Archives for category: Ramblings

If there ever was a creature of habit, it’s me. In terms of breakfast at least. Last year I had soy yogurt with super-kashi-seven-whole-grain-healty-cereal, this year it’s an apple with peanut butter. There is truly nothing better than an apple with peanut butter. Truly. And it has to be just so. Gala apple (or Honeycrisp, those are good too.) and Santa Cruz dark-roasted crunchy peanut butter. No other kind of peanut butter will do. And NEVER creamy. Never. It’s goodness is in the crisp, tart apple against the salty crunchy peanut butter, the unpredictable peanut bits alongside the consistent apple. It’s heaven. And I’m horribly addicted.

Whenever I can’t think of anything good to make for lunch (although yesterday I made pumpkin olive tapenade and it was delicious in a big way, toaster oven-ed on a pita with a little feta..) I think “Well, I could have an apple and peanut butter… there’s protein in that…” Not feeling inspired by dinner time, “Perhaps I could have some carrots and… and apple with peanut butter.” So I’ve been (half-heartedly) trying to diversity, starting with these, erm, tasty muffins (I changed the recipe a lot…) They made you feel so self righteous (flax, bran, whole wheat, apples, bananas- all in one muffin) that they tasted good. Butter helped too. And yesterday I got “Vita Tops,” a frozen prepared food that I sort of hate myself for buying, but seeing as someone was clever enough to realize that everyone likes the top of muffins best and made bottom-less (hm…) muffins, I just had to have them in my life. And my other new favorite food fad? I’m almost embarrassed to say, it’s so New College hippie kid-ariffic. Let me preface by saying our campus coffee shop/cafe (Four Winds, which I love, but not as much as One World, which I miss) is totally vegetarian, so I’m convinced that eating there is somehow subconsciously indoctrinating me into a terrifying and meat-less state. Anyway, their food, albeit free of any “real” food, is pretty durn’ tasty. Vegan cinnamon rolls are shockingly good, I have no idea how anything baked sans butter is good, they must’ve figured out how to make dandelions butter or something creepy like that. And the quiche, although it makes me miss my momma the quiche-eater, is really good fare, you can sort of pretend it’s cold outside while you dig into your hot cheesy quiche. And one day I ordered “the Armenian Hare” a pita with hummus and veggies (sounds dull, I know) but plus cream cheese. And it was so good! Somehow hummus and cream cheese together are far far far greater than the sum of their parts. So the Anne-Armenian Hare: hot pita, cream cheese first, hummus on top of that, mix together, sprouts, baby spinach, cucumber, S&P. Mmmm…. so veggie-hippie-chick-yoga-licious, so offensive to my rare-steak-loving-soul, but so so so good.

Also… gelato. There is an amazingly amazing gelateria in Sarasota. Stupidly called “Jolly’s.” I can’t remember what my flavor was called, but it was basically custard-eggnog-sabayon-ihavenoidea-butitwasthebestthingever. Alex had that, whatever that was, I had a little of that and a little Baci (those Italian dark chocolate and hazelnut truffles with the silver wrappers?) and Ariana had a milk chocolate hazelnut, Nutella-y tasty little one. We ate our gelato, then sat in the cafe for an hour, looking pathetically wistfully at the pastry case stocked with creamy cannoli and extravagant cakes, tiny tarts piled with glossy fruit and little meringues covered in chocolate. We finally tore ourselves away, but I have a feeling the gelato (…and cannoli) will bring us back real real soon.

I’ve been worrying lately. “What am I going to do with my life” kind of worry. But this blog, New York Kitchen, makes me feel better. These kitchens feel so familiar. The stainless steel counters and crappy pans and piles of plates and rows of knives and white jackets and miles of labels and plastic cutting boards are all things I know well. It’s strangely comforting to see a photo of this badass tatted New York chef drinking ice water out of a quart container, just like I do, just like everyone in a hot restaurant kitchen does. I like knowing that every kitchen will have the same NSE pans and whisks and spatulas, that every chef will yell for nine and six and half pans and I’ll know what they’re talking about. I like that everyone has the same linen-service jackets, pockets jammed with pens, sharpies, and thermometers, an apron tied over it all.

