30 March 2005

i've made it!

"Hi Deep Fry-Have you tried California Rice Oil for Deep Frying-smoke point 490 degrees!!! I also lowered my cholesterol with Rice Oil, Flaxseed Oil and NO trans fats-but I'm no saint."

OH MY GAWD!! COMMENT SPAM!! I'M SOMEBODY, NOW! I'M SOMEBODY!! this is just as exciting as when The Jerk found his name in the phonebook. totally. maybe more.

and on a completely different note, my coworker always has a bowl of m&m's outside of her office and they are like crack. i don't even like m&m's (except the peanut ones), yet i find myself going out of my way to swing by and grab a handful of those nasty little chocolatey buttons multiple times a day. since she's at the back of the opposite side of the building, it's clear, unless i make up some sorry excuse for visiting (because sometimes email and phones just don't always work) that i'm only going there for the m&m's. sigh. each time, i feel shame and i always forget the predictable subsequent sugar low. yesterday, at the end of the day before heading over to the gym, i stopped over, convincing myself that the m&m's would act as a pre-workout pick-me-up. as i reached into the bowl and began scooping, a head poked out from behind a cubicle wall: "busted!" shouted will. a recovered m&m-aholic, he not only shared his story of triumph (i believe he cured himself by overdoes) but demonstrated his fierce willpower. he actually walked over to the m&m's, stood looking over them, and watched me take some (peanut--his favorite flavor) without as much as flinching. i even waved a peanut m&m under his nose and, still, nothing. wow. i hope that i'm like him some day. it's not that i mind the calories, godforbid i should ever do that, but the sugar just kills me every time. yesterday after my pre-workout snack, i could barely make it through a light cardio routine (ha! who'd'a guessed that i'd write "light cardio routine" in my foodblog?), i was so spent from the m&m's. when i have a mid-day handful, i always feel lethargic a 1/2 hour later. but do i learn by doing? NO NO! i continue the pattern!

for now, i'll just feed the addiction. it's only the guilt of always taking and never providing that does anything to cause me hesitation. even this i've managed to justify, convincing myself that since my mother had a bowl of m&m's on her desk at her office, i've somehow, through familial ties, contributed to the overall supply of office m&m's. pathetic, i know.


am currently enjoying a divinely simple lunch on my afternoon off of work. corn tortillas with black beans, chicken, sauteed green peppers and onion, and an avocado. each item occupies it's own bowl and i assemble as i go. the whole thing took about ten minutes to prepare (sautee the peppers and onions, empty pan, reuse for chicken, empty, reuse for beans) and everything is spiced just right. although cooking elaborate meals is good fun and quite rewarding (when they work), those basic throw-together lunches and dinners, made entirely in one pan, feel so wholesome and tasty. ahhh..

18 March 2005

cheesecake update

last sunday (March 6th, that is), i made a cheesecake. i experienced some mild cheeecake-related crises and have been asked to report on the end results.

i made the ganache but i think the overboiling ruined the milk and that, dare i say it, the chocolate was possibly too dark. the thought of slathering it over the cheesecaked seemed to be too intense. plus, after a day of sitting in the fridge, all the fat had come up to the top. i scraped it off, warmed up the ganache, to pour over the cake, changed my mind, put it back in the fridge (not without eating a few heaping spoonfuls of straight ganache which was terribly satisfying, though a bit gritty) and the next day, a new layer of fat had emerged. it also lacked the texture i was looking for, though i can only describe the desired texture as having something of a sheen. so, now the ganache and separated fat are sitting in my freezer. it will be good, i'm sure, as an ice cream topping or inside a chocolate muffin. the latter sounds most appealing and more sensible than the cheesecake frosting option.

as for the cheesecake, i most certainly took it out of the oven too soon, which i knew when i was doing it but maybe it was late at night and i was wanting to be done with the whole mess. but i, being in possession of some level of intelligence, covered the thing and put it in the freezer after it had reached room temperature (and still jiggled when knocked lightly). i went to bed, feeling defeated, yet not hopeless.

the day of the potluck, for which i'd made the damn cheesecake, i realized i had an evening work shift. how sad. all that work, and i couldn't even go to the party. so the cheesecake remained untouched (although i did check on it nightly), doing its freezing thing. on thursday, i invited my neighbor over and we each had a single slice. okay, i had two slices and she had one. i noted that my slice began to sag at the tip almost immediately upon separation from the cake. undercooked. plus the thinmint crust, while quite tasty, flaked in an unsatisfying manner, probably due to the ganache-like frosting in which they wrap the wafer. too much funky butter, milk, etc. getting in the way and doing weird things to my crust.

come the weekly gathering, my cheesecake still sat in the freezer, minus three slices, so i took it along and offered it up. it was a success. people liked it! love it, in fact! i ate two slices. it really tastes fantastic...the texture just needs some help.

