I’m reading a book by Isabel Allende* about food and sex for one of my concepting classes. It’s not assigned reading, although my account planner wanted me to read it so I could “get inspired” (our client for this week is Durex) and get into the mindset of older women (we’re targeting cougars).
While I was expecting (and got) the usual cheesiness (no pun intended) that comes with any discussion around eroticism and food, I certainly wasn’t prepared for arroz con leche to be taken to a whole new level:
I can’t imagine a more sensual or delicious desert. This recipe will serve eight normal people, but in my eyes it’s a crime to make less. I’m capable of devouring it at one sitting without blinking an eye, and I don’t see why it should be any different in your case, my dear reader.
Okay, sure. Likewise, my recipe makes a bucketload of it and it’s pretty delicious.
But if you can’t finish, you can keep it in the refrigerator, then, should you be in a good mood, you can cover your lover from head to foot with this mouthwatering arroz con leche and slowly lick it off. On such an occasion the calories are justified.
Uh. I don’t care if it sounds sexier in Spanish. And while I usually make gratuitous pants references about any delicious food (guilty), it’s a sign of appreciation, not what I physically want to do with it (apart from eat it.)
RICE PUDDING IS NOT BODY COVERINGS. Rice pudding is gloopy and chunky and occasionally has cinnamon sticks in it if you’re too lazy to pick them out.
Most importamente, RICE PUDDING IS HEARTWARMING AND COMFORTING AND HAPPY PLATONIC FAMILY THOUGHTS.
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, I CALL IT HORCHATA-FLAVOURED BABY FOOD. BABY FOOD!!!
* As a book, it’s not that bad. She talks a lot about using food to evoke memories, appreciating food by chewing slowly and paying attention to it, and planning your meals so that they’re balanced for the palate. It’s just when she tries to weave sex into everything, it sounds a lot better on paper than if it was manifested in real life. Like feeding oysters to your partner with your mouth. What’s erotic about being a mama bird to someone?
** Also, the use of food during sex is actually a really bad idea. E. coli is one of the most abundant bacteria on the human body, so feeding it any form of sugar is basically asking for an infection. Yes, the type of infection that also sounds strangely food-related.
(Breakfast tacos aren’t hard to make because all you’re doing is putting things into tortillas. But sometimes I’m not so good with improvising, especially before breakfast, so I’m writing this down so I can remember it.)
Breakfast tacos, “get your ass out of bed and line up for fresh tortillas” version
Serves 1. Sorry.
- 4 fresh corn tortillas. The little ones. You know, the ones you make tacos with.
- About half a cup of longaniza, sliced. Or the length of your middle finger. If you have long fingers.
- 1/4 of a spanish (red) onion, finely chopped.
- 1/2 a jalapeño, sliced. Keep the seeds if you can hack it.
- 1 egg, beaten with a dash of milk.
- Large handful of kale leaves.
Prepare the kale: Wash and dry the kale. Tear into small pieces and toss through some olive oil. Place in a single layer on a tray and bake (we have one of those little toaster ovens) at 200ºC / 400ºF for 8 minutes. We’re not trying to make kale chips here, so don’t over-bake them.
In the meantime, heat up a large frying pan over medium heat and toast your tortillas until they are oh-so-slightly crispy on the outside. Leave these in the warm pan until you’re ready to serve.
Heat another pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and throw in the longaniza. Cook for about two minutes and break it apart into a mince. Add the Spanish onion and cook for another five minutes or so, then throw in the jalapeños and cook for a further two minutes. Set aside.
Then, using the same pan, scramble the eggs — be sure to break them apart and that they’re not runny. We’re not going for Sunday brunch eggs.
Tacos, assemble!: Divide the longaniza + onions onto each tortilla, then dollop with the eggs. Grab a small amount of crispy kale and nestle on top, before folding in half and shoving them into your mouth for some serious breakfast awesome.
I’ve just realised that I haven’t had a single freaking steak, let alone a perfectly cooked medium rare porterhouse, since I’ve moved Stateside.
Someone fix this please. Like right now.
sunday brunch on stylish steroids — nolita, new york city. photo by yours truly.
Cafe Gitane was one of my favourites in New York. The coffee is spectacular. The food doesn’t scream at you but certainly makes you double take.
I just wish I could turn the hurry and flurry down a couple of notches. Almost everyone was going everywhere, talking to someone, reading a paper, browsing on their phones, or all of the above, all at once. Hey, people. There is great food in front of you. Slo-o-o-o-w down.
