Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm looking through you

Got a late start heading out to the Antic this year. Neither of us felt like going actually which was weird since I looked forward to it all month. We dragged our tired asses out there regardless and had a great time. We didn't partake in many of the food offerings but it was great to ponder each one.

The restaurants really took it up a few notches, especially Jolie with roast pigs and a boat filled with oysters and shrimp. I think they did that last year but it seemed so high-brow this time. The Last Chance had go-go dancers which is always fun. The belly dancer was a man the first time we went by the big ugly stage and then a very cool older woman on the walk back. Someone was serving lobster rolls that looked spectacular and the line was long so they musta been great.

The new Roebling Bar stage was nice because it was at the end and that block has become more and more interesting. The band was good, sounded like the Stone Roses to me but that might piss them off. You never want to say what a band sounds like, especially when they're real young and you're.. not. We hightailed it out of there pretty quick. I'm not sure I can get into the right loud indie mindset at a street fair. Maybe I'm wrong. The old guys playing Stones covers down the next block were more my thing and they were great but its always sad looking around and seeing what you might look like too, sort of out of date and not so good anymore. Sigh. It's almost like you have no business rockin' anymore, not in those shoes anyway.

It was too crowded to really browse the booths and to be honest, I really held P indoors a couple of hours past his manageable level. I musta heard 10 versions of Jesus Take the Wheel before I yanked him out of the house. So he was in no condition to really be cool or stroll for that matter. It was more like a speedwalk through the first few blocks until we actually had a listen to a good band, then I think we both remembered why we like coming each year, to relax and just enjoy the whole scene. Plus its like a block away, so it hasn't exactly been a big trek.

But the whole reason that the Antic is special I think is because Atlantic Avenue is such a big, ugly block that's noisy and too wide and dangerous to cross on a normal day. There are cool restaurants and shops all along it though. But on this one day a year only you can really see those vendors and owners schlepping their goods in a simpler one-on-one kind of exchange. It makes it all more human. Even Hanks with a nice country band playing in front of the logo seemed like the nice corner bar. Usually it's obnoxious and the sidewalk crowd is weathered old fu%$s from the Mulenberg that may want to fight ya if they don't nod out first. This is so much better than that!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Here today, gone tamale

I had a wild hair and two days in a row off of work. And so yep, I made pork tamales!! Holy cow what a load of work. Was it worth it? Perhaps. Are they good? I did good.

I was all excited to post step-by-step instructions and the recipe but I found one already pretty perfect. So, I'm just adding my own tips. I'd highly recommend this page for instructions, pictures and accurate measurements. I wish I had found it long ago... or even this time. You see I didn't see it until just now. Big bummer! But we must move on...BEWARE though- many sites will give you bunk information and set you up for failure. This one is pretty right on the money.

However, if you're making a big batch (which you should because it takes just as long to make 100 as it does 5)use lard (Tip #1). You know what? The taste is distinctive and I feel like its too important and you work waaaay too hard on these to use oil and have them be just so-so. You need the full robust flavor that lard brings. Saturated fat is high yes, but not as much as butter. And unlike many margarines and vegetable oils, lard does not contain any trans fat. Besides, these are special treats, they're small and you're not going to eat 100 of them.

Tip #2: I used 10ounces of lard rather than a full two cups.

Tip #3: After you season your meat, add a little olive oil and stock to moisten the meat and warm the spices.

Tip #4: Overspice the meat. After steaming it loses a lot of flavor and there is nothing worse than a bland tamale. If you get a second wild hair, make your own pepper sauce with your choice of peppers - it's fun!

Tip #5: Don't be ridiculous and tie each one of your tamales up in string or thin pieces of husk. Just fold the husk over! Jeez.

Tip #6: Add the 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to the dried masa. The lighter texture makes them feel more gourmet.

