Friday, May 29, 2009

Veal Be Back

After a brief attempt to get a drink in our neighborhood the cloud cover overhead forced us back home where I threw together a very quick meal from some leftovers and new ingredients. I knew we'd return home, just not as early as we did.

I made a quick salad with prosciutto, grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. It was pretty good except the prosciutto was of the quality one might consider acceptable for pet consumption but not generally for that of bipedal mammals.

I had some veal from Provitello Farms in Elba, New York. Check out the website if you like to look at adorable little calves. Nothing makes a better dessert than a nicely presented plate of guilt. I rolled the veal with some some Jersey Fresh asparagus from Patten Farms in Pilesgrove, New Jersey; Lioni Mozzarella from Brooklyn; and more of the crappy prosciutto from Gristedes because I forgot to get good prosciutto from a reputable grocery store.

The accompaniment was this White Truck which didn't really work super well but we had it in the fridge and were looking for something refreshing for the humidity level. I hate when wine people talk about how "explosive" a wine tastes or how it has "cherry notes" or "black pepper" but this wine actually tasted significantly like grapefruit. It actually tasted so much like grapefruit that I remarked on it before I read it off of the back label. I guess that means I'm either getting a more refined palette or I'm turning into a bigger jerk with old age.

Perhaps it is a combination of the two.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

That's Amore

Last night was a bit lame in terms of culinary creativity. It was more of a clean out the fridge kind of night.

I started off by making a tomato and bread salad with balsamic vinegar. I used the ends of the bread Jen used for garlic bread the previous night. A little mozzarella and basil would have done wonders but my absenteeism from grocery stores made me deal with what we had.

I used stuff from the freezer (pork sausage and chicken stock) and some casarecce to make a quick pasta with a little Parmagiano, some onions, garlic, and additional tomatoes. It was pretty tasty considering there was no shopping involved.

And now on to tonight . . .

Lombardi's Pizza in New York City claims to be the first pizza place in America. Whether or not that is true, their pizza is fantastic. Their pepperoni pizza, which I generally don't care for, is fantastic. They make their own sauce (naturally), fresh mozzarella, and this delicious, small, thickly-sliced pepperoni which curl up beautifully in their brick oven. Tonight's goal was to recreate a version of that pizza.

It was remarkably quick and easy to recreate. I purchased some uncured pepperoni from Primo Naturale (a division of Wellshire Farms) based out of Swedesboro, New J‎ersey. The mozzarella was from Lioni Mozzarella, based out of Brooklyn. The dough and sauce were both from Original Pizza. While Original Pizza is not technically local to me now, they are located six miles from my childhood home in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Therefore I consider them honorarily local.

So, as you can see, I really didn't do anything tonight. I gave up making my own pizza dough years ago as I think Original Pizza makes a great dough and it's just not worth the $0.35 savings and extra hour of time to make it myself. Half the time I buy pre-made sauce because I just don't have the time after work to throw a sauce together.

Strangely people are still shocked that I make "my own" pizza, as if it were some sort of lost art to throw dough onto a pizza stone and put it in the oven for twelve minutes.

Ever since Jen and I survived an apparent murder attempt by Papa John three years ago I have not had a single slice of American-style pizza. 90% of the pizza has been either made by me or Mario Batali -- probably the only common point to our cooking.

One thing is for sure, you won't be seeing "Big Papa" showing up to my house anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Son, Ribeye

After a nice Pan-Manhattan bike ride this afternoon, followed by a modest nap, we were in the mood for food. The bike ride may have been one of our worst. The ride began with my derailer breaking. We took a detour to a local bike shop to get it repaired. Unfortunately the bicycle repairman did not have a way of fixing the fact that I took a goofy turn at the end of the ride that ended up with me cycling up a tremendous hill in the forest and nearly breaking my neck as I rode my bike through the bramble. The irony was that I'd taken this turn to avoid a tricky hill. The hill I was avoiding, however, was nicely paved and not covered with stones, sand, rocks, and broken tree branches.

Luckily I had a giant two pound ribeye in the fridge that was just dying to be grilled, apartment style.

I carmelized some shallots with garlic and cooked up some potatoes and portobello caps. After that It was just a simple matter of searing the ribeye and tossing it into the oven for a few minutes. You will note that this all occurred in one pan.

The ribeye was enough to feed three hungry people but this bottle of delicious wine from Mas Carlot wasn't quite enough. Luckily we had another inferior bottle of wine to move to after we had polished this bottle off.

