Archive | September, 2008

Melamine, China and the Food Supply

30 Sep

The first time I heard about melamine contamination in food was last year. I had just fed the Sous-Chef her nightly meal of  Alpo Prime Cuts and Pedigree Senior Formula Dry food. As the Sous-Chef ate her dinner, I saw the pet food recall on CNN. I  went to the site, and found the food I had just given to my dog on the list.

I was horrified.

I looked at Sous-Chef and panicked. I called my vet and hysterically I told them I may have given the dog the food. The vet tech on the other end of the line was very calm, and told me to check the recall numbers on the list against the food I had given her. I did, and the numbers were different. I grabbed the Sous-Chef and hugged her. i honestly don’t know what I would have done if she had died from eating the food I had given her.  You see, she is my family ( pet owners know what I am talking about). I was just glad that she was ok; and glad that this chemical would not find its way into the human food supply. That was then.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had all but forgotten about the melamine toxicity incident when I heard/read/seen another report about this happening again; but this time, the melamine contamination was in baby formula.

BABY FORMULA?????????

I  didn’t make the connection immediately; I readily admit that I probably didn’t because it didn’t directly affect me. All my friends have adult kids, so there was no connection for me. Now, please don’t think ill of me, but i did take notice when Cadbury announced it was recalling 11 of its chocolate products. The precautionary recall is linked to fears of the melamine contamination of the products  containing milk protein powders made in China.

Four days ago, another batch of suspected melamine-laced products were recalled. The instant coffee and milk tea products were sold overseas, and the FDA is concerned that the products may have made their way into Asian food markets here in the U.S.

So, what’s the connection?

Melamine was used in the wheat gluten that was used in the recalled pet food. The origin of the wheat gluten was China.

Melamine is the prime suspect in the milk powder used in both the baby formula and chocolate candy, milk powder made in China. ( note: latest report issued said  according to the Chinese government current levels of melamine in candy are acceptable)

And, as CC was researching this story, another recall was issued in the Netherlands for Koala brand cookies.  According to the FDA, a dutch watchdog group found slightly elevated levels of melamine in the cookies.  The cookies are imported from China.

Apparently melamine is used in products that require a certain amount of protein. It is alleged that certain suppliers in China use this product to elevate protein levels, instead of actually putting the real protein in the products. The reason, I guess is money.

I guess  what I’m asking  is this: why are we as people allowing this to happen? I know that somebody will say that it is cheaper to import these products than to make them ourselves. That American workers won’t take these jobs, or want too much from the employers of these jobs like safe working conditions, some sort of basic benefits, some pesky job protections, you know. We aren’t satisfied working for $1 an hour and a bowl of rice. We import all this stuff to make everyday products in out lives more affordable.

That argument may wash sometimes, but is it really cheaper to buy foodstuffs from other countries when we have problems keeping our own food safe? What’s more expensive: cheaper labor, or the cost of recalls and the imminent health risks.

Our government has gutted the agencies that protect us from bad consumer products. How about lead in the toys, and the latest scare: salmonella and peppers. The inspectors whose job it is to check these things are woefully understaffed. So what are we to do?

I heard the phrase “Food Autonomy” from a fellow wordpress.com blogger. I take it to mean we should not import food, or we should grow our own food. I couldn’t find anything about it on the net, so if anyone knows what this term means, please enlighten us.

What do you think we should do?

BBQ Turkey Wings

26 Sep

Don’t trip…

Turkey wings are great. A family member kept raving about how great the wings were. Well, I tried barbecuing them, and they were great. This is a really simple treatment that allows you to use your favorite sauce, whether it’s Open Pit ( but I would’ve hoped you have graduated from the entry-level flavor of that sauce by now), to the sauce that was handed-down-from-your-great-great-grandma.

