All of a sudden, everyone is dissing the brine. It’s jumped the shark, they say. It doesn’t really impact the taste, they shout.
The tide has turned. The brining backlash has begun!
Ok not really. I’m just consumed by it tonight.
I’ve got turkey on the brain.
Here’s to a golden, juicy bird no matter what you do or don’t do to it!
Just so you know.
27 Nov 2013 Leave a Comment
All of a sudden, everyone is dissing the brine. It’s jumped the shark, they say. It doesn’t really impact the taste, they shout.
26 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
I’ve been proven wrong.
I thought I hated Yankee Candles . All those insanely strong cinnamon chemical scents make my eyes burn.
I went to their outlet store once and walked out gasping for air.
I’m a baby. But in my defense, I have a particularly strong nose. It’s Olympic, my nose. I can’t run marathons but I can sniff out the faintest scent. I’ve been known to abandon cabs, walk out of stores, or beg for a new airplane seat if things get….stinky.
On the other side, some smells can make me swoon with happiness. Orange peels, brownies cooking, the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel, I could go on. And there are some scented candles that I adore.
But Yankee Candles? I just can’t. Or couldn’t.
Until I found this. “Beach Walk”
And it really is. Light, breezy. Doesn’t burn your nostrils. It’s nice.
Thought you should know.
14 Oct 2013 Leave a Comment
Pasta. Fresh sauce. Basil. Extra red pepper flakes. These are the loves of my life tonight.
Hope everyone had a tasty long weekend.
03 Oct 2013 9 Comments
Last night I hosted the monthly meeting of a book club I joined this past year. I know I’ve told you about it before (This ain’t no Oprah’s Book Club ). Did I mention the name of our club? BWB. Oh roll your eyes all you want, it’s cute.
Each month the host of the meeting also picks the book we all read. For October, it was my turn. I picked, “Where’d You Go, Bernedette?”
Have you read it? Did you love it like I loved it? Here’s the Amazon blurb: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
It’s funny. It’s quirky. It’s heartbreaking. My three favorite things to be. I adored Bernadette. She and I would be fast friends. Who doesn’t love a woman that outsources her daily life? Here’s some of my favorite quotes from the book,
Your mission statement says Galer Street is based on global “connectitude.” You people don’t just think outside the box, you think outside the dictionary!
…And I’m going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it’s boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it’s ON YOU to make life interesting, the better off you’ll be.
…I’d say I never considered myself a great architect. I’m more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares.
I’m seriously adding the last line into my resume, “I don’t consider myself an event planner. I’m more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares”. You should steal it too.
In the book, Bernadette gets derailed from something she was passionate about, and it almost destroys her. Without being overly dramatic, I can say that I totally relate. I’ve moved further and further away from everything I loved about event planning.
It’s natural, I guess, to become a bit more cynical as you progress in your career. But it’s been a bummer. I spend more time on conference calls debating headcount than I do debating flower or menu choices. Actually I spend zero time on the latter. I blame the corporate environment! I blame the economy! I blame the man! Just kidding. There’s no man to blame. It’s marketing after all. It’s an island full of amazon women who look normal on the outside, but inside – they’re trained mercenaries trying to outdo one another. Just kidding again. That’s the island Wonder Woman is from.
What I’m trying to say is… I love event planning and I miss my old event planning self. Where’d you go?
So in honor of Bernedette – I pulled out all the stops to last night’s meeting.
Individual appetizers were served in a ridiculous but awesome tray/cup contraption. There were enough chips and dips to make an 80′s housewife proud. There was even a cheese platter with cutesy little ceramic signs and decorative table coverings. Decorative table coverings!! Who’s got time for that? Not me. But I did it anyway. And it made me so happy. (If you are wondering how I had all this stuff – a good friend who knows the buried planner inside me gifted them to me last Christmas)
Here’s a picture of the lovely ladies. This was taken about a minute before we pulled up twerking videos on YouTube and one of these BWBs, not sayin’ who, got up and tried the move. Take that Diana Prince.
25 Sep 2013 Leave a Comment
14 Aug 2013 3 Comments
in Cooking! Tags: bastardized version, childhood, cooking, Dinner, Eggplant, food, Growing up, Heritage, How-to, Indian, Italian, Photography, Recipe, Tradition, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vegetarian cooking, Vegetarian food
Growing up, in my very Indian family, the only “American” food that was cooked in our house was spaghetti (which was strangely made on Saturday mornings) and a dish that we called – eggplant. No, not eggplant parm. I didn’t know what parmesan cheese was until my first year in college (also never had cream cheese, sour cream or mustard until then). This is an entirely different thing. A bastardized version of caponata. I’m pretty sure my mother has never heard/seen/eaten anything called caponata.