A quick walk to the Carvel after dinner proved to be a bust. While the door was open the angry teenager at the counter informed us that they were closed for the evening. The ice cream truck was not out tonight so we were forced to go to Gristedes and get a pint of Phish Food. This turned out to be a fantastic close to the evening as the ice cream truck never ends up being as good as the idea of the ice cream truck.

It just so happens that the Ben & Jerry's cost about one third as much as the crappy ice cream truck would. It also happened to be three times as good.

That is a sound ice cream investment.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Perils of Deep Frying

Every so often, when enough time has elapsed and I have forgotten about the perils of frying in our tiny, unventilated apartment, I break out the fryer and go to town. It just so happens that my cousin Jeff has come to join us for Memorial Day. Since we cannot grill we must find another find alternative barbecue-ish things to celebrate our fallen soldiers. For those of us that cannot grill, we fry.

$19.96 worth of fry oil and $1.79 of buttermilk are necessary to make $3.76 worth of fried chicken. Peril #1: frying is a costly proposition.

Potato salad, cole slaw, and cornbread are virtually free which is great to offset the cost of the damn oil. However, even frying directly behind a fan pointed out the kitchen window does not succeed in making the scent of fry oil hang in the air after we are done cooking.

The local Ramstein Beer from Butler, New Jersey helped ease some of the pain left by the lingering fry oil.

Jen also attempted to recreate her Nana's Napoleons from last week and made a pretty faithful facsimile. Along with a generous pour of rosé and the fry oil was all but forgotten.

Too bad for future me. He's going to be pissed when he sees that room temperature vat of used fry oil in the morning. That's his problem.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Peel That Shrimp

Hey, folks! Instead of not following our blog, why not just follow our blog? If you do, you'll get a picture of yourself over on the right there and nothing much else will change. You'll still get to read my inane ramblings about my lowbrow cooking efforts. What have you got to lose?

Tonight I got home pretty late and just had time to throw together this pasta before relaxing and watching the hockey game.

I used the leftover sauce from last night's monkfish along with some spaghetti, and shrimp from the freezer. I was disappointed to find out I'd accidentally purchased shrimp in the shells. Jen often tries to get me to purchase shell-on shrimp but I usually fight her tooth and nail because I am too lazy to peel shrimp. Much like cleaning monkfish, it's one of those kitchen tasks I'd rather not do.

Perhaps it is from years of having to do menial prep work. When you have to peel and devein 50 pounds of shrimp you grow to hate the task. I must say, peeling six shrimp tonight was not that bad.

If it weren't for Jen's crippling fear of having strangers touch her clothes I would send out my laundry to be cleaned rather than clean it myself. I don't even much care if a stranger lost my clothes so long as it saved me from having to fold some shirts.

Ah, priorities.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tony Shalhoub's Favorite Fish

Ah, monkfish, how I love to hate to love you.

Monkfish has long been simultaneously one of my favorite foods to make and my least favorite foods to prepare. Every cook has certain tasks that they despise. In my past lives in the kitchen I would often pawn off the butchering to an eager sous chef while I toiled away in the bakery. Their dislike of making bread from scratch matched my dislike of butchering meat and this made for a beautiful marriage.

It's not that I really hate butchering meat. I just find it exceptionally boring. However, I hate preparing monkfish.

Monkfish is surrounded with a silver membrane that is, for some reason, a huge hassel to get off. It requires a sharp knife, and patience that I just don't have. There are plenty of other cuts of meat and fish that have similar membranes or silverskins but for some reason the one on monkfish is the worst of the bunch.

After some patient peeling and trimming the result looks a lot more like fish that you'd want to eat and less like the spawn of some hideous alien beast.

I chopped up some garlic, onion, red bliss and Idaho potato. I sauteed them in olive oil with a little salt and pepper then tossed in some San Marzano tomatoes, red wine, kalamata olives, and capers. At the very end I tossed in the cleaned monkfish tail and let it simmer until just done. The resulting stewed monkfish was tasty on top of some giant steamed asparagus.

The fish ended up perfectly cooked. Even though I haven't prepared it in a few years I seem to have kept my touch for preparing monkfish. I will say that as delicious as it was I will not be rushing out to purchase it again. I love eating it but there is something about cleaning monkfish tail that makes me wish I was doing anything else.