Dad was telling me about a book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, written by this guy who at one point was an apprentice to an electrician and took a trip to India. He felt lost there until he stumbled upon a job site mid-wiring, and he could understand what was going on. I like that. I like that cooking is a craft. That it can be packed up in your skill set luggage and taken anywhere with a restaurant. Whenever people talk about being a nurse, a pro is always “you can work anywhere.” …People eat everywhere too.

So I worry what I’ll do when I’m “grown-up.” I’m scared of leaving this pan-handled state, I’m scared of no longer being a student like I have been for a decade plus, I’m scared of choosing the wrong place to live, I’m scared of fumbling around in the world without a purpose. But wherever I go, whenever I go, there will be these same kitchens, same tongs and tickets and jackets and ovens and food and people in white jackets.

I haven’t posted in a hideously long time. Because. I have been:
-Going to work like a little working thing.
-Reading confusing books that make me feel funny for Buddhism class.
-Reading dull books about Sumerians for History class.
-Making challah. Then making French toast with what may be the driest loaf of bread on this planet.
-Trying to make sabayon ten times and never succeeding and almost crying at work. And also wasting enough eggs to make an omlette the size of New Hampshire.
-Making it ok-ish at home and pouring it over a tart crust made out of Thomas K’s cookie dough and peaches.
-Roasting a chicken for the first time.
-Drinking iced tea at Fogglifter.
-Hanging out with the very missed Redmonds.
-Eating pounds and pounds of cherries.
-Trying to re-create the Spanish bocadillo with baguettes and salami and a lot of butter.
-Fretting about moving to a kitchen-less dorm and looking up those stand-alone gas burners.
-Talking to G on the phone about our imaginary future pie shop, “Annabelle and Sweet G’s.”
-Mooning over Kitchen-Aids. They have an ice cream maker attachment AND a pasta maker attachment.
-Reading in Saveur about markets and dreaming of becoming a joyous strawberry farmer.

1. 5,000 blog hits and counting! Yahoo! To celebrate I made anna-panna-cotta. Followed my ice cream idol, David Lebovitz’ recipe. (His twitter is pretty good value.) Made it in bunches of little glasses and teacups. Though popping them out of their makeshift molds seems the traditional thing to do, I like leaving a little room at the top, then putting whichever topping right in the glass and eating it straight outta there. A few weeks ago I thought, hm, I bet you could reduce real-sugar-mexi Coke into a really sugary yummy sauce and put it on panna cotta. NOPE. Turns into tar. Too lazy to make a real sauce, so I blended strawberries, OJ, brown sugar, and cinnamon and poured it on top. Real good then.

2. I got the coolest friggin’ book. On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. (Having looked it up on Amazon I now feel very ripped off and want to order it online and return my copy. Supporting the local economy, supporting the local economy, independent booksellers need love too, soothing myself.) Chef Eric of Nectar lore had recommended it long ago, but I kind of may have forgotten about it. Hoping to find a rogue copy of Ad Hoc at Home at the McCall bookshop, I saw it and decided I needed that giant book in my life. EXCELLENT PURCHASE. Especially for me, little curiosity-kins. As my dad knows from first-hand irritation, I’ve got a lot of questions. A lot of which are too obscure to articulate into Google-able form. McGee’s getting me all straightened out. It’s got everything. I’m on the milk chapter. We’ve covered the history of milk and dairy products, kinds of cows, yak butter, milk molecules, and I’m only four pages in. Flip to any page and you’ll get why an egg gets hard when you cook it, why animal muscles taste the way they do, how ice cream works at a molecular level, and so on and so on, a veritable bible for the culinarily curious.

p.s. Wondering why I’m blogging so much lately? Online summer school, procrastination, boredom. Perfect blogging storm.

