get in my head. or my belly. same thing.
Saturday, March 29, 2003
forget the fresh-squeezed oj. and maybe even the blueberry pancakes. there's nothing quite like rolling out of bed on a wondrous, bright california morning and heading to the freezer for a tofutti cutie. yes, yes, grimace all you want, i was a skeptic as well when my friend kate extolled the virtues of the non-dairy frozen dessert: a soy-cream sandwich. i even thought all was lost when i came home with the wild-berry flava which just didn't match up to the good ole vaniller. but wild-berry's grown on me and reminds me of why it's so good to be alive (seriously though, you know those mornings where you open your eyes and just think "where the hell is MY joie de vivre?" or "rise and shine MY ass"... and folks, this is not depression, it's life in the fricking C of A. stop it with the prozac, get yoself some tofutti cutie).
speaking of the thawing and microwaving, did you know that you're not supposed to do both more than once to an arssicle of food? common sense probably, but i had no clue i was putting my life on the line. i should do the julie/julia project except with the microwave cookbook (52 ways to celebrate the rest of your microwave life). one more association: for a good microwave story, check out pages 242-258 of Infinite Jest. i know it's sitting there on your pretentious shelf. dooo it.
it's the last weekend of spring break and i'm sitting here inside. the ironic thing about living in socal is this: you think you would think, "hey it's a beautiful day i should really go outside and run around." what really happens is: "hey no worries i'll sit on the couch and watch some tv and eat my fridge because it's always nice outside. i can always go outside tomorrow." (repeat) lest you fear for the latitude of certain parts of my body, i am going to the beach today. wait, lemme rub that in again, weeenie. beach. again. today.
one last thing that made me think of... us. courtesy of aldaily.com: In a larger sense, though, Leonardo [da Vinci] was not a lover of his fellow men, whom he characterized as "sacks for food" and "fillers-up of privies." huzzah, fill her up dude.
Friday, March 28, 2003
fergus henderson's nose to tail eating: a kind of british cooking. i need a copy of this straightaway. as if i really needed more encouragement for my offal fixation.
it's too bad blogs have proliferated like an unchecked colony of hamsters in heat, as i just learned of a good one that went below the radar: in this week's LA times' food section, russ parsons talks about the cleverly conceived julie/julia project, the account of one woman's quest to take on all 536 recipes in julia child's mastering the art of french cooking. beyond this admirably intrepid undertaking, she's a capable writer and kinda funny, to boot. i like her. she might be joyce, if joyce ever decided to cook -- instead of thawing and microwaving -- or me, if i ever had the inclination or attention span to commit to such a project for [an entire!] year. (sorry for the jab, joyce. had to do it.) i'm not surprised somehow that she's a fellow new yorker (crappy dayjob, aspiring writer, unlimited access to any kind of foodstuff or kitchen paraphernalia one could ever want or conceive of, the usual neuroses and then some).
we finally completed season one of "six feet under." what do we do now? and when does the second season come out on dvd? i haven't been this hooked on a show since "my so-called life."
dinner with tim, v3.2:
to start, mussels in a thai-style broth. lots of ginger, garlic, shallots, chilis, bashed-up lemongrass, lemon zest, cilantro, and coconut milk; lots of chopping. (the big chunk of butter and chard stems are for the forthcoming sole.)
nothing like tasty bivalves.
the main course, sole meuniere, a la tim,
+ swiss chard greens, bacon, onion
+ sole (and impending tim eclipse)
+ a la meuniere, with capers, chard stems, lemon supremes (i left those out of the picture accidentally). meuniere, or "miller's wife," specifies that the fish (or frog's legs or whatever) be lightly floured and fried in butter. the cooked protein is then dressed in a noisette butter (or butter that has been cooked to a nut brown color/taste) with lemon juice and chopped parsley (which we eschewed here in favor of the pretty chard stems and capers). between the butter, coconut mlik, more butter, bacon, oil, and even more butter, this meal rated highly on the flavor scale. and we are grateful.
