Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Would have Posted this Sooner, but...

Dear Boo,

So you know I have this deadline by which I'm supposed to be done with at least a rough draft of this play I'm writing. I basically had all summer to write it--3 whole months--which isn't that much when it comes to writing a play, but is certainly more than the 6 days I now find myself with. Now, I don't like to brag but I'm kind of a prodigy when it comes to procrastination. Not too many can hold a candle to the commitment, skill, and ingenuity I bring to the table. Basically, I'm kind of a big deal. Just as a sample, here's a few of the things I've done to avoid work in the past couple of weeks:

1) Watched a ton of Olympic events
2) Reenacted exciting moments from the Olympics that the Boyfriend may have missed.
3) Put on and taken off gym clothes multiple times (I've also actually gone to the gym a couple of times, but that's a whole other procrastination story.)
4) Cut my hair.
5) Sat on a rooftop drinking a bottle of Cristal borrowed from the home of a fugitive on the run from the FBI. Not joking. (Unless you work for the FBI, in which case I am.)
5) Read the following blogs:
Amateur Gourmet
The Wednesday Chef
The Girl Who Ate Everything
6) Checked and rechecked said blogs to see if they'd posted anything new.
7) Explored the Chamber of Commerce website for every small cute beach town within 200 miles of NYC.
8) Called a million hotels/motels/inns/b&bs to see if they'd consider offering a special asylum rate for one poor little girl being unfairly persecuted by a deadline.
9) Watched a marathon of Degrassi the Next Generation. SO good.
10) Thrown at least two fits.
11) Thought about vacuuming the carpet.
12) Read every word of a blog written by a girl I haven't seen since high school who writes exclusively about her new baby for the sake of her family members.
13) Watched Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and an infomercial hosted by erik estrada about a utopian community in Arkansas where I MAY or may not have bought a home at a cut-rate price.
14) Facebook. Nuff said.
15) Wrote a blog entry.

**At this point I'd like to draw attention to the fact that I started this post 5 days ago and can't seem to finish it.**

I wanted to end this post with a recipe since one of the best ways to procrastinate is to cook something elaborate and time consuming, or something like risotto which requires constant attention so while your Boyfriend (insert appropriate nomenclature here) says, "shouldn't you be working on that application/dissertation/expense report/new design for ass-less chaps" you can be all, "I would, if this risotto didn't require me to stand right here stirring constantly". HOWEVER, I have been too busy procrastinating to actually get to the whole cooking aspect of this blog.

Instead I offer you this handy procrastination tip, in place of a recipe: MENUPAGES. The ultimate time eater for the...eater.

One of my favorite ways to waste time is to play the find-a-restaurant Game. Ask me for a not-too-expensive-but-still-sharp-and-appropriate-for-dinner-with-parents-Mediterranean-restaurant-on-the-upper-west-side and I'll happily jump on this site for initial research supplemented by NY Magazine and NY Times and Chowhound reviews for hours of wasted pleasure. By the way, the answer is Kefi.

(Just yesterday, I played this game when our Uncle (the first foodie I ever knew) and our family friends (of the tomato revelation fame) were looking for a place on the Lower East Side near Rockwood where they could eat before your gig. I settled on Little Giant, a fantastic restaurant tucked away on Orchard Street where A.Mac. and I went for one of our secret don't-tell-anyone-we're-splurging-on-this-meal dinners. I plan to treat myself to a dinner here when I finally meet this deadline. Or finish this blog post--whichever comes first.)

The Mouse

Hungry For More?
There's nothing better than watching awkward Martha Stewart say things like "hairy balls". And there's nothing better than Youtube for wasting 3 minutes (read: hours) of time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Worth the Weight*

Dear Mouse,

Remember when we took that road trip (ahem, intervention to pry me from Los Angeles) across the country? And the WHOLE time I was like, 'Where are the moose? I wanna see a moose! Where are all the moose?' and then, FINALLY, we turned a corner in the middle of Yellowstone and all these cars were lined up at the side of the road to check out this, well, basically this blot down the river, silhouetted against the sun, but you could totally see the antlers even from far away, and everyone took pictures even though we knew it wouldn't look like anything?

It was awesome. Totally satisfying.

I have a friend who lives pretty much by a theory of Delayed Gratification, that all Joy in life is made much more Joyful if it does not come easy or too soon.

