Archive for the ‘Food/Cooking’ Category

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mmmmm. it really is spring!!

April 16, 2009

After spending the most wonderful afternoon doing this…

We decided that we couldn’t just let the day end. So we called for grilled deliciousness night. Grilled onions, mushrooms, and squash. AND……wings.

Using the recipe chronicled here for sweet Thai chili sauce my friend J and I grilled a ton of wings and coated them in the lovely sticky sweet spicy sauce and topped with fresh cilantro. SO freaking good that J’s wife E said that if I really wanted to meet someone all I would need to do was take a plate of those wings with me and just wait.

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What do you think???

Head nod to a certain vegetarian who knows I’m smiling.

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gastro wha?

August 11, 2008

Sometimes here in Cheese and Whine land I have been known to do some fairly in depth reviews of local restaurants that are a bit outside of our regular “out to eat” budget. In part it’s because I love delicious food and am a foodie at heart and want to remember what I thought of the place so that if I ever forget what I thought about it I can always just check up on myself. In part it’s also because I think some famous foodie is going to read my review and think that my style and understanding of food is brilliant and then they are going to ask me to give up my day job to travel the world eating and pay me for it.

I think my chances may decrease significantly with what I’m about to put forth. I swear that I had an open mind but well, here’s how it went down. On Thursday evening we went to an open house/art function that was hosted by a local company that does photography for magazines and mail order catalogs. Afterwards, being as we were dressed somewhat decently, we decided to treat ourselves to a “nice” dinner in town. Our first try was at Bresca, a relatively new player on the scene, but as they only have like 4 tables, we had to move on.

So we wandered around for a bit and decided on Hugo’s. It wasn’t packed but nicely populated and we were able to get seated immediately. The menu is set up in two ways, on the left a $78 prix fixe tasting menu is offered – 5 courses, and if you get the accompanying wine pairings it’s another $30. The offerings on this menu were interesting looking but more than 3 of the offerings were outside of my comfort range, and if I’m going to spend that kind of money on food, I want to make sure I’m going to enjoy the majority of it.

If you don’t go with the tasting menu. they recommend going 3 courses from the other side of the menu – however we’d already had a few snacks at the open house so we went 2 plus dessert. S started with an asian type salad with twice fried tofu croutons. These were actually really yummy, a bit salty, and a bit sweet, and I imagine if they took away the salty part they would, paired with maple syrup, make a very tasty vegan french toast.

I went the…”this sounds interesting route,” and had cold canteloupe soup, topped with frothed (a nod to Adrian Ferra, perhaps, though they did seem a bit heavy on the frothed stuff here) almond milk, proscuitto gelee, tangerine powder, and balsamic ice cubes. I don’t want to just come out and say that it was disgusting – it wasn’t. The flavors worked pretty ok with each other and may have been quite refreshing if the proscuitto gelee hadn’t imparted some weird chunk texture thing to the dish. And really, proscuitto gelee is really just a nice sounding word for “porky jello,” and um, well, yeah, I don’t think it worked all too well. Plus, all the elements were somewhat “floated” on top of the cantaloupe and it was hard to mix it all together and well, I kind of don’t understand why you would fuck with food so much in order to present this soup.

On to the next course where things (at least for me) started getting much more pleasing. S had red beet risotto that was topped with capri (a goat like cheese) and pink grapefruit slices. She loved it. I thought it looked like bloody death in a bowl, and tasted a bit too sweet for my liking – in fact, outside of the cantaloupe soup my only major criticism of the place is that the food all seemed somewhat on the sweeter side of things.

I had Long Island duck breast and crispy braised leg – this was executed perfectly, with three perfectly rare slices of duck breast served above baby bok choy and topped with a dabbing of what tasted like apricot spread of some sort. The leg was perfectly crisp yet tender small pieces formed into a small rectangular shape and was delicious.

For dessert we chose the rum roasted pineapple that was served with warm pound cake, coconut sorbet, ginger cream and tamarind caramel. This was delicious and just left us hoping for more – though they could have been slightly more generous with the caramel -the two dots on the plate were not quite enough for us to really get a good feel for it, though what we did taste of it kept us hoping for more.

So, overall…Hugo’s was ok. Not spectacular knock our socks off, but fairly good. For the expense, I’m not sure I’d be all a flutter to go back anytime soon, but it was a mostly good meal, and it’s nice to try new things.

I’ve got some more posts in my brain for this week, and I’m going to try to be a much much better blogger – right now my mom is in town for a wedding we went to yesterday (straight people are so weird,) and it’s just a busy time, in general.

