Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Julia please

My dear friend JNKL had a spare pass to the sneak preview of Julie & Julia tonight and lucky me got to go. Let me just say:


It will do for Paris and cooking what Field of Dreams did for corn fields and old timey baseball. Also I predict a that Mastering the Art of French Cooking will sell out in droves, followed by a tidal wave of boeuf bourguignon in kitchens across America.

Meryl Streep did a magical turn as Julia Child and left me wanting more, more, ENCORE Julia! I couldn't wait for those scenes. As for the Julie part - it started off ok, but sort of faltered a little and at the end I was done with her but left wanting more of the Julia magic.

And yes, right now, I want to make swiss meringue. True story.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another weekend o'food!

This weekend I went on a mini-break with the ol' Evil Twin, because frankly if it wasn't for her friends I wouldn't have any at all.

First stop: Martha's Vineyard.

I love me some Martha's Vineyard. I am always equally glad to go there as I am to leave. And I always, ALWAYS, forget about the guys in pink pants. With the blazers and the parted hair and the cocktails at 5pm.

Off the island, I forget that exists.

But anyway we were there to visit with my sister's friend and her family - hereinafter known as "The Gazooki's".

Age Gazooki met us at the ferry. ET and I had hit the road a little before 6am that morning and were sort of punchy for food, since all we'd had by that point was a string cheese each.

Fortunately we were quickly whisked to the Art Cliff Diner, about a 7 second drive from the ferry in Vineyard Haven.

Let me say three words about this place: Holy Crap Delicious.

Funky interior and breakfast until 2pm

I had the breakfast (frickin' delicious) tacos
Evil Twin had, uh, some sort of frittatary thing

As always, a card carrying member of The Clean Plate Club
And as per usual I was done 20 minutes before everyone else
Am I embarrassed? No, not so much.

After that we went to the house to dump our gear and then walk into town for a lookey-loo before going to the beach in the afternoon.

Let me just tell you first about the host family. Quite easily one of the most fantastic families I have ever met in real life, "The Gazooki's" are friendly, warm, generous, and hilarious.

They were equally generous with food and cocktails - feeding a small army with complete ease the night we were there as though it were nothing. I was totally impressed with how tightly knit the family was in that they made everything look effortless.

Also this is the family that whenever an "adult" sent a "young 'un" to the shop for a paper or a loaf of bread or a pack of gum, it was always with a twenty dollar bill pulled from a pocket somewhere. It kind of cracked me up. Oh and also it made me feel 12 years old again.

So after the house we went for a stroll around Edgartown after which we went to the beach. I am not going to say too much about the beach thing because this is a food blog after all, but I will just say that Martha's Vineyard has seriously f*cked up weather. We went to South Beach expecting sun, since two miles over where we were was glorious. But no. South Beach was fogged in. We gave up after about 2 hours and went to a beach on the sunny side of the island. We got in a few fabulous hours in the sun and a couple of lovely swims before heading back to the house for dinner and drinks.

And here is the part about the drinks. And why there are no pictures of food or food related items after Art Cliff Diner.

Turns out that Dad Gazooki is a champ when it comes to making cocktails. He had a great big shaker that was apparently bottomless, which coupled with a day at the beach in the sun made me completely blottoed in minutes.

And although I ate enough to fill a pirates wooden leg, I was definitely not sober enough to remember to take pictures of the feast the Gazooki's laid out. Nor of the ice cream we went to get later that night at 10:30...

I am lame and apparently a light weight. And that is why Dadzooki is such a great bartender - I drank and drank and drank and had NO idea I was getting so drunk. What a party!

The next morning was sadly all about packing, and going to the beach for a few hours before the ferry.

Since I had Monday off, the Evil Twin and her boyfriend Trapper Keeper invited me to spend the night over in Dennis. So after the ferry landed back in Wood's Hole, off we went to Dennis.

Let me just throw in that we stopped at Grain & Vine to pick up some more beverage (never say die until the liver gives out) and if you are near Hyannis you ought to stop in. Lovely shop, lovely service and organic wine tasting on Sundays. Just go ok. Oh and from the looks of it, they might also offer delivery.