Tip #7: Try not to make tamales like my Aunt Betty. Bless her heart, she was a fine woman and she was always very sweet to me. But she made one sad sack tamale. I think the aunts would take turns making them during holidays. Even as a young girl I had deep regret when it was Betty's turn. Hers were too thick, had too much masa, not enough meat, they were dry, the masa didn't have any flavor or salt and her meat was gray and tasteless. Nothing worse than being so excited to eat a tamale and unwrapping the little gift only to find its lifeless body. But I'm proud to say we were resourceful, hungry, poor, Catholics and so we'd drench them with ketchup, salt and vinegar and they went down just fine. Betty was none the wiser.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One potato, two potato

Potato Galette

Since I was forced to move my lunch meal idea to an early brunch due to P's inability to remain human after coffee and no food, I decided to pair my Mexican inspired gyro with a potato galette. That's french! I got the idea from Woman's Day dot com because I'm a an old nerd that surfs woman's day dot com. I bought a bag of potatoes so I have to find fun ways to use them without adding a ton of fat or cheese.

That is really not a big problem when you add herbs and spices and bring out the true flavor of the potato. I used to think you had to cover potatoes with sour cream and bacon and cheese but that's so not true. I diced up some fresh 'penos and added them to the onion and garlic. I grated the potatoes right over the pan so they wouldn't brown and because my kitchen is so small that I ran out of room to work. Then I topped that with some of Big Ed's fresh cayenne pepper seeds and sea salt.This had a super-good condensed potato-ey flavor and it was extra tasty with the pepper both dried and fresh. I did this on the stove burners but you can stick it in the oven too. If you do it on the stove, you have to flip it, which can be dangerous in a barbie-sized space.

Another idea for this is to crack four eggs over the top, bake it and sprinkle some diced crispy chorizo and fresh cilantro all over for a one pan breakfast fiesta!

Gyros in the making

When I was really young, before my parents bought their restaurant, much of the food we had at home was super good peasant-like Mexican food. It was very rustic and hearty but serious flavors. The dishes had names usually but for a lot of reasons (my memory is poor, my dad can't hear me on the phone anymore, my mom can't remember now that she was an amazing cook or who I am, I never learned to speak Spanish, etc), I have to recreate much by taste and visual memory.

When you're super young you don't think about what other people are eating at their house but when I got a bit older and started to venture out more, I started to notice that we were eating food from some other planet over at mine. I mean, this was in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the 60's and 70's (see sample photo of a street near mine).

My mom grew up outside of Chicago but learned to cook when she met my dad from his mother Eloise. These were dishes from Northeast Mexico in the foothills of Monterrey.

My grandma stayed with us for awhile and from what I recall she loved to eat, she loved to drink beer and she was always laughing. She was shaped like an egg with little skinny legs and arms and always wore an apron over a faded cotton house dress. Her nylons rolled down like knee socks. She didn't love kids or me, like you imagine grandmothers. She liked sending me to Hep's Dairy up the hill for 7-up and spaghetti and to fetch her cold beers while she propped up her skinny legs and watched soap operas. She was cool though and I liked her a lot.

The stuff she taught my mom to make wasn't tacos and burritos but stuff like chicken with zucchini and corn cooked in a casserole with Spanish rice, ground beef in a broth with big chunks of potatoes and fresh tortillas to sop it up. She made a delicate chicken soup with cabbage and vinegar that was out of this world.

So anyway, then, I started to see that if I got a little creative, I could see similarities in the meals my friends folks made. They were using chicken and ground beef, they were eating was just all put together different.

You really don't want to be different when your little. Too bad. Now I see all the greatness of it, of my grandmother, of my mom, of the food.

I started to see how any dish could have a Mexican slant to it or be recreated with Latin flavors. But this was NOT like when my dad put all his white southern waitresses in peasant skirts and blouses. THAT was awkward. No, this is fun and just how I've seen food all my life. Same ingredients mostly but just with little sombreros on them.

I took some of that turkey last night and cut it up and spiced it with some of the fresh chipotle chili powder I made and sauteed it up for some Mexican inspired Gyro pitas. The turkey just soaked up that heat. I added a little cayenne & Mexican oregano to the yogurt dill sauce - Wow! I kept the tomato and onion and added lime juice. This was a hit!

Friday, September 24, 2010

This ain't no jive turkey!

Pleasant surprise. That's what this turkey scallopini was for me, a pleasant surprise, all the way around. If I hear about a dish more than once in a week, I'll consider that a sign from the food gods to make that dish. And then, that sparks thinking about that dish for a few hours or more, then I start to really need to make it. I'll get excited about shopping for it and anticipate what I want it to taste like and look like and smell like. Its a whole symphony of goofiness that all goes on inside my head. And it doesn't end until I'm sitting down and looking at and tasting the results.