I don’t know who came up with the recipe. I’m not sure how it all got started – but I do know that in my family and in my cousin’s families – this is what you get when they say,”we’re having eggplant for dinner”.
I make it now for my little tribe too. I’ve changed a few details. All the veggies in this dish were fried when my mom made it (and still makes it). I don’t fry anything – not because I’m so super healthy – but because I’m really bad at frying. Things burn. Stoves are covered in oil. I stink like burnt oil for hours – it’s not good. So I do a little saute/steam method. It works. I still use a bit of oil – but I use olive oil instead of the corn oil my mom uses to this day. I tried to talk her into canola once but it was a lost cause. Who am I to judge?
Here’s all you need. Please note: do not buy expensive sauce or make your own marinara or something. You need Ragu. Or some other cheap jarred sauce. Trust me. And don’t go trying to add fresh basil – hold yourself back. Pretend like this is the 80s and we haven’t all been watching The Food Network obsessively.
Olive oil, eggplant, peppers (red, green, yellow – whateva), sauce, cheese (again use what you have, cheddar, mozzarella, etc).
First chop up your very pretty peppers and onion in a hearty julienne and throw them into a non-stick pan with about a tablespoon of oil. Cover and saute/steam for about 10 minutes until both are cooked through and soft.
While the onions and peppers do their thing, cut the eggplant(s) in half and then in thick slices. Then think about the fact that literally nothing on earth smells better than onions and peppers cooking. I hear you all screaming at the computer now,”bacon does!”, “cookies baking do!”, “a baby’s head smells better!”. Calm down.
Once the onions and peppers are done, pour them into a medium-sized pan. Add another tablespoon of oil, cover and cook the eggplant. I like to do this in batches. In the end you’ll use 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil to cook all the eggplant.
I’ve tried doing the above steps in different ways through the years. In a crockpot. Roasted in the oven. Grilled. I like this way the best. Once the eggplant is done – add to your assembly pan. Don’t worry if there are still firm pieces – it’ll spend a ton of time in the oven and cook through.
Add the bottle of sauce, stir, cover with foil and put into a 350 degree oven for atleast an hour and a half.
Use this time to work, mother, wife, clean the house, clean the car, or…if you’re me, have a cup of coffee and a piece of last night’s dessert (raspberry cobbler).
After about an hour and 1/2 – check your dish. Does it look like this? If yes, it’s done!
Add the cheese. I ended up using half cheddar/half colby jack. It’ll go back in the oven for about 5 minutes and then, done!
Like a caponata – eat this with some good, crusty bread. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.
Now, if you come of my mother’s house and she says we’re having eggplant for dinner, you’ll be ready.
02 Jun 2013 2 Comments
It’s hot here. It feels like a 100 degrees in the shade.
Yesterday we were invited to a BBQ in our neighborhood by this adorable couple (second relationship for both. They met while she was on vacation with her daughter in Italy. He came over to be with her. An amazing love story).
I met her through a book club that I joined (although I haven’t actually made it to any of the meetings, ahem.)
Anyway. We were invited. We went. We had enough sangria to fill a pool. Good times were had by all.
Here’s a perfect salad to bring to a BBQ – especially on a hot, sunny day. No mayo. No diary. And it only gets better as it sits on the buffet (and you drink the sangria).
Here’s all you need - black beans, whole kernel corn, cilantro, jalapeno, 2 peppers the color of your choice, an English cucumber, lemons, limes and some kosher salt.
It’s all about the prep and dice. Drain the beans and rinse. Add the corn.
Dice the peppers about the same size as the corn and beans. The jalapeno should be seeded and diced even smaller. I thought I would need 2 but these were lethal so I only used 1.
Next, seed the cucumber with a spoon. Dice and add to your other stuff. I know English cucumbers are “seedless” but there are still some watery seeds that I like to get out. You can skip this part if you think I’m nuts. Which I am.
Now comes the good stuff. My world could be made of cilantro and I’d be a happy camper. If you don’t like cilantro, made another salad. This one’s not for you. And neither am I. Just kidding. Not really.
