Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Apparently MB was in the DF recently (it might have been as recently as last week when I was there!!! - omg I cannot believe we did not bump into each other!). He went to a traditional open air market, the kind of mercado sobre ruedas )literally: market on wheels) that sets up once a week in every Mexico City neighborhood. Sunday is "día de mercado" in small towns, but Mexico City was never a small town, so every day is market day somewhere in that monster of a city.
This is not something MB knew when he wrote the post, and clearly his DF guides are guilty of not explaining to him that open air markets are as democratic and popular as tacos - everyone can afford them, everyone likes them and everybody relies on them. Unlike the US trend, where open air market = farmer's market = expensive/organic/local whatever, shopping in the street and buying from if not a farmer, at least someone who is a few steps closer to the vegetable you are buying than the supermarket around the corner is a perfectly normal every day activity.
And very often, the plastic bags your pound of tomatoes will come in are brightly hued, as are the tarps that cover the stands in the market. In fact, if you fly into Mexico City during the day, you can tell which neighborhood has a mercado that day by the bright yellow, bright pink and bright orange tarps that cover an entire block or two. It looks amazing from above.
And it smells even better when you are in it. Apart from vegetables and fruit (including MB's favorite, the mamey, which he unfortunately insist on calling a mamay), there's always a huge flower stand or two, infusing the square footage around them in the smell of marigold and azuzenas, roses and carnations. These stands are always brightest and biggest. And then there is the juice stand, and the taco stand and the medicinal herb stand. Plus whatever other needs must be met that week (piñatas, flower pots, baskets, light fixtures).
Mexican markets are a microcosm of Mexico - everything is available and everything is possible, you just need to be flexible and know the local jargon, and you shall get it all, eventually.
For MB's post, click here.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
It's been a very busy 5 days and Matsuhisa may have been the culinary highlight. Other things kept me from posting - 4 of my students who gave a presentation on Peruvian cuisine for their history project, yum. Then another 60 needed guidance before the final next week. And my dad visited - we ate, we went to the opera, we bought books and boots, we had a fabulous time. When he landed home, he emailed me "All is well. Miss Matsuhisa ... and you."
Notice he missed Matsuhisa first.
I have no pictures of food, mostly because something rather common at this place. Once the food arrives on your table, you are so consumed by desire to eat it that all other priorities fall to the wayside. The thin slivers of snapper cooked by the lime juice and sea salt only melt on your tongue. The hamachi and jalapeño slices, just raw enough, just spicy enough. I won't even mention the miso braised cod, which melts like butter in your mouth. The show stopper were the King Crab tempura - ever so slightly battered, in a deep dish sprinkled with a vinegary broth and slivers of red onion. SO good, we had to get a second portion.
Since my dad left I haven't had proper meal. I have been surviving on grape nuts, kefir and Wasa crackers. Today I dug deep in the cupboards for a surprisingly satisfying dinner.
Chopped onions and garlic cooked till translucent, add baby peas and cook down with a cup of chicken stock (I had some if the Trader Joe's low sodium stuff), add salt and pepper and basil (I had some frozen basil in the freezer). Cook pasta until almost done, drain and toss with peas. Add grated parmesan from dessicated old chunk from back of fridge and eat watching Office reruns.
Now if only I could figure out how to get the picture to go where I want to, this evening would end perfectly!
Monday, November 30, 2009
What lies ahead?
Well December of course. I am going to Matsuhisa with my father tomorrow night (the birthplace of the Nobu empire). You didn't think I'll let that go by un-blogged?
And December will also bring a return to Oregon and my co-blogger, so maybe we'll do something extra special with MB's holiday suggestions. Like what I don't know. But stay with us. There's more to come.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
All I want for Christmas is this deep fryer. And a pound of beef tallow. And some Belgian bintje potatoes.
If I had all that, I could make you the real belgian fries, the kind of fries that defy all expectations, and taste better than any deep fried potato you can get this side of the Atlantic.
