Thursday, March 27, 2008

Popcorn: Smoke it, or Eat it

I love popcorn.

Not the sh*tty microwaved crap that gives you cancer, but the DIY kind I make in a big cast iron pot with normal popcorn kernels and a little oil.

That way I get to flavor it however I want.

Sometimes I just sprinkle liberally with salt and eat it with a packet of Junior Mints (don't knock it till you try it). Other times I eat it with soup, like croutons (again with the knocking and the trying).

But usually just plain with salt. I am lucky - my cholesterol may be through the roof, but I could eat a box of Morton's salt and my blood pressure wouldn't so much as quiver.

I digress.


Tonight I made a pot and sprinkled
it with a mixture I made with the following spices: Old Bay, turmeric, ground coriander, Madras curry, and sea salt.

Which turns out to be a combination that curiously smells like marijuana.

It's the weirdest thing.

Thank goodness I am making a BIG pot of popcorn, because from the smell of it I am going to have the munchies later.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Dinnah

I don't know if it is because Easter came early this year, or if it's because I was out late last night, but this year it didn't feel like Easter. I didn't even eat any jelly beans, or a Cadbury Creme Egg (7 points! Each!)

But the ham this year was outta this world! Thank you Stillmans Farm!

So to cook the ham I first sawed the rind into diamonds. (I was at my Mom's house and there are two things to know about cooking over there: 1. My parents have the tiniest kitchen ever, and 2. They don't have a sharp knife in the house which is probably why they've been married for um well ah a few years now.)

So after pretty much hacking the rind into as much of a diamond pattern as I could considering I was basically using a butter knife, I rubbed a sage-parsley-garlic-olive oil paste all over it and popped it in the oven, glazing it every now and then with a cider-brown sugar syrup.

I have to say that I wasn't loving the idea of sage and garlic and cider and brown sugar, but actually it was really really delicious.

For side dishes, I trimmed Vidalia onions, drizzled them with a little olive oil, wrapped them in foil and then put them in the oven with the ham. The carrots just got sliced and cooked with parsley and garlic. And Mom made panisse, sort of a chickpea paste fried in olive oil & sprinkled with sea salt - I love the stuff, piping hot right out of the oil...

And salad. I mostly consider salad a necessary evil in this life. I only like my Mom's vinaigrette and I much prefer to eat salad in the summer, as Nature intended, and just salad has never ever felt like a real meal to me. But it feels weird to go straight from dinner to dessert without the salad speed bump.

Oh and dessert! I made little choux puffs and passed around bowls of lemon curd, berries, rum-caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate sauce so people could make their own thing. Also I put out thin slices of chilled oranges that I'd marinated with a little triple sec and served sprinkled with praline. Lots of dessert is important. Any really crappy meal can be redeemed by a terrific dessert.

I took some pictures and I'll post them when I can.

Ugh I need to go to sleep.

But first I need to see if I can get another sliver of ham off the bone before I wash up for the night...

And maybe a small dab more of lemon curd....

Or gravy.

*sigh*
Weight Watchers is going to SUCK this week.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tick tock tick tock

Ok so uh Easter is on Sunday and today is Thursday.

I have PLENTY of time. I think.

Every holiday I construct an elaborate menu in my pea-brain and then fiddlefart around until the last minute and then I wind up cooking until the wee hours of the morning.

This year I am accepting the fact that I am not going to make a crown roast, or a towering croquembouche for this holiday.

No 3am panicking for me thanks.

So I am keeping it simple from the start.

Ham roasted with green herbs, carrots sauteed with parsley and garlic, onions en papillote, and panisse.

Yeah, that's right, I said en papillote. It's a fancy French word for "lazy chef".

I am NOT going to be up until 3am.

Not this year!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Great Easter Ham Hunt - Part 3

I love the folks at Stillmans Farm. They consistently remind me that eating factory food is a choice.

Today I was supposed to meet up with Aidan and get my ham. I am sure they are super busy all the time, and more so now with the holiday coming up.

So we were trying to connect and I said "oh so uh, where are you?" because I was supposed to meet him in Jamaica Plain.

And he says "Uh I'm heading towards Lunenburg." Which is great for me because my Dadday works out in Fitchburg.

So I say "Hey, um, do you know Fitchburg?" To which he laughs and tells me that's where he grew up.

Small world!

So instead of us trying to connect in Jamaica Plain, he dropped the ham off to my Dad.

Hopefully Dad doesn't eat it before Sunday. I believe that ham calls out to him from the fridge like it does to me. I should probably tell him it is a "fresh" ham, ie: a RAW ham.