Well, this was nothing like that. I wasn't thinking about scallopini. I found some cheap turkey cutlets this week at Pathmark and as a sort of after thought I bought them. I put them in the cart and then forgot about it. I figured I'd come up with something down the line. But I forgot to freeze them so I had to come up with a quickie idea and ran across my capers in the fridge and remembered I could make scallopini. Tonight, I just wanted to make a couple of sides for fun and mess about in the kitchen, nothing too deep. I threw this together quickly but it was truly delicious!

This turkey was so tender and the seasonings went very well even the capers and lemons. It was very delicate. I was wowed by the flavor and downright pleasantness of it, sweet and gentle. And what a quick fun main to serve with probably just about anything, (except what I made which was roasted curried cauliflower).

Cory and 'er friend curry

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

It's not my recipe but I thought I'd include it because the ingredients aren't obvious like a lot of the things I make. The toasted corriander and whole cumin is so fragrant along with the curry. This dressing might be great over a root vegetable too. Epicurious has great recipes.

I wasn't sure what I was going to make this week. Like I've said before I browse recipes online and in cookbooks for ideas but really the main factor is what is on sale and what is fresh down at the Pathmark. Yeah, if I find something really interesting there are plenty of places to venture out to and find key ingredients but let's face it, I'm on a seriously tight budget.

They had these huge bins of giant snow white cauliflower with all the leaves attached and they were so inviting and perky. I wanted to make a curry dish so I got the spices and coconut milk but it wasn't all coming together with the other items in my cart so that's on the back burner. This recipe allowed me to have the curry though and roasting the cauliflower really gives it texture and transforms the flavors.

I really liked this. P loves cold cauliflower salads, so I thought he'd be up for it but he wasn't over the moon. I hate that. I consider that a character flaw...of his. I thought it was kind of amazing but I think I'd add carrots next time and maybe just a bit of Panko bread crumbs on top, but that's just the midwestern in me. At least I'm not thinking of topping it with 2 cups of cheese!

MMMmm, cheese.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Emotional Rescue

The Atlantic Antic 2010 is here! Monkey is so excited to attend. A very well put together street fair that pairs music and food and local businesses. I will document food tastings and offerings. I write today in anticipation of a wonderful day spent leisurely walking the strip with my darlin' P-nut. I imagine we'll go out early to catch the set up before it becomes too crowded to walk around. This fair has become a tradition for us and there is always something unexpected and special that comes out of it. Last year we met Marty Markowitz, our borough president! He'll attend the opening of a bag of potato chips but I've always appreciated him for being at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge during the blackout in 2003 to greet everyone safely back home. That was kinda cool.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Big Ed's Squirt Alert!

This food monkey has gone undercover to create a wicked hot habanero chili powder as gifts for Big Ed, the pepper grower and also mi padre.

The B-in-law sent a four finger bag of habanero peppers and seeds. This stuff was so potent that I had to let the blender sit unopened for five minutes each time, before I could open the lid and stir. I had to wear a scarf around my nose and mouth,glasses and of course gloves. And I STILL sneezed and coughed all night.

A couple of quick thoughts while making this chili powder blend; I can't believe how many peppers it takes to make a small amount of powder, no wonder they charge so much. I can't believe I never thought about doing this before because it is super fun and right up my alley! I don't see saving much money, if any, by making your own. But its SO cool to add your own mix of spices and play around with the different peppers and honestly the difference in taste and level of flavor is indescribable!

I'm using what I feel would be good as a rub, or in a soup and in chili. Good, that is, if you enjoy painful movements, rectal bleeding and profuse sweating. The mix: Habanero (the whole pepper, seeds and all!), cayenne, ancho chiles, new mexican chiles, garlic, mexican oregano, spanish paprika, dried cilantro and lots of toasted whole cumin seeds.