= empty plate. full belly.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
fwc: hung out w/ my friend roy last night. went to typhoon for the first time, which looks decent but actually is about the same as any fast food chinese place around. oh well.
roy had some pics from his trip to argentina. this was my favorite (for obvious reasons):
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
so the pinback show on sunday was disappointing only in that the opener we saw, engine down, sucked a left nut (not mine, you see, as i don't have any). we managed to score a spot in front quite easily, only to be all-out assaulted by the amps at the very front of the stage, right next to our heads. the lead singer/guitarist's amp, in particular. and he had a really boring non-melodic line. so basically, i was watching these [very good-looking] guys mouth words (and, from what i could tell, mouthing them loudly) and all i could hear were brief sequences of plucked notes. i could definitely feel vibrations though. it's a good thing i don't have heart problems. plugging one ear with my index finger helped somewhat and was a vast improvement on actually hearing the band as, i suppose, one is intended to. that is, ryan couldn't take it any more either, so we headed to the rear of the bowery ballroom, where we could grimace to the now audible, godawful yowling and yelping, feeling slightly less violated by the music (if one could call it that). it's funny (but completely obvious) how one's vantage point alters one's perception of a show. in the rear, there was a total absence of guitars, but all vocals and bass. the other disappointing thing was that, after all that, ryan didn't even like pinback. i thought they were great. they played three new ones, as well as all the old favorites, including "loro," "tripoli," and "penelope."
this morning, i got to go to another met dress rehearsal: strauss' "ariadne auf naxos." incredible. the cast was fantastic -- especially that showstopper, zerbinetta. the moshinsky production was just awe-inspiring, with all the lighting trickery and the wood nymphs' gorgeous ten-foot dresses. levine was back, and the music was wonderful. it's an amusing opera, with quite a nutty little story-within-a-story framing concept. i tried to sneak some shots of the stage, but was too chickenshit to really get anything good. here's the ceiling though:
i started an herb garden again a few weeks ago, and this time, i think i know how to keep from killing them. i think it'll help that my planters are far away from bexley (where last year, some bastard uprooted my sage and rosemary and left me an empty beercan). they're sprouting. hard to see, i know, but i'll help you out:
Sunday, March 23, 2003
i have a growing suspicion that i have weird taste. most recently i had this feeling b/c of my fondness for "yo mama" jokes. a few days ago i was thinking, "man, i love yo mama jokes. i wonder if there's a yomama.com". lo, and behold, there is! (god must be watching over me) it's still in the early stages, yet i've still been reminded of some great oldies and some ones i hadn't heard. here are some fresh off the site:
YoMama is so old ... her birth-certificate expired!
um ... well, i thought they were funny.
Saturday, March 22, 2003
red wine-braised oxtails, dirty dancing, and maida heatter's book of great desserts.
what could be better on a saturday night?
no more tears:
Friday, March 21, 2003
it is probably not advisable to consume an entire head of cauliflower. not to be deterred by such a trivial concern, i proceeded to do just that. well, i had to cook it first, of course. so with my trusty new (and quite comely, i might add) spice grinder
i braised a whole head, chopped up into manageable (and more evenly-cooking) florets with some garlic, ginger, and crushed chile pepper; whole peeled tomatoes; freshly ground cumin, black mustard seed, coriander seed; a big pinch of turmeric; a dollop of yogurt, salt and pepper. the results were satisfying enough, but even better cold.
fwc: went to the afghani restaurant called the helmand (sp?) near the cambridge galleria the other day w/ little debbie. why is this place so popular? i thought it was quite boring. the food was a lot like indian food. for our appetizer we had this baked eggplant which came as long thick strips with a yogurty sauce. pretty good, but it wasn't stellar. i had this spicy cauliflower dish and a turnip/ginger dish (the latter of which had way too much fresh ginger), and debbie had a lamb/spinach dish and a sort of spicy okra dish. both came with rather bland brownish rice. for dessert our choices were mostly puddings (inc. a rice pudding) or ice creams, or their version of baklava. in the end we settled on the flan (called "paneen") which tasted exactly like flan everywhere else you get it. zzzzzzz. well, so much for afghani food.
andy's still out of town, and man, it's amazing how much free time i have now, outside of the pining i mean (hahaha). to while away the long, long hours, i've been reading xmen (leavened by to the lighthouse which i pick up every once in a while when my brain rottage is reaching dangerous levels) and playing final fantasy 2. FF2 is awesome, esp. b/c it was never released in the us and someone's translated the rom into english so that we can play it w/ an emulator. technology rules!!! i'm such a deadbeat slacker!!!!!!!!!!!!!
note to self: this weekend, do something productive for once.
