"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I become obsessed with the fruits of the season

For days I have been thinking about blueberries. The only thing that crossed my mind when I thought about our family's upcoming trip to Vancouver is that we'll be there a little early for the best blueberries. And I'm not even all that crazy about blueberries, actually. I mean, they're fine, but they can't hold a candle to, say, a nice ripe mango or some perfect cherries or a Honeycrisp apple. Yet: blueberries. On my mind.

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

Mary Sternberg Memorial Mandelbrot

3 eggs
1 cup corn or vegetable oil
1 scant cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
4 tbs. cinnamon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Line cookie sheet with foil and coat with oil.

2. Beat eggs. Add oil, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder and mix well. Stir in nuts. Add flour in increments and mix well.

3. Divide dough into four parts and shape with your hands into loaves on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 35-40 minutes.

4. After baking, slice crosswise while still hot. Lay the slices back on the cookie sheet and bake another 10 minutes. Cool.

These freeze well. Grandma always had some in the freezer for expected or unexpected company.

I miss you already.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Best Laid Plans

I was all set to meet my father, along with the two little Gateaux, and possibly Mr. Gateau, at a local sushi place, which was exciting because (1) my love of sushi knows almost no bounds and (2) I'm always up for getting out of the house and having someone else do the cooking, serving, and cleaning up. But right before we were supposed to leave, I got word that instead my father was turning the car around and heading upstate where my sister, after three weeks of prelabor misery, has finally started the real deal. My nephew will be arriving sometime later tonight or early tomorrow.

Stay tuned!

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

The Marshmallow Menace

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

Mojito is not a gum

Orbit, my favorite gum, made a new flavor -- Mint Mojito. Yes, folks, mojito madness has overtaken us such that we now have gum purportedly flavored like mojitos. Those of you who are old enough will remember the unspeakably vile "soda" flavors of gum, as well as chocolate gum. This new mojito stuff has surpassed even that. It doesn't taste like a mojito. It tastes of some vaguely mint-flavored stuff mixed with lime crayon. Also it's a weird consistency. It's just not right.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A nice piece chicken

Made totally kickass roast chicken last night. Roast chicken is one of those things that once upon a time was considered dead simple to make, and then everyone turned into a foodie and was like "Oh, making a perfect roast chicken like the French do takes special knowledge, skills, and equipment" and soon the labor-intensive One True Roast Chicken recipes came flying -- you must cook it breast side down first! you have to roast it on high and then turn it down! baste it! brine it!

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

Note to Self

Self: eat peanut butter sandwiches more often. They are really, really good.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Eggs-cellence (yeah, I know)

That effing tarragon is still growing faster than I can use it, but I put a few sprigs to use this morning. First, I scored a good cup of coffee off my next-door neighbors, who rock in so many ways, providing me with coffee and cold beers being only two of the most recent. Thus fortified, I made myself a lovely pan of fluffy scrambled eggs with tarragon, and sprinkled with the fleur de sel I keep on a special shelf for my own personal use (so that the rest of the household does not waste it on items that are not worthy). This made for a lovely early lunch, before I headed off to my first-ever guitar lesson.
Remember all the hysteria about not eating eggs because of the cholesterol? I think that was around the time of the Great Oat Bran Craze of yesteryear. Boy, am I glad we all got over that, because eggs are one of the most useful things in the kitchen. And I'm not just talking about how you have to use them for their magical binding, rising, and other cooking properties. You can do them in so many ways as the center of a dish and they're really delicious and also dead easy.