Friday, December 31, 2010

More Israel Travel Tips

1) Israeli cellular phone companies do not want to do business with you. Their stores are like nice versions of the DMV: you take a number, sit and wait, and eventually someone will deal with what you need, like adding NIS 100 to your prepaid phone, but not with any alacrity. It was like they'd never done the transaction before, writing crap down on post-its and running back and forth from the mysterious back room and random computer terminals.

2) The shouks have the cheapest veggies. A "shouk," for those who don't know the term, is the descendant of that Arabian market that was caricatured in the Disney movie Aladdin as full of intolerant and pushy shopkeeps, vicious scimitar-wielding law enforcement officials, and a fez-wearing monkey.

In fact, they look like any nation's street market, but here, the shouks in Jerusalem, Acco, and Ramla all have great vegetable assortments, as well as fresh fish and baked goods, for a price far below what you'd find in the local supermarkets.

In Jerusalem, there's also a dumpling-in-soup place I hear is delicious, as well as a place that sells Judaic-themed health beverages. It would set off Penn & Teller's alarms pretty quickly, although the Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon-themed almond beverage and the angelically-themed chocolate drink looked tasty.

3) Elias's Butcher Shop in Ramla is a great place for raw meat. Elias himself will cut you pretty much anything you want of whatever meat he's got, and he stocks enough for an entire barbecue in his shop, from firestarter to bamboo skewers to frozen french fries. I'm a sucker for any butcher that has a side of meat just hanging around, and can yank a leg of lamb out from under a table.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Notable Meals in Israel

Brunch: Shakshouka and a cappuccino at Si Coffee at the gas station just below the Latrun tank museum. The Sherbs already went over this, but the tomatoey dish with eggs and cheese cooked on top was pretty amazing, even for a chain cafe. Especially with the whole grain bread.

Dinner: Italian in Tel Aviv. Pizza, appetizers (including eggplant parm in individual ramekins), and a gnocchi in meat sauce.


Brunch: "Couples Breakfast" for the Sherbs and I at Cafe Rimon on Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem. Each of us got two eggs, any way we wanted, and a salad, with a plate of cheese, tuna fish, and lox to share, as well as a bread basket with two croissant and four bagels. More than decent for a remarkably touristy establishment.


Lunch: Chicken shnitzel sandwich at a small shop in Old Acco at (I think) the end of Chaim Weitzmann Street. Breaded, fried, and stuffed in a toasted baguette with all usual falafel fixings and a couple french fries for good measure. Not the best food ever eaten, but better than average and unbeatable at NIS 20 for sandwich and drink.


Samir's in Ramla. Ramla is a small city near to Tel Aviv, and contains, in one of the many 12th-century structures still standing and in use, a restaurant called Samir's.

I've probably mentioned this place before. But there is nothing bad at Samir's. Today's assortment (when we go with the Sherbs's uncle, it's always the chef's choice for the menu) was chicken kabob, ground lamb kabob, falafel, and a mixed plate of animal hearts and livers cooked with onions and pepper. I am not being facetious to say that the organ meats were incredibly delicious - as I said, there is nothing bad at Samir's. From the pitas to the salads to the baklava at the end (and the coffee with cardamom), everything was tasty-riffic.

The Sherbs's uncle's ice cream. My better half's uncle makes his own ice cream, and has spent much of his life learning and perfecting the food chemistry of homemade ice cream. The flavors which we had too much of were a pineapple sorbet, a mint chocolate made with fresh mint (so much better than that spearmint oil stuff you get at the supermarket), and a dark chocolate ice cream with coffee and chocolate chunks mixed in.

Wine and Waffles; Shakshukah

The Pedant described what we ate in Belgium well. I had a breakfast of a poached egg and some toast pieces, which was perfect. Also, the cafe gave pieces of chocolate with the coffee. Any country that does that is a friend of mine.

For crepes, I had a buckwheat crepe with cheese (Gruyere I think) that was filled to deliciousness and then topped with scallions and a fried egg. It was a lot of eggs, but really wonderful.

For the Christmas market, we had a "regular waffle" (opposed to a waffle on a stick - it was just going to be too hard!) and then topped with a chocolate sauce. I also got a glass of their muled wine. The snack was perfect. The waffle was fluffy (and I'm sure since it was a food stall not even the best waffle we'll have in Belgium) and the chocolate was divine. Creamy and delicious. Since it was cold, the chocolate sauce hardened a bit on the waffle, which made it even better. (A little less messy!) The wine was also great. TP and I traveled a few years ago to Quebec City and had Caribou, plus we've had homemade Glorgg (by TP's mother, who is not Danish but learned from wonderful Danes) and this was different. It was, of course, much sweeter, as well as spicy. Not a clue what kind of wine they used, but it was excellent.

Then we got to Israel. We've had some great food so far. The first meal we had here was at a coffee shop/cafe near my aunt and uncle that served amazing shakshukah with this incredible whole grain bread. We ate it outside with cappuccinos and espressos. I hope shakshukah catches on in the US. That night for dinner we went to an Italian place in Tel Aviv that was amazing as well. This afternoon we are likely going to Samir's restaurant, which has the best humus in the world, and I'm not even joking a teeny bit.

Israel Travel Tips

Things to Ask the Rental Car People That I Didn't:
1) Will I be unable to figure out how to turn off the radio?
2) Why can't I lift the seat above a "recumbent bike" position?
3) Will it be remarkably easy to break my lease terms by taking the wrong turn on the road to Megiddo (in Israel) and ending up in Jenin (in Fatah-controlled West Bank)?
4) Will the tire unexpectedly spring a leak and your emergency service staff tell me to change the tire to a spare and have the flat replaced myself?

Things I Learned the Hard Way:
1) Acco (aka Acre) is impossible to leave if the road you expect to get to the highway on is blocked by police with a bomb-disposal robot.
2) The Herzl Museum, on Har Herzl (and poorly signed) is not on the same Jerusalem mini-mountain as the Jerusalem Central Bus Station (which has all the charm and cheerful ambiance of the NYC Port Authority on 42nd St.). Nor is it a short walk.
3) The Herzl Museum requires reservations, and if you don't have one, they don't have any interest in helping you.
4) In Jerusalem, Yafo (Jaffa) Street is NOT perpendicular to King George Street. Even though they're really close. You make one wrong turn out of the Mamilla mall, and you're heading to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. AGAIN.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12 Hours in Brussels

Here we are in lovely Eretz Yisrael (Eretz Yisroel to you die-hard Ashkenaz), enjoying the sun and the above-50 degree temperatures while all y'all on the East Coast suffer under BLIZZARD.

