Showing posts from 2012

Liquor is delicious. So is liquor.

Sunday afternoon cooking is awesome up until 4:45pm, when the lovely long rays of afternoon sunshine that filter through the yellowing maple leaves suddenly switches to midnight blue and you still have a massive amount of washing up to do. 
Today I am starting to prep the Thanksgiving meal. Usually I make the stuffing base early because I like all the flavors to meld together into mushroomy-buttery-garlicky- sagey deliciousness which I will combine with bread, turkey sausage, and broth on the Big Day. 
And today I got to thinking about mushroom liquor. Did you know that oysters and clams also produce their own liquor? I knew it, but I never thought it out before. Recipes for both oyster stew and for clam chowder often instruct the cook to "reserve the liquor" and now I am thinking, other than mushrooms, what other veg produces a "liquor"?

And for the record, mushroom liquor is DELICIOUS.

Thanksgiving comes first

Oy vey. No one tells you that as you age you stop staring at your navel and start slowly looking at the world around you through the lens of experience. Which is making me into a complete Debbie Downer.
I love Thanksgiving and I am not sure exactly why I should still. It signaled the brutal eradication of an entire civilization which we mark by stuffing ourselves stupid. 
Can you imagine if in Germany there was a national holiday to give thanks for Kristallnacht? Maybe now is too soon, but in two or three hundred years? Who can say. What I do know is I can't discuss this with most people because pretty much no one wants to talk about sh*t that happened in the past, especially if they think they are going to be made to feel guilty about it. Everything ugly gets swept under the rug and we hope for better tomorrows. 
You see where I am at with this kind of thinking? Debbie Downer City. 
However I can't bring myself to not have some kind of fall celebration of gratitude. It…

My name is Calamity Shazaam, and I am an addict.

Things took a turn for the worse when I bounced my forehead off my desk this afternoon. Turns out nap-nods can escalate quickly to nap-faceplants.

Uh-glee! Definitely NOT a pretty sight at all.

Why so tired you ask? Well, guess what I forgot to do today?

Yes. I forgot to have coffee.

It's like forgetting to put pants on in the morning. Coffee is as fundamental as oxygen and chocolate, as far as I can tell.

And then I saw this image on Pinterest (a whole 'nother addiction) and first I was like "yep" and then I was like "hahahahahahahahahah!"

I hate that I totally get it.

And also I hate that I am about to go back for cup number 2 just as soon as I click "Publish".

Oh hey, I have a blog.

So what if I am slowly starving it to death, right?

Well thank you to YOU dear reader, you are the only one left.

What have I been up to since August? Oh, not a whole lot. I think that I've been a bit lazy of late with the blogging thing - too many photos of what Ima puttin' in mah piehole and not enough writing to go with it.

You wanna know why? Because I fricking HATE writing recipes. OMG I would rather scrape wallpaper at a hoarders house.

I know how to cook like people know how to drive a stick shift and for the record I cannot operate a manual transmission unless bunny-hopping from point to point is considered operating.  So I have lots of empathy for people who can't cook and who rely on microwave meals and powdered crap in a box.

Which you would think would make me super patient and recipe-writeable. You would be wrong. I just cook. Occasionally I will read a recipe because I've forgotten how to clarify stock or to look up the set temperature for jelly, but at t…

Wednesday Lunch

In April a really sweet man died suddenly. He was a good friend of our family, a man of many diverse talents, and we all miss him terribly still.

But life goes on in that awful, inexorable, healing way. Somehow we get past the initial pain, which transforms into a phantom limb, no longer there but inexplicably vividly felt when thought about.

Kenny was also a gardener. So I inherited a couple of tomato plants that he'd started.

These are no ordinary tomato plants, oh no. They are tomato plants that Kenny had propagated from seeds that he'd been saving from one year to the next year for the past forty years.

No pressure or anything.

I am really brilliant at growing weeds and the thought of having to nurture these tender plants (when I got them they were only just newborn plants) to full growth was totally stressful.

Completely gave me a case of Dontfuckitupitis and fearing a constipated summer, I called in an expert.

My good friend ABanana lives near me with her boyfriend who k…

Old Northeast Tavern - a hidden gem in Old Northeast.

Last dinner on holiday at the Old Northeast Tavern.

Chicken & Plantain quesadillas with pineapple salsa - an unexpected treat.

