Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meet Jack: Orange Blossom Scented Strawberries + Beanilla Winner

-First day at the new home.-

Sometimes, though probably more often than we might prefer, changes occur quickly and unexpectedly. We usually want warning months in advance as opposed to the instantaneous and foreboding phosphoric brilliance of a signal flare alerting us that change will be happening right-now-so-get-ready. Either way, we do what we can do handle these Unexpectations.

Fiance and I were getting a bite and a sip at the new coffee shop around the corner from us when we ran into a girl who had the most well-behaved and friendly Corgi. We were smitten as he waddled up to us on his knobby joints and demanded attention in the forms of scratching and cooing. Normally, I don't care for designer dogs but I've always had a weak spot for Corgis and Huskies.

"Where did you get him?" I asked.

"On Craigslist, the family who had him couldn't keep him. I got him when he was about five. He's been great," she replied.

Craigslist? Of all places for a Corgi? Normally, a purebred dog of any kind comes from a breeder or puppy mill and costs $500 minimum. So, obviosuly, could we help it if Fiance and I hopped and Craigslist and took a look?

-Because why wouldn't you after hearing that?-

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Gardenings: Carrot & Vanilla Soup & Beanilla Giveaway

-Nothing to do with the post, but feel free to also comment your thoughts on the new banner. Spring Red Fire garlic wrapped up with Tahitian vanilla beans. It was time for a change.-

I plant bombed my old apartment. Not intentionally, mind you. Rather, it happened because my old apartment complex was run by a bunch of managerial hellspawn who feed off the wails of their tenants. Cenobites of property management unleashed after you sign the Lament Configuration Lease.

When Fiance and I were gardening we took very good care of everything at our old apartment's precocious little square of dirt. We planted tomatoes and tomatillos, enough so that we were gaurnteed volunteers the next season and assuming that no one totally rips the ground apart volunteers will spring forever more year after year.

In fact, whoever gets our old apartment with its untreated mold and possible cancer risk will get a boon of food from the plot of land out back. Tomatoes, sage, rosemary, eggplants, chilies, basil... oh they are in for a treat. Assuming they garden and don't let some of the other plants go Napoleanic on them like the blackberry bush or the two types of mint we planted. In the ground.

You see, we kept a rather close eye on them both and kept them in control. Now, I imagine, they are running wild and are creeping across the yard with the stealth of ninja. When the hot weather comes they'll raze across the yard and the neighbors' yards with a fury of a million women scorned.

-Fueled by rage. Pure rage.-

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pick Up: Blood Orange Amaretto Spritzer

-A simple spritzer to help you deal with whatever you gotta deal with.-

I was early for dinner with Hank by about a good 40 minutes as my errands had taken far less time than I had expected. This being the case I decided to grab a quick drink at the gay bar across the street because with no kindle at hand and nothing else to do grabbing a drink served by hirsute and chapped bartender while I watch 80's music videos seemed like a smashing idea.

"Excuse me?" asked a voice behind me. I turned and was a bit taken off guard by my questioner. He was blonde and had blue eyes that spoke of something rather lurky. It wasn't his eyes that took me off guard though but the wheel chair and the very obvious case of palsy in his left arm, legs, and neck.

"Uh, hi. What's up?" I asked. To be honest, I wasn't in the mood to be hit on by him or anyone else, but my ego craved attention so I continued the conversation.

"So," he said as his smile began to swagger, "nice shoes. Wanna fuck?"



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook Review

-Pictured: Not macaroni and cheese.-

So this week has been kind of a string of failures in regards to The Cookbook. I feel like I’ve been falling down a flight of stairs, only they’re Escher’s stairs so I just keep tumbling down, up, and sideways and I’m not exactly sure when I’ll finally, bloodily land into a broken heap at the bottom. It’s just that every. Single. RECIPE has sort of collapsed in on itself or worse. No explosions as of yet (unless you count emotional ones), but I have no doubt that I and my 1973 gas range will sort that out before the month is out.

Allow me chronicle this with you.

Failure 1: Paneer Korma
Let me prep you first by saying this was part five (billion?) in a series of me trying to make an authentic Indian dish. I had been talking to friends Monica Bhide and Maneet, the woman who owns the Indian grocery store around the corner from my rental, and working through a number of dishes that could utilize homemade paneer into something with truly authentic Indian flavors.

Time after time the flavors seemed to be too weak or somewhat offputting. I would increase the amount of ginger, garlic, turmeric, everything. I would switch that out with this, then back again. After so many failures with vermicelli, curries, and stir-fries I moved on to kormas.

Of course, I have no experience cooking Indian food so all of this was very much off the hip. Yet, at the same time, I followed recipes to the T from people who knew what they were doing and everything kept going awry for me. I’m not sure what it was but the universe had decided that I was banned from cooking Indian-style cuisine.

The korma would be an exercise in simplicity. Tomatoes, a heavy hand of spices, and cream cooked down into a thick sauce before veggies and paneer were added. The whole of it then served over pasta. Now, when I say heavy hand of spice I mean three cloves of garlic, and knob of ginger the size of a witch’s knuckle, coriander, cayenne, cumin, garam masala, and enough turmeric to dye a quilt all went into this sauce. Still, there was barely any flavor. And what there was just didn’t have the richness and depth of the kormas you eat at a hole in the wall Indian restaurant.

Same old problem.

Paneer, of all cheeses, is truly kicking my ass. I’m thinking of simply sautéing it with some spinach, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes and tossing it over vermicelli. Essentially palak paneer with a little liquid added to make it saucier.

-Cause we always love things saucy.-

Failure 2: Cocoa Cardona with Chocolate Pasta, Strawberries, Balsamic Reduction, and Black Pepper
Once in a while you stumble into a Black Hole of Flavor. One of those dishes where a bunch of strong willed ingredients converge and completely cancel each other out somehow. It's much like when two opposing frequencies collide and thus cease to exist. Everything in a recipe gets sucked into some sort of negative zone where taste and flavor are null and void.

In this dish all the above went into it. Strawberries were sautéed and then sauced with a reduced balsamic. Tossed with chocolate pasta, cheese, and black pepper it should have been black and red fireworks bombarding the eater. Rather there was no spark, not even a fizzle. It tasted like cardboard and a disappointing sense of lack akin to expecting a letter to arrive in the post and finding the box empty.

We’ve tried it numerous times. I've come to the conclusion that this dish is simply a hollow vessel of the parts that made it. A puppet without strings to animate it.

Sad. So sad.