Wednesday, December 26, 2007
If you had to choose, would you pick the slices of roast duck to eat right away, or a container full of rendered duck fat, for use in bringing glossy ducky dishes for months (OK, maybe weeks) to come?
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Best. Edition. Ever. Of the New York Times Dining In/Dining Out section yesterday. In addition to a fairly customary (but good) piece on holiday cookies, there was a fantastic, tempting article on Caribbean black cake that calls for not just rum-soaked fruit (such as, say, Boozy Cherries) but more rum for soaking the cake and more rum in a glass on the side. Then there was a brilliant companion to Mark Bittman's list of summer dishes that take less than 10 minutes to make -- 101 appetizers, each at less than 20 minutes. There is a whole section on things wrapped in bacon. Swoon.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Dinner #1 (pre-Cirque de Soleil): pint of Bass
Dinner #2 (after show, back at home): 2 slices leftover pork roast, eaten with fingers; brownie
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
However, I have somehow managed to continue taking in sustenance, and, unsurprisingly, pork products have figured in heavily. For example, tonight I made one of my favorites, inspired by a Donna Hay dish from her excellent cookbook Off The Shelf. This is a pork roast which you simply slather with whole-grain mustard, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with oregano. You can salt and pepper it, you can roast it on a bed of carrots and parsnips, or you can leave it alone, as I did. With that I made some roasted cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and though everything was kind of beige, it was delicious. What I love about this dish is the only prep tool that gets dirty is a knife to spread the mustard. You don't even have to dirty a mixing bowl.
Some other good stuff I've eaten lately:
- at Mr. Gateau's office party -- buffalo "sliders" with smoked cheddar and bacon, on brioche buns
- breakfast of two microwaved eggs (I do these in little Pyrex dishes, 29 seconds each for a runny yolk) topped with Chilean hot sauce my friend Dave gave me and several strips of bacon on the side, plus tea
- breakfast of steel cut oatmeal with cinnamon, brown sugar, and a little vanilla sugar
- barbecue brisket and pulled pork, plus bacon-studded collards and baked beans at a new place that opened near my home, praise the lord
- buddha's delight (tofu skin stuffed with mixed vegetables and deep fried, with vinegar sauce) at the shockingly wonderful Chinese restaurant near my office, plus excellent steamed pork buns
- cranberry-fig-port-rosemary-balsamic vinegar sauce I made for Thanksgiving and could eat with a spoon
- brandy-marinated dried cherries (aka "Casey's Boozy Cherries") I made a while ago and just discovered in the pantry. If I keel over from botulism, you'll know why
Friday, November 16, 2007
- Spaghetti tossed with a little chili-infused olive oil and parmesan, with or without frozen peas thrown in during the last few minutes of cooking
- Pasta with pesto and parmesan
- Salad (from a bag) topped with crumbled blue cheese (from the supermarket) and bacon pieces (from a jar), with vinaigrette (from a bottle). I like the Brianna's brand with the artichoke on the label. If there is leftover roast beef or chicken, I can throw that in too
- Which brings me to steamed artichoke with Brianna's vinaigrette for dipping the leaves
- Slices of hot soppressatta, chunk of Stilton, Granny Smith apple cut in slices
- Sourdough or country bread, or split baguette, with a little dijon mustard and gruyere cheese on top melted under the broiler
- Pita chips and hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, taramasalata, etc.
- Tuna mixed with a little olive oil (if not packed in oil), balsamic vinegar, tarragon, and a little garlic powder, with either whole wheat bread or crackers
- Sardines packed in spicy oil with crackers
- Any of the above with steamed edamame tossed with smoked paprika salt (or plain salt)
- Order in
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Here is how you make them. Spoon a little of the drippings from the roasting pan into the cups of a muffin tin. Keep it hot in the oven. Make a batter out of a cup of flour with a little salt, into which you mix a cup of milk you've beaten with 2 eggs. Pour this about halfway up the muffin tins, and bake for 15 minutes. Done. Beef drippings in the making, and can be used to sop up whatever falls on the plate, my kind of breadstuff.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thanks for bringing that over tonight, mom!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
We also have pictures of the real dinner we made -- lemon-tarragon roast chicken and spaghetti with fresh pesto. Stay tuned!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Somehow, the boozy fruitiness of my summer cocktails just doesn't seem right in October, even if the weather only just came down from its heights in the upper 80s about a week ago. So I have returned to my standby, the dirty vodka Martini with olives. Much as I love briny, salty things (see bacon photo), I don't like it when the bartender dumps in a big glug of olive juice. It wants a splash, and it wants a little more Vermouth than the dry Martini fanatics endorse, to balance the brine with a little mellowness. I'm liking these Sable & Rosenfeld "Tipsy Olives" I get at the supermarket, which have a little Vermouth in the marinade. They're huge, with pimientos, and because I am my own best bartending friend, I allot my drink with two of them, one to eat when halfway through, and one to enjoy at the end.
This personal perfecting of my Martini no doubt explains why I am falling asleep on the sofa every night instead of posting on Cookiestuffs, but I know my faithful readers appreciate a good cocktail, too, and forgive me.
Friday, October 5, 2007
But my friend Jim was nice enough to nominate us for a blog award, so click here and scroll down and click to vote for us. Vote often! And while you're at it, check out the parenting nominations and vote for the first one, I Think This World is Perfect.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I have just returned from a business trip/junket to San Francisco, where I learned about marketing law regulatory issues, saw lots of friends, enjoyed amazing hospitality, and ate the best ice cream I'll probably ever have. Bi-Rite Creamery. Go there. The nice people will let you taste whatever you want, and feel free to do that, but once you've tasted the gorgeous Strawberry Balsamic and the Brown Butter Pecan, and maybe shared a crisp chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich filled with Mint (and I don't even like mint ice cream), just do yourself a favor and pick up a pint each of Honey Lavender and Salted Caramel and hide yourself away in a closet where nobody can find you (so you don't have to share) with a spoon. Nirvana.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
First, the fine makers of Pirate Booty (a staple if you're a yuppie parent of small children, like myself) have come out with Cocoa Booty, which tastes like Cocoa Puffs, only you can eat it by the bagful and pretend it's good for you.
