Can I have a bite?

Eating. Drinking. Sometimes at home, sometimes on the town.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

if I weren't bursting at the seams...

...from eating my face off (again) this holiday weekend, i'd write a whole long story about my first thanksgiving (the first one I cooked a lot for) and post the pix. but, i'm too full and the thought of talking turkey right now has me burping.

i'll be back tomorrow or the next day with a full (no pun intended) report.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Only 9 days left and it's hard to remember.... write something here every single day. I have to do it when I wake up or it's a crapshoot as to whether I'll remember. Lately, the colder nights and rainy, dark mornings keep me cozy in bed later and later. That and I consulting gig I have requires late night work that makes me want to get off the computer as fast as I can.

Today is exciting because I get to pick up a monster sized turkey and some mashed potatoes & gravy. Now I understand why many moms I know have a second fridge. That turkey is going to dwarf my fridge, therefore it shall reside in Kate's welcoming fridge and I'll hold onto the mashed potatoes & gravy.

I can't believe how I'm getting so caught up in planning and cooking for Thanksgiving, but at the same time I'm so excited to be doing it on my own (with a friend, actually) for the first time. I feel like I have something to prove to my own excellent chef mom.

I have to go to work now, or I'd make this post better.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

sample sublime

One of my favorite things of every weekend is doing the week's grocery shopping. I don't view it as a chore, instead a chance to do participate in two top activities: shopping (and I don't have to worry about jeans fitting) and FOOD! I dutifully make a shopping list before each trip, planning out the week's meals in the process. Ben happily participates too and it's a routine to go together Saturday or Sunday morning.

We usually try to get through the errand before noon on a given day, but we both put it off until 11 a.m. rolls around because store samples kick-off then. The past three weeks, New Seasons Market's sample counter has focused on holiday meal planning. There was turkey week, sides week and my favorite, stuffing week! This week, it seemed to be the prepared foods week, with deli-made corn risotto, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce and bread.

You cannot beat the sample table at New Seasons. No siree, bob. Cookie day is the best one.

Friday, November 17, 2006

foodie cyberspace

there are all these food websites and food blogs to keep up with out there.... from eGullet to local site Portland Food and Drink to FoodCandy, the new self-proclaimed "Foodie Friendster." I love going out and reading them, but it can seem like a full-time job to read people's comments on your comments, their recipe ideas, and just keep up with it all.

I wonder if this is a signal of where the world is going and we'll eventually all never leave our homes and just communicate virtually. I hope not. But, I did see the Matrix...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

delicious invention

I had a lot more to write when I was talking myself through the dinner I made tonight. Sometimes I just think I would like to have a cooking show. I like telling people what to do and not having a present audience who talks back. :)

I bent toward bulk comfort food tonight. I need lunch for tomorrow and dinner for tonight; I have romaine lettuce threatening to brown in the veggie drawer; and I like dessert. Here's what resulted (can you tell I like lists):

- An experimental vodka cream sauce for my Pastaworks ravioli di funghi (that's mushrooms) made with bottled Seeds of Change Puttanesca sauce (they've been underperforming) and sour cream in lieu of heavy cream.

- A lemony caesar salad with stale wheat sourdough croutons and homemade dressing (garlic mashed with salt to create a paste was the remembered trick, try to do that more often, takes the bitterness out)

- A big fat overpriced rice krispies treat from New Seasons. Ate the whole thing. Oops.

And with that, I'm off to bed.

Sorry that this is a food diary, I hope you like food.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

i'm baaaa-aaack. and so is thanksgiving.

Just landed from a trip to the Northeast, and have to excuse myself for missing two days, there was no internet where I was.

So, last year, I stuffed myself at Thanksgiving supper and decided that the holiday was dégoulasse (that's French for disgusting as hell). This year, I'm in charge of Thanksgiving, which is the way I think I needed to do it this year. Suddenly, I'm intensely interested in every element of the holiday. Well, my friend KP and I are in the aprons, both. She's hosting at her house, with hubby BenP & son Will, his parents and of course, PFE (Elliot).

We've ordered the turkey (we'll roast it), prepped mashed p & gravy. I'm in charge of all but turkey & stuffing I think. Hey, maybe I need to talk to Kate about that....Either way, I spent all weekend talking about it with a friend and I can't wait to have a kitchen party with myself to get ready. And because I like lists:

- Roasted turkey (deliver roasting pan & hot plate, what about carving/serving plate)
- Dijon & brown sugar-glazed carrots (carrots)
- Roasted green beans & shallots (green beans)
- Apps: Baked brie with jam and a flaky crust, sweet potato pancakes, mini-quiches, crackers & cheese
- Deliver white place setting, what about apple & leave votives? Placemats, or trivets and serving dishes needed?