No slivering pieces off the bone before Sunday Dad!

The Other Shazam

Recently I found out there is another Shazam in the kitchen.

I saw her listed in the blog roll of another blog I read and for weeks I have been eying her up like someone seeing her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend at a party.

I've been circling her for weeks, not quite ready to click.

But then today I took the plunge and you know what, she is pretty frickin' cool. Dammint!

I was kind of hoping she'd have buck teeth and small boobies so to speak!

Instead she cooks with alcohol, knows complicated math, and made Fierce Cupcakes.

Arrrrrrggggghhhhh!!! Can't you just hear them saying that?

I love them.

Check out her blog. I just talk about eating, while she actually blogs about what she is cooking.

The Great Easter Ham Hunt - Part 2

I found a fresh, non-factory, ham from Stillman's Farm.

Yay Kate & Aidan! Yay tasty piggies!

Now how to cook it.

I am thinking to rub it all over with a green herb paste and roast it, but let me know if you have a tried and trusted recipe that you can share.

I got all excited because I was talking to my behind-me-neighbor who is originally from Alabama and who often cooks a fresh ham for the holidays. Her ham is delicious, and knowing her, the marinade probably has green herrrrrb of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge kind in it. She has a cranky hip and has been known to smoke a little.

But she won't tell me how she really makes it, damn it.

According to her you "just cook it. I don't know, it just goes in the oven and take it out when it's done."

Ahhhh old timers, so smug in their ability to cook a fresh ham! Well, next time she is too stoned to park her own car she better not come crying to me!

The Four Year Old Hamburger

I hate browsing on the Internet because I find things like this:



Online Videos by Veoh.com

McDonalds fries are sprinkled with crack and once you have one you will want them forever. But after seeing the four year hamburger and fries I think I might actually be done.

Although, if whatever it is that makes them preserve so well does that to a hamburger, maybe they should put it in a face cream.

Hmmmmm, well, maybe I should try slapping a few patties on my face at night........

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Vitamin D - the Wonder drug

I found out that I have a vitamin D deficiency - a big one, it's like barely there.

And my very nice (and extremely patient - no pun intended) doctor said I need to take a supplement because I am just not getting enough naturally.

So I went type-clack-clack-typetty-clack on my trusty buddy Google and low and behold a severe vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause a general feeling of blurginess and bone aches. I am sure the scientific reports were done very scientifically and since everything on Google is true.....

... I went out and got me a bottle of vitamin D supplements.

Sadly the amount I need is not available in Fred Flintstone flavor, unless I want to eat three of them a day. Which would probably then send me to the hospital with a vitamin A overdose.

Which means I am taking the vitamin D fish oil pills.

Let me just throw out there that I've never quite believed in vitamins. I guess it's because I ate Fred Flintstone vitamins as a kid and that would have been the closest to candy we got at breakfast. And because I once ate half a jar of vitamin E pills because I liked the taste and texture of the rubbery capsule. Plus I thought my skin would clear up immediately but instead all that happened was a big poop that came out wicked easy.

But this vitamin D business - let me tell you, aside from the fact that I might possibly have the flu, I feel like a fog has cleared from my mind and I feel less blurgy.

With any luck I won't start burping up fish oil - oh my GOD I loathe, LOATHE, that taste.

Now if I can only sort out the cholesterol business as easily then I can tell Tammy to tell God to forget about that last bit, because she and God arelikethis and I am definitely not.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why won't God take me?

That was a line used by Liz Lemon when she realized simultaneously that she was a "cougar" and that Jack, her boss, was there for the unhappy revelation.

I find now that I often use that phrase. It seems so appropriate so often!

Like today when I got home, after an afternoon in the dentist's chair, there was a letter waiting for me from my doctor to inform me that I have really, really high cholesterol.

And oddly a vitamin D deficiency.

To someone who loves cheese, and chocolate, and steak, and french fries, and ham, and ice cream, the thought that I have to go without makes me shudder.

How can I cure a hangover without a cheeseburger and fries? How can I drink Dunkins if it isn't light with twequel? What is going to go under the chocolate sauce and whipped cream instead of ice cream?

Like I said, "why won't God take me?"

And if you tell me that I can learn to like coffee without cream, or use fro-yo instead of ice cream, or to stop drinking and therefore eliminate hangovers, I will kill you. Kill. Ok?
!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Restaurant Week - Sandrines

I've heard lots about this place, but for the most part I am allergic to fine dining in Cambridge, so it's never occurred to me to go.

