Friday, December 25, 2015


Being Christmas  I thought that I would go along with the Jewish tradition of having Chinese food.  I came across a food delivery company that specializes in preparing Chinese food via meal kits.  It's called Cuckoo Kitchen.  Their thing is healthy Chinese food.  

Something different, I decided to try it out and ordered four items that would take me through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

"Paying homage to Chinese cart food, our Juicy Beef Bun uses all-natural, USDA cuts of meat. Expertly seasoned and piled into a sandwich, this dish will quickly become a family favorite"

The kits come with a bamboo dish, fork and napkin.  It does allow you to microwave right in the dish, eat and toss away.  Two sealed portions of beef and two seals buns.  Instructions said that I could place in a regular oven for a few minutes.   The result was the beef being too dry and buns very doughy.  

It was early so later that evening I thought I'd partake in the General Tso's Chicken.  This time I decided to pan fry the whole thing.  Poured liquid sauce and added chunks of chicken and both green and red peppers.  When heated, I added the corn starch that I mixed with a bit of water.  (As directed) It tasted just fine....not great...but okay.  How about an hour later?  There might just as well have been some prune juice mixed in...if you know what I mean.  Here is their rendition of the meal.  If you want rice, you pay extra.  Oh, it did not come with the buns in the background.

"Originating in Hunan China, General Tso’s Chicken is a traditional favorite across the globe. Renowned for its sweet and spicy tang, our rendition boasts tender, all-natural chicken and organic ingredients."

"Christmas Day - A delicacy in Chinese cuisine, our succulent Braised Pork consists of USDA choice cuts of meat. Accented with a savory ginger glaze and sweet potatoes, you’ll love this decadent dish."
 Here is their rendition

I opened each sealed package.  One had the pork, another had the sauce, corn starch, and what appeared to be chunks of mushrooms.  Oh well.  Cook as I did with the chicken.  They weren't mushrooms....they were white potatoes....SAY WHAT?  

An hour later I was annoyed. 

Later that evening I tried "Wildly popular across Asia, Braised Beef is a dish rich with flavor and history. Ours features USDA Choice, naturally-sourced beef. Fragrant and complex, this stir-fry offers an authentic taste of China.

Just substituted beef for the pork.  Otherwise the same.  Beef did not taste "right".  The whole thing came down to taking food and making it "Chinese style" by adding the appropriate ingredients such as ginger, soy sauce, scallions and chili oil to make it hotter.   I could have done this myself!  

What kind of Chinese food has chunks of white potatoes????   An hour later, I called in for Chinese food.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Forest Park fire

There was a brush fire at the tennis courts at Forest Park.  "All hands" response. 

Monday, December 14, 2015


Meat is my favorite protein.  I do not eat enough vegetables and fruit.  Can't seem to be able to pick it out or decide what I like.  I went to a produce store called Valentino's in Ridgewood, here in Queens.  It's an Italian store so along with the freshest produce comes food imported from Italy. 

Phil Barone, the owner, tells me that much of the produce comes from local areas. Of course, there is produce that is not at all in season, so he has to get it from places like California
Here is a preview of what I'll be writing about.

Here is my cart

Now let's look at what was finally in my cart when I got it home.

Scallions, cactus pear, radicchio, Sicilian eggplant, Belgian endive

Cut off ends of cactus pear sliced along the side and was able to pull of the skin very easily.
Ate seeds and all.  Like having a pomegranate.  

I found that slicing the endive and adding it to a pan fried meal gives it a great taste.
 Italian cheese with pistachios. OMG you gotta taste this! 
It's a great cheese to pair with persimmons and loquats, not just apples.  If fresh figs were in season, it would be great to stuff them with this cheese and serve as an appetizer. 
dried chick peas...the start of making hummus
 Italian cookies...not overly sweet
 fresh pasta, canneloni beans, tuna filets, gluten free pasta
Made a salad with the tuna, greens, grape tomatoes and canneloni beans.  Added the Italian olive oil. 
dandelion greens, fennel, swiss chard, Italian parsley and basil. 
 cauliflower, artichoke, avocado, asparagus
Organic tomatoes, cranberries and salad greens
proscuitto bread, fresh mozzarella, eggplant and olive salad, cured olives, baccala 

Best cured olives. Cut up some of the bread and put fresh mozzarella in it and baked just enough for the mozz to melt. 
Dried kidney beans, apricot nectar drink, olive oil, wheat, anchovies.

Then there was the lasagna, cherry pie, persimmons (first time having them...really sweet, loquat and tomatoes.  Yep, they make their own fruit pies with no preservatives. I have had loquat syrup for a cold but never had a loquat.  Absolutely delicious! 

I chopped up a combo of the "vine tomatoes" and plum, placed it in a pot and added salt and the fresh basil. I'm not much for garlic.  After letting in cook for awhile, I peeled and sliced about half of the eggplant.  Since the Sicilian eggplant is less acidic and has less seeds, I did not have to pre-salt it to allow the acid to be drawn out.  Rather than coat the eggplant, I simply placed the olive oil in a heated pan and added the slices of eggplant.  I like my eggplant well done, so to speak.  I then added the tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella and covered the pan, heating it until the mozzarella was fully melted.  Perfect!

One great thing about tomatoes is that they are great when overripe but not moldy!  Sauce of tomatoes, fresh basil (must get washed as there is sand in it) and chopped fennelSaute in olive oil.  Used the gluten free pastaThrew in some ground turkey for the protein. Tossed cooked pasta into the pan

I went back.  Ran out of produce.  This time I thought about recipes.  They have various cucumbers.  Garden type, Persian and kirby.  I always peel the garden variety.  Sliced thin and added salt, dill, and sour cream (they have that there as well).  

 Thoughts of cole slaw, I got brussel sprouts, radicchio and organic baby carrots. Put salt, sugar and mayo.  Let it stand for hours.  No need to put a lot of mayo as the creaminess is brought out from the salt. 

 Various thoughts about potatoes.  Small ones of blue, red and white for roasting. Russet for potato salad. Same dressing as cole slaw.  I also got some colorful sweet peppers.  Don't care much for the green ones. Little ones are great to stuff with cream cheese mixed with the green part of the scallions. 

 I love mushrooms but don't necessarily care for the common button ones. Shitake, Portabella, and a rare one not always available at your average market.  Will grill portabella and saute a large orange pepper with scallions.  Make a sandwich with their olive bread. 

 Cranberry bread as well. Turkey with this Italian cheese called Primo Sale.  Mild semi-soft cheese. 

 Oh right...they have fresh burrata. It's like having mozzarella on the outside and a softer creamier cheese inside.  Great with tomatoes, basil and olive oil.  I just had it plain. I'm a milk person. In fact they have milk.  I hadn't tried this brand called Trickling Springs Organic. More local goods. 


 Sampled some of "Stella's" cooking at the deli.  Panella, fritatta, rice ball, phyllo, eggplant rollatini, and grilled vegetables.

 I realize that Nutella is supposed to be the best hazelnut spread. I tried another brand for Switzerland, I think. I happen to like this one more.  Now, why waste it spreading on bread when you can simply spread it on a Fairytale Brownie!!

 Triple P fruit salad.  Persimmons, pears (cactus), pineapple. Will post when done.