Monday, January 26, 2009

"Look at this Richard! Just Look at it"

The London Telegraph has published this marvelously funny complaint letter from a Virgin airline passenger en route to India.

I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.

I don't know what it is about airline food myself but some of the cheapest airlines have the best food. Air France's food is notoriously bad, while some of the smaller airlines in North America (West Jet, Continental) use well stocked, if simple and to the point, frozen entrees.

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn’t want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I rather enjoyed Air Transat's Pizza pockets and a few meals were quite nice, but I'm happy to have skipped out on this one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Reuben Pie

Behold The Reuben Pie!

Please excuse the messy photo but The Pie just goes where it wants to go. Now that's a meat pie!

Like many great dishes, the origins of The Reuben sandwich are contentious, but for all accounts, it is most attributable to New York Delicatessens especially Reuben's Delicatessen around the turn of the century. Whether people love it or hate seems to depend on their affection for sauerkraut or rye bread, but it has been a favourite sandwich of mine for many years now.

This is why!


1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 16oz can of Sauerkraut, drained
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
1/4 cup of rye breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of onions, chopped
1 can (4oz) French fried onions (or onion rings in chip section, or potato chips)


Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Mix meat, oatmeal, egg, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, garlic and pepper. Press into a 9 inch or 10 inch pie plate as if it were a crust. A deep dish pie plate is best! Press firmly to build up the sides all away around. Bake for 20 minutes until it has been evenly browned. Pour off excess juices and fat.

Meanwhile, mix the sauerkraut, cheese, seeds, and the fresh onions.

Reduce heat to 375 and pack the remaining ingredients firmly into the meat shell. Bake another 20 minutes. Crumble the french fried onions and the breadcrumbs and bake 5 more minutes.

Serve immediately in pie shapes wedges.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jeffrey Combs: The legend, the actor

"He used to bring beautiful women here... eat fine meals, drink fine wine, listen to music... but it always ended with screaming. " - Jeffrey Combs in From Beyond.

Welcome fellow Jeffrey Combs fans and soon to be Jeffrey Combs fans.

If you haven't seen Elisa's wonderful blog Combs Corner, be sure to drop by especially if you are a fan of Jeffrey Combs and his wonderful contribution to science fiction, horror film and television. If you are not aware of Combs' talents, then you are in for a treat. His sometimes serious, sometimes colourful, sometimes completely outrageous and entertaining and unique approach to the genremake him the perfect modern Vincent Price. Gordon and I were very excited to get a recipe from him. That Tortilla Soup is really fabulous, so be sure to try it if you haven't already!

Elisa has an anecdote I wrote here and I'm very proud to have contributed something. Please feel free to comment if you like.

If you would like to order a copy from me, you can email me here with name and address. The book is $15 US plus shipping and handling.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Duck Fat : Ingredient Guru

Good? Yes. Healthy? No.

Duck Fat is not a good fat though it is a highly respected way of cooking food. It is high in cholesterol and not recommended by doctors or nutritionists to use in cooking. Chefs love it of course and it can be useful in frying or sauteing potatoes, legumes or other vegetables.

If you prefer flavour and want to cut down on cholesterol then use 1 tsp of duck fat to 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil. It will give your veggies a nice flavour, but will reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet.

Use wisely.

It won't help your waistline, but this is one of the most common ways to cook potatoes using duck fat.

Baked Potatoes

About a pound or two of potatoes can be used.
Rosemary or Thyme (tablespoon each if fresh, a teaspoon each if dried)

Heat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Toss wedges or slices of potatoes with 1 tsp of duck fat in a bowl and 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and dried or fresh thyme or rosemary. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very browned and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.

The bottom line is if you are watching your cholesterol, you should avoid most animal fats in general. Canola and Olive oils are good to use as they have a good balance of mono, polyunsaturated fat content. Olive oil even has the benefit of flavanoids though has a lower smoking rate, and isn't good for frying as Canola is.