Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dina and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning

I was going to discuss the background why I hate birthdays, or the fact that my day is going badly, or the fact that I am sleepy and looking forward to a night in with Lorelei and Rory, but rather, I will talk about the healing power of chocolate chip cookies.

You see, I am having a bad day, and the circumstanced of which are trivial and unnecessary to vent about, (see above) but I consumed a single cookie after lunch (granted, I had a spoonful of frosting...). I am a perpetual dieter who often "cheats" for many, many reasons, but I enjoyed every bit of my cookie (and frosting). It was helpful and soothing.

A reputable source tells me chocolate has psychological effects and I believe it 100%. I feel better. That, and venting to The Pedant. And, knowing that on Saturday, The Pedant and I will consume some of the world's best chocolate. And I won't feel (too) guilty.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gar-licking Good!

Last night, after a frighteningly painful (good pain?) Pilate's class with the delightful Stoner, she adn I dinned at Preppy's Place and then proceeded to play Rummy 500, with Preppy, who is a big, fat, smelly cheater. But it was fun. We then watched a DVRed episode of Iron Chef, Battle Garlic. And that made up for Preppy's cheating.

What was great about this episode? Well, let's see. Mario Batali was the Iron Chef, whom I usually dislike, but have a new appreciation for. I recently finished the fantastic book, Heat, recommended to me by The Pedant's mother. And I am now recommending the book to anyone who:
  • is a foodie
  • doesn't mind being too grossed out by food preparation descriptions
  • enjoys cooking enough to get some good ideas
So, now I love Batali. I won't say he's my favorite, because that spot goes only to Cat Cora (whom I have a feminist crush on because she's the only woman), but I understand him more now. We're BFF in literary land.

I also enjoyed last night's episode because of the Secret Ingredient, Garlic garlic, and appreciate that The Pedant likes Garlic as well. It makes anything better. Except the snails and cow . I for one loooooveintestine the Challenger made - those are hands down always gross, no matter how much garlic is added to them.

And Jeffery Steingarten, an iron chef judge whom I have a crush on (because he's a meanie and very funny!), was a judge and I loved him. He said "Don't touch me" to a bimbo judge. My heart skipped a beat.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I had a nice and funny post, but my computer got mad at me and forced me to shut it down. So I did, and lost the post.

The gist: I want one of these

It's the William Sanoma Cookie Press.

And it's awesome.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

When It Absolutely, Positively, Has to be a Steak Dinner in Twenty Minutes

Last night on the Food Network's gadget show, I saw a demonstration of the $1,400 GE Advantium oven. Using a combination of high-powered lights and microwaves, the Advantium cooks food in ridiculous amounts of time. Pillsbury crescent rolls are done in three minutes. It even cooks steak, and it doesn't look so bad.

I feel like there's got to be a catch somewhere, though, that if you're not careful your food will get ruined. There did seem to be a lot of pre-programmed categories on the oven, and it might be that if you choose "flake mashed potatoes" instead of "real mashed potatoes" you get charcoal or a yucky, undercooked mass.

I'm not yet willing to blow $1,400 to find out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not for the Faint of Fart

We all know February is Black History Month, March is Women's History Month, but what is April?

I have renamed it: Fart History Month.

Well, at least it is Fart Week this week.

You see, I am a vegetarian, and since I don't eat anything with a face, I need to look for sources of protein outside the faced kingdom. Therefore, I eat lots of eggs, tofu and tofu products, beans and, my favorite, cheese. Since cheese is unhealthy in the amounts I would choose to eat it in and I always forget about eggs, I focus mainly of the bean family products. However, beans are commonly known as the "Musical Fruit" and the more I eat, the more I toot.

Last night, I cooked a bit of food for the week. I made a delicious fake eggplant Parmesan (baked eggplant, tomato seduce, and ricotta cheese), and a fantastic black bean soup (I have been trying to get it right for months - the secret: cumin! and pureeing most of it). And, if you intend to see me in the next 2 weeks, be prepared for the gas. But, you may join me for some of the BBS (eggplant is all mine!) and toot along with me!

Happy Farting!