The only thing I was looking forward to at that point was a shower, a drink, and food. I had gone from the beach to the ferry and was smeared in a combination of SPF 30, SPF 50, and sand. Plus we hadn't really eaten that much during the day, except for a ferry burger ET and I split.

So when I heard that someone was making ribs for dinner, well, I nearly fainted.

I love ribs.

We got to the house, I had a shower (it was an outdoor shower, the best kind ever) and was promptly given a cold glass of drink.

Heaven two nights in a row!

While the ribs were grilling, potato chips and onion dip magically appeared in front of me. It was like the food genie had magically granted all my wishes.

So the deal with the ribs is that Trapper Keepers good friend "Sleeves" has been dying to make ribs. He got a recipe from a mysterious source and periodically during the rib making process would disappear into the house to make a phone call to this aforementioned source.

Whatever. The ribs were fricking DELICIOUS.

The baby back ribs, and waiting patiently to go on next are the St. Louis ribs.

But first some turkeybasa.
Thank you Food Genie!

Ok, NOW the St. Louis ribs go on.

After a nice long bake, and a good time on the grill.... RIBS!!

With the ribs, "Sleeves" made baked veg for a side. I ate too many ribs to really fully enjoy the veg, but I recall that it was also very tasty. Uhh I think it was assorted veg (spinach, broccoli, peas, peppers, and onions?) baked with garlic, olive oil, a little butter, some Parmesan cheese, and I think crushed wheat thins. I am definitely making it sound weird, however trust me when I say it was very, very good.

The other reason there are no photos after the rib mess, is that I again drank a tiny wee bit more than I ought to have. But everyone was and I am a follower. So we were all drinking merrily along and I am pretty sure the night ended with "Sleeves" singing karaoke. Which I swear I thought he was singing "Sweet Caroline" but have since been told it was a Bob Seger song.


As for Monday, well, not a food day. Instead I went to the beach, slathered my self ten times with SPF 50, got well coated in sand immediately, and some how ended up burnt anyway sort of, only in spots that is.

So overall, a very successful weekend in my book. Only no one tell the nutritionist please. I am pretty sure that ribs and onion dip and ice cream and vodka and tacos and beer and turkeybasa are not part of a balanced diet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I ate the Tourshi

Tuesday night I went to Stix with Pam from Cave Cibum. She's awesome.

I really can't say anything nice about Stix so I am not going to say anything at all. Except for that we went for the $1 raw bar special and it was underwhelming, as was the coconut "mojito", and the overall experience. Bleh, yeah, I probably won't go back.

BUT the best part was at the end when Pam said "oh hey I have your Christmas present".

Nice! Who the f*ck wouldn't want a present after a mediocre meal?

Happily it was the last thing on my Christmas wish list: a jar of TOURSHI!!!

(photo from Cave Cibum)

And you know what? Tourshi is frickin' delicious. Nice and briny and crisp. I was going to share it, but now I don't think I will.

Sorry. Wellllllllll, not really.

I was going to share some with the lovely June J. who keeps me in jam, and more recently, in bread and butter pickles. However I can't. I just can't. I think that I can probably talk June J. into make some tourshi though....

What the heck- everyone ought to make a few jars of this delicious Armenian treat. What else are you going to do? Go to the beach?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

OPF - Other People's Food

You all probably know Tammy from Food on the Food, she's the funny one who writes a proper food blog with actual real recipes, pretty photos, and correct grammar. Yeah, that one.

She is also a very good eater who knows all sorts of things like about farm shares and locavoring, and making things out of odd lots and figuring out sauerkraut, and that sort of thing.

Anyway Tammy went on vacation and offered me the option to take her farm share for her. Which, having heard about the Farmer, I immediately said Yes, Please! To which she replied, yeah not THAT farmer.


Well, too late, I'd already said yes. And as it is my current job pays me very little so the prospect of free farm-fresh food was quite enticing. Even if I wasn't going to finally meet the Farmer.

Did I mention that I'd been given two weeks worth? Yep. How nice is that? Pretty fricking nice.

So last week me and my neighbor Even Steve went out to Waltham to pick up the harvest. Firstly let me say right now: there is nothing farmer about me. Out I went in my skinny jeans, gold flip-flops, bright red purse, and Hollywood sunglasses. Hahah!

