Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kitchen Update

So, here's where we are in the remodeling.

Yep, she's starting to look purty. Although not functional, at least she doesn't look like this anymore.

I'm actually hoping to get some cooking done this weekend at a different kichen. Let's hope, because I'm so GD sick of take out and eating out. EP and JP were nice enough to have us over to their house last night for our first home cooked meal in over two weeks. I love EP and JP.

On to the long weekend, and hopefully some home cookin'.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I have hunks of bread in my mouth as I write this

"Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt."
George Herbert, English poet (1593-1633)
Have I mentioned that I have no kitchen? Oh, I have; well let me digress some more, it sucks, it really really sucks. It sucks almost as much as living in a vacuum. It sucks worse than being on a packed subway car with a Mr. Nonchelance tossing air biscuits in your general direction the whole way home. It sucks more than other people's children. It sucks more than being ripped from slumber in the mid morning hours by your cat puking up whatever plant he semi digested on the porch earlier that day. It sucks more than a wet spot.
So, I have no kitchen, therefore I have no recipes to post; however, I do have this pic of the wonderful loaf of bread I bought at the farmers market today on my lunch hour. It's a spinach, garlic, olive oil ciabatta loaf topped with sea salt. If anyone knows how to bake this bread from scratch, please, PLEASE, comment and let me know. This bread is the kind you just rip off in large hunks and cram into your mouth. It needs no butter, olive oil or dipping assortments. It's perfect just the way it is, it's an orgasm for your taste buds. Yes, an orgasm for your taste buds. Must eat more bread.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Where have I been?

Hobnobbing with celebrities that's where. Okay, not really, but I have been in Hollywood for the past week. Yes, traveling again, for work, damn this job that jets me around the country to the touristiest of places, New Orleans, Hawaii, Hollywood. Oh, I hate my life. Humph.

Hollywood was fabulous; it really was, until Saturday, when it seemed the whole City swelled with extra bodies, clamoring tourists, unspectacular street performers. I could not stand Hollywood on Saturday, I much preferred mid week Hollywood. The Hollywood where you could actually see the stars on the sidewalk, and put your hand in the prints at the Chinese theatre. Avoid weekend trips at all possible.

So, where's the beef? Sorry folks, the kitchen is officially demolished. No sink no stove, no countertops, no cabinets, just vacant space. I will be officially forced to take a hiatus from the food blogging until the kitchen becomes functional again, most likely two weeks. However, this affords me the opportunity to blog on local restaurants that I will be visiting in the coming weeks, and considering its Restaurant Week here in Beantown, what better time to be without a kitchen.

Hmmm where to go tonight.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ina's Pan Fried Onion Dip

A wise friend once said to me, "chips are nothing more than a vehicle to get dip into your mouth." Truer words were never spoken, especially when in reference to this particular dip. This dip is so damn good. It's sinful almost. It's super-dee-duper, and if Ina had her way, it would be a lot more fattening than the version that I made.

Ina's not too worried about calorie count, or fat content or anything remotely healthful, so I tend to stay away from her recipes, but this one was so easy to alter with lower fat or fat free substitutes. I love Ina, I love watching her putting two sticks of butter into a fry pan to make a sauce, then look at the camera and say with a big smile on her face, "I know this looks like a lot of butter, but it's the sauce for the whole dish."

Keep telling yourself that Ina, as you arteries continue to clog and your cholesterol hits astronomic levels, pretty soon you'll be on Lipitor and you can regulate everything via the wonderful world of pharmaceuticals. I actually have a family history of high cholesterol, so I try to stay away from foods that scream ATERY CLOGGING!

Anyway, the recipe posted is Ina's original recipe; I altered it by using fat free or reduced fat cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise.

2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup good mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)

Cut the onions in half, and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions) Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well.

Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Beat the Heat: Root Beer Float over Root Beer Ice Cubes

You're never too old for a good old fashioned Root Beer Float. Due to the excessive heat warnings, I decided to make this float a little more frigid. I loaded the glass with root beer ice cubes that I had made earlier in the day. This made the drink really cold, and also made it last longer because the root beer just kept on melting in the glass.

