Romney/Palin in 2012!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today about what my future will be like in the Republic of Gilead that will come about in the wake of a Santorum presidency.

I suppose I could just look for the silver linings: I won’t ever fret over not being able to decide what book to read next, because I won’t be allowed to read at all. Plus, Brian and I will probably both be sent to the colonies to die slow deaths from radiation poisoning, so maybe I’ll be able to see him through the chain-link fence one last time before I succumb. Something to look forward to!

That’s why Thursday Night Smackdown will no longer be apolitical and is officially endorsing Willard “Mittens” Romney. I mean, I’m not going to vote for him or anything, but if it helps Santorum to NOT be the candidate, I’ll do it. New Jersey hasn’t had its Republican primary yet, so I can still have an impact. I think I’ll have some t-shirts made:

  • With a Name Like Romney, He Has to Be Good!
  • Romney Is For Lovers
  • Is it Romney, or is it Memorex? (It’s Romney!)


If Santorum takes the White House we’ll all be subject to some pretty harsh sumptuary laws, so I figured the time to be decadent is now, before my cookbooks are thrown into the fire for having too many food photos that excite lascivious appetites, along with my copies of Backlash, Our Bodies, Ourselves and the many history books I own that might reveal that the United States of Jesus have not always been at war with Islamastan.

I recently obtained the Eleven Madison Park cookbook – a stunner for sure – and landed on the avocado roulades with poached prawns and wood sorrel.


I was drawn to the roulades for several reasons (and later found out that Frank Bruni listed them as one of the recommended dishes in his NYTimes review):

  • Things stuffed with other things are nearly always good. Like empanadas, or Bavarian cream donuts, or lobsters stuffed with tacos.
  • The ingredient list and number of components to be prepared were merely silly and not completely preposterous.
  • Leftover shrimp salad means tasty next-day sandwiches.

Step one: Prawn poaching. Okay, fine, colossal shrimp poaching. The poaching liquid, or court boullion if you want to get all Joël Robuchon about it, is a mixture of orange juice and zest, white wine, fennel, celery, leek, garlic, black pepper, fennel and coriander seed, star anise and salt.


The shrimp poach at 140 degrees for five minutes, and are then cooled completely in the liquid before being diced and tossed with diced green apple and avocado, greek yogurt, crème fraîche, mayo and tarragon. Trying to keep a pot of liquid at precisely 140 without an immersion circulator is a minor pain in the ass – just a minor one; it pales in comparison to, say, dying from the infection that sets into the perforated uterus you suffered at the hands of a back-alley abortionist – but it’s worth five minutes of hovering and fiddling with the knobs on the stove for shrimp cooked this perfectly.

Prepping the shrimp mixture reminded me why I never wanted to be a restaurant chef. Because you gotta start somewhere, and “somewhere” means “the station where you have to chop 45 pounds of shrimp into a 1/8-inch dice.” You can’t pass GO and move directly to Executive Chef much like you can’t just apply for a job on the Supreme Court immediately after graduating law school, an insight that would have saved me $120,000 if I had had it in 2001.*

*Seriously, would I not be a great justice? I have opinions out the ass!


To form the roulade, you cut paper-thin slices of avocado and lay them on a piece of parchment so they overlap. Then, you put the parchment into a vacuum seal bag and compress it, which both prevents browning and helps the slices adhere to one another. Or you don’t because you don’t own a vacuum sealer. And then screw you, Amazon reviewer who said that this book did a good job adapting recipes for the home cook.

Once it’s assembled. you use the parchment to help you roll it into a log. Plating includes a simple yogurt sauce, lobster roe oil, lobster roe powder, wood sorrel and oxalis buds. What, does your supermarket not have oxalis in its edible flowers department? Bummer. Maybe you should move to a nicer neighborhood.

Here’s what it looks like when you get it at Eleven Madison Park:

eleven madison park

Gorgeous, no?

Here’s what it looks like when you make it at home. Try not to cry:


(Please note that pea shoots are playing the role of wood sorrel, tarragon flowers that fortuitously came with my bunch of tarragon are standing in for oxalis, chile powder is filling in for lobster roe powder and lobster roe oil is entirely absent. Did you even READ the book before you left your lengthy review, fellow Amazon purchaser?)

Here’s another angle:


And here are the shrimp tacos your significant other makes because he’s hungry, it’s already 9:15 and he’s not about to wait for you to try for a fourth time to make a presentable roulade:


Lucky for these shrimp that they were stupid good. I’ve poached seafood before, but have never had it take in this much flavor. The sweetness of the shrimp, the crunch and bite of the apple, the tang of just enough crème fraîche and yogurt and the fatty smoothness of the avocado – harmonious. Brian actually preferred the taco form factor because my structurally compromised roulades didn’t have the right filling-to-avocado ratio, but I loved the roulades as-is, with no tortilla to mask the delicacy of the flavors.

