Thursday Night Smackdown: I'd Hit That

I would, and I DID.

It’s still hotter than Hades, I still have a gaping wound in my palm, AND the new Batman movie opens tonight at midnight. All of those factors combine to force a quick and easy, light-on-heat-and-cooking smackdown. Ipso facto, salad.

When I want salad, I turn to Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking. God help me, that woman knows how to compose a fucking salad. On the menu tonight: marinated lentil salad with fresh tomatoes and goat cheese.

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Cheap Ass Wednesday: Il pane della Nonna

I ate too much of this. You will, too.

I was really excited about the meal I was prepping for Cheap Ass Monday when my cheap ass glassware sliced through my priceless right hand and incapacitated me: potato focaccia with onions and a warm white bean and spinach salad. Aside from being delicious, simple and cheap potato focaccia is one of my all time favorite foods.

It’s only recently that I’ve realize that the bread I know and love is actually focaccia; my nonna, who made it in a wood-fired oven off the kitchen of the two-room shack she lived in in the middle of a vineyard just outside Brindisi, just called it ‘pizza’ and that’s what I grew up calling it.* But you don’t get to hear about all that now because of my throbbing hand.

*Important note: My nonna is not dead, she just got a little too old to live in a two-room shack with no hot water and ten thousand stray cats; hence the past tense.

The focaccia was adapted from The Wednesday Chef’s recipe, and if it can’t equal nonna’s, it’s still damn good. The warm bean salad is little more than garlic, olive oil, a tomato, a bunch of spinach, a can of beans and splash of lemon juice cooked quickly in a saute pan, so there’s your recipe. Special thanks go to Brian, who did 100% of the work while I sat on a stool and issued directions.

And that’s about all the typing I can take, so I bring you a Cheap Ass Wednesday in pictures:

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Cheap Ass Monday: Son of a Bitch

I just tried to catch a glass as it fell out of the dish drainer, and of course it shattered against the edge of the countertop and sliced the palm of my hand open, because that’s what my life is like.  And obviously it’s my right hand and I’m right-handed.  I don’t think I’m going to be kneading any dough or slicing any lemons tonight, which means you’ll have to wait until the morrow for your weekly dose of cheap eats.   Although I am proving to be a pretty decent left-handed typist, so I guess that’s a perk in case my right side is ever trapped under a beam in a burning barn and I need to send a frantic one-handed email calling for help.*

*Assuming the cows have an internet-ready computer.

Thursday Night Smackdown: Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?

And so, the egg whites have been folded in ANGER!!*

Once again, it’s hot as balls in New York City.

Between that and the Tour De France – as I’m sure you all know today is the first mountainous stage, and the Tour chooses its champions where the mountains bear the snows of winter – I didn’t want to tackle something overly complicated or arduous. But I did want to do something new, something I’d never made before. I was flipping through Chez Panisse Cooking when it hit me:


More specifically, crab souffle with leeks and green onions, with a simple veggie saute on the side. It’s light, it’s French and it’s somewhat risky, like an edible cabaret. And it’s Alice Waters, so I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong.

*I know: this sounds nonsensical (more so than usual).  Please refer to this post and it’s paean to Tour de France commentator Phil Liggett for a full explanation.

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Restaurant Recreations: Le Croque Madame

“And so, the first pedal has been turned in ANGER!”

It’s July. For some people that means summer hours, vacations, weekends at the beach or in the country (at least, for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Around here, July means one thing: le Tour de France.

I’m not really sure when or why we started watching the tour; maybe 5 or 6 years ago? You might think it would be mind-numbing to spend 21 straight days watching men ride bicycles for 4 and 5 hours at a stretch, often in a straight line all bunched together like 5-year-olds playing soccer, but you would be OH SO WRONG. It is complicated and exciting and riveting and we are COMPLETELY HELPLESS ADDICTS. I have a fantasy cycling team. I am not kidding.

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July 2008 First Thursday: The Roundup

Here it is: the first ever round-up, for the first-ever First Thursday event! Nine brave souls took the challenge, followed the recipes, and produced some (mostly) delicious albeit beige food. Thanks to everyone who participated! Pat yourselves on your collective back. To everyone else: FOR SHAME! You know who you are.

Next month, we kick off themes. For August 2008, we combat the scourge of beige with colorful produce. Our theme: A seasonal fruit or vegetable with which you’ve never worked before.

On to the recipes!
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