Yep, I think I'm gonna let that sentence stand.

Anyhoo, even since way before entering the era of conscious diet restriction I have known that this idea applies to nothing else so well as all things Snackworthy. For example, I know that I will never forget the toasted whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, bananas and honey and the hazelnut coffee with cream that I had in 1998, around 7AM, at a yuppified coffee joint in Jackson Hole, WY that happened to be open when we rolled into town. It was the road trip TO Los Angeles and I had been sleeping on the ground, fighting with my then-paramour, and eating canned soup and Folger's crystals for a week and a half. I remember every detail of that breakfast. It was pouring, we were wet and cold and my back was sore. The place had a porch and warm yellow light. I think there's a picture somewhere of me holding this sandwich and basically weeping with joy. Seriously, I JUST told someone that story YESTERDAY and it happened TEN years ago.

One of the best things about the current restrictive diet has been the surreptitious and occasional eating of Forbidden Foods. And no, not only because they are forbidden and I am basically still an adolescent. But because I have discovered, in some cases, how much more I actually like/appreciate them when they are not an everyday occurrence (the transcendent bacon/egg bagel I had yesterday!), and, surprisingly, in other cases, how I dont' actually really like or need them that much (potatoes! and gasp!! - regular pasta). Pretty much the only thing I KNOW I cannot live without is milk in my coffee, and I have come to accept that as proof of something meant to be. If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, you probably aren't that lactose intolerant.

Finally, wasn't your soft shell crab roll at Souen tonight SO much better when the kitchen totally forgot about it and we had to wait, like, 25 extra minutes? (Maybe not.)

And... this reminds me rather... of that steak marinade I made.

I had a free Saturday morning and the Farmer's Market had 5 ears of corn for $2!! and there was a small package of steak in my fridge, a bottle of maple syrup, and some other stuff. I hadn't cooked in weeks, I think... and maybe it was that delay that gave rise to a new frontier for the Boo... not only cooking something well according to someone else's recipe, but Making Some S*T Up Herself!! I wondered when I'd do that.

Basically, I made your corn salad, though I had no jalapeno and lime. Instead I mixed in a little fresh basil pesto I bought at the market, from a stand that makes a version with walnuts and WITHOUT cheese!! (I of course can't remember the name. Will find.) Then I cut up the eye-of-round steak in my fridge into strips and put it in a plastic bag with the following :

Steak Marinade
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
generous Pinch of 'Pride of Szgedo' Steak Rub (from Whole Foods) or make up some combination of cayenne, salt, pepper, other stuff
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Taste it. Mess around with it.

I let it sit a half hour in the fridge before pan-frying it (3 min on each side, turn once.. I turned too often and it was a little chewy), but I bet it'd be way better marinating overnight. If , of course, you can wait that long. :-)


The Boo

Monday, August 18, 2008

Michael Phelps Could Eat You For Breakfast

Dear Boo,

I had heard tales of the 12,000 calories Michael Phelps consumes per day but it really is hard to fathom without seeing it all laid out in front of you. Watch this video of a UK journalist from the Guardian attempting to go bite for bite. One tip for you, sir, it might be easier going down if you SWAM EIGHT HOURS A DAY. Just a thought.

Someone give this guy a sandwich. He looks hungry.

xo, The Mouse

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Tomato Revelation.

Dear Boo,

Not that this is THAT kind of blog, but yesterday I happened to have a full-on breathe into a paper bag panic attack about my life, generally speaking. Tweren't pretty. After some time and some soothing words from the Boyfriend, I pulled it together and stopped contemplating selling my belongings and moving to Bolivia. Phew.

Still a little loopy, I headed uptown to tend to some house-sitting responsibilities I have while our family friends are away on vacation. They have a beautifully lush garden on their rooftop terrace and I had agreed to water the plants and feed the cat in exchange for all the tomatoes and peppers I could harvest for myself. Good deal. I arrived to the sound of Yankee meowing at me for attention and purring as he wove between my shins. I stepped outside into the afternoon sun and breathed in sweet lavender and peppery basil.

But it was the tomatoes, impossibly red globes that were warm to the touch with that green earthy smell that only tomato plants have, that turned something back on inside me. I popped one of the cherries in my mouth and smiled. I was breathing slower. I felt the sun on my face. This is good, I thought. How much can life suck when tomatoes like this exist?

