Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lemuel's Food Meme

Lemuel of The Greedy Maelstrom started a food meme. Because I love cooking and fine dining, I definitely wanted to give it a try.

1. Your favorite vegetable (or vegetable medley)?
Summer: Fresh sweet corn with butter. One of the great things about living in Illinois.
Winter: Mashed butternut squash

2. Rice, pasta, or potatoes?
Lemuel! How can I choose between these? I have never met a starch I didn’t like. At gunpoint, I will choose rice just because I love my mom’s rice pilaf recipe (now altered almost beyond recognition) so much.

3. Your favorite pork entree?
Roast pork shoulder with roasted root vegetables

4. Your favorite beef entree?
I’m not a really big beef person. I almost never order a steak at a restaurant and if I’m doing Chinese or Mexican I nearly always go with chicken or pork. Still, at least once a summer I want a nice rare T-bone steak on the grill. Preferably when the garden is producing lettuce for a fresh salad on the side.

5. Your favorite poultry entree?
Parmesan crusted chicken breasts. We do this one a lot at home (most recently last night) because it’s delicious and ready in 30 minutes.

6. Your favorite seafood entree?
I don’t even have to pause to think about this one. Fried clams. No, those things (pauses to sneer) that they serve at Howard Johnson’s do NOT count. I can’t get good fried clams here in the Midwest. But every time I go home to New England, it’s one of the first things that I do.

7. Your favorite dessert?
Something I haven’t made in ages: applesauce cake with butter cream frosting. Another favorite from Mom.

8. Your favorite beverage with a meal?
A nice Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel region.

9. McDonalds, Wendy's, or Burger King?
I eat fast food. In fact, I eat too much fast food- but it really is the equivalent of reading a Danielle Steele novel when you should be reading Proust. They are all about the same to me.

10. What would you order at #9?
Cheeseburger, fries and Coke.

11. Your favorite fast food restaurant outside of selections in #9?
I really don’t do much fast food outside of the burger joints. My favorite non-burger junk food is pizza, but it’s easy enough to get good pizza just about anywhere, so I don’t go to places like Pizza Hut.

12. What would you order at #11?
Thin crust pepperoni with onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Of course to really do pizza right you want homemade pizza (including the crust) with tomato sauce and herbs that came from the garden and home made mozzarella cheese.

13. Your favorite chain/franchise restaurant (non-fast food)?
Olive Garden

14. What would you order at #13?
I like their cheese ravioli.

15. Your favorite type of cuisine?
Italian, French, seafood.

16. Do you prefer to dine out or to stay in (home cooked)?
I have so many good food memories from both types of meals. There are circumstances in which I prefer both. For birthdays and anniversaries, we celebrate by going out to a (usually) high-end restaurant. But I love cooking for friends and family too.

17. What would be the setting/ambience of an ideal "dinner party" or meal for you? Formal dinner, backyard barbeque, or...?
For a large crowd, I’d go with a barbecue or potluck. In about a month and a half, I’ll blog about an annual potluck party that involves unusual food. For a smaller, more intimate gathering (4-6 attending) I’d do a more formal dinner.

18. How frequently do you host "dinner parties" of the type described in #17? How large is the usual guest list?
We do a couple of annual parties: a Memorial Day brunch that involves watching a foot race that passes in front of our house and an annual Sagittarius party. I generally do a barbecue or two each summer. I’d like to do more formal dinners, I generally do only one or two a year at the moment.

19. Are you a good cook? What is your specialty? If partnered, who is the better cook, you or your partner?
Yes, I’m a reasonably good cook. I will always be grateful to my mother for passing along her confidence in the kitchen. Also, my formal training is as a biochemist, and there are ample similarities between chemistry and cooking. My partner is also a good cook, however I am the main cook in the household and therefore have a larger repertoire than he does. His stuffed peppers are to die for. My specialty? I do so many different things that I don’t really have a single specialty. My soups get noticed (particularly cream of carrot with ginger), as does my salsa. I’m learning to make cheese, so I expect that to figure more prominently over time.

20. If partnered, do you have a special meal on your anniversary? If so, describe your last one.
We go out to a high-end restaurant. For my partner’s birthday last year, we went to a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago called Le Lan. It’s Vietnamese with a lot of French influence. It defied description it was so good. And the service was amazing.

And I'll add one:

21. Biggest food pet peeve
You can no longer get fois gras in Chicago.


At 08:34, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Doug, thanks for doing the meme. Your answers are very interesting. Rice Pilaf? Oh, yes! Parmesan chicken? Stuffed peppers? Ok, what time is supper? When do we eat?! Set another place!

At 12:10, Anonymous Mark Huffaker said...

DOUG: I'm shocked! Olive Garden! Whew! How can I criticize? I've never been there, so I'll hold my judgement. After all, if you go there you're like "family", right? I guess we'll have to send you a jar of our home-made Tomatillo Salsa that we can.....we think you'll like it. We share a LOT of your food choices.....so obviously, you're a person with class.

At 12:15, Blogger Ur-spo said...

Doug is too modest to state he is a WIZ of a cook, and his salsa is superb - someone badger him to put out the recipe one of these days.

At 12:54, Blogger Doug said...

Spo- Thanks, you are too kind. I'll post the recipe.

Mark- Well, it's hard to really screw up Italian badly. For the kind of meal that one goes to a non-fast food chain for, a casual evening out with friends, Olive Garden prepares a serviceable meal. It's not fine dining. It's not what I would pick as my favorite Italian restaurant (that would be Dave's Italian Kitchen in Evanston. The recently defunct Capra's in Palm Springs is a close second). But when I consider the competition for that question- Chili's TGI Friday's, Appleby's (ugh!!!)- Olive Garden is OK. Of course, I'd nver turn down green tomatillo salsa :)


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