Wednesday, December 17, 2008
9:45 Pm seems like an eternity away.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Well, I just hit the big 22 and feel old but not yet wise, which is sort of a strange place to be. I know, I know, I'm the baby of this blog and 22 is not old but maybe you geriatrics remember what it was like to suddenly, completely realize that you were no longer a teenager and expected to act accordingly? Plus now I'm done with monumental birthdays (16, 18, 21) until I'm 30!
But enough of all that: it's food I'm here to talk about, namely my birthday dinner. Warning: copious details to follow.
On Saturday night some friends and I hit up Olsen, a very trendy, very delicious Swedish restaurant here in BA. It has become famous for introducing the concept of American brunch to the city, but dinner did not disappoint. We started with a vodka-sampler-cum-smorgasboard that came with five shots of various vodkas (they're known for their extensive vodka list) and five little sandwiches. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't ask what the vodkas were but I am fairly certain that at least one of them was homemade, and one of them included tabasco sauce. I'm cloudy on the sandwiches as well, though I can say for certain there was definitely gravlax, and one with caviar, one with maybe steak and lingonberries, one with slices of apple and what I think was gouda, and one with cream cheese and something else? The vodka went quickly to my head, but not so fast as to drown out the memory of my main course, which was truly phenom.
It was a small plate--welcome after a long succession of enormous, steak-centered, coma-inducing traditional Argentine meals--featuring a slab of smoked pork belly perched atop a pile of warm mashed potatoes and plated with a few crumbles of blue cheese, a swipe of lingonberry puree (I think? or maybe reduction?), and a teeny tiny salad of carrots and some sort of delicate green.
The pork was crispy-fatty-crunchy-tender and absolutely delicious, complemented perfectly by the smooth texture of the potatoes, the kick of the blue cheese, and the tart sweetness of the lingonberries. We also ordered two bottles (there were five of us) of the cheapest Malbec on the menu, which turned out to be great--I won't try to describe it as I know nothing about wine aside from what tastes good to me and what doesn't.
At exactly midnight I was presented with a mini molten chocolate cake, complete with candle and a rousing rendition of "Que los cumplan feliz," followed by two more desserts: a lemon custard topped with caramelized pistachios and a vodka creme-brulee, both accompanied by small scoops of raspberry sorbet, FOLLOWED by cocktails--mine was vodka with mint and passion fruit and SO good.
The only thing missing was some pickled herring! I didn't venture there because the friends I was with are not the most culinarily adventurous (I think I ate all the gravlax by myself), but luckily I have my grandfather: I don't know where he gets it from--somewhere in Bridgeport--but he eats herring every morning for breakfast and is always happy to share.
Thanks to Nick and Brie for the invite.
I'm Matt, and I have been cooking professionally for about 5 years now. Nick and I have nerded it up with food ever since we met many years ago, he was just smart enough not to get into the food industry! Truth is I love my line of work, and I love thinking, talking, and learning about food, so its great to have a new outlet like this blog. Plus i'm always curious what people with normal lives outside of professional kitchens eat on a daily basis.
I've been super inspired lately and cooking my ass off at home and at the restaurant where i work, so i have alot of meals i'd love to share and discuss on here, but first its food-related xmas wishlist time:
Wine glasses - as much as i want fancy riedel glasses, i just need some decent, large and thin red wine glasses. anybody know of a good source?
Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini. This book looks awesome. He was the chef at Cafe Boulud for some time, then opened A Voce, an upscale Italian restaurant in manhattan. Now hes unemployed, hoping to open another place in NYC soon. In the meantime, him and his wife wrote this book, about cooking simple Italian food in a tiny new york apartment. Ive been on a serious italian food kick lately so all of these recipes, especially the short ribs braciole, make me super hungry. I guess theres some pretty unreal kitchen stories too which is probably the real reason why i want this.
Balsamico. I mean like really old, really small bottle, really concentrated. I've never had a really exceptional one, save for the Villa Manadori, which is great. I've been cooking alot with saba lately, which i love, but i want that special bottle of the good stuff.
Razor Clams. I have never cooked with these, and can never seem to find them in markets. I think we can get them through city fish at the restaurant where i work, but i really want a shellfishing license so i can go out and get my own, now that i live so close to the shore. One of my favorite things to eat in NYC is the dish of razor clams at Casa Mono, Mario Batali's spanish tapas restaurant near Union Square. They are thrown, split and with the shell still attached, onto a hot flat top (they call it a plancha in spain) until they carmelize and firm up nicely, meanwhile the cook mixes a vinaigrette in a bowl, just lemon juice, tons of garlic, spanish olive oil, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper. The clams are just piled on a plate and the vinaigrette is poured over. Extremely simple, delicious and fun to eat.
Chitarra. A Chittara is an old fashioned device used for cutting pasta. It looks like a board with a bunch of guitar strings attached. The dough is rolled over the surface of the wires and is cut into the desired shape, usually spaghetti.
How about y'all?
Monday, December 8, 2008
Lunch: A diesel piece of yellow cake with vanilla frosting. Carrots.
Dinner: I tried to make red-wine braised beef, but it came out so gross. I'm talking, "let's-go-get-a-slice-of-pizza-instead"-type gross. To be fair (to myself?), the reduction was on point: the wine, aromatics, and beef juice reduced into a nice little sauce. But the beef...yuck! I was told that a chuck roast works well for this type of cooking (the connective tissue and fats break down nicely when cooked slowly in a liquid), but for whatever reason mine cooked to fast and was hella chewy. After I seared it, I put in the liquids etc., then covered it and stuck it in the oven at 300 degrees (probably even cooler in my old oven). Half an hour later it felt almost done cooking, which seems like way too quick for such a big piece of meat. What did I do wrong? Only thing I can think of is too much liquid, since I'm pretty sure <300 isn't too hot.
What am I missing?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The weekend before Thanksgiving was something of a baking frenzy compared to how things have been around here. We *finally* used the stash of fresh Cape Cod cranberries had been waiting ever so patiently in my refrigerator for their moment to come. And it did, in the form of a Meyer lemon and cranberry scone recipe from Smitten Kitchen. We basically followed the recipe except that I skimped a bit on the lemon zest and used a regular lemon instead of a Meyer lemon - and they were delicious! We cut them into scone shapes and baked half, then froze the other half for those days when you want to walk out the door with a fresh, hot baked good in your hand (wait, that's every day...)
Then we made these chocolate toffee cookies. MMMMMMMmmmmm. All I can say is, there is a LOT of chocolate in these guys. They are practically all chocolate. Which means that they are extremely rich and extremely scrumptious. The only change I would recommend is adding more toffee - yes, that's right: more toffee. I have been on a bit of a toffee kick lately, and it adds such a great twist to the cookie - a bit of crunch, a bit of nutty caramel with a hint of saltiness - that underscoring that flavor could only heighten the cookie experience, if you know what I'm saying. I highly recommend them.