I offer you these pics of my tomato fantasia. Bookmark this page for when you're feeling blue. I plan to return to it myself some time in the depths of December when I really need it.

The boyfriend and I had plans to go out for arepas but after this, how could I not cook something to showcase these beauties? First I halved some of the larger cherries, leaving the smaller ones whole. That's basil from the farmer's market there too.
Next I sliced up some onion and minced a couple of cloves of garlic. I poured some olive oil in my nice big pan and tossed them in to sautee.
After a little time in the pan and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper, I threw the tomatoes in and tossed over medium/low heat for a hot minute or two. With tomatoes as fresh and perfect as these, I just wanted them to soften and sweeten a bit, not cook fully.
Meanwhile, I boiled some rigatoni (penne would work well too) and chopped up the basil. To the tomatoes I added some more oil, s&p, and a little red pepper flakes for good measure. I cubed a fist-sized ball of fresh mozzarella, and then on a tip from the resourceful folks over at America's Test Kitchen, I put it the cheese in the freezer for a couple of minutes to keep it from turning into one big lump of fused gum when it hit the pasta. Good idea.

Once the pasta was done, I drained it and then tossed it into the pan with the tomatoes, a little of the pasta liquid, a little more oil, and finally the mozzarella. Mixed it all gently together (as the pan was pretty full at this point) til the cheese started to melt a bit. Then I added the basil and grated some parmesan on top. Perfect summer pasta--flavorful, light, and full of those life-affirming tomatoes. Served with a chicken pesto sausage. Delicious. Food for the slightly needy soul.

The Mouse

Hungry for More?

The Times has a recipe for Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce which is similar if a tad bit more sophistocated (words like "gremolata" are involved, but don't be scared--it's still easy). Another good use for many pounds of tomatoes is bruschetta (made it the night after this pasta), and all kinds of variations on salsa fresca to top steak or fish (making it tonight).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Half-Assed Poll Results are In!

Dear Mouse, 

Looks like five of our readers a) know that we have polls and b) vote in them, which kind of info was the sneaky aim of my creating the "What is the Point of our Polls" Poll.

Official Finding:  People know that the point is to create debate and chitchat in the AMB commnity.

Unofficial Finding: The AMB community is five people. (No, I know there are more.) And also that the polls have not yet 'taken off' , as it were. 

What if we asked our readers to come up with a poll idea? Like, something food-related they want to throw out for debate? 

I can always run a poll on that to see if it's a good idea...

The Boo
P.S. I'm going to amend my Juice entry from a while back to say that I think Liquiteria on 2nd Ave tops them all. Best value, really... take a couple of bottles home and they'll get you through a few mornings. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Spell Check

Dear Boo,

I will forgive you for not having your camera with you to capture "Snacks" man (aka my future husband) if you can forgive me for posting this even though it has very little to do with food. I just think misspellings are really funny. In fact, I was just having a conversation at dinner tonight about how I'm thinking of starting a proofreading company for restaurant menus (the one we were at tonight featured a "vebetable sautee"). In our hometown, Hunan East had a menu item which was described as something-something "with BREAD CRAP." Hours of enjoyment, people. HOURS. Note from Boo: But what were they trying to spell?

So you can imagine my delight when, walking through Union Square the other day, I was handed this flier: (you can skip to the last sentence if you're impatient. it's the kicker)

I'll show YOU some glorious feet:*

(Incidentally, when handed this flier I had just bought the most gorgeous and delicious blackberries at the Greenmarket. See?

Go get some. Now. $7 for a box of blueberries and one of blackberries.
Note: How come the last time I went for the "2 for $7" I had MoldBerries?

So I guess everything really does come back to food. Ah, just as it should be.)

The Mouse

*Little known fact that The Boo is actually a Ford foot model. No joke. I'd post a pic of her feet but those tootsies don't get out of bed for less than $10,000. Note: On behalf of Nonpracticing Foot Models everywhere, I say go girl.

Je ne regrette rien

Dear Mouse,

Yesterday I saw a guy in the subway who had the word "SNACKS" in gothic font tattooed on his forearm.

Can you ever forgive me for not having my camera handy?

The Boo

P.S. Remind me that we need to go eat a burger here after August 25 (Shakespeare Lab showcase at the Public),  when I can cut loose a little.  My friend says they have a burger WITH CHEESE INSIDE IT.