Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why Isn't It Here?

When I was a denizen of The City, I used to go to a Yemeni place run by Israelis called Rectangles. It had lots of tasty food, including malawach, which Jewish websites have recipes for.
Malawach, for the uninitiated, is a multilayered fried bread that is horrible for you in terms of fat, but is oh so tasty. It's served with stuff on top, like a focaccia, and a little dish of chopped tomatoes and zhug (I've heard it pronounced sort of like "z-hoog," but with more European-unpronounceable glottals) on the side.

Rectangles closed before I left law school, and I was very sad. But, as I search the blogs, it turns out that food blogger The Amateur Gourmet has found a new place for malawach, with pictures! It's an Israeli restaurant called Miriam, and it's in Park Slope, which is a little far for me to go for food that's not Peter Luger's (yes, I am one for whom the Island is my whole existence, like Ewan McGregor).

I am now hungry for malawach something crazy. I don't know where I can get it in DC.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Greek Food, CPK

This weekend, The Pedant and I had 2 very different meals, one much yummier than the other.

(Well, three meals that were tasty, but I won't go into the logistics of the first on Friday night. It was a pot luck dinner and TP and I brought yummy foods. He made a cucumber salad with an "Asian" dressing, again from the Cook's Illustrated Best Vegetable Cookbook, which went pretty fast. Everyone said it was yummy, and I am fussy and don't like cucumbers so I didn't try it. I made a cabbage, orange and fennel salad which was good but not fantastic. I one-and-a-halved the recipe because I was afraid one wouldn't be enough, but I think I added too much cabbage. It was still tasty, but maybe not to be made again.)

Saturday Night:

TP and I were dog sitting for my cousin and decided to take a break from the two cute, but yippy schnauzers and go for Greek food. My cousin recommended a place which was very tasty. It was designed to look like a little Greek village and the food was tasty, tasty.

They started us with a warm, crusty bread with some olive oil dipping that had a hint of lemon. We shared an appetizer - the Imam Baildi, an eggplant baked with tomato's, onions and pine nuts and it was perfectly baked. I had the Vegetarian sample platter, with a tasty triangle of spanikopita, 2 stuffed mushrooms, a stuffed grape leaf and rice and string beans. Well done. We shared the desserts for two: ice cream, a honey walnut cake (tasty!) and baklava, one of my favorite desserts that doesn't include chocolate.

Sunday Night:

For one of our friend's birthdays, at her request, we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I never understand the excitement of the place: yes, the portions are large and the cheesecake is the only consistently tasty option, but the wait is never needed. C'mon people, try tastier places. I got a portobello sandwich, which I usually get, which was fine. The mushroom was too tough, but I can always find fault in something there (the service was slow, too). TP and I shared a "Craig's Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake" which was an interesting cake, but needed more cream cheese frosting (as most things in life do).

I should say I do enjoy TCF, but it's never as good as I want it to be. I much prefer big chains like CPK and Bertucci's.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Magazine Madness!

The Sherbs and I got our first issue from our subscription to Vegetarian Times yesterday, and it was totally awesome.

Although it's full of a lot of pseudoscientific alternative crap (unlike Dr. Drew, their doctor advocates "cleansing fasts," despite basically saying in the article that the only benefit is psychological as a spur to get your diet in order; no other scientific benefits have been shown), the recipes look delicious. There's a whole article on tartine recipes ("tartine" is the French for "crunchy open faced sandwich," see an example from Food Network), plus soups that look awesome, such as the American Indian pecan soup.

Even the ads have tasty-looking recipes, including a ministrone recipe from a company that makes vegetable wash.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aubergine Victory!

Eggplant in miso glaze was a tasty success! The glaze was essentially Asian restaurant salad dressing without the ginger, and who hates that? Especially with sesame seeds!

I accompanied dinner with a pint of Black Sheep Brewery's Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale, which was like a less bitter Bass. Wasn't a perfect match for the eggplant, but it was a good ending beer for the day.

Mid-Prep Blogging

I am blogging mid-cooking, waiting for my eggplant rounds (soon to become miso-glazed eggplant) to absorb the salt I sprinkled on them a while back; Cook's magazine's Best Vegetable Recipes cookbook says thirty minutes, so I'm in a lull. In the first part of the thirty, I chopped a scallion and prepared the miso sauce.

Evidently, the miso that the Teet sells comes in a cantankerous bottle. If you do anything like squeezing it, it bolts out of the bottle and sprays across the cabinets, the countertop, and your jeans. After a quick cleanup and wardrobe change, I finished the dressing, and now I am here, blogging to you.

