Monday, November 27, 2006

A Lesson Learned

So I learned a blogger lesson when I was informed by one of my two readers that I didn't post about everything that I promised to post about. That's the last time that I promise something I can't deliver....

I am going to get through everything I promised in this post and then move on.

Family Recipes as a Wedding Favor: At the wedding I mentioned in previous posts, I was impressed with their wedding favor. In addition to some jam and a lovely wooden spoon, there was a card with a recipe from each side of the family that was being joined in the day's celebration. I hadn't seen that before and I thought it was an idea worth mentioning.

My New Toy: Say hello to my new crock pot.

This was a recent birthday present and one that I can't wait to use. It came out of the box last night and the directions are being read today. Next task, finding a home for the pot in my miniscule apartment. Husband and cat may need to move out.

Food Writing Class at the Institute of Culinary Education: Two Monday's ago I treated myself to a class at ICE which is on W. 23rd between 5th and 6th. The question at hand was "how do I break into food writing." The answer was "you don't." Well, it wasn't that blunt, but essentially everyone wants to be a food writer, there are few magazines and few trusted writers, and even those barely get paid. I think I've decided to keep doing what I am doing for now. The upside of the class was the slice of pizza I had beforehand from the hole in the wall on the corner of 22 and 6th. Great sauce and cheese.

Speaking of Pizza: I went to Otto (Mario Batali's pizza place) two Mondays ago and the Friday before I went to Lombardi's. Both were delicious. At Otto, I particularly enjoy the pizza with the fried egg on top. Can't explain it, but it is so good. It was also interesting to eat there after just having finished Heat. The plain cheese pizza at Lombardi's was also very good and I really enjoyed the dressing on the salad we started with. The soda was a little flat. But I have to admit that a good slice at 3 am before heading home after a long night out beats either of the above options any day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Story about Beer

In my last post I mentioned that I was recently at a wedding in upstate NY (a lovely and very fun wedding, btw). But this isn't a story about the wedding, it is a story about beer.

Last Friday morning, we woke up a little groggy and still sated from our outing to Peter Lugers. A hint of fall was in the air and I hated to leave the city on such a beautiful day. But there was a wedding to attend.

We all headed to Grand Central to make our way upstate. The wallet was a bit thinner from the night before, but with the crisp $20 bill that was left, I paid for the $4 ticket to Westchester where a ride was waiting to take us out of town.

The familiar "clink" "clink" "clink"......"clink" was heard as my change in the form of silver dollars fell into the metal bin.

Damn, I thought, what am I going to do with these silver dollars?

I can't explain it, but they don't feel like money and I feel just a little more flush when carrying dollar bills instead, and that's a feeling that I need often in New York.

Little did I know that the answer to my silver dollar dilemna was to be found in Oxford, NY.

There, in this remote part of the state, down route 12, after a 4 hour drive, after 2 wrong turns that added an extra 20 minutes, was the most perfect answer to that question.

In this little town, is the most exellent dive bar. And I don't mean a fake hipster Lower East Side Dive bar. This is the real deal. Not quite as deadly as Mars Bar, but not quite that different either. The place is called The Oxford Tavern, or the OT to the locals.

In this gem of a bar that is all characters and smoke, beers can be had for a mere $1.

And I can't explain it, but there is something particularly special about handing over a silver dollar for an ice cold Genny Cream. More then one were handed over and the logic that helped justify the $14 cocktail the night before seemed ludicrous and even a little sad.

Of course, as soon as I got back, I knew that that I would continue to justify my rent, and the bar bills, and dinner that is "almost as cheap as eating in."

And the next morning reading AM NewYork on the train, I giggled...and then shed a quick tear when I read about the $6 special for PBR and a shot of Jack at an East Village bar this weekend.

Traveling in Style

For the comfort of home when traveling, some people pack slippers, some go for their own pillow.

My family packs cured meats and booze.


On a recent wedding trip to upstate New York, the Hampton Inn spread included aged parmagianno, thin sliced prosciutto, lard bread, spicy sausage, and the requisite bloody mary mix.

These next few shots are small, but I know there are some of you out there who understand priorities... the bags get carried, the booze gets rolled.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lugers

Last Thursday we went to Peter Lugers in Brooklyn to celebrate a birthday.

Here's how it went down:

8 people
1 steak for three Pittsburgh style
1 steak for three medium
1 steak for two medium rare
8 pieces of bacon
1 side of creamed spinach
1 side of potatoes
1 side of onion rings
1 slice of cheesecake
8+ cocktails
2 bottles of wine
1 apple strudel
1 bowl of whipped cream with a candle



Pictures speak louder then words so:



...and just to prove that I can commit to gluttony.

