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American, Americano

20 Feb

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It’s a two-fer! You get a drink, and a dish. An some random facts about me.
The “American” salad got me thinking about this here country, which got me thinking about race issues, which got me to pondering how I seem to have an affinity for being the minority, which is somewhat of a feat for a white girl from the Midwest.
I grew up in a school where being white put me in the minority. In college I played taiko drums, so I hung around a lot of Japanese folks. I acted with the St. Louis Black Rep (token white chick?). So when I moved to LA I moved to Koreatown because it felt good to be in the minority. Now I’m just East of K-town, almost downtown, in a pretty diverse neighborhood.
In general I think I am accustomed to not quite fitting in, to the point that I am actually more comfortable feeling like I am not blending in.
The exception being a trip to, say, Whole Foods, where white English speakers abound but no matter how nice I thought I looked before going I will never measure up to the super-hip clientele in all their lululemon glory. I may be in my demographic but I’m itchy as all get-out.

I get my chia seeds and run.

Safely at home I might just mix up some nibbles. And an almost-a-Negroni drink to make myself feel better. Which is inevitably dumped out before I’m done because I cannot drink too much alone. Nor should I drink whilst trying to chop potatoes for a nice potato salad and simultaneously working on scenes for an audition.

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And so it goes.

Americano from The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich
1 1/2 oz. Campari
1 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
3 oz. club soda
Twist of lemon peel
Twist of orange peel
Stir Campari and vermouth over ice, strain into glass of ice. Add club soda. Stir. Twist peels over and drop in. Salute. And salud.

American Potato Salad (adapted from The Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition)

1 pound potatoes (not the starchy type)
1 celery rib, dice dice baby
A couple Tbsp. diced bread and butter pickles
6 Tbsp. reduced fat mayo
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. brown mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of dried parsley
Boil taters in salted water until cooked. Drain, chop into whatever bite-sized means to you. Toss with remaining ingredients. Put in fridge until cool.

Second Annual Un-Pizza Week Day Three: Pizza quiche

30 Jan

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Last year, a Totoro was whored out to make my un-pizza gruel cuter. This year I made an owl my bitch.

Cuteness must be had.

I am not hot in the pursuit of lo-carb but do love both a good deep-dish pizza, or a quiche. So! Both gluten-freedom fighters and lo-carb fans may consider this dish from the Mr. Breakfast blog, a boon.

Vegans should flee in terror.

It’s Wednesday. I’m busy, so I’ll yap no longer. I’ve given you owl-y cuteness and pizza, and that is enough.

Pizza Quiche (adapted from Mr. Breakfast)

2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. almond milk
2 Tbsp. grated reduced fat mozzarella
1 1/2 tsp. (after rehydrating) dried chives
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. Grated reduced fat cheddar
1/2 c. Grated Reduced fat mozzarella
Another 1/2 c. Grated reduced fat mozzarella
1/4 c. Marinara
1 c. Mushrooms, sautéed
1 vegetarian Italian sausage (I love the Lightlife ones), sliced
Heat da ov to 350 F. Greez da pan. I used one that was oval and probably holds 6 cups. Spread cheddar and the first 1/2 c. of mozzarella in your pan.
Blend (I used my immersion blender mini-cup attachment) cream cheese, eggs, 2 Tbsp. mozzarella, almond milk, chives, garlic powder and oregano. Pour over cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Take out and turn on broiler. Spread on marinara, mushrooms, veggie sausage and the last 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Keep a close eye on it in the broiler and let it bubble, toil and trouble, but do not burn it. Let it cool a bit before slicing into this sucker. And remember to turn off the broiler please. It’s getting hot in herrrrrr.

Tomato toast

24 Oct

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I cannot say much more than that this is not a recipe you should put off making. And don’t leave out any of the required elements. This toast is delicious in flavor but rises to new heights by the interplay of contrasting yet complementary textures.

My, that was a lot.

La di da.

I really am a snob. It’s true. I listen to Bach and act in Shakespeare plays and read big books n stuff.

But I was talking about texture. The crunch of the toasted crumbs, the crisp bread becoming tender (and if you are me PURPOSELY soggy) bread. Lilts of butter.
Optional: nutritional yeast
You can sprinkle it on, just for cheezy vegan kicks.

Although I doubt Marion Cunningham was big on the nooch.

But if you are vegan use vegan margerine for butter and if you are gluten intolerant use gluten-free bread.

