Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Wedding, Philly Style

I think I have eaten more cow in the past 6 days than I did the whole of last month.
First, there was a good deal on a particular cut of steak from FD, so that became dinner last week.
Then there were leftovers, which I ate for 2 days. (The hubs was already gone, and I was trying to empty the fridge before leaving, hence it lasted two days.)
Then there was the steak frites w/ truffle french fries at the Rehearsal Dinner on Friday. (I highly suspect that place used the truffle salt from Secret Stash...)
Then there was sliced steak w/ a delicious tomato relish at the wedding. (And I successfully begged the recipe for the tomato relish from the caterer.)
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, after a trip to the Philly Museum of Fine Art, we ate at El Vez and shared Macho Nachos (which come w/ steak) and the Carnitas.

Granted, I could have opted for chicken at both the rehearsal and the wedding... but since I cook chicken at home all the time, I opted for red meat at every turn. Fingers crossed my heart keeps beating at a steady clip.

I'll get back to food blogging later this week, but first, some pictures of the dashing couple and the weekend in Philly.
The lovely couple

Beautiful dress

The hubs (as Best Man) playing with, sparklers.

Then at the Museum I actually took pictures of some of the paintings I really liked, which I almost never do.
This is a close-up of a painting by John Atkinson Grimshaw. In person it was rather astounding.
(Click to enlarge. I am fascinated by people who can paint things that look like photographs.)

Face of a Woman by André Lhote

Little Dancer by Degas

"The Flirt" by Toulouse-Loutrec

A lovely Monet

"Man with a Violin" by Picasso.

So not only did we get to slide a little culture into our wedding weekend, we got to hide from the heat in a well air-conditioned building. Double smarts.

Should any of you be in Philly, I would definitely recommend eating at El Vez if you enjoy Mexican food. If they had a sister restaurant in NYC, the hubs and I would be there weekly.
But another perk of that restaurant is that it has a photo booth in the back, so of course we had to take advantage and create another memory.
(Ignoring the smudge down the middle...)
 Ain't we cute?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring Ramp-age

There just had to be a pun in the title...

After listening to all the hype about ramps, I finally got myself a nice bundle to experiment with. And now that I have cooked and eaten them, I can honestly say, they live up to the hype. They really are delicious little bites of Spring.

Aside: I'm fairly certain that I used to dig these up when I was younger. I may or may not have wandered into the "forest" (read very open tree-filled area) behind my grammar school during recess once or twice, and  I found and dug up what I called "baby onions".  I remember the smell of the "baby onions" and I'm fairly certain now that they were in fact ramps.

There is this "pizzette" at a new local wine bar that I am obsessed with. It comes on super crispy, very thin crust, and is topped with Manila clams, speck, and garlic. It is delicious! And I decided I should try to recreate it at home, and that this would be a perfect time to try to incorporate ramps in my cooking.
Step one: cook the clams
Ok so I couldn't find manilla clams, but I used some cherrystone clams and cut up the larger ones once cooked. And I did not cook them in gray dishwater. It just looks that way. I cooked them in white wine with garlic, salt, and oregano. Very tasty on their own.

A few of my lovely ramps.
I washed them thoroughly, removed the root ends, diced up the bulbs, and chopped up the greens. 
I sautéed the sliced bulbs in olive oil, and when just tender, I added the greens and a pinch of salt. Very simple. I put that aside and got ready to assemble my version of the pizzette.

I have mentioned before my trouble with breads and dough, mostly because I have no real experience making them. Since I couldn't think of a good substitute for the crisp crust/flatbread the wine bar used, I decided to go another way, and I used naan as my base.
Yes, naan is rather doughy, and while it is delicious by itself, I thought it would be even better with these toppings, and that it would not compete with the flavors I was placing on top of it.  So I went with it, and I must say it worked. (If you try this, make sure you do not buy the garlic naan! That would completely negate the use of the ramps.)