But second, and even better, Snyder's pretzels have come out with Buffalo Wing flavored pretzel pieces, and this is simply the best snack food ever developed, or at least since Wasabi Peas. Broken pieces of sourdough pretzels (obviously repurposing factory waste, but who cares! it's recycling!) coated with spicy, vinegary Buffalo Wing flavored stuff. Seriously, they are the best thing ever.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Last night we headed down to the beach in our town for our annual pilgrimage to that celebration of fat and sugar, the local Grande Festa Italiana. They've got all the seedy carnival rides that make you wonder about inspection certificates and general liability policies, even as it's kind of thrilling to ride up on the Ferris wheel, bumper cars, you know, that sort of thing.
But the real purpose of going to the carnival is to eat all the horrible stuff that you aren't supposed to enjoy eating any more, but will never disappear because it's effing awesome. I speak, of course, of the corn dogs, the steak and mozzarella sandwiches on garlic bread, the candy apples, the blooming onions, the giant platters of red-sauced Italian dishes at the Sons of Italy tent, and of course, the greatest pleasure of all, fried dough, here in the form of the zeppole.
We limited ourselves to one bag for three of us, but it was hard, I tell you. If I'd gotten near the cappuccino/espresso tent, I am certain I would have been forced to get another bag. Not to mention the funnel cakes. And the "fried oreo zeppole," god help me.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I was more taken with the fact that the menu includes comfort food standards made with good local ingredients, like pot roast with garlic mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and the ultimate appetizer: pigs in blankets with two kinds of mustard. They offer several of these dishes served family style, and the dessert menu (if you have any room left at all) includes chocolate pudding and other homestyle treats. There is a whole list of $13 wines, and they make two kinds of sangria by the glass or carafe. I had the sparkling white wine version, and it was delicious and not too sweet.
I will note that the women's bathroom was decorated with old photos of babies and children, while the men got to have vintage pinups and movie stills of Elizabeth Taylor in a slip. Not fair.
Monday, August 27, 2007
On Sunday, we avoided the misery known as the "free, cooked to order" hotel breakfast and went out for a fun brunch at the Continental Mid-Town lounge, which had a groovy retro-future look and a terrific menu reminiscent of the great Norma's at Le Parker Meridien in New York. Mr. Gateau had a good cheddar and bacon omelette, I had poached eggs with smoked salmon hash, with exceptional coffee and a Bellini, which was just what I needed, and we ordered "The Big Bang" platter for the kids to share, which included a short stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs, toast, applewood smoked bacon, very flavorful turkey sausages, and probably the best breakfast potatoes I've ever had. These were just what you want in a potato side -- well seasoned, and cut into thin ovals that we potatoey and tender in the center, but crispy everywhere else. This more than adequately fueled a long walk around the historical sites, and then an endless trip home fighting the Jersey shore traffic/certain people's repeated failures to read properly the instructions displayed on a certain person's GPS device that a certain person's spouse gave him for Father's Day.
All in all, Philadelphia did right by us.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I asked Mr. Gateau to grab some red wine from the basement, and I never can keep track of what's good and what's table wine, but I suspect he opened a bottle of the good stuff. Which is fine with me, why save it only for dinner guests?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Yesterday I made a chicken dish that is basically marinated and then sauced with a pureed mojito, with the addition of some onion, garlic, and cilantro, and was just succulent and wonderful. This morning I followed his instructions for fluffy herbed scrambled eggs, where the tip of the day was to use a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt where I otherwise might have used milk. Delicious. Even my picky husband and kids ate with gusto.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Anyway, among all the lists and directives was the instruction that we're to provide a "healthy, not sugary snack" and a drink each day, along with lunch (the school cafeteria does not sell food until the end of September, WTF? God, I'm cranky.) Since YMG does not eat fruits or vegetables, or half the other things normal kids eat, such as yogurt, string cheese, Goldfish crackers, etc., I'm not quite sure how I'm going to deal with this one. So far I have come up with:
fresh mozzarella balls
bread with butter
um, probably something else if I try really, really hard
Oy, and school hasn't even started yet.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
By 8am today, Young Master Gateau and I were ready to hit our small local farmers market. We usually get there closer to closing, and though we can usually find plenty of nice stuff, getting there just after opening was like going to an entirely different market. There was bounty. Our purchases included two pints of my favorite Sungold cherry tomatoes that I eat by the handful, blackberries, blueberries, zucchini, peaches, several kinds of heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, a yellow watermelon, and multicolored beets. Combined with what is coming out of our little garden, we should be getting our fruit and vegetable servings this week.
After that, we stopped at the supermarket for some other essentials, and learned that in their bid to compete with outlets like Whole Foods, our big chain supermarket now has a featured microbrew section. It sits opposite the bacon section, so that's great, one stop shopping.
When we got home I cooked an entire package of hickory-smoked bacon (why orphan three slices in the refrigerator, I figured) and I made a triple batch of pancakes -- mostly chocolate chip, but I made myself a big blueberry one and a big blackberry one. We all shared a big pot of Earl Grey tea, and now I'm ready to go back to bed, if only the kids would let me.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
And there were blueberry pancakes and THREE KINDS OF BACON, provided (and cooked) by Mr. Gateau. Sadly, this year we were not able to pick up the super thick-sliced uncured bacon that had handily won comparison with Niman Ranch's bacon two years ago, but we got the thinner version of the same, the Niman Ranch, and some nice peppered bacon. We meant to do a scientific study and determine a winner based on taste, appearance, and meat-to-fat ratio, but basically we were all so fried from the kids waking us up before the crack of dawn that we forgot. And ate it all. Without pause. So much for science, but HOORAY FOR BACON!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Even fine dining in Vancouver tends to the west coast casual, though Lumiere is the tiniest bit more dressed up in atmosphere. Still, you would not feel out of place in jeans, and there is not a whiff of pretentiousness, even though everyone there knows that Rob Feenie can cook the pants off of most anyone.
They offer an a la carte menu, a seven-course chef's or vegetarian menu, and the total decadence overload of the ten-course "signature" menu. At $180 a person, plus the fact that we thought we might explode if we attempted it, we decided to go for the more than enticing chef's menu, and wisely skipped cocktails and went right for the wine, a local Chardonnay. While we were kicking these important issues around, we were served a dish of lovely gougeres. I will note for the record that of the six on the plate, Mr. Gateau "forgot" that he was only entitled to three, and took one of mine.
