This Post is Hugely Important (To Me)


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Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon


I don’t know about where you are right now, but where I am, there’s about half a foot of snow on the ground and it is now raining sleet – which is forming a lovely skating rink on the road in front of my house and even the major roads that lead out of town.

No better day to have a hearty, old-fashioned stew, and one of the best has to be Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon.  This recipe is difficult, and time consuming, but if you’re up for it, you will create probably your family’s new favorite stew. Or new favorite meal, for that matter. The beef is succulent and the gravy, with a healthy hint of wine, so savory that you want to mop all of it up with a crusty piece of French Bread.

My father used to make this recipe once a month, and it was always the meal I looked forward to the most. This recipe was adapted from Julia’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Bon apetit!

Ingredients

  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Jelly Roll Recipe


Ingredients

1 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1 cup strawberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and milk. Stir in the dry ingredients gradually. The batter will be thin. Pour into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the center springs back when pressed lightly. Don’t over bake, or it may crack.
  4. Generously dust a clean dish towel with confectioners’ sugar. Turn the cake out onto the towel, and peel off the parchment paper. Gently roll up the cake using the towel, and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Unroll the cake, and spread an even coating of jam onto the top. Roll the cake back up into a tight spiral, and remove the towel. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

    jellyroll

Oyster Pan Roast with Tarragon Toasts


april

 

 

Chef April Bloomfield hails from Birmingham, England, but in recent years she has risen to the top of the New York food world.

Following a stint at Alice Waters’s legendary Chez Panisse, April opened a New York City gastropub with business partner Ken Friedman, the Spotted Pig, and later, the Breslin, both of which have earned a coveted star from the Michelin Guide. Chef Bloomfield has become known for her embrace of whole-hog cooking – from pig feet to pig ears and everything in between – and also for her ability to mix high-brow and low-brow cuisine using seasonal, local ingredients. This recipe, from Bloomfield’s John Dory Oyster Bar, appears in the new book The Perfect Protein: A Fish Lover’s Guide to Saving the Oceans and Feeding the World, by Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless and Suzannah Evans.

Oyster Pan Roast with Tarragon Toasts

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 15–20 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup dry vermouth
  • 3⁄4 cup water
  • 2 dozen oysters, such as Wellfleet, shucked
  • 1⁄4 cup oyster liquor reserved
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 baguette slices, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the butter with the tarragon and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent and softened. Add the vermouth (carefully; it may flame) and increase the heat to medium high.

Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the water and reserved oyster liquor and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the cream and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon. Remove from the heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Season with salt. Add the oyster meat to the sauce. Cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, or until cooked and warmed through.

While the oysters are cooking, assemble the toasts. Lightly rub the baguette slices with the whole garlic clove. Spread each toast with the reserved tarragon butter. Serve immediately.

I have tried this recipe myself (I try all the recipes I post if they’re not mine, and give credit where it’s due) and I can tell you that, aside from raw and fresh from the water, this is the best way I’ve ever eaten oysters. There’s only 2 months left of oyster season – get your eat on!

Play with your food! Carbonated grapes.


I love playing with my food. I also love finding new blogs. This gives me both. That makes me happy.

Made by you and I

I’ve been having all kinds of fun with my ISI whip cream dispenser. Infusing milk (and later rum) with cacao essence from chocolate nibs was definitely a highlight. Here I’ve charged grapes.

I filled up the dispenser with grapes, added two jiggers of cognac, topped it off with water and charged it with two nitrous oxide cartridges. A couple of hours later I released the pressure.

Inside each grape were bubbles of carbon dioxide. The bowl was fizzing — food with sound! Biting into one is akin to pop rocks, but less aggressive. There is no flavour but sizzle on the tongue. The novelty caused me to really focus on my sense of taste. The fizz and flavour made me feel like I was eating a grape for the first time.

The cognac became diluted with grape juice, which, considering the brand, was a bad idea. The next day I…

View original post 31 more words

Super Easy Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken


Image

To give credit where credit is due, this recipe came from Robyn Markham on Facebook. A friend of mine shared it, and it is so easy and delicious that I had to share it. If you don’t have a crockpot you can marinate the chicken in the other ingredients overnight, then cook on low heat on the stove just til chicken is cooked through.

2lb. Chicken tenderloin chunks
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce

Combine all together, cook on low in Crock-pot 6-8 hours…

….that’s it! Done!

Serve with brown rice and you have a complete, easy meal!!

Serves 6-8

Kindle Alert!