But, you know, Israel's suffering a terrible drought, so the constant sunny days we're having are actually tragic for agriculture and municipal water prices. So we spend a moment of silent contemplation before enjoying our coffee at an outdoor cafe.

But back to the first day of our trip, when we were in both snow and honest-to-goodness slush: our twelve hours in Brussels prior to landing at Ben Gurion Airport.

We landed in darkness, 7AM Belgian time actually being appropriate more to Berlin, so the sun comes up at 9AM and it stays light until 6PM or so, where it should be more like 8-4. In the purplish tones of early dawn, we took a train from the airport into Brussels Central (Dutch: Brussel Centraal) station, during which I listened to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack on my iPod. Early morning Europe from the train is awesome to Daft Punk. You should try it.

Once in the city, we saw many historic sights and learned that all of Brussels is right next to each other. So we went about trying to see every chocolate shop we'd heard of. Galler was closed, but we visited Leonidas ("These...are...truffles!"), Pierre Marcolini (which wouldn't accept our credit card, and lost a sale), Wittamer (100 years of tastiness), Neuhaus (just like in the Union Station mall), and Planet Chocolate, the last of which had (unusual for these stores) free samples, and even better (and not necessarily unusual but much appreciated), great service. We bought a lot of interesting chocolates there.

For "real" meals, we went to the Wittamer Cafe in the Place du Sablon in the morning, as it was open and we wanted to miss the brief snow flurry. The breakfast was simple, but it was very tasty and the coffee came with chocolate truffles.

For lunch, we went to the Maison du Crepes at the corner of Rue des Midi and some street just north of the Grand Place. The service was leisurely, but friendly, but the crepes were fantastic. I had a crepe "Paysanne," which was creamy mustard cheese sauce, bacon, scallions, and tiny potatoes, all in thin buckwheat. Yum. I had it with kriek, the Belgian near-beer flavored with cherries, which was a mildly sweet, tart alcohol. Both Sherbs and I loved it.

Following lunch, we hit a Christmas market, eschewing buying a wedge of cheese the size of a airplane wheel-chock for a somewhat lighter snack, but I'll let my better half tell you about that. Then it was onto the plane, and off to Israel.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Part II

Thanksgiving came and went. It was the first time I "hosted" a family meal (with more than 7 or 8 people) and it went well. It was VERY hard work. We had 35 people in total and it was 6 weeks of prep. The Pedant's mother helped organize everyone with a google group and document, and everyone pitched in.

My food came out great. The quinoa salad was a HUGE hit! Plus, I have 2 containers left (I would have had 3, but we ate it for breakfast Friday!). The Pecan Pies were also amazing, but the crust got a bit crispy - and broke 3 plastic knives. I made them in glass baking dishes and afterwords my mother said I might have needed to lower the heat. I will likely make the pie again for my work pot luck in December so will double check the cooking temp.

Thursday was one of the longest days I've had: After having nightmares at 4AM that the pie was burned to a crisp, I woke up VERY sleepy at 7 and did a 5 mile turkey trot (with my best time ever in a race - under a 10 minute mile!). I came home about 11:30am to a full house: Parents, grandfather, aunt, 2 cousins and made a second pie dough. (My mom rightly thought 1 pecan pie wasn't enough.) After, we went to the supermarket for some lunch stuff - a big salad. At 1:30 or so, we started the cooking
  1. Making pecan pie and cooking said pie
  2. Making stuffed mushrooms (my mom made the stuffing earlier but we needed to stuff)
  3. Making stuffing (which my mom did most of)
  4. Making quinoa salad (which I did most of)
About 2:30pm I realized I hadn't had enough water post race and had a THROBBING headache all night...

About 2ish TP went to his parents' house to get table cloths, wine, utensils and some other stuff since his mother was having a bit of trouble with the oven and the turkeys...

About 3 I started setting up the room with my dad and assorted family members. People started coming about 4 and I finally got to shower about 4:15! It was a non-stop event but I had a lot of fun doing it!



Artichoke dip (Sherb's aunt)
Guatemalan black beans (S's aunt)
Broccoli/Carrots (S/TP)
Salmon (TP's aunt)
Humus, crackers, pita (S's cousin's parents)
Stuffed Mushrooms (S's mom)


3 Turkeys (TP's mom, TP's aunt, S's cousin)
Stuffing with meat (S's cousin)
Stuffing with no meat (S's mom)
Broccoli (S's cousin)
Slaw with tasty, tasty ramen noodles (S's cousin)
Quionoa salad (S/TP)
Sweet Potato (TP's Mom)
Sweet Potatoes with tasty marshmallows (TP's aunt)
Cranberry sauce from jar (TP's aunt)
Cranberry sauce - exact same kind! (TP's aunt, S's aunt - a wonderful coincidence!)
Salad (TP's Aunt)
Roasted Veg (TP's mom)


2 Pecan Pies (S)
2 Chocolate Pecan pies (TP's mom)
2 Pumpkin pies (S's cousin)
Chocolate chip cookies (S's aunt)
Pumpkin bread (TP's Mom)
Cranberry Bread (S's mom)
Parve whipped topping (TP's Aunt)

Wine, beer, soda, TP's Grandmother's whiskey sours

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Every food blog I read is doing a Thanksgiving post, so why not my own?? I'm kind of hosting our big dinner - The Pedant and I are combining families in the party room of our building. Other family members are making the Turkey, but we're still pitching in.

I'm making a Pecan Pie (recipe from Joy of Cooking, which I have heard from a friend is the easiest and best recipe for pecan pie) which I'm excited about. I'm making that Wednesday after work.

I'm also making a Southwest Quinoa and Sweet Potato salad (ala Mark Bittman). I've already cooked the sweet potatoes and will cook the quinoa and assemble the salad Thursday. But it will be a rush - I am running a 5 mile race that day (in order that I can enjoy my pecan pie!). I was originally going to make the quinoa Wednesday but am running out of room in my fridge...

My mom and I will also be assembling stuffed mushrooms and finishing a stuffing. It should be a hectic day, but fun.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still Eating

Not much cooking has happened this week - since again, busy life - but I have been diligently eating my cooked food. The parsnip soup is still amazing as is my ziti (and my mom's eggplant Parmesan).

I did go out for lunch this week with some coworkers and had a great risotto with autumn vegetables. I've made risotto before and The Pedant and I do a pretty good job, but this was superb. Really amazing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yesterday's Food

I've been thinking about this picture thing but can't get my act together I guess...

Yesterday The Pedant and I had a fun day and it included lots of food. (And probably too much soda - we figure we both had about 1.5 liters each...and I had a bit too much trouble falling asleep...)