Next time I think I'll hire a prep cook to come in and clean it up for me. If you're interested in the job send me an email. Note: I may have to pay you in monkfish.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Easy Pasta & Mantracker

I was pretty tired all day. Mostly because Jen and I stayed up late watching Mantracker on her cousin's recommendation. Sadly OLN in the United States recently turned into Versus which would rather air extreme fighting or bull riding (or extreme bull fighting) instead of this Canadian gem.

Mantracker is a tremendous show and very difficult to find. Currently there's only one copy of the first season on Amazon and it costs $50!

Mantracker is an incredible man. I've never seen anyone on television that had so little personality or charisma. It is rumored (by Jen's cousin) that in later episodes he gets a personality but it mostly involves him swearing a lot when people get away.

Mantracker seems to have a very unfair advantage for a number of reasons:

  1. He's a man tracker.
  2. He's on a horse.
  3. He has a partner who is a local who knows every nook and cranny of the area he's in.
  4. His partner also has a horse.
  5. It must be easy to find the prey when there is a camera crew following them around. Just look for the boom mics.

Being that we were both tired and had long days at our respective jobs we opted to have an easy dinner tonight. I got some Severino calabrese fusilli and made it with some Paesana Tuscan Pepper tomato sauce.

The sauce is made in East Farmington, NY, on Long Island, a little over thirty miles from here. It was pretty tasty but don't let the sweet-looking Italian lady on the label fool ya. That's-a-one a-spicy meatball! A little too a-spicy for me.

I haven't been much of a jarred pasta sauce guy in recent years. Jen isn't much of a fan of premade sauces so I normally opt to have my pasta simply with oil and cheese or with a sauce of my own creation.

Lack of time often has ways of changing one's culinary preferences. It's a slippery slope. I must fight against the urge to, one day, be making this for dinner . . .

It wouldn't be the first time I had this for dinner. I had this daily while I was in culinary school. Some of my chefs yelled at me for it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Last Day in Montreal and the Journey Home

Yesterday was our opportunity to take advantage of a dry day in Montreal. Unfortunately the rain was replaced with a ten-degree drop in temperature and gale-force winds.

That wasn't enough to keep us from our first stop of the day which was, for some reason, to visit Rue Beaudry. Rue Beaudry is named after my great-great-great-great (give or take up to five greats) grandfather Jean-Louis Beaudry. Actually, I'm not 100% sure that's true but my father will likely comment to confirm or deny that fact, as well as the number of greats I used.

Any way you slice it, Greatn Grandpa Beaudry would be pleased to know that his street is now home to what would most accurately be called the red light district. The subway station is also home to a guy who talked Jen's ear off for about twenty minutes in great detail about how hard his life has been and how he needs as much money as you can spare, or $2.00. At first I was glad I didn't understand French so I didn't have to deal with it. That was before I became bored by watching Jen nod politely to his sob story.

After walking around Vieux Port for a while we got some crepes. I got bacon, avocado, and sour cream; Jen had an asparagus, ham, and bechamel. After that we walked around for a great deal, freezing in the wind, and doing touristy things. We bought maple syrup. We saw a street performer. We watched a guy power wash a dock and pretend the power washer was a machine guy. Standard touristy stuff.

For dinner we met all of Jen's family at Il Centro which was a fantastic Italian restaurant in Village Pointe Claire. It's the first Italian restaurant I've ever been two which had the menu written in two language that weren't Italian.

I had the Gnocchi Rosé (homemade gnocchi in a rosé sauce) and Jen had the Bocconcini “il Centro” (veal with prosciutto, bocconcini cheese and mushrooms, brandy sauce).

The conversation at dinner was dominated mostly by Jen's cousins talking about this great Canadian show called Mantracker. Apparently this show is incredible. They drop off some random people from an airplane then the Mantracker needs to hunt them down like animals. We cannot wait to watch this show.

This morning we hit the road rather late thanks to our own tardiness and a bad motorcycle accident on the road. We did not leave too late to take a trip to Real Bagel to pick up some Montreal bagels. We only had two and a half days in Montreal and this was one of the last must-have food items we needed to cross off our list. I was saving the bagels until we made it through customs. For some reason we made it through the border in under twenty seconds, far faster than our trip in to Canada. The border agent going into Canada was an eighteen-year-old girl who was not at all impressed with our ability to decide if we did or did not have gifts with us. The guy on the way back in to America was only concerned with whether I sponsored Jen for her green card or not. Under pressure I misunderstood him and was about to answer yes. I was thinking the question was more like, "Do you vouch for her?" So I was going to answer, "Her? Oh, you don't need to worry about her. She's cool. She's one of the good ones."