The days before Thanksgiving were also noteworthy for the consumption of a delightfully easy and warming potato leek soup, a soothing and earthy butternut squash and mushroom soup from Judies, and lots of wine. Thanksgiving itself was a feast for another post, featuring a delectable turkey, braised onions, Mom's kicky horseradish cranberry sauce, seared green beans, stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, and more. Hopefully this week will mean a curry squash soup and a chocolate caramel cheesecake... and The Office! Stay tuned!
Friday, November 21, 2008
As my coworker (Kevin) and I rolled our eyes about having to stay late (unexpectedly), there was a part of each of us that thought: "Now what should we order?" Our boss loves curry, so we decided to humor him by ordering from a Thai restaurant (on the client, of course). The way it works is we each have a $25 limit on the food. Naturally, then, ordering from a standard Thai place meant lots of food, especially considering that we knew our boss wouldn't eat much. The bill came out to be $74.88 on the following order:
1. 3 types of curry.
2. 3 orders of jasmine rice, 2 orders of brown (get those whole grains!)
3. 1 order Pad Thai.
4. 1 order Pad Siew
5. 1 order Thai BBQ Chicken
6. 1 order fried bananas with ice cream.
My boss ate half an order of curry, and Kevin and I made off with lunch for the rest of the week!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
What is your favorite hot beverage? I'm picturing apres-ski (or shovel), frozen fingers wrapped around the mug, steam rising and a roaring fire, or a hot morning drink in the cold sunlight with slippers and robe...
What do you guys do when you don't have a lot of time to buy/plan/cook your meals ahead of time? Do you wind up eating out? Do you have favorite default meals, home-cooked or purchased? I tend to grab a turkey sandwich with cranberry chutney from the deli for lunch and either soup from Whole Foods (mmmm) or enchiladas verdes from the Mexican place in my neighborhood for a quick, tasty dinner. Here is Tuesday's rundown:
Breakfast: Kashi black currant and walnut cereal (SO good, but breaking the bank) and chai.
Lunch: Tomato & mozarella salad from Whole Foods, slice of potato and roasted red pepper frittata, Coke.
Snack 1: Heath bar (I'm totally feeling the English toffee these days)
Snack 2: coffee
Dinner: Greek lemon chicken soup with orzo, leftover butternut squash, mushroom and celeriac risotto. Peach tea.
Ciao e molto amore amici!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Breakfast: macchiato. oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins.
Lunch: herb flatbread from acme bread (wouldn't be jazionesque without one of these!) in the ferry building with dry wine-cured salami. water.
Dinner: curried butternut squash soup. garlic bread.
Dessert: hot cocoa.
For all you working folk, how often do you bring lunch to work? I try to always do it, but as I weigh the pros ($$$-saving, home-made healthiness) and the cons (time, getting out of the office, and trying new restaurants), I'm not sure it's as clear cut as I imagined. Thoughts?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Looking for a car this past weekend, I stumbled into a Halloween Monster truck Rally. Cars. When you’re looking for a car, suddenly they all become so interesting. The more I read this, the more what you drive seemingly becomes a moral decision. Driving used to seem so freeing. Did you remember that mind whammy accompaning your first solo drive… leaven the confinement of parent dictated travel. Driven then was celebration. If my next car could just catch a glimpse of that, not quite in this way but maybe soma that --- just enough of that former road glory could be regained to make the gas sucking schlep tolerable.
Our lives’ barometers. They crop up in the most unexpected places. T’other night I had some harmonious moments strung together in the kitchen: measured in minutes, 120 of them. Inspired by my favorite freshly barred barrister, or maybe she’s a solicitor, (either way she reads briefs and regardless she’s an attorney). Now that we’re confused the meal was chili to be sure. Chili that looked and tasted so good it seared into my mind, a formerly chililess mind.
Now this dish, this pink chili, (the photograph above doesn’t nearly translate the flavor bud popping goodness), is an exceptional specimen; exceptional being meant not only as exemplary but rare. To be honest though, the whole meal was actually a glorious debacle. I was trying to make the barrister’s chili and combine it with a side of my roommate’s sweet potato sliced carrot mash-up but non-selective selective memory made for a wonky imitation.
So initially following a recipe, I spiced it like chili (coriander, cumin, chili powder, pepper), but then somewhere in the turning to the rotating contents within the fridge and cutting vegetables, all sorts of ingredients such as the usual onions, garlic, tomatoes and yellow peppers went in , plus the expected, queso, beans (red and pink), but then the unusual, beats (source of pinkness), corrots, broccoli, turnips, brussel sprouts, spinach, potatoes, honey and dill. Now maybe those ingredients aren’t so unexpected, I don’t know, because like cars, chili is new to my radar. But on these rain swept cool weather autumn days, the soothing belly warmth of chili might just be labeled edifying.
Rumor also has it T-ra put on another year, Happy Birthday
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My dad wanted to try Milanesa, which is one of the staples of Argentine cuisine. It is, essentially, beef sliced very thin, battered in egg and breadcrumbs, then fried and I think ALSO baked--at least that's how my host family's housekeeper makes it, and hers is good. So I googled "best milanesa Buenos Aires" and came up with, suprise, surprise, an American food blog. A great blog, that is to say, called Matt Bites, and the recommendation for Milanesa was spot on--a really old-fashioned place that has stood its ground in the trendiest neighborhood of the city. We went one afternoon and had the best Milanesa I've had so far--flavorful beef, well seasoned bread crumbs, perfect proportion of meat-to-coating--along with Italian-style rolls, thick-cut french fries, and a salad of lettuce, tomato, and carrot, washed down with a 3/4 liter of Quilmes, the Argentine national beer, followed by a cafe (which equals espresso here) for my dad and a cortado for me (a cortado being an espresso with a splash of steamed milk).
Another afternoon was spent at one of the better known, bare bones parillas (grills) of Buenos Aires, where we had: asado de tira, which are beef ribs cut the long way, which is the Argentine way, and then grilled, of course, a salad of lettuce, tomato, and beets, french fries Provencal--with chopped garlic and parsley--bread, and, of course, more Quilmes. My dad loved Quilmes. This was his favorite meal but he couldn't stop looking over at the Argentines at the table next to us, who were having a seemingly neverending meal, alternating courses of meat and pasta. He liked the idea of having steak and pasta together--very Italian, he kept saying--which inspired the next meal I'll describe, which was probably my favorite:
We spent the day in this absurdly serene and picturesque farm/artisan town about two hours northwest of the city, called San Antonio de Areco. Lunch was in a beautiful, rustic parilla, sitting at the back next to a big window that opened into a sunny garden. We had the house salad, which consisted of lettuce, tomato, onions, peppers, red cabbage, and white cabbage, a plate of homemade egg tagliatelle with a simple, delicious tomato sauce, a big skirt steak, bread, mineral water, and Quilmes, with coffee for dessert. Afterwards we walked to the town museum, which is just about the only thing that doesn't close for siesta, and took a siesta of our own on some rocking chairs on the patio of the museum farmhouse. Later: ice cream. I had a refreshing limon (it was really, really hot outside) and dulce de leche granizado, which is dulce de leche-flavored ice cream with chocolate shavings mixed in.