There is a certain Cambridge crowd that makes me bonkers and typically I only run into them at fancy wood furniture shops and at fancy food restaurants.

But I wanted to go out for Restaurant Week and Sandrines was on the group list. So we went.

And it was delicious!

Three of us started with the pate companion (sic - I think. I've never heard of pate "companion" but that's what they wrote on the menu) and one of us had the escargot. Which was exactly perfect.

Then I had the choucroute, which were basically fancy hotdogs served on a plate of sauerkraut which made me laugh and Tammy at Food on the Food will know why.

I should also make special mention of both Winnie our lovely hostess, who is both gracious and an avid foodie. Also our waiter Sherman was wonderful. I wanted to take him with us at the end of the meal. He didn't push us to order off the regular menu, and he didn't make us feel completely impoverished for coming only during restaurant week.

If you go during the week, make sure you ask for a seat in Sherman's section.

For dessert I had the praline souffle. Good but eh. The really delicious dessert was the gingerbread bread pudding with lemon sorbet.

Holy gasp-alicious.

It was a gift from Sherman for being not a table of a**holes like the group in another part of his section. Apparently they were pretty horrible. Which always blows my mind.

Food is like an upper for me. All I need is for someone to shove an amuse-bouche in my pie hole and I am instantly in a better mood.

Like right now. I am blogging through my lunch break and I am hoping that someone around here has a Thin Mint for after lunch because I just realized that I didn't bring an afternoon sweet.

*sigh*

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I need a ham for Easter.

I need a ham for Easter.

And Easter is in two weeks. I don't want a factory ham. I want a local farm ham. I can drive really far for the right ham. It is my secret shame that I am a ham-addict.

In my fantasy life the only things I would ever have in my fridge would be a bone-in ham, a couple of bottles of cava, and an assortment of fancy mustards.

Any suggestions? And I emailed Stillmans, but haven't heard back yet.
Which is why I am starting to panic.

For the funniest ham related video, click HERE.

Because sometimes all you want is a piece of meat.

And don't worry, it won't embarrass you at work. If anything you will suddenly find that you are craving ham. I totally can empathize.

Totally worth every point, and more.

The Evil Twin and Kimmmmmmmmmayyyyy took me out for dinner at the Ashmont Grill last night.

It's my b-day weekend and I had no qualms about eating my way through it!

We had trainwreck fries which are like crack on a plate for me. I think that I accidentally bit someone. If I did, my apologies.

And the mussels. As soon as I found out there was bacon in the sauce I nearly face-planted into the dish. Me and bacon have a long and somewhat tortuous relationship. I love it so much, yet I am sure that it is trying to kill me with it's delicious cholesterolness.....

Then I got the short ribs. It was a shade embarrassing how quickly I managed to suck those bones dry. The meat just fell off the bone beautifully and the sauce was delicious.

For dessert I had the sticky toffee pudding. Which was good but not what I wanted.

What I wanted was more trainwreck fries.

Gah! I just had a massive lunch and TWO helpings of affogato, and yet the thought of trainwreck fries is making my mouth water. And my heart cramp. This is pathetic really.

*sigh*

Best dessert ever.

For crying out loud I am good and ready for winter to be over already!!!!!

Jeezus louiezus all I want is one gorgeous balmy day in the 70's. I really need to go to Key West like STAT.

But since my job pays me peanuts and goodwill I have to find pockets of joy elsewhere.

And today I found that in a fancy boullion cup in which the Sproose Goose had put a scoop of french vanilla ice cream, a generous dollop of chocolate sauce, and served with a side of hot espresso - which I promptly poured over the ice cream and sauce.

Yep, affogato.

My most favorite dessert in the world after candied violets.

I should probably explain that since my b-day is tomorrow, we had a little party for your truly at Sunday lunch today.

Mom made a gorgeous roast chicken with potatoes roasted with bacon and Gruyere, carrots braised with sweet onions, and a green salad. And she broke out the fancy white wine from the Jura - where her mother was from originally.

(My mother is hands down the most marvelous cook I know. A home cooked meal from her is like a beam of sunlight on a dreary day - all rainbows and happiness. Seriously, it is the only reason my sister and I are so nice to her. We are afraid of starving.)

The Evil Twin and her Trapper Keeper came bearing sticks of my favorite bread from the Butcher Shop.

And Sproose Goose brought the affogato fixin's. Along with his fancy boullion cups and even fancier cookies imported from Poiliane - decorated in pink and adorned with crystallized violets.

*sigh*

Sometimes I think that the best thing in the world is to be loved by people who love food.