So, our day in food:


TP and I are taking a deep water cardio class at a local high school Saturday mornings. It's a lot of fun and an intense workout. Both of us needed new clothes, so we headed to a big mall after our class to beat the rush, but needed breakfast first. We had "bagels" (which I put in quotes because outside of New York "bagels" are never as good) at a local bagel place that is actually pretty good. Since it was pretty crowded, we sat outside (it was lovely!) and ate our "bagels" and read the paper. Then, we headed to the mall.


After the mall, we went to Bertucci's for lunch. As I get snobbier about my food, I have realized I don't really enjoy most chain restaurants. The food is usually fair and too greasy and the portions are WAY too large. I do however LOVE Berucci's, especially for lunch. They give you salad, their bread is worth every calorie, and their lunch portions are a great deal. TP got chicken picatta (which prompted us to plan making a version at home one day) and I got an eggplant pannini.

Food Prep/Dinner:

We ventured on after lunch to Costco and the Teet for some essentials and then came home and napped for a bit. (I think we deserved it.) I did get up and then make some food for the week and for dinner. For dinner, I made a baked ziti with vegetables. It was about half pasta, half vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, onion, pepper, roasted in the oven while the pasta was cooking). I used ricotta cheese and made a tomato sauce and topped it with some mozzarella, provolone and Parmesan cheese. It came out well. Except, I have to remember to under cook the pasta more next time! The veggies let out a lot of water and the pasta got a bit too soggy.

I also made a roast parsnip soup. It's really easy and really tasty. We didn't eat it for dinner (it didn't go with the pasta really and we intended to make a salad, but we got lazy/not so hungry when we made dinner) and I'm really excited to eat it for lunch today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finally Back!

I spent this weekend celebrating my grandfather's 90th birthday and it was lovely!! The only downside is that several family members asked how my blogging was going. I sheepishly admitted I have been lazy. So no more. New goal: posting at least 2 times per week. I will continue to debate about putting pictures up - at least about cooking (The Pedant and I hate taking pictures of food at restaurants: it's rude).

OK - a small update since August: We've been cooking a lot! Not much terribly new - we did make some great meals but nothing really out of the ordinary. I am excited that the weather is FINALLY cooling down and I can make more wintry foods like soups, casseroles, roasted vegetables, etc.

Last week I made a black bean and butternut squash chili. the recipe came from NPR's The Splendid Table's weekly newsletter. It came out really well. I personally love chilis. I also love sweet and spicy foods.

Also, I have a new project one day. My Aunt M. is an EXCELLENT baker. There is a cake from HER Aunt, that is a chocolate cake. It is a really rich chocolate cake with freshly made whipped cream and a chocolate "frosting." My mom makes the cake also and it is incredibly tasty. It has always intimidated me since it is a 2 step process and you have to add the chocolate sauce on top of the whipped cream. I really enjoy baking and have always wanted to have the time and space to bake (and the willpower to not eat everything as it comes out of the oven). When I was home this weekend Aunt M. showed me how to make this cake (well, the chocolate sauce that is the hardest part) and has now told me it's time for me to bake it. She also chastised me for not owning a 9x13 metal baking pan. So now i have a project. Anyone want a tasty chocolate cake??

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cooking Night

Last night was a night of cooking. I sadly, didn't take pictures, but maybe will one day! Not only did I make dinner (with The Pedant!), but I also made soup and zucchini bread and TP made mac and cheese.

Mac and Cheese (times 2)
There was a tiny bit of confusion between me and TP about dinner. I was going to make a baked mac and cheese for dinner since I had milk to use. This is a Vegetarian Times recipe and it's pretty fantastic: using skim milk, you create a "cream" sauce and then add in 1/2 a cup of reduced fat cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. You top it with panko and then bake it. It comes out really great and much healthier than regular mac and cheese. So, I had to run some errands after work and asked TP to start water for the pasta. He got home earlier than I expected and started to make the pasta from the mac and cheese he got from the BBQ festival. Since it was Kraft and gooey and delicious (read: too many WW points...) he ended up making the Kraft stuff for himself and we made the mac and cheese from VT for dinner still.

Green Beans
We got a TON of green beans from our CSA and are making a Hungarian Strogonoff in the slow cooker tomorrow, we made a sort of French style green beans with almonds. TP did most of the cooking (I was doing zucchini bread) and they came out great. The beans were still crispy and the slivered almonds were perfectly toasty. It was a great dinner: baked mac and cheese and green beans.

Squash Soup
Since squash is in season, I made (yet again) my new favorite soup - Chilled Curried Squash Soup. (I already have 2 containers in the freezer!) Plus, since squash is in season and super cheap at the Farmer's Market, it's so tasty. It's pretty easy (I've blogged about it here) and fun to play with. For this one, I think I put in too much salt (or, parve chicken soup) and a bit too much curry, but I think it's still tasty.

Zucchini Bread
As I said in my last post, I got a TON of zucchini. I used half of the GIANT one (which means I still have 1/2 a giant zucchini and a large one left!) and made 4 zucchini breads. The recipe I have makes 2 loaves, so I bought some aluminum pans at the Teet on Monday (I only have 2 loaf pans). It was a GIANT batter. I had to use my GIANT glass bowl to mix and it was a work out. Nonetheless the bread came out great and tasty. I've gotten several complements from my coworkers (I brought in a loaf) and will enjoy the other 3 loaves in my freezer.

But now - I need to do something with the rest of my zucchini. Ideas??

Monday, August 2, 2010

Squash and such

A post! Finally!

It's been a busy summer - between work being busy and taking a class, it's been a rough summer for blogging. And cooking! We've been in and out and busier so although we have great CSA produce, it's not necessarily blog worthy - nothing new and exciting.

However, I did make zucchini bread this weekend with a zucchini from the farm and I loved it. Super tasty. I will probably make it again since I just got a HUGE zucchini from the neighbor of a friend's parents. I might even make 4 loafs (my recipe makes 2 loafs - although I only have 2 loaf pans...) it's that giant.

This weekend was spent with friends at their parent's lovely house in New Jersey. My friend L. made a really fantastic dinner: soba noodles (which were basically cold sesame noodles - my FAVORITE), a bean and squash salad, and seared tuna (The Pedant loved it). She also made a plum and cherry crumble, which was perfect (and better the next day for breakfast). We had cocktails of champagne and strawberry puree and some cheese which was great. For lunch yesterday we all went for dim sum.

Tonight's food will likely be pizza at costco since TP and I need to get some shopping done.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Less Free, More Food

I did not join The Pedant at the BBQ Festival today. Rather, I had a paper to write for school, so naturally I had lunch with some friends. I also did a lot of cooking. (I did do SOME work. In fact, I'm doing some now! Can't you tell?!?!)