Thursday, March 20, 2003
winnie's latest obsessions are not actually as listed. favourites include "poo" and "hammies" (a rather pre-pubescent euphemism for a household pet). what's up with that? poo, i guess i understand, because sometimes she smells like it (or was it me?). hammies, on the other hand, lead me to believe that perhaps she has some fondness for small rodents (we had a small mice problem in both of our apartments). maybe the poo and rodents are somehow linked together -- hell if i know.
so, winnie wants me to tell you about our repast this eve............and she really (i mean really) hates my use of ellipses (apparently some literary snobby term for the annoying use of the three dot, lack of punctuation stream of consciousness bs, dunno) so as i was saying we dined this evening on butternut squash, parsnip and apple potage (my attempt at culinary snobbishness, the use of potage, anyway). oh yeah. there was grated ginger involved as well. then we had a roast cornish game hen (which winnie equated somehow to a "hammy", again, dunno) with some spaetzle with red swiss chard, currants, and almonds, and i made a yummy chicken sauce from store bought stock (ugghh). i also feel a wee bit parenthetical this rainy night. thats it, i was intimidated, but i have officially entered winnie's head, or belly, or ass, or something...(damn i said that outloud, maybe it's me who has the "poo" thing, don't judge you who don't know me) bleogggggggggggggggg....
"six feet under." every character is a wonder. even the minor, incidental ones. thank god for netflix. and for unemployment.
tim made dinner today. me happy. and full.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
fwc: got takeout last night from bangkok blue, a thai place on boylston across from the bpl. they have this spicy tofu dish there that i quite like, although it has quite a few things i gen don't like, inc. bamboo shoots, cashews, and baby corn. but in this dish i like it all. so far this place is at the top of my fav thai places, more out of default than anything else. need to try more outside of my 1 mile radius. not sure how authentic it is, but a thai guy i knew said he thought pad thai on boylston was the most authentic. i think that place is pretty good, but it's rather fast foody.
speaking of thai places, i have a tendency to revisit places i didn't like before to give them a second chance, but when i go i'm usu reminded of why i didn't like them in the first place. case in point, thai dish on newbury close to deluca's. i mean, there's nothing extraordinarily bad about it, but it's quite mediocre. they have these fried rice dumplings there, though, that are pretty good that i've never had in any other thai place. not really worth going out of your way to get, though.
hmm -- asian food is going to be the recurring theme. i think i need to hunt down some good veggie restaurants in boston. are there any? to be continued ...
"(i confess: i was going to put up pictures of my mangled thumb, but that's a bit gross, innit?)"
was i the only one who got sent some up close & personal pics of winnie's latest (m)escapade? they were quite lovely when viewed over a nice lunchtime sandwich, esp a sandwich involving cranberry sauce. yum. i spent most of today at sea amongst a zillion xeroxes scattered across my bed, trying to construct some sort of coherent paper topic (nothing changes). my paper-time narcolepsy has resurfaced; quite often (and i know all you serious paper writers out there do this) i delude myself into thinking that if i just close my eyes for a bit to unravel some particularly tricky analytical knot (or so i'd like to think but it always comes out as sadly obvious, doesn't it?) that i'll hit upon the very word, sentence ending, thesis statement, koan, golden ticket, etc. half an hour later i wake up having done a face-plant onto the keyboard and also having managed to slobber on a couple texts. yum. now that's the pleasure of the text, dude.
