Monday, June 25, 2007

Erg.

Blah. Ick. Argh. Meh.

Too much work. Not sleeping well. Can’t get my “going to the gym” shit together.

Eating too much, eating bad food. NJ and I out last week deciding that there are no good places left to eat in DC. Have to move to a new city. Have to never eat anywhere I have already eaten again. Am only eating the things I know, specifically, that are specifically good:

  1. The biscuits at Acadiana
  2. Tater Tots at Bourbon
  3. Duck confit at Café Atlantico
  4. Ahi Tuna Mignon at Café Deluxe
  5. Doughnuts at Colorado Kitchen
  6. Plain Cheese Pizza at Comet Ping Pong
  7. Truffled Mushrooms at Crème Café
  8. Elvis Sliders at Jackie’s
  9. Bacon wrapped date fritters at Jaleo
  10. Anything at Komi
  11. Grilled Cheese at Luna Grill
  12. Steak Tartare at Montsouris
  13. Dim Sum at Oriental East
  14. The Burger at the bar at Palena
  15. Four cheese pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso
  16. Crispy fried spinach at Rasika
  17. Duck Tacos at Taqueria Poblano

Eh.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Adventures in Raw

First, I am not giving up my omnivorous ways. I am not giving up cheese, or steak tartare, or foie, or chocolate. Or bread. Or anything else.

But sometimes I get bored. Being a foodie is hard work. Once you have eaten llama and crocodile and made your own pasta, and cheese, and whatnot. And traveled to a few different cities to eat butter poached lobster and bison in granola and eaten nearly everywhere at home, what is there left to do?

Well. You apologize for having such an indulgent life and you start reading about raw foods.

Now. The whole enzyme living foods yada yada thing, I can’t say I buy into that. But the whole eating raw, fresh, natural unprocessed food thing, that doesn’t seem like a bad idea. And no matter how many fruits and vegetables I try to eat, I never eat enough fruits and vegetables. (Plate of bread and cheese versus plate of broccoli. No contest I’m afraid.)

So I’ve been reading all sorts of crazy things about nuts and seeds and greens. I was inspired by this recipe for a Fuzzy Navel Smoothie which is oranges, pecans, dates and vanilla. It is simply delicious. And with the fiber from the whole orange and nuts and dates is ridiculously filling (which is good when you are trying to lose weight – like I am.) I also found that you don’t need a $400 blender to do this, in fact you don’t even need a $60 blender to do this, you can use your $20 200 watt stick blender to do this.

But, duh, fruit and nuts blended together taste good, and even if they are filling, they aren’t exactly low calorie. What I need is vegetables. So. I tried a green smoothie from GoneRaw (which seems to be down at the moment.) Strawberries, apple juice, a date, and a bag of baby spinach. Yup. A bag of baby spinach. Blended all up, it’s the most fabulous shade of green, and tastes like a strawberry spinach salad. It tastes good.

The green spinach smoothie tastes good.

Really. I drank it for breakfast.

Feel free to be as shocked about this as I am.

And eat your vegetables.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Um.

I want one of each of these:

Zotter Schokoladen

There are 63 of them (I counted.)
At 2.90 Euro each, that’s about $245 (before shipping.)
And we have to hurry, chocolate season ends June 10.

Care to chip in? I promise I’ll share…

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Foodie Fun: Tortillas, Cheese Crackers, Butter

Lo, being the only one speaking English in the local grocery store.

However, need a tortilla press? My local Safeway has ‘em! I used this recipe for Whole Wheat Tortillas. Easy. Taste good. But I don’t know if it is a limitation of the press I bought or what, but they weren’t as thin, and therefore as large, as I wanted. I think next time I’ll press them and then go one or two passes with the rolling pin. But there are 24 fresh tortillas safely stashed in the freezer now.

I also bought a pasta maker (for $5 from Craigslist! Whee!)
This is not a non sequitur so stay with me for a minute.

I have been making Cheese Crackers now and again for many years. This go around inspired by the fact that I have been eating those 100 Calorie Pack things of cheese crackers lately, which not only have all sorts of stuff in them, but again Lo, this time with the packaging.