Then we began. Because a mere seven courses plus gougeres might leave us starving to death, we first were served an amuse-bouche of heirloom tomato soup, which was more or less the best cup of tomato juice you ever ate. Then our first official course arrived: scallop tartare with a tiny amount of fresh jalapeno and caviar. We both agreed that this was utterly divine, even though Mr. Gateau is not a huge shellfish fan.
Next up was a ravioli stuffed with luscious short rib of beef, in a wild mushroom and truffle consomme. You'd think this would be a little heavy for midsummer, but it was just meaty enough, while remaining light in texture and tasted of the woods. Phenomenal.
The fish course was a knockout -- pan seared Arctic char with grainy mustard risotto, peas, morels, and a red wine reduction. The skin on the fish was incredibly crispy and the risotto is something I now dream of (I'm going to attempt it tonight, though what I really need to do is buy Rob Feenie's cookbook in the hope the recipe is in there).
Instead of duck or red meat in the meat course (both duck and lamb were on the signature menu, and that was what really tempted me about it), this menu has a combination of butter-poached lobster and Redbro chicken breast cooked two ways, with parsnip puree, caramelized cauliflower, candied walnuts, and truffles. I wasn't that excited about this, and still don't quite see how the lobster and chicken work together, but every element on that plate was perfectly prepared. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a piece of chicken so much.
By then we could see our limits in sight, but next up was cheese. Each of us was given a little form with the available cheeses listed, with short descriptions, and told to pick three each. We decided to pool resources, and I think we did a great job, especially as we tend to go for the more pungent offerings, but we tried for a good range of styles. That was served with paper-thin chewy slices of fruit-studded bread.
For dessert, the menu offered a chocolate and beet fondant with pepper ice cream, aged balsamic-macerated strawberries, and beet raspberry coulis. That was ideal for the chocolate fiend Mr. Gateau, but I had my eye on one of the signature menu offerings, and they had no problem making the substitution for me: apricot and lavender millefeuille with vanilla poached apricots, almond pastry, manjari chocolate and lavender parfait. That was killer. Those flavors came together just perfectly for me. That, and an espresso capped it.
But wait! God forbid we stop eating, a two-tiered display of creative, beautiful, and delicious candies and petit fours were presented. So we did our best, but sadly we had to leave some over. Human beings have their limits. I can't imagine how anyone completes the signature menu, but I aim to find out some day.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
For cocktails, I chose not to go fruity, for once, and had their Buckeye Martini, which is a nice take on the Dirty Martini. This is frozen vodka served in a glass rimmed with lemon salt, and served with a side of "gourmet" olives. There was also wine, but frankly I drank too much of it to remember many of the details.
My first course was seared scallops with pea puree, sherry vinegar caramel, and micro greens. Mr. Gateau had the foie gras terrine special, which was introduced as the chef's "signature dish." I followed with a lobster and sweet corn risotto and got to taste the wonderful gorgonzola ravioli that the friend next to me had. For a main course I had a superb New Zealand veal chop that was lemony and flavorful, which also marks the first time I've ever chosen to eat veal in the presence of Mr. Gateau, who usually spoils the mood by rolling his eyes and sighing ostentatiously. He was seated at the other end of the table, and by then it was dark anyway.
For dessert, we decided to share several options, including the cheese plate. We also had pink grapefruit sorbet with grapefruit sections and vanilla sauce, and poached apricots with almond cake and cinnamon ice cream.
On Tuesday evening we unloaded Young Master Gateau on his grandma, and we were hankering for sushi, so we decided to take Mr. Gateau's dad and stepmother out to thank them for all their babysitting help. We had always enjoyed Octopus' Garden in Kitsilano, but it's become a bit of a family joke that every year when we visit, they are somehow closed when we want to go. This time we made it, and we had a delicious meal, but it wasn't what we had expected. Sometime in the last few years, they have changed their menu from traditional sushi to the trendy "Japanese tapas" with an emphasis on order the chef's omakase, which as far as I can tell from eyeballing the table next to us just means they serve you basically all the dishes on the regular menu.
For the table we ordered: the special miso soup (which I did not have, opting instead for a sunomono-style seaweed salad), foie gras nigiri (which was delicious, but I'm not sure entirely worth it), tempura "fish and chips" with yam fries, spicy tuna mango roll (excellent), a "risky business" roll of smoked and fresh sockeye salmon with asparagus and avocado, and a fancy version of a California roll, plus probably something I'm forgetting.
As I said before, this was all really good, but it adds a level of fussiness and foodieness to food that at its best leverages pure simplicity to let the tremendous quality of the ingredients available in B.C. to take center stage. This is the second of our favorite traditional sushi places in Vancouver to go in this direction, and we're a little at sea with respect to knowing where to get plain old regular, but good quality, sushi in Vancouver with a pleasant ambiance.
Next post will tell you all about one of the best (and most expensive) meals I've ever had, or probably ever will have: Mr. & Mrs. Gateau unload their kids and go to Lumiere.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
We started on the first evening with Greek tapas at our favorite Greek Town restaurant, Ouzeri. Ouzeri is one of the first places Mr. Gateau took me to on my first visit to Vancouver, and we always head there whenever we're in town. They used to make absolutely the best lemon roasted potatoes either of us had ever eaten, but these have slipped to ordinary in the last few years. Everything else remains good, so we ordered up a good spread of dips (hummus, olive, and feta-spicy pepper) with fluffy hot pita, saganaki cheese, vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, fried calamari, spanakopita, and some chicken souvlaki skewers. Along with Mr. Gateau's dad, we polished off a pitcher of sangria with it.
The next day, in case our bodies were close to having digested the Greek food, we headed to possibly the best dim sum restaurant anywhere. I certainly haven't encountered better in dim sum eating that has taken place elsewhere in Vancouver, New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. The restaurant is Sun Sui Wah, and it is clear from the crowds and the commendations on the walls that this is the favorite for many people. They specialize in seafood, so we ate plenty of shrimp and squid, but they have an extensive list of vegetarian dim sum as well as meat-based dishes. Young Master Gateau held out for everyone favorite, the barbecue roast pork steamed buns, which he called "Fluffy Buns," and ate a whole order himself.