One night we really wanted pasta--Buenos Aires has a rep for good Italian food--so we tried this place my host mother, and a guide book, recommended. We ordered three different kinds and couldn't decide which was worse--they were all truly heinous. My dad's spinach gnocchi might as well have been little pieces of green foam drenched in cream. My mom's pumpkin ravioli were rubbery, the filling completely tasteless--also drenched in cream and some chopped walnuts. Mine didn't even RESEMBLE Italian food--"whole wheat spaghetti with portobello mushrooms" turned out to be incredibly greasy, slippery noodles with mushrooms but also scallions, which tasted like a really average lo-mein, and then topped with parmesan--gross.
The next night, we tried again. This time I looked up a place on the B.A. equivalent of the Zagat Guide, Guia Oleo. Good decision--this time the pasta was extraordinary. I had homemade vegetable fettucine with mixed vegetables, chicken, and fresh basil, my dad had a spinach ravioli topped with warm chopped tomatoes and fresh basil, my mom had squid-ink and sundried tomato ravioli filled with crabmeat.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Go to the grocery store last night and I didn’t know what I was buying. Some of everything but afterwards the run and shoot Kitchen offence was one of those divine rhythms otherwise reserved to art.
Everything that crossed the counter-top could do no wrong, ingredients just assembled themselves. Tomatoes into sauce, herbs and onions onto beans, brocs, shrooms, shredded carrots, kale, cheddar, Colby, moz all tumbled outta grocery bags across cutting boards under knives and onto spinning olive oil soaked dough. The oven warrants preheating this whole time (as high as it’ll go), especially if you’re living in an Antarctic apartment like those of us who are trying to beat last October’s heating bill with a sans heat strategy.
The wheels, to borrow a term if I may, blaze. Were talking five alarm. To add some kerosene, we chased that baby with some chocolate chip ricotta roll but that’s deserving of a post unto itself. For some omega-3 fatty acids, half a Za, (or due to the shape of our pans: rectangles), got some Mahi-Mahi.
The fat lady sings…
Friday, October 17, 2008
I had an early morning court date and skipped breakfast cause I was later than Rizzo after a night with Kenickie (zing!). Lunch was pretty blaze though. I went to this spot called Free Foods and had a small pice of salmon topped with pucini mushrooms, swordfish with grape tomatoes and yellow bell peppers, a carmelized potato wrapped in steak, and some penne with tuna. Dessert was a chocholate swirl cheesecake from Magnolia's with a chocolate pudding-like center. It was otherwordly.
Met someone for drinks after work and since I knew dinner wasn't happening soon I consciously ordered a Guiness (well, five of 'em actually) in order to keep my calorie count up there. I eventually got a piece of pizza late night once I was back on the UES but hunger remained.
Then this morning was oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar. Work is slow these days so my officemate and I went to Pompano, a Mexican restaurant on 49th and 3rd. Apparently there's a nice restaurant and a more casual foodcourt but we hit up the restaurant. I had a sort of seafood paella: octopus, squid, scallops, and shrimp over cilantro rice in a coconut sauce. BLAZE. Sara got the skirt steak with portobello mushroom and garlic-chorizo mashed potatoes. Also blaze.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Last night, which probably more counts as early this morning, a baseball game was chased with some tunes; and though the Bosox have been stinkin’ up the field, the Pixies never sounded better. Twas a good evening, the scent of fall flowing in through KiKi’s ever open windows, Michelangelo on the couch under a blankie, and myself alternating between basil hayden infused mint juleps and a fine (Polish perhaps, maybe Czech) larger (or was it ale?) whose label as well as most events of the evening, appear as hazy as Kiki's apartment appeared through a curtain of Danish cigarillo smoke rings.
ahhh, its been awhile fellow friends in food and I see that during this hiatus your tables been graced with some fine cuisine. I’ve been very much waylaid, two funerals, a wedding, some simultaneous exhibitions, a 5th birthday party and the van’s been acting up ever since we tricked her out. Such are the spins in the wash cycle of life. Not too worry though, despite these diversions, I haven’t let my culinary explorations nor media voyeurism slide; details of which I’ll later divuldge
Absolutely remarkable, beautiful outside today. This one goes out to you mother nature.
Breakfast=Oats w/ apple, almonds, granola, pear, raison, honey, flax seed, yogurt & leche
Lunch=Soup w celery and chocolate (not inside but beside the soup)
Dinner=black beans, cabbage, turnips, coriander, dill, pepper, garlic & honey (because all my teeth are sweet) spread over pasta fusilli and a spinkling of queso
For an exciting snore, don’t miss tonight’s debate…
My friends, no pork barrel earmark shall freeze us mavericks from
standing by the fundamentals of my record of bipartisan reining in of a shepard’s hatchet to firmly sit down on a bailout package that further scalpels the taxpayers who are struggling to put food on their skyrocketing tables.
Buona Fortuna Amores
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The fall foliage has begun setting trees alight and frolicking at our feet. What better time to gather around a table adorned with gourd votives, baby pumpkins, american sycamore and white ash leaves, crimson napkins, burnt umber candles, and diminutive arrangements of sienna-hued roses?
We're hosting a fall feast for foodies. Bring your favorite autumnal apple treats, gastronomical gourd dishes, savory short-ribs, mouthwatering mushroom risottos and robust red wines. We'll provide a few delicious dishes as well as mulled wine and hot apple cider.
If you're in the area (Hartford, CT), consider yourself invited! Brie and I conceived of this plan but haven't picked a date. Anyone have any brilliant ideas as to when we should do this? Sometime in November seems best.
For lunch I had a sandwich with cured ham, french gruyere, and mornay sauce on sourdough. My officemate and I split our desserts so half of a creamcheese brownie and half of a huge, honey-covered baklava.
For dinner I ate at this awesome little Franco-Mexican spot called Itzocan Bistro on 101st and Lex. I had Crepes with wild mushrooms, huitlacoche, brie cheese and truffle oil. Magnificent.
