Then you join me.
Pretty soon we all find ourselves
Shouting praises for frozen custard.” —from mcsweeneys
an idea i had on the train, back in sydney:
a community-driven site / app featuring a year-long, weekly calendar detailing the produce available in your local area (e.g., central new south wales coast, marin county, even okinawa) for that particular time of the year and using almost-real-time information.
its funny how funereal and death row-esque last meals with family / friends / coworkers may seem, even though in reality they’re full of laughs and just good eatin’.
just a sample of some of the last things i’ve eaten, in my recent celebratory / mourning activity:
- degustation at flying fish with my 3 bosses
- peking duck, two ways (pancakes and stir fried in noodles) with the family.
- bourke street bakery carrot cake. (one of my co-workers was doing a “cake survey” and wanted to know what my favourite cake was. there’s this ongoing embarrassing, diabetic tradition where our boss would buy a cake for every single birthday — hasn’t gotten to the 1-cake-for-all-birthdays-this-month part — and it would HAVE to come from christopher’s cake shop. nothing against almost wafer-thin sponges suspended in animal fat, but i can hardly eat a mouthful of their cakes without feeling the urge to run 20 laps around the block or just barf it out. so i decided to be difficult and tell her the truth: that my favourite cake was bourke street bakery carrot cake. and, to her credit, she convinced the boss to get it.)
- danks street depot garlic bread and lamb loin curry. even after a slice of awesome carrot cake, man, they make a mean garlic bread. entire cloves of garlic, sunken into the bread — and drizzled with melted butter! and the replacement dinner-time sommelier was actually the day-time barista — so even though he served us a pinot gris instead of a pinot noir, he pulled a mean espresso.
- gluten-free, dairy-free mango gelato. basically, mangoes and sugar, frozen and bashed together into a creamy, gooey dinner.
- banquet menu at the nepalese kitchen. my only gripe is that there were definitely not enough momos.
- greek scrambled eggs (feta and chives) with sourdough, grilled tomatoes and hash browns at xenos. (their website makes me laugh, in an endearing “yaya went to night school and learned how to make a website” way)
- espresso pulled at an overtly, way too enthusiastic about coffee nerd-dom bean drinking. the guy was pretty proud of himself when he said that he could bring out the acidity in the coffee using their newly acquired slayer coffee machine (yes, it was called “the slayer”). he did, but it didn’t make me happy. it was actually kinda weird.
- cheap frankfurters in discounted hot dog buns, zapped in the microwave and then grilled with mustard pickles and tasty cheese melted on top. i know i’m classy and everything, but this just makes me oh so happy.
i’m finishing up my food-nostalgia trip before leaving my home for the last 6 years, but ironically i haven’t had much of an appetite for the last two weeks. being blubbery and not-wanting-to-say-goodbye can do that, i suppose.
on a typical sunny saturday sometime last year, j was coming over for lunch on 2 hours notice so i ran out to the butchers and pulled together a veal saltimbocca. it’s one of those recipes that make you look way more talented (in the kitchen) than you actually are. which is exactly what i’m all about when it comes to cooking — and the good flava-flavours, of course.
and it must have been that good ‘cause he still remembers it. that’s pretty rare, because i’m a much better baker than i am a cook.
recipe from hamlyn cookery school — serves 2
- 4 small veal escalopes (small-ish veal schnitzels will do if you can’t find escalopes)
- 1 teaspoon plain flour
- 25g (1 oz) butter
- 4 slices of prosciutto
- 4 large sage leaves
- 125ml (4 fl oz) dry white wine
- salt and pepper
place the veal between 2 layers of clingfilm and beat them with a rolling pin or meat mallet until they are very thin. season the flour and use it to dust the meat.
melt half of the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan and quickly fry the veal, in batches, until lightly browned, draining the meat and transferring the slices to a plate.
lay a slice of prosciutto and 1 sage leaf on the centre of each escalope and return them to the pan for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked through, carefully turning each escalope once to sear the prosciutto and sage. drain and transfer to warm serving plates.
pour the wine into the pan and let it bubble until reduced by about half. cut the remaining butter into pieces and whisk into the wine. season to taste and pour over the escalopes to serve.
me: i’m hungry. what should sick ppl eat?
j: you should haves chicken soup!
me: but that takes ages to make. i gotta buy chicken bones. and by the time its done i’ll be dead.
(he makes things sound so easy sometimes.)
creamed corn and chicken “good for what ails ya” soup
gchat recipe by jason
all you needs is like, 4 chicken legs and simmer them until the meat is falling off the bone and the water you used becomes your stock!
then you just add a tin of creamed corn, stir in a beaten egg, salt to taste and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, a handful of chopped parsley, and bam.
if there’s one thing americans are good at, it’s cookies. the hummingbird cafe is based in london, but specialises in that diabetic american fare that we seemingly never get sick of until a fateful child’s birthday party / picnic where we totally overdo it and regurgitate it in the bushes.
so while i’m waiting for diabetes to kick in, make like cookie monster and roll your eyeballs in crumbly chewy happy!
peanut butter cookies
from the hummingbird cafe — makes 24 (4 trays x 6 cookies per tray)
when i land in SF, i’m not going to have the luxury of opening up my cookbook cupboard, sleepily scour the pages and figure out on what i’m making for a saturday lunch / baking for the weekend. which is partially the reason why i started collecting recipes in my nomblr.
there’s one book in particular that i want to collapse into a teeny tiny pocket-sized guide, that will expand into regular size at a touch of a button, and carry around with me whenever i’m at the green grocer. i love carbs, i love effortless seasonal sauces, and so i love the silver spoon: pasta.
i whipped up this super simple arrabbiata and went from stove to plate within 15 minutes. this was during a time when we had a surplus of these super fiery chillies from our short-lived but very enthusiastic chilli plant. not one to skimp when there’s a good harvest, i used 1 whole chilli, seeds and all…and oh boy.
penne all’ arrabbiata
recipe from the silver spoon
i was recently involved in an argument around chicken paté and making it vs. buying it.
my argument was that by making your own chicken liver paté, you can understand the steps involved in its creation and then tweak the flavours to suit your personal taste. not to mention the ability to screen your ingredients, using the freshest organic chicken livers you can find, as well as a high quality butter, oil, brandy and so forth.
his counter-argument was that some people have been making chicken liver paté for thousands of years, and you may as well leave it to the experts who have had centuries to refine the flavour and texture of paté and have a million (or more) customers to vouch for it.
if you’re in my camp and curious to know how it’s made, then read on. if not, then that’s okay too — i guess that means that i’ll be the first to get heart disease.
chicken liver paté
recipe by belinda jeffery — makes about 3 cups