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  • Archive | December, 2008

    The New Writers

    Before announcing the new writers, I want to give a gracious thank you to the four outgoing writers that have given their time and effort for the past six months. Ben, Charmian, Maura, and Emily have all made it enjoyable to read this site, and their work has added to the level of quality to this site. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend adding their sites to your respective RSS feed readers.

    And now, the new writers.

    On Thursdays, and starting tomorrow, is Jennifer Heigl of The Daily Blender.

    Saturdays will bring you Naomi, of the site The GastroGnome.

    Tuesdays will be Cheryl Sternman Rule from 5 second rule.

    Finally, Wednesdays will be the day that Dave Katz will bring his meat expertise from Get Your Grill On.

    I’m quite looking forward to the next six months, and I hope you all welcome these new writers with open arms and an open mind.

    More Food Porn: Macarons

    Macarons from La Maison du Chocolate, found here in London as well as other countries in the world.

    I do not know why I’ve gone through my life without having any of these prior to my trip here to London. I feel as if I’ve come across a wonderful discovery, one where these delightfully light and soft, with flavorful ganaches within.

    Did I mention flavor? These little beauties come in multiple flavors, from the typical chocolates and vanillas, to the more obscure rose waters and caramels. I have yet to come across one that made me go “Blech”.

    Part of my reticence in trying these cookies previously come from my aversion of sandwich cookies with their typically hard-to-stale cookie consistency. Additionally, Macarons are not a staple of bakeries and/or chocolatiers in the States, so they are hard to come by.

    However, I know for a fact that a certain little world-renown bakery that’s a mere two blocks from my house. I anticipate a few trips in the near future.

    London: My Pictoral Essay

    The following is a visual representation of my past week in London.

    Piccadilly Circus

    The Thames

    Drury Lane

    A Pint of Bitter

    St. Paul’s Cathedral (which I’ve been told is far more important in significance to Londoners than Big Ben)

    A Dragon

    The Courts of Justice (I love the architecture here).

    This was on the menu as Toad in the Hole. I’m a bit suspicious.

    Portobello Road.

    Big Ben St. Stephen’s Tower.

    It’s been a heck of a week, and I feel as if I’ve only explored less than 1 percent of what London has to offer.

    Maple-Soy Salmon

    Christmas dinner in my family is usually a two-day event: Christmas Eve is an encore presentation of Thanksgiving dinner (my mother’s favorite meal), featuring turkey and all the fixings. Christmas day is a standing rib roast with potatoes, including the gratin dauphinoise I have been making for years.

    This year, however, Christmas was extended to today, when we had a third celebration with my grandparents. Needless to say, I’m stuffed.

    After all the overeating of delicious but rich things over the past week or so, I’m going to offer a simple and tasty recipe for healthy salmon to get us back on track. When I first made this, I served it with wasabi mashed potatoes, but for a leaner dinner, feel free to serve it with steamed vegetables. (Or just go for the mashed potatoes… you only live once!)

    I hope everyone had a healthy and happy holiday!

    Tomato Kumato

    Maple-Soy Salmon
    1 salmon fillet (about 6 oz.)
    2 tbsp. maple syrup
    1 tbsp. soy sauce
    1/2 tsp. wasabi
    olive oil

    Whisk the syrup, soy sauce and wasabi in a small container and pour into a plastic bag. Add the salmon fillet and refrigerate flat for at least thirty minutes and up to three hours, turning once.

    When ready to cook, heat a skillet and add just enough olive oil to coat. Remove the salmon from the marinade and add to the skillet. Cook two minutes per side and then serve with the side of your choice.

    More Food Porn: Mince meat Pies

    I had initially planned to make my own mince meat pie back home in Seattle, but time did not allow for me to fit this into my schedule. I was a tad disappointed, but I knew that I now had something to look forward to for next holiday season.

    Little did I know that I would be entering a country where they take their mince pies very seriously. In fact, the tradition of mince pies comes from England.

    First things first, mince pies are not the same thing as mince meat pies. However, mince pies are a derivation of mince meat. Mince meat pies were often made around the holiday seasons of the seventeenth century, made from minced pieces of beef and pork with suet, and sweetened with sugar and/or dried fruit. The pies would be topped with a facsimile of the baby Jesus made out of dough, and this doughy baby Jesus would be eaten.

    The puritans, none to keen on seeing the sacrilegious act of eating of God, banned the eating of the mince meat pies for the Holiday season, and if my tour guide is correct, these laws are still on the book today.

    Over the past three hundred years, mince meat gave way to raisins, sultanas, and dark sugar. Very few mince meat pies are actually made. Here in London, mince pies were everywhere. Mince meat pies were more difficult to procure. I was able to find a few at the food halls of Fortnum & Mason, one of the many upscale department stores here in town. Yes, that’s real beef in the center there.

    Sweetened beef is an odd idea, but the taste was surprisingly good. Yes, the raisins gave it the sweetness we usually associate with the pie, but the minced meat pie wasn’t cloyingly sweet.

    Now I hear that these are served with a dollop of whipped cream. Alas, I had none, and had to make due with what I had. It was still quite good, and made for a great Christmas day.

    So Long, Farewell…

    This is my last post on Accidental Hedonist. Honestly, I hate good-byes. I don’t even like to sign going away cards for departing co-workers. Whatever I write sounds like something from a high school yearbook. So I’ll keep it simple.

    Thanks to Kate for letting me rant and ramble every Thursday for the last six months. I couldn’t have asked for a better forum.

    A big shout-out to my fellow guest writers, Ben, Emily and Charmian. I loved reading their weekly posts, and I hope they enjoyed their stint here as much as I enjoyed mine.

    And thanks. of course, to AH’s readers. You’ve encouraged me, and challenged me, and even made me change my mind about a thing or two. And that is no small feat.

    I guess this isn’t really a “good-bye”, more of a “see you later”. There’s always something to good to talk about here. So I’m sure I’ll see y’all in the comment sections.

    More Food Porn: London Fry Up

    Note that I call this a London Fry Up, even though it is on the menu as the Full English Breakfast. However, the distinction here is that some places in England (presumably closer to farm country) serve their full English with black pudding. As you can see here, black pudding is no where to be seen. Also missing is any sort of potato product, a dish I didn’t miss at all.

    Pictured here are some bacon (done in British fashion, not American), sausage, fried eggs, mushroom, tomatoes, baked beans, and grilled bread. Completely worth it.