Root beer floats are as much a part of summertime as sprinklers, hopscotch and fireflies. When I wanted something cool during the day, but didn't want to make a whole float, I simply popped one of the cubes into my mouth; it was almost like a root beer slushy, but smaller, less caloric, better.

Here's a little science knowledge for you. Do you ever wonder what the exact reaction of root beer and ice cream is? No, oh well, here is the explanation for it anyway: The microscopic bubbles present in the ice cream act as "nucleation sites" which trigger the formation of large bubbles of carbon dioxide. Which is why root beer floats almost always bubble over the top of the glass.

There seem to be some imposters out there in the world of floats, trying to infringe on the market. They include Coke and Ice Cream which is referred to as a Black Cow; Gingerale and Ice Cream known as a Boston Float (having nothing to do with Boston, but some reference to a street in Detroit); Cream Soda and Ice Cream known as a Brown Cow. Hmm, I'll stick with good old fashion root beer.

Want to read some other ways to Beat the Heat? Head on over and visit Meeta at What's For Lunch Honey to get the complete Beat the Heat Roundup.

Mesclun, Mandarin Orange, Almond and Gorgonzola Salad

Yes. It's hot as the hinges of hell here in Boston, and along the whole northeast. I'm quite sure that my electricity bill is going to scrape the very lining of my pockets next month to pay for all the damn air conditioning that I am using. I want to bake, and sauté and grill, but there is no way on God's green earth I am getting within ten feet of a heat source until at least Friday night when it actually begins to drop below 80 degrees.

There was a wonderful farmers market on Monday at City Hall Plaza. There were numerous vendors, all pretty much selling the same thing, but at least you got to chose from the best of what each vendor brought. I bought the mesclun mix (mesclun is a French term used for a mix of tender young salad greens) at the market knowing that I would need a quick and heat free meal to prepare on Tuesday night. I decided to put together this quick salad because I liked the idea of the oranges with the gorgonzola.

One bag mesclun mix
One small can mandarin oranges (juice reserved for dressing)
1/4 C slivered almonds (you can toast them if you want, but I wasn't about to turn on the oven)
1/4 Gorgonzola Cheese

Reserved mandarin orange juice
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
pinch basil

I put all the salad ingredients into a large bowl, prepared the dressing, then poured over the whole salad and tossed to coat the entire contents of bowl.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

This about sums it up

Is there anything better on a hot summer morning, um night than a Tanqueray and Tonic. Some people can only drink gin and tonic in the summer; they classify it as a "summer drink" I categorize it as yummy in my tummy, no matter the season.

Gin is made from the berries of the juniper plant. In Dutch, juniper is called "geniver" which is where the name "gin" derived from. I only drink Tanqueray, CB only drinks Bombay Sapphire. Because I drink waay more gin than CB, Tanqueray is what we keep in the house. Currently there are a plethora of gin manufacturers around the world. The most notable are the two I mentioned above, since its debut in 2000; Tanqueray Ten has received many awards including double gold metals in 2004 and 2005 at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. Bombay Sapphire has won many awards since its debut in 1992. And then there's bathtub gin.

Whenever I hear the phrase bathtub gin I always think of the movie Annie. Because Ms. Hannigan always had a tub full of bathtub gin, and she was hilarious singing "Little Girls" and hiccupping while drinking bathtub gin out of a ladle. The phrase bathtub gin refers to a concoction used during prohibition. Wikepedia defines it as: Cheap, sometimes dangerous, spirits placed in large containers, such as a bathtub. Enough water was added to prevent the alcohol from being poisonous and juniper oil was added to cover the awful taste of the alcohol. Complex cocktails from the 1930's may have been developed to hide the terrible taste of bathtub gin. Gin was used because the juniper taste was the easiest to synthesize.

I've never tried to make bathtub gin, or hooch, but should the dreaded bird flu come, at least I know I have options.