Monday, November 22, 2010

The End of the Universe


I cooked. It actually happened last Monday, but I've been so busy I didn't get a chance to mention it. I did cook though, finally: Salmon cakes, fettucini alfredo, and a frisee salad. The salad and pasta were nothing extraordinary, but the salmon cake recipe is one from cooking school which is AMAZING, so I will share it:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Find me a find, catch me a catch...

I've heard that Facebook is stalker-fodder because it lets me know what my ex-boyfriends were for Halloween and where my high school best friend's 18-year-old brother is applying to college. Fair.

But, Internet, it gets creepier.

This week, I was presented with the challenge of finding my "social bookmarking soulmate." Now, I've had enough trouble trying to find my actual soulmate, so believe me, the concept of another similar quest definitely seemed stressful. However...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

I cannot remember the last time I cooked.

This is sad.

Remember, Internet, I traveled many thousand miles to attend culinary school across an ocean in the gastronomic capital of Italy. I know HOW to cook. I even enjoy it. A lot.

But, like I said, I can't remember the last time I actually did it. Unless making PB&J counts as cooking. Which I doubt.

I eat out for nearly every meal these days. It's pretty sad. For one thing, cooking your own meals is healthier than eating out. It's cheaper, it's more nutritious, and, to be frank, it usually tastes better. In my case, it's more busy-ness than laziness that dictates my eating habits.

But what about the rest of America? How many times a week do you prepare meals, Internet?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Skinny on Food Love

Internet, my conscience sometimes makes it tough for me to keep not only a food blog, but a food-loving attitude, in a country where obesity is such a hot topic for debate. I've watched enough of Bob and Jillian whipping Biggest Loser potentials into shape to know that, sometimes, extreme love for food is a disease. The guilt I feel is probably akin to that that a blogger who wrote about, say, drinks with the highest alcohol content would feel, knowing that his readers may be recovering alcoholics themselves.

That being said, I do not think that love of food always has to lead to over-consumption or irresponsible consumption. In fact, I think part of food love is practicing moderation and making smart choices. I don't write about my favorite fast food here. Really, I don't actually have a favorite fast food. Then again, I grew up in a wacky community where fast food restaurants were outlawed. (Perhaps outlawed is a bit strong of a word? Well, they were not allowed.)

Anyway, in an effort to keep myself as well-rounded as possible (and I'm not talking about my waistline), I did a bit of research and came across a fantastic article. It's a bit lengthy, but it really screwed my head back on straight when it comes to making good choices in the kitchen... or in a restaurant dining room.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wei renmin fuwu : Serve the people

Chinese food, I want you.

Yes, that is what I'm craving right now. A heaping plateful of steaming, glistening, MSG-ridden Chinese food. Or, as we called it where I grew up, "Chinese." (Or, as I imagine they call it in China, "food.") Now, there is not a very large Chinese population in New Jersey. But, growing up, Chinese was a staple in our diets. There was a tiny take out place around the corner from my house called "Wah Chung" (a Chinese-looking spelling for the American Indian name of the street it was on, Watchung). No kidding. Wah Chung was, and hopefully still is, run by Steve, who insists that, although he was born in China, that is his given name. And I choose to believe him. 

Steve taught me everything I know about Chinese food. So much so that, even if I actually were in China, eating a real Chinese meal, if it didn't taste like Steve's, I would probably doubt its authenticity. Steve, if you're out there, you ruined me!

That's why I will not knock Angeleno Chinese food. I've yet to find any that tastes like Steve's, but I know that that doesn't mean it's necessarily bad. And so I've tried many a Chinese dining establishment in LA, in hopes of recapturing that very memorable taste. 

In my quest for "authentic" Chinese food, I've even gone international.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aloha is hello AND good-bye. (So is ciao.)

Last night, I saw the word "gullible" on the ceiling. Well, not quite, but what I mean to say is: I was tricked into believing an obvious lie. I was conned. I let myself be convinced *gasp* that the “free dinner” I was promised would be, as advertised, Hawaiian food. 


Instead, "free food" turned out to be pizza. Pizza. What a let down.


I mean, I'm Italian; I'm from a region heavily influenced by New York City; I enjoy greasy, cheesy goodness... and Stefano's in Santa Monica is actually pretty good...