That afternoon, we attended the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which has a terrific area for food vendors. My meal of fish tacos with local halibut, chipotle sauce, basil sauce, radish sprouts, and papaya salsa with hot sauce and lime, plus and ear of roasted corn with butter and lemon salt, and a fresh lemonade, eaten at the beachfront site just before sunset, hit the spot perfectly.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I'm sure this is getting linked to all over the universe, as it's the #1 most emailed post on the New York Times website, but it's really worth it. 101 great ideas.
I will note that Vancouver has incredibly good food, but the dining trends seem to run a few years behind New York and L.A., and when they fall for a trend, they really commit. So it's gotten easy to find Japanese "tapas" with things like foie gras nigiri, tempura "fish and chips" and mango-spicy tuna rolls (all delicious, by the way), it's getting harder and harder to find nice traditional sushi. And our formerly cheap vacation has been rather undermined by the decline of the U.S. dollar, so you're paying top price for those bits of rice and fish. Even the local bars tend to tart things up in a foodie sort of way. Not that it's bad that there's all this attention to good eating, but it did make me long a bit for a plain old burger or steak.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Isn't it sad to see how those beautiful purple beans turn ordinary green after cooking? Oh well, I squeezed some lemon over them, opened a can of the good Italian tuna, put a little more lemon and some sundried tomatoes from a jar, a bit of sea salt, and call it an impromptu salade nicoise.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
For the first s'more, I placed a marshmallow on one half of a graham cracker, put a block of the chocolate on top, and put the other half of the graham cracker on top. I then placed the whole shebang in the toaster oven, set at 300 degrees, and baked for around three minutes. I must say, the result was no fun at all -- the chocolate melted and made a gooey mess; the graham cracker burned my fingers; and worst of all, the marshmallow didn't melt, but rather just got a wee bit soft. In sum: totally unsatisfactory.
For the next s'more, I put the marshmallow on a long fork, turned on the stove burner, and toasted the marshmallow. (I have a gas stove, but I used to toast marshmallows over my parents' electric range when I was a kid.) The only problem was that toasting a marshmallow over a gas stove makes the marshmallow hotter than when you toast it over a bonfire, presumably because the marshmallow is closer to the flame, so that the marshmallow kept bursting into flames. But all was well, as I quickly lapsed into the old Girl Scout trick of blowing the marshmallow out. Once the marshmallow was toasted to a nice black/brown, I put it between the graham crackers with the chocolate. Mmmmmmm -- nearly perfect s'morey goodness.
The verdict: the stove method wins, no contest.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
So the first thing I learned: you can make a really nice cocktail with limoncello. To wit: a big glug of limoncello, over ice, topped off with lemon-lime seltzer (I guess you could use Sprite if you want something sweeter), lemon wedges, and a sprig of mint.
Second, I didn't want to fuss around with making dips and such, so I bought a big container of spinach dip at Costco. It's really good, at least as good as the one you make with frozen spinach, sour cream, and a packet of that Knorr vegetable soup mix. So go ahead, save yourself the hassle and just buy some. It's really good with Stacey's "Simply Naked" pita chips.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
At the supermarket, where I dashed in to buy an ice cream cake for Young Master Gateau's last day of preschool, I noticed pints of blueberries, 2 for $3. So I grabbed two. They're not special blueberries in any way (not organic, a little mushy) but had good flavor and decent snap and I've now consumed an entire carton (along with the dregs of a bag of wasabi peas) before dinner.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
UPDATE: Benjamin Alexander arrived yesterday afternoon! He's adorable. My sister reports having eaten a turkey sandwich, a grilled cheese with bacon sandwich, and some rather dry scrambled eggs. Ben shows interest primarily in nursing, but I'm sure we'll get him hooked on bacon before too long.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Hold onto your hats, folks -- marshamallow diner food seems to be overtaking the New York greater metropolitan area. Yes, that's right, tonight I was in Garden of Eden (Garden of Eden! Supposedly a gourmet store!) when what to my wondering eyes should appear but an entire display of marshmallow foods. Not only has some sick mofo (or mofos) made marshmallow fries, but said sick mofo has also unleashed upon the world marshmallow hot dogs and marshmallow burgers. I couldn't bring myself to buy amarshmallow hot dog -- my sense of public service does know some bounds -- but I did manage, with shaky hands, to buy a Burger Mallow.
The package proudly announces that the Burger Mallow contains three flavors: vanilla (the bun); banana (the cheese); and chocolate (the meat pattie). (The package helpfully provides a diagram for those who might have trouble assigning a flavor to a faux item.) Sadly, the Burger Mallow's various parts appeared to be glued together with some sort of marshmallowy adhesive so that one can't pull the components apart and eat them separately. It seems that the sick mofo who came up with this idea is a sadist in more ways than one.
Anyway. To be quite frank, the Burger Mallow was nowhere near as horrifying as the marshmallow fries I wrote about some weeks ago. First of all, the Burger Mallow didn't come with any fake sour candy ketchup, and this omission alone constitutes an improvement. Second, I have to admit, the Burger Mallow is, well, kinda cute; damn me if the little bugger doesn't really look like a McDonald's cheese burger. Third, it tastes mildly unpleasant, what with the fake banana flavor, but the consistency was rather nice, and the overriding taste is just plain sugary, like any garden variety Jet-Puffed marshmallow you know and love from your childhood. (Come to think of it, what the hell is a "jet-puffed marshamallow," precisely? Jet-puffed? Not only does it intrinsically make no sense, but it's one of those phrases that if you say it over and over again it sounds really weird and loses all meaning. Try it, you'll see what I mean.)
So on the whole, I once again suffer for Cookiestuffs, but I suffer less grievously than last time. I'll accept my reward in cash, thank you.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
But I consulted the Minimalist Cooks at Home last night, and Mark Bittman is very old-school about it. Roast at 400 degrees and turn the pan in the oven a few times so it heats evenly. Basting with a liquid containing some form of sugar is nice and gives a dark brown skin. And that's it.
