ScanPan Giveaway Winner

Expired Baking Soda (a haiku)

The dough was yummy,
But when the cookies emerged,
They flattened my hopes.


A random number generator chose from the finalists below and picked Erica as the winner.  Thank you all for participating.


A box of pasta swinging at my side:
The endless rasp of pebbles moving with the tide.

-Language Hat


Herbs cook quickly in a wok.
It’s not only Chinese — how fast
Thyme fries.



Kiss me with mangoes still on your lips
embrace me with dewberries clinging
Woo me when winds of morning are birds
softly singing
Hold me while summer cherries turn red
upon the reddest vine
and sun-ripe scuppernongs turn bronze upon
a swaying vine
Caress me where wild strawberries crush beneath
our dancing feet
and pomegranates hang like love
intricately sweet.



Expired Baking Soda (a haiku)

The dough was yummy,
But when the cookies emerged,
They flattened my hopes.



Cookie Diet

“Oh the COOKIE!” Cried John. “How delicious!
And nutritious and healthful and RIGHT!
Now for most they may seem somewhat naughty
But for ME they are naught but delight!

“You see,” he went on, “I have proof
Of their magic, salubrious ways
A psychic once told me my aura
Glows gold in a chocolate chip haze.

“Macadamia nut and white chocolate
Makes it sparkle like sun on the sea
And Girl Scout troop peanut butter patties
Has it shiver with uncontainable glee.

“Oatmeal raisin means purpley paisley
Snickerdoodles red cinnamon swirls
Gingerbread with black licorice buttons
Causes joyous cerulean curls.

“And with a cookie or two in my belly
I could exercise all night and day
With the power of sugar and flour
Losing thirty plus pounds is child’s play.

“So you might THINK that they just make me fatter,”
Said John as crumbs fell onto his shirt.
“But in FACT they’re my secret to weight loss
Contained in one multi-purpose dessert!”



ScanPan Giveaway! (Updated Below)

Pot Roast

I gaze upon the roast,
that is sliced and laid out
on my plate
and over it
I spoon the juices
of carrot and onion.
And for once I do not regret
The passage of time.

I sit by a window
that looks
on the soot-stained brick of buildings
and do not care that I see
no living thing-not a bird,
not a branch in bloom,
not a soul moving
in the rooms
behind the dark panes.
These days when there is little
to love or to praise
one could do worse
than yield
to the power of food.
So I bend

to inhale
the steam that rises
from my plate, and I think
of the first time
I tasted a roast
like this.
It was years ago
in Seabright,
Nova Scotia;
my mother leaned
over my dish and filled it
and when I finished
filled it again.
I remember the gravy,
its odor of garlic and celery,
and sopping it up
with pieces of bread.

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.
I raise my fork in praise,
and I eat.

That is a food poem by one of my favorite poets, Mark Strand. By posting your own food poem in the comments section (any length, any form) you might just win yourself a ScanPan! You can also submit an unusual but successful egg recipe — quiche, frittata, scramble, whatever (not all cooks fancy themselves poets, after all, and everyone should have a shot). Robin and I will choose our favorite poems and recipes, aiming for a total of five entries (though we might include more if it’s close); then — because poems and recipes are in many ways subjective and because we’ll surely know some of the contestants — we’ll use the random number generator to pick the winner. Good luck!

Update: Whoops, I should have been clearer. Both poems and recipes must be original — lest, judging one masterwork after another, I be left feeling like a patient etherised upon a table. Seriously, though, I don’t see how it could work otherwise (Batali vs. Eliot vs. Joe the Blogger who thought to put something really tasty and inventive in his scrambled eggs…); I’m already pushing it by asking for poems and food. Those who’ve already submitted others’ poems/recipes should feel free to submit their own.

Fool-proof grass-fed and a La Cense Beef Giveaway.