so i won't bore you any more with my paper antics. allow me to plug two things: miso mayo & some good flicks. (1) miso mayo. it's incredible. it comes in a fun little old school squeeze bottle. perfect on the spicy fake chicken boca burger. (2) if you get a chance to check out "36th chamber of shaolin" any time soon, take it. you'll thank me. a kickass old school kung fu flick with some serious pre-campy camp. i think the woman running the martial arts film fest @ucla said that they would tour the US with a couple prints, so i'm guessing this'll make the cut; i'll keep you posted if you want. also checked out a chinatown vcd of "hero"--- which i think will be formally released in the US next year (apparently miramax botched the push for the oscar nod this year by putting its weight behind "city of god" when "hero" was nominated instead). it made me cry. a lot. it was also better than "crouching tiger." and no, i'm not esp hormonal right now. one last bon mot: the new scatalogica for today is... poolet.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
one must be very, very careful when using a mandoline, as i discovered yesterday. after countless warnings from various cooks and enough trepidation and fear on my part to put off using the damn thing, i finally gave into my craving for a lovely, rich, crusty root veg gratin. i finally busted the brand new benriner out of its cutesy (so japanese) packaging, and prepped some celeriac, parsnip, and a really old peeled potato buried in the veg drawer. damn potato. after finally figuring out how the beni works, i sliced with fair success, cautiously using large pieces of my vegetables to avoid any chance encounter between fingertips and sharp -- lemme repeat, sharp -- blade. unfortunately, the potato slipped, and i severed off half the tip of my thumb. it gushed everywhere, and i applied pressure like my life depended on it (and in my semi-panicked state, i half-believed it did). after an hour-and-a-half of clutching paper towel to bloody thumb (and yanking open the gash each time i took a peek under the towel -- note to self: paper towels will adhere to bloody appendages.), the gushing slackened sufficiently to where i could finally assemble the gratin (but no more slicing for me, no siree. i kept a safe distance from the mandoline until i left the house altogether):
a layer of sliced celeriac, potato, and parsnip, arranged overlapping in a little round pyrex casserole,
the trick to safely using a mandoline, apparently, is to hold the vegetable with a towel.
tim made breakfast (and boy, are we ever grateful):
(i confess: i was going to put up pictures of my mangled thumb, but that's a bit gross, innit?)
fwc: winnie said i should post something ... i'm planning on putting together a "in search of the best korean food in boston" blurb, but until that's done i guess i'll just write about a recent food adventure ... went to this korean/japanese place called suishaya in chinatown that was surprisingly good. i'd been once before but hadn't found it memorable, but this time was good. but what i really want to know is, is koreana ever going to be open?? it's been closed now for more than a year. um ...
andy left for england last night ... winnie asked him to bring back some percy's pigs or is it piglets something like that ... um, yeah. whoo, food!
saw mark morris on friday. overall pretty good, although in general a little more "jokey" than i had been expecting. we went on the night he was doing a q&a and most of the time andy and i agree q&a's are more insipid than enlightening, but mark morris was pretty funny. some of his remarks (greatly paraphrased):
Q: how do you pick which of your dancers appears in which piece?
Q: do you think you'll ever turn to choreographing for older people?
Q: could you talk a little bit about your use of live music?
whoo, marky mark!
Monday, March 17, 2003
i had a craving for beans yesterday, so i picked through a couple cups of cranberry and cannellini beans, dumped them in a pot, covered them with water, and boiled them with some fresh sage. despite warnings that beans double in size when cooked, i ended up with a whole potfull, and only me to consume all these beans. and despite my better judgment, i actually ate all of them. every single last bean. salted and peppered, doused with quality EVOO and tossed with minced garlic, they were so tasty, i couldn't stop myself. i don't have anything else to say about this except that the rhyme might have some truth to it.
Friday, March 14, 2003
blueberry pancakes, round ii.
(god bless irma and progeny.)
Sunday, March 09, 2003
i finally found the perfect blueberry pancakes and they come straight out of tim's kitchen. we used the joy of cooking recipe for blueberry buttermilk pancakes, and while the cornmeal and buttermilk had me thinking dense, heavy blob, the leavening agents (the whipped-up egg whites in particular) lightened the batter considerably. and the cornmeal gives it a really nice texture. and of course, the lemon zest is key, says tim. four rashers of bacon each. a little sunday-morning coffee. no pictures, sadly -- they're pretty good-looking pancakes, too -- as i was all too eager to stuff my face. (a little maple syrup first.)
now i smell like bacon.
my new discovery for the day: lightly coating blueberries with flour before folding them into batter helps suspend the berries in the batter and keeps them from sinking to the bottom.
Saturday, March 08, 2003
i've rediscovered my camera lately (maybe because of nelson's newfound photo-mania? perhaps):
Friday, March 07, 2003
best story in recent memory.
joyce: i was at a restaurant last night celebrating this girl passing her part two's (tests to let you write your dissertation) and i went to a bathroom and in the stall next door i could hear a really little girl and her mother.
and the little girl goes, "mommy! i can pee and poo at the same time!"
i woke my ass up early today (well early for one who is currently unemployed) to schlep out to lincoln center to catch the dress rehearsal for "otello." magnifico. especially act ii, what with the excellent, rousing drinking song, the ensemble work. wonderful cast -- especially desdemona (frittoli, i think?). she can really tug on your heartstrings. moshinsky production, gergiev conducting. i was only a wee bit late to italian. today we learned that italians use way too many forms of the possessive and are very particular about their articles, indefinite or not. i mean, i miei vestiti? gli studenti? oy. going to a verdi opera is kind of an interesting experience when one is just beginning italian. you can just make out some of what they're wailing at each other ("a kiss... another kiss...").
saw "little fish" at the second stage theatre. could've been much better than it was, but the cast was fair.
best subway ad in recent memory:
(sorry, i know it's blurry, but i was on the friggin F.)