While at the farmer's market (FM) this morning picking up some delicious produce and things, I had a great idea to take pictures of the food - before, during and after. But I TOTALLY forgot. Maybe next time? We'll see.

Q: What did I cook?

A 1: I made a black bean and corn salad: black beans, frozen corn (the FM had ears that looked good but I got lazy), FM green pepper, FM jalapeno, FM red onion and a dressing of sherry vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. It came out really well. The one single jalapeno was HOT. My fingers are STILL burning from touching it. But the salad was tasty.

A 2: I made a curried squash soup. TP mother made it this winter and served it warmed, although it was supposed to be served chilled. So I used a yellow squash from our CSA and a few more from the FM, as well as an onion from the FM and some potatoes (FM finds too!). Basically, you saute the squash and onion in oil, add garlic (from our CSA), ginger and cumin, then add potatoes and veg broth. Bring to a boil, simmer, puree, and chill. It came out really great. I cannot wait for my lunches this week of spicy bean salad and chilled curried squash soup.

A 3: Granola. We've been making our own granola. I don't know if it's healthier than buying it, but it's more fun to make. And is super easy. And tasty. A small handful works great for me with greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Yum!

Now, you may ask yourself, why is Sherbs making a big deal about FM finds and CSA uses. I'm not quite sure really. I'm so not into buying organic foods (yes, better for the earth but the processes can get stupid - lie organic must be certified by the government which many small farms can't afford. Plus, organic doesn't necessarily mean it's the most environmentally friendly - it could come from across the county which produces oil waste and the food is inherently not as fresh, blah blah blah). I do like buying local to support local farmers and the food is fresher and keeps longer. Plus, it's to walk around our FM on a Sunday morning. Many people bring their dogs. I like dogs.

'Q Freebies

I went to the Safeway barbecue cookoff in DC today, near the Archives/Navy Memorial station.

Since DC law prevented the competitors from handing out free samples (or paid samples), it was mostly an opportunity to get free stuff from vendors. And did I ever:

  • Smoked sausage and pulled pork sandwich from Stubb's barbecue sauce
  • Sample of Kraft Homestyle Mac n' Cheese
  • Sample of Safeway's "Rancher Reserve" beef cooked in pepper and olive oil
  • Claussen's pickle
  • A really, really tasty slice of watermelon
  • GEICO Gecko Pez dispenser
  • Sample packs of Mrs. Dash from the DASH NGO for prevention of domestic violence
  • Margarita mix
  • bloody mary mix
  • 5 spice bloody mary mix
  • two free packages of Kraft Homestyle mac n' cheese
  • Tote bag from winning Bingo from the DC Lottery
  • Tote bag for taking a survey from Benjamin Moore paint
  • Luggage tag from Greyhound Bus Lines
  • Flimsy water bottle from Greyhound Bus Lines
  • Magnets with a Clausen's pickle theme
  • Magnets with the Dunkin' Donuts logo
  • Magnetic shopping list with the Dunkin Donuts logo
  • climbing-unsafe carabiner from Oscar Meyer Lunchables
All this, and plenty of coupons. I feel like I got my $11 admission's worth, even after buying some ribs with coleslaw and potato salad from the Midwestern place that played early Michael Jackson on a loop (and gave cups of free iced tea to people in line).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some Like it HOT

Yes yes, I'm a bad blogger.

Anyway, lots of good food lately. Most importantly, I ate at a great restaurant last night. My friend C. and I, and her friend L., went to Nando Peri Peri. It is fast food in the way Noodles & Company is fast food. You order and they bring food to you, but you don't have to clean up. They are "known" for their chicken sandwiches. Luckily, they had a cheese and protobello mushroom sandwich. The other thing they are "known" for is their spicy sauces. I got HOT (there is also an extra hot) and it was HOT but really, really good. I do love spicy food that makes your cheeks hurt. It is so good. I will def go back. I even texted The Pedant right after to tell him we must go. Yeah, it was that good.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Shorter Update

Since I'm procrastinating doing my last final - a short update.

Today is The Pedant's Birthday! HOORAY! But, since I'm working on this final I requested nothing special. So we ordered in Vietnamese food. It was delish. We should eat it more.

A Short Update

An incredibly short post since my life has been incredibly busy. (I have 1 final left...and then summer school...why did I go back to school again??!)

Anyway, dear readers (i.e., Hello Dad, Aunt L., The Pedant's Sister, Bluesleepy...anyone else actually read this blog?!?), life has been hectic. My experiment with less caffeine was going really well...until I went all decaf Monday and wanted to die. Tuesday was worse - again all decaf and wanted to die. Wednesday I did a double mug of all caf and that was good. Today - half caf. But it's only 12:40 so we'll see...

As for food, we've eaten some great stuff. We were in Boston for a wedding a 2 weekends ago which was lovely. I had goals of blogging about all our good food, but then finals got in the way. Which is why I haven't blogged much (TP has no excuses...). I WILL try to be better. Which is what I say every time.

For a quick food update, I have made meringue cookies twice. My mom is an expert at making them and I've decided to try. But, I wanted to get all fancy and pipe them. But I don't have a pipping bag. The first time I tried a Ziploc bag - epic fail. Monday night I tried a parchment paper "pipping bag" which worked eh. Probably better if the cookies didn't have chocolate chips. Will continue to experiment. I may buy a pipping bag one day and make them all pretty like.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Caffeine, Races, Ice Cream, Paella

I haven't updated about my caffeine and other food recently. I've kept a good equilibrium for half-caf coffees this week. I did slip up a bit on Saturday. We went to a different farmer's market and I was kind of cranky so decided to have a coffee. But it was a bit larger than I expected. However, it was really good, and I intend to go back to the store (they had a table at the market even though they are across the street).

Saturday, we had a pretty tasty lunch of hot dogs (well, veggie dogs for me) and homemade ketchup we bought at the farmer's market the week before, plus some couscous and a salad. For dinner, we made a beet, asparagus (from farmer's market) and egg (again, from farmer's market and SO GOOD - the yolks were bright yellow like they should be!) salad from the best salad cookbook, plus some quinoa and cabbage (thanks Bittman!).

