Monday, December 31, 2012

It's All Part of My Rock and Roll Fantasy

Who is your ideal fantasy man? Some dork that takes time to lay out a trail of rose pedals to the bed for your anniversary? Some dweeb that orchestrates a You Tube video of synchronized dancing to a bad song for your wedding proposal? No thanks! I ain't no Cinderella, prince believin' fool!

These days a girl needs a guy that is based in some sort of reality, not fairyland. Life is real. Women aren't all goofy dingbats looking for a man to save them either. Hell, if they were actually capable, I'd say go for it! Take me Mandingo! But history proves, people need people and men hold no more power than women. And what's this outdated foo-foo vision of romance that some seemingly smart women desire anyway? How is that what you really want? I don't know, I've been with P for 21 years so we've had quite a bit of real life. I think the best they can do is be cool, try not to make you crazy and do nice things that their woman would enjoy from time to time. Specific targeted things, catered to you. For example this week P bought me a Black Sabbath t-shirt because I've been listening to lots of their old stuff and became obsessed with them again. That's romantic! The unexpected nicety is worth heaps. But it can't be something they got off some Google list of 'romantic ideas'. C'mon!

I had to work on New Year's Eve and then again on New Year's Eve day so even though we don't even really celebrate it truly, I was grouchy and feeling very put out. You can imagine my pure splendor when I came home to see that P had taken it upon himself to order us BBQ dinners from the Smoke Joint complete with Mac and Cheese, their famous BedStuy Potato salad and spiced French Fries. I don't remember if that day he had done the dishes or cleaned up, scooped the poop or made a huge mess. I just remember the smell of that BBQ and how they had an extree good batch of mac and cheese that day. This is my fantasy. This is what I dream out.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Something in the Way She Moves

A breakfast dish to consider if you want something light and you happen to have some leftover pesto. I know it's not a new idea but you can stretch your pesto out considerably by using chicken stock and just a bit of olive oil. Plus here I've used walnuts and arugula to replace the pricy pine nuts and basil. Different combos can add a huge bonus to different dishes, although the original is probably the best, truth be told. I love the lemon-peppery taste of arugula though, so for me, this works just fine.

I laid two poached eggs on top of a big dollop of pesto and topped with some fresh baby spinach. You can dress it with a little lemon and olive oil, s&p.

Something about how those creamy egg yolks flow down upon that tangy green sauce....I need a minute.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

That's What I Like About You

National Thai take out on Fulton right up the street a block. I want to point out how great everything is on their menu that we've tried. I don't think I've ever had a bad dish. I got the spicy noodles that I love, love, LOVE! P got the steak salad. What made that salad rock was it's dressing, nice and refreshing and the portion was huge. An entree salad and they give you rice with it too, so you can make it a very full meal.

Also the soup is a little sweet with some heat and a couple of surprise shrimp on the bottom, lots of mushrooms and good broth. Love it.

I remember when this place opened and we really liked how they did the doorway and wondered if we'd ever try them. They have become our #1 go-to take out restaurant over the Smoke Joint, 67 Burger. #1 Chinese Restaurant and the two pizza places. Their prices are very reasonable, you can get an appetizer but the main thing is the quality and the flavor. They kick ass! And even though many dishes aren't exactly low-cal, you still get plenty of fresh vegetables cooked to perfection. What a treat!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A dinner salad or salad for dinner more like it. Baked ham, cheese, giant croutons over baby spinach, onions, tomatoes.

Whipped up a lemon vinaigrette with a little garlic.

Another pantry pasta. Whole wheat pasta with Cream of Celery soup, frozen broccoli and canned white beans, leftover baked ham.

Kinda cute like a bunny!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Christmas a day after Christmas in the form of leftovers. Open faced baked ham sammies and artichoke pizza slices reheated.

Happiness and cheer!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happiness and Cheer

Cranberry Upside Down Cake. Recipe from Eating Well. This was tangy and tart, not too sweet. Right up my alley. Loved it. Good as a breakfast cake.

