Showing posts from August, 2009

Food for thought

If you have enough food, give a little away.

For those of you who live in lovely New Jersey (our lovely Garden State with a fine crop of blueberries), please consider donating canned soup, canned beans, and boxed instant potatoes to the Center for Food Action.

Those might not be the kind of items you keep in your pantry, but the are almost ALWAYS available in the Aisle of Values. Please consider it, especially if you live in Englewood, Carlstadt, Elmwood Park, Mahwah, Fairview, Hackensack, Palisades Park, or Ringwood and can drop it off directly to one of the eight CFA locations.

You are probably wondering why I am driveling on about this today, but I got the following email from the Center for Food Action:
The Center for Food Action is facing serious shortages of a few types of staples it normally provides in its food packages.

Irwin Vogelman, CFA's director of food distribution, said the pantry is nearly out of soup, canned beans and instant potatoes.

"Last week alone I spent $1…

An observation

I was catching up on old episodes of the French Chef this weekend and you know what, Julia Child was pretty skinny when she started out on her show.

And I even double checked her pictures in The French Chef Cookbook, yep pretty narrow to me.

Hmphf! All that lovely French food, butter, and wine - and thin to boot.


OMFG finally!!!

All week long I have had to keep it secret that the Evil Twin was throwing a surprise birthday party for her FH on Friday night.

Oh dear... I am bad at keeping secrets. Really bad. I would never have to be tortured. Just buy me a dirty martini and ask me politely and I will tell you whatever you want to know.

And guess what? I was making the birthday cake. Big shocker right? I know! And of course all I wanted to do was to write about it. But since I know he reads CSITK, he'd know.

So I had to distract myself by playing Van Halen and Frampton Comes Alive extra loud. Sorry about that neighbors. Well not really since someone over there listens to loud amounts of Brazilian disco pop.

Anyway. Wait. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah! Secret birthday cake! Right!

The ET planned a wine tasting dinner party for her beloved and in keeping with the theme I decided on a great big champagne cake.

It might be hard to remember today, but last week was sh*t hot. So why not bake a cake and make buttercr…

Things you eat in secret.

There are certain things that people eat that they don't like to admit to eating because when they do, everyone else goes "ewwwwwwwwwwwww".

And who likes getting that reaction? No one. So it remains a secret, and usually all the more pleasurable in its secrecy.

What do I eat when no one is looking? Well for starters I LOVE ketchup & cottage cheese. Yeah, you just threw up in your mouth a little, I know it.

But if you never tried it, you don't know what you are missing. And you know what? You won't die from it.

Also I will Fluff straight out of the jar. Or with baby carrots. And I like mayonnaise flavored with Maggi. With baby carrots. But not mixed with Fluff, because that is gross.

Everyone has their thing.

Sometimes what you like puts you in the minority. Like fondant. I am beginning to feel like I am the only person who will actually eat fondant and enjoy it. Most people like it for the way it looks, but I secretly just want to eat it.

This cake might just look …

A big how-dee-do!

As you can see on the right, I link to a few of my favorite blogs.

But I don't think you've been properly introduced, so here goes:

101 Cookbooks : When I am trying to eat less crappy, this is where I turn. Heidi has a terrific recipe for baked doughnuts, and also for a very good pizza dough, both of which use white whole wheat flour. Both recipes worked perfectly for me.

A Crafty Lass: This is who I want to come back as in another life. And if you make nothing else ever again from a recipe you find online, well you ought to make it the Ginger & Mary Ann.

Operation BakingGALS: I participated in a couple of "operations" and am planning to do it again. Let me know if you are interested in being a team member.

Boston Food & Whine: Tammy and I hit it off over a shared love of bento boxes and Kam Man. She writes very detailed reviews of places she's eaten, which is really helpful if you are trying to decide where to spend your hard earned buck-a-roos.

Cake Wrecks:…

It can't GET hotter

For some stupid reason, I am really having a baking jones right now.

All I want to do is make cake. Probably because I have wedding cake on the brain (not mine, Evil Twin) and this is going to be a problem since I am slowly changing my eating habits from crap to not AS crappy.

Cake probably counts as crappy.

But I am looking through a couple of cake books and thinking "oooherrrrr yeah baby!" and totally sweating profusely. Hmmmm, I want to turn my oven on now? Why?

Well, listen, if you need a cake, just let me know. There is a very high chance that I will bake you one.

Especially if you want a coconut cake. A coconut layer cake with rum and fluffy white frosting.

Cake tasting time!!!

The Evil Twin is getting married! OMG the last of the commitment phobes is marrying the other last commitment phobe!

Yep, the Evil Twin said "YES!" to the Trapper Keeper and hooray for a 2010 wedding!

And while the ET and I are secretly laughing and going "seriously? married? wtf?", she is actually making a plan for wedding. And I am trying very hard to be an adult about being a very good sister of the bride by helping her with...... well nothing so far except for I bought her a couple of wedding magazines. But she knows I have her back, and the one thing I do know about playing an adult is that it good to keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself.

And anyway really at the end of the day the only thing I care about is the cake tasting. I want to try cake from EVERYWHERE. I love cake. I love cake like people like alcohol. Cake makes me happy at the end of a long day. Cake loves me back. Cake is a steady friend and cake, it stops the shaking.

So if you know of a good …

Thank you David Z, whoever you are!

