Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pot Pie Eyed

After a short day at work (well, 7.75 hours, not all that short) I came home with one task in mind: utilize leftovers. It was my mission and I chose to accept it.

Let the games begin!

Jen made some salads with pomegranate and feta cheese.

I worked on the turkey pot pie which I assembled with garlic (farm), onions, carrots (farm), turnips (farm), sage, cayenne, turkey gravy, turkey stock, potato (farm), and green beans (forgotten from Thanksgiving day). The finishing touch was my patented biscuit crust. Some people make actual pie crust for their pot pie. I refer to that type of pot pie as Inferior Pot Pie. Mine may not be traditional but it is far better.

The rainy and snowy evening was capped off wonderfully with hot pot pie for dinner. Jen's game-time decision to go out for dinner last night and eat at home tonight turned out to be a stroke of brilliance.

While we did have a lot of laundry to fold, the night still turned out well with The Return of the King playing on TNT, hot tea, the pitter-patter of rain on our grungy windowsill, and some pumpkin pie for dessert.

It looks like that is the end of our Thanksgiving leftovers. Next week we will start fresh, finishing up the small remainder of last Saturday's winter share pickup.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Soup and an Impromptu "Adventure"

This morning started a bit late with us sleeping in, again, to the late hour of 9:00AM. After that we woke up to a morning of watching that new Beyoncé video where she implores women to make their men put a ring on it while showing off her unexplained cyborg hand.

For lunch I made a very fast turkey soup out of the leftover turkey, the turkey stock, some of the roasted vegetables, the glazed turnips, the remainder of the arugula (which had frozen for some reason), and some of the fusilli from a few days ago. With no bread available I toasted up some of the naan we had in the freezer. It was a light lunch, probably too light to sustain us through our impromptu afternoon jaunt.

We ended up unexpectedly at The Met where I mimicked the catlike statues in the Egyptian exhibit. Jen makes a weak argument that my attempt to simulate whiskers with my fingers does not come across. I think it's obvious by this photograph that I am a master of animal disguise.

Jen, however, can barely pull of this sphinx imitation. Pathetic.

We accidentally wound up getting tricked into going in the American exhibits. Instead of looking at things that were 4000 years old, we were now looking at some parlors from the 1850s. Somehow not quite as impressive.

Eventually we came full circle and ended up seeing a different portion of the Egyptian exhibit. It was then that I was able to fulfill my childhood dream of posing with a fat sarcophagus.

We left the house to try to go to a new restaurant that just opened on 181st street but Jen was so overwhelmed by the cold (it was only 45 degrees) that we turned around and headed to the marginally closer Coogan's.

When we arrived at Coogan's it had already been heavily decorated for the holidays, inside and out. It was nice to take a night off from turkey and let Coogan's do the cooking for us. I had the monthly special: fish tacos. Jen had a cheeseburger. We both ate way too much because we were starving from not eating anything all day (since lunch, anyway). Then we waddled home where we settled down with some tea and the New Jersey Devils game.

What will happen tomorrow? Will we be return to our turkey roots? Or will we decide to make the remaining turnip from the farm share? Only time will tell. There can be only one . . . dinner.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hot Turkey Sandwiches: The Greatest Gift of All

Today was a big day. We woke up at the crack of 9:00AM to tackle a day of no shopping whatsoever. After a busy morning of drinking tea and coffee and doing little else it was time to have lunch!

Using our leftovers from yesterday's meal Jen made a salad with roasted vegetables and I made these annoyingly trendy turkey sliders with some arugula, stuffing, gravy, and a little mayonnaise on the rolls from last night.

It was a pretty big day. We watched the Bruins destroy the Islanders. We went for a walk up to 181st Street. We took a nap. Woke up to watch A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All. We lounged a bit. Then it was time for dinner. Dinner, of course, was hot turkey sandwiches with some oven roasted fries.

We had some leftover chestnuts so I made a roasted chestnut ice cream. It came out pretty good and was an excellent accompaniment to some leftover pumpkin pie.

Now we're settling down to what may be the best four hours of television possible on the day after Thanksgiving: Elf, followed by the Monk Christmas special, followed by the Psych Christmas special. A little mulled cider with Maker's Mark will accompany this fine programming quite nicely.

Life doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving à la Americain

Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim People!

Today I spent most of the day at work but returned home to a Thanksgiving meal fit for a king! Well, fit for a king that was only 85% ready to be served his dinner. So for the 15% of the meal that needed to be completed, I drank a beer and watched part of the never-ending House marathon on what I can only assume is the House channel. Jen claims that the House marathon is not always on but the evidence of her watching it every day when I return from work would lead me to believe otherwise.

We started off with some of the Vinsobre wine we got in France. We were waiting for a special occasion to pop it open and today seemed like as good a day as any.

