Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday is Funday

Monday nights are the best! Monday means cookin' for clients. Monday also means those I love gather round my stove and engage in fun banter and wit whist I cook.

Last nights guests were Austin and Tiff with Brian joining a bit later.

We drank whisky. We did crossword puzzles. Mostly THEY did crossword puzzles. I only got two answers: moonshine and fry. God, I'm just a Tennessee hillbilly at heart ain't I? Then we watched a bit of the DNC and finished up the night drunkenly watching our favorite YouTube videos while I waited for the squash to finish roasting.

This week was a small order because B&S are going out of town.

Fruit Salad. Which is actually quite tedious with all the mangoes and pineapple to cut up.
Meat Loaf and Mashed Potatoes. Comfort food. Mmm.
Curried Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash. Dani food, fo sho.
Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells. So easy.

All are a breeze. But the last is, I think, the easiest and most tasty. Let's whack this one out shall we?

1. Boil large pasta shells and drain.

2. Combine in a bowl:
1 Small tub of Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup Parmesan
1 Cup Mozzarella
1 Small box of Frozen Spinach(thaw and squeeze out the water before you add)
1 Can of Artichokes roughly chopped

3.In a large baking dish pour a layer of pasta sauce. Jarred is totally fine. No judgment, yo.

4.Using a tablespoon fill each shell with the cheesy goodness.

5.Top with more sauce and sprinkle a bit more cheese.

6.Stick in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

Done and done.

Look a cat in a bag!

In other news: Come to our show!

Cabaret Vagabond:BoHoBo Bazaar
Location:117 N. Jefferson
Date/time: August 30th-9pm

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Omnivore’s Hundred

Here is a list somebody put together across the ocean. These are the foods we "should" eat before we die.

At the age of 23 I believe I am doing quite well. Quite well indeed! I have eaten 45?!!? I have SO many years to do the rest! It was really fun Googleing the ones I didn't know and then makin' little mental notes so I can check, check, check, em off my list as I continue on my foodie adventures.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore's Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros(spicy eggs, oh my!)
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding(Hey there, Birmingham England!)
7. Cheese fondue(Um, duh.)
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (Hummus's eggplant cousin Baba!)
11. Calamari
12. Pho(Thanks Brit!)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle(Oh, sweet baby Jesus, yes)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes( Mead count? Honey wine?)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream(Pistachio ice cream is tied with Red Bean as my favorite.)
21. Heirloom tomatoes( Hey, Tennessee)
22. Fresh wild berries( Again with the Hey Tennessee. Blackberries galore!)
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans(OK, weird one, but OK)
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (Just Mussels at this point)
29. Baklava( Not a fan. It's too sweet.)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl(I've had the CC and the SB, but not the CCSB)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float( I LOVE root beer floats!!!!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea( On a plane when I was 13)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Hey, 1047 parties.)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more(Oh, someday.)
46. Fugu(Ahhhhhh!!!Blowfish! Maybe someday...)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut(Hey, Tennessee. KK in microwave?Mmm.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal(I think so.)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV(Which is weird, because I'm not a beer girl.Dani's a whisky girl.)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips(On frozen kefer!)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads(I know!!!Mmmm glands of young cows. Delish...)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake(All of the above?)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain(Oh, mama.)
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho( Not a fan. It's like cold drinkable pasta sauce.)
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe( Um, I have had this. Abroad. Waaay abroad with Brian.)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (Ew.)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie( Once, upon a time...)
78. Snail(Yum!)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini( I have SUCH a Bellinis in Venice story.)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky(On the 4th of July)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.(Alinea)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers(In a salad once.)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam ( Sighhh. Hey, Tennessee)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox( Hey, Hey, Stagedoor Bagel Day.)
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Harvest Time with Brian and Jenny.

Since I've figured out how to e-mail pictures from my Blackberry/Future Box, this bloggin' should become more prevalent. See, I misplaced my camera in the move and have been too lazy to figure out how to download pics off my phone. And frankly blogs with no pictures is a snore, yes? No? But e-mail?!? Heck yeah. I'm the queen of e-mail.We're now all set for some serious business.

So. Harvest Time is our favorite Mexican Grocery in Lincoln Square. It has gorgeous produce and cheapo little delightful treats. Brian(the tall one), Jen(the young one), and I(the cooky one) took a stroll over to our little haunt. I had nothing to buy,neither did Jen,but of course we bought things. Brian had plenty to buy. At the end of our adventure I looked into our baskets and laughed and laughed. Such a silly contrast. Enjoy.

