Sunday, August 31, 2008

jouer avec votre nourriture

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


My problem is, if I don't post right away, I forget what I've eaten. Isn't there some food that is supposed to strengthen memory? For yesterday:

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

Should we only post if we eat something remarkable, or are we still doing the day to day?

Without a solid mid-day run on the beach, this sequence of meals could have added an inch to the waist...

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

Back for Good!

what's up y'all? as a a wise man once said: "i've been gone for a minute, now i'm back let me..." cook it? anyway, the game has been on and off these days, but Becky and i cooked last night (in her new apartment in pac heights, at that!), so here goes.

breakfast: avocado and honeydew soy shake (inspired by iron chef america - peep it at 9 pm on'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.

dessert: affogato.

oh yeah, i've been drinking madd sparkling water (all bourgoeosie-like) at work.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Szechuan and Steaks

First off, shout out to H on that awesome blog! It really looks like you're making the most of your travels. Really awesome stuff.

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
- Succotash
- 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!!

Bon appetit.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Long Overdue, But Never Forgotten

So I've definitely been MIA over the past month or two but I am back, back with a vengeance, because I'd say that I've probably spent half said month or two EATING and for awhile I even wrote about what I was eating (by hand!) in a little notebook I carry around. Let's start at the very beginning: Brazil. After I finished my five week course in conservation biology in the Atlantic Forest (which included heavenly meals prepared largely with ingredients from an organic garden on the premise), I headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest, fastest growing, and more importantly, most culinary city. In Sao Paulo, I ate myself silly. Here's what I recorded.

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!


This is insane. Courtesy of the D-Meister.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dinner with Dad: Scallops and Risotto

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of dining with one of my favorite people, my dad. I offered to cook dinner if he would swing by and stay for a little visit. When it came time to settle on a meal, however, I drew a blank. My appetite hasn't been as voracious these days - I waiver between yogurt in the thick heat of midday and a light bowl of soup during the recurring thunderstorms and the cooling breezes that follow. But I couldn't bring myself to serve my dad chicken (it's a family thing), so I drew some inspiration from a meal at Max's last weekend. It was simple and well-done, summery yet filling: seared scallops over summer-vegetable risotto.

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!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Been A Long Time, I Shouldn't Have Left You...

Without a dope beat to step to!

I'm in a transitional period with no computer, steady home, or grocery store.  The current posts are coming live from what Big-L so aptly named the Dangerzone. One three nine and Lennox, suckas!

"Get beat down and all you hear is gunshot sounds 
On 139 and Lennox Ave there's a big park 
And if you're soft, don't go through it when it gets dark..."
--Big L

Breakfast: A piece of multi-grain toast with peanut butter, tall glass of milk, strawberry pop-tart...

Lunch: Coconut braised salmon with white rice and roasted herb potatoes.  A piece of Junior's cheesecake straight from Flatbush and DeKalb. Brooklyn, stand up!

Dinner: Chicken Lo-Mein and a water.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Letters in the Mail

I received a lovely letter from Ms. Honeycut in the mail today explaining her reasons for not joining food game. She's not cooking, or eating well. Um, neither am I - I'm about to prove it! That is not good enough, Honeycut. I am waiting for you. You related tales of iced tea, fried chicken, and gin in your letter, so I'll venture that some of that (not all...) can be committed to the blog-o-sphere. Just to prove my point (and to get this thing up and running again), let me paint a picture of what I consumed today. I'm not saying it will be pretty...!

Breakfast: Hm. Did I eat breakfast? I can't remember. I think one of the first signs of nutrient deficiency is a failing short-term memory. Oh, wait...I think I had coffee. And maybe something else. But I don't remember what. Moving on...

Lunch: I ate a turkey, bacon, and cheddar flatbread sandwich from Dunkin' Donuts. Yes, Dunkin' Donuts. Comment all you want!!! It was free. Look out for that coupon on your iced coffee... those of you in school or on a budget will know what I'm talking about. I'm tryna make a dollar out of fifteen cents.

Snack: The remains of a chocolate peanut butter sundae that is just out of this world (if you know me, I have most likely told you about it) ... possibly the only leftover food I will eat. Kidding! See above note re: budget.

Dinner: I read this really mouthwatering recipe for roasted eggplant with tomatoes in a Patricia Wells cookbook and bought an eggplant thinking it would be a quick and delicious summer meal. I neglected to read the part about having to cook it at 450 degrees for an hour and a half ... not so summery. I think it was the grape tomatoes I used instead of the standard size, but they did not release juices as they were supposed to and so the dish was ultimately kind of underwhelming. Oh well. I ate it anyway (15¢ = $1).

Oh yes. I also drank lots of water with lime and some berry-flavored juice I picked up in Whole Foods when suddenly struck with a camel-in-the-desert type thirst. It reminded me of Juicy Juice.

'Til tomorrow, ragazzi!