Morning meetings are the worst. I missed breakfast this morning and all I had was watered down White & Case-provided-so-I-can't-complain-coffee. Around 11AM hit up my new little lunchtime hotspot, Dishes, and got a duck confit sandwich with french brie, arugula, harissa aioli ('member I told you 'bout harissa last week!), port fig spread on toasted ciabatta. Arborio rice pudding for dizert. Although my job is whacksauce, I'm gonna miss eating like this...
Friday, October 10, 2008
Starter: Sweet corn chowder with polenta croutons (Shrimp and Sea Scallop Potstickers
with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce).
Main Course: Grilled Ribeye Steak with Twice Baked Parmesan Potato, Sautéed Spinach and Rosemary–Gypsy Pepper Relish (Seared Sea Scallops with Bacon–Lobster Mushroom Vinaigrette, Mashed Potatoes and Blue Lake Beans)
Dessert: Warm Huckleberry Plum Cobbler with Pecan Biscuit and Huckleberry Buttermilk Ice Cream (Summer Berry Pudding)
As tough as the climb to my house was, I was glad to walk home 5 blocks after this meal...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Lunch: 3-day-old bagel toasted with salami (no spread, cheese, veggies, nothing). As aweful as the sandwich sounds, the salami was hella tasty. I think it's a good meat for sandwiches when the fridge is lacking just cause it packs so much flavor on its own.
Dinner: Chicken burrito. Handful of baby carrots. Sliced Macoun apple (Highlight of my day of food. Gene sent them from CT...get 'em while they're still around, New Haveners!).
Who said we can't take anything away from such crummy (no pun intended!) days?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Dress to impress.
Hope to see you there..."
Monday, October 6, 2008
Breakfast: Bowl of oatmeal. Cup-o-joe (Cafe au lait, to be more specific/yuppie)
Lunch: Madd apples (mutsu, orin, senshu, and arkansas black) and tomatoes (wish i could name the varieties from the top of the dome) from the tree/vine. fresh pumpkin ice cream (real pumpkin!) from a local creamery.
Dinner: Sliced heirlooms. Grilled chicken in a soy-ginger-garlic marinade. Garlic mashed potatoes.
Dessert: Apple crisp (hint of nutmeg in the streusel does wonders).
On a semi-related note, how'd you like to wake up and eat breakfast here (see all the pics): http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2901-Broadway-St-San-Francisco-CA-94115/15080904_zpid
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I had a bowl of raisin bran (a staple chez moi) before the walk and some carrot orange juice. Post-walk, we hit up Mo's for comfort food. I had eggs, bacon, potatoes, rye toast. J-Star had a vegetable omelet that included cauliflower (which seemed a bit unique ... but tasty!), potatoes, toast, and coffee. There were no pancakes involved this time.
Then we hit up Starbucks.
Afternoon snack (with books) was Earl Grey, 2 fig newtons, a brownie, and some crackers and cheese. Lots of water. Dinner was linguine with shrimp in a tomato sauce with garlic, olives, and capers. Hibiscus tea. Dessert was a homemade ice cream sandwich of ginger cookies with pistachio gelato. Miam miam.
Friday, October 3, 2008
FYI: Artist of the week is Chuck Hamilton and his new dope track Brazilian Crying Season. As a matter of fact, this whole blog should be favorited.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorise, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour – your capital."
--Karl Marx, EPM
So given that I got lambasted last time regarding my seemingly irresponsible spending habits, this one [as the actress said to the Bishop] was a long time coming. I got up from my desk at 12:30 straight starving after only having a blueberry cliff bar for breakfast. I thought to myself that while I'm in grad school studying German grammar, I'll scrape by, day-by-day and week-by-week; but while I'm working at the white-shoe corporate law firm, well, I'm gonna where those white shoes, enjoy the perks, go to the grasshopper and spend some guilders. Ha capito? So I decided on Saju Bistro across the street from my office where the head of my department frequently feasts. And I went solito. It was dope.
I got the prix fixe lunch menu and, after some bread and particularly tasty black olives, began with a small salad of mixed greens and grape tomatoes. Then I had papardelle in a very simple but delicious mushroom sauce with parsley. My French-hating Italian college roommate thinks French food tends to be too complex so I savoured the moment knowing that he's wrong. Finally, inspired by Nene's blood orange for breakfast, I had two scoops of blood orange sorbet. It might be noted parenthetically (a phrase that always confused me, why wouldn't you just put in parentheses?) that throughout the lunch I drank enough ice-water to fill the Grand Canyon (something I absolutely love about restaurants in America).
In other news, Tribalista-like Brazilian music has been bumping on Pandora all day, my officemate and I have pet dog named Boulevard Canteloupe Bohemian, and after last night it's clear that Spike has officially lost it.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Midmorning snack: Banana, "handful" of almonds. (DJ taught me that a handful, the recommended serving size of almonds or any type of nut, is actually about a quarter of what would actually fit in my hand, and it is now what I try to stick to, cause no matter how good the fat is, you can still eat too much of it.)
Lunch: Two slices of leftover roast, salad of lettuce and shredded carrots in oil and vinegar, slice of what might be considered frittata? An eggy-casserole with zucchini/carrots/celery/corn baked in a loaf-pan until golden brown. Spoonful of dulce de leche to accompany small bowl of strawberries.
Dinner: My host fam is determined to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, even though they are Catholic and I refused to go to synagogue. We're having apples, honey, Challah, roast chicken and salad. Suzanna, the of-indigenous-origin housekeeper, said Happy New Year in Hebrew to me this afternoon and I almost fell over; apparently she worked for a Jewish family for 10 years.
This one's for you, J-Man.
Lunch: Mushroom risotto cakes (OMG my new favorite iteration of risotto - I will be making it on the regular just so I can make this leftover delicacy), tomato salad, Gala apple.
Dinner: Macaroni and cheese (with Sriracha), courtesy of Adam's great aunt. One of these brownies. Miam miam.
People need to 1) C.H.I.L.L. and 2) post. It ain't gotta be long, but it's gotta be there.
Monday, September 29, 2008
‘H’ermana, I do not wrestle with the content of your entries, why you trying to compromise mine? U dig into what you want2 but I prefure a broader, “FIGURATIVE” diet. Besides, a little porridge is good for the colon.
Is marmalade a natural antibiotic? Hmm, perhaps if it contains some of these… Now Latinophile, I don’t mind you not liking what I write, but calling consensus as to how I conceive, that’s some mal leche. How bout this, when u see my contributions, your welcome not to read ‘em. I certainly snooze past some of y’all details.You really always need your fork on the right side of the plate and the blog properly categorized to satisfy yerself.. ain’t that a little stale? Lets try an’ coexist here, marinate with one another even. There’s alotta possibility abound.