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Happy Purim

March 22, 2008

Happy Purim to all my Jewfolk out there. And to my folks who love Jewfolk.

There’s got to be something symbolic about baking and eating cookies that look like uteri at the begining of an IVF cycle, , right?

Anyway, thanks A for getting all floury with me. xo.

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Not only are Jews fags but…

November 20, 2007

We eat cute pets too.

As seen on the poster advertising Hanukkah feasts from a local cafe:

 

I think it’s great that they are offering the Jewish community special meal selections for the upcoming Hanukkah holiday. Next time, I hope they spell check.

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GFM Recap

October 3, 2007

Even though I am a *lucky* recipient of what is being called the “Portland Plague,” I still managed to drag myself out to GFM, Olive Garden extravaganza. Our waitpeople had no idea what they were getting themselves into.  The entire event lasted well over 2 hours, but we were a big group anyway, so there was much conversation as entertainment outside of the competitive eating.

And how did our contestants fare?? Contestant #1, KD well, she talked a really big game but managed to only get 3 bowls down.  She gave a big FU to the other contestants by getting a piece of cheesecake as desert, but really I don’t think it phased the other two contenders at all.

Contestant #2, aka my little sister fared better. Though I think she did it a little too fast and almost as soon as she got her 5th bowl (yes, 5) down she called her self out of the game and raced off to the restroom.

Which leaves us with our winner KP, who finished and kept down his 5th bowl of pasta. He was rewarded nicely by not having to pay for his dinner and also having bragging rites till next year. I was told he managed to keep his dinner down at least an hour after eating, though um, some of it made….a return.  He also reports not being hungry until 5pm the following day.

So, there you have it. GFM spaghetti eating competition of 07 is over. Next year I’m going to figure out a way that others can compete via webcam. This could become the “next big thing.” Really.

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Return of GFM

October 1, 2007

What I’ve written about before as “Monday Madness,” has been renamed “Gross Food Monday,” and is reconvening tonight at the Olive Garden. Not that we think the OG is a gross resturant, I mean, it’s not really Italian food, but what it is isn’t SO bad. And it’s cheap.  But there is a specific point to tonight’s venture out.

It seems that a few of my friends, and my sister, have been inspired by the recent world champion burrito eating contest that took place in the Portland area last weekend. Such “competitive eating,” (though, let me just say, I DON’T consider this a sport) champions such as Takeru Kobayashi who was until recently the Nathan’s champion, and Sonia, “The Black Widow” Thomas were in town for the event. Now we didn’t actually GO to watch (we could have but um….really, there are much better things to waste time on,) but since the event, some of our crew have been….inspired.

Which brings us to tonight. It is that time of year when the OG has brought back the “never ending pasta bowl,” which is affording my friends the perfect opportunity to engage in some competitive eating, and also not pay very much for it. Personally, I think this is gross. But it IS “Gross Food Monday,” and so I will go and watch. 

So far there have been only a few rules set down….winner is selected based on how many total bowls of pasta eaten, competitor has free choice of what kind of pasta ordered (which makes them have to think a bit. I wouldn’t suggest anything with alfredo,) and can choose whether or not to eat salad or bread (I wouldn’t do that, either.) The only two prohibitive rules we’ve come up with is that one must keep down all food until leaving the OG premises, and also that one is not allowed to engage in any pre game rituals that perhaps might be classified as ….”performance enhancers.” 

So, yeah. The return of GFM.  Life can be fun. You know,  sometimes, when some of you guys tell me that I do awesome things with my friends….and that you wished you live closer to participate? Probably rethinking that notion right about now, eh?

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i

August 6, 2007

This weekend found me in a (hot but) fantastic mood.  Saturday was perhaps the most perfect summer day ever.

Early morning found us at the Portland Farmer’s market, where we usually can be found on summer Saturday mornings. It might have just been me but the amount of gorgeous herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers seemed, well, just better than the previous weeks have been.  Not that past weeks have been poor, but this week just seemed….wonderful and colorful and there were so many people and vendors and wagons and carts….it was a good time.

Perhaps something that made this particular morning even better than most was the appearance of the season’s FIRST wild Maine blueberries, which I’m happy to report were sweet and lovely. I can’t wait to get more next week. Basically, what I do is just buy a pint a week, flash freeze them in my kitchen, and then save them for use all year round. Well, I usually run out by the new year, but they’ve been known to last into March.

I use them for all sorts of things, and find that frozen berries actually work better in baked/cooked goods like pancakes and muffins.  They seem to retain their shape better and also don’t “bleed” as much.

