Archive for the ‘Fast Food’ Category

Pimp My Whopper

Whopper Bar

The Whopper is now 51 years old, but it’s about to get a younger look.

By year’s end, Burger King will be launching the Whopper Bar, a do-it-yourself burger bar, featuring Starbucks-style open kitchens, circular chrome countertops and plasma televisions that play looped videos of open flames.

And customers will be treated to a smorgasbord of Whopper options. Varieties include the Angry Whopper, topped with spicy onions (and popular in England); the Texas Double Whopper, with bacon and jalapeños; and the Rodeo Whopper, featuring fried onion rings and barbecue sauce.

Besides the variety of Whoppers, customers can also build-your-own burger.

“The concept is like ‘Pimp My Ride,’ ” Mr. Klein said, referring to the MTV program about customized cars. “To take up your Whopper, make it your own, put you in charge.”

Article and photo from the NYTimes.

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Domino’s BFD

Domino’s BFD

Ever since I was a kid, when I ordered a pizza from Domino’s it was always the same…thin crust with beef (meatball) and pineapple. Thanks to Domino’s new BFD (big fantastic deal) I can now cement my pizza creation online, and if people like the look of it, they can order it as well.

Springwise breaks down Domino’s new social pizza making strategy…

Domino’s revamped its online presence last month as part of its “You Got 30 Minutes” brand re-launch campaign, including adding the new BFD Builder for custom online orders. Short for Big Fantastic Deal, the BFD Builder lets consumers create the pizza of their dreams—specifying the type of crust, the amount of sauce and cheese, and unlimited toppings—for a flat rate of USD 10.99.

What’s really interesting, though, is that consumers can name and register the pizzas they design in Domino’s BFD database, where they can be viewed and ordered by other consumers. Nearly 12,000 pizzas have been registered so far, including the “Happy Birthday Aaron” and “Rhonda Half Doug Half,” for example. The site even tracks how many people have ordered each registered pizza so far, and consumers can view the database with the most popular pizzas first, as well as by newest, oldest or alphabetically. Top of the “most popular” list, incidentally, is the “Ciao Bella!” which has been ordered over 83,000 times.

So head to the new BFD Builder now and share your creations in the comments.

And if you want to order my creation, the Hawaiitaly, click here.

Batali vs. The Big Mac

Batali Wind-Up

Gourmet food is about indulgence and eating well, not necessarily healthy, but well. Chefs use high quality ingredients in order to prepare food that tastes good. But does the average person question restaurant food the same way they do fast food? Do people calorie count when they eat a meal prepared by Mario Batali or Thomas Keller? For the most part, no. But the Wall Street Journal decided they’d do just that.

What’d they find? Well, although restaurant food (especially that prepared by Batali or Keller) is about indulging, a lot of these gourmet meals are higher (or close to the same) in calorie content and fat than McDonald’s.

It’s not just fast food that’s making us fat. Temples of fine dining are known for using heart-stopping amounts of butter, not too mention artery-clogging delicacies like foie gras and chocolate truffles.

American adults buy a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week, on average, according to the National Restaurant Association. So we have ceded control of a significant part of our diets to professional cooks, who have no incentive to whip up healthy meals in modest amounts. They want to appease your piggish appetite, so they send out gargantuan pieces of meat with several garnishes.

So how did the WSJ test this? They chose a dish from Batali and one from Keller and compared it to a Big Mac.

For Mr. Batali, we chose his pork loin alla porchetta with “mirto,” a myrtle-spiked roulade of sausage-stuffed, butterflied pork loin. Mr. Keller’s breast of veal with yellow corn polenta cakes, glazed vegetables and sweet garlic was the dish he cooked at home for his staff a week before the French Laundry opened in 1994.

Both recipes are (just) feasible for the home cook, down-to-earth but with extra spins that send them into a higher orbit than a regular pork loin (the elegant rolling and stuffing, plus the myrtle) or veal breast (the cutting of the elegantly braised veal into circles to stack with the polenta circles).

We took the ingredient lists of both recipes and ran them through the sieve of the USDA nutritional database to get a rough idea of calorie count. Since both chefs advise you to skim off excess fat, these estimates are undoubtedly higher than a full-scale laboratory analysis would have given. But they are still lower than plenty of fast food meals.

A single portion of the Babbo pork loin totaled 558 calories in our estimate. That’s only 40 calories more than a Big Mac and way lower than the 740 calories you ingest with a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese. Mr. Keller’s veal breast and polenta clocked in higher than either McDonald’s item at 1,143 calories, though it still comes in below a Double Quarter Pounder with large fries (1,310 calories).