The secret is in the double frying, and of course the potato (and the bintje's very unique ratio of size to starch - similar to, but not quite as good as a Yukon Gold), the sprinkling of salt and the mayonnaise. The double frying, which so many people ignore elsewhere, is what makes a Belgian fry perfect. It also should be beef tallow, not duck fat. I know its become the gourmet bistro trick of the last year, but duck fat just does not do the trick. Also - did you know that McDonald's used to use beef tallow to make their fries? It's one of the reasons Julia Child declared them to be so good. There are many rumors as to why McDonald's switched to vegetable oils in the 90's, none of which we need to go into now. But if you;ve had a McD's fry lately, you'll know they taste as sallow and weak as any other fast food fry. Beef tallow my friends, beef tallow!
And the yolky mayo to take it over the top.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
If MB and I had to drive down from the Bay Area to LA on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I would certainly hope we'd drive down in a stretch something driven by someone else than MB or I. That way we wouldn't notice the rest of California driving down the 5 today. Nor would we mind getting stuck in traffic for EVER on the last 50-mile stretch into LA.
The lovely driver of said stretchmobile would also be the one to stand in line at the Kettleman City In n' Out Burger and bring it back to us, so we wouldn't have to share space with that half of humanity that was not across the street getting Sundaes at McDonald's.
MB and I would probably have a lengthy debate as to whether the In n'Out burger is better than the Burgerville burger, and we'd be busy discussing it for the next forever hours as we inched our way back to SoCal after 2 very short but lovely days in the Berkeley hills.
PS: the weird non-food picture was taken while driving very slowly through the Cajón pass.
Friday, November 27, 2009
My co-blogger and I had a similar morning, except I did my guilty eating at Café Fanny in Berkeley. But it felt a lot like what was going down in McMinnville.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Unfortunately I stopped taking pictures once dinner got started, which is why there is no evidence of infamous vegetarian shepherd's pie. Just above is a picture of what is essentially the lower layer of the pie. I made a creamy buttery batch of mashed potatoes and celery root, layered it in a very pretty casserole dish and broiled it it for 15 minutes while the chicken (no pics) cooled. It was DELISH! Definitely the vegetarian special occasion meal of the moment. It takes at least half a day to prepare, but it is totally worth it. It is sort of the vegetarian version of boeuf bourguignon without the boeuf or the heart-valve clotting effect.
The soup is another keeper - it insanely easy, and tucked away at the beginning of the last historic Gourmet magazine, it is one of the many reasons you need to get a copy of it while you still can. The carrot and beet play off each other very subtly, and the soup doesn't taste of one or the other, but of a sweet and tart and slightly spicy earthy bowl of goodness. And you can't beat that soup for color! I added a dollop of sour cream and some toasted walnuts. It was pretty, and it was yummy.
We had a lovely dinner, and I was and am thankful to have shared it with the people I was with.
And now I look forward to eating left-overs and not going near a pot for at least 2 days!
But I'll report on that too, because there are 4 more days of November left, 4 more days of Nablopomo, 4 more meals (at least) to tell you about, and 4 more evenings to collect myself and post something before I collapse in bed with an episode of Community on Hulu.com, or one of MI-5 from netflix (if you don't know what I am talking about, drop me a comment and I'll elaborate), 4 more days during which I'll live my life with an eye towards what may be blog-worthy!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I almost finished my neighbors granola bars, but its the excedrin migarine pills (with the caffeine) that kept me going...
There will be much cooking tomorrow, and hopefully some pictures of the vegetarian shepherd's pie I've been thinking so much about, and my co-blogger's chicken, which is replacing the turkey this year, yay!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Today I had a very rare quiet hour in my office - door closed, lecture and slides done, 1 hour to go before office hours. I'd picked up a salt bagel from a local bagel shop that does a decent job (by SoCal standards) and had the NYT crossword puzzle with me - I must have sensed I would have time to do it today.
I sat at my desk, salt bagel shmeared with scallion cream cheese and a slice of tomato in the left hand, pen in my right, bent over the crossword puzzle until both were done.
It was quite easily the best hour I have had since the matzo ball soup on Saturday.
Tomorrow I am driving 374 miles north - my delightful neighbor gave me a batch of her home made granola bars, and between those and the peanut butter & jelly sandwich the beast and I will share on our drive up, I think I will be quite satisfied.
I hope to be able to get the recipe for those granola bars , because they are insanely good, and because I'd like, for once, to give you and actual recipe on this blog. The bars are sweetened with brown sugar and dates, and they have oats and sunflower seeds and almonds and god knows what else in them. My neighbor says their healthy. Right.