Pulled pork sliders and green apple slaw.

And a couple of Florida Ave Ales, a local beer from the Cold Storage Craft Brewery in Tampa.

Holiday Brunch

Perfectly cooked bacon

Spinach, tomato, and goat cheese omelet

Blueberrylicious pancakes 

Oh and mimosas. Lots of mimosa.

Beans & Rice. No seriously, I REALLY love beans & rice.

As you may, or may not, have surmised - I will eat beans and rice at any opportunity. 
Yesterday on our way to see K.D. Lang at the Hard Rock in Orlando we stopped for a bite to eat at this place:

Spanish and Chinese you say? Well yes, but for me it was the Spanish part that was important.

And as a side note, I think that the reason there are Spanish-Chinese food restaurants is because back in the days of yore when sugar plantations were in full tilt across the Caribbean they brought Chinese workers in to cut the cane. At least that is what I think was the deal, I could just be making that up...

Of course I got rice & beans. I also got the roast pork. The pork was delicious - so tender and tasty, I completely pigged out. Oink oink.

I ate it all up. At this point Jo & Jo must think I have a worm or something, given my capacity to inhale food...

As I have the day to myself tomorrow, I just might go and find MORE rice & beans. Stay tuned.

Saturday Market down south

Every town has one, a weekend open air market. The one in Boston closes (sort of) in the winter because of the cold and the snow. The one here closes in the summer because of the heat.

 Now I am not a fan of crawfish and therefore not so much inclined to try a crawfish pie, but seriously, how awesome is that sign. Very awesome. I am sure I am not the only one who wanted to buy the sign. Vivian probably has a few of those signs for folks just like me. I really should have asked.

C'est chouette, non? I ought to have gotten a better close up of the ginormo jar of Nutella on the roof. If it had been an actual jar filled with real Nutella, I would have fainted.

Jo tells me this stuff is "amazeballs". Well, she would have used that word only I hadn't introduced it to her yet. I have never heard of this stuff so she bought some and I took a photo of the sign in case I love it and need to have it shipped to my mouth.

Honestly, Boston needs to have an Empanada World. I reall…

The OTHER Mothership

I am away for a few days, down south and in the sun, visiting a very dear friend and her lovely girlfriend.

The thing I love about my pal Jo is that she and I are on the same wave length about lot of things, mostly about what is funny and when to eat, which is pretty awesome when you are a funny & hungry girl like me.

On our way to her house from the airport we made a pit stop at Mazzaros Market, basically the supermarket of my dreams.

I could not really get a decent shot of the place as I was like "ooh, I want that, oh and that, and one of those..." But this gives you a general idea.

Row after row of epicurean delights. A kind of heavenly warehouse with row after row of amazing things to eat. All I needed to see was an Oompa-Loompa and I would have started to actually worry.

We brought home 6 sandwiches, 8 pastries, a box of their specialty cookies, a packet of amaretti, and a package of ladyfingers. For two people, with a third on the way.


But honestly it was SO…

Wednesday night ramps

Since I read Tamar Adler's brilliant book I have been a one-night-a-week cooking machine. Which means I have been eating both well and more or less healthily. 
Wednesday is my FTY delivery day so it makes sense to do most of the cooking as soon as I get home with the groceries. 
In this week's order I got two bunches of ramps. The taste of ramps sends me back in time to when I was a kid and I spent hours outside down in Hull pulling up small spring onions and pretending to be a survivalist in "the woods" which was really just a wooded lot. 
The ramps flavor is far more delicate, but then again, the spring onions I thought I discovered as a kid were probably not really onions at all and I really probably shouldn't have been eating them. But for better or worse, the scent of fresh onion means spring to me. 
Oh I am ready for summer already.
Anyway, I rinsed the leaves of the ramps and chopped them off. I sauteed them in a little oil to wilt them for a quiche fillin…

My name is CalamityShazaam and I am addicted to books.

I love my Nook. Yeah, yeah, everyone has a Kindle, but I am in love with my Nook (thank you Evil Twinster) and I use it everyday.

Which is why I will never be able to save up for the moped I want. I love to read and instant access to an online bookstore is exactly like an unlimited supply of crack to a crackhead. Sometimes on Mondays I will look at my bank account and be like "oh snap! I bought WHAT?"

Eh, I suppose it could be worse, I suppose I could be addicted to actual crack.

