31 January 2006

My cat ate my arm

i have a very sweet cat named Goose. i adopted him six years ago and i like to think we get along swimmingly. he's low key, he only barfs occasionally, and pretty much keeps his poop in the litterbox. he's just aloof enough that when he's affectionate, i feel like he must really love me. and what, you must be asking, does this have to do with food?

i'll tell you.

yesterday, i went lap swimming for the first time in a long time...okay, for the first time ever. despite showering, i still smelled a bit like chlorine. not a big deal. i go to bed, innocently tucking in with my arms flailed over my head.

at 6am, i wake to my cat standing over me on my pillow, which is unheard of. he never gets on my pillow--he's one of those sleep at the foot of the bed kind of cats. he leans in and starts licking my right arm. i'm not talking a little love lick, i'm talking big, broad licks up and down my forearm, savoring every bit of chlorinated tart saltiness he can fine. after about 30 seconds (but really if felt longer), he took a quick whiff and then, i swear, a tentative bite. gentle and certainly no where close to skin breaking, but definitely a bite. "huh, that's odd," i thought, "i'm sure he won't do that again." but, again, after a few more licks, another little nibble. my cat was essentially working his way up to eating my arm. um, that is SO not cool.

fearing for my arm's safety, i tucked it under the blankets. he gave the blankets a half-hearted scratch, scowled at me and jumped off the bed.

so, what gives? i know he has a walnut-sized brain, but i thought we had, like, some sort of bond. i mean, i would never eat him! maybe it's revenge for my constant taunting with tasty treats. here i am eating cheesecake mere inches away from the poor guy. nonetheless, we could talk about it. no need to take such drastic measures! i was just kidding around. i probably let him lick the plate!

or maybe its that he's sick of his admittedly unexciting dry food. yes, it's "roasted chicken" but its still hard little brown pellets. but when i gave him canned food, well, there were issues that i won't get into on a food blog. and sometimes i give him little Pounce treats, plus i can always be counted on for table scraps. apparently, all this means nothing to him. if my nice meaty arm is available for eating, so be it. eat it, he will.

i'm totally traumatized.

11 January 2006

homemade candy!

candy from anna!
Originally uploaded by deepfry.
cindy graciously asked me to participate in Wellfed.net, a new foodblog network. from this point on, you may refer to me as the candy librarian! a simple email message to the candy librarian and all of your candy mysteries will be solved!

yes, i gave up sugar for a year but that was ages ago and i think it makes me a better sugar consumer.

and look, i've already gotten some perks!* writing about the history of candy canes, i referred to a brilliant video clip of anna's dad and granddad making pulled sugar candy from scratch! anna was nice enough to send me a real live sample, featured here. who needs crack when you have a tin of assorted pure sugar (plus a hint of flavoring) homemade candies? these candies are soft, like after dinner mints, not hard like rock candy. in fact, as i type, the unflavored piece is literally crumbling and melting in my mouth. it's divine. the sugar is sweet, yes, as it's the only ingredient, yet it is somehow subtle and soft. i can't explain it. all i can say is that if i eat one more piece tonight (this is piece number two), i might be too blitzed out on sugar to make it to my bed.

*payola encouraged! will write up any topic of interest in exchange for candy!**

notes on notes:
**per the request of my editor, i would like to clarify that i am not really at all accepting any form of bribes, be they cash, candy or all-expenses paid golfing trips to scotland.

08 January 2006

chicago pride

last night i bar hopped with Erin and Matt. we started at Jamesons, the new bar where Cafe Paradiso used to be. i had a dirty vodka martini, matt had a white russian and erin a beer. my drink was okay, though rather small...once i'd taken out the olives, it only filled about 1/3 the glass. and it was a bit too dirty for my taste. but the place has nice ambience and hip little bartenders. we went from there to Lucky's but didn't make it past the door where they were asking for $7 cover to see a live funk band. uh, eh. nah. so we hightailed it over to the Indigo District, which, still before the term starts, was relatively quiet and non-student-like. i got a campari soda because i'm so close to really liking them and just need a little push to actually get there. i did it with olives, i can do it with this! erin a very sweet manhattan (with muddled maraschino cherries?!?!); matt got beer and very creamy mac&c. we're sitting enjoying our second round of drinks (me a sidecar, erin a cape cod and matt a whiskey and soda) when this random young couple plunks down at our booth. both have giant blue drinks, called, i learn, AMFs (Adios Mother F**ker: vodka, rum, tequila, gin, blue curacao, sweet&sour mix, 7up) which are apparently the cheapest way to get drunk. it's crowded, they say, and they just need somewhere to sit, do we mind if they join us?