My apology if the tanking economy combined with global famine and two candidates set on war in either Iraq or Afghanistan feels unhinging. You don’t think Patagonia is gonna look a lot different if nations don’t take some serious steps toward revamping the energy industry? How will your sorbet taste then? We could end on this note or we could let the pieces we blog explore some, possibly spar, but at the end of the day who we are, what we eat, what we say and think is closely aligned. We can tolerantly communitize here, creating a micro example, chances increasingly arise fro a larger frame pot-lock/latch.
Lemesee, that frittata, O-my!: Beets, Kale, tomatios, po-tats, carrohts & dios knows what else. My roommate (pictured above with the spaghetti style hairdue) made it, mad props. I added a pear, some ice cream (comfort food, ya’ll so mean) choclate sauce, yogurht, rasberrie jam & cranwalnut bread (grazie furelise), sum queso, apple slices (by the way New Haven’s got ‘em in season) a choc-chip banana buckwheat pancake and maybe some other stuff.
Whatevs, it was f@#(in’ food. How fortunate are we to be eating it, I’m grateful. My apology for sounding aggravated.
Pretty phenomenal formula. I’ll play nice. Minions, really, ive nuttin but…
Food=Energ-Action. What is it like being a young girl in Africa? Good film short on that link, clickit. There are 25 Million who can be educated for twelve dollars a month and Congress can not agree over how to spend 700 Billion Dollars on mostly well fed college educated irresponsible Wall Street Executives. Let’s get it together people.
Especially u Dj, c’mon out and spin your records. I miss ya
Friday, September 26, 2008
Entonces, mi desayuno:
Whole wheat crackers with plum marmalade. Banana. Cinnamon tea.
At noon, I went to the ridiculously amazing apartment of my program director for a "reunion" about our experiences studying abroad so far. We were promised lunch. It was delicious but strange:
About 20 of us were given 20 minutes to stand around a too-small wooden table and eat fondue. There were four pots, two with oil, two with gruyere. The oil was for the meat: partially cooked steak, chicken, and tiny hotdogs and sausages, to be finished off in the pots and then dipped in a variety of condiments, including a spicy thin reddish sauce (finally, some actual HEAT in food in Argentina), ketchup, mustard, salsa golf (sort of like Russian dressing but I should find out what's actually in it) and what is that creamy yellowish sauce with the French name? Obviously that could describe many things but I feel like this one is very common. Not Hollandaise. Maybe Provencal? It was for the chicken, specifically.
The gruyere was for chunks of bread as well as an array of boiled/steamed vegetables--brussel sprouts, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli--plus raw cherry tomatoes.
Dessert was fondue, too: strawberries, bananas, and ladyfingers in your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche.
Then, I met my best Buenos Aires friend Annie to take her for a badly needed post-hangover meal. She made the mistake of ordering "risotto" off the menu of the very standard neighborhood cafe. It was not risotto but rice, chock full of overcooked vegetables, chunks of shredded chicken, and--inexplicably--noodles, seasoned with some kind of bland packaged curry but yet still topped with parmesan...bizarro. She pushed it aside and ordered our favorite and least healthy B.A. snack: medialunas made into sandwiches of jamon y queso, toasted a little, panini-style. SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS and heart clogging. Meanwhile, I had the overpriced afternoon special: a cup of black tea, two medialunas (without jamon or queso), and a copita (basically a shooter) of fresh OJ. The orange juice here is really, really delicious--tart and sweet and just so much more flavorful than any I've had in the US--it really bursts. Is it because the oranges are different? No se.
Fatties that we are, after all this we headed to Freddo, one of the biggest and best helado chains in the city, for the Monday-Friday until 6 pm special--a small cone with two flavors for $6.50 (2 US dollars and some change). I had maracuya (passion fruit) and banana split (banana base with flakes of chocolate and ribbons of dulce de leche); Annie got banana split and dulce de leche con brownie.
Ricisimo, but I might have to skip dinner...I'll let you know.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So my sister called last night lookin to roast a red pepper without a grill. Do you have a gas stove? Nope. You could wrap it in paper and light it on fire in your backyard. Too intense, could I bake it? Thats a baked pepper, you need to burn the skinn to get that sweet smell. Simultaneously we were asking 'Broil?'
So is there gonna be a debate tommorrow?
The public has a need to know. I've been inside all day for two and half days (unless getting the mail counts) & need The Pin the Tail on the Elephant Party to go off so I can get my beer on.
Apparently, according to the United States of Mind, we Connecticuttonians are both highly neuratic and simultaneously open to new ideas.
So i hear McCain and Palin are really getting their hizz on... Let's ask another Connecticution, what do you think Dave?
In other food news...
By the way, sister reports back with an affirmative on the roasted red pepper broiler campaign. The Broiler will in fact properly burn pepper skin but I wish for the sake of politics this season, my beloved sibling, you would roast blue peppers.
Good luck Candidates!!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Where is Buffet? is that guy totally hands off? Whose makin out here!?
We need someone with a successful track record to kick some knowledge, be given power to hold people accountable and pass laws demanding greater transparency.
I can’t eat today…
A new Royal Family
a wild nobility
we are the family
I feel beneath the white
there is a redskin suffering
from centuries of taming
No method in our madness
just pride about our maner
“Antpeople are the warriors
Antmusic is the banner!"
and even when you're healthy
and your colour schemes delight
down below thos dandy clothes
you're just a shade too white
shade too white!
shade too white!
I feel beneath the white
there is a redskin suffering
from centuries of taming...
I hear ya Adam Ant(&Marco Pirroni)
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Weird...? Hmm, that’s odd because essentially I was going for mild amusing with a touch of current event. But now that you mention it, seeing something more in your food than enjoyable nourishment does sound a little anti-McCainian. I like the suggestion though; let’s drop the cultural relevance and go a little weird, cross the line maybe. I’m thinking Chevalier d’Eon here. Carrot, well, isn’t carrot already a possible euphemism for something else? How ‘bout tomatoes? They’re looking ripe.
I’m not trying to upset anybody here. Visually, these seemingly benign staples have connotations. Not only sexual but how the food is prepared, when and from where, by whom and even, what is it being called or how is it being labeled. The choices we make on what to purchase and how to prepare it are as important as the choices we make while getting dressed. Not thinking is still thinking albeit reactive. You are what-you-eat what-you-perceive what-you-do. Is that transvegetable holding its spoon up in victory? Shim taunting you with a middle green finger? Or is shem beckoning you to join in herim’s numero uno soupa? Can it be both?
