You think you eat out too often? Ha! I met a woman the other night who told me that she lived in her current place for months before setting the oven on fire—by turning it on with the instruction booklet still resting on the top rack. Now I don't feel so guilty for cooking as rarely as I do. Yes, it's true: I use my oven as often as I vacuum. (Was that not clear? It's not often.) Why cook when my phone is full of hungry friends who will gladly meet me at [insert name of charming ethnic eatery here] in half an hour? I'm single and I'm a Leo, so why would I waste time whipping up a minor masterpiece when no one will applaud? As a tree's unwitnessed fall makes no sound, a chef's most savory creation is wasted without a tongue to tell the tale of it. Or something like that. The truth is that being your own worst critic makes for some pretty miserable dinners. So, like the rest of you, I eat out nearly every night. The rest of the time, I exhume decomposing creatures from their Styrofoam sarcophagi and reheat, until they once again resemble wild boar chops and chicken curries. I use the stove to heat up water for the dog's dinner. He likes it with a little gravy, you know, and he's awfully appreciative.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
Stop, drop and roll. Last week the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) issued an egg roll recall for three kinds of egg rolls manufactured by Schwan's Pasadena, Texas plant, and distributed through Schwan's home delivery service in Belen, Chaparal and Roswell. (You've seen Schwan's old-fashioned delivery vehicles that sorta look like refrigerated dog catcher trucks.) If you have any 3.75-pound packages of Minh Gourmet chicken egg rolls, or 11-ounce packages of Pagoda chicken or Pagoda pork and shrimp egg rolls, throw them out right away. Apparently, the company got a bunch of complaints from people who found little pieces of glass in their egg rolls. What, did someone on the production line accidentally drop his 40-ounce into the egg-roller? "Dude! Where'd my beer go?" As NMED's press release suggests, "anyone concerned about an injury from consumption of the products should contact a physician." They don't need to mention you might also contact a lawyer. If I choke on a piece of glass in my pork and shrimp egg roll, you bet your corporate insurance policy I'm gonna be spraying bloody mucus all over my cellphone as I dial 1-800-LAWSUIT.
Bergamot-scented Apple Crumble
The flavor of Earl Grey without the tea
One of the best ideas I've come up with lately was this bergamot-scented apple thing. When my family came to town for Thanksgiving, I dusted off the dishes and got cooking. But when it came time to make the traditional apple pie, I realized that all of my Pyrex pie plates had been reassigned to potted plant drip-catching duty. The closest thing my cupboard held was a 10-inch cake pan. So the pie became a deep-dish apple tart-thing with a crumble top. To spice it up a bit, I added a few drops of essential oil of bergamot to the tossed apples. The result was fantastic, full of apple flavor, but the mysteriously citrusy bergamot aftertaste was addictive.
Know Your Ingredients
The Rape of Broccoli
and the birth of canola oil
Pretty much every morning, our editor pops into my office, lifts a cheek to fart, asks me why I haven't yet cleared out my desk, then crawls around on all fours with a stuffed bunny in his mouth, trying to engage my terrier in a tug of war. But one morning this week, Dear Leader also presented me with a test of my professional qualifications.