Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Things I Like Today - the Prepared Foodie Edition (Rated PG, or not)

I'm in another of my "thank heavens for handy pantry food" moods and feel compelled to share,  Some of the following seem suggestive - they're not.  Unless they compel people to Buy My Book.  Then they're suggestive - cock-a-doodle do! 

 It looked like mud in the coffee press but tasted like nirvana in a mug.  Add exactly as much ground coffee as is recommended, (1 1/2 tbsp/6 oz cup) although for a 32 oz french press,  that would mean adding 8 tbsp, instead of the 9 that I added.  Oh well, I’m still me, just 12% more caffeinated.  What’s that?  Why am I shaking?  It’s nothing - I’m preparing for a role as a Barista and I’m really getting into the part.  

Is there any beverage this gadget can’t brew?  I’m pretty sure that its one limitation is soup, as you really wouldn’t want to crush the ingredients of your instant soup to the briny deeps of the press after the required brewing time has passed.  Which brings me, via a rather awkward and cheesy segue, to the next “Things I Like Today” - three varieties of glorious soup, two of which can be made more glorious with the addition of a fourth Thing, whose name I can not reveal in a family friendly column :

Okay, just look at the picture and get the giggles out of your system.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Now, if you add a teaspoon or so of the Yellow Curry Paste that Rhymes with Clock to a large, steaming mug of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, you’ll have a taste experience you can crow about, like a, well, rooster.  A male chicken.  Another thing that has a name that sounds like Clock.  I guess now would not be the time to mention that I could suck down a full package of the soup made of the female bird whose male counterpart rhymes with Clock, seasoned with the Yellow Curry Paste that also rhymes like clock, dock and tock, like it’s going out of stock.  Maybe I’m a little more than 12% more caffeinated.

I’ve already explored this fine soup in terms of it’s Thai adaptability, but a question remains.   Diced, White Chicken,  Meat .  Are you dicing a whole white chicken?  Is it the breast meat of a generic chicken, feather color unspecified?  A little misleading, Lipton, although you do make a fine soup.  One request - could you offer a lower sodium version - my ankles swell to the size of grapefruits after I satisfy my urge for lower calorie, noodley goodness!  

Before anyone gets bent out of shape with these cheeses in a can, I’ll admit this straight out - it took thirty years of  independent grocery shopping before I would even consider these products food.  On a whim, I bought a few cans for experimentation.  I wanted a way to cut the fat in my macaroni and cheese recipe, and I tried Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup as a base for the cheese sauce.  I was able to use 25% less cheddar and still have a mac and cheese that tasted like homemade cheddar macaroni.  But I couldn’t leave it at that.  I’ve used it for many casseroles requiring a cheese sauce, adding a mere fraction of the cheddar the recipes required, with my family none the wiser.  I’ve also prepared it as directed, but added curry powder for added zing.  Ama-ZING!  Flush with success from my cheddar soup success, and not from MSG, I decided to try the Fiesta Nacho Cheese, in a chicken with rice casserole; a casserole made simply on the stovetop, to rave reviews.  I’ve even used it for a tortilla chip dip - tweak it a little to your personal taste, warm it, and it’s better than any prepared nacho cheese sauce.  I call it Not Your Cheese Sauce, for I’m not sharing.  Okay, I have issues.

I'll leave this for another column - there is just too much to say and not enough column to describe its perfection here.  All I'll say now is one and a half pounds of real, crumbled bacon, neatly packaged in a zipper bag, ready at a moment's notice is as close to pork paradise as I'm going to get.  And all I have to do is open the fridge.  Cock-a-doodle do indeed!

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