By the way, that was some damn good soup there. Mostly courtesy of a lass I know who seems to always be pulling fruits and vegetables from her pockets, purses, backpacks, if not up from rolling around on the floor of her car. If I remember correctly (as it the evening was growing tall and disinfecting jars, in vats of boiling and somehow combustible water, exploding jets [in a strictly literal sense] across the stove, floor and counter top). The soup, being assembled among these conditions, went something along the lines of onions, garlic, salt, pepper, sweet potatoes, other potatoes, honey, vegetable broth, apples, raspberry jam (no kidding), kale, peppers, tomatoes, turmeric, beans and baba ganousch.
Appreciate the feedback, this one goes out to you DJ…
Thursday, September 18, 2008
In an effort to channel some spark back into the economy I’ve enlisted the help my friend Kanye West. Kanye, seen above wearing his fried egg and chedder cheese sunglasses, sporting a stylish hash brown goatee & zucchini lip-gloss (for the cameras) and MC's w/ sweet red pepper articulation. Today he is sniffing with a slice of cranberry walnut and he smells trouble. Kanye, sing it!
Full screen, speakers tothe windows, Volume Up People
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Anybody watchin what the economie’s doin? This is my Lehman Brother. His yellow cherry tomato peepin pupils are peerin from behind perilous sweet peed eyebrows. He’s watchin the Dow and though he’s smiling zucchini cheeks cant hide the cranberry walnut-shot eyes. He hasn’t slept in days and has grown a munster mustache below his avoado’d nose. His pepered lips cringe a smile as he wonders weather any of the upcoming candidates have a better idea than Bernanke of whats gonna happen next. His carrot chin is lax and he dreams of the chocolate days of yore.
On a brighter note, I cleaned my room today.
Some of mine:
Monday, September 15, 2008
was yesterday. Crashed an old friend’s significant other’s mothuh’s company party and cleaned up. Placed 3rd in the egg toss, 4th in ping pong (damn that backward paddle holdn Feng!), 2nd in the 3 legged race, 3rd in the water balloon toss, reached the semi finals in 3 on 3 basketball and Won the canoe race. Granted I was usually in the 11 year old and up category, which may or may not of been the seemingly advantage one might suspect as my teammates weren’t always all the way through puberty.
Worth retelling is the canoe. Andrew, my approximately 12 year ol’ partner, and I easily took the 1st heat. & probably were fortunate not to be in the next heat as there were a couple steroid lookin marines who really wanted a trophy but overshot the turnaround bouy allowing a couple feisty college students to sneak in for the finale.
So game on, the fiesties an’ us. At the bullhorn we got off the shore and turned around quicker but while dodging an oncomer, did some bushwacking. Paddle Paddle Paddle I yelled at Andrew when he paused to push branches away. What was looking dismal may of worked to our advantage as I flashbacked back to my days on the Mediterranean and began a Venetian luge style gondola paddle off the rooty bottom to get our battle sled back slicing up lake.
Damn fiesties got a lead on us but were taking the turn around the lake middle buoy wide. Andrew and I dipped our heads and paddled like piranhas whilist I aimed our canoe straight fer their bow and Pow! We took ‘em hard and bounced them back pointing nor-verds &rebounded our metal hell wagon halfway back around. Andrew nearly fell out of the boat, my knees are all scraped up from lurching forward but I keep paddling.
Then the nervy feisties grab the side of our boat and start hand over handing up our side so I begin to try and rub them out by sandwiching them up against the shore. Andrew’s swinging his paddle while I’m paddling with one hand starboard and grabbing them port freezing our nose about a foot ahead of theirs. They start screaming leggo, so soon as they do; I send ‘em backward with a seeya suckahs with an admittedly cheap, though great, shove; to get our canoe back on the sluice. It was ciao ciao sianora adios from there, beating down on us though they were, A & I took the checkered flag with a crash when we hit drainpipe on the shore that sent us both kinder over bean. Fore I was not the only “adult” bending the rules.
What were we talking about here, food? Yo, has anybody been to Holiday Hill? It’s just up the road, toward Bethany & I can only say: it really is the epitome of summer, in a day. o_ & did I mention not to mention paint a pumpkin, mini golf or homerun derby? Yup, they got it. & clowns. As fore eats, this boy hit the potato salad, carrot sticks, New Angland clam chowdah, several corn on the cobs, many clams on a half shell, several liters of soda and approximately 3 ice cream Sundays, (move ovah Phelps). Trailed that with some can-openers into the pool and some dance floor shimmy shimmy yo’s during a feverish electric slide plus a new one. Anyone herd of the chicken noodle soup?
My only regret was that I didn’t get to go on a pony ride.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
At first it began as a convenience; making coffee is a somewhat involved process that can require significant cleanup. I don't have a compost and I feel wasteful throwing away the coffee grounds, nor do I have a dishwasher ... and you can guess where that leads. So I started drinking tea because I had it in the cupboard and it seemed easier, and I love a hot beverage in the morning and at least it has some caffeine, and the fragrance of Earl Grey is cozier than a nap on a rainy afternoon. Now I'm drinking tea morning and night! Another influential factor is the absence of a good coffee shop in the area. Before moving here, if I didn't make coffee at home there was always the eminently worthy Willoughby's, conveniently located on my walk to work. Oh how I miss Willoughby's, and the walk to work. There is a frustrating place in my neighborhood that should be decent but every time I go there, I am reminded why I choose to abstain - their coffee tastes like water. The ambiance is decidedly lacking as well, but that's for another day.
So, as often as not, lately I wake up with a mug of milky Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast instead of coffee - a trend that I imagine will dwindle, because I really am a coffee girl at heart - at least I think - and it will be hard to break out of 28 years of coffee indoctrination. But not before I use up those 80 bags of tea! On a related note, this shift may have something to do with the confused nature of my diet as a result of the change in seasons. It's been getting cool at night, and today it rained for much of the day. Summer is winding to a close. Iced coffee is no longer a viable option, and I thrill at the thought of fall and roast chicken and soup laced with melty Gruyere and applesauce simmering on my stove. I'm going to make homemade granola bars for hikes and walks. I'll let you know how that goes... if anyone has any good recipes, pass them along!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Though I'm definitely a Luddite in these matters because I'm sure there's some subtly involved here that I'm losing but a straight raw food diet? Really! To me that wreaks of segregation. Now I do have my prejudices (if it ever walked, spit, pissed or defecated, I probably won't eat it); though once it crosses the kitchen counter top I'm much more an equal opportunist. McDonalds, geniuses that they are, totally had it right. A delicate blend of hot & cold, cooked & cooled, roasted and raw. Who remembers what I'm alluding to? The Mc. D(Click here) I cant believe they dropped that Jam. With those special styrophome double containers! You could leave em on your dash board, roll outta there and hit corners and your meal'd stay put. Mixed temperature meals, punches my ticket & Jason Alexander agrees.