While you can get canned wild Maine blueberries, the fresh ones are better, but because they don’t travel particularly well, they’re not often seen outside of the state. But if you can try them fresh….mmmmmmmmm best blueberries ever.

We spent the rest of the day swimming and sunning and bbq’ing at the family pool of a friend of ours.  Incredible. I think S and I have decided that “large pool” is now currently in the dream list of things to have one day.  I’m sure there are a ton of things about that wish that will in reality be a pain in the ass, but it was so much fun to just chill out with friends being refreshed in the heat of a summer’s day.

How was your weekend????

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tis the season

July 2, 2007

I love that when we invite our friends over for a pizza party, some of them bring us big bags of lettuce that was plucked from the earth less than an hour prior to her arrival, AND it has the added bonus of having a mess of garlic scapes on the bottom of the bag for us to enjoy with our dinner tomorrow. I can’t wait to find out what they taste like!

I love that amazing things are coming from the earth right now. The fiddleheads have about passed us by, but we’re right in the midst of strawberry season. Next week I’ll buy around 5 or 6 quarts of them, save one for eating, and hull and freeze the rest of them so that we can have strawberry pancakes and margaritas and smoothies many times between now and next strawberry season.

Within the next few weeks all of the summer vegetables will become available, and as mother nature also likes to save the best for last, as the summer draws to a close, the sweetest treats ever are ready to be harvested. Maine blueberries are perhaps my favorite locally grown thing. I buy lots and lots of them to freeze – as a helpful baking hint, frozen berries work much better in pancakes and muffins.

What special things are unique to your corner of the globe?

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good eats

April 30, 2007

I know that some of you actually do work and live in on university campuses so this post will probably be yak inducing, but please, humor me for a few minutes anyway.

S, while not having a live in position, does work for a university. She, like all of the faculty and staff there get paid once a month. This is not usually a problem for us because I get paid weekly, so there aren’t huge gaps of time where we’re without cash flow. The same can not be said about other friends who don’t have alternate partner income to rely on, and so the last week of the month can be somewhat tight financially.

The university that S works at has two campuses. One is downtown, and I think, mostly commuter students go there, but there is also shuttle service to the other campus, which is mostly live-in, and about 30 minutes away from the city. It is where all the athletic buildings are, and residence halls, and typically looks like a college campus. S spends one day a week on this other campus, and often goes out there for events in the evenings. One night last week one of her students, a performance major, had his junior piano recital, and we went to show some support. We had decided to have dinner with our friend A, who works/lives on campus, but being that it was the end of the month, knew we were going to get some cheap eats.

Imagine our surprise when we got there and A said “Lets get some dinner -on me!” A took us to eat dinner at the dining hall. I hadn’t eaten dining hall food in over….12 or so years. I remember that my last encounter with dining hall food made me take up vegetarianism for about 3 years – I was game, but not really expecting anything wonderful, and I knew that worst case scenario I could always get a pb&j sandwich.

I was totally impressed with the offerings available. It seemed like it was “Thanksgiving” that evening, with roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sauteed green beans. All in small sized pans. No steam baths. Home made style. It was really really good. I believe it is part of the “Real Food on Campus” campaign, and it was great. In addition to the holiday like deliciousness, there was a dessert bar, and a pasta bar and a HUGE salad bar. Of course I had some jello for dessert, just for old times sake. But seriously. It was a relatively healthy (more beans, less stuffing) dinner, it was “free” (and even if we had to pay for it, it costs $8 for the whole meal) and the best part – I didn’t have to do any dishes.

My request to S? Next job? Live in…please!!!!!

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self satisfaction

April 23, 2007

The tell tale ring of orange dirt around my ankles that says “I’ve been playing softball” means one thing: Spring really is here.

Today was my first practice and I had a ton of fun. The weather was beautiful and it was awesome to be outside. I’m better in the field than I remembered, and all of the practice swings I’ve taken at the cages over the last few weeks well – besides getting my swing back – were kind of pointles, only because this is a slow pitch, high arcing type league, and I’ve never hit that kind of pitch before. I guess I’m just going to have to learn patience (ha) and wait for the pitch to actually reach me.

Also, for whatever reason, I was really missing my dad today. I decided to channel my inner Sicilian man and made one of his favorite easy dinners, sausage and peppers. I even threw on a Guinea T and boxer shorts while cooking to make it “more authentic” – in my head, anyway. And it was delicious. When I was a kid he would make this meal and serve it with pasta and crusty bread, and I remember digging out the inside of the pieces of bread and making little spaghetti, sausage and pepper sandwiches. It was as delicious tonight as it was all those years ago.