They saw ME coming for sure! Tammy had explained the pick up system, so I was prepared enough to bring my own bags. And everyone there was really nice, even if I had to keep guessing at Tammy's last name like a total fraud. Which was absurd anyway, because what fancy pants chick is going to be randomly driving around in Waltham looking for a farm share to defraud by randomly guessing that someone there by the name of Tammy happened to have a share.... Thankfully the farmer lady was able to help me out with that, although I am still sure the clipboard person was convinced of my fraudular inclinations.

First I picked out my eight items:

The white things are little sweet turnips (eerrr I think), the red balls are beets, carrots, chard, fava beans in the pod, purple scallions in there, and a couple of yellow squash and zukes in there too. And a head of lettuce.

The veg pick up at the shed was easy enough - you put the veg in the bag and done. However, I wasn't totally prepared for the pick your own herbs and stuff. Did you know that herbs, outside of containers, grow really low to the ground?

We tramped over to the herb & bean plots. Face it, I looked like a city slicker with my giant red bag and gold flips. This is why my Little House dream has remained a dream. I would last about a day on the prairie.

I clipped a few herbs - basil and parsley, and then we hit the bean bushes.

Ok, seriously, what the f*ck is a fava bean anyway? And how the f*ck are you supposed to eat them? Anyone?

Fava beans come in a thick woody pod and I could not figure out if I was meant to pick the little ones, or the big ginormous ones. In the end though it didn't really matter. I sent the beans flying around the kitchen trying to shell them and then the ones that did make it in to the pot turned grey when I cooked them.


But everything else I ate. And fast because it turns out that farm fresh produce has a shelf life of oh, about a day before it all goes flabby. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. I totally panicked because the next day the carrots had all gone flabby, and so I hurried to cook and eat everything by Sunday night. But a good thing because pretty much by Monday morning I was pooping straight compost. I could literally feel the cholesterol leaving my body. It was great to eat such yummy vegetables.

The chard was particularly delicious. I sauteed it with a little olive oil, some garlic, and red pepper, a culinary cliche I know. But really it was a completely different taste than chard that is a little older. I even ate the stems.

So this week I was a little more prepared. I picked up some more carrots, chard, onions (purple and shaped like a torpedo) and two bulbs of fennel which I gave to my Mom who likes those sorts of things. Because even though I feel like I ought to like fennel, and endives, and radicchio, I really cannot learn to like that particular bitter green taste, nor the weird licorice taste of fennel.

The carrots I turned into a soup, along with a head of cauliflower, onions, garlic, and curry. The chard is for dinner tomorrow night - probably sauteed again with a poached egg on top.

All in all, not a bad way to start the week, especially when the food is a gift. And also on a side note, I got a replacement copy of Jilly Coopers Polo finally in the mail. I love Jilly Cooper. Her writing is both excellent and florid and it is like a literary crack hit for me. So with soup, an egg, and a great read for a hot night, life is pretty terrific.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Almost all the way back

I have to be honest here, I did take a Claritin today. But only because I really think I am allergic to the office.

Having said that, I am mostly all better, thanks!

And to celebrate, I bought one of these:
I am not positive why, but when I saw this at the store I could not resist. It's not bad table wine either. Personally I am not the biggest red wine fan. I like it well enough in France, but for some reason the wine over here gives me asthma and I know I am not the only one. But this stuff is pretty agreeable.

It went well with bouchon and the tomato jam from June.

Tomato jam, figs, bouchon, and the Famous Fromage knife from Tante Mona!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Officially sick

I am eating mushed cauliflower with olive oil and garlic because it doesn't hurt my throat. I also ate a hotdog.

It's official, with test results and everything, I am sick. The ear infection is the part that is driving me batty. And I am cranky and tired and should be in Depends right now.

See Shamrag for the sad details about THAT.

And yes, I am fully aware that I bring this on myself by treating every symptom with either Claritin or aspercreme, and not going to the doctor in a timely manner...

Anyway, I am sorry I am not my usual chipper self, but according to the packet of new antibiotics I got today I should be back to glitter and dazzle tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is something happier than me right now:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July Food

I love that the last two days have been GORGEOUS. It is about time summer got underway if you ask me. I have Sly & the Family Stone on repeat.