Sunday morning I got up REALLY early to run a 10 mile race. It was my very first 10 mile race and I was really excited and happy how I did. (I did it in 1 hour, 44 minutes! Go me!) The race ended in Old Town Alexandria and The Pedant met me at the finish line (he also cheered me on in the last leg). They had some food at the finish line - bagels (which were NOT real bagels, just bread products), bananas (yuck) and chips. I'm not usually hungry immediately after I finish a big race, so I had a bottle of water and we started to walk to the Metro. TP was a bit hungry, so we stopped by Le Pain Quotidian, a great chain, for some breakfast. TP had a mochachino and a croissant sandwich. I ordered 2 soft-boiled eggs (TP ate one of them) and it came with lots of tasty bread. It was perfect, although the server got a little annoyed that's all we were ordering. I did make myself a mocha with coffee and light chocolate soy milk when I got home.

We made a carrot and cheddar salad for lunch from the salad cookbook. It was fair - but not something we'll do again (although we amended the recipe a bit). We both ended up eating a bit too much of it and by the time dinner rolled around we didn't feel like making paella, which we planned to eat. We did, however, have a new Ben and Jerry's flavor of ice cream for dinner. Which is the only reason I run.

Last night TP made the paella. It was a Bittman recipe (of course) and had mushrooms. It came out really, really well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Less Caffeine, Day 4

So now it's day 4 of less caffeine. Yesterday I was working late so I actually slept much later than I normally do (yet another sleepless night...) so lots of caffeine wasn't as big of a deal. I did make my new favorite coffee drink: in a double mug (mine is very much like this and a good friend got it for me a few years ago - I do LOVE the slogan!) mix 1 part coffee, 1 part light chocolate soymilk. Add one sweetener packet (mostly because I have a sweet tooth). Enjoy.

I did manage to not eat anything when I got home last night and slept ok. Today it's another mug of half-caf. It's going well this project. I do want to devour an entire bag of chocolate covered espresso beans. Is that normal??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Less Caffeine, Day 2.5

Short update. I broke down and got coffee from the cafeteria. I had full intention of getting half-caf (I swear!) but I was thwarted because the decaf coffee was no where to be found. And, since they're closing up shop for the day I figured it wouldn't be making a reappearance. So I was forced - forced! - to get a cup of regular coffee. I used my reusable mug and I didn't fill it all the way.

Maybe it's a sign this is a silly goal?

Less Caffeine, Day 2

What I neglected to say in my post yesterday is that I will be limiting my caffeine intake over the next few weeks. It's something I've been thinking about recently since my life has been busy and I haven't been sleeping well. Well, I have NEVER been a good sleeper. Many of the stories from my childhood revolve around me not sleeping. I have never been an insane coffee drinker - my father drinks about 8 cups a day of STRONG coffee and I have never been that bad - but I always take a spill proof mug worth of coffee. I will sometimes get another small coffee or latte int he afternoon or even a diet coke. But they seem to not work at waking me up. Which defeats the purpose.

Plus, I've been reading that bad sleepers shouldn't drink too much caffeine.

Also, I think it's screwing up my body and making me more tired at night. And I've been eating way to much at night. Yes, I've been running a lot lately - but not on the weekdays - and I come home at 9:30 after a 13 hour day but I have been snacking a bit too much. Because I'm tired. Which isn't a reason to eat. So I'm hoping to limit my caffeine intake over the next few weeks. I'm not going to cut it out completely. I just don't want a crutch. Plus, I want a cup of coffee or a soda to actually effect me. Also, I like diet soda too much for it to be lost completely to me. And decaf coffee does have a lot of caffeine. And tea is boring.

The Plan:

Start with half-caf coffees for the time being. Why? Because stopping cold turkey at this point in the semester is scary AND I have a lot of coffee still. (Dad, you may be getting a donation of Costco coffee soon!)

The Goal:

By Julyish be on fully decaf coffee in the AMs. Try to get decaf coffees when I need a pick me up. Sleep through the night (something I don't think I ever do unless I take a Tylenol PM or Benadryl).

Yesterday was day 1. I could not realize why I was still REALLY tired at 10 AM. Then I remembered. By 3 PM I could barely stay awake. I was unhappy. THEN I woke up about 3AM and had a lot of trouble falling back asleep.

Today is day 2. I have already decided I will likely buy some coffee about 2pmish. Not sure if it'll be half-caf or not. It depends on how badly I want to tear my eyes out. It is also day 2 of no snacking after 9PM. (I think one of the reasons I woke up at 3 AM is I had a little too much to eat for dinner last night. The cheese from yesterday kept calling my name...) We'll see if it works. Day 1 was a bust.

More updates tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Food for the Week

Yesterday was Sunday which means I did some cooking for the week, since between work and school I have little time for cooking. And also little money and little caloric needs for going out 2 meals a day. (However, I am probably treating myself to Subway for dinner tonight. I do love Subway. And laziness. But in fairness, I'll be passing Subway on my way home from picking up a packet for my 10 Mile Race this Sunday, so I get a pass, right?)

Regardless, back to food for the week.

I made a pasta dish with shells (they were supposed to be Whole Wheat, but The Pedant couldn't find so we have white wheat pasta which is luxurious after whole wheat...) with asparagus, peas, basil, mint, scallions, lemon zest and feta cheese. It's from Vegetarian Times and I made it last year but kind of screwed up (like, it was supposed to have "garlic oil" so I used garlic powder, which was fine, but not great and I didn't have 1 cup of fresh basil so I used waaaay to much dried and it tasted kind of funky). I fixed my mistakes: lots of fresh basil and I put 2 whole garlic cloves in the measured out oil to flavor it, but not too much. It came out really well. It's totally fresh tasting and delicious. It will be great for lunch. Plus, we got the asparagus at the farmer's market, which is always fun. We also got apples and some really amazing cheddar cheese from a new vendor. I had my book club over so we had a cheese plate - plus meringue cookies which I made for the first time and were great - and it was really great.

I also made granola from scratch (well, from Bittman) which TP and I have gotten into lately. It's incredibly easy to do and really much healthier than the stuff we could buy. I messed it up slightly so the dried fruit got REALLY hard and crunchy, but it came out well.

Although I didn't make it for the week, TP and I had some great food for lunch. We had friends over last week and made a pizza with fresh mozzarella, but had 2 small balls of mozzarella left over. So we sliced that up and put it with some of the fresh basil on chibatta rolls. I added avocado and TP had tomato. I drizzled the rolls with EVOO and balsamic. It was amazing. We had a side salad with a poached egg for protein. Very tasty.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The "Hard Ways"

So, inspired by my sister, for breakfast this morning I made the vegetarian kosher version of the KFC Double Down:

I call it the "Hard Ways," because I wanted to keep with the gambling metaphors, and I like craps.

What is it? Two Morningstar Farms "Chik" Patties, Morningstar Farms fake bacon, Haolam jack cheese, and a smear of light mayo.