I used some Cracker Barrel 2% cheddar, King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour, some salt and water to hold it all together into a dough. Then I ran it through the pasta maker a few times (see, I told you it would all make sense.) Rolling cracker dough is a bitch at best, the pasta maker makes easy work of getting the dough nice and thin, which you have to do if you want a crisp cracker. And believe me, you want a crisp cracker. 1 pound of crackers made which I will break down into my own 100 calorie packs. (I use Recipe Calc 4.0)

Finally. I need a cow. Do you think my tenants would mind if I raised a cow in the back yard of the building? It could be a small cow. No?

On the heels of the recent cheese adventures, I decided to make some of my own butter. Again, not hard. But, in spite of what the internet says, you cannot make butter in a blender. (Not in my wimpy blender anyway, which can be added to the list of why I am currently coveting one of these.) You can however make butter with your stick/immersion blender, just the like pioneers used to do!

Ok fine I didn’t churn it myself, but I did make butter from scratch. According to the internet you need to wash the butter to get the buttermilk out so it won’t go sour. Who knew? So one pint of local heavy cream turns into 8oz of butter. 4 for the fridge, 4 for the freezer, which should last me a while since I ixnayed my buttered toast habit a while back in the interest of there being less of me.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

I don’t really believe in God. I like Zen, I’ve always been into Tao. I do think the Ten Commandments are pretty good suggestions, but the whole Western God thing just doesn’t do it for me.

But.

I do believe, wholeheartedly, without exception or reservation, in Making a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord. Especially with 140 voices, and a gaggle of violins, and cellos and trumpets and a timpani.

Tonight was the National Philharmonic Bach's Mass in B Minor at the Strathmore.

Thank you Johann. Thank you SB.

Amen.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rotten Quiche

What you get when you find yourself saying:

“I don’t give a flying fuck how wilted this spinach is or how slimy these mushrooms are I AM NOT throwing out any more vegetables!!!”

See also: Rotten Gazpacho.

(I should mention, for those of you who might be eating my cooking in the future, that both the quiche and the gazpacho were delicious.

And non-poisonous.)

Saturday Foodie Fun: Cheese Making, Day Two.

Well then.

You can’t make cream cheese out of 2% milk.

You can make vaguely cream cheesesque tasting very dry cheese crumbles.
Anyone have a recipe that uses vaguely cream cheesesque tasting very dry cheese crumbles?


(Yes. Ok. Fine. For my first shot at cheesemaking I should have just followed the recipe exactly and used full fat milk. I need to come to some middle ground between “making it myself” and “saving calories.” Perhaps the energy spent making it from scratch would cancel out the extra calories from full fat milk?)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday Foodie Fun: Cheese Making!

Every few years I go through a fit where I decide I am not going to eat anything unless it’s (almost completely) made from scratch. In the past this has meant homemade crackers, ice cream, and mayonnaise, amongst other things. The latest incarnation of this fit has played out in three ways:

I have gotten back on the weight loss bandwagon. I refuse to give up eating things I enjoy eating, so the key to this for me is exercise and strict portion control. In the pursuit of portion control I find myself buying/consuming a lot of pre/individually packed things. This leads to more “junk” food than I would care to consume, and huge amounts of packaging going into the trash.

While I have no intention of giving up my omnivorous ways, I seem to have developed an interest in raw foods (and am currently searching for a Vita-Mix high speed blender for less than $400 (!!))

Making cheese! I love cheese and have dabbled in making Paneer in the past (very very easy.) I splurged and bought two cheese making kits from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, the 30 Minute Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit and the Gourmet Home Dairy Kit (for some reason I got it in my head that I should be making my own cream cheese, which I eat on a mini-bagel for breakfast nearly every morning.)

So this morning I went to the Co-op (and I hiked the mile up the hill and back instead of driving!) and bought 1.5 gallons of local, organic 2% milk (in returnable, reusable glass bottles) and set off on making some cheese.

As I don’t have a microwave I used this recipe for the Mozzarella. And as a first go, I think it turned out well. I used 2% in an attempt to be diet conscious, and while I was looking for that soft creamy “fresh” mozzarella, what I got was more like an excellent “hard” grating mozzarella. I need to use a little more salt in the future as it provides all of the flavor for the cheese (and I need to experiment with some Lipase.) I made one large ball, but I think I will shape it into homemade string cheese sticks in the future (one of my favorite (if redundantly packaged) snacks.)

In my stumbling around with the Mozzarella for the first time I lost half of the whey down the drain. But I used this recipe to make a very small quantity of yummy traditional whey only Ricotta.

I’m going to use the other ½ gallon of milk to make some Cream Cheese (tonight, as it needs to set for 12 hours)…