I have decided to publish this blog to Kindle. So that means I’ll have to step up my game and provide more food posts. Like about chocolate. And butter. Maybe more restaurant reviews (if I can get someone to take a starving artist out to dinner). Anyway, welcome to all the Kindlers who have decided to give me a try. I will try hard not to let you down.

Chicken Cutlet w/Asparagus and Gorgonzola


I have been away from this blog for FAR too long, and to those of you still reading, I apologize. Life takes twists and turns and some of those twists and turns led me away from the internet for a while. However, I am back. And I have an AWESOME recipe for you, easy-peasy and delicious. If you don’t care for the sharpness of the Gorgonzola, you can substitute Swiss or feta. My philosophy about cooking is to go with your instincts and your taste buds. And ANYBODY can make this. And I must confess, I stole the idea from my ex-boyfriend. Let’s hope he doesn’t read my feed on Facebook.

4 boneless chicken breasts, split and pounded very thin
1 lb. asparagus, washed, trimmed of woody ends
1/2 lb. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
5 cloves garlic, minced fine
Olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Heat olive oil (enough to cover bottom of pan) in large pan over medium heat. Be careful that it doesn’t start to smoke.

3.  Turn the heat to high and quickly saute  the asparagus with the minced garlic til just greened up, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Place cutlets on a cutting board, season with salt and pepper to taste. With each cutlet. place 2-3 asparagus spears (try to incorporate some of the garlic). Sprinkle with Gorgonzola (don’t overdo – a little goes a long way). Roll up and place, with the rolled side down so they stay rolled, in a lightly greased (with olive oil) baking dish. Repeat with each cutlet. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the rolled up cutlets.

4. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove baking dish from oven and place under broiler for just a few minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the chicken is brown. Remove from broiler and serve immediately.

This recipe serves 4, or more if you have light eaters. It’s absolutely delicious – I just made it last night.

See you guys around the kitchen!

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry


1 1/3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 lbs butternut squash, cubed
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry sherry
1 1/3 cups chicken broth
2/3 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 1/3 cups water
1 1/3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream

Makes 4 servings.
In one pan, stir fry the celery, onion and garlic in a small portion of olive oil. When softened, add a quarter cup of sherry and cover immediately. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth and continue to simmer.

In a separate large saucepan, stir fry the squash on medium heat until bright orange.
Pour in remaining sherry and cover immediately. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add in remaining chicken broth and add in bouillon. Add enough water so that the squash is completely covered, about 2 cups. Let cook until completely tender (you can test with a fork; if it goes completely through without resistance, it’s done).
Combine butternut mixture and celery mixture into a large blender and blend until completely smooth.
Pour back into the large saucepan. Add butter and cream.  When the butter is done melting in, you’re done.  Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. DO NOT BOIL THE CREAM.
Garnish with cheddar and sour cream, if desired.

Chicken, Fennel and Mushroom Soup – Epicurean Cookbook


Chicken, Fennel and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
3 bulbs fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
3/4 cup cream sherry
4-1/2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
3 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
4-1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken soup base

Directions

Note: This recipe’s Ingredients were scaled to yield a new amount. The directions below still refer to the original recipe yield of 4 servings.

  1. Heat oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on both sides then reduce heat to medium. Add lemon pepper, fennel and cream sherry. Simmer until chicken is cooked through but not dry. When chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside to cool.
  2. While chicken is cooling, add mushrooms, red pepper, parsley, buttermilk, half and half, water and chicken soup base; stir. Tear chicken into bite sized pieces and return them to the soup. Heat until warmed through but do not boil, mushrooms and peppers should still be firm.

Life With a Chef


Okay, we’ll take a pause from the praise-and-bash of local restaurants to talk about life as the significant other of a chef.

And before I proceed, I apologize for the use of the term “significant other” because I really hate it, but at my age (over 30 thank you) I feel stupid saying “boyfriend,” my friend Brandy has co-opted “Manfriend,” and I don’t wanna say “fiancee” and put a hoodoo on things. Okay on to the post.

Men who can and will feed you are inherently sexy. Especially with those long fingers most chefs have, those INCREDIBLY sensitive hands…anyway…. so of course, you would need some level of self-confidence to live with such a man for any length of time. Because let’s face it, ladies, the sexier we find our man, the sexier we’re going to think OTHER women (or men as the case may be) will find them.