Tomato Toast from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

1 c. Skinned chopped tomato
6 Tbsp. fresh bread crumbs
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1/8 tsp. dried sage
Freshly ground salt and pepper
2 pieces toast
Melt a bit of butter over medium heat, brown bread crumbs whilst stirring. Set aside and stir in sage.
Melt some more butter, stir in tomato. Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring til it is fairly dry and spreadable as a whore’s legs. Don’t spread those. Spread on buttered toast.

Fritoque

17 Oct

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First, some acting stuff. I need to play Patti Smith when “Just Kids” becomes a movie. She said she was thinking of Kristen Stewart but wanted a lesser known person.
That is me.
Please, world, if anyone has access to her, her agent, anyone who has anything to do with the movie this is my personal plea to at least get an audition.

Thanks for bearing with me. Here be the food:

I made Fritoqe.
Because it is fun to say anything that sounds like Frito. It is also fun to eat Fritos. In fact, next time I make this that is what l’ll use.
Dagnabbit. It is 9:30, and I am too tired to go get Fritos.

In case anyone is surmising, the Frito-lay enterprise is not my sugar-daddy.

Although, come to think of it, it would not be a big surprise to find me in bed with Fritos.

Anyway, I liked both the title and simplicity of this recipe, so I gave it a go. Then I added some spices because it was a wee bit too simple the first time around. And as I said, next time it is Fritos instead of regular, workaday corn chips.

Yessiree bob.

Frito-lay, if you are out there and would like to be my sugar-daddy, I will seriously consider.

Fritoque barely changed and reduced from the Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh
1/2 c. Black beans, some slightly mushed
5-ish corn chips, crumbled
One slice of reduced fat cheddar
Pickled jalapeño slices
2 Tbsp. salsa
Cumin to your liking
Salt n pepa
Mix the beans, chips, and jalapeños, salsa and cumin, and put in a small oven safe bowl. Put cheese on top. Put in a 350 degree oven until sufficiently melty.
Chow. Add salt and pepper. Freshly grind that shiz-nit please. It makes a difference.

Teen Witch

26 Sep

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I was such a good goth in my teens. I guess I still can be. And I’ve got headshots to prove it. I wear mostly black, am pale as can be, and still listen to Skinny Puppy.

But I also occasionally sport some pink(crazy!) and will admit my ipod has a song or two by Justin Timberlake. Although Nine Inch Nails still occupies more bytes than any other group. Even Siouxie and the Banshees. Even The Cure. No really, I swear I’m over it. Let me just go blow out those black candles.

I did the requisite dabbling in Wicca that was befitting of my teenaged goth splendor. But now, I’m no witch. I appreciate the exultation of nature that is part of Wicca, but could never quite get behind the whole god/goddess thing. Although my friend Meow and I had some splendid nighttime rituals using the bench in the park as our altar. I’m surprised the cops never came to break up our candlelit honoring of the four elements. Hmm.

All this is to say I own The Wicca Cookbook. An old therapist of mine gave it to me. Don’t ask. She also gave me really cool dragon stockings.

The Wicca Cookbook is divided into chapters by the sabbats, or Wiccan holidays. Each recipe has some sort of explanation of a part of the holiday and how the food relates to it, often with a little chant or, um, spell to go with it.
I was flipping through the fall equinox chapter since that just happened last Saturday. I wanted to celebrate that from now on until December the night is getting longer. I prefer night. No really, I swear I’m not goth. Let me just finish this glass of blood and we can chat about it.

Oh, the recipe.

I realized I had everything I needed for the Enchanted Grape Salad. The Wicca Cookbook never quite explained the enchanted part but talked about fall and harvest of grapes and gave this last bit of advice before the recipe:

“Offer the grapes in this salad to the Great Goddess and, if possible, party in a vineyard with passion and abandon”.

I’ll take some passion and abandon. And some grapes.

Enchanting Grape Salad from The Wicca Cookbook by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt
1 cup of greens(I used spinach)
1 cup chopped green apple
1 1/2 cups grapes
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar(good balsamic)
Toss it up. Exult. Enchant. Ellen-ify. I have no idea what that means. Blow out your candles before you leave the house.

Fit for a princess

19 Sep

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I act because I like to be other people for just a little. Or at least get inside their heads. This Saturday I’ll have the terrifically taxing role of a playing a woman at my own birthday party and…she’s into being gluten-free. That part will be quite the stretch for me.
When I was little, my first acting was probably in the make-believe games I’d play. I liked to play royalty. We’ll get back to that.

So I needed to use that citron vodka from all my Cosmos
.
That and this sounded like it could be a manly girl drink, not in name but in hard alcohol ingredients. I do love a good man-girl drink, like the mo-ellen. Oh did I just mention that?
Really guys, I am going to keep trying to get attention for the Mo-Ellen until I see it on a bar menu.

