Category Archives: Cook dude cook

Urbandig

My miha at Miho Izakaya
Roxy is totally into noodles, and so am I!

I’ve recently started contributing to a nifty new iPhone app called urbandig.  It is the app that I wanted when I was in NYC earlier this year.  It’s the app that I want when I visit Memphis and Denver later this year.  Basically, they’ve gone out and found people who know the city, or parts of it, really well, and gotten them to created nice little curated morsels of experience.  Portland’s urban dig experience has just been release, and in it you can enjoy my delicious noodle crawl, in which I explore some of Portland’s more exciting Ramen joints.

In addition to my fantastic list there are some on where to get a great microbrew, tasty pork, a cuppa joe, and much much more in our fun little town.

So far they feature NYC, LA, PDX, San Francisco, and Vancover, BC.  Austin, Chicago, and DC are in the works.  So I guess I’ll need to look elsewhere for my short term travels.

Head over to their site, or hit up your favorite app store to get it for your iPhone.

Dude learns portions

I struggle with portion size. I’ve known for a long time that my “stop eating mechanism” does not work. I love food, I love making food, and I love eating it. That makes for a dangerous combination when you’re trying to lose weight.

For one thing, the food that I cook doesn’t break down into easily identified portions. So, I’ve always just eaten too much.

The discovery that is helping me is that many premade foods are made in discrete portions, whether large or small. While I don’t plan to eat manufactured forever, it is really helping me gain an understanding of what a portion of a food means.

A frozen chicken burrito is ten points. That’s quite a few points for what amounts to a large snack or light meal, so the delicious chicken burrito will remain a guilty pleasure.

A Hebrew National hot dog with a slice of American cheese on a Flatout wrap with spinach and mustard is 9 points. Makes for a decent lunch, especially if I throw in a banana or carrot sticks.

A bagel with cream cheese is over 10 points. Holy cow. That makes a bagel portion like 1/2 bagel. So I have to ask myself: is the bagel really worth it? Well, I love bagels, so I’ll save them for a weekend when I have a few points banked.

And then there’s beer. A single beer is 5+ points. I suspect that microbrews are more, and they’re sold in 16oz pints. So, a pint of a good IPA is probably 7 or more. They go down easy, and so do the points. Wine is a bit under 4 points. So, I’m exploring red wines a bit more lately. Scotch is in the 3-4 point range as well.

So, I’m figuring out the give and take of portions. The tricky part is balancing all of these pieces, so I’m trying to figure it out. But the practice I’m getting from prepackaged food is helping me a lot.

How to poach an egg

Poaching an egg is really easy if you just know a few tricks to make it work. Since I’ve been doing WW I’ve been eating a lot more poached eggs since there’s no frying, but you still get a lot of the benefits: filling, low points, healthy, cheap, and goes well with lots of things.

Set some water to boil in a medium saucepan. The egg wants a little depth. Before the water starts boiling, right when bubbles start to form, turn the heat down to medium or medium-high. It should be just on the verge of bubbling, maybe a few gentle streamers. If the bubbles are too violent, they’ll break the egg apart and you’ll end up with a mess.

Add a splash of white vinegar to the water, and some salt. I think I got the white vinegar trick from Jamie Oliver, and something about it helps the egg stay together better.

Crack your egg on a flat surface, like a plate, and gently open it into a small bowl, something glass, ceramic, or metal that will allow easy pouring of the egg. If you break the yolk, toss the egg or do something else with it, because your poached egg won’t be very good. It’s okay, just grab another egg.

With a slotted spoon, swirl the water so you get a bit of a funnel to form in the middle. Another Jamie Oliver trick. I think this helps the eggs settle into one place.  Since the egg floats in water, the centripetal force has the opposite effect that you’d expect.

Holding the bowl as close to the water as possible, gently pour the egg into the middle of the funnel you formed previously, and just let it sit there for a bit.

I find that about 4 minutes is perfect for me. It gives a yolk that is slightly jellified but still runny.

I like to have my poached egg on a whole wheat english muffin with raw spinach and some sriracha sauce. Enjoy!