As I was using plain naan, I gave it a light brush with melted butter, and then piled it with the clams, speck (you can easily use prosciutto here instead), and cooked ramps, complete with any oil in the pan.
Just a few minutes under the broiler and it was ready.
And it was really good.
The ramps had a combination of onion and garlic flavor, so the dish almost tasted the same as the one in the wine bar, but at the same time it was slightly different, and I really enjoyed their subtle flavor.
Definitely worth trying at home, people!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shiitake Mushroom Crostini

Yes, LOST ended last night, and we stayed up late watching it via DVR so we could skip the commercials, but I'm not going to get into a tangent on television that we were obsessed with and which we now must let go of because that wouldn't be very relevant. Only it is because it just happened, and it ties in to a post I don't think I ever posted about how I like to read books that are a series instead of solo novels because I get caught up in the characters and don't like to say goodbye to them after just one book. (If it's a good book, anyway.)
 And I shall just say that I was actually OK with how it all ended (yes, a few minor hitches, but I'm choosing to cling to the happy glow instead of picking it apart until I'm all CrankyPants about it), and was really happy because I always wanted Hugo to be the one. Yay! Also, I have decided the hubs needs to dress up as Nestor/Richard Alpert for Halloween, because he is just so pretty. So very, very pretty.

Oh. Right. Food.

This crostini came about completely by accident. In planning the Mother's Day Menu and scouring the fridge before hitting the store, I came across a package of pre-sliced shiitake mushrooms in the vegetable drawer, and so decided I could easily turn them into something tasty.

First I sautéed the shiitake mushrooms in a pan with about 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP of butter.  (Try not to crowd the pan or your mushrooms will just come out rubbery instead of tender and slightly browned.) 
Cooking those until beginning to brown, I then added about half a minced shallot (Go for garlic if making this for someone who is not allergic to garlic. I'd use one large or two small cloves, grated into a paste.) salt and about a teaspoon of dried thyme that I crushed between my fingers before sprinkling in.
(I would have preferred fresh, but I was working with a strange pantry.)

After another minute or so of cooking I deglazed the pan with white wine, (maybe 1/2 cup but I was eyeballing it) and let that cook down for a few minutes. Once most of the wine had cooked away I added about 1/3 cup of heavy cream, and again let that cook down, maybe another 4 minutes. You'll know it's ready when the pan doesn't have much of a noticeable sauce in it anymore. Rather, just the reduced wine-cream sauce coating the mushrooms.

On the toasted bread I spread a cheese akin to St. André, but any slightly tangy spreadable cheese would do. (You don't want the flavor of the cheese to overwhelm the subtlety of the shitake mushrooms. The cheese was really just glue with which to keep the mushrooms on the toast. Also, excuse to eat cheese.) I then spread the mushroom mixture on top and set them in the oven for a few minutes, just to make sure the cheese and the mushrooms melted together a tiny bit.

If making these mushrooms for crostini again, I would substitute 1/4 cup brandy or cognac in place of the white wine in the deglazing stage. I think it would add much more flavor to the dish, but as I was making this off the cuff, I only decided that at the end. When tasting in the pan, the mushrooms were delicious and I did a little happy dance in a circle. With the bread as an added component tho, I craved a little more zing from the mushrooms. (It could also have just been the particular white wine I was using. It was a very light and fresh white from around Venice.) 
However, if just using these mushrooms as a pasta sauce, the white wine should suffice, but then I would use a bit more wine and cream (maybe another quarter cup each) so there would be more sauce to coat the pasta.
Either way, very, very tasty mushrooms.
I think I shall be making these again later this week when the hubs heads to Philly...
(mushrooms being one of the Things Mike Won't Eat)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chicken & Prosciutto Crostini

As promised, I am posting the various crostini recipes that I made on Mother's Day. I'm starting with this one because it's a lovely weekend, the weather finally seems to be acting like it ought (kind of), and these would make a lovely picnic snack in the park.

Chicken & Prosciutto Crostini : This one is incredibly simple.
All you need:
Cooked chicken breast
Sliced prosciutto
Fig jam
Brie, or similar creamy spreadable cheese.
(If you instead choose something like fontina for more flavor, you'll want to place the crostini in the oven to melt a bit before adding the jam and prosciutto.)

Start out by cooking your chicken breasts, the details of how to do so perfectly can be read in this post. I seasoned mine lightly with salt and fresh thyme, a few shallots, and used a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, but only enough to pick up the brown bits. Not enough for a sauce.
Set those aside to rest.
Me assembling crostini in my parents kitchen, wearing an ancient apron I found in a cabinet.
Thank you, Hubs, for taking SUCH a flattering photo...

To Assemble:
On your toasted bread (I used a rustic ciabatta) slather a decent amount of brie, or other mild creamy cheese. Next, place slices of chicken breast on the cheese. On top of the chicken, spread some fig jam. Then place a slice of prosciutto (or two) on the top.

Both the cheese and the fig jam work as glue to keep everything together. If you cannot find fig jam, you could substitute something like apricot jam and have a similar result. Go nuts!

This crostini is sweet, yet salty, and savory from the chicken. It's quite tasty and easy to serve at room temperature. Or in the park!
Go to the park.
Step away from your computer and GO OUTSIDE!!!
I'm taking my own advice.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Free Fancy Salt!! (with purchase)

If you've been following my blog at all, you've probably seen me refer to Secret Stash Salts more than once. (Especially sending you back here.)
I am a big fan of their products, and as such, I follow their blog. In doing so I have discovered that they are doing Customer Appreciation thru Friday (5/21), and I decided to pass along the good news to you!

Any order of a normal 3.5 oz salt will be accompanied by a Sampler Size (1 oz I believe) in a flavor of your choice. (I opted for the Coconut Garam Masala and Almond Cardamom as I am looking to broaden my culinary horizons.)

Their link to PayPal is having a few issues, so you have two ways to get your sample.
1 - if there is a "Message to Sender" box on your order form, just write the flavor sample you would like to try in there, and they will include it.
2 - if there is no "Message to Sender" box, you can email with your order info, and what flavor you would like a sample of.

I hope you take advantage of this offer.
Oh, and you're welcome :)

P.S. - If you are reading this link after May 20th 2010, click on the title (Rock'n'Roll Gourmet) to refresh the page with all newer posts. For some reason some links are automatically going back to this one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mother's Day Meal

My family celebrated Mother's Day a week late this year due to scheduling conflicts, but as the weather cooperated and made a lovely weekend for pampering and snoozing on the porch, I think it was even nicer a week late.

For the past few years, at the request of my mother, my brother and I have gone to NJ to cook her a nice dinner. This year the dinner request was hors d'oeuvres. A meal made entirely from hors d'oeuvres is kind of heavenly in my view. Or, it used to be. After 6 hours of cooking, there is a little tarnish on the halo. But it was a delicious meal, and had the added bonus of being able to be eaten with one hand. (The aforementioned shoulder surgery left her with only the use of her left arm, so anything involving both a knife and fork was basically out.)
I started with dessert, since the chocolate would need time to set.
I melted a combination of semi-sweet and 60% cacao chocolate in a double boiler and then dipped some fresh strawberries, placing them on parchment paper to dry, and giving them a couple hours in the fridge to set fully. Super simple dessert, but also one of the more perfect pairings of flavor.

There was also a cheese plate for snacking pleasure.
Top right: Roomano, a butterscotch-y aged gouda relative. (Or comparable to gouda)
Bottom: rabbit paté, purportedly made with cognac and prunes, tho I swear I found some pistachios in there, and that was in the description of the pheasant paté, not the rabbit. Hmm... 
Either way, it was very tasty. Especially when placed atop the following:
Top left: Cremeux de Bourgogne. Perfection.
Center: St. Marcellin, one of my mom's favorites.

These were the various crostini and hors d'oeuvres that I made for the meal. 
From the top left: shrimp wrapped in pancetta. Self-explanitory.
Top right: goat cheese with store-bought olive and red pepper tapenade
(I can't believe it took me 6 hrs to do this. I guess maybe only 4 1/2 if I discount "down time" but still, it was a long afternoon.  It probably would have gone much faster had I used more than one pan, but instead I made every dish one at a time. After that, I am not ashamed of the little help from the store that I used.)
The recipes for the other crostini will be forthcoming, as that would just be a lot to put in one post.
The dinner was rounded out by some homemade crab cakes, made by my brother. I'm not big on crab meat, but my mother enjoyed them, and considering that the meal was tailored to what she would enjoy, I'd say that it was a success, and I can just suck it up. 
But next year, Mom, we're cooking a regular meal.
love, your children.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tre Colore Quinoa

Back in NYC and happy to be cooking on my own stove again, with GARLIC!! My goal this week is to make the entire UWS smell of garlic. Or at least my block.
This meal is only a baby-step to that goal tho.

This is something I usually make as a pasta dish, but in my efforts to expand my use and consumption of quinoa (keen-wah), I decided to try the substitution.
It was still very tasty, but I think I missed the texture of the pasta.
(Candy, this is also in regard to your request for non-pasta vegetarian meals. Sorry it was so long in arriving.)

Step one: rinse and cook quinoa according to package instructions. (Very important. You do not want soapy-tasting quinoa. Blech.)

While that is cooking, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, and when it begins to ripple, add one package of grape tomatoes. Season with salt and stir to coat. Add the lid and cook for about 10 minutes on medium high, until the tomatoes start to burst.
When the tomatoes look like this, I grate in one or two cloves of garlic, and let that simmer another minute or two. Then, I use a potato masher to gently crush the rest of the un-burst tomatoes into a sauce.
I put the lid back on this and simmer on low until it is time to add it to the quinoa (or pasta).
I finely dice some fresh mozzarella and make a chiffonade of basil.
Placing most of the mozzarella in the bottom of the bowl, I then top it with the hot quinoa. Add sauce and most of the basil, and stir to combine.
I top that with a few more pieces of fresh mozzarella and the rest of the basil, and it's ready to eat.

I think I really do prefer this dish made with pasta, but in a pinch, it still works.
And it's definitely healthy.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Breakfast Experiment

Having made it through two days of Jury Duty in NYC, I have since been in NJ taking care of my post-shoulder-op mother, so I'm a little out of the loop. To make things more confusing, we are celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow, rather than last week, so expect some kind of wrap-up on that done in a foreign kitchen. I have been cooking up a storm here (feeding both my parents, ah how the tables have turned) as well as doing the menial daily tasks of laundry, errand running, scolding the patient for removing her sling less than 48 hrs after invasive surgery, and keeping track of at least four medications.
I think I shall need a nurse/caretaker when I get back to the city.
Until then, I leave you with one of my less sane attempts at breakfast making. (I mean really, who eats soft boiled eggs other than characters in English novels from the 1800's?)

For some reason I had soft-boiled eggs on the brain, and decided to try to make them for breakfast.

I will not be having that urge again any time soon.

I served my two soft-boiled eggs (no I won't even bother telling you how I did it because I'm sure it was wrong) on a piece of whole wheat toast with a mesclun salad on the side. I guess that almost qualifies as Brunch, but as I am not especially fond of Brunch, we'll stick with Breakfast.
Dressing consisted of the juice of half a lemon, about a dime's worth of dijon mustard, salt, and some good olive oil. Done in seconds.
I do not recommend trying to peel soft-boiled eggs. They are hot and temperamental.
However, seasoned with some garlic salt and grated pecorino, they were quite tasty.
They also would have been good with some Bloody Mary Salt.

What have I learned from this experiment?
Just make poached eggs.
They are very similar in texture and consistency, and vastly easier to make.
At least for me.
Also, the shell is already off before cooking.
Big plus in my book.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mama's Got A Brand New... Mitt

I have Jury Duty today. Considering that last time I was called for Jury Duty they made us all sit in a room, watch a video of a "witch trial" and how things may or may not have changed since then, and then denied us food, water, and telephones for hours on end, I consider Jury Duty to be Grown-Up Detention.

Since my day shall be as boring as watching paint dry, I thought I'd toss in an appropriately dull post.

You know you need new oven mitts when yours look like this:
Stuffing coming out of the thumb. 
Stuffing coming out of the forefinger. 
Generally decrepit and gross. Oven Mitt Fail.
While my Dansk mitts served me well for about 8 years, they have been deep-sixed in favor of the spankin' new 17" mitts that have taken their place hanging inside the cabinet by the stove.
And yes, I need the long mitts. 
I like the flesh of my forearms to stay on my forearms. 
Intact and with the promise of future freckling.
That is all.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Simplest of White Bean Soups

After a windy weekend in New York (still going actually), I decided I wanted some comforting soup for dinner. That, and watching the Food Network makes me crave whatever I'm staring at. So once I'd passed my cravings for ravioli, fish tacos, and shrimp scampi, I got around to making some soup.

Also, WTF Mother Nature? It was 75º on Easter, it hit 88º about a week and a half ago, and on Mother's Day all you could scrounge up was 52º with 30  mph winds? You must be one seriously pissed off Mama to make one of your own holidays suck. On Saturday I was literally blown across the street and into the UPS store. CHILL OUT, WOMAN!!!

My fridge is rather bare at the moment, so I looked online for inspiration for a soup that could be done w/ pantry staples. I stopped on Giada's white bean and escarole soup, knowing she frequently uses minimal ingredients. And wow was I right.
olive oil
2 garlic cloves
white beans
parmigiano reggiano
chicken stock

That's it. Kinda basic, but I had all of those ingredients handy, so I decided to go for it. (I substituted baby arugula for the escarole, as that is what I actually had on hand. Any dark green will do in a dish like this.) It also only had about 10-15 minutes of total cooking time, so added bonus of immediate gratification.
It's Giada (and me) so the meal starts with grated garlic in olive oil. Sauté about 1 minute on medium heat.

Toss in your greens and stir. Add more than you think you should, as it will wilt down tremendously.

Season with salt here.

I kind of did a half-assed job of crushing and chopping the beans. I knew I didn't want them all to be whole in there, what with my dislike of most beans, (I'm getting better tho!) but for some reason (haste and hunger, most likely) I did not bother to get out the mini food processor. Next time, I will purée them, as I knew I ought.
Give the beans and greens a stir, and then add your broth.

Giada only says to cook this for about 5 minutes to "heat the beans through" but I think it needs a bit more time. Give it ten minutes for the flavors to combine a little. She also instructs to add the parmigiano reggiano while it is simmering. I added about two spoonfuls of the grated cheese.
I also threw in a bay leaf while it was simmering, in an attempt to add more flavor. Anything only cooking for five to ten minutes, tho, probably will not get the benefit of an added bay leaf. Just remember to remove it before serving if you use one.

I chose to garnish with more cheese (surprise!)

As soon as I finished cooking and tasted the soup I thought of a number of ways to improve it next time. Other than puréeing the beans. The flavor was good, but it needed something more.
I guess YOU will just have to wait until next time to find out what I will do!
(Hint: when I reheated the soup the next day, I sprinkled some Chorizo Salt on top...)

I shall enjoy this soup until May stops feeling like March... hint, hint, Mother Nature!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Breakfast, Broken

Lately I have been making myself real breakfasts. For someone who has professed to hate Brunch this may seem a little strange, but as I get older I find that I actually enjoy eggs in most forms, so long as they are served up with things that I like, and so long as I give my tummy enough time to wake up in order to digest without any nauseous, squidgy side effects.
The best way to make sure all of that comes together?
Make it yourself.
Preferably in a non-stick pan to avoid an oily breakfast. Cuz really, just, bleh.