So. You’ve got this hot guy. That can cook. In the sexy chef’s whites. Looking all Gordon Ramsay with himself. Now. Factor in the hours. He’s NEVER home. Pretty much EVER. And when he is? Your ass is the last thing he really cares about. He TRIES to be as attentive as possible but has the unfortunate habit of falling asleep while you’re talking about your day. Even if you’re talking naked.

Yeah, he brings stuff home to feed you. Yeah, you lucked out and he’s in your bed. Unfortunately, by the time HE gets out of the shower and comes to that bed, YOU have fallen dead asleep because YOUR day starts at 6 am. And if he DOES get a day off? It’s either not a day that YOU are off (weekend? forget it sister) or, if you manage it, you run around doing crap you didn’t get to do since the last time he was off. Like laundry. And banking. And oh yeah, paying the electric bill before they shut you down.

It’s fortunate for me that the man I love and spend my life with is seriously attentive to me. And that goes a long way. Even after the amount of time we’ve been together, he’s still willing to put extra effort into “our time.” Sadly, though, sometimes, I find myself feeling a little….well…. inadequate. I look at the 18 year old waitresses and cashiers, the women fawning over his food (because I make it a point to go there once a week and spy for my own low self-esteem), and I feel like crap.

So. What to do? First of all – I tell myself that despite the length of time we’ve been together, he makes a point of sitting up and staring if I happen to walk by in a towel or undies. That may be self-promotion on his part but really? I don’t care.  Also. He’s tired. Chefs are TIRED, TIRED people. So he doesn’t have TIME to be frolicking.  Like just now. I called to relay a message from his mom. He did answer his cell, listened to me for 90 seconds, then said, “Okay, I am up to my ass in sausage and mushrooms so unless you’re gonna eat my way out I’ll call you later.” Which is funny. But which is also fairly conclusive evidence that he’s not out with some dimwitted 18-year-old cheerleader cast-off cashier.

I’m sure there are male chefs out there who DO screw about and make pigs of themselves on a regular. And I’m sure there are just as many WOMEN chefs who do the same. But what I have found is that understanding the demands of the job goes a long, long way in maintaining our relationship. He understands that I have to wear the 3 inch pumps; I understand that he had to be out til whenever he gets home. Someone comes in looking for a specific item 10 minutes before closing? Yeah okay, the customer is an asshole, but my boyfriend will not send them away. He will call them asshole under his breath but still cook them the definitive whatever they ordered.

He probably won’t even call them asshole under his breath.

Probably.

Poll Time – FIGHT! FIGHT!


Okay, organic vs. non-organic. It’s a big deal (well, not as big as, say, WMD’s or Obama’s birth certificate) but still, it causes yelling by housewives and single dudes in the aisles of Whole Foods and Fairway. Those on the pro side say that anything as close to nature as possible has to be better for you – to which I reply, “HONEY, arsenic is natural. Are you going to sprinkle THAT on your kid’s granola?” Those on the con side say, “I wash my veggies before I eat them, and I don’t like little green worms (thank you Scarecrow) in my apples.”

So here’s the thing. Is “organic” really worth the extra trip, the extra money and all that? Wouldn’t it be worth finding non-toxic (I hate to say chemicals) methods of keeping the creepy crawlies off the food? Do we really need napalm to get rid of the weeds? Bottom line – is it really healthier? Remember your history, when milk was not homogenized or pasteurized? I mean sure, it’s great when it comes from breast to infant – depending on whether or not mom smokes crack – but you know cows, they eat poop.

I would love my faithful readers to really get into this subject, because it’s a hot one. I for one feel that food that is as close to raw as possible is good for you. But you all also know that I am a hedonist and a sensualist and I love my sauces and meats and intricately prepared dishes, and frankly, frankencarrots don’t work in those situations.

If you want to reach me other than on the blog, you can email me at demeters_daughter187@hotmail.com and I’ll try to answer your questions. If I can’t, I’ll ask Chef Boyfriend (but keep in mind, he says “Dirt is dirt,” or one of my several friends who swear by organic). And here’s a quote from one of my best friends, Katz – “I prefer traditional farming to modern farming….you throw organic in there and people get all wigged out…traditional being organic….long before chemical giants brought out pesticides and inhibiters etc”

Let the games begin.

*Note: Sorry, the poll feature is not working for me today. Must be the Sabbath for Poll Daddy. So just answer in comments. I do not delete or edit comments unless they’re really crude – the people that promote this blog like to keep it readable for all ages. Thank you in advance.

