Archive | August, 2013

Croque Ellen

29 Aug

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I really should remake this on another (cooler) day and post a better picture.

Problem was the yolk broke when I cracked the egg so I didn’t get that nice egg shot with the yolk standing up looking all pert and sassy. It still looks pretty sexy though, flowing out into the chasm created when I sliced into the sandwich. And dipped in salsa, who cares what it looks like? Tastes perfect.

It is my birthday, and being as such I giving myself the present of naming a sandwich I invented myself after myself.

I’m so generous.

I actually woke up one morning thinking of this sandwich. THAT was a new one. I wasn’t even hungry.

I was just coming to, rolling about in my bed as I do and thinking about the Croque Madame I made, and how it would use up at least one of my eggs before they went bad. But I was also thinking spicy. And thus was born this southwest-ish version. Call the tex-mex Croque. Call it the Croque Ellen.

And now, my dears, I will not even attempt to amuse you anymore as I must scurry off to Lock and Key and have toast to me. Bourbon time.

This is not so much a recipe as a recommended assemblage.
The Croque Ellen
2 pieces of bread
About an ounce of cheese
Salsa
Cilantro
Baby spinach
Egg
Toast yer bread. Layer salsa, cilantro, spinach and cheese as you see fit. If you don’t care for bread that is te least bit soggy be careful with the salsa, or maybe wait and just add on the side later. Cut a circle out of top slice but leave it in place for now. Put some cheese on top. Put it in the oven broiler for about two seconds to melt. Take the circle out and crack an egg in there. Broil until done. Or be like me and realize everything else is going to burn before the egg is done as I’d like. Put in microwave to finish cooking. Yea. So good.

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Gazpacho and

22 Aug

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Yeeeeaaaaah summer food. This is worth it. Worth buying the fresh herbs. Worth getting good feta.

And you can even make it with a handicapped right arm, if you have a food processor. Although to be honest I made this about a month ago.

And hey, you will probably have leftover V-8 so there may be a Bloody Mary in your future.

Here’s the update on my arm. I had a follow-up appointment and was told that apparently they took all the metal out. That complicated matrix of plates and pins I thought was holding me together is no more. The bionic arm is no more.

On one hand I feel bereft. The last three years it has been like a shield. A guardian. Don’t fuck with my arm, it’s full of metal.

On the other hand, I feel reborn. With the guidance of that metal, my bones knit themselves back together. I no longer need that metal. The baggage is gone. My bones are stronger than their technology.

My arm is all MINE again.

On the imaginary third hand. The “it was surgery, not a suicide attempt” scar that had faded so nicely over the years will be back, and probably a bit bigger.

I’ll just look at that as a badge of honor.

Food!

Daphne Oz’s book, “Relish” is both adorable and obnoxious. If you have time to curate your closet, good for you. Goooood for you.

I lie. I totally curate.

I curated the shit out of that metal in my arm.

Watermelon and Jalapeño Gazpacho with feta adapted from Daphne Oz’s Relish
1 big chopped tomato (1 1/2-ish cups)
1 heaping cup chopped watermelon
1 peeled, chopped cucumber
2 Tbsp. jarred pickled jalapeño slices
1/4 c. chopped shallot
Juice of one lime
2 Tbsp. parsley
2 Tbsp. mint
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. V-8
Pinch kosher salt
Garnishes
Feta
Hot sauce (Chipotle Tabasco!)
Vegan Worcestershire
Combine all but the garnishes in the food processor. Make as thick and chunky or thin and blended as you like. Garnish with the fixings. I didn’t think it needed almost any of the hot sauce or Worcestershire but they play well with the feta.

Deconstructed Reconstructed

15 Aug

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I started writing this post months ago, February, to be precise. It is a good thing I have many backlogged posts since at the moment my right arm is out of commission. I was going to post a summer-y recipe, but I saw what I had titled the post for this recipe and could not resist using it now.

Much like the egg in this recipe, I am being reconstructed after deconstruction.

Take em’ apart, build em’ back up.

My spirit animal is a yolk.