Monday, November 23, 2009
This will have to suffice.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Here in the valley, this weekend and next are big wine tasting weekends. We are going to do our part a bit today and taste some hopefully nice pinots this afternoon. Since we are close enough to the holiday season that the store is busy (yeah!) I will be working in the morning. This leads me to consider a slow cooking soup for dinner tonight. I have some dried fava beans in my pantry that I will be using with some of the left over chicken. Will report on progress later. I haven't given Thanksgiving cooking a second thought yet! Kudos to my co-blogger for being organized. I have considered just roasting the annoying cat and calling it good, but I think that my children would be unhappy.
Oh, as I wrote this, I INHALED a cornmeal waffle with chestnut honey on top. So. Good.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The dessert was a nice enough chocolate mousse, presented in a minute but very cute little pot one a very pretty plate. Don't you think it is pretty?
On other issues, did anyone notice how amazingly in-synch MB and I are??? I post about my list of thxgiving preparations yesterday, and HE makes his list of 101 dishes to prep before the big day. It's like we are connected or something...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The plan is to make the vegetarian shepherd's pie from the very last issue of Gourmet magazine. It involves making a deep and rich vegetable stock and roasting enormous amounts of vegetables and peeling pearl onions etc. It will also involve two baking dishes since the recipe calls for cream and butter in the mashed potato&celery root puree, which I will leave out of the vegan version.
Then there will be chicken instead of turkey, and my fingers are crossed that this increases to probability that the picky eaters will have some of it this year.
I am quite sure they won't care for the acorn squash stuffed with bulgur, pine nuts and cranberries, or the fennel& radicchio salad, or the scarlet carrot soup (again from the last Gourmet RIP). But maybe they'll have some of the mashed potatoes I'll save from the shepherd's pie before I mix in the celery root. And there'll be lots of bread for them to nibble on (thank you Acme).
This w-e I will make the rich vegetable stock and freeze it. On Tuesday evening I'll make the scarlet carrot soup (beets give it the color) and the vats of frozen stock will keep it cool on the way up. I need to find a cooler that'll keep all this stuff safe from the hound, who like 3 of the 7 dinner guests, is a complete and uncontrolled omnivore.
Come to think of it, what I actually need is a locked safe...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I recovered from the day, I relaxed.
There's nothing in the fridge though, and I really should not be around knives after having bourbon, so when my friend Marne came over we decided dinner was going to be a burger. We went old school - all the way to the Apple Pan, where there's plaid wall paper dating from 1953 on the walls, and wood paneling, and the menu hasn't changed since they printed it. We had burgers and fries with a side of hickory sauce - the tartest relish and ketchup concoction imaginable, and it was delicious! We sat at the horse-shoe shaped counter and Marne flirted with the septuagenarian waiter and I left with my hands sticky from that sauce.
What a way to end a very long Tuesday. Upwards and onwards to Wednesday and day 18!
Monday, November 16, 2009
My flight back to heLL-A leaves at 8.30pm, there's a booksigning in P'land at 6, a class to prep for tomorrow and an overdue paper to revise, so this is a busy Monday.
So busy that lunch was improvised with the 4 eggs left in the fridge and a quick stop at the Lafayette Mercado. Result: calabaza jalapeño omelettes with quesadillas and green salsa. I snuck in a very non-vegetarian chicken and potato cruchy taquito with roasted jalapeños and green onions.
Perhaps it was not the low-fat lunch we should be focusing on, but it was good. And it was quick!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I started the day with a bagel and lox (it was ok, but Portland is not NY in this respect) and ended with the most perfect grilled chicken breast and green salad, courtesy of chef Chris at the Dundee Bistro. It was not on the menu, but when I explained the nature of our w-e and my need for comfort, he knew what I meant.
His dinner takes #1 place on today's top 15 list of Juliette's comfort foods. Below a complete list not exactly in order of preference, the makings of which are almost always available in my fridge and pantry.