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Barenaked Ladies Song Post

I forgot to discuss something quite important in my previous post, that I mentioned: alcohol. Or, really, the delicious drink I had with The Pedant on Saturday. At the restaurant we went to, since it was full (my guess: amazing food at lower-than-city-average prices), we had to wait. The Pedant and I got drinks, something we rarely due (my guess: frugality). The Pedant got a scotch and soda, while I enjoyed a Key Lime Martini. And it was tasty.

I personally like martinis. Well, the kind that have delicious flavored alcohol mixed in that masks the taste of the alcohol. The one time I tried a "regular" martini, I was disappointed. I think also because it was served in a regular, boring glass, as opposed to the, in my opinion, fancier and better glasses. I love martini glasses. Probably more than I actually like any kind of martinis.

Weekend Update

I had a fantastic weekend. (Well, minus forgetting responsibilities and other things.) The Pedant was visiting me for the weekend, and even in preparation for his visit, it was a great weekend. Good food, good-ish baseball, good dinner, good alcohol, good rain (not!), good friends, good movies. Although I am tired and must get back to reality, I am worn out from fun.

To start with, Friday evening ritual dinner was at Stoner's and it was good. I came there post tooth fairy, so I hung out cooking with Stoner and Preppy. Stoner made a delicious salad, and a fantastic eggplant parm, and if I may toot my own horn, I made a great pasta primavera. I sauteed carrots, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms with some non-stick spray, added in some veggie broth and whole wheat pasta and topped it off with some EVOO and sun dried tomatoes. There were also make your own ice cream sandwiches and good breads and cheeses. Yum-o!

The Pedant already explained a bit about the dinner on Saturday, and I will begin the blogging on the baseball. I'm a Mets fan, mostly because I have little choice. I hate the Yankees, and my parents grew up in formerly Dodger-turned-Mets territory. Therefore, Go Mets! So The Pedant and I shelled out a big 2 bucks for seats and enjoyed the game. Especially the part where the Mets get cocky and stupid. They never let their fans down! Especially the Cow Bell Man. But not the annoying guy behind me who kept hitting the seat with a metal bat. But The Pedant got me a hat!

Sunday was rainy and gross, but The Pedant and I managed to make it out in the rain to meet Stoner and Preppy for a great lunch. With delicious baklavah. Yum! After dropping off The Pedant at his train, I went to hang out again with Stoner and Preppy for cards, movies (HP4!) and ice cream.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Taste Mystery!

On Monday, you shall hear the story of the ball game the Sherbs and I went to. Who won, what we ate, and whether or not the Mets' starting pitcher meant to bean the heck out of that guy.

But today's post is about a mystery corn soup. Last night, the Sherbs and I went to Pisticci, and I had their corn soup. It was fabulous, but like no corn soup I had ever had before. The corn was pureed to liquidity, and instead of being a cream base, the soup was based on a chicken stock.

I want to replicate this soup, if for no other reason than to try to see if it works just as well with onion and leeks for more texture. But I can't find a recipe anywhere. I am especially disappointed that Food Network, which has a search icon in my Mozilla, has let me down.

The search continues.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Play Food!

I'm going to baseball with the Sherbs this weekend. Metropolitans/Nationals, or Mets/Nats. It gives us both a mediocre team to root for.

Anyway, we're already looking forward to the baseball park food. The Sherbs was worried that there might not be something for her, but I think there is, according to the Mets website (my favs highlighted):
There is a wide variety of food and beverages at concession stands throughout the stadium. This includes New York style Sicilian pizza available on all levels, as well as onion rings and ice cream desserts; Nathan's Famous hot dogs and fries; and Daruma of Tokyo behind home plate on the Field Level.

Hot Corner
Features the newly renovated Mama's of Corona, which offers a menu of gourmet sandwiches, fresh garden salads, antipasto and Italian pastries. Mama's is located on the third base side on the Field Level.

Family Food Court
Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins offer coffee, hot latte, and ice cream treats. Subway sandwich shop has heroes made fresh to order. B&B Sandwich offers a delicious Philly Cheesesteak style sandwich on a Kaiser roll. Kosher offerings include hot dogs and non-dairy delights. The Family Food court is located in the right field corner on the Field Level.
Note also the kosher alternatives. I NY.

