The Hungry Man Eats

Monthly Archives: June 2013

You are browsing the site archives by month.

A Tale of a Wedge of Blue Cheese

 Blue Cheese

It all starts innocently enough. You go to the grocery and compare the prices between the pre-crumbled 6 oz. container of blue cheese and the 8 oz. wedge of blue cheese. The wedge works out to be a better deal and you add it to your cart.

You are so proud of yourself on the way home, you think: “Why should I spend more for pre-crumbled cheese? I can crumble it myself! Ha ha, I sure pulled one over on those greedy cheese mongers this time!” Soon your thoughts turn to all the good times that you will soon have in the kitchen with your new friend, the blue cheese wedge. “I could crumble you over a salad, or maybe have you with a steak, or even make my own blue cheese salad dressing!” How ambitious you are!

Soon you make your first salad with freshly crumbled blue cheese and it is even better then you hoped. You decide that a homemade blue cheese dressing would be a great idea at this point.

However life has other plans. You never get around to making that dressing, you do use the blue cheese on another two salads and even crumble some on a steak, and it is awesome each time. But then you buy that package of bacon which obscures your blue cheese wedge, over half used now, from sight in your meat drawer in the refrigerator. Not long after that, the bacon package is covered with a bag of shredded cheddar cheese. The blue cheese is now out of sight, out of mind…

May turns to June, the shredded cheddar is used, the bacon gets used, and a salami package filled with salami and mischief, has apparently has shifted on its own and hides the blue cheese wedge from view.

June is ending when the blue cheese wedge is revealed again, you look and it still looks good at first glance, but it looks a good bit bluer then you remember, it may even glow blue in the dark now. You smell it and it smells like blue cheese still, but stronger than you remember. As you smell it up close you can see the veins of blue look boldly aggressive, like they have slowly been taking over what remains of the wedge. At this point, the timeless question about blue cheese enters your mind: “If blue cheese is blue because of the mold that makes it blue, how can I tell when it has gone bad? It is already “moldy” by nature, does it become too blue to eat??” You try a small piece and it tastes fine…you think. You decide to be bold (with a dash of trepidation) and generously crumble more on your salad for dinner. You toss the edge that remains in the trash, it just looks too dangerous and blue. You still don’t know when blue cheese goes bad though…

Let’s solve that problem!

Your cheese is still good if:

  • Is the white part of the cheese still white? If so your cheese is still good.
  • Does it still smell like blue cheese? If so your cheese is still good.
  • If it smells stronger then you remember, that’s ok too, the cheese does that as it ages sometimes.

Your cheese is bad if:

  • The white part begins turning yellow (or more yellow if it had a yellow tint to start with).
  • You see any other colors besides blue on the cheese (pink or brown on the surface, or green in the blue veins if there was no green before)
  • Do you smell/taste an ammonia scent/flavor? If so, back away from the cheese and trash it.
  • Does the cheese seem damp or slimy? Not good. Trash the cheese before it gets away!

So did I toss my cheese at the right time? The white color was good, but there was a bit of green in the veins of blue. It was probably on its last legs but still good, only the outside of the wedge remained so I did not toss much.

Next time I get a wedge of blue cheese, I promise to make the dressing…

A Case of the Mondays: Leftovers Volume 2, Chicken and Old Stuff

Mediocre Raw Ingredients

Sometimes you have leftovers that are the remains of an excellent meal that you look forward to eating again, other times you eat leftovers or make something just because you hate to see food go to waste. Today’s meal is the latter case, and I was hoping my rogue’s gallery of ingredients pictured above would be up to the task of coming together to make an edible meal.

What do we have to work with here? A slightly freezer burnt boneless chicken breast, an aging, mostly used head of broccoli, and 12 day old couscous. I can hear you cringe from across the internet.

How can we pull this off? First I trimmed the freezer burnt parts off the chicken breast then started it cooking in a frying pan with enough olive oil to coat it(1/2 T) and a light dusting of poultry seasoning. I got the broccoli clipped off of the main head and ready to boil. I also plated the couscous and had it ready to zap in the microwave for 30 seconds when everything was ready to come together. Once the chicken was close to done, I added about a 1/3 cup of frozen Birds Eye Pepper Stir Fry vegetables (red, yellow and green pepper plus onion) to sauté. My ace in the hole for making something out of this dish was the sauce I was going to top the chicken with: Harry & David’s Pepper and Onion Relish, Classic Recipe.

Some people say that resorting to pre-made store bought sauces are the sign of a lazy chef and are inferior to something that is homemade, but on a Monday, with a cook in the kitchen who wants to put in minimal effort (me, today) do what you need to make it taste good (and cover the flavor of the chicken if I missed trimming a freezer burnt bit).

So how did everything come together in the end? Take a look below…

Chicken Dinner Saved

It looked so awesome that I decided to have some wine as well, Jacobs Creek Chardonnay 2011 to be precise. It tasted as good as it looked also! This is a recipe I would gladly make again with fresh ingredients, it only took about 20 minutes to put together as well.

 

Size Does Matter

Wall of Spices

It’s no secret that food manufacturers have been shrinking the sizes of most all foods and drinks for a number of years now.

Let us pause in remembrance of some of the size packages that are no longer with us:

  • 8 oz. cups of yogurt
  • 32 oz. jars of mayonnaise and spaghetti sauce
  • Half gallon cartons of ice cream
  • Half gallon cartons of orange juice
  • 5 lb. bags of sugar

So what has taken the place of our dearly departed friends?