So what I did will take longer to write out than the actual work entailed. Stuffed the cavity with half a lemon, half a head of garlic, and a big sprig of tarragon. Stuffed under the skin a few more sprigs of tarragon and some butter. Drizzled a little olive oil on the skin and sprinkled with sea salt. Threw into the pan around it some baby Yukon Gold potatoes (my favorite) and some halved mushrooms, and the other half of the head of garlic, and made sure those got a little salt and pepper. When it was done and I left it to rest before cutting it up, I squeezed the lemon from the cavity over it. The pan juices were wonderful, all over the potatoes and mushrooms. And now: leftovers!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Thursday, May 31, 2007
But last night I did, and so I bought us each a nice rainbow trout filet. Here is how you must cook it (Trout a la Miss Cake):
1. Rinse and pat dry the fish filets.
2. Mix together some cornmeal with salt, pepper, and, if desired, some cayenne. Dredge the filets in the cornmeal mixture on both sides.
3. Heat up some olive oil in a skillet. A non-stick is nice. Put the fish in the hot oil on the fleshy side and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook until the skin side is brown too.
4. Put on plate (optional) and eat.
This whole thing takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I spent the weekend in western Massachusetts visiting with my parents and my sister and her family. Mr. Gateau joined us briefly, but mostly I had to cook in between handling the little Gateaux, who are not all that relaxing to deal with, frankly. Still, we managed to eat.
Saturday dinner -- my friend Sarah gave me a recipe for tarragon grilled chicken, which came out very well. You smush together some tarragon, garlic, and olive oil, and let the chicken (which you have salted and peppered) sit in that for a while, then grill it, and serve it with a fresh tomato sauce you make by sticking tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, olive oil, S&P, and balsamic vinegar in a food processor. You don't even cook it. I like this in a recipe. We had that with corn, salad, and string beans, plus some nice chilled Greek white wine. For dessert we had the best effing cherry pie I have ever had. Even by the excellent standards of Taft Farms where we buy our pies, this was spectacular. The cherries were sweet-tart and really juicy, the filling was not at all gummy, and the tartness was balanced by sugar sprinkled on top of the incredibly light and flaky crust. And then I was an ass and turned down taking the leftovers home because of some misguided notion that I am actually on a diet.
Sunday started off with excellent bagels and lox from the Great Barrington Bagel Co. which has not only the best bagels and lox in the Berkshires, but among the best bagels and lox you can get anywhere. These are old fashioned bagels, about half the size of what you get in NYC these days, and custom-smoked fish that is just incredible. The whitefish salad is basically mashed smoked whitefish without much more.
Sunday night we did flank steak, and I was in a fajita kind of mood, so I organized all the accoutrements, including some red beans I cooked up with a bunch of spices and half a bottle of dark beer for good measure. This was a good idea. Also grilled a number of veg, including rings of Vidalia onion. My father made sangria under my exacting supervision, which involved saying things like "Now dump in the bottle of wine. Good, now toss in a glug of brandy. Oh come on, don't be stingy."
By Monday we were all exhausted, and so went out for brunch. Dinner was hamburgers and hot dogs with the leftover grilled vegetables and some organic brand of baked beans. Not as good as the regular supermarket kind, but they were adequate. The meats were good, the location was spectacular, and the company didn't suck either.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Because we are not that normal, Mr. Cake and I had them for dinner, but for those of you who are more normal, they'd make a nice side dish.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Take red globe radishes. Wash and slice into thin slices. Take a nice crusty baguette of some kind. Slice as though you're going to use it to make a sandwich. Spread a bit of butter on it. Sprinkle with nice salt -- I like Maldon sea salt. Place a bunch of the radish slices on the salted and buttered bread. Eat.
Ok, it sounds weird, but I swear it's totally yummy.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
So far this year, the tarragon I planted last year is coming back in force, way better than it was at any time last summer, and it's only spring. I love tarragon, but I'm having trouble thinking of ways to use this bounty. So far my ideas are:
- Stuff it into a whole fish and grill
- Put it in chicken salad
- Put it in salad dressings
- Add it to Mark Bittman's vinegar chicken recipe
- Mash it up with shallots and olive oil and make a sort of pesto to spread on chicken and fish
I once had a cocktail (at this fancy cocktail bar in Vancouver that made a big fuss about using fresh fruits and herbs in all their drinks) that used fresh basil. I wonder if there is a way to incorporate fresh tarragon into a drink.
So if anyone has any brilliant ideas for what to do with a lot of tarragon, post them!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Pretzel dough is great because, although yeasted, you don't let it rise until you've shaped them, so there is a lot of instant gratification, if you want it, along with getting to squish it with your hands and/or punch its lights out, which is a nice perq, if, for example, you spent your entire week at work saving your clients from themselves. If you don't want to shape them right away, you can stick the dough in the fridge overnight. Shaping them is like working with springy clay, and the more you squash it and squeeze it, the more integrated and workable it becomes, which is excellent with a five year old. Also, you get to use a pastry brush to paint them with egg wash, and sprinkling happens. We just used coarse salt, but you can get all fancy with parmesan or sesame seeds or cinnamon sugar if you want to.
I had only a cup of white flour left in the house, so it was 1/3 white and 2/3 whole wheat, which turned out fine, and I feel less diet-guilty for cramming them into my mouth at regular intervals since they came out of the oven last night. Which means we'll have to make more soon. Real soon.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Ok, folks, it's time to close down the blog, because I have found the most disgusting candy ever in the history of mankind. It's called Mallow Fries, and that's right, it's marshmallows (or, rather, "marshmallows") in the shape of french fries in a McDonald's-looking sort of container. See in that photo where it says "Great Tasting Marshamallow"? It's a venomous lie from start to finish. The "marshmallow" is like nothing you've encountered on earth, unless perhaps you're a chemist working for the UPS Store trying to develop new types of packing peanuts -- it's sort of sub-Circus Peanuts-grade stuff that reminded me of that chemical foam you use to fill in spaces when you're installing pipes. Ew.
Plus! It comes with candy ketchup! Yes, that's right -- candy ketchup. Sour candy ketchup. I mean, WTF? Who puts sour anything on french fries? Anyway, it's basically sour Karo syrup with red flavoring. I really don't even like to think about it.
I ate this stuff. For you people. It was even embarrassing to buy -- I'm pretty sure the Walgreen's girl was sort of averting her eyes and biting the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing her ass off at me as she rang it up. I hope you feel duly guilty.