An Open Letter

Dear Allergies,

Please leave. You are bothering me. My skin is dry and itchy. My nose is stuffed up with buggers (gross!) and it kinda hurts. I still cough a bit. You, Medicine 1 and Medicine 2, should be renamed "Unhelpful" and "Worse."

Please let winter, the season of frizzlessness, cold weather when it should be cold, and allergy free breathing, return shortly.

Thank You,


I'll Be There For You...Maybe...

The studly ladies of Jewbiquitous have got me thinking about acquaintances. They place people in the "Acquaintance Zone" (AZ) who they used to care about to some level and now don't have time for, desire for, etc.

I'm personally a big fan of acquaintances. I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people, and having acquaintances is a good way of relegating people to different "friend levels." I wasn't always that bad. As a kid, I spent summers at a sleep-a-way camp, where many people were from a different state than I. I was an expert letter-writer (this was in the early days of email before the soul sucking IM when you take out a - gasp! - pen and pretty paper and compose a letter without spell check!) and wrote to bunk mates, friends, counselors. Sometimes, I'd ask my parents for permission to make "long distance" phone calls (remember the days before cell phones and an area code mattered?) and chat with these friends for a good 15 minutes.

But then, middle school hardened my heart and I realized I'd sent more than I received. And I also stopped caring. I figured I'd keep in touch via email. But even that never works. So, having people in the AZ made sense to me back then. It still makes sense now.

There are too many people in my life who I just happened to "get rid of" as time went on, for various reasons. We lost touch and that was that. Done. Now I probably have more acquaintances than friends, but I'm ok with that. It's fun to catch up with dinner every 10 months through 6 years. And thank God for social networking tools that let me keep tabs on people who are fun to poke fun at but too boring for Google searches.

Perhaps The Pedant, who is an excellent communicator and keeper-in-toucher will rub off on me? I always wanted to continue writing letters or sending cards for special events. Perhaps one day, like one of my cousins (who took it over from one of my great aunts) I will send every one birthday cards.

Nah. Probably my laziness, which is what got me acquaintances in the first place, will prevail!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Well, seeing as the festival of matzah has ended and I am back to work, I can resume my regular posting schedule. You see, I was at my home in a suburb with my family for the week, enjoying a fully stocked kitchen ready for passover and leftovers. So I had a choice:

Spend time in the computer room (my laptop is old, heavy and slow) reading my celeb gossip columns, other blogs, about my friends, and posting here


Sit in our large, comfy chair and watch TV with DVR capabilities and reruns from my childhood.

I chose TV. Because I love TV. So I curled up on the chair (at one point, my dad asked if I had moved all night. I hadn't.), had a clicker in my hand and watched It was fantastic. I saw half of one of my favorite movies from High School, 2 Iron Chefs, DVRed some Gilmore Girls, watched a new favorite show, and enjoyed not moving at all.

I did take a "day trip" with my parents to see a Broadway show. The best part: hunching over in a busy starbucks, eating matzah sandwiches. Mmm...passover...But then I came home and watched TV.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Also not good for Passover

The internet enables chametz addicts by showing them how to cook pancakes using a mirror, a credit card, and second-hand syringes.

I am not that desperate, despite the Honey Bunches of Oats this morning.

(link passed to you from where I found it on Andrew Sullivan's blog)


They are distributing free boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats next to the subway station.

On the last day of Passover.

They wish to tempt me.

Ah, well, at least it isn't "free all you can eat doughnuts."

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Some People Were Not Courageous

Some of my dinner-party guests were not cool with the concept of matzah as lasagna, so we went with turkey. I was going to make a salade niçoise, even got the green beans, but there was a whole chopped salad with dill left over, so we just cooked the green beans and put them on the side.

I'm kind of disappointed about the salade niçoise. I love anchovies, and don't usually get an excuse to eat them.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I Feel Like Something Tonight

I will be having a food-related event tonight. Technically, it's a food and the roleplaying game Ars Magica-related event tonight, but roleplaying doesn't require any special considerations for Passover, nor is it that germane to the weblog.

