews today. I baked the cake on Wednesday, and today is what? Friday, is there such a thing as 2 days too late?

Someone quit pushing the FF button in my life please!..... that was more like a FFFF (Fucking-Fast-Flash-Forward). Do you feel like your life is also going at a million miles and hour or is it  just me growing older tired and crazier? Oh lord .... and this week's icing on the cake was, " I found 2 gray hairs on my  head, TWO!" I cant decide what was worse the discovery of "fine lines" or gray hairs.... sigh

I'm still cooking despite not being able to post one single picture on the Blog this week.  And truth is the more i eat at home the more i don't want to eat out, to the exception of sushi off-course, though that also may become part of the rule as soon as get my ass to seat in a  Hipcooks class. And that will be sometime between the end of pole-dancing and the beginning of CPA review classes (Pole-dancing and accounting, extremely related subjects as we all know, can only be bridged by sushi).

So this is a snap shot of my weekly cooking in pictures (all snapped with my cell). Recipes to follow :D

Julia child's Orange sponge cake

Saturday Morning Cheese Omelet

Arugula and parmesan stuffed ravioli with sweet peas and asparagus, tossed in a white truffle butter.

Pan seared lamb loin, polenta cake and mushroom Malbec sauce
Nutty cheese ball
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