Lemme tell you, there is nothing so thrilling as waking up from what was supposed to be a 20 minute easy-peasy surgery and seeing a wrapped up and splinted arm, being in some of the worst pain of one’s life, and being told you were under the knife for about an hour and a half because there were complications.

Whoops-a-daisy!

Apparently the hardware in my arm needed a lot more finagling than they thought.

I have good painkillers, it’s gonna be okay.

When my mom (who has valiantly cared for me throughout this, despite my terrifically bad humor about it all) got me home, in my still-coming-out-of-general-anesthesia haze, I found myself craving nothing so much as the raw vegan tacos from Sage.

LA, you have defeated me.

Celebrate your working arms and hard-boil an egg. Deconstruct and mash. Egg violence! Then reconstruct and savor.

Do it for me. Do it for your arms.

Do it for Fannie:

Remodeled Egg (adapted from Fannie Farmer and this here recipe)
1 raw egg, separated
1 hard-boiled egg (whites chopped, yolk sieved)
1/2 tsp. melted butter
Pinch salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
Flour
Mix hard-boiled egg, butter, salt and cayenne. Add raw yolk, just a drop or two at a time until you can form it into balls. Roll in flour and sauté in butter.
Lotsa butta.
Heat oven to 350. Beat raw white to stuff peaks and nest in a small pan. Bake until done, about ten minutes.

Balls. Into nest. Done.

I also tried a version where I poured the egg white around the balls as they sautéed but it was not as becoming:

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The Things We Ate

7 Aug

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I’m giving you two recipes AGAIN this week. Like I did last week.
I am going spoil you silly, my loves.

One recipe is gooooood (see above pic) and one is not. These recipes are both from a vintage cookbook. Chosen because of last week’s occurence.
All this is pre-amble to today’s tale:

Go crazy cooking nerds! I spoke to America’s Test Kitchen. Yep. Me, on the phone with Chris Kimball and Bridget Lancaster. Or B-lanks, as I like to call her. I called their podcast because I was a nerd, with a nerdy question about my nerdy vintage cookbook. Then I geeked out with them about those funny, funny quotes in the book about men and chervil.

Men and herbs. Hilarious.

I was SO NERVOUS. More nervous than when I perform. Well, maybe not quite as nervous as doing stand-up makes me, but I was at least as nervous as I am before an improv show. That’s the comedian’s scale of of nerves, I guess.
Listen to my nerdiness here. I come in around 8 minutes, 26 seconds.

Speaking of nerves, I am only mildly nervous for an improv how this Friday.

Right now my mind is more pre-occupied with nerves for this bloody wrist surgery I am getting Monday. Seems like things in my bionic arm are not in place, and one of the many plates in it needs to be taken out. If you wanna know the full bionic story i chronicled it here.

Yeaaaaaahhhh. It’ll be ok. Maybe I can get someone to take a picture if the innards of my arm. I’d do it, but I’ll be under anesthesia.

It’s FINE. Really. I’m being dramatic here.

Anyway. Food! Lets!

I included the disgusting Mulled Jelly recipe I told my ATK friends about in the interview. Scroll past for the deliciousness that is the other recipe. It is for egg toast. It’s a keeper.

The jelly.
Why bother trying to make it purty?

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Grody!
It takes second in the weird department only next to the Dimetapp Pie made by the brilliant MadMan.

God I love italics. I even love the word italics.

Mulled Jelly

1 egg white
1 Tbsp. grape jelly
1 tsp. sugar
1 teacup boiling water
1 large cracker (or very dry toast)
Firstly, ya beat up the first few ingredients. Add agua and keep beating. Crack in the cracker. Choke down in the name of art.

Now the good. Not sure why it is called Nun’s Toast. Much like 1600 Penn today, there are many mysteries in the 1915 White House. Cookbook.
Nun’s Toast adapted from The White House Cookbook
Olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 tsp. flour
1/2 c. Almond milk
2 sliced hard-boiled eggs
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toast, buttered
Spray a small pan with olive oil and add butter. When it is melted, add onion. When onion is softened, add flour. Add milk stir all until smooth. Add eggs, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until hot then pour over toast. Which is buttered. Duh.

