I'm Lovin' It

McDonald's video game says "People live fast and want to eat quickly. Fast food restaurants are the cathedrals of our age and everything must be efficient and optimized."

Do you have what it takes to manage a multibillion dollar fast food franchaise? You control everything from the cow welfare and crop management/rainforest razing in South America to the local burger flippin wage monkeys to the marketing that lures the sheep, I mean consumers, in.

Sure there are nasty unsavoury things such as hormones, genetically engineered feed, mad cow epidemics and convinient industrial waste laced products. But as the big boys say, "This could have some risk to consumer health , but make no mistake: in love and war everything is licit."


When the moon hits your eye...

America loves Pizza
- Link courtesy of NotMartha

I know Naked Flying Baby Day is not for some time yet (and scares most people witless) but here is a template for the pizza pictured above. Because there is always someone you love enough to make heart shaped pizza for....even if it's just yourself.


momma's momma's momma's recipe

*right, so i typed this at 4am and lost half of it. will finish editing and recreating as the time allows. please forgive our verbolicious dust.*

The other night Madame Claudia kindly invited me to dinner. Now before you get all too titillated 'Madame' does NOT connote a lady of the night but rather a slightly older wiser friend from French class back in the day (where 'day' = 'when I still actually went'). When I arrived at the Madame's abode I was greeted by a vision in floral print and a large glass pitcher with the beginnings of a sublime summer beverage. (I apologize for the photo quality, I blame my shaking on hunger pangs.)

Cruel cruel woman that she is she put me straight to work to earn my supper (I jest, I would have come earlier to help with the dinner part but was running late, are you surprised?) While the Madame continued to cut, squeeze, and slice lemons with a rather frighteningly large knife I was in charge of drawing and quartering the helpless strawberries. All of this was to be added to the marinating alchemical concoction of ice, sugar, and vanilla beans.

After adding some H2o to taste everything was blended to perfection by stirring with the same ridiculously oversized slicing and dicing implements (really, we just needed Edward Scissorhands to lend a hand). Why? Cause that's how her Momma did it. And her Momma's Momma. And...

Accompanying our succulent dinner, like feathered mule stilettoes on a 1950's starlet, was a very fresh and refreshing pleasantly pinkish beverage. Not too sweet nor sour, complex, heady and rather intoxicating.

Like any good recipe that has been handed down, there is no recipe (how zen). But rather a list of ingredients that is eyeballed amounts, tradition, and frequently tasted. Above all though, there is the 'rightness' and alignment to the memory of the original flavor. A hard thing to master (just read Vogue magazine food editor Jeffery Steingarten's article in The Man Who Ate Everything regarding his mother in law's fruitcakes or the time he tried to pin cup and tablespoon measurements to a recipe that has always been made off the cuff.) Here goes my best, I've recreated this at home sans exact measurements and it worked very well. In fact, according to the Madame, there is no one who doesn't LOVE this recipe. Humble, no? :) Luckily, she's been well justified in my experience. Without further ado....

Madame Claudia's Strawberry Vanilla lemonade

4-6 well washed lemons (depending on the size of your glass pitcher )
1/2 a vanilla bean
several cups of sugar
a handful of strawberries, hulled and quartered
water filled to the top of said glass pitcher

Generously fill a glass pitcher with ice, dust ice with granulated sugar until fairy like. Oh, who are we kidding? Dump in a whole lot, a restrained whole lot though. You will probably need to add more later. Take the vanilla bean and after a quick rinse cut in half the short way, holding on to the remainder for another special dish at a later time, and then the half of a bean in half down the middle the long way. Scrape the insides on to the ice and sugar and toss the pod in as well. Proceed to cut off the ends of the lemon and then cut in large round slices into the pitcher (I didn't squeeze my lemons into it before cutting them up, Claudia did. Both ways work equally well) Next add your strawberries, fill 'er up with the water of your choice and stir with ridiculously large knife. I am serious, don't even think about using your Granny's wooden spoon. This lemonade needs tough love. Stir/slice at until well blended and pink-ish. I would recommend drinking it the same day as the berries get a bit battered around. But no worries you'll finish it in one sitting. Cheers

Aside - For those of you getting sick of off-the-cuff NotRecipes (patent pending) and miscellaneous food and restaurant reviews, I will hopefully be doing some serious baking again soon. Real baking with actual measured amounts and mostly fixed ingredients. I've been dying to make some pretty pink champaign cupcakes (wow, did that ever sound girly! I feel like I ought to be 'hearting' the dots of my i's) for some time now but am waiting for a special occasion to do so. I have a whole birthday gift magnum of Veuve Clicquot in a fabulous orange carrying case and a box of really really cute cupcake toppers waiting for me. I am aiming for real recipes around the fall. When I am feeling more inclined to fire up Bessy the ol' oven again. But one never knows. :)


FoodVentures : Mentos

The Freshmaker gets Fruity(er)

Doo Doo Doo Doooo Doo Doo DooWaaaaaa!!! Mentos has gotten a facelift...well, not really. The packaging is the same, more or less. I guess you could say they've gone all new age on us by changing what's iiinside maaaan. Groovy, no? It appears Mentos is trying to get down with the homies these days (that's what the kids are still saying, right? Dope, yo!) Behold, three new flavors to tempt your tastebuds with...or will they?

