Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day, Corned Beef, Cabbage, Beer, & All That Stuff That One Does.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day from EnD. Whatever that means. On one hand, I hate fake bullshit forced holiday crap (mostly as experience at work, i.e.last Mardi Gras) but on the other hand, I love love love bullshit holiday crap too, traditions, decorations, colours & most of all foods. What can I say? I love being festive. Whatever the random holiday, I can get down with it.
& Most importantly, Stop & Shop had a really good sale on corned beef, & I scored some free cabbage & potatoes from work. CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE=SOLD. I had none of the traditional seasonings on hand, so when boiling the corned beef added to the water some dijon mustard, some wasabi paste, peppercorns, garlic, red wine & an onion. Later came the cabbage & potatoes. Worked out pretty excellent.
3.14.2010: Corned Beef & Cabbage (not St. Patrick's Day but it was a rainy Sunday & what the hell do we care). The potatoes (yellow) sat in a nest of cabbage leaves with tons of butter (Irish butter!). It was lovely.
3.15.2010. The next day happened to be my day off. Hence thinly sliced corned beef & cabbage sandwiches, with Hellman's (the only mayonnaise as far as I'm concerned) & good whole grain dijon mustard. Condiments! I love them! It rained again (hello March in Massachusetts), so a hearty sandwich in the kitchen was cozy & awesome.
still 3.15.2010. The broth created from random refrigerator contents turned out to be so good we wanted to save it. As another chilly rainy March day progressed (I love these raw New England spring days really, but they do make me want warm food) it seemed clearly soup was next. The C & B stock plus dry white beans were combined & then we searched the pantry & fridge & came up with sweet potatoes, a package of frozen mixed veggies, garlic, an onion, & white rice. To which was added more corned beef & cabbage. EXCELLENT white bean stew, some of which is now still living in the freezer. YAY LETFOVERS.
3.16.2010. One more night of leftover corned beef, in a tandoori curry sauce with a free scavenged from work red bell pepper & an eggplant, over white rice. I thought this meal was a good knod to the current U.K., myself.
What is the moral of this tale? LEFTOVERS. I am nearly one half Irish, & I can tell you being Irish is about getting drunk & making really good use of leftovers. So for St. Patrick's day, I ate a $4 cut of corned beef for four days, & ate well. oh & I think I mentioned beer in the title of this post? We did recently purchase a 30 rack of PBR, so that was indeed drunk during the creation of these meals. I'm actually too white trash Mass Irish to afford actual Guiness, you know. I work in a godamn grocery store, people (like a good Irish giorl from downtown New Bedford).
What have we learned?
Less than week until spring. I bought more seeds zebra tomatoes, basil, purple beans. What do I love more than cooking & drawing food? Cooking & drawing food that I grew...look forward to Eating & Drawing & Planting in the future.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Steak. Need I Say More?

Yup, still working my way through the winter drawings. oh, spring, one more week until you're here. Did I tell you I started my first seeds today? Arugula, lettuces, red russian kale, spinach, mint, just the begining. But that's what's to come.
From the winter archives today? Steak. Always a classic here at EnD.
12.27.2009: Steak seared in a frying pan, green beans, mashed potatoes. I think this may have been our first real meal following the swine flu incident of 2009.
12.28.2009: the leftovers, on toast, in a cream sauce.
(we heart heart leftovers).
3.1.2010: & on the first day of March, full circle from early winter, more seared steak & garlic cheesy mashed potatoes after a hike up mt. tom.
We actually ate steak for the rest of the week, 'cause the Big Y had a REALLY good deal on it, but I can't draw everything, can I?
Peace. I love rainy March days. They hold so much possibility.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ode To Brussel Sprouts.

On several occasions this past winter, such as here & here, we bought one of those huge stalks of brussel sprouts (because they are so beautiful! remember my first one of the year last fall? plus are a way better deal then loose brussel sprouts generally) & hence had brussel sprouts for dinner over a series of nights, because a) brussel sprouts are freaking delicious & b) we like to make really good use of all available food & spend as little money as possible.
12.17.2009: Brussel sprouts & bacon. We ate them out of the pan just like this.
12.18.2009: the next night we did the same thing (because it was so fing tasty the first time) & added it to a box of mac n' cheese, & some additional blue cheese.
12.30.2009: the last of them, with a couple of chicken breasts & some dried lemongrass, served over coconut rice (i.e. coconut milk powder added to basmati rice in the rice cooker).
In conclusion: brussel sprouts totally rule. Sometimes they get a bad rep, but trust me. Yum. In fact, those brussel sprout stalks are so awesome, they are definitely going in our garden plot this season. oh yeah, I forgot, YEAH SPRING YOU'RE ALMOST HERE!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dinners at 133 #2: Spicy Sauce & Sausage.

The next installment of the winter dinners series.
11.30.2009: Spicy Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage, Over Cappellini.
The last day of November, a day I did not work, it was a classically damp chilly November day, & I walked a lot in the mist, & as a remedy for the crap weather, on my way home I went to Deals & Steals & Serio's Market & State Street & acquired cans of tomato paste & cappellini noodles & fresh italian sausage & garlic & shallots & jalapenos & red wine & made this & Owen came home earlier than expected & we actually got to eat dinner at a normal hour. & I used my Christmas napkins for the first time, in honor of the arrival of December.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dinners at 133 #1: Tuna Steak, Curried Sweet Potatoes, Couscous.