Either way, it’s great for toting to that tailgating party. The wings I buy are from Shady Brook farms, and come without the drummette attached. It has only the flat, two-boned part and the tip. They are packaged six to a package. Allow three pieces per person. If you can’t find the turkey wings, chicken wings will do just fine, just trim off the tip from each wing and allow four chicken wings per person

Serves four

You will need

chef knife

paper towels

plastic rap

gallon sized Ziploc bags

pan coating

bowl for  BBQ sauce

brush

Ingredients

2- packages of Shady Brook Farms, or 24 whole chicken wings

1/2 cup BBQ Spice Rub

1-2 cups your favorite Barbecue sauce, room temperature

Place two layers of paper towels on a sheet pan ans set aside. Cut tips off turkey wings and discard, or freeze  the tips for stock. Wash and pat dry.  Lay wings on paper towels and sprinkle wings liberally on both sides with the spice rub.  Place wings in Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Move rack to center of oven. Spray pan coating lightly on sheet pan or baking dish. Place wings in a single layer on dish. Lightly sprinkle leftover spice over wings, and place in oven. Cook wings in oven for 30 minutes, then turn and using a basting brush, paint wings with barbecue sauce and cook for 10 additional minutes, or until meat pull away from ends of wings. Discard leftover sauce.

Pull wings from oven and let rest for ten minutes. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side, or use ranch or sour cream.

Make you wanna smack your mama!

Ice Cream made of Mother’s Milk?????

26 Sep

So…

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA wrote a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield this past Tuesday. Cohen and Greenfield are the founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, the super-premium ice cream.

In the letter, PETA asked the Unilever-owned company to consider using human milk for its ice cream rather than using cow’s milk. PETA says that milking cows harms cows directly and indirectly; using human milk, “would benefit human health,” according to spokesperson Tonya Reiman in a report published by WPTZ.com of Waterbury, Conneticut:

I don’t know what to say about this. I’m all for the La Leche League and the right of women to have the right to nurse their babies wherever and whenever they need to. I also support PETA”s right to protest practices that they feel harm animals, even though I don’t agree with them half of the time.

I always thought that milking cows gave them relief. I just think that this was a slow news day for PETA.

And the nominees are…

24 Sep

Over the weekend, I was nominated for an award! Why gosh, Calitejano; Thank you man!

I never won an award before, other than school stuff . I wish I could say more than this, but I really don’t know what to say. Hopefully, I can live up to the hype.

In the meantime, go visit Calitejano’s blog as well as his romantica website: R.J. Lebeau, for his progress on writing the Great American Sexy Novel. I still say that he should write a story about a zexy female chef!

I got stories, R.J.!

Hershey’s Kisses goodbye to using cocoa butter in its candy

22 Sep
photo courtesy of www.sugarstand.com

photo courtesy of http://www.sugarstand.com

Do you like Hershey’s Chocolate? Well if you do, then take heed: Hershey has removed cocoa butter from most of its line of candy bars and replaced it with vegetable oil.

So what, you say? Well, according to the FDA, Products such as Whatchamacallit, Hershey’s kisses and Krackel can’t legally be called milk chocolate bars anymore because of the lack of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter gives chocolate its disticntive creamy texture. Without it,  chocolate just tastes flat.

Hershey has fallen victim to the rise of the cost of goods.  The candy must be labeled chocolate candy,  chocolate flavored candy, or chocolaty.

I’m thinking about  making the switch to a higher end of chocolate for now,  until Hershey comes around.

The McPalin Grilled Pig Sandwich

21 Sep

Picture this…It’s a Saturday night, and the CC has had a few glasses of wine. As I sip the heretoformentioned wine, I ran across this article on Fark.com ( I LOVE this siteI).  The owner of the Lion’s Den Restaraunt in Midtown Anchorage, Alaska came up with this sandwich after hearing the lipstick-on-a-pig comment from the Obama campaign.

In short, it is a grilled pork tenderloin sandwich with caramelized apples, bacon, cheddar cheese and red onions.

Wait, wait…it gets better!!!

Guess what it is served with??

A tube of lipstick and fries

Just in case they take down the article later, here are some pics:

(Photos courtesy of KTUU, Anchorage Alaska)

Remember the smile the Grinch got when he came up with the plan to steal all of the Christmas presents from Whoville??

Yes, YES; Sweet Domination!!!

I made it!

18 Sep

I survived my first week of class.  If you don’t know by now, not only am I a soon-to-be-award-winning-blogger, but I am also a full time student. I started  my last class about 12 days ago, and it is a bear of a class. So, I have figured out a way to keep up with my blogging, and do my classwork at the same time: Blog first.

The good news is that I will blog three days a week or more depending on news, ect, with a recipe at least once a week. I haven’t figured out a schedule yet, but it will be three days a week to be sure. So hang in there with me!