Pomme Vert (green apple) - These reminded me quite a bit of those weensy green boxes of Applehead candies we'd love and loathe having in elementry school. Super sour and slightly squishy outside melting to expose the sweet sweet pearl of a hard apple candy inside. Except that Mentos version is much more homogenous in both texture and flavor variation.

Strawberry Yoghurt (self evident) - Sqyd's favorite of the lot but after eating her first one the investment-return ratio dropped severly. In normal people-talk: first one yummy, second one eh, third one urp. How do they differ from Mentos current strawberry offering? It's the yogurt, people, the yogurt.

Pamplemousse Rose (pink grapefruit) - Imagine if you will, Chuck Norris. In a pink robe and curlers. Sipping something with an umbrella in it and having a citrus foot scrub (hah, now just TRY to get that image OUT of your head!) If Chuckie were to round house kick you in the mouth after his pedicure it might be something like this Mentos. Or it might be nothing like that. I just like imagining Chuck prettying himself up real nice before kicking bad guys' asses. What can I say? We all have our own little quirks. (Semi-off topic question, is the singular of Mentos still Mentos or is it a Mento? Hrmmm. Deep pondering must be done.) My initial reaction was "BLECH!!!...Want one?" It catches you unaware with a huuuuge burst of flavor followed by a milder gentler Chuck...I mean flavor. Novel but not my Mento of choice.

Survey Says: A truly tepid, meh. Quite frankly Mentos should stick to what they do best...cheesy as hell 70s style commercials with super catchy jingles (mmm FooFighters video) and leave funky flavored fruity chews to Jelly Belly. But you get an A for effort, Mentos.


new AND improved

If I've never seen it chances are that I will buy it and try it. Any and everything from white chocolate kitkats and inside out reese's peanut butter cups to hot dog flavored cheetos from Asia (no, really.) I blame or thank, depending on how you look at it, this habit on my grandma. She would troll the grocery stores for treasures before we would visit. My brother and I would arrive and be greeted by things like hubba bubba bubble gum soda and rice krispie treat cereal. My grandma was like a particularly food obsessed Indiana Jones (and the Supermarket of Doom?) She rocked.

That said, I would like to introduce a new segment on UglyFruit in her memory and spirit of adventure. I plan to do tastebud- jerk reviews of all of my impulse purchases. I like to think of them as mini food adventures. Therefore, let me present to you, my intreped readers, Food-ventures. Enjoy.

Cherry Blossom Girl - a Fruit Filler

"Life is like a cherry. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, and generally ends in the pits." - a Lady Purist

I am a berry lover. Red, blue, yellow, big, small, prickly. I don't discriminate (um, except for maybe gooseberries...but they just require the proper jam recipe, that I have yet to find). The other day I saw a 'pick your own strawberry' sign in France and got goosebumps. Understand, I can eat obscene amounts of strawberries but there is an especially special place in my heart for cherries. The fleeting and ephemeral cherry season will soon be upon us, my berry brothers and sisters. I preemptively bought my first batch the other day and it fell a bit flat. So now I am just waiting and dreaming and drooling.

There's something akin to a treasure hunt when you go to the store and fondle the robust and succulent fruit. Getting your fingers sticky on berries gone bad (not ENTIRELY unlike 'girls gone wild' for some, I suppose...erm...anyways....) and hunting for the darkest, firmest, biggest berries possible. Then, like a Johnny Appleseed disciple gone astray, liberally dispersing the beginnings of future cherry trees to be while walking around with a large paperbag full of them. I cannot tell a lie, I heart you cherry.



Coffee (cake) Talk: A kugelhopf* contains neither Kugels nor Hopfs. Discuss amongst yourselves.

*It is, however, one of the most fun food words I've come across. Try using it as an interjection in the most inappropriate ways. Good times, my friends. The Duct Tape Goddess and I were travelling through the Alsace a bit back and happened upon this wacky bread/fruitcake/dessert conglomeration. Hommage must be paid.

In fact, much travelling has been going on while she and Sqyd are visiting from the other side of the Vast Emptiness (also known as Iowa, wink wink. Love ya, Iowans!!!) Expect fabulous reviews and deep (or not so deep) musings soon.