Admittedly, I’m not that much better. I certainly don’t do the phone thing (it’s one of my biggest peeves, especially when other people are present) but when eating alone, I tend to read or have music in the background. So I’m learning how to enjoy a distraction-free breakfast.
Believe it or not, it makes food more delicious when you’re looking at what you’re eating and noticing the flavours. I’m sure it does wonders for your digestion too, but that’s something my mother would say and then I’d have to agree with her.
Or perhaps the new scrambled egg method really is that much better.
Primero, Jonathan Safran Foer did not convince me to become vegetarian. My body did.
New York is a great city for food, but when on a budget and in a rush, there is a tendency to go for the tastiest, fastest, and often least healthy food option out there — most of them involving a ton of meat and not a lot of greens.
After the indulgent week in New York of
- Diving into 10 oz burgers (with bacon, of course) at 11 pm
- Giant chocolate-and-peanut-butter-laden cookies
- Crab meat and pork dumplings
- Bagels stuffed with two eggs, cheese, ham AND bacon
- Some form of alcohol every night, and
- Inconsistent meal times
…the flight back to SFO was punctuated with strange pains in my abdomen.
So I’ve decided to give vegetarianism a chance. For a week, that is. (C’mon, giving up porchetta forever? That’s crazy talk.)
Now that I’m a little older, better informed (on the nutrition front), and living in a herbivore-friendly city, this should translate into a more enjoyable and fainting-spell-free experiment. It also doesn’t hurt that frijoles are only 79 cents a pound at Casa Lucas.
is there anything rice can’t do? maybe i’m just biased ‘cause i’m chinese.
if you have never had the pleasure of spooning gloopy delicious latin peoples rice pudding into your mouth, then brace yourself.
[insert comment full of sexual innuendo about pants and rice pudding.]
arroz con leche (rice with milk, i.e. rice pudding)
serves a bunch. recipe adapted from secret brown source.
- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- large pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of lime zest
- 1 can of evaporated milk (375 ml / 12 fl oz)
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 1/2 cup of caster sugar
- 2 generous tablespoons of raw honey
- ground cinnamon, to taste
bring 4 cups of the water to boil, then add the rice, cinnamon stick, salt, and lime zest. simmer at low heat, stirring occasionally.
when the rice is al dente, add the evaporated milk, whole milk, sugar and honey. bring to just under a boil and then simmer until desired gloopiness / runniness is achieved.
serve warm or cold with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
i freaking love almond croissants. especially the ones at thorough bread with crusty almond meal on the top, delicious almond meal custard inside (but not too much), and crispy flakey bits that fall on your shirt and you have to pick them up with icing sugar dusted fingers. which leaves you looking like someone who failed tremendously at doing a line of coke.
a few things to note:
- i won’t lie, this is an epic recipe in the effort department.
- you can buy creme anglais, but it’s probably best to make it yourself — all you need is patience. and the best part is licking your fingers at the end because it tastes like MELTED ICE CREAM.
- if you can’t get your hands on stale almond croissants then no sweat. but make sure they’re not straight-out-of-the-oven fresh. mainly because it’s a waste of a fresh croissant, but also because it won’t absorb the custard as well. just leave them out at room temperature for a few hours.
almond croissant pudding with creme anglaise
modified from a recipe by valli little — serves 6-8
- 4 day-old almond croissants, torn into large chunks
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
- 300ml / 10 fl oz / 1+1/5 cup milk (we used raw milk)
- 300ml / 10 fl oz / 1+1/5 cup thin cream - you can also use heavy whipping cream, which for some reason seems to be the only available cream in the states.
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
- 2 tablespoons of brandy (optional)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 1 cup (250ml) thin cream
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
grease the base and sides of a 1 litre / 9” x 5” terrine or loaf pan, and line with baking paper. pack the croissants into the terrine or pan, then set aside.
whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until just combined. place the milk, cream and vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan over low heat and bring to just below boiling point, then gradually pour the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
add the orange zest and brandy, and whisk well to combine. pour the mixture over the croissants and stand at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the custard to soak in - this will make for a lighter pudding.
while you’re waiting, make the creme anglais:
lightly beat yolks in a bowl. place milk, cream, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. pour hot milk mixture over egg, whisking constantly, then return to the pan over very low heat. stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 5-6 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. pour into a jug, cover surface closely with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming, then chill until needed.
preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF. bake the pudding for 45 minutes until just set and golden on top — cover with foil if browning too quickly. remove the pudding from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then turn out and slice.
drizzle with creme anglais, and face dive.