Why, Oh, Why …

Why does my roommate always ask me to cook dinner when I’m too tired to cook? Is it female intuition to get you to feel annoyed? She wants me to make meatloaf. I hate meatloaf, don’t know how to make it, and to add insult to injury, she doesn’t eat beef so I have to use ground turkey. Turkeyloaf, anyone?

Slice and Dice

It was bound to happen considering how much I work with a knife when cooking. I was given a new set of knives to try out, and since I wasn’t used to the balance and shape of one of the knives, I ended up cutting my left thumb, right under the fingernail, pretty deeply. Doh!

This post is brought to you by “Suddenly Realizing How Valuable The Thumb Is When You Can’t Use It” and associates.

The meal didn’t turn out so great, so I cut my thumb for nothing. What a shitty feeling.

I Like It Hot, Baby

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved hot sauces and hot peppers. If it’s super-spicy, I’m happy. If my mouth is burning, my nose is running, my eyes bloodshot, my ears tingling, and my lips swollen … well, it’s good stuff.

There’s a fascinating write-up on Capsaicin, the chemical in hot peppers that gives you the burn. Most of it is medical-speak, but there are some areas that us common folks can understand. It lists the bad and good, although from what I can tell, the bad are from concentrated daily doses, which is a no-brainer. However, low dosage on a frequent basis has been known to have phenomenal benefits.

Capsaicin can be used topically in many ways. It can be applied to relieve the pains or rheumatism and neuritis. Plasters are affective for congestion of the chest or muscle pain. Heavy sprinkling in socks may help cold toes and feet. Gargling oil of capsicum can treat sore throats. The oil of capsicum can also anesthetize and sterilize tooth cavities and may relieve toothaches for months. For internal use, powdered chili may be taken in hot water as a tea or swallowed in capsules. Large doses of red pepper are recommended for the treatment of alcoholic gastritis and ulcers, because chili brings a great deal of blood to the surface of mucous membranes, and increased blood supply should promote healing. Taken internally, chili is said to purify the blood, tone the liver, and clear the respiratory tract.

It can be seen from these studies that consumption of peppers and/or chilies could result in genotoxicity, neurotoxicity and induction of cancer. These results should be taken under serious consideration for population that consume high levels of on a daily basis. Why people eat chili peppers despite their extreme spiciness can be a puzzling notion to understand. Capsaicin produces its distinctive heat by stimulating not the taste buds but the pain receptors in our mouths. The more capsaicin a pepper contains the hotter the burning sensation. So why, given all that pain, do some keep going back for more? One theory holds that capsaicin, by triggering pain receptors, prompts the release of endorphins–those “feel good” opiates naturally released in the body. Some analogize the consumption of chilies to that of climbing back on a roller coaster again and again – to savor the feeling of danger without actually putting ourselves in harm’s way (a phenomenon called benign masochism). Others believe it is for a more down-to-earth reason: “Peppers add to a sensory excitement, even an exhilaration, to the other flavors in a meal,” says Green in the September 1994 issue of Health.

Vegetarian French Bread Pizza

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I have to cook for two people that won’t eat pork, any cow product (dairy, beef, etc.), or shellfish. So I have to come up with ways to make everyone happy when putting together a meal. Today I decided to do something new, and make a homemade French bread pizza. Here’s the ingredients required:

  • Large French bread
  • Goat Cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 large vine ripe tomato
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Ground basil and thyme
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Cut off the top of the French bread, making sure you’re an inch from the top all across the bread. Save the top and cut in quarters and make garlic bread with them, if you want. Take a brush (any soft bristle paint brush will work) and spread olive oil across the sides and outer edge of the bread. Spread tomato sauce on the top, making sure to keep the edges clear, about 1cm. Sprinkle the thyme and basil lightly on top of the tomato sauce.

Slice the vine ripe tomato into thin slices and spread on top of the sauce, making sure it overlaps with each other a little bit. Take half (1 clove) of the garlic and sprinkle over the sliced tomatoes. Arrange the green and red bell peppers however you want on top. Then sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese across the whole thing, once again making sure the edge is clear. Now add the other clove of minced garlic on top. Lightly sprinkle some olive oil over everything.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Put the pizza on a cookie sheet with foil, and lift the foil so that it forms a wall on both side of the pizza. Put in the oven and let it cook for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until you see the goat cheese start to lightly brown around the edges. Slice with a pizza roller into quarters and serve immediately. Goes well with ice cold Pepsi in frosted glasses.

You can see the final result here, and below: