Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And I'm Back!

This weekend was not one of my proudest. I've managed to repress the memory of what I ate on Saturday but Sunday ... oof! I wont recount my complete fatty-fatty-fatness but will tell you about about the quaint little family-style dinner my roommates and I threw together Sunday night.

My dish - creamy polenta (read: butter and Parmesan) America's Test Kitchen style (can't link to it online without a subscription ... I have a cookbook of theirs.)

Dan's dish - chickpea and leek soup, incredibly simple & tasty. The recipe is from his new Jamie Oliver cookbook. He was so proud! (We used canned chickpeas.)

Meredith's dish - arugula salad with red pepper, dried cranberries, shelled sunflower seeds and Gorgonzola crumbles (balsamic vinaigrette on the side.)

Afterward we all napped together. I'm not kidding.

Last night was Week Three of Nacho Average Monday at Poe's Kitchen. Here's his insanely mouthwatering description: "Nachos con Sweet Poe-tato" topped with caramelized Spanish onions, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, frisee in watercress vinaigrette, and roasted sweet potato tomatillo salsa with rosemary sea salted corn tortillas.

You want to know how good it was? Look at this:

Yes, that is yours truly, licking her plate clean in the most lady-like of ways. And I can't even begin to describe the dessert nachos Poe whipped up for me afterward, out of his brain & available ingredients. They involved cinnamon & sugar dusted chips, chocolate ganache, pomegranate grenadine, mint "salsa", strawberries and some kind of berry ice cream ... this he called "cooking on the fly." What?!? It saddens me greatly that I only have two Mondays left before I embark on my grand adventure.

Mmm, snacking on leftover polenta throughout the day will keep my energy up for a run during my lunch break.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Little Things

A cold, crisp, Crayola-crayon-worthy Granny Smith apple.

A complex, almost butterscotchy aged Gouda.

A quiet room and good book.

The perfect lunch hour.

Last night some of my closest friends all gathered for the sake of cheese. I brought Manchego, Gruyere, quince paste, and three types of gluten-free crackers. There was also a port wine cheese ball, Comte, two kinds of goat cheese, Caprese salad, smoked Gouda, and brie, amongst other spread-on-able and dip-in-able wheaty things. Accompanied by some cheap red wine and a dessert of chocolate-dipped strawberries and you can be absolutely certain that I stuffed myself silly.

Tonight I will be staying in and ordering Thai food and perhaps might even start packing, or at least thinking about packing, considering that I'm moving my life to Manhattan, once again, in two weeks. Ooh, or maybe I'll be a real fatty and order the same thing from two different Thai places to compare and contrast. Yummmmm ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back on the Horse

Last week I slipped into a realm of familiarity and comfort. Also known as the realm of nachos. Tuesday I did it a little fancier, sauteed some broccoli florets and sliced shitake mushrooms in EVOO and garlic, but Wednesday was just pathetic and had no flair.

Friday night I jumped on the Acela to NYC with my mum which means I spent Saturday and Sunday in my happy place - food adventuring.

Sat. Lunch = Ithaka, a highly rated (on yelp) Greek restaurant on the UES. I got their signature salad and stuffed grape leaves. The word that comes to mind is 'pungent.' It was like the flavors went so deep they completely invaded my tongue. It was marvelous!

Sat. Dinner = Lilli and Loo, also UES, Asian fusion. What really blew me away here was my appetizer, the gluten-free rock shrimp tempura. They claim it's spicy on the menu but really the drizzle is a tangy, citrus-y mayonnaise. And while the GF tempura doesn't quite have that crunch the flavor and texture is superior to many other "breaded" GF items I've had. The vegetarian pad Thai was so-so.

Sat. Dessert = Who could resist a trip to Dylan's Candy Bar while in the neighborhood? What surprised me was that they seem to have doubled in size since my last visit ... 6 years ago. Aha, I see.

Sun. Brunch = Friedman's Lunch in Chelsea Market. Yes, my second trip here in less than 2 months. You wouldn't question my burgeoning habit if you had one of their sammiches. Oh, and then the fantastical cheese stores all around ... apparently they sell non-cheese items as well but who really pays attention to that nonsense. I had a BELT - bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato. Oh dear, on toasted GF bread with herb mayo? Yes. When I got back to the apartment later I still had a yellow spot of yolk on my face. Classy is the word you're looking for.

Sun. Lunch = Don't judge me. It was a mini-vacation. Plus I was celebrating finding an apartment (Murray Hill, if you're wondering.) I ordered some random Thai which was sub-par. Nothing to speak of.

Sun. Dinner = Instead of spending more cash (though tempting it was) my friends and I made ice cream sundaes, complete with some leftover candy from Dylan's. Be jealous.