I have a decision to make - meat or dairy?

In the house is leftover turkey, Passover stuffing, and sweet potatoes. With a salad, that's a dinner.

But I could also make a Passover "lasagna" by layering tomato paste, matzah, mozzarella, and cottage or farmer cheese in a pan, then baking it for 40 minutes. I'd make a salad for that, too, and, frankly, I think I like the cheesy option better, but I feel like I need more side dishes or I'll end up filling up on ring jells because I'm still a little hungry after the meal (for the record, the Joyva web page is lame).

I'll let you know what I eventually decide.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Links for the Travel

To elaborate on the Sherbs's post a bit, here are the links for the truly outlandish things I occasionally mention:

I'm psyched for these trips I'm not yet taking, too.

I Was Born a Travelin' (Wo)Man

While The Pedant has taken to describing what I'm sure is a delish salad (I would have nixed the turkey and added oregano to the dressing), I am passing the time at work today (no one is here...) by planning fantasy vacations. Since I sit at a computer all day, it's easy to visit tourism sites, travel discount places, hotel websites, etc. The Pedant and I are looking into going away at some point in the future (the very far future), and these are some of the ideas we have. You'll notice they range from wacky to really wacky to relatively realistic.
  • Iceland (but not in the dead of winter)
  • Atlantic City
  • Las Vegas
  • A Cruise (I want it to be to Alaska in the summer or the Caribbean in the dead of winter)
  • Brussels
  • A B & B in Virginia
  • A converted Railroad car in West Virginia
  • Japan
  • Tahiti
  • Italy
  • Paris
Well, my bags are I just need to get the money and the time to go...hmmm...

Salad Days

Like the Sherbs, I find there's not much to look forward to in terms of sweets (much less palatable crunchy starches!) over Passover. And I get tired of meringue much faster than she, although I like coconut (although most prepackaged macaroons get old fast).

Regardless, I made a pretty fab salad dressing for myself yesterday for my alternative Passover lunch: salad with turkey on top. It was vinegar, oil, garlic powder, and salt. I'm not really sure of the proportions because I rebel against measuring things, or even pouring them into containers where I could measure them.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

No Protein!

Passover is very much here with a vengeance. For me, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, who isn't even "crazy," (meaning: I'll eat soups with a meat broth, foods cooked with meat, etc.) Passover is bad, bad time. I am a Jewess of Ashkenazi heritage so for me, all legumes are out. Boo. For Lacto-Ovos, our major source of protein is kitniyot, and therefore, I cannot eat much protein during passover. I am relegated to eggs and cheese. Granted, worse things could happen. In fact, today for lunch, I had no protein. Why? Because the hard boiled eggs I had for my salad were inadvertently left on the drain board. Oops. I was able to find some nuts to nosh. Mmm...delish...fat...

However, I shouldn't complain. I personally love passover. And, I won't spend much time bitching about the fact that I must force myself to eat mostly cheese this week, but I will tell you, that as a sweet lover, Passover seems like it would have many options, but those options SUCK. There is nothing grosser than passover cakes, cookies, and pastries. My mom actually makes delish marainge cookies, but that's about it (her brownies aren't that bad either). However, Jelly Slices are to die for.

Google's Odd Marketing

As you know, Gmail puts ads on the sides of one's e-mail loosely based on the text of the e-mails.

Emphasis on "loosely."

On the side of a conversation scheduling a get-together with the mention of kosher chicken, Google tried to sell me "Chicken Poop" lip balm.

I can't explain it, by which I mean both the product and Google's decision to list it next to my e-mail.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Passover - The Holiday of Odd Food

So, I'm fasting in advance of Passover (being a firstborn and all), and thinking about food, because that's what you do when you fast. I think about food more when fasting than I do when I actually need to think about food, like when grocery shopping.

Anyway, there was a recipe in the print edition of the Washington Jewish Week for a "Tropical Tiramisu" for Passover. Its relation to real tiramisu is tenuous, but it's pineapple, mango, sponge cake, and flavored liquor. And we're pretty desperate for foods on Passover.

Maybe I'll try it.