#1 grilled chicken and green salad with tangy lemon&olive oil dressing
#2 home made tomato soup
#3 my mom's rice pudding
#4 gouda, butter and wheat bread sandwich
#5 my grandmother's chicken soup
#6 soft boiled egg with toast "soldiers"
#7 corn flakes with sweetened milk
#8 PG tips tea with splash of milk (not technically a food, but serious comfort nonetheless)
#9 cream of wheat with sour cherries
#10 cucumber sandwiches made with soft English white bread
#11 sliced tomatoes
#12 plain yogurt with brown sugar
#13 apples (any kind as long as they are tart and hard)
#14 cheddar cheese + avocado + mango chutney
#15 Ritter Sport milk chocolate with hazelnuts
What's on your list?
Beet Orange Salad
Prepare two to three large beets (I mean really large. These were softball sized, so adjust your beet quantities accordingly). I am not going into detail as to how to prepare them, assuming that you either a) already know how or b) can figure it out. Once they have cooled, sliced them into thin (2mm thick) slices, then cut into wedges, like an apple. Really, you can cut them anyway you want.
Take three large mandarin oranges. Peel and slice the sections out so there is no pith and no membrane on them. Cut or rip each slice in half.
Toss together in a large bowl with about 3-4 TB coarsely chopped chives. Take one small red onion and slice as thin as you can - like paper thin. Add about 2-3 TB of the onions and the chives to the bowl. Toss.
Add salt to taste - something with texture to it like fleur du sel is ideal. Add freshly ground pepper - also to taste. Take best quality olive oil and drizzle on top. Add about 2-3 TB of red wine vinegar. Toss all together and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Often cold dishes need more salt for the flavors to really meld. I also added more vinegar to cut the sweetness of the beets.
These blue bags are great not just for holding The Times, but a myriad of other things as well. In our house, they get stuffed in a basket by the front door and when we are taking the dog for a walk, we grab one to use as a poop-bag. I have also used them to hold sandwiches, a collection of parts from a child's crib, and dog treats. They must be made of very special plastic because they rarely break, and in the wettest weather, my paper is always dry.
Except for this morning. You knew this was coming right? My paper is wet. From the masthead to the fold - soaking. So I have spread the paper out in my living room to let it dry. I type this while I nurse my frustration and wait for the bread to toast. I know, I should be grateful that I can even get home delivery out here in the boondocks, but this really chaps my hide.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
And yet that is what I did. They surprised me at the end of my hair appointment - we had tofu fries and veggie rolls at a modern and sanitized version of a Thai-ish noodle bar in a nice open air Oregon mall where a disturbingly high number of stores have closed since last year. And then we had a bag of candy from a store I think will make it through this recession (because people will delay buying shoes, but candy is immediate therapy).
These two fabulous girls - these two! - they were my therapy, and between them and the candy and the insane weather (hail! sun! rain!), this was exactly the kind of day that erases all the grime of LA from me, and encompasses many of the reasons why I want to (will) live here.
And the rest of the day was spent sampling pinot noirs.
Not a bad way to spend a Friday 13th, is it?
A long time ago I swore I would never forsake my Blackberry for the sleek, glib, facile iPhone. The universe has a way of laughing in my face, loudly. First there was the broccoli revelation: after 39 years of professing I was a true blood broccoli hater and that the stuff made me gag, I had the most amazing broccoli dish at Nick's Italian cafe in McMinnville. Its tangy garlicky tartness made me a broccoli lover forever. Then there was that Coldplay song that made me eat my words about Chris Martin making my eardrums bleed. And ultimately the iPhone, upon which I am writing this post, one finger-tap at a time, from up on high in my Alaska Airlines seat. iPhone apps RULE, especially those that let you draft post from miles in the sky.
Because of this app, I can write this, my 12th post, before the end of the 12th day. And I can share the news that the Chipotle burrito franchise closest to LAX has the most unexpectedly interesting clientele - orange county mom with two surly kids, office friends, a soldier, a Mexican mother-daughter pair, a very tattooed dude, a very preppy guy, and a father with his son and teh son's girlfriend, not talking to each other, not one single word for the duration of their burritos. And while my burrito could not hold a candle to yesterday's cheese or the coffee cup I'll get from my boyfriend tomorrow morning, it sure as hell beat the pitiful dining options in terminal 3.
While we are on the subject of apps - I love the epicurious app, and the wholefoods recipe app which is surprisingly easy to use and practical. And the measurement conversion app of course.
Internets, or my fellow and dear co-blogger, what are your favorite food related apps?