How does it taste? Eh. Not bad, but really sort of one note - meaty/salty, with a little tang from the mayo. I'm glad I didn't try the real thing; I had a bad experience with a "famous bowl."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Passover Foods

A very quick update since things have been busy.

It's been Passover, so The Pedant and I have eaten lots of leftovers and made some of our own food. We've managed to eat really well.

Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

TP made a really good soup. It had lots of veg and the matzah balls were nice and hard - not light and airy. Blech. He makes a mean soup.

Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes

Ala Mark Bittman that we've made before. A real winner. I want to make (and modify) it again after Passover the southwest version with avocados, cilantro and lime juice and add some corn for more guts.


Actually, not a great success. Mostly because I forgot to ask TP to get tomato paste. I love shakshuka, mostly because it's really forgiving and is so tasty. (It's even better with warm pita and chumus...) However, it came out REALLY watery this time, which was my fault. Sad.

Matzah Lasagna

This was a real winner. We had lots of veg and store bought tomato sauce (mostly because we saw it in the Teet - last year we made our own) and lots of cheese. Also, only 3 boards of matzah so it was light on the matzah. It came out really well. We may replicate the recipe with lasagna noodles to make it after Passover with lots of veg again.

Parve Brownies

Mostly because the store was out of good passover chocolates. Turns out, not horrible. Also tasted really great after a 10 mile (!!!!!) run.


TP found kosher for passover bisli. It has been utterly amazing.

Although I'm ready for pizza tomorrow night.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You've Been a Bad Girl, Gaga. A Very Bad Girl

I have no idea why Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video takes a song about getting bugged while dancing and turns it into a story about mass poisoning.

Anyway, I've been a bad blogger, and I will remedy that with this short update. I discovered in my favorite ethnic cookbook a great way to combine two of my favorite packaged foods - canned fish and ramen.

It's in the "Hawaiian" section, where it basically says to stir-fry them.

It is tasty-riffic, especially with extra veg and ponzu sauce.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dinner last night was late, but tasty. When The Pedant and I got home from the Teet we walked into our apartment (which we hadn't been in for a while) and it smelled like a fire. Which was odd because non of our appliances were on. We called maintenance and after some time they pinpointed the stench to the apartment NINE floors below us who left something on the stove and then went out. The burning smell permeated through the vent. You can even still smell it this morning. We didn't want to cook until we knew the source, in case there was something odd. Once we did cook it turned out really great. We used our electric grill and took advantage of the nice weather. TP marinated some chicken breast for about 36 hours in Soy Vey. We bought some cute, little sweet peppers, baby bella mushrooms, an onion, a green bell pepper, yellow squash and tempeh (for me) and put them on skewers with some of the Soy Vey. It came out really well. We made some boil-in-bag brown rice (since we started Passover cleaning last week we found we have A LOT of rice, so after Passover, we'll be making LOTS of rice...) and now have some great lunches.

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Weekly Cooking

UGH! We have become such neglectful bloggers...It seems we have little time to cook, let alone post, except for weekend updates. So, here is (yet another) weekend update.

Saturday, I had a GREAT training run for a 10 mile race coming up next month. 9 miles in 1:35:50! I was PUMPED. So, to celebrate, (although WW hates when I treat myself with food...) The Pedant and I headed off to our local sushi place. I did eat a bit too much, but had a great appetizer of complementary fired tofu (I guess they were out of miso? Sad.), green salad with super tasty ginger dressing, edamame, avocado roll, kampia (squash) rool and tamgo (egg). It was as tasty as ever. For dinner, we enjoyed a homemade fiesta! We repeated the jicama and avocado salad from the best salad cook book and ate it with an Atlantic Magazine Food Channel recipe based off of Bobby Flay's Black Bean Jalapeno soup. I had made the soup before and it was amazing. This time, it was good but the jalapeno peppers were not quite as spicy as before and the kick wasn't as intense. Oh well. We also bought some Edy's slow churned Thin Mint ice cream.

Sunday we had a wedding and enjoyed our time there. Since the wedding was in the afternoon, we stopped off at the supermarket for some veggies to make a light salad for dinner. We also did some cooking for the week. It included making our own smoked paprika hummus and a sweet potato and quinoa salad. The hummus came out really well. But, it's hard for it not too. Not as smooth as some brands but I'm NOT removing the skins of the chick peas in order to get the smoothness that requires. The quinoa salad was a Bittman recipe for lunches. I've read a few places sweet potatoes are great for runners and they are also SUPER tasty. This salad was pretty easy - boil sweet potatoes diced into bite size pieces, add quinoa, red pepper, shallot. Vinaigrette dressing of EVOO and sherry vinegar. Salt and pepper. Enjoy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday Night Cooking!

Since our lives are busy and we are a) cheap, b) health conscious and c) much prefer to eat our own cooking than buy lunches/dinners because of reasons a) and b), Sundays have been spent cooking food for the week. This is what we made:

Vegetable Pizza

During the snow storm, I made some whole wheat pizza dough to freeze. Last night, I made a pizza with some of this dough and it came out really well. The dough was a bit sticky and I needed to add a lot of extra flour and it was on the thinner side on some parts. The Pedant made pizza last week for dinner so we had some extra sauce and cheese. I sauteed up a shallot, a bunch of asparagus and mushrooms in some balsamic and let it get really well cooked. (Mostly because I spent more time fussing with the pizza, but it turned out great!) The pizza came out really well.

Farnase Salad

Another winner from the best salad cookbook. Also eaten for dinner last night. It was fennel, red onion, oranges and parsley in a salad dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and honey. It was really good. We had that with the pizza for dinner.

Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

I love sweet potatoes and have read recently that sweet potatoes are good for runners. So, I decided to make this slow cooker chili. It looked okay when I took it out of the slow cooker this morning. I usually like my chili thicker, but it smelled really good because I put in a lot of chili powder and chipotle powder.

Wild Rice and Barley Salad

Dinner tonight from the best salad book. It has wild rice, barley, LOTS of shallots, celery, golden raisins and almonds. Should be tasty.

And now, a movie plug. We watched Word Play last night. It was great!

Saturday Night Fiesta Dinner

I'm training for a 10 mile race coming up in April and have been going on long runs. Saturday morning, while running 7 miles (!!!!) I had plenty of time to think about food, which is the only reason I run. We had some leftover mini potatoes that needed to be used and what better way to make potatoes than in Tortilla Espanola. So The Pedant and I had a Spanish/Mexican dinner that was fantastic.

