Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm a Wimp Who's Scared of Curry

I don’t know whether to attribute it to growing up in a Kosher household, which limited outside dining options, or to the fact that Jews stereotypically can’t handle heat, but I have a very limited palate when it comes to ethnic food. And spice. And the variety of the ethnic dishes I do eat.

Let me explain: When it comes to sushi, I grew up eating tuna rolls – tuna, rice, seaweed—cucumber rolls – cucumber, rice, seaweed – and avocado rolls – avocado, rice, seaweed. Mexican in the Goldman household consisted of a delicious casserole made from rice, beans, cheese, tuna, peppers, and mild salsa. No heat, no zingers.

I tried Thai food for the first time during my sophomore year at BU. My friends and I went to a restaurant called Noodle Street, which I still HIGHLY recommend, and a kind waitress advised that if I was new to Thai, I should try the “See ew” dish, because it was not all that different from the Chinese food that I did know. I tried it; I loved it. I tried my friend’s Pad Thai dish as well. It has been two years, and those are STILL the only Thai dishes I will order and eat.

I’ve never tried Indian. For context, I spent 4 months in London – which is arguably, the second-best place in the world to try Indian food – and I am still a wimp about it.

But why not? I mean, I live in Boston – a far cry from the ethnic food mecca that is New York City, but we hold our own. I have all sorts of ethnic delights around me, and yet I do not actively try them.

I will be the first to admit it. I am a wimp when it comes to trying ethnic food. I am scared of spice levels, I am scared of not knowing what to order, I am scared of not liking what I ordered. Am I the only one with these irrational fears?

I ask you for help fellow foodies: What dishes should I be trying? And am I alone in my fear of curry?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I made a major change to include healthy eating and fitness into my lifestyle in July of 2011. Since then, I have lost twenty pounds, participated in my first 5K, and gained self-confidence.

The most important thing I’ve learned in my weight loss journey is that tracking eating and exercise is paramount. Yes, I used to read -- and disbelieve -- that tracking tip in magazines, but when I decided that I wanted to make a change that would stick, I knew I would have to track my progress diligently. I joined the free weight loss tracking site, And I have to say, that I would have given up MONTHS ago without MFP and the support system of my MFP friends.

MFP is an interesting website. I’ve never done Weight Watchers, so perhaps someone else can make a comparison, but MFP asks you to input your goals, your stats, and creates a personalized calorie, carb, protein, and fat limit for each day. Once you’re started, MFP allows you to personalize your profile, and connect with fellow MFP users over discussion boards and private messages. In addition, MFP has a database of foods to plug into your diary – including meals you consume in common chain restaurants.

To top it off, MFP not only posts your achievements – weight loss, calorie burns, and days logged – for everyone to see, but in addition the site’s platform makes it possible for other MFP users to congratulate you on your successes along the way.

Losing weight is hard. Very hard. Not only are bad eating habits hard to break, but it’s hard to lose weight even if a dieter is following a weight loss plan or doing everything he’s supposed to be doing. People progress discouragingly slowly, people binge and fall off the wagon, people gain on holidays, people get bored with restrictive diets, people give up, or people get swept up in fad diets that promise a 10 pound loss in three days. However, MFP has worked for me, and I'd love to hear any stories from anyone who's had experience, either with MFP or with another weight loss website.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comfort Food Recipes: Oven Baked Fries

This past week has been very emotional for me. Between getting dumped, being overwhelmed with schoolwork, and trying to support emotionally distraught friends, I’ve needed a hefty dose of comfort food.

The problem I, and perhaps some of you, fellow foodies, face is that I have made diet and exercise a priority in the past few months. I can go into the details later, but I have been trying to eat cleaner, make fitness part of my routine, and track what I put into my body. I’ve lost 20 pounds so far, and I couldn’t be happier.

But keeping up my healthy new lifestyle, and seeking comfort in my cooking seems at odds. I mean, I can’t exactly expect to see the numbers on my scale drop if I indulge and order Papa Johns with a side of Big Mac and Super-Sized Fries. It’s just not going to happen.

That being said, my food philosophy is to never completely deny myself goodies either – simply to have them in moderation, and try to make substitutions to make them healthier.

Therefore, I present to you a recipe for oven baked French fries –a family favorite. Nutrition facts are listed at the bottom of the recipe – which can also be made with sweet potatoes. However, for sweet potatoes, add in a dusting of cinnamon when you toss the potato wedges with oil and soup mix.