Ok so this was by no means something I would typically make for breakfast, but I had bought some fresh chorizo, and I was just so excited to eat some that I decided to use it for a kind of egg & sausage breakfast.
The tragedy in this meal is that I bought fresh Mexican-style chorizo, whereas the chorizo that I covet and devoured as a child is the Spanish-style chorizo. But of course I didn't really realize this until after I had browned this one piece up, and by then it was a little late to adjust.
(However, I have a wonderful solution to this problem that I plan to implement for dinner this evening. It involves lots and lots of garlic, natch.)

In the pan with the (meagerly) flavored drippings of the chorizo I scrambled up an egg, simply seasoned with salt. (Yes, this would have been an opportune time to put other mexican flavors in my scrambled egg to tie the whole meal together. However, I was feeling like a bit of a purist and just wanted to taste egg in my egg. But a little cayenne, cumin, and paprika probably would have made this a Brunch-worthy dish.) In the back (and because my brain requires vegetables at just about every meal) I put a little mesclun salad dressed w/ lemon juice, salt, and good olive oil to balance out the sausage. It worked nicely in placating my brain.
And if it looks like I ate half of my eggs before taking the photo, you would be mistaken. My tummy remains a bit sensitive, so I only make the one egg for myself, and it just looks very small and sad compared to the rest.
Happily, it was not small and sad. It was light and fluffy and softly scrambled perfectly. And exactly the amount of egg that I can eat for breakfast before my tummy goes squidgy.
However, if this had been made with Spanish-style chorizo, it would have gotten two gold stars for Awesomely Tasty.

Awake During the Not-Awake Hours

It is after 4 in the morning, and while I am clearly awake, I am not just getting home from something fun.
Neither am I awake in order to catch a flight to a lovely location (one of the other Only Reasons It Is OK To Be Up Before Dawn).
Rather, this is the 4th night/morning in a row in which I have woken up between 2 & 3 AM and struggled to get back to sleep.
This time, around 3:30, I just got up.

(FYI - my cats are loving that I am awake and are chasing each other pell-mell around my living room. Nocturnal animals are just nutty.
Also, I don't think you can really consider a cat to be nocturnal, considering they sleep about 18 out of every 24 hours. They are more of a "selectively awake" creature.)

First, I made a list of what I was thinking about, in the hopes that I would be able to stop thinking and actually fall back asleep.
No such luck.

Next, I decided to make myself a snack, but as the hubs is sleeping (like a sane human) I could not do anything that involved clattering, pots or pans, etc. So I decided on a sandwich.
But of course, being me, I couldn't just make a PB&J.
I had to do something that took more effort. So:
Whole wheat bread, spread with some fromage blanc (don't have cream cheese at the moment, so went with the yogurt-y tang instead), thinly sliced cucumber, fresh dill, smoked salmon, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Not half bad.
Not as good as still being asleep in my comfy bed, but not bad.

And no pictures because I am not setting off a flash at 4AM.

I shall now try to read more of a truly sub-par book in the hopes that it will put me to sleep from sheer boredom. It's called "Savage Lands" about French settlers in 1704 Louisiana. The book jacket made it sound interesting while I was at the library with a two-sided plot that eventually joins together.
 The book jacket LIED!!! 
But I am extremely stubborn when it comes to books, and for some reason, unless it is truly the worst dreck ever published, I feel the need to finish the book and see how it ends.

Finally: Aw Crud. The birdies have just begun their morning chirping. Daylight is on its way. Something tells me I shall have a very lazy Saturday...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Basil Update

I said I'd track the progress of my Aerogarden, so here's a round up of the past 3 weeks.

Look at the little guys go! This was around Day 10 or so...
Very tiny, but making their way up to the grow-lights.

In a few weeks, I won't be able to trim them back fast enough.
We're not there yet, tho.
This is around Day 16
Burgeoning tastiness :)
This is about 3 1/2 weeks in 
Finally, I had to prune last night because the one on the right was going to hit the grow-lights. Soon I will have to raise the hood to allow for growth.
Nice little collection of cuttings on the left. (Yes, that is a shot glass from college. You know you have at least one somewhere too.)
Tonight's dinner will definitely be including fresh basil :)
But first, a trip to the DMV.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hangover Prevention

The best Defense is a good Offense.
Or so I've heard somewhere along the way.