Although both chefs do aim to satisfy their customers’ indulgences, you’re still better off eating one of their dishes over Mickey D’s.

Oh, and if you want to give either of these recipes a try at home, head over to the original article at the Wall Street Journal.

Photo from Flickr.

Apple Hearts Starbucks

Apple & Starbucks

Apple is holding a press conference as we speak (er, type) to announce a handful of new iPods and features. The only one that really relates to this food is the new iTunes Wireless Music Store and their partnership with Starbucks.

That’s right…if you own an iPhone or run out and purchase one of the new wi-fi enabled iPhone-look-a-like iPods, you’ll be able to download music on the go and when you walk into a Starbucks, a list of the song playing throughout the store as well as the last 10 songs played will appear on your screen. If you see or hear something you like, you can download it.

Steve Jobs even brought Howard Schultz, the founder and chairman of Starbucks, on stage during this announcement. According to Mr. Schultz, “We open 7 stores every single day.” According to Mr. Jobs’ presentation, Starbucks features over 14,000 stores world wide, 50m customers per week, 18 visits per month per customer.”

Also, no longer will you have to pay for the WiFi feature at Starbucks if you’re on your iPhone/iPod. You’ll have free access to the new wireless music store. Exclusive with iTunes, no login required, completely free access ot the iTunes WiFi Music Store while at Starbucks.

Engadget says the rollout plan is this: 5800 WiFi-enabled stores nationwide. Starting October 2nd: New York and Seattle. 600 stores, followed up in November with 350 stores in SF…then LA and Chicago in ’08.

According to Apple…

Sip. Buy. Repeat. If you’re in a participating Starbucks, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store on your iPhone or iPod touch has even more to offer. Tap the Starbucks button to find out which song is playing in the café, then buy it instantly. Browse Starbucks playlists to discover new music. Or connect to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store for free and access millions of songs while waiting for your mocha. It all debuts in more than 600 Starbucks locations in New York and Seattle on October 2, 2007. Click here for more info.Oh, and if you have yet to buy an iPhone, you’ll be happy to know Apple just dropped the price to $399.

Visit Apple for all your iPhone/iPod needs.

The New Dunkin’ Donuts – in LA?

DD

Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but the Dunkin’ Donuts you know and love may soon be changing. According to a Time Magazine article a couple months ago…

If it weren’t for the pink door handle shaped like the letter D at the new Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Sarasota, Fla., you might think you had stumbled into a Starbucks. Bags of beans and oversize coffee mugs near the door? Check. A waiting area for lattes and cappuccinos? Check. Heck, there’s even free wi-fi and a rack of gift cards by the register.

This is the Dunkin’ Donuts of the future, a chic space with soaring ceilings and earth-toned walls that will be the prototype for every new store the 57-year-old chain opens. “We’re not a sleepy little New England company anymore,” says Dunkin’ Brands CEO Jon Luther, 63. Sure, they’ll still have time to make the doughnuts for your morning commute, but Luther thinks the slightly musty chain is ready to take on the industry giants–Starbucks and McDonald’s–on their turf. He started small, rolling out espresso drinks in 2003; they now account for 5% of sales. Next he plans to triple the number of U.S. stores, to 15,000, by 2020; expand the menu with pizza and flatbread sandwiches; and give the stores a much-needed makeover.

I just hope they expand out to the west coast. Everytime I visit the east coast I always grab a cup of DD coffee and a couple of bags to take back to LA.

BREAKING NEWS!: Just a couple days ago I spotted Dunkin’ Donuts bags of beans in a Los Angeles area Walgreens. To my knowledge this had previously been unavailable ANYWHERE on the west coast. Correct me if I’m wrong…

But don’t worry about DD turning into a Starbucks or McDonalds.

Instead of trying to compete head on at lunch and dinner, Dunkin’ is betting on snacks like smoothies and miniature pizzas. Drive-through customers account for 60% of its business, so Dunkin’ is focusing on food you can eat with one hand on the steering wheel. Since people stop in for coffee all day long, the hope is that they will be more inclined to grab a quick snack too. The prototype store uses high-speed ovens that can heat sandwiches in less than a minute while giving the bread those toasted brown edges no microwave can imitate.

