Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Meat Fest.

Look, I finally managed a timely holiday post! EnD, live from Memorial Day Weekend 2011!
I don't generally get three day weekends off, & I didn't this one either, but still I like to be festive. It was 90 degrees almost all weekend & I have definitely been ready & waiting to celebrate a weekend truly summer style, with, obviously, lots o' meat products.
Bacon Many Ways: Memorial Day Weekend 2011. 
Friday night we got old fashioned & grilled burgers in the driveway behind my 1989 Toyota Cressida (homemade bacon sausage cheddar jalapeno burgers using leftover ground bacon sausage we conveniently had lying around). Sitting on the hood of an old car at dusk drinking PBR & cooking meat. Sigh. Good times.
Then Sunday night dinner with Izaac rolled around, & that always means something special. A bacon weave wrapped around ground steak & then deep fried, bacon & collards, & garlic roasted marrow bones & toast, in this case. & the champagne of beers, since it was a holiday, after all.
Besides eating bacon, I cleaned off the front porch & hauled a table & chairs out there, & that's where I did this drawing just now, mojito in hand. The dog & I swam in the river, I planted dragon beans & repotted lots of tomatoes, & I spent as much time as possible in the sun. It's currently Monday afternoon, the dog is passed out exhausted from all the fun (he enjoyed a lot of marrow bone activity last night) & I am going to take advantage of more good porch time.
The drawing happens to complete this particular sketchbook, begun last November with these drawings.
Here's to opening my new sketchbook & another season of eating & drawing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tabloid Portraits #1: Bret, LiLo & A Shout Out To Magazines.

This post has nothing to do with food. Zero. If you are a dedicated food reader only, go to the archives, or come back later.
I repeat, nothing about cooking here, except in the rather roundabout way where last night I had dinner simmering on the stove & was waiting for Owen to come home from work at the restaurant. 
Note: our kitchen table is currently (frequently) covered in trashy celebrity magazines, thanks both to my lovely co-worker who donates me hers & to my own personal difficulty in resisting the lure of the magazine rack at the 7-11. Also present on the EnD table: ample food magazines & piles of New Yorkers (family lifelong subscription). If you are old fashioned & still enjoy print media, please come on over to our house.
I was having a pleasant time listening to the Silver Jews & drinking wine & messing around in my sketchbook.
As I do, I got to drawing. Normally, I do this with my magazines, but sometimes I like to mix things up. 
"I'm Glad To Be Here/Living In Fear"
 "Wasted Again"
Maybe painting a portrait of Bret Michaels indicates that I have too much time on my hands. IDK. I did grow up in the 80's. I though Poison was pretty great when I was ten.The reality show/stardom thing does confuse me a bit though.
I have been known to fixate on celebrities, if they are the good ones. (I think I summed up what I mean by that here). But my great love of magazines & a print media isn't about that, really. I've always been an old school magazine reading kind of girl. Take that internet! I wish this blog was a zine (yup, I did attend high school in the early 90's.)
Magazines: you can cut them up, you can hang the pictures up on the wall, I find them way easier to draw from than the internet, you can read them in the bath or on the beach or on a boat or any other place you wouldn't bring a laptop, you can write in the margins, you can draw mustaches on people, you can photocopy them & use them for silkscreens, you can make wallpaper... What the hell can you do with an internet page, exactly.
Celebrity news means nothing to me if I can't involve scissors & glue somehow.
That's the collage artist in me, but that's also the reader. Of books with pages. & the general object-loving thrift storing hoarder that I am.
Here's to thanking Christ that we don't live in a completely virtual world yet.
I like it tangible & messy.
(Oh & thanks Amy for the Stars).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Remember DnD?

