Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

In which we are Souper Powered

Posted: June 28th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

So since we’re moving, and trying to dirty as few dishes as possible, and since we don’t have any appliances at the new place, and won’t for an indeterminate amount of time…. food has been pretty lax of late.
Wednesday night, we made the pizza I’d planned on making Tuesday night but gotten home too late. Unfortunately, the mozzarella we bought got left on the table overnight, and since our apartment is a sauna, this lead to it becoming a semi-melted, oily blob. Not good eats. So we used Jack cheese instead, left over from the Cheesy Chips from the NBA Finals last week. Also, red-pepper pesto, green peppers, and Kalamata olives. It was pretty damn delicious.
Last night, we ordered pizza, with pepperoni and green peppers, and ate it off paper towels or with our hands, because every dish in the apartment (roughly) was still dirty.
Tonight, we had soup and grilled cheese — hence the Souper Powers. It wasn’t great — the soup was weird, and made with sweet-corn, which it didn’t say on the label. However, we used up the whole container, which is nice because that reduces the waste.

Tomorrow, we’ll have pasta, cooked in my Dutch oven and eaten out of the ugly greenish brown soup plates that I’m giving away. Sunday, I have no idea what we’ll eat, since we’ll be moving more stuff, after a trip to Jersey to Ikea, and we’ll have no stove or fridge.

And Monday…

Monday I’ll probably order pizza, and eat it alone in my empty apartment, as I clean it out and scrub up all the mouse poop and spackle the holes and clean the toilet/bathtub, and throw out the last trash.

And Tuesday, hopefully, we’ll be in. Appliances, bars on the windows, locks on the doors, in. Preferably paint on the walls. But if not, it’ll come.

My parents will come down on Friday, bringing my dog and my grill. My mom tried to convince Jesse that a charcoal chimney was not the way to go — rather, she advocates buying single-use bags of charcoal that you just…light on fire.
We’ll take it under advisement, but I think that we’ll probably stick to big bags of hardwood charcoal and a chimbly.

And by then, hopefully, life will be in swing. Comfortable, even swing.

In which we’ve gotta go fishin’

Posted: June 24th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

I started trying to post this last night. I failed. I was really tired, and I just wasn’t feeling it. So today, to make up for everything that I’ve failed you guys on, I’m posting today!!

Also, I’m a horrible cliche. I’ve come home from work, and I’m sitting on the couch, in my underwear, drinking a beer. It’s a great way to be. Trust me. Now if only my woman would come home and cook me dinner. Oh wait….

Because we’ve been racing around trying to find out if we can move, and generally acting like nutcases, there has been cooking, but no time for my typical writing about the cooking. So, I will do my best to catch up.

Sunday night we made a dish that Jesse and I had been thinking about for a few days, and something that I’ve been thinking about for almost 2 years.
First…. a quick story. When I first moved to Brooklyn, my father came down to help me paint my room and bring down the last of my stuff. After we finished, we went out for a late lunch, at this little bistro with an outdoor garden just down my street. It’s called Fada, in case you wondered. My dad got pasta bolognese, and I got a Nicoise salad, with seared tuna.

It changed my life.
I’ve spent all my bistro meals since just hoping for something like that…. and so far it hasn’t been replicable.

So, when Jesse suggested an entree salad with fresh tuna for a meal this week, I decided to go for it because I was hoping to replicate that salad. It didn’t go quite as well as planned, but that’s because I think that salad was a lost chord. Anyways.

On Sunday night, we went for that salad again, roughly. We had baby spinach, arugula, tomatoes, and the tuna. We drizzled the tuna with olive oil, and sprinkled it with salt and pepper before searing it for about 90 seconds per side. We got about half a pound, which was definitely the best way to have luxury tuna on a budget. It was beautiful, and when it was sliced and laid on top of the salad, I felt really proud of what we’d made.
We also had boxed tomato and roasted red pepper soup, to which I added a special combination of salt, pepper, cumin, curry powder, and chili powder. It is lovely, and it makes everything taste kind of warm and homey.