But you won’t find a dollar doughnut menu at Dunkin’. Rather than engage in a price war with the fast-food giants, Dunkin’ is trying to close the gap between itself and Starbucks. Although it makes more money on breakfast sales overall than the Seattle-based chain, the average Dunkin’ check is just $1.85, vs. $3.75 at Starbucks, notes food analyst Tom Miner of research firm Technomic. Dunkin’ has positioned its breakfast sandwiches as quick quality, at the same price as Starbucks, $2.99. “I think they’re in a good position against their competitors,” says Miner. “Their biggest challenge is to focus on a couple of very popular items and do them really well.”

Oh, and just in case you want a Dunkin’ Donuts fix every morning, pick up one of these Retro Dunkin’ Donut Diner Mug featuring “Dunkie” the original mascot for $3.99.

Photo from Flickr.

Kool to be Kosher

Hot Nosh

Ever wonder what people who keep kosher eat when stranded somewhere where the only food available is fast food or items from vending machines? Me neither. I never really thought about this, probably cause I don’t keep kosher, but I guess it would be a problem if I did.

But no more. Finally, there’s now a vending machine that dispenses hot kosher food thanks to Hot Nosh 24/6 (24 hours a day/6 days a week…sabbath observed of course) according to Reveries.com. How’d this come about?

Alan Cohnen was hungry. Last year, he sat in an airport lounge munching on a bag of chips from a vending machine. Around him, people enjoyed pizza, hamburgers, and other noshes unavailable to Cohnen because kosher food could only be found in the vending machine, which meant only potato chips and pretzels. Cohnen, of Teaneck, and his business partner Doron Fetman, of Monsey, N.Y., came up with the idea of a kosher automat and set to work in September to make it a reality. They self-financed and formed Kosher Vending Industries LLC and partnered with KRh Thermal Systems Inc., which owns the patent on the automated system.

They’ll start with 25 machines throughout New Jersey and New York, but hope to expand quickly to locations where kosher items are unavailable. These machines will serve pizza, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, vegetable cutlets, potato knishes, and French fries, at a cost of $3 to $4 per item, but Cohnen hopes to unveil a meat machine if this takes off.

Good idea you say, but is it cool to keep kosher? Well, if you classify Russell Simmons and Phat Farm as cool, then it definitely is cool to keep kosher.

What do the world of hip-hop and kosher vending have in common? A lot, according to Ruby Azrak, former Phat Farm executive and partner to hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, and current producer of House of Dereon, superstar Beyonce’s family brand. Mr. Azrak has invested in the company to help fuel a nationwide expansion. While specific terms were not disclosed, Mr. Azrak confirmed his investment in KVI was “in the millions.” Regarding the unlikely pairing of hip hop culture and instant hot kosher food, Mr. Azrak explains: “Every business I go into targets niche audiences. Hot Nosh 24/6 addresses a void and taps into the kosher food market in a way that no other product does today.”

It’s definitely kool to be kosher.

Fat Food…I mean, Fast Food

McD’s

I try not to eat fast food, but I’ll always cave for a White Castle hamburger when I’m in NYC. Sometimes you just don’t really have a choice in the matter.

So at the request of my brother, here’s some of your better options and some helpful tips when eating fast food.

First up are a few tips from AskMen.com.

Remember that good options include:

  • The smallest size of burger
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches or salads
  • Low-fat dressings and sauces (or none at all)
  • Diet soft drinks or water

A few things to avoid:

  • Super sizes of anything
  • Fried or breaded chicken or fish
  • Chicken nuggets
  • High-fat sauces and dressings
  • Onion rings
  • Extra cheese

Those are pretty obvious, but Real Simple has tips when ordering at some of the more popular fast food places.

For example, when dining at…

Burger King

If You Usually Order: A Whopper with cheese and a side salad.

Make It Healthier: Satisfy your burger craving (and cut out almost 500 calories) by replacing the Whopper with a hamburger from the kids’ menu. (Kids’ menus offer smaller portions.)

Better Yet: Order the Tender Grilled Chicken Sandwich – there’s no crispy fried stuff and no creamy sauce, and you can ask them to double up on the lettuce and tomato for an extra helping of vegetables.

McDonald’s

If You Usually Order: Six-piece Chicken McNuggets (with a side of ranch sauce) and large French fries.

Make It Healthier: Ask for medium fries and replace the ranch sauce with barbecue and you’ve knocked 345 calories off your meal.

Better Yet: Get the California Cobb Salad with grilled chicken. Just beware of what you put on the salad: The Cobb dressing adds 120 calories and 9 grams of fat. Opt for the low-fat balsamic vinaigrette.