Friday, May 11, 2007
- Sunny Blue Sky Cocktail (vodka, Hpnotiq, pineapple juice)
- Blood Orange Cosmopolitan (vodka, Cointreau, Rose's Lime Juice, blood orange nectar)
- Mojito (with fresh garden mint)
- Pretty Dirty Martini (vodka martini with Kalamata olive juice and olives, touch of vermouth)
- Tropical White Wine Sangria (fruity dry white wine, assorted frozen fruit, such as pineapple, mango, peaches, berries, touch of fruit juice, touch of soda, good glug of brandy)
- Pink Grapefruit Margarita
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Contrary to Bittman's view, a bread machine is nearly indispensable in my house, because Mr. Gateau has perfected his whole wheat bread recipe and hasn't missed a week in at least five years. I know Bittman insists you can just as easily learn to make your own bread by hand, but with our non-freelance-writer schedules, there is a big difference between dumping some ingredients in and letting a machine do the rest, and going through kneadings, punching-downs, and baking.
And once in a while I do pick up nifty equipment recommendations from watching TV chefs. After watching Nigella Lawson quickly mince herbs with a mezzaluna, I got one, and find it incredibly useful for herbs, garlic, and other items I may want in a fine mince (such as shallots for Mark Bittman's awesome vinegar chicken recipe).
Top tips from today's column: get a good pair of tongs (I love tongs!) and don't bother buying more than one pot lid, as it's a hassle to hunt down the correct size one and you can just use the same one or a plate or whatever anyway.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
However, there is one yogurt that I seriously crave, and apparently so does my entire town, because almost every time I go to the one store in town that sells it, they are fully stocked in all flavors except for the one I want. I speak, of course, of Emmi Swiss Premium Lowfat Yogurt in the amazing Pink Grapefruit variety.
It's lowfat but really creamy, has a great grapefruit flavor with little flecks of fruit in it, and comes in a pretty pink container. I'm sure the other flavors are good, but I don't even care to try them. Seriously, if you can find this stuff, you should buy as much of it as you can find on the shelf. And then send it to me.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Yesterday we just did up some beef hot dogs with toasted buns, but I also threw some hot Italian sausage on, and it was great. I wasn't sure what to dress it with, so I had it plain, but I think some sauteed onions would have been nice, or even maybe an aioli.
I also concocted a ridiculous girlie cocktail out of vodka, a bit of Hpnotiq blue liqueur, and a tiny splash of pineapple juice, which came out a beautiful sky blue color and was tasty.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I myself am probably going to use my coupons to buy Toffifay, the best candy ever next to Riesen. I mean, they're these little cups! And each one has a whole hazlenut inside! Also, the packaging is ultra cute. (Years ago, they had a pretty funny ad with this motorcycle cop standing around eating Toffifay and singing a song containing the lyrics, "Toffifay/it's too good for kids!" I couldn't find the motorcycle cop ad, but there's another one from the same campaign, with the song, here.)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Tonight, Chez Gateau, we inaugurated the grilling season. It was a stunningly gorgeous day, finally, after a couple weeks of rainy cold spring misery. Young Master Gateau requested that we barbecue, and he was very insistent that we have corn on the cob, and that it be cooked in a pot of boiling water, not in the obnoxious way his mother likes to do it, which is on the grill in its husk, and served with a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, and hot chilis. He is a butter and salt man, dammit, and he would not be thwarted.
I picked up some corn, figuring it would be barely a step above cattle feed, but to my surprise it was sweet and tender. No doubt Whole Paycheck is trucking this stuff in from Florida and bunring insane amounts of fossil fuels to bring this to their "natural and organic" produce sections, but WHATEVER. Along with that we had some good beef hotdogs on buns and some burgers made from the beef I bought with Mr. X. I also had a pint of some vegetable-and-grain salad with pesto vinaigrette from the store that was pretty good. Because I tended the grill, the burgers were a perfect medium-rare (Mr. Gateau tends to overcook, the poor dear), and we had them with crumbled blue cheese and a little ketchup. I think this will be this summer's obsession.
We started out with guacamole and chips and some marinated olives (Y.M.G. had mozzarella balls, which is one of the few things he eats), with a Brooklyn Lager for Mr. G. and a pink grapefruit margarita for me. I'd had my first beer of the day earlier, I must admit. And it may not be my last.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
2 tbs. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 breast halves)
1 package sliced prosciutto, cut into thin short strips (probably about 1/4 pound)
1 jar vodka sauce
2 tbs. chopped fresh basil or 1 tbs. dried
1 box penne
1 bag frozen peas (about 9 oz.)
Get a big pot of water going and start making the penne. When the penne is nearly done, pour in the frozen peas and cook all together until everything is finished.
Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is translucent. Cook the chicken in the microwave and slice into chunks (you can cook it in the skillet if you want, or use leftover cooked chicken, or poach it, it really doesn't matter). Add the chicken and prosciutto to the pan and stir until everything is cooked and intermingled. Reduce the heat. Add the vodka sauce and the penne and cook until everything is heated through.
When the pasta and peas are done, drain in a colander and return to the big pot. Add the skillet contents and toss well. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.
This dish also does very well doubled or even tripled if you are feeding a crowd, and it reheats nicely.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Moral of the story: don't cook with matzo, except for matzo brei, and even that's questionable, to be honest about it.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
For Passover this year, she bought $150 worth of standing rib roast, but had no idea how long to cook it. I hauled out my copy of Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" and got excellent, clear instructions, that mandated the use of a meat thermometer. Foolproof! Of course, she didn't trust me, and the meat, though succulent, did get a teeny bit overcooked. Anyway, it was good and we all enjoyed it, but she had way overbought, which is appropriate for a Jewish mother cooking a holiday meal.
So today she made the world's most expensive pot roast out of the leftovers, with kasha for the mushroom gravy, and invited me over with the little Cupcakes. I am telling you, this was comfort food to the nth degree. In fact, I highly recommend going a little nutso with your prime rib purchasing, just to enable something like this.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I had my first Mr. Softee of the season today. (Mr. Softee, for those of you who don't live in or around the New York greater metropolitan area, is merely the best ice cream truck company in the world ever. Yeah, Good Humor can kiss my ass. You can read more about Mr. Softee here. You can also listen to the music at that link, but I'm afraid I can't say you'll be happy you did. It's a notorious earworm, and was also the subject of a somewhat nasty battle last year between Mayor Bloomberg, who said the sound constituted a nuisance, and the Mr. Softee guys, who, predictably, said it didn't.)