Thirty minutes is almost up. Time to find the sesame seeds.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

On the political weblog The Huffington Post, a commenter satirically suggests that CNN will spice up its campaign coverage with a partnership with Food Network so that, no matter what is happening, there will be a picture-in-picture of tasty, tasty cakes.

I'd rather watch food pass by than the usual "baby rescued from well two weeks ago still piquing interest of Nancy Grace" crawl that CNN does.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

J'Suis Batman!

In short, I agree with The Pedant's assessments of both the Count of Monte Cristos and the Ethiopian food. I will elaborate and also comment on last nights dinner rather than working.

1) Counts of Monte Cristo

Although TP really got to the core of what we both thought of the movies (mostly Gerard Depardieu is batman and Jacabo said "bam bam bam bam bam"), I would stress that they each are just silly. I mean, even the French one with its elaborate scenery is still just Depardieu being batman.

2) Ethiopian Food

Near us, there is a block of restaurants where the Ethiopian place was located. (It was super tasty. TP got it right. And cheap! Under $20pp! And fun! I get to eat with my hands! Hooray!) We decided, except for the Subway, the main criteria is that all the cuisines must be from a peninsula. There are 2 Thai places, several Italian, the Ethiopian and Eritrean.

Speaking of countries, our new book purchase is AMAZING. So funny!

3) Dinner Last Night

I made, in the slow cooker, a Mushroom and Green Bean Strogonoff. It was:

--mushrooms browned in a bit of oil (added at the end)
--an onion and pepper sauteed and some flour added
--tomato paste
--"chicken" (from parve chickens) broth
--green beans
--sour cream

You cook it all (minus the mushrooms and sour cream) in the crock pot and let the tastes mix together. You stir in the sour cream at the end and it gets all creamy and tasty. We had it over whole wheat spaghetti and not only was it healthy, it was amazingly delicious.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monte Cristos - but not the sandwich

The Sherbs and I have now seen at least two hours of every version of Dumas pere's The Count of Monte Cristo available from Netflix. As such, we can now provide a chart of these films for your edification and amusement:

1) Movies watched -
  • the 1998 French Comte de Monte Cristo;
  • the 2002 American Count of Monte Cristo;
  • the 2004 Japanese animated series Gankutsuo.

2) Easiest way to describe the way Edmond Dantes/the Count of Monte Cristo is portrayed -

Gerard Depardieu (1998) - fat French Batman.

Jim Caviezel (2002) - Jesus is back, and this time for blood!

Japanese animation (2004) - blue space vampire.

3) The character of Bertuccio, the Count's valet and most loyal servant is portrayed -

1998 French version - actually Italian, a great cook and all-around awesome, and rocking a mullet.

2002 American version - called "Jacobo" or "Jacopo," and played by Luis Guzman as one of the NYC Latin gangbangers that Mr. Guzman is often typecast as. The producers sailed fifteen wooden ships to Malta for this movie. They couldn't afford a dialogue coach for Mr. Guzman?

2004 Japanese animation - Isaac Hayes circa 1974 (open jacket, no shirt!), with more butt-kicking.

4) Most irritating moment -

1998 French version - Gerard Depardieu, in his Monte Cristo-cave (no, really; I told you he was Batman) keeps playing with a hibernating frog to see if his potion works.

2002 American version - Luis Guzman says (and it's funnier if you imagine this in a stereotypical New York accent), "Okay, I go to Paris, and I kill them, bam - bam - bam - bam - bam, then we go and spend the money."

2004 Japanese animation - Very heavily stylized; clothing patterns do not move with clothing - on purpose.

5) Longest-seeming opening -

Well, if you added up all 26 episodes of Gankutsuo, that droning two-minute song at the beginning would definitely win. But Comte de Monte Cristo has, for each of its four 100-minute episodes, a four-to-five minute intro which seems to state the names of the entire cast and all of the production crew save the caterers and the best boy.

6) Least plausible plot element -

1998 French version - that young Edmond Dantes, played by 150 lb. Guillaume Depardieu, could become the easily 250 lb. Gerard Depardieu, who is built like a freaking ox, after eighteen years of gruel and privation in the Chateau d'If.

2002 American version - that Edmond Dantes, the son of a clerk and a second mate on board a ship in the early nineteenth century, can't read. If I remember my Hornblower/Ramage/etc., to be a shipboard officer in the nineteenth century, you had to be able to do some basic navigation and keep the ship's books, both of which required functional literacy and numeracy.