On the way home we stopped by Otto's Market in Germantown, NY. Otto, my former boss, has this incredible market where we were able to procure a large number of items for a quick dinner when we got back to the city.

Otto's makes this great pimento cheese spread which we served with one of his fresh baked baguettes. The spread was great. For some reason it reminded us of Christmas which was fitting given the temperature today. Otto doesn't label his cheese spread with any calorie or nutritional information. I think this is a wise move.

We got these smoked bratwurst by Oscar's Smoke House, cooked them in some Saranac Beer, and tossed in some sauerkraut for a quick and easy dinner.

Wow, this blog entry has more product placement than a James Bond film.

For dessert, some maple butter spread on baguette slices. Now we're only left to decide what would me the more Canadian conclusion to the evening: continuing to watch the NHL playoffs or firing up an episode or Mantracker.

It's times like this I'd kill for a second television.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Schwartz's, The Market, and Dinner with Nana

When Jen lets me sleep late without chatting me up first thing in the morning I know she's showing me a great deal of mercy. Today I had one of those starts. I lounged in bed until 9:00AM and was able to sleep away some of the horror of yesterday's Montreal traffic.

Nana provided a tremendous breakfast of fruit salad, homemade square muffins, cereals, granola, coffee, tea and a number of other accompaniments. The square muffins were a nice touch. Nana has convinced us that square muffins are the only way to go. I'm sure we'll be purchasing some any day now -- I'll buy hexagonal muffin tins and stand on my head if it means Jen will make more muffins.

The line at Schwartz's Deli was scary enough that we toyed with the idea of not having lunch there. However, imagining the reaction from Jen's dad if we passed up Schwartz's smoked meat sandwiches was enough to scare us into staying.

After waiting for about five minutes a gentleman came out, ran down the line, and plucked us out to sit at a table for two. It was worth enduring the long walk past tourists giving us the stink eye to be able to get out of the rain and sit down at a table.

The sandwiches were great and at $5.50 Canadian ($4.66 US), they were approximately 25% the cost of the exact same sandwich at Katz's Deli in New York. They both had the same hype level surrounding them; however, instead of sitting in a deli that had been visited by Meg Ryan we got to sit in a deli frequented by Raymond Bourque. So, basically, Schwartz's was superior in every way to its sister deli in New York.

After leaving the deli we drove towards a market that Jen's Nana recommended. The people in Montreal appear to all drive like 95-year-olds with vision in one eye and a crippling case of hodophobia. At one point, a cab tried to cut me off and I stood my ground and won! I've never defeated a cab trying to cut me off before. I suspect that even the cab drivers in Montreal are bundles of nerves and the fact that I wasn't going to allow this driver into my lane may have caused him to wet himself.

The rain picked up tremendously after lunch and we had to dart into the Atwood market to escape it. Luckily, we were able to park on the street directly in front of the main entrance to the market. In New York, I'm used to parking 25 blocks away and paying $20 and hour. Again, Montreal destroys New York City. Montreal leads 2-0.

In the market we got this strange little fellow at Première Moisson. I wanted it because it looked like a hedgehog. It had a chocolate ganache on the outside, sprinkled with cocoa powder. On the inside was what seemed to be chocolate ice cream. It was cold like ice cream yet it came out of a refrigerated case and did not melt on the place. Digging in deeper there was a caramel center, chocolate chips, and a chocolate cake-like bottom. It was exceptionally strange but probably more delicious than eating a hedgehog.

We picked up this miche de campagne at Première Moisson as well. The only reason I was interested in it was because of its enormous size. While we were only expecting a maximum of nine dinner guests I felt that it would be a crime to pass up a loaf of bread so enormous. All for only $5.60 Canadian! That's only $4.75 American which is about how much a normal-sized loaf of bread costs back home. My only regret is not buying a second loaf and bronzing it. You haven't felt true power until you've wielded a loaf of this girth.

My dinner mission tonight was no different than my normal mission at home: clean out the fridge, and try to do it in one pan. Nana had already thawed out a chicken and brined it. Jen seasoned it up and I cut it up spatchcock style and seared it in the roasting pan. I also seared some duck and port sausages I'd gotten at the market and put them aside. Then I browned a medley of vegetables from Nana's fridge including: yellow onions, red onions, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, fennel, zucchini, mushrooms, and garlic. Then I put the spatchcock chicken and sausages on top and finished in the oven.