in the meantime, there are no more thinmints but i accidentally bought about 18 oz. too much of chocolate chips. maybe i can go round two and use chocolate wafers with a bit of peppermint extract instead.

grilled donut

my friend laura, recently relocated to New Jersey, just ate a "grilled donut" at the Yankee Doodle Cafe in New Haven. doughnuts give me headaches (psychosomatic, you say?) plus they sort of taste like microwaved sugary lard to me, so i wouldn't get near this thing with a ten foot pole, but she certainly enjoyed it:

"It was all I could have hoped for and more. The method of preparation: the grill guy took a glazed donut out of a little package, cut it in two, laid it down on the griddle (where bacon had previously been frying), and plopped a plate down on top of it so that it would smush flat and absorb maximum grease. He flipped it halfway and put the plate down again, so that the soft interior of the donut had a little color on it and the glaze on the outside dissolved into what looked like strands of melted gum. Then, in one motion, he pulled the plate with the donuts off the griddle. He then took a giant spatula and smeared two giant gobs of butter onto each half. The plate was sticky when I moved it toward me. I ate it with a fork and knife.

The first bite was a little bit like french toast -- gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside. After that initial flavor memory, the true sweetness and butteriness emerged. I had originally tried to move as much of the butter as possible off the donut halves, but then quickly discovered, as it melted into a pool on the hot plate, that the only way to eat this creation was to cut a bite, dunk it thoroughly it in the melted butter, and let the whole crusty greasy deliciousness slowly dissolve into its component parts on my tongue. Rapturous. I do not think I can allow myself to consume more than one of them every 6 months, because The Grilled
Donut is a true special-occasion food."

17 March 2005

hungry hungry

meh. just had a post erased when another page insisted on opening in this window. drat!

so, let's see, then. i went on a bike ride this morning (at 6am!!) and am starving hungry. starving! thinking of sushi for lunch for a good dose of protein. perhaps not the most filling option, but sounds good. frankly, would eat the computer if i knew that it had protein in it. i'm thinking no, though it's clearly full of vitamins and minerals. well, minerals at least.

otherwise, not much on the food front except a trip to Sweetlife for a brownie sundae with coconut and chocolate fudge gelato. eating double fudge brownie with warm fudge sauce and chocolate fudget gelato is a bit like eating a chocolate cake that is simultaneously raw, cooked and frozen. it was delightful. entirely impossible to finish, but my friend was more than happy to step up to the plate -- and what a good friend to make such a sacrifice. and it was good that i didn't finish it, as i was phlegmy enough this morning having only eaten a small amount of dairy goodness last night (is this too much information? perhaps.).

at any rate, things are looking up for me, as cindy is coming to town this weekend. plans are not final, but i'm thinking:
  • Sweetlife (sometimes i think i have people visit me only so that i have an excuse to go to Sweetlife)
  • Marche only for oysters
  • Morning Glory (which despite being something of a culinary disappointment 50% of the time, is so warm, cozy and friendly)
  • the new Mexican grocery store on 11th that has a wee cafe in the front
  • maybe fish 'n chips somewhere. you know, seafood and all being near the coast
and i don't know. any other ideas? anyone? anyone? bueller?

07 March 2005

oh crap.

was distracted by my book and neglected cream burner. boiled over, spilling hot milk everwhere, especially into the burner. spells oddly of burnt marshmallows and rubber. hope i haven't ruined the ganache.

also, cheesecake possibly not setting. mild state of panic setting in. damn new oven -- haven't yet become intimate with its patterns.

tonight at the grocery store, the guy in line in front of me purchased:
  • six pack of beer
  • a marble cheesecake
  • coffee
you know someone's going to have a good night...and a good morning. oh yeah.

i meanwhile, am waiting for my thin mint chocolate cheesecake to finish cooking. in a moment of irrational sugarlove, i bought four boxes of girl scout cookies. if i, say, had roommates, four boxes would be reasonable but i live alone. so i used a box of thin mints for the cheesecake crust. in a moment, i'm going to make some ganache to pour over the top. i bought what they would call a "shit ton" of chocolate from the bulk section of the store but decided on my way home to stop at the gourmet food shop and buy some fancy chocolate for the ganache. with just cream and chocolate, it should have the good 70% stuff in it. perfect for tomorrow night's potluck...hopefully it won't kill anyone. it might be a bit rich.

03 March 2005

more photos

the evening after our fancy cutting-edge foodie dinner at Moto, the family tromped over to Red Apple for all-you-can-eat Polish Buffet. my father could win awards at competitive eating in a buffet if he wanted to. he went through three heaping plates of food -- and polish food isn't exactly light. anyways, more photos of that, too, if not as detailed. certainly more disgusting, though.

moto photos, take two

okay, so i've mastered this flickr thing and now have BETTER and MORE photos from moto. pretend like this never happened before. look now and love the giant orange orb! and the other stuff, too. photos of moto.