Jen made roasted vegetables, glazed turnips, creamed onions, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted turkey, gravy, and rolls. The turnips, some of the roasted vegetables, and the potatoes were all from this month's winter farm share. My contribution to the meal: I scored the brussel sprouts that we forgot to put in the oven.

For dessert Jen made pumpkin pie, one of my favorite things ever. This was probably her best pie to date. While she employed an oddly Canadian themed design for this pie it was still a great addition to this distinctly American holiday. Personally I would have preferred my pie concept: A rectangular pie which mimicked the American flag with 50 little pumpkins instead of stars. If I'm in charge next year I'm definitely doing that.

As a special dessert bonus we also had pinwheels, which Jen made out of the leftover pie crust with some brown sugar.

And now, as a Thanksgiving winds down, we are going to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull which I have rented from through my crummy TiVo that I hate.

Can't wait to see the movie! I heard it's terrible and it has aliens!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Catching Up and Preparing to Give Thanks!

Oooooh, so it's been a long time since I updated. Nate leaves me in charge of the blog while he slaves away to provide yuppies and hippies with Thanksgiving, and I fail to update. Bad, bad, Jen.

Anyhow, with the dulcet tones of various quasi-bizarre holiday medleys courtesy of the Macy's parade and before I start the cooking orgy for today's minifeast, here's some catch up.

On Sunday, we had the rest of Nate's delicious soup with a salad made from leftovers. (Delish and frugal!) We then finished up the fruitcake, stirring innumerable eggs and various drygoods into the mixed fruits and stirring it up, thus making it a true stirrup Sunday.

Also on Sunday, I got to check out Joe and Ryan's amazing new apartment. It has a fireplace: I mean, what else? Joe set out a delicious cheese plate and we had some wine before the fireplace, and a little part of me died a little of jealousy and happiness all mixed.

Then I came home and doused the now-cooked cakes with brandy and wrapped them up. They're sitting all happily in the fridge as I type.

The rest of the week has been extra-boring and marked by late nights -- for Nate, especially, since it's the maddest season at his esteemed employer. On Monday, I managed to beat Nate home by an hour or so, so I made something simple yet comforting to those who have been in the Thanksgiving trenches: macaroni and cheese.

On Tuesday, I only beat Nate home by a minute or so, so it was another pasta standby: ravioli. (Which Nate laid out in an interesting way to offset how boring a dinner it was.)

And then on Wednesday, wanting to save my culinary energies for today, I made yet another pasta: tomato sauce, shallots, frozen spinach , leftover rotelli and scallops. I know. It was totally weird. What can I say? I was hungry and the fridge is full of turkey but not much else.

Which brings us to today. Right now, the dough for the rolls is rising, and I'm about to start on the pie crust. (O pie crust, my Everest!) Later on I'll get the vegetables and turkey in order and hopefully even get out for a quick pre-turkey run. (My own personal turkey trot, if you will. The Christmas 4-miler is in three weeks!)

In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to all! Updates on dinner to come.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes in Winter . . . FARMING!

This one's for the fans, the hardcore Veg Heads who know how to keep it local and seasonal, ALL YEAR ROUND!

Now let's get cookin'!

We started off by picking up our farm share at Fort Tryon Park and then heading off to Cabrini Wines to stock our wine cellar rack. There were a bunch of cool wines this week. There was even one that looked like a boarding pass but, alas, it was too expensive for our tastes.

For lunch I made a soup out of the leftover butternut squash with a little garlic, onion and chestnut that I cooked with vegetable stock and pureed. We had the soup with some grilled cheese sandwiches and a light salad with baby greens and tomatoes.

After lunch we opened the box to find the following: Kale, mixed potatoes, tatsoi, purple choy, onions, garlic, turnips, carrots, arugula, pumpkin, apples, pears, and cider.

After our lunch Jen wasted her time by going for a run in the twenty degree cold. I, on the other hand, used my methods to help one of my clients reclaim a priceless bejeweled falcon statue which had been stolen by emissaries of the German government.

Jen got started a batch of fruit cake. Here she is holding a bowl of unearthly ingredients (such as Maraschino cherries) soaked in brandy to let them soak overnight before making and baking the batter for the cake.

We foolishly forgot to purchase brandy so Jen used the Metaxa we had in the liquor cabinet in place. The Metaxa's a little rough but hopefully the almonds won't mind soaking it up just the same.

I cut up the pears and soaked them in a little port and balsamic vinegar. We had them over some of the arugula with some goat cheese, walnuts, and olive oil. The pears were extremely under ripe so I probably should have poached them in a port syrup but they were passable.

For dinner I marinated some salmon in squeezed clementine juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I garnished with some clementine segments and served with a baked potato and some wilted tatsoi.