As I mentioned, I'm cleaning up my winter sketchbook archives, & in the process of doing so, I found a lot of sadly ignored drawings, just everyday dinners, no grand plan but usually delicious, & always with a story behind, so here you go, what we ate here at 133 this winter, on the nonholiday, nonspecial occasion work nights, Part One:
12.5.2009: Tuna Steak with Curried Sweet Potatoes & Couscous.
This was a snowy night last December, the first of the winter I believe, & Owen drove me home from work on his break because it was snowing so hard & then went back to close, & I started cooking while enjoying the indescrible coziness of cooking dinner for someone you love while it's snowing. Some frozen tuna steaks, seared in a pan with garlic, & sweet potatoes simmered in a can of coconut milk with a jar of Thai curry paste, over couscous. Some smoked mozzarella grated on top. owen returned from closing at work. We ate while the snow fell. SNOW DAY. (doesn't winter seem so much better now that it's nearly over?)

Southern Style: Black Eyed Peas Two Times.

In light of the coming of SPRING (oh spring! hooray!) & the potential of future drawings of gardens & flowers & fresh beautiful vegetables, I'm attempting to work through my winter sketchbook archives, so I can enjoy spring as a fresh start unburdened by images of cold weather food.
It's been nagging me that my recent New Orleans post contained no southern food. Oh yes, there will be southern food in the coming months, oh oh oh fried green tomatoes & fresh okra & summer squash casserole & tomato/vidalia onion sandwiches oh YES,
but in fall & winter, there were spicy blacked eyed peas.
12.7.2009: with andouille sausage, (frozen) okra, jalapenos, & collard greens, with a side of garlic cheese grits. I usually use frozen peas, because one cannot apparently get fresh black eyed peas north of Virginia & I prefer frozen to canned. Throw everything in a big pot with a chopped onion & garlic, simmer, add a lot of bourbon. Cheese grits = cooked grits mixed with chopped garlic, grated cheese, & an egg, & baked covered for about 45 minutes. Yum.
& then last September, on one of the first chilly September nights, over rice with bacon, okra & sriracha hot sauce this time. Same basic concept, same generous amounts of whiskey. I usually choose sausage, but wow, with bacon, wicked good.
Being formerly married to a Mississippi girl has some perks. Growing up in Massachusetts has others, like comfortably employing 'wicked' as an adverb. But right now I'm daydreaming about garden plots & soil & tiny baby plants & mint juleps in the sun on my front porch...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Origin Recipes, Part One: Tuna Casserole.

The cover of this month's Bon Appetit advertises tuna casserole, eggplant parmesan, & chicken curry, which happen to be the first three important things that I learned to cook, & that taught me to love to cook. Looking at the cover, I started thinking, y'know, in the vein of food memories...& why Bon Appetit knows me so well, & what it all means...
To start, we go way back, way way back, to like me at ten or eleven, playing with the kitchen, with...Tuna Casserole...
Begin with a classic roux, butter & flour, then add 1/2 & 1/2 & white wine for a cream sauce. I also add chopped garlic at this stage.
(yes, you made already have noticed this is definitely a different version then the white trash classic, but's that why this is so good, do with it what you like).
To the sauce, add grated emmenthaler swiss cheese (my preference), frozen peas, chopped roma tomatoes, & a can of solid white tuna. Do that cool thing with melted butter & some crushed saltines or ritz crackers (the best way to go). Drain noodles (I generally choice elbows or shells but this time it was pappardelle).
NOTE: like any great recipe, this one lends itself perfectly to variations. Add whatever the hell cheese, veggies, crackers...etc, that you like. Don't even add tuna. See if I care. But be warned, my mom once added chopped canned clams instead of tuna, & at least to an eight year old, that shit is GROSS.
This is a messy fun kind of dinner. Pour yourself a glass of that cheap white wine you were cooking with & let your cat enjoy what's left in the can of tuna.
Combine sauce with noodles, cover with crushed cracker mixture, & more grated chesse, & baked for about an hour, uncovered for the last ten minutes so you get a nice crunchy top.
BEST LEFTOVERS EVER, especially with sriracha in your room late night with your kitten after dancing.
this is memory food,
Mum cooking this in our apartment on Orchard Street in New Bedford when I was little, me starting cooking as a teenager on Seamans Lane in Brewster, cooking this for myself in my first apartment on Medway Street in Providence at seventeen, Burns cooking me the Mississipi version with chips & sour cream on the night George W. Bush was (sort of) elected the first time in 1999, cooking this on Burns' last night in San Francisco on Cabrillo Street at twenty-two, & then eating the leftovers cold myself & wondering how I was gonna survive alone, at twenty-three on Burgundy Street in New Orleans that first winter when it finally got sort of chilly, at twenty-seven in the Prospect Street apartment in Noho when I started eating meat/fish again, & most recently for Owen in our house on South Street, at thirty-one, 11.23.2009.
Oh Yeah, this meal is a deal breaker with me. You are a vegetarian or think canned tuna is gross, I probably won't fall in love with you. Just sayin'.
Next Up: Eggplant Parmesan.