I know y’all do. Home of so much past brilliance.
So... last Friday night Jed of Drinking & Drawing fame made a special appearance back in Noho at the EnD kitchen. & Owen, in Jed's honor, made an insane meat concoction. How insane? Well, he started with sausages & bacon in a cast iron skillet, poured the grease into the deep fryer, ground the meat in our trusty meat grinder (a free pile find), battered them in cornmeal, & deep fried them in our trusty deep fryer (a $2 Hospice Shop find).
5.13.2011: Friday the 13th with Jed & Pabst. 
All accompanied by ample PBR, aka the official beer of DnD. (although we do enjoy others). There was dancing, there was the Deuce, there was an after-party, there were the bizarre snacks Jed brought us back from his recent trip to Korea, consumed at 4am. Sounds like DnD.
Since Owen & I have become tame, early rising, stay at home, dog owning people, this night was much needed & appreciated but required some recovery the next day.
5.14.2011: Rainy Saturday Night Dinner.
 Otherwise known as "Recovery Dinner." When you, well ok, I, am rather hungover from a 4am+ kind of night, & then get caught in the rain on a walk with my hound dog, I like to turn to my comfort foods. This time, mashed potatoes were on my mind. Post-rain storm & soaking wet, I mostly wanted to cuddle on the couch with Walty & read trashy novels all night, so I felt like throwing something delicious into my beloved red Le Creuset baking dish & leaving it in the oven for a while. Third source of inspiration? Being in dire need of a vegetable after last night's fried meat fest, also in need of a touch of flavor complexity.
Hence, Miso Chili Ginger Baked Tofu, Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, & Kale Sauted with Garlic & Cumin Seed.
It was pretty good. EnD, your source for hangover tips. Three cheers to the whole weekend. Jed, come visit again soon.
& Hey everyone, in case you were wondering, it is still raining here...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Asparagus City. Population: Lentil Soup.

What? Ok, I am taking liberties with my titles. The asparagus has nothing to do with lentil soup. Nothing at all.  Except for being part of my early morning random train of thought when I was first writing this post.
Maybe I have mentioned-I am ready to eat fresh food. I can really get into the whole winter thing-big heavy meat dishes roasted in the oven, ducks & lamb, pot roasts & whole chickens, curries, the "coming in from the cold Sunday dinner" food that one doesn’t even think about in August. Last year we were a lot better at preserving our garden food than ever before, so all winter there were also little bursts of summer goodness-canned salsa & tomato sauce, green tomato pickles, pickled jalapenos, homemade chili paste & habanero hot sauce.
But now it’s May & I want to taste different things. We are having a rainy spring week, so last night it was back to soup (curried red lentil) & coziness but even my taste in soup is changed as spring progresses- a little less meat (although by no means none! hells no!), more flavor, more brightness. I topped the lentil soup with fried ginger root, herbed goat chevre & arugula pesto, & daydreamed about my future thai basil patch in the garden & when that will be my garnish.
 5.16.2011: Red Lentil Soup.
 A few notes regarding this soup (as this is a food blog after all): Adding the arugula pesto was kind of a crazy idea, but we had some leftover from this meal. We keep ample homemade chicken stock on hand in the freezer (when I roast a chicken I always make stock-chicken fat is a terrible thing to waste), & I personally find that in lentil soup, a good chicken stock is essential. & the fried ginger root-well, I learned a few things from my more than ten years of subscribing to Martha Stewart Living & that lentil soup garnish was one of them. That & the fact that an immersion blender is nice to have on hand when making soup. Thank you, Martha.
So the "food grown in the ground outside relatively near where I live" season is only just beginning. What do we have? Well, here in the Pioneer Valley we do have local Hadley asparagus for a very brief, delightful season, & I realize that forgetting to give it a nod would be a terrible error.
Fresh asparagus is best super simple, so this is more of a celebration than a recipe. Olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. That is all you need, well a good cast iron skillet helps too.
We had it over pappardelle noodles with cheese. We had it with a fried egg on top. We had it with pumpkin seeds thrown into the mix. We had it with grilled eggplant in a burrito made up from the burrito topping leftovers.
May 2011: Hadley Asparagus Season. 
 What else? The leftover lentil soup made a very good lunch. It is well after 9pm & I have yet to eat my own dinner tonight, so I should think about that. Walt prefers that we NOT eat vegetables, but we do anyway. I like spring rain & am not sick of it yet; I am however sick of people complaining about the rain. IT ALWAYS RAINS A LOT IN MAY HERE. Let it ago. At least the temperature is remaining steadily above 50. This date on various years marks the day of both my parents' birth & of my grandparents wedding anniversary. So May 17th is a pretty cool day.
Some miscellaneous thoughts from EnD. Hey, why have a blog if I can't share this stuff sometimes? Eat your asparagus.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Summer Preview: Burrito Night.

