Cheap Ass Monday: Down by the Boardwalk

Not actually on, near, under, or down by a boardwalk.

I’m going to tell you right now: this post? Is not really funny. Feel free to leave if that’s a problem, and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming later this week.

As you can imagine, it’s been a bit of a rough weekend; I haven’t really felt like cooking, let alone photographing and describing my meals in detail. Funerals and their associated activities are always kinda rough, and I’m not nearly far enough in the mourning process for my own father not to have all that shit get dredged up, compounding things. Blargh.

I gotta tell you, the Orthodox Jews and their burial services? I to the N to the T-E-N-S-E. It’s so…biblical, with the actual rending of garments and the shoveling and the Hebrew and the phlegm. I’m emotionally drained just thinking about it.

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Guess what this is. No really, guess.

If you look at the categories or URL then you are a FILTHY CHEATER.

It’s refreshing, light, fruity but tart, utterly irresistible. It looks so civilized, doesn’t it? Like something you would serve to the ladies who lunch when they come over for the garden party benefiting the foundation one of them started to purchase wheeled carts for paralyzed needy dachshunds. I almost don’t want to tell you what it really is, because I don’t want to damage my reputation as ONE CLASSY BITCH.

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Cheap Ass Mondays: A Little Fancy, A Little Schmancy

I made this dinner purely as an excuse to gloat about my egg-poaching skills. Seriously, look at that fucking thing. It’s like art.

Did I make this dinner just so I could gloat about my infinitely awesome egg-poaching skills?  I may have.  But maybe I ALSO made it so I could gloat about my willingness to make things painstakingly by hand – let us not forget the angel hair cucumbers – rather than relying on the modern conveniences that would hasten dinner’s journey to my table. Because I? Am better than you.

To wit: fresh, hand rolled and cut pasta tossed with onions, garlic, red spinach and bacon and topped with a poached egg. Proof that cheap can still be pretentious!
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The Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries!

Tiny martini glasses: cute presentation, or painfully twee?*

A few weeks ago, The Kitchn highlighted an old Bon Appetit recipe for wine-marinated grapes. Because while fruit is tasty on its own, it is almost always improved by being soaked in booze.

I was immediately drawn to this recipe – if you can call it that, it’s so simple I don’t know if it rises to the level of “recipe” – because frozen grapes have always been one of my favorite summer snacks. And if I love frozen grapes, and soaking grapes in booze will make them better, then Newton’s 5th Transitive Rule of Snacks dictates that wine-soaked, frozen grapes should be fan-fucking-tastic. Newton’s actual words.

*Even though I took these photos, I’m going to have to go with “twee.”

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Thursday Night Smackdown: Maybe Fish Sauce Isn't Entirely Evil

I don’t want to harp, really, but I do feel that I must state here again that I do NOT own a mandolin.

I finally got a copy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges, and immediately wanted pretty much everything in it. I was going to do the peking duck, because yum, but the directions instructed me to hang the glazed raw duck from a hook overnight in the fridge, where you’ve also placed a small battery-powered fan to keep air moving around the duck. Thanks for adapting that recipe for the home cooks with normal-sized refrigerators* at whom your book is aimed, Jean-Georges! Really helpful.

Still, I can’t be too angry at him because despite his chef stardom he still eats hot dogs. So I decided to go with his Charred Lamb Salad, a riff on traditional Thai beef and lettuce wraps that sounds MUCH more boring that it actually is.

*Maybe I didn’t read the introduction carefully, maybe it’s only for home cooks with home meat lockers.

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The Big Stomach Wave Makes the Love

What does it all mean? Hell if I know. All of today’s captions are brought to you by the nutjobs who found TNS via google. This one’s for you, Mr. or Ms. “Upside Down Belly Button.”

Really, what was this person looking for? “The big stomach wave makes the love”? Is it some grody thing that I’m naive for not knowing? If so, I’d like to continue on in my blissful ignorance.

A few weeks ago the New York Times Wednesday food section had a feature article on ricotta that included instructions for making it yourself, and I’ve been brooding over it ever since, wanting to make it. I could resist no longer, so I decided dinner tonight would be ricotta crostini. It’s a win-win-win: I love cheese, I love nibblies, and I love dinner. Success!

I ended up making two savory crostini – one with prosciutto and thyme, one with a sweet and spicy quick tomato compote – and one sweet, with honey, walnuts and cardamom. All were dinner worthy, and all will re-appear on my table. Quoth Brian, “It’s like crack!”

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