The only downside is that I have this summer cold that I don't know what to do with. It started two weeks ago with a wicked sore throat, then went dormant for a week and yesterday it reared it's nasty little head in a fierce way all over again. Can't swallow, painful hacking cough, pressure in the ears and sinus, everything buzzes and aches... you know the drill.

It's really kicking me in the face right now.
*insert frowning face here*

But I am the Queen of Neversaydie, and also the Queen of Takeeveryonewithyouwhenyougo so I went forward with my 4th of July feast.

The new (old) red table!

Chips, salsa, and guacamole.

No 4th Feast is complete without condiments and sides!

Burgers & dawgs & Wonder bread rolls & buns.
And corn on the cob.

We made ice cream sundaes for dessert.

This is how I would like to eat every single day. But then I probably wouldn't appreciate it. And frankly I couldn't afford it.

I would also like to just take a minute to say how really grateful I am that I am an American living here in America. I am truly grateful that I have hot and cold running water from a tap, that I am not in constant fear of attack, that I have plenty to eat, and a safe place to sleep every night.

And I know that there are other great places to live in the world, and that this country has a full share of crazy, but it's where I call home.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rocca: 5@5

At the other end of this work week I went to Rocca with Pam from Cave Cibum.

Starting off the week with Pam, food, and alcohol sets the bar-o-fun too high for me so after Rocca, the week went sliding downhill. Well, until last night anyway when I hooked up with Captain Morgan and his trusty sidekick Diet Coke... but that's another post.

I happen to love the lounge of Rocca. It is very pretty to me with the tall windows that look out over old brick buildings, long gauzy curtains, and sky blue bar chairs.

Our bartender was a very nice guy and I sort of vaguely think his name was Joey. But I might be wrong. Well anyway he was super nice and had an easy laugh. If you want to know which one he is, he is the guy from upstate New York.

He recommended the Giardino Blu which is blueberry vodka mix with a blueberry-mint puree which I jumped at and Pam went with Sangria Bianco (holy crap I had to take a picture to remember that!).

And OH YEAH Coldriver Blueberry Flavored Vodka might now be my new favorite vodka.

Seriously. I could drink it just on the rocks.

Although there is this tiny voice in the waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back of my head that is slightly concerned about the fact that all week long I have been trying to figure out how to get more of that lovely stuff... It doesn't seem to be sold in Massachusetts yet, but I am going to check with LiquorLand on that tomorrow.

And sad true story, I emailed the company and while they are planning to sell it in Massachusetts, right now I'd have to go to New Hampshire for more. Agh!

(I think my liver literally just sighed with relief.)

Alternatively I am going to walk down to Rocca tomorrow for another one.

Ok you know enough about the a-a-a-a-alcohol. We did eat something, we are not completely a pair of lushes yet. We got one of everything except for the lobster slider, and it was plenty of food for two.

I thought it was all pretty tasty, but then again I am not terribly discerning and frankly I don't like to find fault with stuff just to be a pretentious foodie f*ckwad.

You need to eat the zucchini and the calamari while it's hot. Once they've gone cold, they taste a bit greasy. But the dipping sauces were perfect. The farinata was delicious and the side of lemon & salt dressed arugula was delicious. The pizzetta was on the bland side to me, but well made. I think that when I say bland it is because I am not a fan of ricotta on pizza. And there weren't any bold flavors. So this is the perfect dish for someone who likes food that is fine tasting and not too adventurous or salty.

If you want more of a food review, check out Pam's review.

As you can see we thought the food was pretty good! And I really have to say that I thought the staff was quite friendly*, and not just because they're trying to make a buck or two. They seemed to be friendly to each other. And I have to say that I like a place where the staff is friendly and honest to the customer. Joey made recommendations based on what we were telling him, rather than on what he liked or wanted to sell that night. I appreciate that.

All in all a nice place to go for a bite after work. I suggest going right at 5-5:30 and get there before any dinner crowd. I know that this makes me sound like a 400 year old granny in a cardigan, but I like to get a little tipsy early. It makes the early evening lots more exciting. And then an added bonus is that you have longer to sleep it off.

Or something like that...

*FYI - the hands down friendliest staff ever anywhere is at the Alchemist in JP. True story.