Whoa, that's maybe too many appetizers. I just want to fit it all into one year.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Minty Goodness

I'm going to make this quick as I'm missing some solid football in the living room, even though at home it is only 11:30 am.

Mint Milanos may be the best commercial cookie available on the market. Period.

Or, discuss.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NaBloPoMo challenged

I am writing from my father-in-law's computer in their part-time home in Williamstown, Mass. When I'm at home, it's hard enough to keep up with daily blog posting goals, but on vacation, it's even more difficult. When I do get to a computer, my instincts drive me directly to my work e-mail access page which usually inspires a flurry of activity after which I push myself away from the computer when the nagging voice in my head tells me it's time to relax.

It wasn't until we enjoyed an evening at local restaurant Mezze that I remembered my neglected blog. My in-laws are watching TV in bed, so I'd better get out of their bedroom (where the computer is) soon, or I'm spending the night in this chair. That said, I'll run down the highlight dish of our anniversary celebration meal....

Max (my bro-in-law) lucked out with the best when he ordered Sea Scallops seared and served over a cauliflower puree with hen from the woods mushrooms with a subtle truffle vinaigrette. It was at once rich and delicate, an ideal mix for the cool fall night.

I better go, and may post tomorrow, but I'll be computer-free from Monday through Wednesday. See you soon!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

anniversary bites

Today's our fourth wedding anniversary. Normally, we might celebrate bigger, but we have to get on a plane to Boston tonight. Instead, we'll go grab a bite at our local (1/2 a block away) Thai haunt, Thai Ginger. We'll gorge on Pad Kee Mao with tofu & veggies. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Sometimes the simplicity of knowing we both enjoy this dish over and over again is as exciting as trying a new place.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My favorite breakfast

If you know me well, or have ever lived with me for any amount of time, you may have heard of the famed "Eggie." It's a pretty complicated recipe (not), that my dear mom came up with when I was just a tiny tot in the seventies. Here's the story.

My parents are typically on the early adapter curve when it comes to electronic gadgets; this is because my dad originally wanted to be an engineer before my grandfather dropped law school in his path. He's brilliant in the category of how things work, and thankfully, he passed this interest and talent onto his four kids. Long story short, we switched to VCR before Beta had gone out of style, we had the Apple II computer in 1981, and we had a microwave in 1978.

Seeing as my mom had to feed four kids and get three of them off to school when I was just two, she needed to think fast in the morning. Her habit was to coat a microwavable bowl with canola spray, crack in a single egg, mix it and pop it in the microwave oven for two minutes. Slathered in butter and salt to finish it off, this produced a portable breakfast for me (the toddler) while mom trucked the entire carpool off to their respective schools. Mission accomplished. To this day, my brother's friend John teases me about bits of egg hanging from my mouth on those car trips. Who can blame me for salivating while eating? Them eggs was GOOD.

One day, when my mom was particularly harried and perhaps a bit behind schedule for my belly's liking, I blurted out, "Eggie!!" to demand my breakfast. This, friends, was my first real uttered word. Mom was so excited about little one's progress that I think I had to wait an additional 5 minutes for my favorite treat. I'm proud that my first word was culinary in nature, and I'd like to think of it as a sign of future interests and ideals.

Here's how you can make your own eggie:
1 whole egg
Canola spray
Butter (now Earth Balance soy spread)
Salt to taste

Coat a microwavable bowl with canola spray. Crack in a single egg and mix it with a fork. Pop in the microwave oven for one minute. If your obsessive, like I am, stop cooking 2 seconds shy of a minute for a fluffier egg. I don't know why I do this and don't just cook it for 58 seconds. It's more about the stopping than it is about the time. Add butter (or alternative) and salt to taste and enjoy. The Eggie also works well as an element of a breakfast sandwich, or with a little cheese sprinkled on top (add cheese 30 seconds into cook time).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back in the Fridge

There come some weeks when our fridge offers an abundance of ready to eat containers full of food—more specifically, food I've prepared. Ben's commitment to bringing lunch makes me jealous of the cafeteria kids sometimes (it's like being back in middle school), but it usually pays off in self-satisfaction. Here's a snapshot of today's menu:

1. Lunch: Veggie fried rice with bok choy, broccoli, peas, carrots and onions.
2. Braised parsnips and carrots that didn't make the cut last week.
3. Snacks: Fromage Fort from New Seasons Market, a delicioius blend of cheeses, wine and garlic. It takes some guts to eat.
4. Glorious golden beets. Used in tonight's dinner salad (recipe below) and ready for some vinaigrette tomorrow before Taco Salad.

Simple Beet Salad
2 medium beets
8 oz mixed salad greens
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 slices prosciutto, sliced (optional)
juice of one half of a lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper

Put beets in a microwave safe dish and cover. Cook on medium for 8-10 minutes or until tender to a fork. Peel beets (this is a mess, use paper towels and keep the trash can close by). Wash salad greens. Chop beets and put in salad, add feta and prosciutto. In the meantime, mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper with a whisk. Pour over salad and mix.