Anyone who reads my blog (and I’m amazed to say there are a bunch of you) knows that’s I support grass-fed beef.  I won’t belabor the subject again today.  Not everyone cares about the ethical motive for choosing grass-fed beef (though if you do, you can join the La Cense Grass-fed Party’s Moo-ovement)  I will say, though, that you shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tasted it.  And you should make sure to taste it the right way. Grass-fed beef is uber-lean and, when cooked like a grain-fatted steak, can easily dry out.  Don’t let that fact scare you away from cooking it—fool-proofing your grass-fed beef is very easy.  I recently ate a very plain, only-seasoned-with-salt-and-pepper grass fed rib-eye and petite fillet.  La Cense Beef sent Jim and me some steaks and burgers to sample after I voiced my grass-fed love on Twitter. And what’s even more awesome than that, they agreed to a giveaway on this site! All you have to do is comment on this post by Wednesday, October 29th and you’ll be entered. And if you win, though this is totally not required, I’d love for your to try your steak plain, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked using the tips below.  That, in my ethical meat-eating snob’s opinion, is the best way to try your first grass-fed steak.

Ok, first, you’ve got to rub oil into your steak when you season it, about 20-30 minutes before you want to cook.  (Of course you can skip this if you are marinating your steak in a marinade before cooking) Really, you can oil all steaks, since it helps the browning, but it’s essential for grass-fed, in order to prevent the steak from drying out.  This leads to another point, which is take your steak out of the refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before you want to cook. You don’t want your steak to go right from the fridge onto the hot pan within minutes.  That wouldn’t be nice.  You’ve gotta hold hands before you get to second base, man.

Jim and I always cook our grass-fed steaks in bacon grease, and while this isn’t a necessity, it makes the steaks extra-tasty and goes even farther to prevent dryness.  Really, what can’t you improve with bacon?

Finally, a grass fed steak is done when it looks like this.

I’m not kidding.  It’ll be pinker, err redder, than you think it should be.  It’ll look very raw, while not feeling like raw meat when you touch. Grass-fed is a darker color that grain-fed and grass-fed won’t have the rubbery raw taste that a grain-fed steak of this color would have.  This rib-eye, which we ate last night, was not overly-rare.  It was perfect.  Tender, juicy, meaty.  If you like your regular steaks medium-rare, this is what your steak should look like.  If you like medium, cook it a touch longer, but leave it a little pink in the middle.  And if you like your steak past medium, screw the grass-fed, screw any steak, you aren’t allowed to eat meat until you get some sense. (I know, that was mean… and okay, there is a time for well-done, but that’s during a braise and the well-done meat should never, ever, be a rib-eye.) It won’t take long to get to this doneness, grass-fed cooks very quickly, so keep you head in the game, your eye on the ball, your [insert sporting euphemism here] and don’t overcook!

If you take those precautions, your grass-fed beef should taste juicy, moist, and above all, beefy. I like to serve my grass-fed beef with a decadent, buttery side, like mashed potatoes or the butter-braised scallions that we had on Friday night (recipe will come soon).  Because grass-fed beef is leaner and more flavorful than grain-fed, you can get away with buttery, creamy sides without making dinner too-heavy.

I found that La Cense Beef is a super alternative to grain-fed.  It’s not as bold as some of the grass-fed beef I’ve gotten from local farms (but still had a ton of flavor) so it’s a great way to ease into grass-fed meat-eating.  The petite steak was tasty, but could’ve used to be marinated for an hour or so with something sweet and vinegary.  The rib-eye on the other hand, needed nothing save for salt and pepper and a quick sear.  I roundly recommend it–what a wonderful anniversary or birthday dinner it would make!

We tried the burgers on Saturday afternoon and they too were good—dense and meaty. Since they are 85% lean, we had them with cheese.  Sliced american-style cheese.  On a soft hamburger bun.  It was delicious, I just wish we had a summer day and the beach in the background.

If you are going to buy from La Cense Beef, I most recommend the rib-eye, the burgers, or any of their cheaper cuts of meat.  I’m looking forward to ordering up some short-ribs for a stick-to-my-own-ribs winter stew.

And remember! You just may be able to WIN a free sample of La Cense Beef on this blog!  Just leave a comment.  Tell me if you’ve tried La Cense Beef, or grass-fed, or if you think I should take my ethical meat-eating and shove it up a cow’s you-know-where (and if you tell me that and then win and fall in love with the stuff, I get to tell you I told you so!) I’ll pick the winner at the end of next week through a random generator.  In the meantime… check out the La Cense Moo-ovement and help make a difference in the way people eat!