There's not much else to say.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Happy Foodie

So, I had an extra long - great foodie weekend. I can't post very much right now because I am at work and a bit swamped but a few things you will hear about soon:

Gluttony at Peter Lugers

$1 Beers at the OT

Pizza at Lombardi's

Family Recipe's as a Wedding Favors

The New Crock Pot

Dinner at Otto

Food Writing a la ICE

This will be a busy week! I should be able to post tonight and get started on this list.




Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ragu

I am just about finished reading Heat by Bill Buford which is the authors recount of a year spent in Mario Batali's kitchen as well as a great deal of time spent in Italy researching traditional recipes and cooking techniques.

A chapter on ragu inspired me last Saturday. I've been making sauce for ages, but apparently I've never really made a ragu. It couldn't be easier. Or more delicious.

There really isn't a recipe, more a philosophy, which is slow cooking meat with a little tomato paste and water.

I cross referenced with Silver Spoon, the Italian cookbook that I also received for my bday.

My Ragu

3tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 lb hot Italian sausage, decased and crumbled
3/4 lb ground pork/veal/beef
1 carrot chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
2 small onions chopped
Small can of tomato paste slightly thinned with water
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper


Melt butter with oil in large pot over medium heat. Place the meat, carrot, celery, and onion in pot and cook until meat starts to brown and vegetables begin to wilt. Add tomato paste and water, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Cook over very low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Add water if it becomes a little dry (mine never did).

That's it. So good. So easy. Served over fresh pasta and it really doesn't get better then that.

I'm eating the leftovers today for lunch. Very excited.


Go vote!

Tonight I am going to post about the ragu that I made on Saturday and the bourbon cocktails that the husband made to go with them. That's right, it's heavy sauce/braising season which means it is also bourbon season! My favorite time of the year.

I can't post now because I don't have my camera and I took some pictures to include.

In the meantime, I just ate an ok sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich and am drinking a coffee with milk and one sugar.

Anyone have something good for breakfast?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Very Bad Blogger

So I have clearly not been blogging for a while. I apologize for the 2 of you still checking my blog with any regularity. I promise to do better.

I haven't been this busy in a while...I have barely cooked in the last several weeks. Sadly, the husband and I are surviving on not so good take out. Nothing has seemed very post worthy. But there was a glimmer of hope Wednesday night...

I'll set the scene. I set out to the way far east village for an avant garde (sp?) Japanese piano performance to scope out a potential performance that we could do at my work. There were about 20 people in the audience and it started out decent enough. The first song was kind of like a song, it seemed to have a melody.

But shortly thereafter, we dove headfirst into weird with the 2nd "song". I don't know if I can really describe how bad it was. The pianist would play a horrible chord and then stop, then press one key and then stop, then pluck on the strings of the piano, let the sound linger, then stop....this went on and on and on for over an hour. Actually I left after about 1h 15minutes into it. She could still be doing this for all I know.

The crazy part was that the black turtleneck clad audience seemed to eat it up, even were bobbing their head in agreement with how awesome it was. I am not making this up. I looked around for other people with the "WTF???" look that I was displaying, but they were nowhere to be found.

It was 9pm when I left, and I was way the hell over on Avenue C, and I hadn't eaten so I was hungry, and mad that I wasted an evening.

I know that so far this doesn't have anything to do with food. But for me, a night can always be saved by eating something good. I had $10 burning a whole in my pocket and, as mentioned, was in the East Village so there were many options in my price range.

I decided to go to 99 Miles to Philly, a cheesesteak place. I've been meaning to try the cheesesteak and compare to Carl's Steak, which I love.

As if it were a sign, they had a special for a cheesesteak, waffle fries, and a soda...$9.99. I even had a penny to spare.

And with a ketchup drenched waffle fry, a slug of coke, and a bite of cheesesteak dripping with hotsauce...the night was saved.

As for the comparison between 99 Miles and Carl's - I wish there was a little more steak and that it was cut a bit thinner. Also, the roll could have been slightly more crunchy. I like Carl's steaks better because it excels in both areas. I did think the cheese (American) was perfectly melted and almost turned into a sauce. Finally, I prefer the fries at Carl's, straightforward and crispy. But that is just a personal preference, as far as waffle fries go, these were pretty freaking good.

Tough to compare two great cheesesteaks...but there you have it.

Thanks for still reading my blog!