Hah! I found these highly amusing. Yet also very sensical.
Reminded me of “doggles.” (Yes, they’re what you’re thinking.)

FRENCH TOAST. Gawd, I love french toast. I would eat it all day. I read about savory french toast, and I almost did it, but my maple-love… I just couldn’t. But… it was for lunch. So I turned it into a french toast PB&J (dipped in syrup, clearly.) Hot mama! Good! Almost as good as cold-leftover-pancake-PB&J. THAT is some good stuff. Those two pancakes no one could stuff down, but don’t really deserve a fridge spot? About 1 o’clock… blam. PB&J pancakes. (French toast memories: 1. French Toast Wednesdays. Pop used to make french toast every wednesday morning. And there was some secret ingredient that was finally revealed to me, and now I’ve forgotten it. Fool! 2. My dear, lovely, pixie-hair-cutted, tiny, Australian friend Genia, aka “G,” and I were at her house long ago as tiny chaps, and we were both jonesing hard fore some f. toast, but were bread-less. So we cut off the tops and bottoms of hamburger buns and sallied forth. G will be surprised that I remember this–I forget everything–while she has a memory bank the size of Antarctica. It’s seriously impressive, she will remember your cute shoes from the first day of seventh grade and compliment you seven years later. And thus concludes Nostalgia Hour.)

CHICKPEAS. Are good. Are they beans? I don’t want to google it and ruin the intrigue. The rockin’ blogger Bitchin’ Camero (fo’ reals, that’s her blog. How rad!?) makes tons and tons of tasty tasty things. She is from whence roasted squash and chorizo pasta came. Anyway. Chickpea and bread soup! (I just realized why I love chickpeas so much. Just say the name a couple times. It’s so cute.) Pan roasted chickpeas (LOUD, popping about the pan like rowdy little guys.) and beef stock and bread. With cheese on top, under the broiler a la French onion soup. Mm so cozy and warm and soupy and salty and just good. And today I made a chickpea salad for lunch: chickpeas, tuna, celery, onions, and the summery little Mexican; cilantro. Ate it on a dock, lackadaisically gazing out at lake and mountains, chatting with SD.

LA BREA. La Brea, who are you? You producer of good bread for the masses? Are you Jesus? La Brea bread; it’s in the grocery store, its probably on your plate at restaurants, it’s certainly in your heart and stomach. The La Brea baguette is just. PERFECT. You can get them at the grocery store, warm it up in the oven, and fill your world with joy. Currently the bread drawer holds a loaf (…half a loaf) of rosemary olive oil crusty bread. It was toast with cream cheese (um… and butter…) late last night as I tried to mash together a paper on a Buddhist parable. (Summer school. Reading “The Inferno” and “What The Buddha Taught” at the same time can really squash one’s brain about.) This morning it was a companion to my daily yogurt. Tonight it was garlic bread. (Alongside grilled chicken and pea-radish-mozzarella salad.)

MAMA VINAIGRETTE. (that’s spelled weird…) My mom is Salad Queen. (Green, pasta, potato, and otherwise.) For lunches she somehow cobbles together the crisper drawer into the best salads on the whole earth. And for dinners she whips out these far-beyond run-of-the-mill salads full of tasty little morsels. You know when salads have too much lettuce and not enough “junk”? Mom’s got the perfect ratio. The Golden Mean of salads. And she always makes her own vinaigrette (Wow ok, spell checker says thats how it’s spelled, I don’t like it. Should be “vinagrette.”) I’ve pilfered her recipe and I don’t like anything on salads but Mama Vinagrette. Many dressings out there in the world are either: too creamy (makes your salad wilty and squishy and makes us lactose babies queasy), too sweet (think “Our house huckleberry vin! It’s tasty!”), or too oily (blech.) Mama’s dressing is none of these things. It’s just pure goodness. And no, I’m not giving you the recipe. (You gotta love the tupperware.)