Nana had prepared a vegetable tian yesterday so I threw that in the oven with a little shredded cheddar on top.

For dessert Nana prepared an old family favorite which was either called Napoleon or mille feuille depending on which cousin you asked. Nana seemed fine with either name but leaned slightly towards Napoleon. I would have called it Nate Is A Big Giant Jerk if it allowed me to get my hands on it again, seeing as it was delicious.

One of many reasons that Nana is the best is that after this we had another dessert course, this time an apple pie with ice cream. She is also one of the only people I know that can keep pace with me when it comes to drinking tea. Sadly for me, that is about the only thing I can keep pace with her at. She goes to bed three hours later than me, wakes up three hours earlier, and seems to be able to move furniture around for an indefinite period of time. Maybe when I'm her age I'll be able to match her pace.

But I'm pretty sure that isn't how it works.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Call Me Vladamir Poutine

Today's plan was simple: Hit the road by 6:00AM so that we could get to Montreal around lunchtime. Usually when we set a goal like this I know in my heart that it is comical to think that it will actually work out this way. Jen, I think, still believes these goals to be something that could actually happen. I feel that setting an unrealistic goal and then do our best to attain it will make us leave earlier than if we didn't set a goal at all. Jen, every time, somehow thinks that these goals will be met and was a little disappointed as we didn't get our of bed until 7:00 and on the road until 8:30.

This late start meant that we'd get in considerably later than lunch. However, our last trip to the motherland was such a disaster that we ended up giving up and getting a hotel room in Buffalo at 2:00AM. Therefore, this trip was still promising to be a tremendous success by comparison.

Our trip was largely uneventful, save for a rest stop that had a myriad offers for sexual favors complete with locations, exit numbers, and even a website where you could meet up with people who would "keep you company" so to speak.

We stopped in Westport, NY, where we went to Everybody's Market to see about getting some lunch. Apparently "everybody" is in the market for Double Stuf Oreos, Old VHS tapes of Stephen King made for TV movies, and an antique chest of drawers. While food didn't seem to be too plentiful they did have some freshly baked brownies which had a sign suggesting that you might want to share them with a friend. I purchased a brownie with no intentions of sharing them with anyone.

After the market we traveled a little further into town and went to Me & My Girls where we ordered two Reuben sandwiches. When we opened them in the car it turned out that each Reuben was actually two sandwiches which meant that after lunch we had a net gain of two sandwiches. All for just $14. Four Reubens for 70% of what it costs for one Reuben at Katz's Deli.

After horrendous traffic in Montreal we got to Jen's Nana's place around 5:00PM where I immediately passed out and Jen, thankfully, started taking pictures. Now you don't have to use the power of your own imagination to picture our adventures.

We went out to dinner at Jen's Grandpa's favorite restaurant, Brasserie Le Manoir. Note that Grandpa has two Molson X's. He ordered them both at the same time. That is style. Fifty-or-so years his junior I ordered my Molson X's individually because I am nowhere near as cool as he is. Also, his shirt advertised something about snowboarding. Jen's Grandpa could only dine with us until 8:00 because he had an appointment. Presumably he was going to be skydiving while drinking a pair of martinis.

Jen ordered the tourtière to see how it compared to her own recipe.

I had the poutine because I'd been in Montreal for two hours and I didn't want to waste any more time not having poutine.

After dinner we went back home, had some tea, and Jen helped her Nana refine her Facebook account. We also went through her unread email. All of her email subject lines appear to be spam except that every one of them is from one of her friends. Two of the subject lines were "This MUST Be a Beer Drinking Dog" and "This Bird Loves Ray Charles." I think this friend of hers may have the best eye for email forwards I have ever seen. They were videos of a dog peeing creatively and a bird dancing to Ray Charles, respectively.

In the Commonwealth of Canada emails forward YOU! What a country!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pre-Montreal Cleanse

On the eve of our journey to the motherland (i.e. Canada) it is slim pickins in our fridge on this side of the border.

There were some raggedy old baby greens that I fashioned into a quick salad with the remains of a dying lime, some tomato, and a bit of olive oil. This went well with some two-day-old Prairie Boule which held up surprisingly well.

I sauteed our last onion, one of two remaining potatoes, and then seared some bone-in chicken breast that I'd defrosted from the freezer. I used an over-ripened avocado, some line, and tomato to create a makeshift salsa/relish for the top of the chicken then tossed some arugula into the hot pan to wilt it.