Tortilla Espanola

I sliced the potatoes very thin. We sauteed them up with 1/2 a vidalia onion and a bunch of garlic in (too much - my hand slipped!) olive oil. Sadly, it was not Spanish olive oil like Jose Andres would have liked, but whatever. We let that cook until the potatoes got cooked and the onions browned really nicely. We then used egg beaters to make a tortilla. Sadly, it didn't flip as well as hoped, but it was super tasty.

Jicama Avocado Salad

While looking for food for the week, TP passed this salad recipe in the best salad cookbook and wondered why we hadn't made this salad yet. We decided it was similar to the "Spanish" theme and cooked it up. It was very simple - chopped jicama, chopped avocado, cilantro, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil. It was really amazing.

Dinner was just lovely. We bought some Ben and Jerry's light Phish Food which made it even better.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cooking with Fruit

I've been having a cooking with fruit obsession lately. I think some of it has to do with the fact that fruit is abysmal during the winter that I want the sweetness of it without having to eat sub par fruit. The Pedant and I were in Costco this weekend and found a GIANT bag of apples at a fairly good price. The apples aren't bad - they have some brown spots - but how many apples can a girl eat?! I want me some cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, grapes, and more!

So what have I been doing with said fruit? I have put oranges in salads (a trick I learned from eating a salad at a Lebanese restaurant). I made a wheat berry salad with cabbage from Bittman and took his advice and added in an apple. And this morning, I made myself my new favorite omelet.

[Begin Back Story]

In November, I was in Cambridge, MA for a wedding of a dear, dear friend, Smel. Smel's wedding began at 11 and TP and I needed to get breakfast someplace. Another dear, dear friend, RGM, was staying in the hotel with us and using a combo of her trusty iPhone and wily skills, took us to Zaftig's. We got there early and were seated immediately. (That seems to be a rarity because when we left at 10 there was already a line out the door.) Zaftig's immediately brought me back to the Jewish delis/diners of my youth and I had an incredible omelet made with a lot of cheddar cheese and an apple. I thought it was the perfect combination ad instantly fell in love with the omelet. I tried to recreate it once, which worked out really well. TP made a great suggestion: saute the apples first.

[End Back Story]

I decided to take TP's advice and saute the apples. I was a bit too guilty to do it in butter, but I bet that would have been great. I made some additions. First, I chopped up a few tablespoons of red onion and sauteed them in cooking spray. Then I added a chopped up apple and some salt and let it cook. I then put in a few handfuls of baby spinach and let that wilt to perfection. I took the fruit and veggies out of the pan and cooked up some egg beaters. I then put in a few cubes of reduced-fat cheddar and let that get melty. I added in my filling which was waaaaaay too much for the omelet, but warmed everything together and attempted to fold the omelet. It came out PERFECTLY. A cheesy, sweet/salty combo that made my day.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Indian Feast!

For dinner last night, The Pedant and I decided to make some Indian food complete with leftovers for lunches. It's been a while since we've cooked from the best curry book ever, so we decided to rectify the situation. We made a potato with spinach curry and an eggplant-chili stir fry curry. The potato curry was fantastic - it had new potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, garlic and dried chilies and turned out really well. It was spicy, but not overwhelming and flavor full. The eggplant was spectacular. We stir fried french-fry style slices in a VERY spicy mixture with chilies, lime juice, lime zest, salt, garlic and cilantro, added tomatoes and then let get very tender. It was immensely flavorful. I even needed some Greek yogurt (which I found a GIANT tub for cheaps at Costco! SCORE!!! Especially with a $3 pineapple. May not be super organic/local, but very tasty! I figure rejoining a CSA will balance that out, right??) and the wild rice blend we made to make it edible. But it was super good.

For lunch, we met some friends at the Lost Dog Cafe. We all has some really great sandwiches. I got the veggie, which had guacamole (although not enough to satisfy this avocado lover), zucchini and broccoli on a pita with provolone cheese melted on top. TP got some really tasty fries which I had. It was a great lunch. Plus, the restaurant does great things for dogs! Hooray!

Tonight is a vegetarian pot-au-feu from the slow cooker. I will also make a Bittman Wheat Berry salad for some lunches. We had very good wheat berry salad at TP's parents' Friday night and we have some leftovers of it, but both of us really enjoy wheat berries. They have plenty of healthy benefits and make a great addition to salads.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowy Breakfast

Since I have (yet another) snow day from work, I made my new favorite breakfast. It's a bit odd, and I don't know why I feel in love with it but I did, nor do I know what made me want to make it in the first place. It's whole wheat pita, sliced apple and hummus. And it's DELICIOUS. Basically, I toast a frozen whole wheat pita and slice up an apple. I then make little sandwiches (I'm sure I could do a big sandwich, but I like playing with my food) with the apple slices and hummus. And it's really good. I get fruit and protein in one meal! I've had it like 3 days this week (since I have time for breakfast). I do feel a bit like Zohan.

The Pedant made himself a barley breakfast where he cooked barley, melted some cheddar cheese, added some whole-grain dijon mustard and some chopped walnuts. He really enjoyed it.

Now we both have mugs of tea and are watching the snow fall down while doing work.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Prep

As I'm sure you've hear, dear reader, the DC area has been dumped with snow this weekend. The Pedant and I were somewhat prepared since we bought lots of food last week. Therefore, I think we were the only ones in the city who didn't spend Thursday night in line at a supermarket. We were snowed in a bit, but thanks to living in a somewhat urban area, we ordered in Chinese food Friday evening and had Ben and Jerry's from the little store in our building. Now that's what I call surviving a snow storm!

We made some pasta and a salad for dinner Saturday evening and by Sunday were able to venture out to TP's parents for an amazing Red Beans and Rice dinner (in honor of New Orleans in the Super bowl). I took a copy of the recipe and will eventually blog about it I'm sure.

Today, TP went to work while I stayed home and did some cleaning. I made a new favorite lunch: pasta with edamame in a sauce of miso, ginger, ponzu, mirin and a touch of sesame oil. It's really easy and very good. I ventured out to the supermarket which was quite bare. I came up with some ideas for food for the week (since we're probably getting another snow storm tomorrow) and a few ideas were thwarted since there was very little food left in the store. Good thing I didn't want milk...I did want onions but settled for shallots.

I took advantage of some free time this afternoon to make some pizza dough. I used Bittman's whole wheat recipe which was great (we made it once before) and doubled it to freeze. I made a bit of a mistake when I did a double batch in the food processor - it came out much gluier than I had hoped. I think it will be fine though. I used about 1/4 of the whole thing (1/2 of a regular recipe) and made a REALLY AMAZING pizza tonight. First, I put sun dried tomatoes and some roasted garlic (which I cooked in some EVOO and then reused the extra oil for the soup I'l describe next paragraph) into the crust which I found out worked before. Then, TP and I sauteed some shallot, garlic and portobello mushroom (all they had left today...I wanted baby bella or cremini...) and put it on top of the crust. I added a bit of a granny smith apple that was on it's way out plus some walnuts and a bunch of Gorgonzola cheese. I baked it for about 12 minutes and it came out PERFECTLY. Really, really great.