Add lemon and lime and some salt and you are done baby! If you are organized and have your shit together, make this the night before and let it sit. If you are like me, make this frantically right before you have to take it/serve it and smell like cilantro and corn for the party.
A smaller quantity of this with red onions added can also be a spectacular salsa. Add diced avocado and top a taco or fill a burrito.
Happy hot Sunday.
14 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
I like pretty pictures.
If the pictures happen to be about food or home decor – all the better.
This past Christmas a new pal gave me a really great book called Edible Selby. Although I didn’t know it was great until now. I don’t deserve new friends. Don’t tell my old friends.
This past weekend I was reading the New York Times and found an article by the same author about a taco stand in California. This is why I love the Times. You may read it for the late breaking political and social news. I read it for its taco coverage.
Todd Selby is an artist, an author, a humorist and more. I have been reading his book all weekend.
It’s not a cookbook. It’s a book about cooks and cooking and food.
14 Feb 2013 6 Comments
in Cooking! Tags: baby fish, bay scallops, cooking, Family, fish, Fishing, food, humor, Husband, Kids, Life, love, marriage, pasta, Photograpy, Restaurants, seafood, shrimp bay, squid, valentine s day, Valentine's Day, web md
Today’s post was going to be a mushy, gushy Valentine cooking post. A step by step of me making my husband’s all time favorite pasta – fra diavolo. Shrimp, bay scallops and squid. I was going to talk about my favorite shortcut. Rao’s tomato sauce. It’s $9 a jar – and yes, making real sauce is easy and it costs $2 – what’s your point? I was going to tell you not to be scared of shortcuts, or squid. That it’s no biggie. I’ve done it before. It cooks in a couple of seconds and people are impressed. And I had pictures…tons of freaking pictures. I was going to show you how brave I am. Buying, cleaning, chopping squid like it was my business. I’ve done it before. No big thaang. But then something happened. (if you are my husband, for the love of god, stop reading this).
As I cleaned the squid…I found….gulp….a little baby fish inside!!
After I stared at it for a few minutes and the nausea had worn off, I washed my hands and did what all smart people faced with oddities do – I YouTubed it, and googled it, and Wiki’d it, and Web MD’d it (just in case). The people of the internet told me it’s normal. Happens all the time. Feed it to my cat, etc. But even now, hours later, I shiver when I think of it. Maybe the squid had a last meal and didn’t have time to finish, maybe it was the thing they used to lure the squid. Alls I know is, it ended up in my kitchen.
I’ve been changed people. Some sort of gross seafood cherry has been popped. I had to come to terms with it quickly. My kids or my hubby could not/should not ever see this. You don’t understand. My husband, I love him, but he’s no adventurous foodie. He gets really grossed out really quickly. And I couldn’t let my kids see it – the horror the horror!
So like every good mother and wife, I got rid of the evidence and pretended all was good.
Now, safe in my bed, I can finally come to terms with it.
Here’s what I went through folks. Happy f’ing Valentine’s day…
I’ll start with the harmless ones first. Prepare yourselves. Here’s the shrimp/sauce/squid. I forgot to take pictures of the scallops because – did I mention – I found food inside the food!! It’s like a bad M.Night Shyamalan plot twist. Back to my sordid story.
Please note that my cutting board is…well..it’s all cut-up. These are not just props people. This stuff gets used!
Here’s the fresh squid. Yes, it looks slimy but there’s no smell and it handles easily. It also easily cuts into the calamari ringlets.
And then, as I clean it. I notice this little guy or gal or it. Do you want to hurl like me?
I want my mommy.
Reason number 8,222,329 to be a vegetarian: I’ve never found a carrot in the middle of my bagel. Or an almond in my banana. I’ll stop now.
02 Jan 2013 1 Comment
At about 6am this morning I came to grips with the fact that the holidays are over and it’s back to work, school, and reality. After a good shower cry (only half kidding) I decided to go downstairs and tackle some emails, return some calls and get 2013 under way. By 7:15 I was crying again (only half kidding).
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fill of all the merriment. I love this stretch of hibernation. I love the no gift buying. The no cookie baking. Not getting all my calories from a glass of Bailey’s. It’s time.
So here we go… Resolutions! Putting away the decorations! Washing all the guest linens! Conference calls! Presentations! Homework! Gulp. Sigh. Sorry for shouting. That didn’t work. Not excited in the least.
My lack of motivation can be summarized by my trusty oven. It cleans itself – without me doing one little thing – and I still only get to it once a year.