Today in the mail I received a very nice note from the Center for Food Action in New Jersey.

Seemingly a donation was made on my behalf by a certain David Z. I am not positive who this David Z. is, but it is very much appreciated. And also since I prevented my neighbors car from getting towed this morning, it feels a little bit like instant karma.

Besides, after the Taliban, my least favorite scourge is hunger!

You'll need to floss your brain after this one.

Sometimes I will get a bit of a song or a phrase stuck in my brain, on a loop, and will unconsciously repeat it over and over again for a week until someone smacks the reset button the back of my head.

One time it was that "Filet-o-Fish" song. Click HERE to watch it as I am not allowed to anymore.

Then the other day my boss made me watch this ad:

And so now I have "I want tastebuds" stuck on repeat.

Oh brother.

Pasta on a Hot Night - Two Ways

I am hot. Boiling hot.

My teeth are hot, my feet are hot, my bones are hot, my hair is hot.... HOT. My house is a hotbox and it probably has something to do with the fact that I don't have a/c. I don't believe in it. I understand that it exists and I appreciate it at work, but it's summer. You are supposed to be sh*t hot and bitch about it.

So, being as hot as I am, I figured - can't get hotter, why not boil up some water and make pasta.

Firstly, to satisfy my immediate hunger, I made gnocchi. The marvelous thing about having a bag of frozen gnocchi lying about is that it makes a very fast pasta dinner for the nights when you have to have pasta. Even when it is sh*t hot out.

The most basic way is to heat up some olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the amount of gnocchi you want to cook so that they are not on top of each other.

Get the oil nice and hot over a medium flame, and then dump in the gnocchi. Resist the urge to shake or stir the gnocchi for the first few minu…

JJ's Dairy Hut

I have a vague memory of my Auntie Bets taking me, and probably the Evil Twin too, over to JJ's Dairy Hut on a hot summer night.

If I recall correctly, Auntie Bets was wearing denim cutoffs and Dr. Scholl's sandals, and possibly driving either a tiny little Honda hatchback, or a small blue pickup truck. Oh and back in those days you could buy Dr. Scholl's at the pharmacy. We'd drive over from Gramps house in Cohasset, and the reason I think it was Auntie Bets is because she was probably the only one who would take us over just for fun.

But anyway I don't remember ever not wanting to go to JJ's when the weather got hot. Clearly it was imprinted onto the chromosome at a very young age. And every summer I try very hard to go to JJ's at least once.

Today was that day. Hooray!

JJ's is just like the hundreds of other "dairy huts" and "dairy bars" that you find along the smaller highways and byways that run throughout New England. They are plac…

A place I like

I forget sometimes that I like Francesca's in the South End. Probably because I don't really love their salads.

Also they offer the "Ho-Humm Wrap" on their menu. Evidently hummus is involved, but that is a terrible name for a wrap. Why not call it the "Mediocre Wrap". Or "Medi-ochre Wrap" and slather it with mustard.

But for a place to sit and people watch and have a coffee and a club sandwich or a rice krispy treat, it is a very nice place indeed.

I love rice krispy treats, especially this size.
Secretly I wish they would go back to making them with Fruity Pebbles.

This is an iced cafe cocoa, which some servers claim they don't make.

Excellent seats for people watching

A lovely interior

Newspaper Recipes

The thing that I love about buying old cookbooks at secondhand shops is that sometimes they come with old newspaper clippings wedged in between the pages, or other notes written directly onto the pages.

A copy of Jessie Marie DeBoth's Cook Book for All Occasions (1938) came stuffed with assorted clippings. Mostly from the Boston Sunday Post, and circa 1940-51, they included recipes for Apple Grapenut Pudding, Spaghetti a la Creole, Griddle Cakes, and Cape Cod Pudding.

Mixed in with the clippings were several index cards on which were neatly written recipes for things like Irish Bread, and Gold Cake (or Silver). My long ago cooking compatriot was someone who wrote down just the ingredients, not the instructions. Who also put a line through recipes, presumably if they were unsatisfactory, and who wrote one or two words next to recipes like "omit raisins" and "for party". It is like peering into another home cooks mind, and frankly it give me a thrill.

Another book…

Saturday trivia for you.

True or False:

The Swedish Chef

was the Muppets answer to....

The French Chef

Because I believe that having watched the Swedish Chef on the Muppet Show was an excellent introduction later on to Julia Child, which I watched on the little red telly in SallyNana & Grandpa's kitchen.

This month is a Restaurant Week month

I am on the fence about Restaurant Week.

Personally I prefer places that offer cheaper "tidbit" menus all year round. I will always go somewhere for a drink and if the bar offers a limited selection of menu items, chances are high that I will have one drink and then order a ton of bits off the menu.

A perfect example of this is at Pho Republique. I went there all the time when it first opened years ago, realized there was cheaper pho in Dorchester that was byob, then never really went back to Pho Republique because it suddenly got really pretentious and smug and expensive. However recently I went with Pam from Cave Cibum for the Two Dollar Dim Sum menu and it was good - a little taste of things on their regular menu. So when A-Banana and I had an urgent need for after works drinks the other night, I aimed us at Pho Republique.

Now, sadly they don't offer the Two Dollar Dim Sum menu anymore (smug f*cks), but at least now I knew what I liked on the bar menu. So not only d…