  • 5 Medium Potatoes
  • 4 TBS Vegetable Oil
  • 3 TBS Onion Soup Mic
  • Paprika (to taste)
To Make:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash and cut the potatoes into wedges. There should be about 12 wedges to the average potato.
  • Put potato wedges into a plastic bag (Ziploc or plastic produce bags work well)
  • Pour the oil and soup mix into the bag, seal and shake well until the wedges are well coated.
  • Lay out wedges on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle paprika on wedges to your taste.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes, turning once.

Serves: 5

Per Serving: 279 Calories, 41 grams carbs, 11 grams fat, 5 grams protein

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some Fun with Alton Brown

Chuck Norris jokes are a relatively common meme. But have you heard the ones about Food Network personality, Alton Brown?

My brother recently emailed links to 60 hysterical jokes about everyone's favorite gastronomical guru. The web pages can be found here and here, but I've decided to showcase the ones I liked best:

  • Alton Brown grinds his own peppercorns. With his teeth.
  • Alton Brown doesn't reduce sauces. He demoralizes sauces.
  • Alton Brown's blender has four speeds: 'stir', 'mix', 'frappe', and 'plasmify'.
  • Grown men have been known to weep for joy in the mere presence of Alton Brown's vinagrette. His hollandaise sauce can kill a man from sheer ecstacy at forty paces.
  • Alton Brown's cakes don't rise. They ascend.
  • Alton Brown's show is called 'Good Eats', because 'Multiple Shuddering Mouthgasms' didn't play with the network's target demographic.
  • Gordon Ramsay calls Alton Brown 'sir'.
  • The Eskimos have fifty words for 'snow'. Alton Brown has fifty words for 'kosher salt'.
Just a bit of food fun for this Tuesday morning -- Happy Cooking!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Products I love: Yogurt Edition

I’m a yogurt-eating fiend. For the last few months, my preference has leaned more toward Greek yogurts, because they have more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, and I’ve tried a variety of brands.

The last time I went grocery shopping at my local grocer Johnnie’s Fresh Market one of my favorite brands, Chobani, was on sale. Score.

Imagine my surprise when Johnnie’s stocked not only my usual favorites of Pomegranate, Honey, and Vanilla – but also Blood Orange. Turns out, Chobani has launched several new flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Blood Orange, and Passion Fruit, as well as two new kid-friendly varieties: Orange Vanilla, and Vanilla Chocolate Chunk.

I tried the Blood Orange flavor this morning, and I cannot describe to you how delightful it was. To those unfamiliar with the Blood Orange, image that familiar citrus taste, but with a hint of raspberry. Kudos to Chobani for branching out to more exotic flavors! I highly recommend the new flavor and look forward to trying more of the new line.

Fellow Foodies, have you tried the new flavors? Would you suggest any flavors for Chobani to add to their growing varieties?

The Truth About OJ

We all have our go-to remedies when it comes to illnesses. For me, an instant cure for a scratchy throat is orange juice. There’s just something about the acidity about OJ, and I don’t think I’m alone with my feel-better beverage of choice.

I mean, in theory, it makes sense. Vitamin C is proven to boost the immune system. Oranges are a major source for vitamin C, so orange juice should be too. False.

An article by the Lansing State Journal outlines two major reasons why oranges and orange juice are not on par when it comes to health benefits.

First of all, while oranges contain natural sugars, orange juice is chock full of high fructose corn syrup – which studies have shown to have a depressant effect on the immune system. The article explains in detail that you can measure how your white blood cells are fighting pathogens by measuring your leukocyte index (LI). Put simply, the higher the LI, the more pathogens are being destroyed, and the more efficiently your immune system is operating.

The carbs in fructose, and high fructose corn syrup, cause the body’s LI to decrease – preventing white blood cells from doing their job.

Second, juice might not be the most effective source of vitamin C.

The truth is, your body only has a finite number of receptors for nutrient gathering. Glucose often competes for the same “receptor-space” that Vitamin C does – so the higher the sugar content of juice actually hinders the absorption of the beneficial vitamins.

The good news, is water, hot tea, chicken soup, and whole fruit are still recommended remedies. Oh, and don’t sweat over Tropicana’s loss in profit. According to Bloomberg Businessweek they’ve got more tricks up their sleeves in order to maintain their juice market share.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

College Kitchen: Senior Year

Now that I’ve committed myself to this blog with newfound dedication and vigor, I have spent time reflecting on my 2010 posts.