We tried to save as much of the share as possible for American Thanksgiving next week. This will be my last dinner at home until Thanksgiving so it was good to get the most out of today's pickup.

Jen is going to have the helm for the rest of the week. What kind of wacky vegetable hijinks will she be up to? Only time will tell.

Set your sails for vegetable adventure!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sole Man

Today I spent the afternoon on Long Island. The traffic on the way home worked up a man-sized hunger that I could only satiate with Hungry Man delicious steamed white fish. (That is what we, in the business, call foreshadowing).

The salad was simply the remainder of our mixed greens with some roasted chestnuts, some feta cheese and some tomato. I only put tomato on Jen's salad as I have become tomato-leery in recent off seasons. I just can't trust a tomato in the colder months. But I'm a jerk. Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be like me.

For dinner the highlight was truly the boiled potatoes. I don't know how they achieve such a tasty potato at the farm but somehow they taste more like a potato than any potato I've ever had. I just drizzled a little olive oil and melted butter and cracked some pepper over the top. I didn't even salt them they were so flavorful.

To accompany the potato I made some sole filets and steamed edamame that I sprinkled with cayenne.

So, that's it. The potato was the last of the farm share. However, we have our fresh new winter share popping up this Saturday. Stay tuned this weekend when we may have an incredible adventure with some root vegetables. The adventure may include finding interesting ways to cook them.

Alternately it may involve us dressing them up in tiny homemade clothing and giving them names. "Meet my friend, Mr. Parsnip and his colleague, Dr. Rutabaga. Today they're going to solve a murder!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back to Boring Town

Well, as we have little left other than a few heads of garlic (I'm going to miss getting an unending supply of "free" garlic from the share) I'm afraid our usage of these wonderful vegetables is drawing to a close for the season. I suppose that's not entirely true. This Saturday we get our first ever winter share allotment which will be coming to us now on a monthly basis.

That means you may see more root vegetables in the coming months than you care to see. That being said we may have to eat more than we care to eat. That's saying quite a bit because I looooooove me some root vegetables.

Without a steady influx of vegetables this week I resorted to keeping things quasi-seasonal in the interim. Tonight I did an alternate take on last night's salad, segmenting the clementines and tossing the segments in hot sauce and salt. I combined with some feta, greens, and pistachios.

For the wine we had Cycles Gladiator. This was picked using my patented cool label/name/low price method. The wine features a naked redhead and a bicycle. How cool is that? The fact that it is called Gladiator is baffling but compelling. The back of the label might as well have a crudely drawn pile of cow excrement in place of text. The label begins like this: "The invention of the bicycle ushered in a new spirit of freedom during the late 19th century." It then goes on some more about bicycles and French printer G. Massias's mythological artwork which graces the label. Not once does it mention anything about wine, the flavor of said wine, or the relevance of naked redheads!

The main course was rather boring but still welcome as a late dinner (10:00PM) at least by our standards. It was a simple, pan-roasted chicken breast with sauteed spinach, edamame, and baked potato served with a slice of cornbread.

Overall: pretty boring.

To learn more about this insanely packaged and marketed wine visit

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

That Old Chestnut

Yesterday Jen made "Chicken Madness" which I came home to around midnight. At first I thought she may have been having some sort of psychotic episode when she declared, "I made chicken madness!" However, it was of little or no consequence when I tasted how delicious it was.

This is what the Chicken Madness looked like. Delectable.

I started off tonight with some sliced Clementines with hot sauce and salt, a recipe passed down from my Guatemalan grandmother. It's a traditional snack in Guatemala (where she is from, you see). I served them with some (read: all the rest of our) greens. Goat cheese and pistachios were some items in the fridge that lent themselves to this salad pretty well.

For the main course I cooked up a little garlic, shallot, butternut squash, and shiitake mushrooms with a little sage (no thyme because we didn't have any) and a small amount of shredded Parmesan. I was also going to fold in a little ricotta at the end but the container in the fridge was molded over. I used a little chestnut puree along with chopped chestnuts.

I also learned an interesting fact today: chestnuts contain no fat! So this entire meal was basically a lowfat meal, getting its only fat from a tiny amount of olive oil and Parmesan cheese. I hadn't intended this to be a quasi-healthy meal but it really turned out to be. Even using skim milk it was a very heavy and creamy sauce.

The whole result was yet another seasonal meal of which my Guatemalan grandmother would be very proud. "Natito," she would say. "I love you too much."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chicken, and Life, Madness

Oh, today. I had such high hopes for you -- I got our the door on time this morning, I remembered my gym bag, I did not spill coffee on my dressing gown and I remembered my lunch (not in that order, of course). It seemed so promising: get to work, do some interviews, write an issue piece, catch up from being from gone last week, arrange a fashion shoot and call in all the product, plan the party/gossip column for the week, pop out the door at 6 and hit the gym, then come home and make a nutritious and delectable meal.