Tomorrow – Let the Games Begin


I shall be posting post – maybe even a poll – on the pros and cons of shopping organic. It should prove to be heated, because we all know that most people on both sides of THAT particular fence are FEROCIOUS in their beliefs. Poll will be up as soon as I’ve had several double shot cappucinos and a bodega coffee (I’m from NY, hush).

And thanks again for your support in getting this blog off the ground. We’re already syndicated with Demand Studios. Maybe we’ll all get on America’s Next Best Snarky Food Critics!

Gentle Breezes,
Maureen, Your Epicurean and Accidental Gastronimer

Good Friday = Good Gumbo!


Okay, okay, I know you’re not supposed to get all festive on Good Friday. The Catholic notion (and I grew up Catholic, believe it or not) of fasting and abstinence was meant to mortify the flesh, not give us an excuse to find a better sauce for our snapper. Still, nobody said it was a sin to have flavorful meat-free offerings. And since right now I’m pretty much over the vegetarian thing (I’ll get into that later), I’m here to tell you that  Gumbo Z’Herbes, a Louisiana favorite, will definitely bring you closer to God.

In this recipe, if you don’t want to make a stock from crabs and shrimp shells, a gallon of stock with Knorr® Shrimp Flavored Bullion Cubes can be used as a substitute, however, I generally don’t advocate it. Fresh is always best.

Gumbo Z’Herbes
(from Chowhound)

Seafood Stock:

• 2 gumbo crabs and/or 1 cup shrimp shells from 1 pound shrimp
• ½ gallon water
• 1 small onion, cut up
• 2 ribs celery, cut up
• – stems from one bunch of parsley
• 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning

Method:

1. Make the stock by bringing about a gallon of water to a light boil.
2. Add all the remaining stock ingredients.
3. Return to a bare simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
4. Strain the stock and discard all the solids.

Ingredients:

• 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
• 1 cup bell pepper, seeded and chopped
• 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
• 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• ½ cup flour
• ½ gallon stock plus water as needed
• 2 whole bay leaves
• 1½ teaspoons Creole Seasoning
• 1¼ teaspoons dried thyme, ground
• 1 pound (35-count) shrimp, peeled and de-veined
• 2 gumbo crabs, broken in half
• 1 14½ ounce can diced tomatoes
• 1 pint fresh whole oysters
• 1 10 ounce package frozen cooked okra
• 1-2 teaspoons filé powder
• 2 green onion tops, thinly sliced, for garnish

Method:

1. Assemble the chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley and garlic for the gumbo; set aside.
2. In a black cast iron pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in flour and, using a wire whisk, stir constantly until brown roux is achieved.
3. Once roux is golden brown, add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic.
4. Sauté approximately 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted.
5. Slowly add the stock, and all of the seasonings except the filé powder; mix thoroughly.
6. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, add ½ pound of the raw shrimp, crabs and tomatoes, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add water as needed. Stir to prevent scorching.
7. After 30 minutes, fold the remaining ½ pound of raw shrimp, the raw oysters, okra and the reserved oyster liquid into soup.
8. Simmer until the shrimp turn pink and the oysters start to curl, about 10 minutes.
9. Remove the pot from the heat and let the simmer die down, then add the filé powder and gently stir.
10. Let the gumbo stand in the pot for 5 minutes after adding the filé, then serve over a mound of boiled rice. Garnish with the sliced green shallot tops.


			

Butter is Your Friend


Butter makes everything better

A very sad thing happened recently here on Long Island. A seafood restaurant closed. This place offered an amazing lobster special – a 2 1/2 pound lobster (steamed or broiled), corn, cole slaw and fries, for the ridiculously low price of $15 and change. It wasn’t a fancy place, but it was new, and the food was cooked perfectly. Of course, the first time we ate there, I ordered the lobster. Steamed. It came with wedges of lemon and little cups of yellow liquid that I assumed were drawn butter.

I was wrong.

It wasn’t butter. Hell, it wasn’t even margarine. It was akin to that stuff they insist on pumping onto your $8 popcorn in the movie theater. To put that next to a perfectly cooked lobster should be illegal in all 50 states, but most especially on an ISLAND. The place opened and closed within 6 months, and I am convinced that the plastic butter substitute had a lot to do with it.

Butter is not a bad thing, folks. Unlike manufactured trans-fats, it’s loaded with good stuff, including vitamins, a natural liver cleanser and oleic acid – which is also found in olive oil, of which everyone is so enamored these days.  But aside from the health factor, butter just TASTES good. And that’s what we’re all about here – how good it tastes.

Butter is one of the best flavor carriers for spices, vanilla and other fat soluble ingredients. When you sauté an onion in butter before adding the base ingredients, all the flavor from the onions will be carried by the butter into the dish. Butter can be used to provide the primary, characteristic flavor of a sauce, as in Bechamel-type sauces, or in dessert toppings, such as butterscotch. And what tastes better than an egg scrambled in butter? The answer to that would be NOTHING. Except maybe freshly cooked corn on the cob drowned in butter, or butter melted on waffles or pancakes. Mashed potatoes with butter drizzling down the sides. Toast with butter.  A heated corn muffin with…BUTTER.

Butter pretty much makes everything taste better. And since nobody – except my weird nephew Harold – sits down and eats a stick of butter like it’s lunch, it’s not going to kill you. Human beings have been eating animal fats far longer than we’ve been abstaining from them, and despite the dire warnings from the chemically-induced fat-free food companies, the butter you eat does not make a beeline from your stomach to your arteries and cause a heart attack at the dinner table.

So, next time you order a lobster, tell the waitperson that if it doesn’t come with REAL butter, and lots of it, you’re leaving. And you’re taking all your friends with you. Because butter is your friend. And we must always support our friends.

Food Lovers of the World, Unite!


Don't we all heart chocolate?

This is not going to be another “Julie and Julia” blog. Much as I loved that movie (and Amy Adams and Meryl Streep), I have no illusions that I’ll be rolling along in my mundane daily world, toiling in a dull day job all week, blogging about food in the evenings, and suddenly get a call from Hollywood. Stuff like that only happens once, and usually in the movies.

What this IS, however, is a blog about food. Mostly eating it, where to go to get really good stuff to eat (probably for cheap since to date Hollywood hasn’t called), sometimes making it, ALWAYS about enjoying it. Because you should always write about what you know and what you love, and I love food. Scratch that. I ADORE food. If I could marry my boyfriend’s stuffed chicken breasts with Gorgonzola and asparagus, I would run off to Reno right this minute and tie the knot.  (I should mention here that my boyfriend is a chef – which is a total bonus for me.)  I also adore discovering eateries that very few people have yet to find, places that from the outside look like nothing but, inside, hold epicurean delights the likes of which can only be described as sublime. That little storefront in a strip mall in suburbia that serves the best Portuguese shellfish in  salsa verde ever made. The innocuous-looking coffee shop/bakery in Brooklyn that has on offer a brownie with salt and caramel – that’s right, salt and caramel – over which you would murder a relative. Places like that. Eventually, these places get “discovered,” and then they either become too expensive for the people who found them in the first place, or they sink under the pressure and the food becomes, at best, average. But sometimes we get lucky and the places thrive and keep their prices in check and their quality standards beyond reproach. So we’ll be talking about those places.

As for recipes, well, I have quite a few of my own, but I rarely cook these days (did I mention I live with a chef?) because I don’t have to. Chef Boyfriend is classically trained, but his food is not bogged down in old world snobbery and pretentious, pointless tradition.  It would never occur to him to tell someone they shouldn’t mix things if they like them. He has even gotten me to eat beets – a bewitching combination of roasted fresh beets with goats cheese and a balsamic reduction of some kind – and I detest beets (they taste like dirt).  Neither is he a health fanatic who views food merely as something to keep us moving. Butter is his friend. His BEST friend. Since we got together I’ve put on 10 lbs.  And I don’t even care.

The problem with Chef Boyfriend is, he won’t give up his recipes. Not to me, not to his boss, not even to his own mom. As he likes to say, “I’ll cook it for you, I’ll bring it to you, I’ll even feed it to you. But I will not give you the recipe.”

But that’s okay. I get fed and I don’t have to do any of the work. And, here in this little corner of the interweb, we can take one of his dishes and try to deconstruct it to see if our palates are what they should be. Even if we don’t get it right, we get to eat the yummy failures.

So, in my upcoming posts I will be writing about local eateries that you’ve probably never heard of (especially if you’re not from NY), doing interviews with certain chefs – if I get Gordon Ramsay I may not actually write the interview because I will be dead from excitement – and just discussing food and drink in general. What makes something good. What makes something suck. The American love-hate relationship with food. Food as fuel. Food as comfort. Food as sex (that will be a fun post).

So, til next time, happy eating (I can’t say bon apetit – Julia will rise up and bean me in the melon with a saucepan).