In February of 2010, I was beginning the spring of my sophomore year at Boston University, and lived in the Myles Standish residence hall. Living in a residence hall had its benefits: I was close to friends, I lived with three of mine, I was closer to campus, and I had a dining hall in the building. Besides the lack of personal coffee maker and repetitive menu options, dorm life was nice. But the transition from underclassman to upperclassman comes with a shot of independence and desire to take charge of one’s menu.

I moved into my first apartment (read: first kitchen) at the beginning of senior year, after weeks of summer trips to pick out dishes, and cookware. I was anticipating absolute bliss—now that I’d severed the umbilical cord of a dining hall – I could make myself whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Imagine my surprise when I realized that food no longer appeared 5 minutes after I decided I was famished.

This got me thinking that perhaps college students needed a better warning of what to expect when they make the dorm to apartment leap of faith. I’ve come up with the following list of tips, aka things I’ve learned the hard way.

  1. Dishes will not do themselves.
  2. Forgetting that you have food in the oven/on the stove will cause the fire alarm to go off.
  3. Spills on the stove do not go away on their own.
  4. Unless you’re opening up a can of soup, making PB&J, or microwaving a frozen meal, you cannot decide to have lunch at 12:20 if you have a class at 12:30.
  5. Allow half an hour of cooking for every hot meal you’re going to prepare for yourself in your apartment kitchen. If you find yourself getting hungry at 6, start prepping dinner at 5:30. There is a cooking learning curve for many, so at first you may need more time.
  6. You don’t need to make a roasted leg of lamb every night. As a college student, even one who doubles as an aspiring chef, being a student is your primary and full time job. Keep a few simple dishes in your arsenal, and go back to them when you’re strapped for time.
  7. Include shopping trips into your budget and schedule – the time factor is especially important when exams roll around.
  8. Write down food items that need to be replenished, and take this list with you to the grocery store. It’ll keep you within budget, and ensure that nothing is forgotten. And NEVER go food shopping when you’re hungry.
  9. If you have roommates, have a talk BEFORE moving in about sharing cooking duty/clean-up/shopping expenses, and kitchen space. You may have different opinions of what to cook and how to cook it, so communication is key for a healthy living and cooking environment.
  10. Thaw meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter. I got into the habit of planning my meals a day ahead, so that I could ensure that my chicken was thawed safely when I wanted to use it.

That's my tips for now! Happy cooking, fellow foodies!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mise en Place

Food Network Chef Anne Burrell leveled with her group of home cooks in the premiere of “Worst Cooks in America”: Before you start cooking, you need to have your oven set, and all your ingredients prepped and in place. This act, of setting yourself up to cook, is called “mise en place”.

When I started this blog, two years ago, I failed Anne Burrell. I began well, but then I stopped writing. I neglected to frame my words and failed to put my interests of college, cooking, and Iron Chef America into any kind of context, so that my my poor three entries became the undesirable leftovers in the Internet’s refrigerator. Dear readers, fellow foodies, and Chef Burrell, I apologize. Allow me to introduce both myself and this blog.

My name is Stephanie and I’m a senior at Boston University’s College of Communication. I’m a Public Relations major and a liberal arts concentration in English, whenever I’m not cooking or religiously watching the Food Network. BU’s COM program commendably encourages its students to explore new media and technology while in school, in order to perfect those necessary skill sets that we need to become successful public relations practitioners. Such skill sets include learning to write a blog.

I started “College, Cooking, and Iron Chef America” for a sophomore seminar taught by the very brilliant, Michael Dowding, of Wordscape Communications, Inc. Although the aim of the project was to continue the blog until the end of the semester, Professor Dowding’s class covered a lot of material, and my peers and I, given the choice, unanimously elected to drop the blog project after only three posts.

Cut to the second semester of my senior year, and my COM CM 443 class: New Media and Public Relations, taught by the equally brilliant Professor Steve Quigley, who tasked the class to practice creating content and reaching out to our audiences with our own blogs. On top of that, I stumbled upon my three decrepit little CC&IRA blog posts earlier in the week, so the decision to breathe new, more experienced light into my beloved topic seemed natural.

And so, fellow foodies, with my mise en place in place (enjoy the pun, there will be others), I invite you to relax, let me pull up a chair, as I proudly present my blog.