The first Mr. Softee of the season always makes me happy for several reasons: first of all, the ice cream is really pretty good. It beats the stuffing out of frozen yogurt, which doesn't have that same velvety mouth feel. Second, it means spring is finally here. Third, I get to flirt with the Mr. Softee boys, who are often cute. Finally, with Mr. Softee, I can eat ice cream without my cat standing next to me giving me sad eyes because she wants to lick the spoon.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Many people do not care for black licorice. These people are deluded. I can sort of get my mind around not caring for the salty kind, as it makes no sense, but how the hell can you not like Twizzlers? (I'm not talking about that pansy-ass red shit. I'm talking about black Twizzlers. Chocolate Twizzlers are adequate, but chocolate licorice is problematic on several levels beyond the scope of this post.)
In any event. I did a comparison of two types of licorice products: that old standby Good & Plenty, which, according to the box, is artifically flavored, and Panda Licorice, which, according to the wrapper, offers "the real taste of licorice," which presumably means it is not artifcially flavored, unless there's some sort of linguistic hanky-panky going on that I don't understand.
The Good & Plenty, since it's candy coated, offers a nice crunch that the Panda doesn't -- a fine thing in a snack food. But for flavor, the Panda kicks Good & Plenty's ass. While Good & Plenty has a mild molasses sort of flavor that's fine if you have a licorice jones going on, the dominant taste is of sugar and corn syrup. (Quaintly enough, sugar and corn syrup are the first ingredients on the label. Fancy that.) Panda, on the other hand, has an unmistakable earthy, molasses kick. The consistency of the Panda is also worthy of note -- sort of al dente, with a smooth feel when you chew it.
Good & Plenty has the advantage of being available at many fine newstands on subway platforms. Panda you have to get at Whole Foods and tony places like that. (Although the nice gentleman who runs the newsstand on on the downtown side of the R/W stop on 23rd Street, when asked whether he carried Good & Plenty, replied, "Good & Plenty? No no no no no. No, we don't carry Good & Plenty. No, no Good & Plenty" and then he offered me Sunkist Fruit Gems instead. Nope, I don't get it either.)
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
--chocolate chip pancakes
--baked potato with sour cream and crumbled bacon
Hm, these things do have something in common, and that is that the Carb Police will no doubt be after me very soon.
Monday, March 12, 2007
So as to have something to soak up the cocktails, I got some mixed olives and plain miniature mozzarella balls from the mediocre appetizing bar. Here is how I turned them into something actually tasty:
I dressed the mozzarella with olive oil and one defrosted garlic-basil cube from my freezer. Added sundried tomatoes and let this sit a bit to mix.
The olives were pretty tasteless until I dressed them with a little olive oil, a teaspoon each of crumbled dried thyme and rosemary, and shredded lemon zest.
And now for the best hors d'oeuvre you can make from the supermarket, straight from my parents' 1970s dinner parties: get a container of the nice, cut-up pineapple chunks (the fresh, not canned). Get a package of decent bacon, such as Boar's Head. Wrap each pineapple chunk in a strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Broil these for a few minutes, until the bacon is cooked. Drain. Serve. No matter how foodie your guests, nobody can resist the combination of sweet pineapple and bacon.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Here is how it went down: my friend, Mr. X, organized the purchase of a side of grass-fed beef, and invited me to participate. The dividing up took place over the weekend, but as I was otherwise occupied drinking too much and eating foie gras bread pudding with Meg and Pam, I had to pick mine up from Mrs. X last night. And what a haul -- all the meat that's fit to eat, all delicious and nicely wrapped for the freezer, about 40 pounds of it. One pack of hamburger started to thaw on the way home, so I set that aside to eat today. At first I thought I'd make just a Nice Juicy Hamburger (as my mother would say, when she was trying to sell us the concept of going out for a nice simple dinner on the nights she'd worked and didn't feel like cooking when she got home). But as we were out of buns, ketchup, tomatoes, onions, and probably a million other things, I decided to do meatballs and spaghetti.
These are good -- they're based on Nigella Lawson's recipe. Of course, she makes her pasta by hand, which will happen around here approximately when hell freezes over. They're a little fussier than my usual midweek cooking, but somehow I managed to get it done, even with Mr. Gateau at work late and the mini-Gateaus (Gateaux? cupcakes?) engaging in their usual chaos. I happened to have in the freezer a couple of Ziploc bags of roasted tomato puree I made last summer after I bought a ridiculous amount of tomatoes at the farmer's market, so I was able to use up one of those. There is something incredibly appealing about a bite-sized meatball, even if they are kind of a pain to make.
Delicious as these are, I've been craving sweet-and-sour meatballs of the sort this friend of my parents used to make when we'd go visit them in Philadelphia. I suspect that they won't taste quite right until I break down and use grape jelly as the sweetening agent. Stay tuned -- there is a lot of meat in my house and I intend to use it.
Friday, March 2, 2007
If you had to choose an entree on the basis of the side dish, and the side dishes were gorgonzola "tater tots" with bacon-studded spinach, or foie gras bread pudding with pancetta-wrapped asparagus, which would you pick?
Not that it's really required, but it seems likely that these are the leading contenders on the menu.
Well, the food was a good as it sounded. We started with a cocktail (this followed the leisurely downing of a bottle of Pinot Grigio and numerous gossip magazines) -- I had a blood orange Cosmopolitan that was fantastic, and also pretty. For dinner, I went with the tuna tartare, which was wonderful -- very meaty and flavorful with plenty of ginger and cilantro, plus wasabi sauce on the plate. For the entree I just could not turn down the promise of foie gras bread pudding, which tasted heavenly, though it was so rich that I couldn't begin to finish it all. The duck breast was very nice, and though there was a dried cherry sauce, not sweet at all. Pancetta-wrapped asparagus gave me my daily bacon requirement. Meg was good enough to share her gorgonzola tater tots, which were basically the Platonic ideal of potato croquette. Must try making those some time.