The name of this drink, “Little Princess” I don’t love. I am not a princess.
I’m a queen, always have been.

Back to playing make-believe.

My friend Anne and I used to play with my mom’s dusters when we were quite young. Imaginative sorts that we were we used them like scepters and pretended we were royalty.
Me mum had two dusters, a slightly raggedy feather one and a poofy wool one dyed in orange hues, if memory is not totally failing me.
Now naturally we both wanted the pretty colorful one. Why?
That was the feather queen’s scepter. Total duh!

But I was such a brat. I always insisted on having that one and being feather queen and Anne got the tattered one and was merely the feather princess.

I am surprised we are still friends. Fortunately I got a wee bit more giving as the years wore on.

For instance, years after she moved away she came to visit one summer, and I shared my gothic splendor with her. We were about 15. She had white-blonde hair when she arrived and I put her back on the plane with jet-black hair.

I’m surprised her parents let her still be my friend.

Enough. Here is the drink. It’s tasty, maybe even better than a straight up vodka martini, but the name blows. I’m gonna go chill out with a duster now. On my couch(I.e. throne).

Little Princess from The Bartender’s Companion

1/8 oz. dry vermouth
1 3/4 oz. citron vodka
Lemon twist
Stir it up and garnish with the twist.
Please don’t wear a tiara.

Balls. Too late.

5 Sep

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Gosh durnit to heck. I made this for a party weeks ago. And put off posting it. Then suddenly everyone has been posting balls and non-cook things and I feel like I am just hopping on the bandwagon. Like when I spent a year waffling things then a couple weeks before my waffle week waffles were everywhere. Fortunately I had this pumpkin waffle entry written way back when I conceived the idea to prove I did it first. I mean good golly, I admit it when I decide to be a joiner.

Does it matter? What matters is that I made balls and they were tasty so screw it. Here they are. And the entry I wrote ages back when I made these:

Averie loved veggies and yoga. Then she decided she liked dessert more.

Smart woman. Whilst still writing under blog title Loves Veggies and Yoga, she crafted these lovely balls.

I had festivities to contribute to that only had one gluten-free attendee but seeing as she was also host, I thought I better cook in that vein. Vane? Vain? Dictionary.com time…vein.

Too hot to cook. Note made now: it is still too hot to cook, doggonit!
So I scrapped any notion of baking the chocolate bars I had made to woo my Midsummer cast and made the dough balls instead, using brown rice flour instead of regular. And they were good. So there. I’ve got balls too.

Go try em here and say hi to Avery for me.

It’s a gift

22 Aug

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Wrapping things prettily. I lack this gift. I am not gifted in the gift department.

This was an effort to make less gruel-ish gruel: a delicate savory custard wrapped in greens. An attempt to make things that are tidy and delightful and pretty.

Like when I try to be a girl. Which being an actor in LA has taught me more about.
For better or worse my bookings increased at a rate directly proportional to my mascara usage.

So maybe my blog readership will be inversely proportionate to how gruelish my pix are.

And now, mascara-wearing pretty-ish but tidy only in housekeeping girl that I am, I went to my love, Mark Bittman for a recipe.

Unfortunately, my custard did not stay within its romaine leaf confines. It needed sturdier greens. And defter fingers than mine to assemble them.

The taste was exquisite though, particularly with a twist if freshly ground bay sea salt.
Proof that gruel rules. So does skipping make-up. Cause I do enjoy saying fuck you to Hollywood from time to time.
Just as an unmade-up face can be more beautiful, so can an unwrapped Custard:

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So I shall dine in un-made up glory. As should you.

Wrapped Savory Egg Custard(slightly adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)
Greens of choice
1 egg
1 yolk
1 cup almond milk
Thyme
Time
Cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
Dunk greens in boiling salted water for several seconds to soften then cruelly thrust into ice cold water. Dry. Line two nonstick sprayed dishes with ends o greens sticking out at the top. Or if you want to be able to keep an eye on your custard (though my failure at wrapping proved my worry unnecessary)line only one.
Put almond milk and a bit of dried thyme in a small pot and cook until it steams. Whisk egg, yolk, a pinch of cayenne and salt in a separate bowl. Take milk off heat. Turn off burner, please remember to turn it off. Preheat oven. 300 F. Put water in your kettle and start heating to boil. Add the milk mix gradually to eggs, whisking all the while. Pour into the lined(or not!) dishes, fold overhanging greens over and put in a larger dish. Pour water that by now should be boiling within an inch of the top of the custard.
Bake until it sets, which is tough to tell under the greens, hence the one unlined baker I admit but it will be around a half hour.