2004 Japanese animation - well, if you accept that Edmond Dantes came back from the prison space station Chateau d'If as a blue vampire with magic powers, then the fact that Franz d'Epinay is gay for Albert Morcef and Maximillien Morrel is a cyborg super-soldier are pretty easy to swallow.

7) In sum:

1998 French version - I am the bat!

2002 American version - Bam bam bam bam bam!

2004 Japanese animation - Gaaaaaaaaaay.

Quick Thoughts Before Real Blogging

The Sherbs and I have realized that we have to get our post count back up, so we'll be doing a couple posts today. The first of mine is one of those "scattered thoughts" posts.

1. Went out for Ethiopian again last night, to a local place called Harar Mesob. It's right across the street from an Eritrean restaurant, but unlike the Horn of Africa, there appear to be no threats of armed conflict between the two. The Sherbs will give the definitive post on the place, but I must say I found it teff-riffic.

2. I was clipping coupons from the newspaper the other day (we got a good deal on the Washington Post's Sunday edition), and I found that there are few good manufacturer's coupons anymore. Most of the products were for things I wouldn't ever buy, and even for the ones that were closer, the terms were onerous.

$1 off two "I Can Darn Well Believe That This Is A Butter Substitute"? We do use a flax oil butter substitute, but one smallish tub at a time. We don't need the gallon size of Country Fraud. We're still not sure what we're using the second tub of Breakstone's sour cream for (another "buy two and get a lesser amount of cash off"), although the first one will likely be a stroganoff-style meal tonight in the slow cooker.

3. The Sherbs made a great couscous, cheese, garlic, and asparagus dish on Thursday.

Monday, January 14, 2008

From Africa to Mexico in 4 hours

I agree with The Pedant's assessment of Ethiopian food. It was only my second time eating it (at the same place, and according to TP's father who happens to know a bit about Ethiopia, it's a good and famous place) and it was super tasty. Basically, any excuse to eat with my hands I'll take! And the injera is relatively healthy! (WW: 1 point for 1 roll!)

In addition to the good Ethiopian food, we came home and watched my new Netflix movie, Like Water for Chocolate. I had read the book over the summer and thought, while mildly depressing, ti was a really well-written and interesting love story. The book was written in a calendrical form, each month beginning with a recipe. Lots of food was made/described/eaten in the book. The movie also proved to do that. In fact, half way through, TP and I needed to eat some Chocolate from Quebec City because, while we were full, it's the kind of movie you need to eat while watching.

No Excuse for Bad Blogging

I have been remiss, even though food has come through my life. Let me do a little recap, and a little look forward.

Last night The Sherbs and I went to Meskerem, an Ethiopian restaurant. In Ethiopian cuisine, everyone takes chunks of the main dish by scooping it up with a spongy tortilla-like bread called injera. Since all the food is served on a big round of injera, after most of the dishes are eaten, there's some saucy injera goodness at the bottom. Injera is tasty, with a mildy tart yeasty flavor. I will eat Ethiopian food again.

Tonight we are going to make a coconut milk, tofu, and asparagus dish out of The Sherbs's Weight Watchers cookbook with the three panels of flip pages for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It sounds delicious, but I'll eat anything with coconut milk.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sadly, life has been busy since post Quebec, and mostly with The Pedant and I being relatively sick with cold, mountains of laundry (finished! yay!), a visit to New York (more to follow) and just general exhaustion.

Food wise, our visit to New York was fun. We saw my family and ate really tasty things (i.e., spinach dip, a (homemade) baked mac and cheese, pastas, lots of good desserts that my mom made) and then went to a great place in Chinatown, Buddha Bodai. It's a 100% vegetarian restaurant that does dim sum and other great dishes. It's great for me because I can eat almost anything there. We had great dim sum Sunday morning.

We haven't made anything exciting this week, although (for the third time), we made Fusilli with Creamy Gorgonzola sauce. It's a Weight Watcher's recipe that is very tasty. I also got a new Weight Watcher's Cookbook, Mix and Match. I promise not to make this blog all about dieting, because anyone can find enough blogs about that, but TP and I are eating healthier (relatively at least, and without compromising our tastes or that fact that he's not on WW) and a new cookbook is exciting.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Quebec City - Pedant's Last Breakfast

New Year's in Quebec was awesome, even if the ice bar was closed for
the night when we got there. Fire eaters, moose hats, French rap, and
a mariachi band with dancing skeletons. Then there were the fireworks.

Just had my last breakfast of croissant (both regular and chocolate),
baked beans, and little savory meat pies at the Auberge Place d'Armes.
I'll miss it.