Archive for October, 2006


Cherimoya: Dinosaur Eggs, Smelly Feet and Seeds (Lots of seeds)

October 20, 2006


I love globalization. While I know many people bemoan the state of affairs it has caused around the world, I like to proclaim my love for it. I love it because I’m selfish and a capitalist, but also because of the food. Because of this crazy global economy, I get to discover fun things at my local grocers. Add the adventure of my wife starting My Husband Cooks, and I’ve taken to embracing every single one of these oddities as a chance to eat and write. (e.g. dragon fruit.)

This week is about the Cherimoya. I’ve seen them recently, had them in my basket twice and took them out. I thought they looked awesome, but I had no clue what they were. Finally, I had an excuse—my sister-in-law, Missy, came for a visit. Now, there are jokes to be made at your “in-laws” expense, but she is like another sister to me. So like Tessie and the rest of my family, Missy is just part of food focus groups waiting to be fed new things.

IMG_2116.JPGAs a result, I bought cherimoyas. The best way to describe the way they look is dinosaur eggs. They look pre-historic. From what I read, and to my surprise, they grow from an evergreen tree that can be found in parts of Southern California. They are native to Andes Mountains near Peru, Columbia, Bolivia and Ecuador. They are ripe, like an avocado, when slightly soft. But most importantly, how do they taste? Our reviews are below.

Husband: I liked parts of it. It’s very seedy and fibrous around the seed. The problem is the seeds are everywhere and about the size and shape of tiny almonds. It had a bad smell and taste in spots (sweet-smelly feet). At its best, it had a smooth texture with a strawberry-banana like taste. I am curious what it would taste like if it were fresher. It has potential to be good, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt given that I bought it in Virginia and couldn’t tell you whether it was ripe or just off.

Wife: The seed to fruit ratio was very high — too high. Parts of it did taste bad, parts of it tasted OK. There was a 1/4 inch section that tasted pretty good.

Missy: I’ve never been wild about the texture of bananas, and um, it had a banana-like texture. Parts of it were good, and parts of it tasted like butt. It was bitter sour and gross, in parts. And there were too many seeds.

IMG_2117.JPGWant to know more?

California Rare Fruit Growers’ cherimoya info

A New Zealand site about cherimoya

Any insight onto our new dinosaur egg look-a-like friend?


Today’s Your Last Day

October 20, 2006

MHCCompass_2.jpgEntries for our Southern Style Food Blogging are due in less than 24 hours! So time to get cooking, photoing, posting and emailing. We can’t wait to see what everyone creates. You can find the original post about the event here. We are looking forward to this weekend and reading them all. We’ll present a roundup of all the entries on Oct. 22!

1. Only one submission per person, please.

2. It must be a recipe whose roots are geographically “South”…. We encourage all interpretations of that.

3. Send an email to that includes your name, your blog’s name, a link to the relevant photo, and to the post in which it appears.

4. The deadline is Oct. 20, 2006 at midnight ET.

Thanks so much!


Top Chef Mania?

October 19, 2006

MHCStrainer.jpgIn our post-Top Chef premiere exhaustion, I went straining for news of the non-Top Chef variety. Unfortunately, the two coolest things I found were Top Chef oriented.

Top Recipe: The Wong Way

One of last year’s contestants, Le Anne Wong, will be doing a weekly breakdown of the winning recipe. If you like what you see on the show, or didn’t get to see the show, it’s a quick break down of how to put the winning dish together. I think this is very cool and can’t wait to see how it evolves.

Colicchio chats with Chow
Chow has a great podcast with Top Chef judge and Craft-man, Tom Colicchio. It’s a fun interview because he discusses last seasons, this season and gives you some insight into how this renowned chef got involved with the show. Its also fascinating as a fan to here his unfiltered takes on some of the shows hi-jinks and how it really works. There is also an interview with the first eliminated chef Suyai.


Top Chef Week One: Big hair, big flames, big breakdown

October 19, 2006


Top Chef is back! There’s no impressions like first impressions — and you gotta love how they edit to make you biased from the start. First, who are all these people? I couldn’t keep them all straight, which forces me to resort to handles like “weird-hair guy” (Marcel), “big-hair guy” (Otto), and “glasses guy” (Ilan). What weird names they have anyway… Marcel, Otto and Ilan? Are the other contestants Pinocchio, Fabio and Chuck? Is there a Chuck?

And why am I so focused on the guys? My main impressions of the women were of “the Mexican woman” (Elia), “tight-clothes woman” (Betty) and the “basket case woman” (Suyai). So 1/3 of the women I recognize have been kicked off. This is poor. Plus, my nicknames are offensive.

I’m eager for the field to be winnowed down so I can digest the contestants and stop succumbing to typical reality-show snarkiness. (Who am I kidding? Why else watch reality shows!)