Okay, maybe I enjoyed the pizza. All right! I admit it!! It was delicious!! Hawaiian or not, I found it utterly tasty. But I couldn't get the promise of Hawaiian food off of my mind.

Which got me thinking...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Playing with Food

How do you like your eggs in the morning? With a hint of sarcasm, please.

At least that’s the answer I would expect to get from fellow food-blogger Adam, over at The Amateur Gourmet. Though I have never met Adam, I like him immensely. I feel we share a certain… je ne sais pas. Scratch that, je do, in fact, sais… what we share is a conversational approach to blogging and a flare for the over-dramatic everyday.

Like me, Adam is aware that he is Not. Famous. (It’s hard to hear sometimes, though). He knows that his words are not the be-all and end-all of food, and he is aware, on at least some level, that many people on this great green Earth have no. idea. who. he. is.

So he has to spice things up a bit. Maybe we don’t automatically cling to his every word, as if he were Oprah, Ellen, Perez, or [insert here someone you admire]. Without that automatic authority that some who actually Is. Famous. might possess, Adam has had to get creative. Take, for instance:

Put that on your spoon and lick it.

Do you know the old adage, "those who can't do, teach"? Well, in the food blog world, those who can't taste, look. By which, of course, I mean to say that the best food blogs include pictures. Yum.

That's where Lick My Spoon got it spot on.

Right off the bat, I was drawn to the blog:
  • Provocative title... CHECK ("Lick whose what???? I'm a lady!")
  • Simple layout... CHECK (who knew cranberry and lime went so well together outside of a glass?)
  • Recipes included... CHECK (because what salvation is salivation if there can be no duplication?)

And, finally, the pictures.

Now, I know people have made whole careers out of photographing food and that's fantastic. In this world, you can be anything you set your mind to; it's true. But, to be honest, your average food picture is semi-disgusting. Think about it: have you ever been to a family-owned diner or, heaven forbid, a Chinese take-out, in recent days?

"Yes, I'll take a number 5, please, so long as the beef is not so faded. Did you mean for those to be sun-bleached carrots? Really? Can I have some that are still orange instead, please? And maybe go easy on the unidentifiable green mass hovering over the left side of the plate? Yes, that would be fantastic, thank you."

Lick my Spoon, though, has none of that. This post might just be one of the most hunger-inducing visuals I've experienced in a while. Mmmmm, tiny cups of something delicious... If you're anything like me, though, skip over the "pickled peach" part. It only serves to kill the mood. Meditate on Scallop Ceviche or Candied Orange Peel.

Have words ever sounded more delicious?

But, okay, Internet, I'm not that easy to please. I wasn't sold on licking anybody's anything until one very specific post caught my eye:

Helloooo Hungry World!

I have never been to Thailand. I won't lie to you, Internet. I haven’t even gotten close. In fact, I am probably as close to Thailand as I've ever been right now, at this very moment, sitting in my Los Angeles apartment. Or at least it feels that way, as I pause between sentences and incomplete clauses to sneak spoonfuls of the spicy pineapple curry I made myself for lunch. Somehow, even though I have never made it to Asia and the extent of what I’ve seen of Thailand comes from, let’s face it, news footage and that one season of America’s Next Top Model, I definitely feel just a bit more multi-cultural, just by sharing a dish that someone on the other side of the world probably made today, too.

Maybe that seems crazy. Food is just food. It’s calories. It’s nourishment. It’s a collection of ingredients and a series of steps (most of which involve heating and cooling, in some combination) that provide you with the sustenance to carry on for one more day. Right?

Wrong. Just ask Anthony Bourdain, for whom food has opened a world of possibility. Tony (as I like to think he’d let me call him) would surely tell you that lunch in Guatemala and lunch in Cote d'Ivoire share little resemblance because each meal has an element that cannot be forged or ignored-- in every dish, there is a heaping tablespoon of culture.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t add calories.

I believe that the stomach is not just the way to a man’s heart as my grandmother taught me growing up, it is also the way to a society’s soul. After all, it’s just food! Place on utensil, open mouth, enjoy. It’s simple. You don’t need instructions or explanations. You don’t need diagrams or charts. You don’t need permission or excuses. You don’t need words at all. You just need an open mind and an empty belly and you can be temporarily transported to a world you may never see.

And that’s where I come in.