Elotes (Mexican street fair corn) salad

July 27, 2012 § 23 Comments

I’ve been meaning to make this corn salad for a ridiculously long time, ever since Joel first told me about the amazing grilled corn he used to eat when he lived in Mexico.  As far as I could tell, he couldn’t bring it up often enough, it was that good.  And from his description, I believed it was exactly as delicious as he remembered it being.

Elotes is grilled corn smeared with mayonnaise, rolled in crumbled cheese and spices, and spritzed with lime.  If you ask me, that hits pretty much all the most important food groups and flavor categories.  It sounded like something I wanted to be able to shovel into my mouth by the forkful.

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Catfish bánh mì

March 13, 2012 § 9 Comments

Hi!  Hi guys!  I’m still here.  I’ve just been AWOL for a week because of some major project deadlines that required working evenings and weekends (and listening to this song too many times – it gets so stuck in your head!  Thanks SNL.), and that have left me with about the mental fortitude of a barnacle.  I thought the project was going to be done yesterday.  Wrong.  We now have a couple NEW deadlines!  Yippee!

But, those will just have to wait for a moment because I have a sandwich to share with you, and it is a smashing one.

A bánh mì is a Vietnamese sandwich with any variety of fillings.  Given that my office is in Chinatown, I learned about bánh mì some time ago.  On every corner there is a shop selling dirigible-sized baguette rolls filled with meats and pickles for $2.  But, though I salivated every time I saw someone else gnawing their way through one, I could never bring myself to buy my own.  Call me a street food wimp, but I was a wee bit sketched out by the meat and my thoughts of where it might come from.

I averted my eyes, and hustled past all the signs advertising massive, cheap sandwiches. But then, then fate intervened and brought the world Bon Me, the grand solution to my sandwich qualms.

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Cornbread piled with carnitas and other deliciousness

February 21, 2012 § 15 Comments

Last Friday night we went out to dinner with some friends at a postage stamp sized little pop-up restaurant called Whisk, just around the corner from our house.  We had an absolute blast, which was mostly due to being in the best of company, but the seven course tasting menu offered at the restaurant, aka the dining experience, was quite fun too.  The food was legitimately good, fancy and conceptual, though it was not flawless.

Usually I sneer a little at deconstructed this, foamed that, or anything made into a gel version of itself.  It can seem so pretentious.  So if it is going to be done, it either needs to be executed near perfectly or be done tongue in cheek.  At Whisk, it was neither, but they were so incredibly endearing and effusive about their project, so adorably bumbling as they mispronounced Camembert and granita in their excitement, that any apparent pretention was immediately forgiven.  It felt like we were all playing house together, and we got to eat a very delicious meal during the course of it.

And I must say, their plating was truly beautiful and creative.  I love carefully, stunningly plated food.  It has some of the interesting aesthetic elements of abstract art and sculpture, except then you get to devour it!  It is not something I have ever given a try myself though, except for carefully placed mounds and dollops (I do have this idea for a crazy project loitering in the back of my mind that, if enacted, could thoroughly change this, but that is something for the future).  And, when I looked at the meal I created for us the very next day, it provided a pretty amusing contrast to Friday’s edible art.  On Saturday, we ate piles.

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Israeli couscous with butternut squash and cilantro sauce

January 6, 2012 § 26 Comments

Let’s take a moment to reflect on couscous, shall we?  My family, as I recall, seems to have discovered couscous some time part of the way through my tenure in high school.  I don’t know how my mother stumbled on it or decided to purchase it, all I remember is that she served it for the first time for supper one day (alongside pork tenderloin and acorn squash if my memory serves me correctly, which it tends to when it comes to meals), and it felt like the epitome of novelty.

I was certain we were eating something flashy, exotic, new, the food equivalent of getting the first version of the iphone, right when it came out.  And this fit in lockstep with my budding epicurean ideals – which back in high school, I’ll admit, were more about the appearance of sophistication and taste than anything else.  High school.  Jeez.

Back then we just ate the Middle East brand couscous with the spice packet mixed in.  That was fancy enough for us.  (to extend the iphone metaphor: my phone gets internet!!!  Oh my gosh!  It totally doesn’t matter that it can’t seem to actually make phone calls most of the time…)  But, as couscous has completely mainstreamed, I think most of us have come to expect a little more in the preparation of this tiny noodle. « Read the rest of this entry »

Hospitality and soapstone

December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m slightly green.  And not, unfortunately, the trendy, socially desirable, eco-conscious kind (though I do try to be that).  I’m afraid I’m the unpleasant green of jealous envy, though I think it is at least a pastel, non-menacing sort of a shade.

It’s a friendly jealousy, you know, like teasing can be friendly.

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Indian spiced fish sandwiches

June 7, 2011 § 78 Comments

Shananana, yeah.  Shananana!  For some reason I feel like singing everything right now.  So, just pretend that this has a melody.  I’ve always felt life would be more fun if it were a musical.  Don’t you?

Actually, last week Joel and I went out for ice cream and our scooper (is that what you call the people who scoop your ice cream?) sang “what can I get for you?”  So, we sang our orders back, and he was so excited (apparently no one else was responding to him in song) that he gave us our ice cream for free – after an extended operatic interlude in which we discussed sizes and toppings and I tried to insist on paying.  We got a lot of stares from the other people in the ice cream store.

And, now I’m in a singing mood again.  I’ve been feeling very chipper ever since I did yoga in our backyard yesterday.  Yoga outside appears to be like a happy drug.  Who knew?!

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Mushroom-falafel!

June 1, 2011 § 41 Comments

Mushroom-falafel!  (Yes, the exclamation point is necessary there.)  It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I’ll admit.  But, what was I supposed to call it?  Mushlafel?  Falafshroom? See? Those are even worse sounding.  But, like the kid with the weird name who is so awesome that by the end of the year all the other kids also want to be named Kermit too, this mushroom-falafel is so fabulous it straight-up owns its name.

I’m a little embarrassed that I get as excited as I do when I make something really good.  But, I do.  I get quite delighted with myself, in fact, and can’t wait to share how delicious said really good thing is.  This dish definitely falls into that category.

It started with a falafel craving.

One of the most unfortunate things about having discovered an intolerance to a sprouting inhibitor enzyme (besides not being able to eat almonds, but I’ll save that complaint for another day) is that I no longer eat falafel because of the chickpeas.  It’s a huge loss because I used to practically live off of falafel.  I was obsessed with the stuff.

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