the guy asks where i'm from and it turns out, lucky me, that he's just gotten back from two weeks in Chicago and Naperville. Oh yay! [note: heavy sarcasm] he proceeds to share with me the following thoughts about the Chicago metropolitan area:
  1. Don't go to an ethnic restaurant that is staffed by people of a different ethnicity. For example, he says, if a Mexican restaurant employs Arabs (pronounced "Ay-rahbs"), it's best to stay away.
  2. Midwesterns, anyways, have no sense of taste. Every restaurant he ate at was crap. He's a chef, so he should know.
  3. Midwestern girls are loose. Really loose! He had more than a few opportunities, but he "stayed true to his woman." What a man!
At this point, Erin realizes what's going on, leans over the table and asks me if i want to go get another drink. yes! please! help! so we leave.

what does this have to do with food? hmmm. not too much. except that food and drink was present. so i'll leave you with a photo from one of the best dinners i've ever had: a night at Millenium in San Francisco with some of my most favorite people ever, including Mrs. Delicious, Cindy and some (gasp!) non-bloggers.

there. just looking at myself with Mrs. Delicious, gazing over the plates, practically licked clean, makes me feel better about that stupid guy.

04 January 2006

dinner of champions

sometimes when you've--and when i say "you," i mean "i"-- are just getting home from the gym at a somewhat late hour and are just coming off a weekend of hosting a (very low maintenance) houseguest and throwing a wee appetizer pre-party, not to mention the fact that you've just washed just about every dish in your house, the preparation of dinner seems entirely daunting. any sort of preparation, as minimal as cooking pasta, seems insurmountable, especially with no microwave to be had. and so you are left with only the food in your fridge, cold. and tonight, dear readers, things were particularly grim. i present my dinner:

yes, that's right. leftover sweetlife brownie cheesecake, a bag of carrots and a can of diet coke. of course, this wasn't remotely filling, so i have, so far, added on to it:

  • three crackers with lox and herbed cheese spread
  • one mini "quorn" sandwich
  • four green olives
  • the remaining four bites of ginger tofu leftover from last week's lunch out at the thai place
  • a glass of soy milk mixed with eggnog
  • a multi-vitamin
does this count as "several small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals"?

02 January 2006

new years weekend

the hanukah host
Originally uploaded by deepfry.
happy new years! this year, i was lucky enough to have nnnick come all the way from the east coast to celebrate new years and, ahem, bicker with me in the kitchen. as it turns out, we have very different cooking styles. namely, mine is right and his is wrong. ha! oh well, what can you do. i let him have his way a few times -- i mean, how can you say no to a man in a hostess apron and a chanukah hot mit? here he is realizing, one of many times, that my idea is better than his. things got a little tense when we had to be a somewhat creative in preparing a baked brie wedge served before heading to seth and annie's. words were had over how to stuff in the sun-dried tomatoes, whether to take off the rind and how to actually wrap the thing since the recipe described wrapping a round when we had but a triangle. but i think we're still friends.

we went to the stitch 'n bitch house to bring in the new year with obscene amounts of greek food, cooked by annie's visiting greek family: tzatziki, spanikopita, eggplant, greek salad, roasted veggies and lamb. not to mention baklava, prepared by chuck to my specifications (nuts ground so fine that they seem entirely un-nut-like). what a nice boy!

nick and i provided what turned out to be one of the highlights of the evening: the galette du rois. we'd first been assigned a traditional greek new years cake but annie's comment that "the new year's cakes are usually sort of bad" inspired us to make a go for, well, something that might actually taste decent. and, like the greek new year's cake, this french pastry, stuffed with almond filling, has a coin in it; the finder of the coin being the recipient of a year of good luck. preparing the pastry took two days, with many rounds of chilling and rolling out of dough. it was followed by scoring and then notching. here's nick notching the cake. . he did a very good job. my pinwheel scoring was also rather charming. sadly, the cake came out a bit overdone. i think that my oven cooks hot, since we kept it in at the absolute minimum time limit and still, well, see for yourself, the slightly blackened edges. luckily, my genius friend erin was over and suggested dusting it with powdered sugar. nobody noticed the charred bits...and i like to think that the burnt bit added a, um, slightly smokey flavor to the dish. right?

once at the party, watching annie cut the galette was pretty stressful. "No coin for you!" she's shout with each slice cut, having named the recipient of the slice shortly before cutting. in fact, she didn't get to the coin until only 1/5 of the galette remained. i remembered mixing the coin in with the filling, but i became, for a moment, absolutely convinced that the coin had disappeared. where? i don't know. maybe it had magically disolved into the filling? or somehow slipped out of the bottom when we'd transferred the thing for the pan to a plate. so many horrifying possibilities!! thankfully, it turned up. you can sort of see it sticking out of the piece in this picture. it went to some friends who weren't able to make it but who had slices cut in their absence, nonetheless. and the galette was rather tasty, if i may say so. and though six very slender slices were cut in honor of absent friends, only the one with the coin remained by the end ofd the evening. so nick and i did good. real good. we overcame adversity (in the form of each other and the burning incident) and triumphed over the galette.

aside from new years dinner, there was much weekend eating. we tried to go to the creepy clown-decorated ice cream parlor down the road from my house but, alas, it was closed. nnnick will have to return. having never been there, i'm sure its worth a cross-country trip!

so, happy new year to everyone! may all of your new years resolutions come true!