By the time dessert rolled around, all I could manage was a latte to try to cut through the massive amounts of alcohol (by this point, we'd also managed to put away a bottle of Zin) and tastes of Meg's chocolate beignets and Pam's warm chocolate cake.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
The key principle here, and one I ignore at my peril, is the time-tested truth that Fat is the Best Tasting Thing.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Now I will digress and note that my mother is adamant that good old Jewish brisket should be flavored with onions and wine, and should not have a hint of sweetness. She makes all kinds of remarks whenever anyone serves a sweet and sour brisket when we're invited over for a holiday dinner elsewhere (after we leave, I should note, not in front of the hosts). I myself happen to love sweet and sour foods, so on this point (along with countless others) I buck the parental preferences.
This recipe struck the balance perfectly. The brisket is well seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika, then given a good sear on both sides and set aside. In the same pan, you then fry up a good amount of slivered onions. The brisket is slathered with a mix of tomato paste, garlic, brown sugar, dry mustard, cider vinegar, and worcestershire sauce, and sandwiched between layers of the onions in the Crock Pot, then cooked on low for 5 hours. The result is oniony, tangy, and flavorful, with a surprising amount of gravy, considering no significant liquid is used. You could add more sugar and raisins to make it sweeter, or leave out the sugar altogether, though I really enjoyed it as is. And look forward to eating a sandwich of the leftovers tonight, on a Kaiser roll I bought for this exact purpose. The beauty part: will not have to share with mom.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Currently, I am going through a snack phase that centers on Trader Joe's Chili Spiced Mango. It's slices of dried sweetened mango, pretty well crusted with paprika, sugar, salt, citric acid, and cayenne. They're sweet, tangy, salty, and hot all at once, and I have been going through bags of them at a fairly steady clip for a couple of months now.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
My child is immoderate in his desire for bacon. If I never impart any other moral fiber, I can feel at least that sense of accomplishment. (Also, since I was firing up the frying pan anyway, why not a few pieces for myself!)
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I cooked some organic whole wheat penne with flaxseed, then tossed with some organic extra virgin olive oil, julienned sundried tomatoes, and some pesto made from the basil in my garden, frozen since late summer. The taste of summer in February.
The Cookiestuffs Version:
Mr. Gateau was working late, and the two mini-Gateaus were driving me insane. But I knew I would not tough it out until after they went to sleep without eating something, so I managed to cook some pasta, and while that was cooking, defrosted in the microwave a cube of pesto I'd made in September with the herbs from my garden that had gotten so overgrown while I was pregnant and on maternity leave that the place looked like an international weed museum. In the five seconds I had without a kid in my arms, I hacked up a few very dessicated sundried tomatoes, and pulled the olive oil out of the pantry, where it had gotten too cold against the uninsulated wall. Discovered that we are, in fact, entirely out of Parmesan cheese. Managed to drain the pasta and toss this all together while holding the baby, then dumped it into a dish and ate it whenever I didn't have somebody drooly hanging off me.
Either way, it actually was quite tasty.
Friday, February 2, 2007
- Diet Rite white grape
- Classic Welch's
- Stop & Shop house brand grape soda
These were the varieties available in cans. We also got a six pack of Dr. Brown's diet black cherry, just so we'd have something reliable to drink.
The results:The Diet Rite white grape is excellent. It looks like ginger ale in color, so it's not embarrassing to drink in public. It's a little drier than other grape sodas, but still pretty grapey. And they use Splenda, so diet aftertaste is diminished.
Stop & Shop beat out Welch's on color, taste, and sweetness. Welch's is more artificially purple and a lot sweeter. And the Stop & Shop comes in cute little half-size cans, plus there is a diet variety.
Now you know the ugly truth.
So I got the thing home and realized that I had no idea how to use it. The little instruction booklet comes with recipes for basic chili and pot roast, and warns you that liquid doesn't evaporate like it does with stovetop and oven cooking, so you have to adapt your recipes properly. I went out and armed myself with a couple of Better Homes and Gardens slow cooker cookbooks. There turns out to be a lot of good stuff in there, though there is a higher percentage of recipes calling for things like a can of Cream of Mushroom soup than I'm used to dealing with. I do love the simplicity, though, of recipes for barbecue ribs that call for:
2. A bottle of barbecue sauce
Instructions: stick in pot and cook for a bunch of hours.
My first effort was a batch of baked beans. They turned out fairly tasty, but a little dry. So much for underdoing the liquids. They also had a little too much molasses flavor, and not enough bite. Next time I'll use some brown sugar with the molasses, and put in more mustard.
A North African beef stew was awesome. I set up the pot the night before, which really only took a few minutes, then stuck it in the cooker before I left for work. This was a labor-intensive Crock Pot recipe -- it required stirring in some dried fruits at the last half hour of cooking, so I did that when I got home, as well as did up some whole wheat couscous in chicken broth (fr0m a box, plus a dash of allspice) in the microwave. It came out wonderfully -- tender beef chunks, sweet and tangy sauce from the dried fruits and sweet potatoes. Mr. Gateau, naturally, sat there and picked out the dried fruits. Young Master Gateau scraped off all the sauce. Oh well, at least I ate heartily.
The next effort was also easy, and this one pleased everyone. I cut up some pork shoulder into chunks (this was the most labor intensive part of the dish), stuck it in the pot with a cheesecloth bag of garlic, oregano, cumin seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves, and put it in the fridge. In the morning I poured a box of chicken stock over, and put it in the Crock Pot on low until I got home from work. That evening, I took out the meat with a slotted spoon, shredded it with two forks, and dressed with lime zest and lime juice. We ate it stuffed into soft tacos, with some guacamole and roasted tomato salsa from the supermarket, standing up at the kitchen counter before we ran out to catch a movie. The remaining pork (I had cooked 4 lbs. of it) disappeared in days, as Mr. Gateau, the babysitter, and I all dipped into it regularly. I think it would be really good for a fun group dinner.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
What you will not find here: advice about where to find the freshest, tiniest heirloom baby vegetables; rhapsodies about the very latest hottest restaurant; our very exclusive foie gras purveyor; or fusion recipes involving 56 ingredients, 50 of which can only be found at specialty stores in two cities in America.
What you will find: hot food chat about our favorite things, things that might be slightly embarrassing to talk about, were we not completely comfortable with our particular food vices. We will embrace the lowbrow. We will cook from supermarket shelves. We will consume copious amounts of bacon.
We hope you enjoy.