Wendy’s

If You Usually Order: A loaded baked potato (stuffed with bacon, cheese, low-fat sour cream, and Buttery Best spread) and a small Original Chocolate Frosty.

Make It Healthier: Save 130 calories and 16 grams of fat by loading your potato with chili, low-fat sour cream, and broccoli.

Better Yet: Try a baked potato topped with chili, broccoli, and chives. It is filling, has loads of fiber, and has a mere 370 calories and 3 grams of fat. Add a glass of 1 percent reduced-fat chocolate milk to satisfy a sweet tooth.

KFC

If You Usually Order: An Extra Crispy chicken breast and a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Make It Healthier: Order an Original Recipe wing and leg (290 calories and 17 grams of fat total). Though white meat seems a wise choice, the breast is one of the worst items on the menu, with 460 calories and 28 grams of fat.

Better Yet: Get the Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwich. It only has 300 calories and 6 grams of fat. Among sides, best bets include mashed potatoes (without gravy), green beans, and a small corn on the cob.

Taco Bell

If You Usually Order: Chalupas (fried taco shells filled with cheese and ground beef).

Make It Healthier: “Avoid the crispy things in favor of soft tortillas,” says Leslie Bonci, director of sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. (Indeed, the word crispy is often a euphemism for “fried.”)

Better Yet: Order food “Fresco-Style,” which replaces a dish’s normal sauce and cheese with fresh salsa. Loading up on salsa instead of cheese and other sauces can save you hundreds of calories and 10 or more grams of fat.

Subway

If You Usually Order: A classic tuna sandwich with Cheddar cheese and potato chips.

Make It Healthier: Get a wheat roll, and add extra vegetables. If you can’t omit the cheese, know that American cheese is the lowest-fat option, followed by provolone, with Swiss and Cheddar tied for last. Choose baked chips.

Better Yet: Subway’s tuna salad contains lots of mayonnaise, so a less cholesterol-raising option would be the Veggie Delite or Turkey-Breast Sandwich from the “6 Grams of Fat or Less” side of the menu.

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Just remember that if you don’t think it’s a healthy choice, it probably isn’t. Some other things to remember when ordering:

BURGERS – Keep in mind lots of burger joints (fast food included) now offer “protein style” where they wrap your burger in lettuce instead of a bun. If you need the bun, see if they offer a whole wheat option. Also turkey burgers are usually healthier than beef.

PIZZA – Go thin crust. Light on cheese, and pile on veggies and protein (like chicken).

PASTA – Ask for a whole wheat pasta option, or get a chicken parm sans bread.

JAPANESE – Avoid anything “tempura” and stick to fishes high in omega-3’s and things like salmon, veggies, and avocado which include healthy fats. Also a soy option (miso soup or edemame) is a good idea.

INDIAN – Replace pappadams (thin and crispy) with naan (thicker bread) and order your food grilled rather than smothered in sauces.

MEXICAN – Limit yourself to chips. Instead of tacos or anything cripsy, stick to a flour tortilla and fill it with extra veggies, lots of salsa, leaner meats and a lot of guacamole instead of sour cream.

If that’s not specific enough for you, check out this site which includes a pretty comprehensive list of various fast food places and their healthier options.

Photo from Flickr, where I found this poem attached to the photo. Pretty much sums up our fast food nation.

Fast Food Nation.

Obesity.

They say we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
An epidemic like it is polio.
Like we’ll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004 (-07 and counting)
“How’d you get through it grandpa?”
“Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere.”

Nobody knows why were getting fatter?
Look at our lifestyle.
I’ll sit at a drive thru.
I’ll sit there behind fifteen other cars instead of getting up to make the eight foot walk to the totally empty counter.

Everything is mega meal, super sized. Want biggie fries, super sized, want to go large.
You want to have thirty burgers for a nickel?
There’s room in the bag. Take it!
Want a 55 gallon drum of Coke with that? It’s only three more cents.

Adapted from Underwear Goes Inside The Pants – Lazyboy.

Tofu’s Perfect Match

Tofu Fest

This is probably one of those “only in LA” festivals but it’s a yearly thing here on the west coast.

I’ve seen posters all over town and it’s finally embedded in my head. Their posters and the whole Tofu Fest campaign is pretty clever. Head over to tofufest.org to help find tofu’s perfect match.

As for the festival itself, here’s what you need to know.

The 12th Annual Los Angeles Tofu Festival will take place on August 18, 12pm – 8 pm and August 19, 12 pm – 6 pm. General admission is $5, kids and seniors are free, and there’s a $2 off coupon here. Proceeds go to charity.

Festival Grounds are located at 237 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 on San Pedro and 2nd.

Attractions include:

Beer, Wine & Sake Garden: A selection of sake and beer is served in a sectioned off portion of Tofu Fest, supplementing Little Tokyo’s own beer gardens and Nisei Week’s attractions. The sale of alcohol was under debate by the festival’s committee in 1994 in regards to making the festival more family friendly.

Celebrity Chefs: Famous chefs exhibit their craft on a cooking platform, with fair goers getting the chance to taste dishes from the demonstrations. Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef is a recurring guest, appearing in last year’s 2006 festival.

Children’s Pavilion: Children were previously given an additional area to enjoy the festival, as parts of the festival, like the alcohol garden, were unsuitable. However, as of 2006, Children’s Pavilion is no longer a featured event.

Entertainment Stage: Bands and artists appear live at the festival, ranging from instrumental groups, such as taiko and orchestra, to hip hop groups like Blackalicious.

Tofu Eating Contest: The tofu eating contest is a race to eat a 14-ounce block of tofu in the shortest amount of time. Several elimination rounds are held before the final battle and winner’s ceremony, where a prize is given to the winner on the entertainment stage.

And if you’re interested in the Tofu Eating Contest it will be held on Saturday, August 18th at 4pm. Here are the rules:

  • Contestants will be required to eat a 14 ounce block of House Foods Medium Firm Tofu.
  • Festival Judges will be judging the Tofu Eating contest. Contestants agree to abide by the Festival Judges’ decision. Festival Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Contestants will not be able to use their hands during the contest to eat the tofu.
  • There will be 10 contestants competing in each round with a total of 5 preliminary rounds. The first 2 contestants to eat the entire block of tofu will advance to the Final Round.
  • The first contestant to eat the entire block of tofu in the Final Round will win the Grand Prize
  • The second and third place winners of the Final Round will receive also receive prizes
  • In order for a contestant to completely finish the block of tofu, he/she must have swallowed the last mouth full of tofu as decided by the Festival Judges.
  • Contestants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Contest Rules are subject to change without notice.

Info seen here was collect from the Tofu Festival site as well as Wikipedia.

10 Things Your Restaurant Won’t Tell You

Kitchen

Who doesn’t like going to a restaurant? Usually the food is good and it’s always nice having someone serve you. It’s also less clean up and usually cheaper than if you had to make a complete meal at home. But what are restaurants keeping secret? What aren’t they telling us?

Slashfood has a link to an article that MSN Money published back in May. It’s a short list of 10 things your restaurant won’t tell you such as…

…being careful when eating out on a Monday…

If you think that Monday, when restaurants tend not to be crowded, is a great time to eat out, think again. “You’re being served all of the weekend’s leftovers,” says Francis, the exposé co-author. Kitchens prepare food on a first-in, first-out basis, meaning whatever is oldest gets served first. It’s a way to ensure that everything on the menu is as fresh as possible.

The system works great most days, but it can run into a little glitch over the weekend. Distributors typically take Sunday off and make their last deliveries Saturday morning, which means that by Monday any food not used over the weekend is at least three to four days old. And it will be served before the same ingredients arriving in Monday’s delivery.

What to do if you wish to dine out on a Monday? Ignore your instincts and go to a place that’s perpetually crowded. “If you are open 24/7 and busy all the time,” says New York chef Lucia Calvete, “all your ingredients are fresh all the time.”

…and, there’s no such thing as too much butter.

Think that salmon fillet you ordered for dinner is good for you? Think again. Restaurants load even their healthiest fare with butter and other calorie-heavy add-ons. Restaurant meals average 1,000 to 1,500 calories, says Milton Stokes, a registered dietitian and spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. That’s roughly two-thirds of the daily average calories recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And according to a recent study, women who eat out five times a week consume an average of 290 additional calories per day.

Though most Americans assume that fast food is the worst offender, similar fare at casual sit-down restaurants can be even more caloric. The classic burger at Ruby Tuesday, for example, has a whopping 1,013 calories and 71 grams of fat. The McDonald’s Big Mac, with its 540 calories and 29 grams of fat, seems downright diet-worthy by comparison.

“We butter our hamburger buns,” says Julie Reid, the vice president of culinary for Ruby Tuesday, “so we tell people if they’re looking to cut calories, they shouldn’t eat the bun.” If that sounds less than appetizing, try splitting an entrée with someone, or order an appetizer instead of a main dish.

Wanna see the rest? Click here.

Photo from Flickr.

The Paul Giamatti of the Culinary World

SPAM

A recent article on NPR had me wondering what Spam really is.

Spam is the Paul Giamatti or John C. Reilly of the culinary world, an everyman food that lacks the charisma or looks of a leading ingredient, but consistently makes all other ingredients taste better. (from NPR)

Spam luncheon meat is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The labeled ingredients in the Classic variety of Spam are: chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

Varieties include: Spam Black Pepper, Spam Less Sodium, Spam Garlic, Spam and Cheese, Spam with Bacon (Hormel bacon), Spam Spread, Spam Fritters, Spam Lite (containing pork and chicken), Spam Golden Honey Grail (named after “Spamalot” and Monty Python’s Holy Grain, Spam Hot and Spicy (with Tabasco sauce), Spam Hickory Smoked, and Spam Oven Roasted Turkey – the latter is a halal food, meaning that it is permissible under Islamic law, and is especially popular in Muslim markets.

Introduced on July 5, 1937, the name “Spam” was chosen in the 1930s when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name Spam was “Shoulder of Pork and hAM“. According to writer Marguerite Patten in Spam – The Cookbook, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president. At one time, the official explanation may have been that the name was a syllabic abbreviation of “SPiced hAM”, but on their official website, Hormel denies this and states that “Spam is just that. Spam.” The fact that the originator was given a $100 prize for coming up with the name, however, still appears on the site’s Spam FAQs.

According to Hormel’s trademark guidelines, Spam should be spelled with all capital letters and treated as an adjective, as in the phrase “SPAM luncheon meat”. As with many other trademarks, such as Xerox or Kleenex, people often refer to similar meat products as “spam”. Regardless, in practice, “Spam” is generally spelled and used as a proper noun. (from Wikipedia)

But what can you make with SPAM that actually tastes edible, perhaps, even good? Here are a couple that sound good, both from NPR.

Photo from Flickr.

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SPAM MUSUBI

More Spam is consumed in Hawaii than any other state in the U.S. By far, Hawaiians’ favorite dish is Musubi, a ready-to-eat Spam snack that resembles a large piece of nigiri sushi. In Hawaii, you can buy Musubi in nearly any convenience store or grocery store for between $1 and $2. This is adapted from a recipe on the Hormel Foods Web site. (Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce can Spam Classic
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cups cooked white sushi rice (found in the Asian section of supermarket)
  • 1 package hoshi nori (Japanese dried seaweed, available at Asian markets)

Directions

  1. Slice Spam lengthwise into 8 equal pieces.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine garlic, ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce. Place Spam slices in the mixture and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove and pat dry.
  3. In a medium-sized skillet, fry the marinated Spam slices over medium heat, 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  4. Moisten hands and mold rice into 8 thick blocks with the same outside dimensions as Spam slices. (You can get a perfect block shape by using a special plastic Musubi mold found online or in specialty stores in Hawaii.)
  5. Cut nori into 8-1/2 inch strips. Place Spam slices on rice blocks and wrap individual nori strips around each middle.
  6. Moisten one end of nori slightly to fasten together. The remaining marinade may be used as a dip.

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Or for the really gourmet SPAM enthusiast…

Lobster Thermidor Aux Crevettes with Mornay Sauce, Truffle Pate, Brandy, Fried Egg and Spam

Don’t expect to earn your third Michelin star with this dish. But any diners who are also die-hard Monty Python fans will be delighted. (Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients 

  • 4 lobster tails
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, scalded
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 12-ounce can Spam Classic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can truffle pate (found in gourmet food stores)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Place lobster tails into large pot of boiling water. After 3 to 4 minutes, add shrimp. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes until lobster and shrimp are done.
  3. Remove from pot. Drain and rinse under cold water. Using kitchen shears or carefully with a knife, remove but save lobster shells. Cut lobster meat and shrimp coarsely into 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add flour and stir, cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Whisk in brandy, then hot cream.
  6. Remove from heat and add Gruyere and half the Parmesan cheese, stirring frequently. Add lobster, shrimp, paprika, salt and pepper.
  7. Arrange lobster shells in a casserole dish. Pour lobster shrimp mixture over shells and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Broil on high until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. While waiting for the dish to broil, slice Spam into 8 pieces. Fry eggs over medium heat, then remove. Fry Spam slices until light brown.
  9. To serve, place each lobster shell on a plate. Top with one or two slices of Spam and then a fried egg. Serve truffle pate on the side.