Landing in 15 minutes. Must turn iPhone off. From high above Ashland, Oregon
Your committed nablopomo blogger
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Apart from liking certain numbers , you know what else I like? I like cheese. A lot. And after yesterday's salt soup fiasco I vowed like Scarlett O'Hara never to do that again.
I had an errand to run in Beverly Hills today. There's not much I like about BH, but there is one place I LOVE. And I mean, I luuuurve it. Meet today's boyfriend: the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills.
I walked in as if I were walking out of the desert and into a cold glass of diet coke. I inhaled the smell of mold and tangy goat milk, and looked into the eyes of a real cheese monger and told him -"I want three pieces of cheese. They'll have to be enough for dinner, and they have to rock my world".
They did. I got one sharp Sardinian cheese that tasted like a mature version of a Ptit Basque, and a Spanish creamy blue cheese that made my knees melt, and the most pornographic tiny burrata. I ate the cheese with a delicious balsamic cream (yes you read right: balsamic.cream. it was amazing) and shaved fennel with a tiny bit of lemon, olive oil and sea salt. The last of the gooey burrata (the part that was spread out over the plate, mixed in with some lemony fennel dressing and drops of the balsamic cream) was neatly scooped up with chunks of a honey crisp apple - those really are every bit as good as everyone says they are.
Ah redemption, thy name is burrata.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Why would someone who idolizes cookbook authors eat such crap? Because of a chronic case of lethargia, brought on largely by a case of Los Angeles. This town does not inspire to cook. Or perhaps it's the LA kitchen? Or the fact that it is still too warm to embrace winters soups and stews, but the tomatoes don't taste like anything anymore either.
This w-e, as I lay in bed waging war against the flu, the one bright spot was the arrival of the NYT on Sunday. It's not just about the x-word puzzle (although it is largely about that) - I always (mostly) enjoy the food essay in the magazine.
This week's essay was about the return of a retro appetizer - the bagna cauda. Not only do I LOVE bagna cauda, it also reminds me of one of this summer's dinners in Oregon, and it reminds me of my Oregon mama Joanie who told me how to make it and what pot to use and what best to dip into it.
Bagna cauda uses three of my favorite ingredients: butter, anchovies and garlic, and my other boyfriend - olive oil. Mix those four together and you have the mother of silky smooth baths of savory yumminess, which I am pretty sure is the literal translation of 'bagna cauda'.
I made it for a dinner party we had this summer - 4 people plus us, and I had never met them before. The bagna cauda and a big plate of sliced crusty bread, chiogga beets and fennel and we were all fast friends by the time we were scraping the garlicky anchovies off the bottom of the pot.
That an a couple of bottles of bubbly made for the perfect introduction on a perfect Oregon summer's evening, the perfect memory of which will hopefully carry me away from the salty TJ's experience I am laboring to digest.
Monday, November 9, 2009
My co-blogger has inspired me to try to blog more. This is a crazy-busy time of year for me. But, there is something soothing and so normal about posting periodically. Since the weather is crap right now: really cold and wet, a soup for dinner was in order. Lately, we have been eating a lot of soups. They are fairly easy to make, don't take too long and are very forgiving. Here is what I made tonight:
Chicken Pesto Soup
In a deep pot or dutch oven saute in olive oil:
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 small fingerling potatoes, chopped in small pieces
2 small sweet potatoes, yes, these are chopped too
In a cast iron skillet cook up two chicken breast until just barely cooked. Remove breasts from pan and set aside. Add some water and soften the browned chicken goodness with the water. Add this to the dutch oven with all the vegetables.
Add 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth to the dutch oven. Add 3 TB of prepared pesto to the dutch oven and stir well. Chop up two large handfuls of fresh arugula and add to the veggie-broth mixture.
With an immersion blender or something like that, blend the soup together until moderately smooth. If you like really smooth, blend longer. If you like a little chunky, blend for a shorter period of time. Cut chicken breasts into bit-sized pieces and add to soup.
Add fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.
