Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Top Ten (+1)

Dear Boo,

Aren't you kind of shocked that our mother didn't email this Times article about the 11 healthiest foods to us with the message:
Is it a sure sign that I'm turning into her that I'm the one doing the emailing instead? Maybe. How about the fact that I went out and made dinner with 3 of these ingredients the day I read this? Yep, thought so. Just call me Maxo.

While I shopped for my life-saving groceries, I got to thinking about my own personal 11 food list, which looks a little different. Here goes.

The foods that about 85% of the time, I would rather drop what I'm doing and eat:

1) Potato chips. I'm inclined towards salt and vinegar but I wouldn't kick a sour cream and onion or bbq out of bed either.

2) French Fries. I'm sensing a theme here. I like em salty, hot, and crispy, but honestly I'll eat them cold if it comes to that. I love the spicy curly fry, or anything with a multitude of dipping sauces is seductive. Ketchup remains my ultimate but sometimes I cheat on it with that hussy mayonnaise. I know, you hate it.

3) A really good caesar salad. The strong garlicky dressing with a good right hook of saltiness and tang from the anchovies, brightened up with a splash of lemon, all over crispy cold romaine. Unexpectedly, one of my favorite late night eats. Don't ask.

4) Pizza--I'm talking the good stuff here: Totonnos in Coney Island, the proscuitto/arugula pizza at Otto, or Highland Pizza in our hometown where they used to make my sad little childhood allergic self a cheeseless slice while I leaned over the counter and watched. OR if it's 3am and I'm slightly off balance, a slice from Crispy Pizza around the corner from me. Note from the Boo: Hello - Don Pepi's in Penn Station? and (hamana, hamana, whatever its name is) on 14th and 9th Av... perfeection.)

5) Crusty french bread (preferably warm) with butter. The stuff of the gods. Do you really need me to justify this one?

6) Tuna on a bagel. Talk about good for what ails you. I should have added this to the list of morning-after foods, but really, it's good any time. I like mine on an everything bagel. Remember when you worked at "The Bagel Dish" in our home town and you got fired for bad slicing technique? ha.

7) Nim Chow. Am I spelling this right? These vietnamese summer rolls were everywhere in Providence and during college I would often get a serving of 2 for lunch for something like $4. Today, the best I've found for my fix is at Nha Trang on Baxter Street (Get the salt and pepper shrimp while you're there. You'll thank me). Always eat them with a little chili sauce, and a lot of the nuoc cham sauce with crushed peanuts that's ubiquitous in Vietnamese cooking.

8) Pasta with Tomato Sauce. I know you're a serious fan of this one too. I'll go for any pasta, but spaghetti is really the most satisfying and reminds me of childhood. Plus you can twirl up on your fork all the flavors of tomato, garlic, basil, cheese and pasta all tangled together into one perfect steaming bite. ahhh.

9) Sushi. There's really nothing like a good spicy tuna roll from Yama where they use a big delicious slice of fish and just dab the spicy sauce on top--none of that mashed up day old crap. I'm really broken up about this whole mercury in tuna thing because as you can see it makes it onto my list twice. The thing about sushi is that it's the one food I can fully love without any guilt about it being not so great for me. So quit the shenanigans, Tuna, you're ruining my buzz.

10) Pretty much anything Grandma used to make. Roast chicken with apricot jam, corn fritters, minnie's rollups (a sort of crepe stuffed with leftover ground seasoned meat, lying in wait at the bottom of the freezer to be loaded into the trunk of any unsuspecting visiting relative), chicken soup, and chocolate chip cookies with just enough salt to make your mouth water with anticipation of the next melty chocolate bite.

11) Harry's Cupcakes. I hesitated including this on my list, but I DID stop right in my tracks to taste one of these. As you'll remember, we were walking (with two wheelie suitcases our mother had purchased and inexplicably foisted upon us for some unknown future trip we'll apparently be taking) up Broadway when on the corner of 9th street were stopped by the appeals of a woman with her small child (Harry) who were selling homemade cupcakes. Harry ran down the list of our options: chocolate/chocolate, chocolate/vanilla, vanilla/chocolate, and vanilla/vanilla. I ask you, how can you NOT drop whatever you're doing when a small cute boy NAMED HARRY offers you a cupcake he's made HIMSELF, and is selling ON THE STREET, to earn his ALLOWANCE. I challenge you not to. You heartless bitch. And by the way, they were DELICIOUS.

So, what's your list?

The Mouse

In an attempt to make up for all the swilling of alcohol and eating of copious amounts of pork and beef over the holiday weekend, I give you a
Sautee of Swiss Chard (1), Sweet Potatoes*, Red Onion, and Pumpkin Seeds(2) with soy sauce and a sprinkling of cinnamon (3).

*If you want to up the health score on this one you could sub beets for the potatoes, in which case I'd say use balsamic vinegar for the sauce instead of soy. disregard the whole eating beets raw thing. that's just crazy.

Here's how it went:

Peel and chop two sweet potatoes into cubes. Place in large sautee pan with enough water to just almost cover. Cook over high heat with lid on pot until potatoes become tender.
Drain water, add olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, one very thinly sliced red onion, salt and pepper, and a good sprinkling of cinnamon. Sautee until potatoes are fully cooked and slightly browned.
Add chopped swiss chard, a bit more olive oil, a dash of rice vinegar, and a good dousing of soy sauce.
Toss ingredients and put lid on pot long enough to wilt/steam swiss chard. Taste and reseason. Just before serving, sprinkle with handful of pumpkin seeds. Feel virtuous.


Anonymous said...

Loved this Ms. Mousie...I laughed and mentally ate through every item on the is that possible when I am still full from such a deliious Boobirthday dinner!

Having read through the NYT's recipe for the perfect chip cookie, I was quite impressed that Grandma used salt in hers and how casually you mentioned same...I only remember her adding salt to the coffee grounds before plugging in the percolator! So their secret ingredient...must have been standard and deleted when everyone learned to avoid salt?

vicki said...

and what about Harry? did you get his recipe? and what about 4-11? next entry's meal? looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

just about any sandwich is better with an everything bagel -- except for maybe a pb&j, which goes much better on a cinnamon raisin bagel. I especially like a good egg and cheese (just your basic processed yellow cheese) on an everything bagel. also, happens to be my favorite greasy breakfast hangover cure.

Arlene said...

Oh man...I totally forgot about the 'salt in the coffee' thing. I'm definitely going to start doing that!
Absolutely love your list...potato chips (plain only for me), pizza (a totally perfect food), a good, crusty bread and butter (total perfection and the 'snack food of choice from the grandma), french fries (Quatoze on 79th Street, Jubilee on 54th and of course Pastis and Balthazar...yum), tuna on a bagel (well done sesame or plain)...excellent choices for, love the blog!

The Mouse said...

Yes, Boo, I had Don Pepi's listed but then took it out in the interest of my upcoming "Culinary Tour of Penn Station" entry! way to blow the surprise. sheesh.

Alix said...

Nam chow! I have yet to find a half way decent substitute for Asian Paradise's version anywhere in America or Canada.

The Boo said...


annie mac said...

why can't i find a tuna bagel in nyc that can compete with the ones from bagel gourmet? i'm serious. help!

The Mouse said...

Murray's. on 6th ave and 13th. or on 8th ave and 22nd. Think they come in as a close second...