So here's what I'm talking about: My roommate's dahl (def hot) & def benefiting from some brags liquid aminos. Rice & steamed kale (still hot). A couple slices of Jazione choco-chip the bomb zuccini bread spread with butter, baba-ganush (a story in itself... made of abandoned/found eggplant in E-wood park no less), Nuts (wals&almond) coolin & in their natural state. Hurricane Hannah, I'd say we hit the nail on the head. P.S. Watch for Whalley floating manhole covers, underside of cars are getting whacked. Once again my lovlies, J to the zee.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Dem elephants were pissed last night. War paint is on. & all the wrath, faith posturing and fear mongering was spoken through gleaming smiles. Even ODB was scared.
Will Admit, Palin is the most attractive candidate to since Edwards (its all in the haircut) to potentially step into the big house; if you exclude presidential daughters (Oh, we'll miss you Bush Twins). Can't wait for Chelsea to run for office. Palin though is stepping up, finding her cadence and is gonna keep this race more interesting than if Warjoy went with his earlier choices. She can sell a story. Ve shall see...
oh & almost fergot. Down to business: Cran Walnut bread (Edgewood Farmer's Market shout out), Cheddah, guacomoli, cherry toms, mini-cutecumber, yellow tom, peas, string beans & a sweet red bell pepper
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Edgewood Park, park of parks; especially Sundays when I do my farmer's market stroll. But flash back to last night, just finished the first class of all gangstah illustrators (sweethearts), tearing I-95 to a beautiful sunset listenin to Another side's Chimes of Freedom , upon which Kiki gave a call, Omlettes? Mick's in town. Oui, oui! If anyone gets a chance, risotto & omlettes are the Fence's signiture meals. Side salad dude, get us some dressing, I've got the vine (Merci Orange Street Annie, hooked it up with some balsamic vinagarette), And Vine we did, Capital D double grape knackered. Poor Guang Ho Minn, besides porch & cigarette antics Kiki crashed mouth agape, on the couch, blasting the retirement mix, (all apologies for late naight texts).
so the latest countenance: raw carrot, raw pepper, raw pea, raw tom, raw zuke, raw cheese and raw fried egg.... any liklienesses, purely accidental.
As fer the other day's links (see defunct comment box below), f blogger blogspot. No worries, technical deficiancies aside, got it all figured out. Barefoot, loose and kickin the raw food philosophy, click here.
Monday, September 1, 2008
almuerzo: salad of bibb lettuce, tomato, shaved carrots dressed in olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. small toasts (formerly a baguette) with aji goat cheese.
cena: my host mother had a dinner party. i wasn't invited but i got the same eats. arugula topped with crispy pancetta and sesame seeds, dressed in olive oil and balsamic. arroz blanco, pollo con champignones. un postre: sort of like strawberry shortcake but instead of a scone, the strawberries and whipped cream were sandwiched between thin rounds of a yellow sponge-cake like pastry, all topped with a warm strawberry/raspberry liquor reduction. the sponge cake-like stuff comes in large sheets and apparently a popular summer meal involves making rolls out of it, with fillings such as cheese, tomato, lettuce, ham, for a salty-sweet effect. i am looking forward to trying this.
late night snack (i have class til midnight!): ham and cheese sandwich. (i cannot stop eating ham and cheese, in any form: cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches (tostados), empanadas. i haven't given in to jamon y queso-flavored snacks yet, but they're probably next. this is bad. i have started running to counteract; we'll see how that goes.) orange. another cup of digestive tea.
also: i ate at a raw-food restaurant last weekend and had a surprisingly good experience. i will post about it later, or maybe the next time i go back--one of my friends here is into raw-food as her mom is a raw-foodist. has anyone else ever tried it?
bonjour encore mon beau...
When yer fridge is empty as mine you do whatya can do
du nord au sud: la hair= "Liberty" Fries, (made in America bitches!)
Oui, je m' apelle set off the fire alarm cookin those guys.
La eyes son zucchini et cherry tomatoes,
the earings are slices from an overripe banana,
the nose is a cabinet standby, the Masa cracker(Merci Edge-Of-tho-Woods).
Flaring nostrils are roomate-made, tasteless humus; which by the works great for adhering various pieces of food to other food & the plate to generate a little lift and create the menacing 3 dimensional effect.
E final, la faux chix patti (also EOW) found alone, floating in the ice box. E la chompahs et chedder.
Until next time... Fin
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Bon soir frère ah jahkas, je suis arrière!
Looked down at the plate & here's what i saw.. is it culture shock? Well, couuuld bee. Ma tête hasnt been feeling totally magnifique since departing France de mère.
At any rate, avante! From the top--->
Les yeux de cute-cumber et tomate, ahh tre bien!
Le nez de watermellon, grand.
et la bouche est les oeufs, le fromage et l'humus sur le pain (la bagel courtesy of some frou frou jam in Grand Central Station).. all-in-all, ooh la la!
Conclusion: de ce monde, à la maison-courir!
Until next time, avoir mes amours... Jazione
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Breakfast: water, raspberry scone, coffee. Oh, and a random piece of bacon and a random sausage link. Gotta love those breakfast meats!
Lunch: a yummy Shaheen's samosa (spicy peas and potatoes) and malai kofta that splattered all over my white jeans. Arrrrrg..... if anyone has tips on removing turmeric-family stains from clothing, please contact me.
Dinner: grilled vegetable burrito with melty cheese, rice and beans, and sweet potato fries. Earl Grey (that unfortunately lacked the characteristic lovely Earl Grey smell).
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Breakfast: home-made banana pancakes with (New England!) maple syrup. cappuccino
Lunch: boring spinach salad. carmel apple with chocolate chunks.
Dinner: hearty beef casserole (browned beef with sofrito, baked with noodles and cheddar cheese).
no room for dessert.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
breakfast: avocado and honeydew soy shake (inspired by iron chef america - peep it at 9 pm on Sundays...it'll make a young chef dream big)
lunch: leftover Cruzan rice (stewed with tomato, pigeon peas, sasson?) with chicken. coffee.
dinner: fusilli in a pink sauce with italian sausage and mushrooms.
oh yeah, i've been drinking madd sparkling water (all bourgoeosie-like) at work.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I'm certain that I can speak for all of us when I say that we've all been quite busy this summer. Nonetheless, I apologize for my personal slackage.
In the past week or so, I had two memorable meals. First, I ate at Taste of China (follow the link for a nice review by the New York Times) in Clinton, CT down by the shore. The outside is quite unassuming, as is the name. However, the dining experience in there is very good and unique for the area. First of all, they specialize in Szechuan cuisine, which I've never truly had before. The common theme that I observed was the prevalence of infused, spicy oils. The better dishes we ate were:
- Broccoli stems - What a great dish! The stems were simply sauteed with a spicy chile oil but packed a lot of flavor. The heat built nicely as well. The stems definitely reminded me of cabbage in a good way. I came to the conclusion that these would have been phenomenal diced up with mushrooms in dumpling form for sure.