Let's talk Mexican oregano a second: for me, just as important as the cumin in a lot of mexican dishes. It is way less sweet but its strong and has a lemony scent. It is a completely different plant then the greek version, not a mint at all. Its hard to find it in New York unless you hit the gourmet shops. They even carry dried cilantro. I finally found it at The Green Grape on my corner. I haven't gone there out of protest because everyone says how wonderful it is and I thought it was a lot of pretentious hippety-hoo-haa, but you you know they have great stuff and exactly what I had been searching for all day so I should just shut my mouth and enjoy them being so close. I had to brave Sahadi's for the whole cumin earlier that day too. I wanted to make sure it was fresh and not sitting on the store shelf for 2 years. When it was toasting I wanted to really smell it, and I did.

Since I had the blender running and all the spices out, I went ahead and made a little chipotle blend for myself and a lighter version of the devil dust.

I saved just enough of the good stuff to add to my Holiday Pork Pozole that I made last weekend.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bitter greens

I work Sundays and they usually, well, they suck. Retail. I really don't need to say much more. But I have to because no one else will listen. P got me all excited tonight because he announced he wouldn't be working all night like usual and silly me thought that might translate to some sort of interaction, but no, he meant he would be watching football full blast all night in my general vicinity. He's so precious.

Well, it gave me a chance to make my mustard greens. Greens are a big deal here. They might have shriveled up little sad avocados at my PathMark but they will have every variety of greens in quantities all fresh and happy looking. And they're super cheap too! I need to get with the program and make these all the time. In the past I sort of shied away not understanding how to cook them or thought you had to cook them down for hours with bacon grease or ham hocks. But of course like most vegetables that were once cooked until all life was missing, someone figured out how to keep the color and flavors and take out most of the fat. I just cooked them quickly in a bit of olive oil and garlic, added a few fun friends like chick peas and soy sauce and they were great, very flavorful. They taste a bit like broccoli rabe but not as bitter. Now I think some of the more cabbagey greens have to be cooked longer. I'll mess with those another time.

So, I had a nice dinner and I managed a word out of P. I asked him, where do you think all the pigeons went during the tornado and he mumbled, 'probably in the sewers'. He hasn't heard a word I've said all night clearly.

But I'm a big enough nerd that I will entertain myself tonight by researching multiple ways to cook greens. Bitter! Party of one, Bitter!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sick and Twisted

This morning I was still feelin' a little low, not sick too much but tired. I wasn't up for our usual Saturday brunch at a fun cafe' to chat it up over coffee. P's understanding of this and was just as happy to have breakfast served to him in bed (if I did everything that is). What a sweetheart!

So sometimes you have ideas and sometimes life throws you curve balls. I had made the chimichurri sauce and was marinating the cheap steak bites for a supper over white rice and some mustard greens sauteed in garlic. That was for last night. But the night I had made the vegetable beef soup, mother nature was cookin' up her own soup of rain and high winds, and lots of lightning thrown in. Matter of fact it was a downright tornado they think, here in Brooklyn. I was already off my game, nursing a small bug and then suddenly the skies turned black, like really quickly and I knew my Lee Goldberg weatherman would have the skinny so I tuned in and sure enough, some monster storm was heading our way, di-rectly. It came alright. I wish I had pictures but truth be told, I was a little scared to be near the windows and what I did see was sort of freaking me out. I just remember the BREAKING NEWS alerts on TV and looking out seeing 'swirling' rain mixed with what looked like fire embers but turned out to be leaves. It was over as quick as it started. By the time it was all calm, I was done. My brain was fried, my knees were sore, my head was sweaty and I was done.

In hindsight I feel I could write a whole book on living in NYC post 9/11 and how since we've had a few scares (bomb threats & having to evacuate buildings, Anthrax, the big black out and walking with the entire city and by every building abandoned just as it was the second the lights went out, everyone with the uncertainty in their eyes that this was not terrorist related) and although every single thing turned out to be just fine, like this weeks storm, it can still scare the CRAP out of you in a way that nightmares about living in a post-apocalyptic world can scare you. Anyway, I think being away from P during that storm, knowing how quickly bad things can turn ugly in this city and not to mention how great my imagination works when drumming up just what ugly might look like, I think I just got wiped out these last two days.

So....very long story short, I didn't make my planned supper last night. I woke up and had the marinated steak with poached eggs this morning instead. I'm still tired but am back on the grateful train and just happy to be here alive and healthy with my ever lovin' man and two cats, a few key friends and loving families, with a job and bikes, etc.....

p.s., I was a whole lot calmer than these asswipes at least....