Then baked ham with mustard and pineapple, brown sugar glaze. Nothing smells better than ham baking.

P was looking for a tiny pickmeup to truly get into the full holiday spirit so I made him a Bloody Mary. Good and spicy!

Due to muffins created around my waist and a little extra back fat on P, we opted for less courses, not necessarily low-cal but I'll say, thoughtful. The first snack was chorizo bites with arugula pesto dip. This was a recipe, however when they don't specify Portuguese, Mexican or Spanish it's hard to know what to choose. Every kind I've tried is my favorite. This must have been Spanish. P picked it up. Instead of the costly basil, pine nuts, I made arugula with walnut pesto. This was a treat. Just a splash of balsamic vinegar gave the bites a great little glaze and allowed them to brown up quite nicely. They were so purdy I just wanted to look at them all day in the sun.

So my big creation of the evening if you will was born out of my craving for artichoke dip, the really cheesy decadent kind that has everything bad in it. Normal people allow themselves this on holidays. Well P wasn't having any of that, but the girl had to have it! How could I make it happen? I thought about it all week. The results, an artichoke dip tart with lots of fresh spinach and artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. And then thin sliced lemons to roast on top.

I constantly invent things only to find them written about, photographed and done better on the internet. This one I'm hoping is my invention alone. It was so green and good, not heavy but satisfying.

The lemons made it extreme. I'm way into this.

Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

and this time those same skillet eggs over cubed breakfast potatoes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I've Got to Admit It's Getting Better

I'm on migraine medication so this might not be as spectacular as I think. Heads a bit cloudy. But so breakfast is always made quickly but even more so lately with having to go into work directly following the meal. That coupled with the fact that P's dish washing skills have not yet progressed and I hate leaving him a giant mess.

So I've been making these one skillet eggs using a variety of vegetables and meats, cheeses and almost every combination comes out screamin' good. Same formula, but a magnitude of variations. Initially I saute the meat or veggies in the pan to form the bed and then lay the eggs on top, cover and steam them into soft angels. Takes only a few minutes. This time over thin red potato slices in garlic and onion, seasoned with thyme and black pepper. And clean ups a breeze.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Like Dreamin'

I have an Idea Book. There I've written down all my brilliant creations and inventions that I could get filthy rich off of if I had just one ounce of clue in life. I've never gotten to the prototype stage, just written ideas. Because I'm also a chronic procrastinator. Not lazy mind you, I spend all the energy on nervousness and regret. I have seen a few of them come to fruition a year or so later by some go-getter, can-do thinking-type person. Good for them! sigh. Yeah, you'll be surprised to know I invented the pop-art nail salon manicure that is so popular today way back in the early 2000's with all the vibrant colors and styles. This was from having to look at horrifying Brooklyn painted sunsets on 2 inch thick and long nails. And the dreaded French manicure that somehow resembled a fake tan and a boob job on ugly old toes. I thought, oh there are so many young girls out there with sweet young soft toes that need to be celebrated with greens and blues and flowers and flags...just silly things but fun. Get rid of the dirty ancient salons and replace with bright inviting shops with welcoming receptionists and clear choices all lined up like an ice cream parlor selection. Yep. Was thinking of putting one in the basement of the Virgin Megastore, a rock and roll version. We needed a traffic driver. I needed my boss Dave Alder's face to light up like it had back when I came up with good ideas. Coulda been 'it' for me, the turning point. (insert another long painful sigh).

Well, also in that book, I have an oil spritzer devise. And today I bought one. Misto Oil Sprayer. Genius. It's been on the market since 1997 but its new to me as they say.
You take your own preferred oil of any kind put it in, give it a pump and you can control the amount you want to spray on veggies, salads, pans etc. You spend too much on extra virgin olive oil and the last thing you want to do is waste it by being too liberal with the pour.

This was very convenient to use on my oven-roasted broccoli and red peppers. A squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper right out of the oven. Perfecto Misto!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You Better Think

You know how when you're browsing through women's magazines they always feature quick and easy pasta recipes with like two ingredients. And they look really good and you think...I should make that!