- Chungdu dumplings - These were simple and delicious. Thinly-wrapped, perfectly cooked chicken dumplings coated in a lighter type of chile oil along with a coating of pureed garlic. Really, really good.
Another unique feature of the restaurant was their alcohol selection: TONS of excellent BELGIAN beers. Apparently, the owner's husband is a connoisseur. We had an excellent bottle of Saison by Brasserie Dupont which perfectly washed down the heat while lifting up the flavor in our food.
Another good meal I ate recently was from me cooking dinner for my folks. It consisted of:
- Ribeye Steaks with Bordelaise
- Skillet potatoes
- Carmenere (red wine from Chile; kind of like a Malbec)
I spent a few days prior making veal stock for the bordelaise, which was a rewarding learning experience. My advice: don't make veal stock with anything smaller than a 10 quart pot and 5 lbs of bones. I used my 8 quart Le Creuset along with 5 pounds of veal bones and it yielded approximately a quart of finished stock. Some cooks like Michael Ruhlman, who extoll the virtues of veal stock (here's an article), claim that you can just make smaller batches. However, I don't really see how making less than a quart of stock for a recipe is really worth the couple day process--unless of course you half-ass the process, but by that point why not just buy stock?
Anyway, the steaks were great, but I was really proud of the succotash. Corn is super sweet and in season right now and fun to work with. I sauteed bacon, shallots, and garlic scapes, threw in some red peppers, then the corn, poured in blanched baby lima beans and let it simmer with some heavy cream and thyme. I then seasoned everything to taste and loved life. Tasty and easy.
Glad to hear everyone's food tales. I apologize in advance if I don't post again soon. Classes are starting!!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
In the food section of a huge, open air fair, I went to a Japanese stand (Sao Paulo has a large Japanese population) and had:
- a sort of tempura pizza (no bread involved but it was round and flat like a small pizza) with shrimp, chopped onion, and a fresh green herb. one of the best things I have ever, ever eaten. they were making them right there, so I snapped some photos of the process, which entailed slathering a round metal grid at the end of a long handle in batter and the other ingredients, and then dunking the grid into hot oil.
- excellent yaki soba with chinese broccoli, cabbage, and carrots
- rice noodles with cabbage, carrots, and onions
All of these things I topped with some kind of delicious black garlic paste
At a different, similar fair, another day:
- pastel (pocket of dough deep-fried until blistery) filled with chicken and caitupury cheese
- crispy corn bread ball, cut in half, topped with shrimp and fresh herbs and plated with a chopped green tomato salad. when i reached for the hot sauce a woman warned me that it was powerful, but i am arrogant and proud and so i doused it anyway--it was REALLY hot. almost too hot...but I'm still here.
At a lancheonette (lunch counter), which are everywhere in the city and all seemed to be incredibly cheap and delicious:
- plate of rice, beans, a fried egg, sliced sausage
- small salad of lettuce, tomato, onion
- fresh mango juice
In Libertad (Japantown!):
- six takoyaki, which are a type of Japanese dumpling made with a sort of gummy rice (?) dough and baked I believe: 2 polvo (octopus), 2 queijo (cheese), 2 camarone (shrimp). SO DELICIOUS.
As a side note, I also picked up origami while in Libertad, and have since gotten pretty good. I can make, fittingly, several different marine animals.
Then one day, as I was traveling with a vegetarian, I went to a vegetarian India restaurant--a Hare Krishna restaurant, actually, and had a fantastic prix fixe meal (only option) consisting of:
- dal w/ lentils
- brown rice w/ corn and a fresh green herb
- quinoa w/ raisins, cashews, and a fresh green herb (there must be an herb-tasting course somewhere, right? I want to take one, I think my palate is underdeveloped)
- veggie kabob with meatless sausage, red and green peppers, onion, other veggies I can't remember, rather bizarrely topped with a strange sweet cheese
- little corn cakes topped with with a sweet tapenade of tomato and red pepper
- salad of some kind of bitter lettuce, apples, and walnuts, drizzled in a vineagrette
- fiber cake topped with a layer of chocolate goo and a white frosting
- I wrote down juice and I can't remember what kind it was but I remember it being phenom--all the juice in Brazil is
- warm Chai with milk & honey
- handful of pan masala
And that about does it for Sao Paulo--the standouts, anyway. Oh, except one night I went to a fancier, more international restaurant and had really delicious appetizers, the best being small toasts with slices of fig, brie, and honey. Simple, perfect flavor combination.
That was exhausting. I wish I remembered more. I also wish I hadn't gained 10 lbs since I left the States, but is anyone surprised?
Next post: Rio!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The great thing about risotto is that it really can be a meal by itself, and it requires so few ingredients. As long as you have rice (arborio), some kind of stock, and cheese in the house, you're pretty much set. Anything above and beyond that is gravy in risotto-land. Of course people like to dress it up in the manner that seems to be all the rage these days - with the fanciest, most arcane ingredients they can find. I'll leave that showy extravagance to them - I like uncomplicated food (at least, when I'm cooking it).
Risotto and I are really just getting to know each other, and as it turned out, the whole dinner was a kind of friendly, getting-to-know-you kind of meal, as I had never worked with scallops before either (unless you count cutting them and raising the fork to my mouth). This was my third time making risotto, and it strikes me as something that is foreboding at first, then reasonably intimidating once you convince yourself to try it, and then after you've done it a couple times, it's nothing. That's how this was. I made arugula risotto just a few days earlier, and it was delicious, so I was confident and optimistic. The scallops I learned you need to buy "dry" or else they are worthess (well, maybe that's exaggerating). Apparently most grocery store scallops are soaked in a brine that's used to preserve them and plump them up. However, when you get them home and try to sear them, they release a ton of salty liquid and just generally act maddeningly frustrating. But if you get dry (also known as "diver") scallops, you can avoid all this and simply pat them dry, get the pan nice and hot with a fat (I used olive oil) and sear them until the cows come home. Which is, for the record, what we did.
They were delicious. I was marvelling at the sweet seared scallops smell rising from the pan, and they took under 10 minutes. The risotto, meanwhile, was done and off the heat by then, simply waiting. We ate some bread, some cheese, some olives, and opened a bottle of Ommegang Rare Vos, which was spicy and mellow at the same time, and produced that lovely little warmth in your chest. It was a delightful evening, and the company... well, the company was the best part! I was glad I could feed the Big Guy a decent meal (and, who are we kidding, a beer) after a long day of work.
Dad, you always have a home and a hot meal in H-town!