Thursday, March 06, 2003
best word-of-the-day in recent memory:
crapulous \KRAP-yuh-luss\ (adjective)
1 : marked by intemperance especially in eating or drinking
the denizens of south park were rather crapulous yesterday.
yesterday, tim cooked dinner:
Monday, March 03, 2003
my current obsession:
green apple twists from sahadi's. (just ask my sister how good they are.)
the chicken soup turned out well (but soup is nearly impossible for even me to screw up -- and is perhaps ideal because it requires no specific instruction). my roommates and i managed to finish it off the large pot in about twenty-four hours (admittedly, much of that was my work). half a chicken still remains, along with a mess of assorted giblets that i should find some use for soon. maybe i'll pan-fry the thigh and leg mom-style, with lots of garlic and black pepper. hm. or batter it up and fry it and roll out some biscuits (which i've also been obsessing about lately). or maybe some cornbread a la yankee (none of that crumbly, dry southern kind for me). i've also got two pounds of shortribs from my los paisanos trip that are clamoring for the anise-rice wine-ginger-braise treatment. yeah, all the way from the meat drawer of my fridge -- i can hear it. maybe this time i'll saute some mustard greens or broccoli rabe to accompany the ribs. a little sticky rice too. or maybe just braised in red wine with some creamy polenta and tim's yummy bitter greens.
first day of italian class. i'm actually pretty pleased with what they're offering. the class is populated by mostly middle-aged upper east-side types. their earnestness is amusing. i definitely feel very _not_ white. there are two other younger students, but both probably have a good six to ten years on me. the guy seems like the usual liberal-arts-school-year-backpacking-in-europe-lawyer-banker-trustfunder and might very well get on my nerves before tomorrow's class is out. i think, because he's the only uomo giovane in a class of old biddies, he feels especially obligated to answer everyone's question (whether he actually hears the question out first or not) and to answer la insgenante's questions cleverly (at least in his mind, anyway). the girl, who looks remarkably like courtney cox-arquette, is irritatingly bubbly and has trouble keeping her spanish out of the very little italian we learned today. (harsh, i know, especially if you consider that i let a "oui" slip out. i still am not liking either of those two.) per piacere.
other current obsessions:
and because everyone needs a little oreo sometimes:
Sunday, March 02, 2003
connie came for a visit yesterday with three of her friends and i decided that was reason enough to cook. my lengthy boycott of chicken has finally ended, i think, thanks to a recipe we tested in the saveur kitchen for chicken salad a la danny kaye, from pepin's memoir. it's poached for some time in a liquid flavored with the usual mirepoix, and comes out all juicy and succulent. shredded and tossed with a vinegary dressing, it's pretty damn good. i've also been obsessed lately with the idea of roasting, especially now that i've discovered that my oven actually works on all temperature (and not just as a 'broiler'). i'd also been eyeing this recipe in a recent issue of food & wine, vongerichten's chicken braised in riesling. i came home from brooklyn heights yesterday with two very heavy chickens (both purchased from the excellent los paisanos butchershop on smith st.) and way too much other stuff besides.
i'm kind of bad about following directions. somehow i ended up braising only half a chicken in a full bottle of lugana (not riesling, but white, at least, and dry. and certainly not the cup -- or was it half-cup? -- specified.). the mushroom and roux part i think i managed alright, but i forgot to get some cognac and used vodka instead to ignite the braising contents. i decided to use all the excess broth and wine to baste the roasting chicken, which turned out nearly perfect (a little pale around the leg joints). i'd stuffed the cavity with branches of thyme and rosemary, cloves of garlic and sage leaves. after the chicken was nearly done, i dumped some cut-up carrots, new potatoes, celeriac, and parsnips into the drippings and liquid.
using the leftover carcass of the picked-over roast chicken for soup today.