Monday I went into Whole Foods on a lark, and found out that they had corn on the cob, 3 ears for $1!! This is a good start to the season. So, I bought some corn, some wild rice, and some chicken cutlets, and made dinner when I got home — I started by replicating my wild rice risotto, only I cooked it even slower than usual, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the wild rice stuff just doesn’t get mushy and creamy like the arborio rice does. But, it was still pretty yum-tastic. I also boiled the corn, and made Musty-Crusty Chicken.

Don’t worry, it’s not nasty.
Musty-Crusty Chicken :

Chicken Cutlets — get as many as you need to feed the people you’re feeding. Two big ones fed 3 of us.
Dijon Mustard — I used Grey Poupon, and I’m not afraid to name drop. You enough to coat the outside of your cutlets.
Bread Crumbs — Again, you need enough to coat and crust the outside of the cutlets. I used Panko, but a combination of bread crumbs and Panko would work well too, as would just breadcrumbs. Put them in a pie plate, or in a big pile on a plate, or whatever, and season them with salt and pepper.

I put my big pan on about medium heat, with some olive oil.

I sprinkled Salt, Pepper, and Poultry seasoning on both sides of the chicken cutlets. Then, I took my jar of mustard, and using the same hand each time, I scooped out a couple fingers full of mustard, and threw it onto the chicken, not touching it. Then, smear it around with your other hand. I suppose you could do it with a spoon or a spoon-u-la, but I’m big on touching my food.

When both sides are coated, smash the chicken into the pile of bread crumb-age, so that it’s well-coated on both sides. Then, put the chicken cutlets into the pan, and let them fry. They should be golden brown and deeeelicious on both sides…. I’d suggest covering the pan for a little while to promote the cooking of the chicken from the inside.

The corn is pretty self-explanatory…. boil a big pot of water and have your boyfriend shuck the corn…. or you can do it, but why? Anyways, when the water boils, throw your shucked corn in there for 8-10 minutes, and you’ll have corn on the cob.

IT was great.

Last night’s dinner plans changed when we got home from Whole Foods at 10:30 and the pizza dough was still frozen. So, I made fried eggplant rounds.

Fried eggplant is a beautiful thing, but I’ve learned that it’s a bit of a dicey thing. Salting the eggplant is essential, to draw out some of the water that’s hiding inside the eggplant on the sneaky-sneak. I sliced it into about 1/2 inch thick slices, round-wise. Then, I sprinkled it with salt and let it sit for about half an hour. Then, I rinsed it off and patted it dry. Like making basically anything fried, I dipped the slices in egg, and then in a combination of bread crumbs and panko which was seasoned with salt and pepper. You really have to pack the breading on, I’ve learned.

I fried them in olive oil. I would not recommend frying these in olive oil. Use sunflower or vegetable oil. However, these were pretty darn good. I kind of love fried eggplant a lot. And now that I know that I can do this quite well, I’m totally doing this again. Expect to see this at Two Chairs, if you’re there. And go for it. It’s delish.

We’re working on dirtying as few dishes as possible, which we’re going to have to do, since we’re moving this weekend and we’re trying to pack our dishes up as soon as posisble. And everything else. So expect limited posts until we’re settled. But after that…. expect amazingness. I hope.

In which …..

Posted: June 19th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 3 Comments »

There are very few circumstances which render me incapable of wanting to cook.

I truly believe that just about everything is improved by food. Not always the same type of food, but always food. And if I can make something just a little bit better by cooking for someone, then maybe I’ve fulfilled my purpose in life.
And generally, if it’s someone else that’s suffering, there are a short list of things that will keep me from bringing them food. Namely, if I don’t know where you live, or if getting you the food requires crossing a continent or an ocean. Otherwise, try and stop me from cooking for you. The love that I feel for someone is never more apparent, never more clearly expressed, than when I have made them food.