Clearly I was misguided. I did some interviews, and I did some catch up. I did NOT write an issue piece, so it came home with me. I caught up a little from being gone last week, I called in some product, I did a tiny amount of column planning. I left at twenty past seven and skipped the gym, needless to say. But the night was not past redemption. Thanks to a trip to the grocery store and some last-minute inspiration, I did manage to make a meal that was delish, and while not incredibly healthful was better than a kick with a frozen moccasin.

Anyone who spent any appreciable amount of time on the Georgetown campus has probably had the Chicken Madness sandwich from Wisey's, the deli just off campus. The Chicken Madness, assembled on the huge flat grill and served with chips and choice of soda, has haunted my gastronomic dreams since I graduated. And tonight -- a night where there was leftover chicken breast in the fridge and redemption being sought -- was a perfect choice to try and recreate it.

Thanks to Chowhound and my ever-more-hazy memory, I compiled a mental picture of the Madness: Grilled chicken, bacon and red, green and jalaepeno peppers all heated on the grill with garlic powder and cayenne, served on a sub role with mayo, tomato and lettuce with a slice of provolone on top. Mmmmmm. To make the Jen version, I chopped the roast chicken from the other night and sauteed it with red and green pepper strips (I thought we might have share jalapenos left in the fridge, but no such luck) and two slices of turkey bacon. After being seasoned with cayenne and garlic powder, the mixture was covered with a slice of provolone and served on a piece of leftover paesano bread with mayo, assorted cherry tomatoes and salad mix.

And it was a pretty passable, and yum, imintation, if I do say so myself. The turkey bacon acquitted itself nicely, and the jalapeno wasn't conspicuous by its absence. Salad mix, however, is a terrible choice for a warm sandwich, and the cherry tomatoes were only so so. But it was comforting and yummy, and a glass of TetraPak organic wine is even better than a can of Diet Pepsi. Take that, today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Intrepid Dinner

Today, as promised, we attended one of our nation's treasures: The Intrepid Air, Sea & Space Museum!

It begun with a 45 minute wait in line. When we approached the front of the line we found a door that was being held open by what must've been one of the relics from the museum: an old-fashioned wooden door stop! Evidently there was not a great deal of time put into door stops during the two years the museum had been closed for renovations.

We killed some time before meeting up with some friends by checking out the Concorde they have on display. Sadly they didn't allow for sitting in the cockpit, you could just squeeze your way down the narrow aisle and imagine what it would have been like to be a skinny business man in the 80s.

After meeting up with our friends we appreciated the Sunk/Probably Sunk record of the Intrepid. If I were the captain of the Intrepid (could happen) I'd have beefed up the Probably Sunk a little more. This is a situation that just lends itself perfectly to padding the numbers.

One of the best things about World War II was that you could just make posters where you made extraordinarily offensive caricatures of as many races as possible and it was okay. Best of all, most people would not even notice! Hooray for the 1940s!

Here's our friend Eli on the bridge of the Intrepid with his first mate, Jen. Don't worry, his parents were there too. We didn't steal this baby or anything.

When we returned home we continued our usage of the pomegranate and pistachios by making this salad with a little goat cheese added into the mix.

For the main course we roasted a chicken breast with onion, garlic, carrots, rutabaga, potato, butternut squash, and broccoli. Most of it was from the farm.

It is very rare but I had a little port after dinner as we were still pretty cold from our freezing day outside on the aircraft carrier. The plus side to port is that it's delicious. The negative is that it's hard not to feel like a pretentious prat when you're drinking it. I'm even a little ashamed admitting I had some after dinner.

However, I'm not ashamed at all to mention that we've already watched two episodes of Psych and it's not even 9:00PM yet!

Maybe my shame is misplaced.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chestnuts & Raviolis

Welcome to our crazy world of vegetable antics!

Tonight, after spending thirty minutes unsuccessfully looking for a parking spot I finally entered our home to prepare a quick dinner. For a moment we toyed with the idea of going out but we do have a pretty good amount of food in the fridge so sensibility had a rare win in tonight's meal planning.

For the salad I chopped up some roasted chestnuts and squeezed some pomegranate over some mixed greens (new, non-slug infested ones) with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

The main course was cheese and spinach raviolis with wilted tatsoi and garlic with Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

We also had a little more bread with olive oil and for dessert we had some vanilla ice cream with more melted ganache.

The real highlight of the evening? Several fresh episodes of Psych.

Tomorrow we wake up early to do something fun. What? Well, you're just going to have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

Hint: it involves our nation's military. But in a fun way!