License to Ill

Monkey was feeling a little under the weather this weekend so I kind of crawled through my chores Thursday and finally climbed into the sack. Before I did though I had to make something soothing and hearty in the case my little bug lasted longer than one day. There was no real deals at the grocery store and my ideas were waning. Soup comes to mind when you're illin' and so I went with a vegetable beef soup. I wanted to add barley but I forgot it. As a matter of fact I forgot a lot of things that day. When I start to get a bug, I get clumsy and forgetful, easily confused and the list goes on. I dropped off the laundry and was in the checkout line at the PathMark when I went to get my card and of course, immediately remembered it was in the pants pocket of the jeans I had just dropped off. Thank goodness it was one of the nice cashiers. Of course she was an Islander. Now, I KNOW there are bad and good people of every creed and color but I've found here in NY that Islanders are more often than not, amazing, good-hearted, caring people that seem to be the closest thing to mid-western nice that I've experienced. They also possess some sort of unique calm and comfort that I really like being around. This cashier was so understanding that I had left my card and when I promised to run home and get it, she actually looked at me and said, 'okay'. Now if you don't live in NY or go to PathMark in Brooklyn, you might not understand how completely unrealistic my hope was to actually come right back and pay for these groceries. As a matter of fact when I came back, another cashier was trying to put them away and she said basically 'tough s*^t' even though my cashier said I was coming right back. And that woman made me wait in a line 6 people deep, with FULL carts just to swipe my card.

I ran back to the laundry mat where I was able to have them open the dryer, where I pulled the wet and bent card out of my pants and run back to the store. Like I said, its hard to explain but this could have gone so badly and since I was dragging anyway, I felt so lucky and relieved that this cashier helped me out.

In NY most times, cashiers won't even look at you through your entire transaction and they have perfected giving change back without making any human contact or acknowledgement of you in any way. It's a talent, I think. So when you do get a nice person, its almost shocking. We need that, you know human interaction, acknowledgment, I think - or at least we really use it when we get it, like fuel to then be cool to the next person along the way. And there are plenty of next people, so it really is important I believe.

So I made the soup and it was hearty and good. The stock is rich and comforting. The potatoes and carrots kept up their integrity along with the celery even though it was boiling in this big pot for so long.

Monday, September 13, 2010

concord grapes

If I had to name my favorite fruit really quickly, it would be nectarines. If I had time to think, it would be concord grapes. They are so sweet, yet tart and the slippery skin holds all that grapeness flavor but it wouldn't be complete without the sour squirmy center. Eating something that dark and purple no less, is exciting!

Okay, top three fruits:
1) Concord grapes
2) Nectarines
3) Watermelon

I haven't been exposed to many exotic fruits and what I've tasted I've liked but not loved.

But you know, you can't really ignore the basic must-have-at-all-times fruits. The ones that are like Mexicans and do all the hard work. I'm talking, apples, oranges, lemons and limes, bananas. They're my real favorites but they just aren't exceptional, like the grapes. I think its also because I can't always find them. So when I get a good ripe pack, you can just sit me down and leave me alone!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Knucklehead Sandwich

Sometimes you just gotta eat and sometimes you just gotta eat quickly. Breakfast on Saturday was going to be the General Greene, which we've not been to yet but sounds great and we heard literally on the street (a large man that looked like he knew a good breakfast when he ate one) telling his friend it was good.

But I dilly-dallied way too long and we hit the 3 cup of coffee limit, so I had to act fast. Also, I was gonna be cooking and baking all day so I wanted to do an inexpensive filling option. That is the Academy Diner on Lafayette and So Elliott. They serve it up quick and they keep the coffee coming. The waitresses are real, and wear comfortable shoes and call you honey. A real diner. Don't ask them 'what's in' one of the dishes. They aren't there to wipe your ass for you, this is a diner. Know what you want and know where you are. (I say all this because I had to listen to some fool behind me ask 'what's fresh? what's good today? What do you recommend and is the fruit real? - This poor woman doesn't want to be bothered with all this nonsense. She shouldn't have to be. She's been on her feet all day and she ain't young. Order your GD food and shut the f*#! up). Good Lord!!