The CC

Salmon Cakes with Roasted Pepper Tarragon Remoulade

16 Sep

This recipe is great for using leftover cooked salmon, or using canned salmon. Don’t use fresh salmon especially for this recipe; it wouldn’t make sense to ruin a beautiful piece of salmon this way. Remoulade sauce is French in origin and is a condiment similar to mayonnaise. Several cuisines have different variations on the sauce. According to Wikipedia, Remoulade can contain just mayonnaise, chopped herbs, anchovies and pickles; to a sauce similar to Thousand Island dressing. This Remoulade is closer to the latter, but not as sweet. It is the perfect accompaniment to these savory cakes.

Serve them as an entrée, or serve one on a bun with lettuce and tomato for lunch. Either way, it is a quick and easy way to prepare a fresh meal. As for the canned salmon, you can use the less expensive pink salmon ($1.99-2.50 for a 14.75 oz. can), to sockeye salmon ($4.50-5.25 for the same size can).

Serves two to four persons

You will need

Bowls for mixing Remoulade and cakes (1 large 4 qt. and 1 small 2 qt.)

Cutting board

Mixing spoons

Measuring spoons

Liquid measuring cups

Dry measuring cups

Baking sheet for baking, or

Sauté pan for sautéing w/cover

Paper Towels

Roasted pepper Tarragon Remoulade

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 shallot, finely minced

¼ cup pimentos, finely diced

1 tsp. cider vinegar

1 ½ Tbl. Chopped fresh tarragon, OR 2 tsp. dried tarragon

½ tsp. cracked black pepper

¼ tsp. sea salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir gently until mixed thoroughly. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

Salmon Cakes

14 oz. can of salmon, cleaned of bones and skin

½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs or cracker meal

1 Tbl. Dried parsley or 2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley

¾ cup mayonnaise

1 Tbl. brown mustard or Dijon mustard

1 large egg

1 tsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp. Old Bay seasoning or Creole seasoning*

1/3 cup canola oil (sautéing), OR Pan coating (baking)

Whisk together mayonnaise, egg, mustard, lemon juice and Old Bay or Creole Seasoning in small bowl; set aside. In separate large bowl, place salmon in bowl and break up into small pieces. Add bread crumbs and parsley to salmon, mix well. Add I/2 of mayonnaise mixture to salmon and fold in gently. Fold ¼ of leftover mayonnaise mixture to salmon mix. Salmon mixture should be slightly wet. Only add the rest of mayonnaise mixture to salmon if cakes are still dry. Discard any leftover dressing.

Shape into 4 patties, place patties on a plate and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes so that cakes can firm up.

Directions for sautéing( NOTICE!! OIL CAN SPLATTER; MAKE SURE PAN IS DRY AND YOU HAVE THE APPROPRIATE COVER FOR THE PAN YOU ARE USING. COVER MUST FIT PAN)


Heat the canola oil over medium heat on sauté pan. Place patties; one at a time, in pan. Cover and turn heat to medium-low. Cook the salmon cakes for 3-4 minutes on one side or until brown; turn cakes and cover. Cook other side of cakes and brown. Put browned caked on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Directions for baking: Preheat oven to 425. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place cakes on cooking sheet, and spray each cake with a short burst of the cooking spray. Bake on center rack in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until brown.

**Old Bay is an east-coast seafood seasoning that is used to steam Blue Crabs and shrimp, as well as a seasoning for fried chicken.  It may not be available in your market, but Creole Sesoning is close enough and is used to make Creole and  Cajun staples such as etouffe,  Jambalaya and gumbo. It is suitable for utilization in this recipe.

Some dude ate 2 Big Macs a day for 36 years…

11 Sep
photo courtesy of opednews.com

photo courtesy of opednews.com

Don Gorske has eaten two Big Macs a day since 1972, and apparantly has proof. He’s saved every reciept, and attributes his obsession to his fascination with numbers.  This article says that he keeps himself in good shape by walking 10 miles a day, and giving up the french fries that used to order along with his Big Macs.

Okay. Whatever. He’s the one who will seem healthy, then drop dead. Remember Jim Fixx?

Let’s remember…

11 Sep

Those who lost their lives seven years ago today.

Along with the passengers and office workers who lost their lives, there were about a hundred food service workers who lost their lives working at Windows of the World that day. No one ever mentions them, so let’s remember them today.

The CC

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