Well I had the tri-pasta and the fresh baby spinach and delicious roasted turkey meat all ready to go so I made that. It was super fast and super easy. I cooked the pasta in chicken broth and garlic cloves to give it flavor, left a bit of the starch water, added in the fresh baby spinach to wilt in, then added my roasted turkey meat to heat through. I added just a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil and pepper flakes. And for a bit of decadence, some Parmesan shavings on top. Straightforward clear taste. Watching the new cooking show Bite lately, I'm more conscious of trying to make each ingredient heard and relevant. Why add stuff if it doesn't make sense or is important to the flavor? It is a simple lesson but one that is key I think. I know in the past I have been guilty of heavy handed seasoning at times or adding spices that I just like but maybe are not essential to the dish. Something to think about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Big Payback, That Ain't Right!

This Thanksgiving I deboned a huge turkey and made smothered turkey and also a very rich carcass soup with the remainders. I also reserved one nice big breast to roast at a later date and this my friends is that date! Amazing flavors even with the dried herbs and the smell of turkey roasting is unbeatable.

This gave a lot of meat and provided several meals. I thought it might be dry but instead it was super moist. I rubbed the skin with butter and herbs, salt and pepper and bake uncovered, skin side up in a roasting rack with a little orange juice. I didn't cover it but cupped the foil so the juices wouldn't run out. 325 for a little over 2 hours and it was gorgeous.

It's hard to remain too romantic about the Thanksgiving bird on holidays, knowing what we all know. I know that this poor guy lived for about 20 weeks before he was slaughtered. Forced to live in a small compartment in a huge facility without natural light. Actually, I don't really know, I'm assuming. I'm a little confused right now. I spent extra on this Butterball either Fresh Young or Premium bird, now I forgot which. But because it was said to be free of all the hormone injections. Since I could not pay the money for a free-range bird, I figured this was my best choice. I went to the website to research the promotional material on this type but they provide no information other than a picture. Why wouldn't they boast that these birds were free of the hormones or added salt solutions and whatnot? Why would Butterball choose to leave off all beneficial information on their official website? To me this is completely suspicious. Now I'm wondering what leniency and liberties they took with their wording altogether. Maybe they just charge more money for false piece of mind?

At any rate,I sincerely give many thanks to this turkey, this beautiful bird that gave his life, albeit unknowingly and by doing so provided so much good food, pleasure and fun meals this year for us. I want him to know it did not go unnoticed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing

Do you ever feel like something big is going to happen soon and you're just sort of a sitting duck in the pond of your life? That's how I feel this morning as I prepare my skillet eggs with mushrooms and mozzarella. There is a calmness to the day. Nothing is wrong... that I know of. Will it be a phone call of news? Will it be an accident? Will it be freak weather? Birds falling from the sky?

Maybe the scariest thing that can happen to me today is nothing at all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

First let me say I picked up a whole fryer chicken for $5, which was a good deal I think. I'll be honest, I never really took the time to research the meanings of these descriptions although I figured it was pretty self explanatory, fryer for frying, roaster for roasting. Hey, I'm not trying to make it complicated.

And upon researching, they do say it's okay to roast a fryer but don't fry a roaster. Are you with me? The fryer is younger, smaller and will cook up nicely but stay juicy in the oil. The roasters are fatter, larger older birds, most likely hens that can take a long slow bake in that oven. Well dang, now that we're all so acquainted I was feeling a little guilty sticking a beer can up that little feller's open end.

So to make up for my bad behavior I gave him a very long deep rub down with some oil, smoked paprika, cayenne and garlic powder, onion powder and thyme. Then some fresh squeezed clementine juice to coat. He was having a tough time sitting up without help so I put him two whole clementines to prop him up and give him the support he required.

So handsome! I almost couldn't eat 'em. He was like a friend. And to make it worse, I took his liver and roasted it separately in a little butter salt and pepper and had that as a side snack and it was glorious!