We like them. It's cheap. For $11.90 we had two breakfasts with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast, orange juice and coffee. Done.

We had to do a Walgreen's run so we cut through South Elliot which was having a block party. Not much action at that point in the morning but they already had built this impressive pit (on the street!)and had two whole pigs roasting. Pretty cool and at the same time odd to see so I thought I'd share the photos.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hominy and Me, we're pretty good company...

Words cannot describe! The good Lord done shined down on my soup pot TONIGHT! Okay, I've made pozole lots but usually with chicken thighs because they're cheap and I'm cheap. It's always good but this time I used pork and smoked pork necks, braised in the oven the traditional way with its own stock and then added my freshly made chili powder blend and lots of hominy. I just had me a small bowl. Listen to me... This is the SHIT!!! I can't wait for P to taste it. The broth, the spices, the pork, the soft hominy, the zing of the lime, the heat of the chili. I need a minute....

Corn Meal Masa

I'm going to write here about something I don't know much about except that I truly love it, which is corn meal masa. My mom made this a lot as an economical side dish often but it was super tasty and earthy. I've heard it called Corn Meal Mush, Corn Meal Mash and Polenta, and Masa. I know some of the differences but I like mine on the savory side and using a medium coarse grain. So I use chicken stock instead of water, cayenne & chili pepper, fresh garlic clove added to the boiling liquid, then removed and a little butter and cheese at the end.

Also its good to shape little patties out of it the next day and put a little toast on it. Sometimes I mix in corn and roasted mild peppers. Almost any meat tastes great with it and its definitely a comfort food. Wednesday night, I made some alongside the leftover chicken enchilada verde.

Another way I love to eat this is a heaping mound of it in the bottom of a big bowl of posole or chili! It stretches the soup life out and it replaces flour tortillas for me and its only 130 calories a serving. Bingo!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jimmy McCurry

You start thinkin' your a 'cook' and then someone comes to work with the best Chimichurri sauce you've ever tasted and then suddenly you realize, you are just another woman that can make a couple of dishes and that is ALL SHE WROTE - end of story, BOOM!

I was eating lunch at work and someone was passing around this amazing dark green concoction that turned out to be chimichurri and it was too great. I have to make it. I had been meaning to try it as a marinade but never got to it. Maybe its not that hard but maybe it is. I mean, not hard to make but hard to get just right. There are several variations and it may be like a salsa, even though its the same simple ingredients, its the little things you do that make the difference.

The woman who made it knew it was the best. By her description of how she made it I could tell she was a real lover of food. Her food had soul. She gave me her recipe and a few little secrets she used. She put a very small amount of boiled water to 'cook' the garlic and release the aroma in the spices at the very end. I love when a cook reveals a secret because really, why keep it to yourself when so many others could enjoy the difference it makes? No one owns recipes really. Its all been done before hasn't it? If you look up almost anything there are hundreds of web recipes written out with pics and reviews. (Except my mom's enchilada sauce recipe of course). But its that soul and love in the making and the mixing and the adding that makes the actual difference and makes it just right.

Fun Fact: I don't know if its true but they say the name might have come from this Irishman named Jimmy McCurry who originally made the recipe for the people of Uruguay but they had trouble pronouncing his name so it became Chimichurri. Isn't that funny?

Update: made the 'churri tonight and the old bird just might have some game left up her sleeve. Now I'm feeling a little under the weather tonight so I didn't hand chop everything like she said to do, so using the blender it imulsified with the olive oil and its a bright lime green but it tastes great. I'm marinating my steak with 1/2 of it and the rest I'll serve alongside. Not sure what I'll serve it with yet, maybe a jasmine rice and leafy green.

שנה טובה ומתוקה

I'm honoring the Jewish Holiday with some Spiced Apple Cake, a recipe from M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, otherwise known as the Two Hot Tamales. There is a cool Guava-lime cream cheese topping and I think it sounds very moist. I found it on the web while searching for the meaning of Rosh Hashanah. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and that's what I got. Sounds like the holiday is about some extra prayers, a blowing of a ram's horn and judgement. Basically its like a more elaborate yearly evaluation review at work but instead of your half-wit boss, its God and he's got all the stuff you've done on some list. If you're semi-righteous, you can repent for 10 days and maybe you'll get your name written in His book, which is what you want. That's like 'corrective action', which I got slammed with one time for not ringing a cash transaction correctly and they gave me 30 days to make sure I wasn't making it a habit. The 'wicked' though get ixnayed out of the book altogether and that is the book of the living, so that is not good at all. Oh, and one of the ceremonial foods includes apples to symbolize a sweet new year.