My friend Chris linked me a few weeks ago to a stunning article claiming that eating asparagus can prevent hangovers, as well as possibly reduce the effects of a hangover that you already have.


That's the kind of thing that you assume would spread like wildfire. Especially among college crowds.
"Welcome to WestCo 1. This will be your dorm for the year, here is a list of the items you are not allowed to keep in your room for safety reasons, and asparagus can prevent hangovers. See you at Mocon!"
That should absolutely be how college starts.

People have their own ways of dealing with alcoholic over-indulgence: 2 aspirin and chugging water before sleep, eating bread, eating greasy food (some scientific merit to that one actually), waking up and start drinking again/Hair of the Dog (I do not endorse this one), or, you know, NOT drinking to excess... which, like so many plans, doesn't always work out.
The New Plan: Eat Your Vegetables!!
For those who would like to explore this new Asparagus Plan, you can read the science-y bits here:
Planet Green
Medical News Today
Or, you know, just Google it.

Anyhoo, I sort of tried to put this to the test this weekend since I had a birthday party in Brooklyn from which I did not return until after 2AM, and last night I sang and hung out with friends and got home at 4AM again... I think what I really need is a magic vegetable that turns 5 hrs sleep into 10.
(Work on that, scientists, ok? After you cure cancer and solve world hunger and global warming. You know. When you get a minute.)

For now, though, I'll settle for a magic vegetable that protects my liver.
(cue insipid cooing voice: "Gooooood liver. Mommy loves you so she eats her veggies. Yes she does!")

Saturday night I ate about 8 spears of asparagus with my dinner, and I woke up on Sunday (post birthday shenanigans) feelin' fine. Yesterday I only ate them with breakfast, so the events of eating the asparagus and being out drinking may have been too far apart, but aside from the fact that I only got 5 hrs of sleep, I feel pretty OK today as well.
(Not that I over-indulged. That would be to laugh!)

So, the recipe part of this post.
Could not be simpler.
Four asparagus spears, chopped and cooked on medium high in a non-stick pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and seasoned with garlic salt. Cook until just starting to brown but still firm, about 5 minutes.

Remove asparagus to your plate (without pouring the oil onto your plate) and cook an egg in your preferred style. Season to taste.
I went with over-easy this time.
Cuz I'm a Rebel.

I tried to break the yolk to make the picture more colorful, but instead it just looks a mess.
Oh well.
What really would have made this a delicious meal would be some smoked salmon under the asparagus. Sadly, I had no smoked salmon, and I don't go out or run errands before breakfast. So I just had to suffer.
But I hope you take this new-found revelation and that it prevents future suffering in your life!
(see how I tied that last bit together?)
Eat (asparagus), Drink, & Be Merry!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Food Porn

Some of you out there may have gone to your usual establishments of worship on this warm and advancingly muggy day. (Come on thunderstorms!)
 I am lucky in that I do not need to wake up and shower, dress, or even leave the house in order to worship, because my place of worship is my kitchen.
And when the weather is this warm, actually turning on the stove is not on the top of my to-do list.
Instead, I worship the following:
That, my friends, is fresh burrata. 
Really good fresh burrata.
No thick casing here with a few sloppy curds inside. Only the thinnest skin of fresh mozzarella restrains the gooey guts of this brilliant concoction. Served best, in my opinion, with just a light drizzle of your best fruity olive oil, and a small pinch of salt. 
And a fork, because sometimes the cheese doesn't make it as far as the bread before hitting my taste buds.

Flown in directly from Italy, arriving at 6AM, and going straight to the purveyor of deliciousness on W 74th Street, where I happily hand over money in exchange for cheesy goodness.
I also take home some of their freshly made focaccia, as I believe it is some of the best in NYC, full of olive oil and salt so that you must lick your fingers repeatedly so as not to waste the goodness.
Now for the money shot.
If I do say so myself.
And I do.
And then I eat the whole thing.