I made a minestrone soup with the few veggies left in the store: carrots, parsnip, zucchini, canned tomatoes, kidney beans and some mini bowtie pasta. I ended up adding in more water than I originally intended but it came out well and now we have 3 containers frozen which will make for great lunches in the future. I let the soup really thicken up and get all flavorful thanks to the pasta and the beans.

For dessert, we had Ben and Jerry's light ice cream (I sometimes just have too much guilt buying regular B & J but not enough guilt to buy the slow churned ice cream...which is so much better for me...but much less tasty...) because that's what I need to survive a storm.

I'm actually going to be one of the very few going into work tomorrow. We'll see how I fare.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Busy Cooking Weekend!

Yesterday afternoon, after a trip to the store, The Pedant and I spend a snowy afternoon cooking up a storm. We made a fantastic dinner plus lots of food for the week. Now that I'm back in school and coming home late and TP working long hours again, we needed to make sure we have lots of extra food on hand. Going out to eat is fun, but not worth wasting the money or calories for sub-par lunch options!!

So here's a round up of the great food we cooked for the week:

Cauliflower Salad from everyone's favorite Monk. It was basically easy - steam cauliflower (we just boiled it in some water since we had it boiling for some later), put it in a bowl with hard boiled eggs, shallots and capers. Make a tasty dressing with hazelnut oil, EVOO, dijon, white wine vinegar and tarragon (which we didn't have so we used herbs de provonance). I tasted it and it was really good. I think it will get better in the next few days in the fridge.

Southwest Egg Muffins from Pinch My Salt. I found this recipe a while ago and printed it out. I decided to make some egg cups for freezing for quick, easy breakfasts or lunches. Like a mini fritata! I hadn't tried this recipe but it came out well. I did use less eggs but I think it came out fine. I bought egg substitute (because 8 whole eggs just seemed grotesque for someone who grew up eating mostly egg whites!) and misread the bottle so I used 4 egg's worth. I think it was fine.

Veggie Egg Cups from Slashfood. I made this last year and enjoyed it. This year it worked well too. (Although harder to get the muffin tins cleaner than I remembered!!) The cups were a little runnier when we took them out of the oven but still looked tasty.

Saturday Night Italian Feast!!

Dinner was a great feast complete with leftovers for the week. I decided to make stuffed shells which I never had before. They turned out well. I mixed some ricotta cheese with frozen spinach and stuffed the shells with that. (Note: I will need more than one tub of ricotta and 1 box of spinach next time...) I made a really simple tomato sauce and topped them with just a bit of mozzarella cheese. The only problem was that the shells broke in the box so we were left with lots of pieces. Solution: Appetizer of broken shell pieces with some EVOO, Parmesan, sea salt and red pepper flakes.

We made 2 salads: orange and red onion salad which I love. It's sweet and sour and savory and salty. And easy: just use rounds of oranges and slices of red onions, place on platter (or our case, rectangular container for easier clean up), drizzle with EVOO and sea salt. The other was from the best monk and was a Venetian Gorgonzola Salad. It made a lot so we have plenty left over. It was arugula, endive, radicchio, frisse, granny smith apples, walnuts, Gorgonzola and a dijon-based dressing. It was perfect. Elegant and classic.

We also made lunch yesterday from last week's Minimalist column: the fried rice. It was simple and perfect and delicious. Definitely becoming part of the rotation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's been a long time since I posted. I am going to try to focus on short posts which probably won't have all the fancy links. (That's a lot of work!)

This post will have 2 parts: food I cooked last week and food I ate in NYC this weekend.

Food I cooked

I don't remember much of last week other than I did cook. Wednesday I made a great dinner. We had the best soup ever: Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Apricots. It was super easy and really fantastic. It was like eating candy for dinner which I was totally ok with. To go along with that I made Moroccan Chickpeas with apples that was in the Washington Post a few months ago and it was also really great. The two complimented each other very well.

Food I ate in NYC

The Pedant and I went to NYC this weekend for a minivacation. We got to eat some good food. We met some friends at Le Pain Quotidian which recently opened a location on the UWS. I got their hot chocolate which was to die for. We had dinner with TP's sister and she made some cheesetastic foods that were amazing. We had lunch with TP's sister and several family members. The best part about Saturday: Korenet's pizza near Columbia which has GIANT slices. The problem with the DC area is that the pizza is by no means as good as NY pizza. You can get great "artisinal" pizza but nothing that's really like NY pizza. We also went to a local coffee shop/dessert place near Columbia that I spend many an afternoon "studying" (i.e., drinking coffee and eating tasty pastries).

Sunday we got bagels which were good. Not the best bagels I had in NYC ever but very tasty. I miss NY Bagels so much some days. We had a late lunch with friends at Zen Palate which was tasty even though the service sucked.

I start up school again soon which sadly means most of my cooking will be relegated to the weekends but stay tuned for info on that!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Belated Parker's Post

I went to Parker's a long time ago, during the barbecue-tasting tour my brother calls the "ham hajj," but I only blog about it now because things have calmed down.

The new year brought a renewal to my job search, and finally, I got a job.

But you, as the reader, say, paraphrasing Positive K in "I Got A Man," "what's your job got to do with me?" The answer is that, until I stopped sending out mass resume mailings, I had trouble finding time to talk about the second-to-last stop on PorkFest 2009.

Parker's is an establishment of traditional simplicity. The decor is 1960's cheap. There are four main courses: chopped barbecued pork, fried chicken, fried chicken livers, and barbecued chicken. Sides are fries or boiled potatoes, coleslaw or Brunswick stew, and hush puppies and "corn sticks," aka unsweetened hush puppies.

All you can eat is $8.95.

The pork was Carolina traditional, vinegary and tasty, but my favorite food there was the chicken liver. It was fried to hearty, crispy, meaty goodness. If you're not a big fan of organ meats (and since I ended up eating chicken heart in Japan before figuring out what it was - the cardiac septum has a distinctive crunch - I'm cool with much more usual organ foods, like tripe and liver), this won't hide the liver-ness for you; it's not like fried okra. You still taste the liver. But it is awesome.

The Brunswick stew ain't bad, either, and the boiled potatoes are way better than the fries. Don't bother with the fries. The corn sticks and hush puppies are better.