I am going to serve this with a little assiago cheese and a baguette. I think everyone will be happy. The photo above does not do it justice, but it is good.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Uwajimaya - This is the mecca for Asian food in the Pacific Northwest. There are three stores, one in Beaverton, OR and the other two up in Seattle, WA and Bellevue, WA. Their selections are huge, but I suspect that a more discerning and knowledgeable shopper would have some complaints. Uwajimaya can be expensive, partially because some of the items just cost more, but also they can charge more because they are almost the only game in town. I took my friend SD for her maiden visit. She came with a list. I was like - list? I just wander around and fill my cart! No wonder I end up spending more than I should when I go there. I bought:
vermicelli rice noodles
pocky sticks (very important)
ginger/honey tea packets
gummie candy (stocking stuffers)
a bottle of wasabi mayonnaise (gift for my brother)
a bottle of gamay (not Asian, but so, so good)
Then, I introduced the lovely SD to another favorite store of mine. The Dutch American Market and Import store. I discovered this place in college when I was cleaning house for a Dutch couple. They had all sorts of Dutch treats in their kitchen that I hadn't seen since my childhood. Bolletje, gouda, roggebrood. Since then, I trek out there a few times a year, but always near the holiday season so that I can stock up on chocolate and treats. Purchased:
chocolate letters (kids and cousins initials)
chocoladehagel (chocolate sprinkles)
gestampte muijes (literal translation is "stomped mice" - is actually powdered anise with sugar)
hopjes (coffee flavored hard candy)
seems like there was something else, but I cannot remember what
All in all, a very fun trip. We ate Lebanese food for lunch (oh how I love thee fresh-out-of-the-oven pita) and had a great americano at Barista.
Came home to take-and-bake pizza, which is actually pretty good!
Today is very, very wet and the first time it seems cold. Husband has prepared a veritable feast - green chili enchiladas and red chili posole and pork soup. Looking forward to it. Delivered the gouda and roggebrood to my Dutch grandfather. He rubbed his hands together with glee. I think that he was almost as happy as when I bring him cigarettes.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Probably because I really do have the flu and am delirious.
And now, for something completely different (and a week late):
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Yes, you read me right.
Since MB only has a weekly videos, that leaves approximately 26 days to fill with other MB news. Good thing I just got his Everything Vegetarian book, and will start working through it this month. Then there is my "where I would take MB for dinner" theme. Expect that one to be a recurring one.
Why am I doing this? Why would anyone with a full-time job, a double commuting life that includes hour long drives and flights, a geriatric dog and book contracts commit to write everyday and make that a public commitment? Here's the thing: life is bloody hard sometimes, and I am betting that something challenging and demanding like NaBloPoMo will help me keep my head above water. So in the midst of professional and existential cruxes, I am adding one sure thing to the mix.
Because whatever else happens, you gotta eat. And you'll know all about it, starting November 1st.
Stay tuned! And a happy Halloween!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
With harvest in full swing, there have been many meals of just me and les filles. The husband returns home in the wee hours of the night while we all sleep. He and I actually chatted for ten minutes last night! I am hoping that he might make it home in time for a late dinner this evening - what to cook? Something with sweet potatoes from our CSA I suspect.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I don't know that it'll improve the quantity of our posts, but I can assure it has already improved the quality of my life.
And I have a new place to take Mark Bittman to, should he visit our corner of the PNW - pizza's at Nick's for lunch. That's right - I challenge New York to on-up these lovely creations.
That's it for now, there are strawberries to be purchased and jammed. Results will be blogged about soon.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all she had done as the mother of the Eat Local and Slow Food movements in America. Her influence has reached the farthest, tiniest corners of the country and parts of the world. She is a powerful advocate for her cause. But I am just over her. It is all a bit too precious now. Maybe because I have been tuning in for a while, I am ready to tune out, I don't know. Preaching to the choir.
Noodles and the Anti-Ramen. I made it the other night and it was great. Easy, fast and tasty. I added sliced ginger, scallions and shallots and some left-over roasted chicken we had in the fridge. I also blanched some rappini and chopped that up for a bit of color and texture. Everyone is feeling a bit under the weather, so it was perfect.
Now, if we could just start getting some sun here, we will all be able to dry out. I know that postings here have been slim (sorry!) but I haven't been feeling inspired. Although I have rediscovered my crock-pot...
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
MB's post this week is about grains, and about how to get more of them in your diet. And Ajisai's "biscotti" are not biscotti in the italian definition. Their biscotti are crunchy rice cakes (I'd like to think oven fried, but I am afraid it might just be fried fried) covered with a divine dollop of spicy tuna. Filling, protein and fiber laden, perfect with an espresso for breakfast, a diet coke for lunch or a beer for dinner.