I think we’ll definitely have these again, but next time it will be at Eleven Madison Park.

And remember, in this primary season: Romney: The Other White Meat

18 thoughts on “Romney/Palin in 2012!

  1. A Santorum presidency is one of the scariest fates I can imagine, lol. As a Paultard, I’m staying hopeful till the very end. heh

    That avocado roll is so gorgeous! But so are the tacos. I can go either way. :)

  2. Oh my god I read The Handmaid’s Tale two weekends ago. Then I emailed every female I know and said “WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TELL ME EARLIER THAT THIS EXISTED? READ THIS NOW. ”
    I want to write something profound showing how upset I am about politics and religion, but all that’s going through my head is “ohmygod ohmygod it can’t happen. right? right?”

  3. I have already notified my husband that if that sanctimonious asshole be elected Pres. he (my husband) is going to have to get his company to transfer us to another country. Because homie don’t play that shit.

    Unfortunately the other citizens of my state are lacking in mental facilities – but not quite as bad as going for Santorum.

    Also – I would eat the shit out of that shrimp salad. It looks delicious.

  4. Hold on here…a Santorum candidacy is exactly what I’m hoping for! There is no way in HELL that jackass could ever win a general election, so we’d be safe! Of course, Romney has only a slim chance, so I’m not worried either way, but think of the comedy potential behind Santorum; the guys a walking punch line. He couldn’t even get re-elected in to the Senate, and god knows, here in Pennsylvania (meaning the vast wasteland between Philly and Pittsburgh) we have a far huge percentage of sanctimonious assholes. What does that tell you? Of course, as a backup plan, I’ve already started looking into real estate in Vancouver, BC just in case either one wins. Gotta keep my options open.

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who immediately thought The Handmaid’s Tale after this primary season. I’m almost scared to read it again.

  6. i would eat any of those dishes or just the cooked shrimp alone. In total agreement with you with Santorum, and have also started wondering what the chances of living in Australia were for a few years.

    Maybe i shouldn’t ask, but did something push you over the edge from “that is a really, really bad candidate” to “OMG, a fundamentalist theocracy is an actual possibility here” ?

  7. I give you an A+ for effort here, Michelle. There is only so much cooperation you’ll get from avocado without a kitchen Hoover to help….oh well. The poaching technique and medium sound brilliant, so our task now is to figure out a non-roulade way of serving up this deliciousness. Tacos are a good start, but……

  8. the shrimp looks delicious, and i think i would go for the roulade. yum. my best friend and i have decided that if santorum becomes pres we are packing up the cars, dressing the children in the draperies and making a run for equador von trapp style. i’ve already recruited my boss to reluctantly not blow the whistle as we make our escape.

  9. @j3nn, so what you’re telling me is that you’re avocado bi-curious.

    @barbara, dammit, i can’t get out that way – brian works for the DoD. i’m stuck here.

    @tina, no, what you want is a on paul candidacy. no offense, j3nn.

    @bev, no, it’s a combination of things piling up.

    @oui, chef, i think i’d make the same shrimp salad again, but fold the yogurt sauce right into it and serve it lobster-roll style.

    @anastassia, good plan! i plan to get pregnant and have a lame-duck abortion before he gets sworn in, just because i can, and then burn any documentation that i was ever a citizen and travel to nova scotia by foot.

  10. Tina, re: Vancouver real estate prices – good luck. I mean, I don’t know you, maybe you’re a person of means, but otherwise, seriously, good luck. I’m from there, and you cannot currently buy anything other than a crackhouse for under $1million. And the crackhouses are not a LOT under it.

    If Vancouver is your escape hatch of choice, though, I can see if my parents’ spare room is vacant.

  11. There’s a school of thought that says Romney should not get the nomination because if Santorum is nominated and then gets creamed in November, as he would assuredly do because surely before God the entire nation has not gone batshit crazy at the same time, then that will be the end of the viability of the batshit crazy wing of the Republican party and we can all get back to something approximating normal politics, which still sucks, but at least is semi-rational.

    And shrimp salad with avocados? Just dice those babies up and stir ’em in. Sheer brilliance to poach shrimps in OJ and other marvelous stuff in that court bouillion. Wish I’d’a thought of it. I think there is a shrimp and avocado salad in my future.

  12. I don’t even like shrimp, but I love me a good Handmaid’s Tale reference and I would eat the hell out of that. Santorum practically gives me a rage induced migraine, every time.

  13. Avocado roulade, you are nearly there, you need to vac pack the avo slices so they compress and become the right texture to roll like a sheet
    Also you needed to turn over before stuffing, you have the avo upside down so presentation side has been folded inside the roulade, not bad effort tho :)

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    a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the search for such information.

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