Well so here is what happened on Friday - I downloaded Tamar Adler's amazing book " An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace" and then stayed up all night and read it.


Remember how last post I was all like "a-wah-wah-wahhhh I waste so much foooood wah"? Well this is the book that fixes that problem for me. I woke up on Saturday and started cooking everything in my fridge.

I made braised short ribs for Sunday lunch, two batches of beans, roasted onions, …

Another Sunday, another Sunday lunch

The ugly secret in my kitchen is that I buy ingredients with more ambition than actual execution. This is something I am trying to change because frankly it is a really sh*tty habit to have. My resolution has been to try to eat everything I buy, a hideously first world resolution, and because it makes me uncomfortable, I am breaking the habit.

I will buy dried beans and think "oh I will make a big pot of baked beans!" Or pick up a giant squash and think "ahhh squash and curry soup!". But the fact of the matter is I live on my own and I can only eat the same thing for three days, tops. On the occasion that I make soup, for some reason I make enough for seven people to eat for three days straight, which if you do the math means I am eating that soup for 21 days (I think, I am not great at math and I was drinking wine earlier).
This kind of gluttony and waste is getting on my nerves. So no more bullsh*t as La Mamman would say. 
Basically this means that now I get wha…

Bestest, Easiest, Deliciousest Dinnah Evah

Today drained the energy totally out of me. I know what I am doing at work, just that some days I have to do everything all at once, oh and it all should have been done five minutes ago. 
Five on the clock could not come soon enough. I trudged my sorry self home, until the end when I accidentally bashed my foot off the curb and hopped the last few feet, fueled by pain and f-bombs. 
I was just too tired to make dinner and contemplated going right to bed with a cup of tea. Which is a terrible idea in reality, unless you have a sad-faced stomach and then a cup of tea is the best idea. As a compromise I made a dinner that required the same level of effort as making a cup of tea. 
As you can see from the photo above, it was just potatoes and an egg. Big whoop.
A couple of chopped up potatoes, roasted them with a bit of olive oil in a 375 oven until soft on the inside and crispy brown on the out. Then I poached an egg, which is about the easiest way to cook a quick egg. Just bring a small …

(Almost) Vegetarian Lasagna

I like to have my family over on Sunday for lunch. It motivates me to clean my house and to cook for pleasure. Like I mentioned before, I usually get home and just want to park myself on the couch to read Scandinavian murder mysteries and eat popcorn seasoned with Old Bay, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. If it's been a particularly tough day, I will treat myself to a Miller High Life in a pony bottle.

Ahhh life....
Anyway, for lunch today I made "lasagna". The reason I put this in quotes is because there is a world of difference between the lasagna that shows up on a plate in Italy and what you will get in America.
According to La Maman all the lasagna here is crap. Sorry, le crap. Noodles, greasy meat, too much cheese, and drowning in tomato sauce - too heavy and fatty for her European sensibilities. And while she and I will just never see eye to eye on the merits of Lucky Charms and of diet sodas, we are in complete agreement here. 
Personally I love t…

Carrot Salad

The recent spell of gorgeous summery weather has put me in the mood for salad. Not leafy salad because I cannot make a leafy salad to save my life, but more along the lines of a shredded root veg tossed with a vinaigrette kind of thing.

A simple vinaigrette dressing is perfect for shredded fresh carrots and dried cranberries.

I make mine with a finely minced clove of garlic which I mix with a spoonful of grain mustard, a large pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and some white wine vinegar. Then I whisk in some olive oil until it looks like, well, vinaigrette. I have no clue about the proportions because I grew up watching my Maman make this and I am just copying her. I will say that you want to put in more oil than vinegar and you can leave out the garlic if your guests have tender digestions. Or add in more garlic if it's just you.

This dressing works well with chopped roasted beets, and with leafy salads (if you know how to make them).

Buttermilk for one

I use the Farmers To You service. It's a first world luxury that I am lucky to be able to afford.

The reason I use this service is because I can pick and choose what I want to get rather than getting a box of pre-selected items. I went that route before and ended up with more salad greens than a normal person can eat in a week.

But every now and then I get a little ambitious and order ingredients for fabulous recipes that I am going to simply whip up during the week. Bah hahahahah! Never make plans for the week on the weekend. When I get home on a weeknight chances are high that I just want something RIGHT NOW. Already cooked.