In reference to MB's recommendations for left over rice and oat recipes, this one is replicable: take left over fiber of any kind, cut and shape into 3 bite sized shape, stick in oven or toaster.
Add an egg, or an egg white and scallion, or a slice of tuna or chicken or cheese or any other form of protein, sprinkle with sea salt/tamari/gomasio.
I can't promise the remake of these rice cakes will immediately put you in the company of Gay Rights Movement heroes and brilliant writers, but they will certainly make a lovely light meal.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Come to think of it, this wouldn't be a bad Valentine's day meal... Happy hearts and all that.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
On another memory lane posting, the Melrose Place Farmer's Market is a small affair. A few flower stands, about ten vegetable and fruit stands, a very good mobile cheese monger (an rather eccentric Dutch man), and the bread man. His loaves are okay, I prefer crustier stuff, but he has a brioche toast loaf that takes me back, aaaaall the way back. It is a square loaf, perfect for finger sandwiches (you see where I am going?).
So if Mark and I ever had tea on a rainy Sunday afternoon, we'd sip dark PG tips tea with a splash of milk from my grandmother's old transferware cups, talk about the demise of Domino (the magazine) and nibble on cucumber sandwiches made with the Melrose Place bread guy's brioche loaf, european butter, thinly sliced cucumber and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.
Come to think of, I don't think Mark would be into that. But I know my co-blogger would be (wouldn't you????)!
square brioche (egg bread) loaf
thick full fat (not excuse) european style butter
salt (any kind, but use sparingly)
+ one good bread knife
put kettle on
- have butter at room temp
- slice load into thin slices
- butter to slices of bread
- slice cucumber thinly and layer on on slice of bread
- sprinkle salt on other slice
- put one slice on top of other (butter facing cucumber)
- slice into 1-inch wide strips
brew tea, warm the milk
sit down & enjoy.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I just made something I call "Mama's Mash". Dad is away on business, and we just got our first CSA bag for 2009. Fingerling potatoes, celery root, butternut squash, onions, garlic and brussel sprouts. So for a quick dinner for les filles, I whipped this up.
Toss in large, ideally cast iron, skillet that has been preheated and has about a tablespoon of olive oil shimmering in the bottom.
One onion, chopped
Two cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
5-7 potatoes, coarsely chopped
Add a bunch of bacon, chopped into one inch wide pieces.
Add small chopped pieces of broccoli
add salt and pepper
Cover with lid. Stir every five minutes or so until everything looks cooked and is slightly caramelized.
Turn off heat.
Grate a nice layer of cheddar cheese on top. Put lid back on so cheese will melt.
Plates were cleaned in a matter of minutes.
Not terribly inventive, but a great mid-week, rainy evening meal
Monday, February 2, 2009
The hotel had old Vuitton suitcases for side-tables ( a staple of boutique hotels in the 90's), dark walls, heavy chntz and moder furniture, Annick Goutal room scent diffusers, bowls of all-sorts licorice candy, retro drinks at the dark and smoky bar. I was too young to drink, at least when traveling with my parents, but not too young to appreciate the cheddar&chutney nibbles that came with them.
The appetizers, which are sadly no longer on the Blake's menu, don't take mych work or talent to compose. Instructions are as follows:
Take Carr's water crackers
Spread a bit of good mango chutney
Add a slice if sharp cheddar
Layer with a piece of avocado.
It has the simplicity of the Bittman creed, and it is utterly addictive.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
so i won't make jamie oliver's parmesan chicken, or that pasta and cabbage dish that actually looked very good last week when it was slightly cooler in this hell-hole of a town.
back to the tacos. i am a purist about them: i like them small, i like them with fresh salsa, and i want hand-made tortillas. you have to drive deep into LA to find that, and even heading east is no guarantee. in portland, i am a dedicated supporter of por qué no taquería. they transported what i like best about the tizoncito in mexico city to a kitschy small space in north east p'land. and today i discovered pinches tacos on sunset, not 1 mile from where i live! a walking distance taquería, close to a good cinema and across from the chateau marmont - one way or the other, i'll have some form of entertainment with bittman-worthy tacos.
check them out at pinchestacos.com, and let me know if you're in town...