Thymes Two

1 Aug

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Thank you Suilma, for the beautiful blackberry photography.
We now pause for this week’s disgustingly self-promotional blurb:
My latest Blackboard Eats review, of Locanda Positano, just came out. You can read about it here.
No thrilling acting news beyond auditions and callbacks galore and the usual bi-monthly improv madness-next date for that is August 9th, so, um, yeah…file that away in your noggin’ somewhere secure, because we are going to be doing a bit of drinkin’ this week on the Gruel.

I massive life lists. Things to do. Places to go. Recipes to make. Things to write. I cross-list too. With friends who also have lists. And half the time we laugh that we will be lucky if we accomplish one thing. My friend Alice and I are notoriously making plans: to host pie parties (we do do this!), go hiking (happens sometimes), to visit the Jet Propulsion Lab (not yet), to read books in coffee houses and art museum courtyards (we’ve yet accomplish these Public Displays of Literacy yet), to choreograph to various songs, to see the dinos at the Natural History Museum (not yet), and finally there are a gajillon different speakeasies we’d love to explore.

But most of all, WE WANT TO SEE OWLS.

With prominent ears.

It is a long story.

So when I heard there was an art show featuring owl works in Culver City, Alice and I started plotting. WE SHOULD DO THIS. WE COULD DO THIS.

And then maybe we could hike after art. Then we could visit a wine bar, because we had leftover cash on cards to do tasting at Ugo. Then get grilled cheese at Blind Barber , because who doesn’t want to consume melted cheese near where men are being shaved?

So we made these plans then laughed that maybe we would accomplish two of these things. Well we did beyond.

We saw the owl show. Then happened to walk into another gallery with MORE OWLS?!!! WTF where have these strigiformes been all my life?!!

We then did an “urban hike” meaning powerwalking around Culver for a bit. Then tasted about two ounces of wine at Ugo. Then on the the barber. Lemme tell you. You walk through a brightly lit shop into a magical speakeasy where bartenders will muddle tomatoes-make that “heirloom” tomatoes said my charming mixologist, with rye and such, to please your buds. And the grilled cheese was buttery madness. We split the drink, sammich, and soup.

BUT THEN! We did not stop there because we are not quitters, and we had still consumed less than one drink each, so felt the night could cautiously go on. Alice had never seen Oldfield’s, one of my favorite old-timey craft cocktail places, so we dropped by to split another drink and say hello to the effervescent “BC from DC!” who never fails to charm. Or mix a good drink.

That was a good day. One in which I actually was doing the fun things I claimed I’d make time for. Exploring. With a friend. Life doesn’t get much better.

So now that you are thinking cocktails, and friends, I give you two. Because you are going to get thyme to make one, then wonder what to do with all the thyme you have leftover so you will make the other one too. Two. Two times. The first I made with brilliant Suilma, the second I made alone for dessert another night. Less decent photo, but skulls make it all better:

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But first things first. Blackberries:

Blackberry-Thyme Margaritas adapted from the July 07 issue of Bon Appetit
16 blackberries
Several thyme sprigs
3 Tbsp. sugar dissolved in 1/4 c. H2O
6 Tbsp. tequila (I used Sauza blanco)
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. Cointreau
2 cups of ice cubes
1/4 c. Sparkling wine
Put 14 berries and 2 thyme sprigs in a bowl and muddle. Mix in sugar-water (aka simple syrup), tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, and 1 cup ice. Stir to blend. Strain into another bowl. Mix in sparkly.
Divide ice in two cups and then our mixture over. Garnish with remaining blackberries and thyme. Toast with a friend and watch “Girls” while talking about boys.

Now the raspberries. Dessert.

Raspberry-Campari Float adapted from Bon Appetit July 2013

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
Thyme sprig
1/4 cup Campari
1 1/3 cups raspberries
1 pint vanilla ice cream (mine had maple flavoring)
2 12 oz. bottles of club soda
Bring water, sugar and thyme to boil. Take off heat and cover for 15 minutes. Remove thyme. Let cool stir in Campari. Divide between four glasses. Add raspberries and muddle. Add ice cream then pour in club soda, and more Campari to taste.
Eat alone and relish your grand success.