Which is why I should never order buttermilk. I am not going to make buttermilk pancakes or blueberry buttermilk bundt cake during the week. I am going to eat popcorn or pasta while I pin sh*t to Pinterest just like every other normal person.

However I do order it and then can never use it up in time. Until I remembered that you can freeze buttermilk and it …

More to "love" about the local Kam Man

The old Super 88 at South Bay has been replaced by Kam Man. Which basically means I still have somewhere to go and giggle like a school girl over things like this:

These are the two least raunchy "supplements" available. Please note that the first ingredient in Stud Sex Power is "strong back". Which is the first thing I'd look for quite frankly.
If none of those work, maybe try this tea.  It's a bietary fupplement*. *Probably not FDA approved though.

Meme's Cake

I was the most awful kind of American child. My mother is from the South of France so growing up she was all about olive oil, garlic, and eating natural foods instead of processed foods.

This was the direct opposite of how I wanted to eat. I wanted Oreos in my lunch, not an apple; I wanted American cheese and baloney sandwiches on soft white bread; I wanted snack sized packs of Doritos and Fritos; in short, I wanted to be just like everyone else in the lunch room at a time when conformity was key to acceptance.

Which I just never was able to achieve, but not because of my lunches. But that is a whole other blog post, or something...

Summer would roll around and my grandparents would come over from France for three months. Three months of everything made from scratch, catered to our desires and preferences, with no trying to conform to anyone else.  My Meme would ask us every morning what we wanted for breakfast - perhaps un coup de fruit ou peut-etre des crepes? Meme loved my sister an…

Marmite is alright

I like Marmite on buttered toast with a cup of tea. And Kam Man sells a couple of sizes, in case you need some.

I like cheese.

Working for a cookbook publisher means that every now and then we get mysterious packages of food.

Almost always this is a good thing, especially since we also publish books on birthing babies and so far no one has mailed us a baby.

This is how I discovered delicious cherries from the Northwest (a 10lb bag no less), awesome red velvet cake from Daisy Cakes, stollen from Zingerman's that I could not resist, and most recently Palmetto Cheese.

Sounds gross, right? Well it does if, like me, you think it is some kind of vegan cheese made from a palmetto plant.

But no, this stuff is not that, not at all.

It's a kind of cheese paste that comes in a plastic tub, a kind of melange of shredded cheese, mayo, and spices. The one I nearly ate entirely on my own was the Palmetto Cheese with Bacon. This stuff is the perfect blend of all the sh*t that makes a person fat: it's savory and unctuous, delicious cold or hot and melted over leftover rice....

Turns out that pimento cheese is a &…

Food lately

I am totally bored of writing about food. But I absolutely still love eating it.

Lately I've been pretty good about sticking to eating what I get from the weekly Farmers to You delivery.  Mind you there is not a great deal of variety right now, seeing as how it's technically still winter, but I quite honestly feel a million times better eating the same veg over and over instead of a variety of crap. 
I eat a lot of roasted veg at night. Not only does firing up the stove heat up the house just enough to last the night, but eating plain cooked veg (beets, carrots, onions) makes me feel less blergy. 
(Before you think I am all holier-than-thou on the "eat more veggies" wagon, please note that I do have an inner child that is totally pissed right now since I promised to only eat Lucky Charms and coffee ice cream as an adult... oh well.)
One item that I am now totally addicted to is the Mad River Grain bread from the Red Hen Bakery. When I dream of a chewy, grainy, delicio…

Thanks but no, I am NOT a food blogger.

The very words "food blogger" gets on my nerves these days.

I mean I guess it's because food blogging gets taken too seriously by some. If it cost money to blog, I swear the pool would dry up preeeetty quickly. What if food blogging was like publishing a newspaper, could you imagine getting food blogs on paper? Getting flooded with bits of paper all day long?

Yeah, no, me neither.

And don't get me wrong. Some food blogs are great reads, however mentally I call them columns because the words "food blog" sounds terrible to my ear. You know how they say "cellar door" are the nicest words to read in the English language? Well it probably has something to do with the tongue prancing about lightly in the mouth when you say "cellar door". With "food blog" your tongue makes the same motion as when you say "blah" or when you barf. Try it.

Now you can't stand the word either, huh. Sorry.

So if I am not a food blohhhhhhh-ge…