Now this brings us to Monday. The highlight of my Monday, which has easily become the highlight of my every week since it's inauguration: Nacho Average Monday at Poe's Kitchen. Poe continues to lay the smack down on my taste buds with his experimental nacho creations. Last night was wild boar, marinated in SoCo and Coffee beans, topped with a poblano blue cheese sauce and these crazy amazing winter greens flash-fried with some indescribable flavor. AND MAGIC. I don't know how he does it but my boy bowls me over with his culinary creations every single time a plate of his is set in front of me. Y.U.M.

Tonight I may make dal again. Or just eat toast. It's been raining/snowing all day and I plan to just sit in my PJs as the gym is out - I did something to make my knee super cranky running on my lunch break Friday. Oops. One more day of rest, I suppose. Plus I have that super awesome cheese from Chelsea Market ...

Monday, January 11, 2010


It is cold. Not that this comes as a surprise, seeing how I've lived in the Greater Boston Area almost my entire life. But still. It warrants a mention.

As promised, here is my dear friend Phil's black-eyed pea salsa recipe, which was a HUGE hit at another dear friend, Hooman's, birthday dinner and subsequent party Saturday night:

6 cans of black eyed peas (drained and rinsed)
1 whole red onion diced
1 garlic clove minced
1 bunch cilantro chopped
2 jalapeno peppers diced
1 can Rotel tomatoes & green chilies
The juice of 1.5 to 2 limes
A couple dashes of hot sauce
A couple dashes of red wine vinegar
A bit of olive oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

The instructions, per Phil: "Just put everything together in a bowl and keep tasting and adjusting until you think it's right. That's all I did. If it tasted a bit bland, add some more acid (lime juice or red wine vinegar) and salt. If it's too acidic just add some more olive oil." It's best if you can resist and let it sit over night so that the flavors blend together nicely but I swear, I cannot stop eating this stuff once it comes into being!

Dinner last night was a little pathetic but I'd spent about 5 hours in various states of cold that afternoon (outside and in a rink) and was just so sore and tired ... I ended up grabbing a jar of Alfredo sauce at Whole Foods and cooked up a brand of pasta I found at Food Master that I hadn't tried before. A little cracked black pepper, a little garlic powder, a little Adobo seasoning, and whatever. I'm happy enough.

No creative thinking needed for dinner tonight, I'm going to Rattlesnake with a few friends to try out my friend Poe's new nacho dish!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cross Culture

Last night my friend Alissa came over for dinner. I met her through the global social net-working site, CouchSurfing. She spent the last year travelling around the world. The whole thing. Well ... lots of it, anyway. So she dropped by to tell me stories and try out my first attempt at making dal. I used a Bittman recipe but doubled the garlic and managed to add the onions in too early. Also I think I added a lot more cilantro than what qualifies as "garnish."

Still, it was mighty tasty (I opted out on the butter so vegan, yay) and Alissa insisted that it was as good as anything she'd had on the streets of India. Afterward I was silly enough to think that making cookies was a good idea (hello, winter weight) but I'd been dying to try Betty Crocker's gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix. Oh man. It was worth the wait. TOO yummy. Actually, leftover cookies are all I've eaten today.

I know. Healthy.

Stay tuned for my friend Phil's black-eyed pea salsa recipe! And thanks, mum & dad, for the Whole Foods gift card. Perfect Chrismukkah gift.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hello fellow foodies!

Here's the sitch: I love to cook. And occasionally bake. If it were up to me I would attempt staggering feats of culinary genius every day, every meal. Alas, my job and my wallet do not allow for this.

Here's the catch: I'm starting grad school on March 24th. Specifically, the Physician Assistant program at Cornell University in New York, NY. This is going to severely limit even further my available time and budget.

Here's the explanation: I'm curious as to how I'll manage to adapt to these changes and still attempt to prove myself in the kitchen. I'm not saying I'm Mark Bittman or my mother, but I try. Dammit.

As for now I'm still in a state of denial of how much I will be absorbed by my studies. And I haven't been feeling great the past two nights so I reverted to comfort food: rice with melted American cheese and my favorite sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy.) But Monday night I impressed myself with the following 4 dishes:

- Bay scallops (Whole Foods had a sale the other week so I bought 3lb.s in 3 1lb. bags and froze two of them, one of which I thawed for this) seared in lemon juice (about 3/4 lemon) with minced garlic
- Wilted broccoli rabe with minced onion & garlic sauteed briefly in evoo and spritzed with some leftover lemon juice
- Roasted grape tomatoes (halved) and porcini mushrooms (sliced) with evoo, salt, and cracked black pepper
- Roasted root vegetables (one turnip, one celeriac, cut into matchsticks) with evoo, s&p, and fresh thyme (not terribly fresh, it had kind of been in my fridge for a week)

The tomatoes & mushrooms were tastiest. I ate the entire pan (oops.) The root veggies' flavor has improved over the past few days. The rabe was a little too bitter. I think in the future I need to turn down the heat to cook the onion & garlic slower and add more evoo.

So here we go! The next 6 weeks should be fairly normal in terms of my culinary adventures but after the move back to Manhattan it'll get far more interesting!