Brian's cart is the one of a well balanced man. Milk, Bread, Meat, Cheese. Superb Brian, really good show my dear chappy.

Jen looks like a supermodel by the way. She just got out of school and lives on Ramen noodles, CheeseItz, mac and cheese, hard boiled eggs(for protein, duh) and apparently scallops and frozen peas? HYSterical.

I decided to buy 3 fruits which all look the same.Red grapes,cherries, and figs.Purple and round and juicy and perfect. I'm a fruit whore. I also got the magic Mexican spice.

And then when we got home I introduced them to the wonder of fresh figs--which are in season and cheap!!!Eat them with cream cheese and walnuts or goat cheese and prosciutto! My roommates were unfamiliar. I educated them. They had only had the dried ones. I mean come on! Fruit of the Gods!

Look at that sexy piece of fruit.

Look at those sexy roommates.

Me likes them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cooking for one.

This eve I had a mini panic attack because I couldn't remember the last time I cooked for just myself. Like a meal. Of course, I make toast and an enormous amount of cottage cheese with grapes, but I cannot remember the last time I took ingredients and made a dish that was solely for the belly of Dani Bryant.

Why is this? Well, I just like cooking for other people too damn much. And I've just gotten used to cooking for others so much that when it's time to do it for just me, well, I get a little blue.

I think I also sometimes equate eating alone with sadness. Unfortunately, we ladies have plenty of food issues and a lot of them rear their ugly heads whilst in solitude. (Quick off-topic ranty side note:I say "we" as a collective group, because the more and more I have recently began to open up about my food issues/eating disorders the more I discover EVERY woman I know has them or has dealt with them or some form of them in the past. Which frankly is scary and alarming and I hate(hate, HATE!) that food is such a struggle for women.)

Here's what I do know.

I love, love, love having people over, nibbling on leftovers while I cook for clients. I love a full kitchen of my friends laughing, debating, and having a blast-- all sweaty and hot in my tiny darling kitchen.

They sit on the stools, we pick a Pandora station and spend a few hours together. These kitchen memories are so dear to me and I know they will stick out years in to come when I think back on this time in my life as a 20 something with 8 random jobs, a pretty spare bank account , and a circle of fabulous foodie friends who I adore.

So what did I make? Oh yes, I did make something. I didn't just whine and eat cashew butter like I sometimes do. I wanted some sort of comfort food and my father and his skillets popped into my head. He was famous for his skillets, when he wasn't being a crazy-pants. This is for you Papa Cornbread.(Another side note: In Tennessee my father was know as Cornbread. He won the nickname off some guy in a game of pool. I swear to God. People sometimes called me Corn Muffin. Yep.)

I healthified this skillet.

Ingredients: A Small Sweet Potato
Chicken Sausage, or Veggie Sausage, or Pork if you are feelin' porky.
Green Pepper
Salt and Peppa
Balsamic Vinegar

Chop, chop, choparoo!

Get the Peppers, Onions and Potato started in a med-high pan with about 1 TLBS of Olive Oil or Butta, or BOTH!... for richness says Paula Dean.

Get the veg going real good before you add the Chicken Sausage. It will probably already be cooked and you are just browning it. We are also caramelizing the onion and peppers so after you add the Sausage put in on med-low and let it go for a good long while. Stir in every once in a while, but let the taters get brown and the onions get gooey.

After this skillet of dreams is sufficiently cooked we shall DEGLAZE!!!!Which is always fun. Just give the balsamic a few turns around the pan. Watch out that your face is not right over the pan. Evaporating vinegar can be intense for your nose and eyes. You could deglaze with anything. Wine, chicken stock, juice, juices...Practice your deglazing kittens. Shake, shake, shake on some S&P.

Now plate it up ,crack open a somethin' (For me it was a yummy root beer!), go sit outside and eat with the fireflies and Chicago bunnies--which are like rats. Oh, and watch the people walking by bein' all jealous that you made yourself dinner and all they eat is Lean Cuisine.

And then frolic off to play with your friends, Austin and Tiffany. Everyone should have an Austin and Tiffany. Maybe they'll let me bake them something...


Eat gooooood.

Update: We totally baked. We made Healthy Oatmeal Amaretto cookies. They were more like breakfast scones. Hearty...not so treaty.