P.S. I'm feeling better today, in the brain. My sinuses on the other hand, have succumbed to recent stress. I can beat a cold, though.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A different kind of hunger

I don't feel much like writing about food today. But this is the place I picked for NaBloPoMo, so here goes. I'm hungry to put an end to the head games that keep me up at night, worried about little details at work or whether I might be less than perfect. There's a super-sized anxiety chip in my head and it's been over-activated for at least the last two months, if not more. I don't think I was like this until I hit 20.

Unfortunately, no amount of comfort—whether in the form of kind words or mac n' cheese—can talk me out of this dark corner, at least until the next morning. And even then, I sometimes just feel like I'm faking a smile for the cameras.

I guess the best thing to do is just take a deep breath and try to get some sleep, but it just feels artificial in the face of all the annoying worrying that has me so pissed off at my own chemical make up that I can't even pretend to chill out.

P.S. Nobody call the psych ward or anything, as scary as this reads, it's just part of the roller-coaster ride I'm on. Thankfully, I do have some great support in my life to turn to if things really do get rough.

Mmmmm, mac n' cheese.....

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday baking

It's the kind of day that you don't go outside if you don't have to. It was quite grey (I like the English spelling) and gloomy today, with nonstop rain. It wasn't actually cold out, which was nice, since I had to head out a number of times including one urgent trip to Target after I threw out my last shower curtain liner without a right-fitting replacement in the wings.

At any rate, I managed to be very productive in the kitchen today as a result of the lack of activity outside. In celebration of the season, I broke out a recipe from my mother-in-law for pumpkin chocolate chip cake. It's just about the easiest cake recipe I've ever seen because it doesn't require separate bowls for wet and dry ingredients. And no butter! It's almost a freak of nature. I got stuck mid-way through because I was 1/4 cup short on flour. Then I visited my neighbor (how suburban) and was back in business. I gave away half of the cake to hubbie's bandmates and still have more than I can finish on my own. But, I'll take one for the team.

It's delicious.

Don't even get me started on the crawfish (or crayfish?) pasta we had for dinner at ashod&erin's house.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Food Fight

I'm happily warm & dry inside my friend Heather's living room and experiencing food porn nirvana; we've watched two full hours of Top Chef on Bravo (ooh, promotional cable season!) where 10 chefs compete for $100K, a spread in F&W and reality show celebrity status.

Tempers fly high and scandal is already rampant by the second episode (the lychee "situation") but above all the creativity explodes. Frog leg & chicken liver cakes, for one.

Soon, I'll return to Savoy for aperitifs for the second night in a row. Someday, I'll even stay for dinner. It looks delish.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Comfort Cheese

Today I made, for the third time in one week, my new comfort food fave. Here goes. Pay attention:

1 Whole Wheat flour tortilla (sure, use white flour, but then you have no nutritional high ground)
1/4 cup or so Tillamook Mexican blend shredded cheese (any cheese will work, but i like this pepper jack & cheddar blend)
dijon mustard to taste

I put the cheese on one half of the flat tortilla, fold it over and then put it in the microwave on high for about 35 seconds. Remove, apply dijon mustard, fold again into a convenient pie shape, and eat! No plate necessary.

Now that's good eatin'.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I just discovered a new trick that may make Orbtiz and other gum-makers millionaires:

Make half & half flavors! I put a half piece of Orbitz bubblemint in my mouth, then a half piece of new crystalmint too. Mmmm!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaBloPoMo makes me hungry

I found out about National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo) from my dear pal Laura. She's pretty stinking cool, actually, but I'll save that for another day. Basically, I have to write a blog post a day in order to participate. I think that was my plan when I originally signed up for Blogger over a year ago, but it didn't quite work out that way. Perhaps with the duty to a plethora of people I'll come through vs. when it's just being accountable to myself.

I'll kick off the month with a little story about why I'm so hungry. I'm the kind of cook who learns more about planning every time I make a meal. I'm getting better about having everything on the table at one time, but I still start recipes that require an ingredient I don't actually have on hand, resulting in my kind hubby walking to the store many times a month. Well, I've made a concerted effort to get better at planning this past year, and it was starting to pay off. Until forgetfulness set in.

Yesterday I dutifully rubbed a whole chicken with a simple blend of spices (garlic powder, onion powder, peppers—three kinds, and salt) and bagged it overnight to let the spices soak in. Then, I was supposed to put the chicken in a low heat oven at 250° about 5 hours before dinnertime. Well, here it is, close to dinner time and my chicken is still in the fridge. I wasn't thinking about dinner at noon, therefore no cooking occurred. And, frankly, I can't really blame NaBloPoMo for any of this, but I just liked the subject line.

So there.