  • 6 oz. cups of yogurt, or even less should you partake in consuming the abomination known as “whipped yogurt”
  • 28-30 oz. jars of mayo, 24 oz. jars of spaghetti sauce
  • 48 oz. cartons of ice cream
  • 59 oz. orange juice cartons
  • 4 lb. bags of sugar

There are plenty of other examples out there, you may not even notice when the switcheroo has been pulled because you aren’t likely to have two of the same product in your pantry at the same time when a switch occurs. I happened to have one, look at the picture up top and then take a look at the picture below. At the top, we have a wall of spices at my local market, notice how a few of them mixed in are larger. Below we have two shakers of crushed red pepper flakes, the one on the left is the older shaker, and it contains 2.12 oz. (60g) of red pepper. On the right we have the new shaker which contains only 1.75 oz. (49g).

Big Pepper Little Pepper

This leads us into pointing out some of the benefits to the shrinkage epidemic:

  • Better for the environment, a good bit less plastic is used in making that smaller shaker.
  • Better for your health, smaller packages will sometimes lead to eating less of whatever was in that smaller package.
  • More space to store food as your food packages shrink (yeah, that’s a bit of a stretch for a positive.)
  • Less of a chance for your food to go bad, you will finish the smaller package off sooner.

Before we go, a math lesson to show that you are paying more anyway, both now and in the long run:

48 oz.* 5 cartons = 240 oz. but 64 oz. * 4 cartons = 256 oz.

The math above shows that you would have to buy 5 cartons of ice cream at 48 oz. per carton and still be short 16 oz. from the amount you would have had with purchasing just 4 cartons at 64 oz. each. Suppose the cartons were $4.00 each, you will spend $20.00 and still be a pound short on ice cream from what used to cost you only $16.00 to get.

When the food manufacturers use the excuse that they did not want to raise the price, make sure you see the truth behind that statement, you may be paying the same amount, but you get less as a result, so you really are paying more since you do not get as much in return.

What do you think? Would you rather pay more to get the same amount of food you used to or would you rather pay the same amount to get less?

Homemade Grilled Hamburgers

Homemade Burgers on the Grill

I am visiting my parents this weekend and we decided to have our first round of grilled hamburgers of the season. These hamburgers are not your plain old hunks of ground beef flattened into patties, these burgers are freshly made from an old family recipe that my mom has used for a long as I can remember eating hamburgers.

Back in the day, every other Friday night was burger night, the opposite Friday was always hot dogs up until I was about 14 or so. This recipe was one of the very first recipes I would make once I was tall enough to work the stove. As good as they were back then when they were pan fried, the burgers are even more awesome now when cooked on a grill.

The beautiful burger pictured below is garnished with BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and a Vidalia onion.

Homemade Burger Ready to Eat

 

Mom's Homemade Burgers
Serves 8
A homemade burger recipe courtesy of my mom.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 lbs 90% lean ground beef
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 1/3 cup 1% milk
  4. 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  5. 2 1/2 t Lawry's seasoned salt
  6. 1/2 t black pepper
  7. 2 T dehydrated minced onion
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, pepper and minced onion until well blended.
  2. Add all the ground beef stirring until well mixed and all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Divide evenly into 8 burger patties.
  4. Grill or pan fry until cooked to your desired rareness.
The Hungry Man Eats http://hungrymaneats.com/
 

A Bacon Cheeseburger from Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Burger and Fries

About two years ago a Whole Foods Market opened up about a mile and a half from my place, I didn’t get around to checking it out until just this past weekend. I have other grocery stores that are more convenient and frankly my experiences with them from the past have left me wanting to steer clear of them. They used to reside in a smaller store that was overcrowded with smug shoppers who could not drive large shopping carts. Also, they did not earn the nickname “Whole Paycheck” because of their competitive prices. However, for Whole Foods, it’s not a competition really as they have carved out a niche by focusing on natural and organic products, a trip down one of their aisles will bear little resemblance to a trip down an equivalent aisle in a traditional grocery store in terms of the brands carried. They even have a page on their website that lists all the ingredients that they consider unacceptable, and thus will not carry any product that contains any of those ingredients.
Enough about the grocery for now, we’re here to discuss the delicious looking meal at the top of the page. Whole Foods has several prepared foods departments at this location including a grill, deli, pizzeria and fresh made sushi, I chose the bacon cheeseburger from the grill with a side of fries. You can select a variety of toppings and condiments, I added onion, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, and ketchup. I also grabbed a bottle of lemonade flavor Vitamin Water as I was in the mood for lemonade but did not want to pay an arm and a leg for a tiny bottle of real lemonade. ($1.49 for a 20 oz. bottle of Vitamin Water).

So how was the food?
The Whole Foods Bacon Cheeseburger
• The lettuce and tomato were top notch and really helped the burger out. Decent red onion as well.
• The meat was nondescript, the patty was fried on a grill and did not seem to have much flavor of its own.
• Same deal with the bacon, hard to tell it was there, perhaps because of the next bullet point.
• The mustard was a very poor fit with this burger. They said it was honey mustard, but it sure tasted like a really strong Dijon to me, it just obliterated whatever subtle beef and bacon flavors there were. I will skip the mustard in the future.
• The fries were pretty good, they were not crispy, but they had a good potato flavor and seemed like they were homemade rather than store made. These fries would be awesome with vinegar!
• Lemonade flavored Vitamin Water is much more like Gatorade then anything, pretty good on its own, but not ideal with a meal, real lemonade would have been better.

Would I get this again, absolutely, but I think I would hold the bacon and keep the mustard at least 50 feet away from the burger.
Hungry Man Eats Score: 63/100 (-10 for that mustard!)

%d bloggers like this: