Things I've Googled this week #2

Sunday, August 30, 2015

This is going to be a fun segment of the blog where I share the tips that I have been learning along the way.  I am forever googling things to make sure I am not missing any of the finer details of different cooking processes.  Maybe I can save you a little time and share what I have learned.

Q: Fennel vs Anise?
Boy was I having a time trying to find fennel at the grocery store.  I only sort of knew what fennel was prior to walking in, so thank goodness for smart phones! So I am looking and looking.  I see something called anise, but no fennel?  So the best I could gather was the grocers in America will use the names interchangeably but if it has the bulb and the fronds, it is fennel.  They are actually different plants, so I have no idea why this name confusion exists.  Fennel is pictured below

Q: Do you butter naan?
Apparently yes, according to wikipedia.  I was mainly curious because when I buy naan from the bakery aisle in the plastic bag, I just heat and serve.  I never was really a fan of this naan, but I didn't have much of a choice.  That was until Trader Joe's came to town, and we tried their naan from the freezer section.  It is out of this world, but the instructions say to top with butter after heating and I didn't know if that was unusual.  The naan we get at out favorite Indian restaurant never appears to have butter on top, but it too is delicious beyond measure.  Was butter the secret this whole time and I never knew? Or is this naan just superior?  I'm going with butter, for the win.

Q: How to tell if a mango is ripe?
I have mangoes for a recipe I am making for next week and I just bought two that seemed relatively unbruised.  I cut into one of them and it was beautiful orange pulp as expected.  The other one, identical on the outside, was hard and almost white inside.  I made it work, but needed to know if I could prevent this in the future.
Ok so it is ripe is it gives a little when you squeeze it (similar to a peach).  It may also smell fruity around the stem. The color on the outside means nothing, so ignore that when looking for signs of ripeness.  Speckles could mean ripeness similarly to a banana, but those may or may not be present.  Also a mango will feel a bit heavy when it is ripe vs under ripe.  Thank you to the very thorough wiki-how page for the info.

Q: Best food instagrams?
Because I want to know if there are good people I need to be following!
I took a sampling from several articles claiming 'these are the people to follow!!!!' and came up with:
(these aren't linked because you need to make a little bit of effort, it is character building)
@spoonforkbacon @food52 @alice_gao @ashrod @davidlebovitz @bonappetitmag @utosh @iamafoodblog @alisoneroman
and I'm at @nataliehinkley but it isn't very pretty at all #badwithfilters

Q: Fall TV lineup?
Mainly for new food shows.  No one here needs to know my excitement and devotion to Sisterwives...
Super bummed that The Taste isn't returning.  I loved that show.  I am really liking Food Fighters, but that is ending next week.
Looks like Masterchef Junior will be one I tune in to, also Parts Unknown with Anthony Bordain.  It seems impossible to find if anything new on Food Network is happening in a structured 'fall 2015' sort of way, to that is to be continued for now.

Q: Houston Restaurant Weeks? 
I was looking for the ending dates because I have got to try a few places before the deadline.  This is an annual event our city (and many other cities) put on to raise money for the local food bank.  All the hippest and tastiest restaurants in town offer a set menu of multiple courses for a set price - usually $25 lunch/$35 dinner.  Each meal they sell includes a $5 donation to the food bank.  It is all really cool, and livens up the restaurant scene in a typical slow month.  Info can be found here, and yay it doesn't end until September 7th!

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