Maine blueberry pudding(it ain’t) aka it’s not pudding part two

21 Jul

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First off: next week is staycation week for me. Yeah, I have a callback, yeah I’ll still go on auditions, or jobs, if they pop up, but otherwise I have an out-of-town guest and we have hikes and wine classes, and Big Lebowski/White Russian nights planned.
And I’m going to relax if it is the last thing I do.
Y’all will have to do without me but I’ll be back in blogland a week from Wednesday.
Food:
Sometimes molding something sounds intimidating. Sometimes you want layers. Sometimes you don’t want to wait overnight with weights atop your pudding-only-in-name-cause-Brits-call-all-desserts-puddings creation.

But Mainely you are intrigued by the cinnamon and lemon juice.

This Fannie Farmer recipe was so very similar to the Summer Berry Pudding
I told you about Wednesday. Except it only involved 4 hours in the fridge and was substantially easier to make because you didn’t have to make the pieces of bread fit your mold like a carbohydrate jigsaw puzzle.

Think of this as a dessert knife and fork pudding if you so please.

Or a berry sammich.

And don’t leave out the cinnamon and lemon, they make magic.

Maine Blueberry Pudding(adapted ever so slightly from the 1965 Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
3 slices of bread(gluten-frees, use your bread of choice, I believe me mum swears by Udi’s)
Butter
1/4 cup H2O
Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups blueberries
3 Tbsp. sugar give or take-see how sweet your fruit is and adjust accordingly
A squeeze of lemon
Cook the blueberries, agua, and sugar on stove. First you bring the it to a boil then let it burble. Simmer. Whichever. Take about ten minutes all total. You want it starting to thicken but you still want lots of juice. Add the squeeze of lemon.
Whilst you burble the berries:

Take a square Tupperware container that fits a slice of bread and line it with nonstick foil. Butter that bread and sprinkle cinnamon on it.

I am a cinnamonster and sprinkle lots. Come now, it’s good for you.

There is a reason it is not called sin-namon.

Layer the bread and berries in the container, two layers of berries between the bread. If you are smarter than I you will save more of the juice to pour atop the last piece of bread. Last slice should go cinnamon side down. Cover, and refrigerate about quatro horas.
Take out of the fridge, lift foil out and unwrap. Slice if you desire. Please consider being like me: put reddi-whip on top and devour.

You can make homemade whip if you like but please don’t compare the two. Reddi-whip and homemade whip, in my mind, are two completely different things. Apples and oranges. Each has their own time and place and both are delightful in the proper setting.

Cheez whiz and Brie.

That’s my stand.

It is not pudding: part one

18 Jul

It is not pudding. It is a pudding. In the British pudding-as-generic-word-for-dessert way.
Pudding is to British as coke is to some areas of the USA. The South?

If you say “coke” for all soda types tell me and let me know where you are from. Seriously lurkers. Do.

Anthropologist, linguist, and actor. That’s me.

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I first made this for a very important reason:
Because it is pretty. And I like soggy bread.

Really.

I make it a lot now every summer because it’s friggin’ Delicious.

No, I am not against the word “Delicious” in my writing.
I know blogsnobs shun Delicious as unoriginal.
I, however have no huge need to prove my vocabular worth here. At least in this blog entry. Please excuse the fact that The Gruel page has a section devoted to Brain Food.

I tried really hard to pimp out the cute factor on this pretty pudding but had some difficulty. I’m really not a very good photographer. Still, the image at the top of the post is better than my first shot:

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No?
For those of you nervous about a molded dessert, this is not hard. But there will be an easier version of this coming at you this weekend. Hold yer horses.

Berry Pudding(adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe)

1 cup blueberries
2 cups raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
About 6 slices bread(gluten-free folks use your bread of choice)
2 tbsp. butter

Line a bowl with plastic wrap leaving enough overhang to be able to fold over the top. I used my 4-cup measuring cup. Why use a rounded bowl, I like an architectural dessert.
Butter your bread.
Cook and stir the berries, sugar, and a tablespoon or so of water over medium heat, letting sugar dissolve.
Stir and mash berries a little bit whilst heating. Then bring to a boil and let cook until thickened, between 5 and 10 minutes.
Use bread to line the measuring cup, butter side up. Pour in berry mixture, then top that with any remaining bread, butter side down.
Fold overhanging plastic over bread. Put a plate on top and a can on that to weight it.
Chill at least 12 hours until your bread is good and purple, then un-mold.
Delight in the splendor of purple buttery bread.