When I worked at the Western Messenger Company in San Francisco, we would get calls from Jews for Jesus for pick-ups and I was young and dumb and apparently deaf and thought they were saying Juice for Jesus and I went home more days than I'd like to admit wondering why people would need to offer up orange juice to the Gods.

I'm hoping the boys enjoy this cake as a little treat. P will take it with him to the German bar on Saturday night.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breakfast Melt

Any self respecting 'mate' knows the melting points of their partner. P wakes up way too early and then has to eat two hours later or 3 cups of coffee later, whichever comes first. That's not 'get ready and think about where we'd like to go' two hours, that's sittin' at the table already ordered with the food comin' two hours. If we get delayed, he gets less and less charming with each moment. And that's a big understatement. So, its really in my best interest to find that breakfast spot. I've also thought about darting him with a blow gun like the good tribesmen do. Maybe a mild sedative, just enough to put him down for an hour or so whilst I get myself ready.

There are so many amazing places for breakfast or brunch that we need to try but its a little rough to pull the trigger on a brand new place. I struggle with wanting tried and true versus something unknown and there is always a gamble. Breakfast is our one time to sit and enjoy each other and chat and relax. What if the new place feels dead and sad? What if its not comfortable inside? What if its too loud or even worse, really quiet?? There's all this unknown to a new place. What if the food is mediocre but the place we knew would have been great!? It's a gamble I tell ya.

So Sunday, I had to go with the tried and true, Pequena, but with one condition, that I try something different. We both got the Cast Iron Pans, both 'A' & 'B', Potatoes with onions and peppers, and topped with two fried eggs, add chorizo/bacon.

They didn't come in the black skillet but it was pretty good, rustic, hearty. I think there is really something to being a consistently good cook. I'm not. I strive for it but I'm 50/50 if even that. Pequena is mostly really good, sometimes mouth-watering wanna kiss the cook great and then other times, like this time,

But its like a good musician. I will go see someone who has been amazing just once, in the hopes of catching that magic again, even if it means seeing a few mediocre shows.

The Price of doing business in this town

When I don't know what to make I browse through cookbooks for inspiration and ideas. But since I'm no good at actually following a recipe, mostly I just look at them for the pictures.

I had all those baked blackened chicken thighs already made, so some chicken verde enchiladas seemed festive enough for a working holiday. They were enough of a challenge without going overboard. I wanted to roast something, chop something and make a sauce, that much I knew. I had energy but not a lot.

The *good market had nice looking poblano and serrano peppers and luckily, tomatillos too. I found the manchego cheese at the *fifteen dollar store but they wanted to bend me over for $12.95 for a little chunk of it. Since it's sheep's milk cheese, I thought it might be a bit like Feta, so I got that instead.

So anywho these came out good. You know I'm trying to cut down on some of the fat on these old dishes, so I took out the cheese inside the enchilada and instead mixed the shredded chicken with some roasted poblano slices and onion. Then the cheese (a mix of Jack and Feta) just went on the top. For a bonus, I also topped the enchiladas with some roasted corn.

My mom always served her enchiladas with lots of cold crunchy iceberg lettuce, onion and tomatoes and I see no reason to mess with that. I tried other green's but this is one time when iceberg might actually be right because you don't really want to add flavor, just something cool and crunchy.

I worked Labor Day, today and yesterday Sunday and pretty much feel like a big retail loser so it was nice to have a little rolled up bundle of love, chicken and cheese waiting for me on the plate, as if to say 'it's okay kid, you don't always suck'.

*I'll refer to 3 markets, PathMark, my main man, the $15 store which is the Green Market on Fulton. We call it that because you have to buy fifteen dollars worth to use your debit card. And the last is the 'good' market, Brooklyn Fare. They are across what we call the Crossroads, (Flatbush/3rd)so its a little bit of a walk down a way depressing path but they have great stuff and great deals and are new enough where the cashiers are actually nice still.