We have lately been having these great summer-eqse days, bright hot sun, perfect for afternoons in the garden, getting sunburned & tricking oneself into believing that it is July. But of course, it isn't, it is May in Massachusetts. Right now it is 50 & raining & will apparently stay this way for the next five days.  
There is a while to go before pleasures such as swimming & sunbathing & eating garden tomatoes, for example. I love this rainy May weather too, but I'm just saying, one can get addicted to 70+ afternoons gardening in the sunshine. (With a hound dog napping on your napa cabbages). The problem is, after one of those afternoons, a girl wants actual GARDEN FOOD. & no luck yet, most things are just tiny baby seedlings. 
We have got some radishes, spinach, garlic greens, but we are a while from tomato basil city. 
What to eat then, leaving the garden muddy & delightfully hot & looking for satisfaction? On this particular Saturday, BURRITOS. 
First, I will admit upfront that I am a burrito snob. I am a Californian goddammit & you just don't get food like George's Drive-In here. You don't. Ali? Are I not right? That shit was off the hook. 
Every time I give in & try a burrito place here on this coast that's supposed to be "just so great, so authentic" I am deeply disappointed. Not naming names, but really, sorry Noho. Massachusetts does not equal burritos. Taqueria Cancun, Pancho Villa oh where are you? Oh right, still in San Francisco where you belong. I'm the impulsive idiot who moved back to New England & left all that food bounty behind.
5.7.11: Pre Summer Burrito Night.
I seem to have a lot complaints here. I'm not intending to. Describing what led to the creation of  a meal gets complicated sometimes (food shapes our lives). 
To simplify: it was unseasonably hot, we built raised beds out of mulberry lumber all day, & I wanted a good burrito. (Because I am a burito snob & never get one unless I make it myself). 
So, we broke the "no food out of season, especially tomatoes" rule & went to Stop & Shop & bought tomatoes & cilantro & avocados. Oh well. At least everything we needed cost next to nothing by some reduced produce miracle. Cause you know we are CHEAP.
I think both my summer produce longing & my burrito angst both come down to salsa, truly. Good salsa. Homemade salsa. Why why buy salsa? & Why is the salsa at any random hole in the wall place in Cali so divine & the salsa anyplace here tomato water? Why?
So yeah, I was reasonably tan for the first time in a year & I broke down & bought crap grocery out of season tomatoes & made my own salsa, to eat on a giant burrito (I make great salsa, FYI). Whatever. It still was delicious, helped along greatly by a jar of pickled jalapenos from last year's garden that I recently found in the back of the fridge.  Ah, the magical joys of food preservation. Better than unicorns.
They were steak burritos, with pinto beans & onions, grilled red peppers, homemade guacamole & salsa, chopped lettuce, fresh cilantro, sour cream, cheese, & of course, tortilla chips & Mexican beer (Dos Equis). 
Tons of leftovers, so I ate one wrapped in aluminum foil at work for lunch the next day & also felt like I was back in SF, heading out for lunch in the Mission (Sigh. ALMOST). 
This is the food one wants to eat when sunburned & pleasantly exhausted & starving from gardening. 
Things are just gonna get better. Our tomato plants are in the ground, people (one each of every heirloom variety we could order on the internet, & lots of the regular ones too).  Our basil & peppers seedlings are started. We are actually beginning to enjoy the delicious, incomparable pleasure of eating food we grew.
Bring it on, Summer!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Radishes Have Arrived. & Been Eaten.

Now this is what I am talking about. A rainy Sunday afternoon in May, a trip to the garden to plant turnip seeds in a light drizzle, & acquire a fresh bunch of gorgeous, gorgeous radishes, Easter egg, French Breakfast, all bright red & purple & so beautiful against the damp green day.
To take it up a notch, when we got home it turned out that Owen had been growing arugula quite successfully behind our bookcase (don’t ask) so dinner was suddenly a quite delightful proposition. 
We have been on a kale kick lately-I think because I am in terrible need of green food & kale is cheap. Also, after a lifetime of considering it one of my least favorite leafy greens, Owen won me over. 
Grilled steak, sauted kale, chopped fresh radishes, topped with a arugula pesto sauce (one of my favorite things). 
5.15.2011: Arugula & Radish Rainy Dinner.
Garlicy, sharp, a little spicy, texture flavor color-for a random unplanned dinner, this meal really rocked. Go us.
& Then on to Karaoke at Bishop's Lounge in a downpour with the fabulous Matt D. & Melissa.