Seeing as how my wife has covered all the “important” things — hair, attire and nicknames — I’ll recap the, ahem, food happenings on the show. The first QuickFire challenge was flambe. I was highly impressed by the diversity and presentation of dishes — they ranged from savory to sweet, each of them seemingly restaurant quality and inviting. The elimination challenge was fascinating. Contestants were given a box of incongrous ingredients — things like artichokes, peanuts, escargot, potatoes and American cheese — that they had to use to make one dish. The offerings ran the gamut, from gourmet to unappetizing, to say the least. (I was intrigued, despite the fact that consuming peanuts or peanut butter — ingredients in both boxes — would kill me, since I’m allergic.)

My constant dissecting of the dishes, including musings about what I would cook with such ingredients, annoyed my wife. She, caught up in the more important aspects of the show (such as “how much product does Marcel use in his hair?”) impatiently paused the show to glower at me as I expounded. Ah, reality show viewing at its finest.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Risotto. Sweet Potato Leek Risotto.

October 18, 2006



Risotto. It’a a genius dish. Sometimes it’s a mere sideshow, sometimes it’s a solo act with its name in lights. Sometimes it features glamorous ingredients, such as exotic mushrooms and truffles (yes, please!); sometimes it’s a more humble mix of rice and cheese. Whether side dish or main dish, whether with white truffles or white cheese, risotto is always delicious.

Channeling famed Italian chef Roberto Donna (more on that below), my husband has concocted his own fabulous and unique Sweet Potato and Leek Risotto. While it has not yet surpassed the place in my heart held by his delicious mushroom risotto, it is still a deadly quiver in his culinary arsenal.

It might sound strange to combine sweet potatoes and leeks in a creamy rice brew — I admit that I thought so. But as usual, I was wrong. The sweet potatoes don’t war with the leeks, as I thought they would. Instead, they both contribute their mild, sweet flavors to the starch party and mingle generously with the rice and other spices. The result is a colorful, delicious and sweetly flavored risotto that was a perfect side dish to the salty, savory sirloin-steak star that night. Ah, risotto. You’ve done it again. Read on for hubby’s recipe and more on Roberto Donna.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Strained: Healthy Fish? Grassy Beef? Well at least we have lighter fare too…

October 18, 2006


MHCStrainer.jpgTo Fish or Not to Fish or Fishy Politics and Science
The New York Times has an interesting story about two studies released this week regarding how much fish people should eat. A Harvard Public Health study argues there are great cardiovascular benefits to eating fish at least twice a week, while a National Institute of Health (NIH) study released on the same day believes there ‘may’ be benefits. This is fascinating as it delves into underlying methodology and debate. On a side note, it is just one more set of contradictory studies about food that leaves the consumer scratching their head.

Grass Fed Steers
This story comes from the longhorn state about, well, longhorns fed on grass. It’s a brief look at one family farm and their small heard of cattle eating just grass. I find it interesting because of the increasing effort to draw lines between similar types of food. Here in DC, Grass fed beef is showing up increasingly on menus, and it strikes me as this decade’s ‘free-range’ chicken. I found it interesting, though I think the writer doesn’t ask some of the big questions and enjoys the agrarian romanticism of this way of growing.

Two New Books from DC area chefs

The Washington Post has a neat piece about two new cookbooks from DC chefs. One is from renowned French chef, Michel Richard. Owner/Chef of Georgetown’s Citronelle, Richard is an institution and his restaurant routinely shows up on “Best” lists locally and nationally. The second is from a rising Italian star, Fabio Trabocchi. Maestro, his restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton at Tyson’s Corner, is considered another great eat. It’s a nice story, but don’t miss the links to their recipes and  Q&A with both chefs.

Top Chef in News:
We are excited about tonight’s premier of Top Chef, and so are the Boston Globe and Washington Post. Here is a pair of articles from them:

Washington Post—Focuses on the series new host, Padma Lakshmi, and what they consider a vibrant screen presence.

Boston Globe
–A nice little promo for tonight’s show and provides brief bios of the contestant. It’s a good cheat sheet to get you started.


Blogging about Top Chef…

October 17, 2006

Top Chef LogoWednesdays are always a good day to be a food lover in the US — the food section comes out, the week is half over so that genius kitchen creation or that dinner reservation seem all the closer — and you know that soon you will be eating with family and friends. However, it’s even better this week for pop culture and food types such as my wife and me.

Starting tomorrow night at 11 PM, Bravo is bringing back its hit show Top Chef for a second installment. For those of you not familiar with the show, it’s Project Runway, American (or your own region’s version) Idol, and Survivor with a culinary point of view  —in essence, a cooking reality show with eliminations.

While I try to play the “too cool for a reality show” card, I was hooked last season and watched every episode. I loved it. While I did enjoy the guilty pleasure of the snarky, edited-for-TV battles between the contestants, I most enjoyed it because of the food and to see people’s take on the food.

Because of this love, I’ve been excitedly waiting for its return since it was first announced. As a result, my wife and I have decided to hold our own little Top Chef discussion on My Husband Cooks. We will be watching the show each week and putting up a little comment the morning after the show. Feel free to join in. We know many of you have razor sharp wits and can’t wait to hear your takes.

What to watch:
Top Chef
Wednesdays @ 11 PM ET
On Bravo

See you Thursday AM!