Now the apartment is devoid of any notable fresh produce so that we may flee the country in search of the adventure and indigenous foods promised by Montreal.

With any luck there will soon be pictures of French Canadian things. Like the Beer Store. Or some Montreal bagels.

A tout à l'heure!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fiddlehead Pizza

Just a note to start off: You should follow our blog! Everyone that follows gets a free T-shirt*!

We're leaving town on Friday morning so this week is dedicated to cleaning out our fridge and minimizing any food that will need to be thrown away. However, the real challenge this week is to make meals that are not just milk, eggs, and bread.

First off was tackling the baby beets. Combined with the now middle-aged salad greens and a little feta cheese and a some lemon juice from a lemon half that may be eligible to start collecting Social Security.

There have been some fiddleheads in the fridge for a few days. Since they will likely be the last of the season I wanted to use them up tonight. I laid out some pizza dough, topped it with ricotta then topped it with the fiddleheads and some grated Gruyère over the top. Twelve minutes at 425 degrees on the pizza stone was all it took. I got this recipe from an ancient Roman cookbook. As the legend goes this is what Nero ate while Rome burned. It also goes well with playoff hockey.

We also went out to the ice cream truck. I got a Merlin Cone which is apparently an ice cream cone dipped in hard chocolate sauce to resemble a wizard's hat. The only difference was I've never seen a wizard sweat giant globs of vanilla ice cream from the cracks in his pointy hat.

Also, if I paid as much as $7.00 for a wizard's cap it had damn well better give me the ability to control magic for real.

* While supplies last**.
** There are no supplies.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On a Seafood Diet

We're on a seafood diet -- we eat a lot of seafood!

Today's dinner comes from the waters of Portugal (sounds exotic), Massachusetts (sounds liberal), and New Jersey (sounds dirty) as well as the fields of upstate New York (sounds expensive), Connecticut (sounds like a traffic nightmare), and Idaho (sounds like potatoes).

The first course consisted of these delicious fresh sardines from Portugal. I fried a little rosemary and garlic in olive oil, removed it, then pan-fried the sardines which I dredged in a little flour. After they came out of the olive oil I drizzled them with a little lemon juice and served on top of some greens with grape tomatoes from Connecticut.

for the main course I seared some New Jersey day boat sea scallops, some catfish (from scenic Massachusetts), and served them with a baked potato, some carmelized shallots, and wilted ramps.

The dish was a little white and it featured the now redundant ramps but they're only available for like five days out of the year so I'm trying to make the most of them.

While we watched the NHL Playoffs tonight we did not visit our neighborhood ice cream truck. This made me sad because I was really looking forward to having that Sabrina the Teenage Witch Popsicle that I spied last night.

Maybe if I play my cards right I'll be able to partake in an Animaniacs snow cone this weekend.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dinner For Tiny Little Babies!

It was a chilly day here in the big city. It was so chilly that I didn't leave the house all day! It's the same tactic I use on hot days and rainy days.

And breezy days. And temperate days.

I made a boring salad then decided to (for reasons unknown) cram about three separate courses onto one plate for dinner. I marinated some salmon in garlic, olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper which I served with blanched, sauteed pattypan squash and baby cauliflower. I also made a baby beet goat cheese stack and some lemon artichoke, asparagus ravioli which I inexpertly piled on top of the salmon. While it may not be a standard plate presentation it was a pretty good meal. The baby squash and cauliflower were all from upstate New York. The rest of the meal? It's anyone's guess.

Being that it is Spring it was primarily baby vegetables for dinner. You may think it cruel that we murdered all these vegetables in their infancy but we wouldn't have done it if we hadn't thought it would make a delicious meal.

For wine we had a bottle that we picked up recently from a vineyard about two hours north of here. We recognized it because we'd visited this vineyard a few summers ago. I just like it because the varietal is tocai friulano which is as fun to say as it is impossible to remember. Go ahead an ask me in an hour what it's called. I usually something along the lines of: "Toscalali Froo Froo."

After dinner we went to the ice cream truck on the corner and got a pineapple sundae. Jen was upset because of the inclusion of jimmies (sprinkles to some people) but was delighted because we got to come home and watch playoff hockey. Jen thinks that pineapple sundaes and playoff hockey go together like peas an carrots though she prefers if the sundae is from Dairy Queen. Personally, I prefer the truck in our neighborhood that also sells Sabrina the Teenage Witch frozen treats.

C'mon, you've got to admit it: that's nice!