Maybe that sheds a little light on something inside me…. maybe it also explains why when I am miserable — when I’m upset and hurting, the last thing I want to do is cook for myself. I’ll cook for those I care about, I’ll make them food, but I can’t cook for myself when my heart is breaking. I can’t even think about it. Maybe that means that I don’t love myself nearly as much as I love others. It probably does. But when I’m this sad, I can’t even begin to think about healing it.

No one died. Don’t worry. Jesse didn’t break up with me. According to the sage advice of the woman at the brokerage who doesn’t know anything about me, except my bank account number, there are worse things going on in the world right now. But for me, being told that the woman at the realtor’s office is “90% sure” that we’ll be able to move into the apartment by the first of July is pretty fucking bad. Especially because y’know…. I have a job. Jesse has a job. We can’t take off a random day in July at a moment’s notice to supervise movers. We either have to be able to move, or hope that our landlord will give us another few weeks, month, whatever it ends up being. I don’t even know what to do with that information.

And I feel bad. I feel badly that even if food is offered, I don’t even want to eat it. I had to put a beautiful chocolate bar on the dining room table, because even though Kristin bought it for me as a gift…. I can’t eat it.
Food doesn’t heal me the way I hope that it heals everyone else.

I feel badly. I feel badly that I’m not making dinner. We had a beautiful dinner planned — a salad with rare tuna, just lightly seared. Spinach, the lovely bunch of arugula I picked up, a red pepper, some roasted tomatoes, and the tuna. It would have been wonderful. But it would have been a waste. I’m glad we didn’t eat it.

I know that Kristin can cook. But I still feel badly because I feel like I *should* be making dinner. I should suck it up, be tough, and make dinner – not the tuna because even if I’m sucking it up I couldn’t waste that. But I suppose I could take the loose cash in my bag and go buy some eggs and make a frittata. I could at least make scrambled eggs. But I can’t. I’m just too drained. I’m too sad. I’m too….. everything. And too nothing.

Time to go back to the drawing board with the P.T.B. And this time, beg. Yeah. Let’s do that. Anyone that has a good relationship with the Powers that Be (PTB), please beg on my behalf. On our behalf. Since we already have to cancel our 4th of July barbecue, because we won’t have furniture, we could use a little PTB favor. So… yeah. Any help would be greatly appreciated on our behalf. Thanks.

In which I REALLY break tradition

Posted: June 19th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 4 Comments »

Actually, I suppose I sort of kept a tradition. Also, yes, I am blogging at quarter to eight in the morning. Don’t ask questions.

On Tuesday night, in case some of you missed it, the Boston Celtics clinched the NBA Finals. They gleefully stomped on the Lakers for about 3 hours, and Jesse and I watched the whole thing! Well, except for the parts where I was preparing food, or getting beers. And because I was feeling saucy, I decided I would try and recreate my Superbowl feast, at least the best bits, for two. I also wore my Wes Welker jersey, which I still say is good luck, even though I wore it during the Patriots’ disastrous Super Bowl game.
It’s funny — I sat in our apartment, shaking wtih joy and fear during the World Series, never 100% sure the Sox would win. I made a bunch of food and ended up having several people over for the Super Bowl, never 100% sure the Pats would lose. Because in my lifetime, the Red Sox have screwed up bigtime, and the Pats have just been awesome since they started winning in the 2000’s. But the Celtics? I didn’t know what to expect with this game, since all my life they’ve just…. kind of sucked, barring the first 2 years (3 championships?) of my life. I didn’t have a frame of reference.
So I made guacamole and cheesy chips (aka tortilla chips with cheese sprinkled over, broiled) for the first half, and while doing that I started making Alton Brown’s Buffalo Wing recipe, which basically takes about 2 hours to make and is SO worth it. Especially since I started it about 20 minutes before tip off, and we had wings for the second half. Basically, I created most males’ (and several girls I know)sports fantasy – chips, wings, and beer, while watching the NBA Finals at my house with my boyfriend.


And the wings were deelish as always. Alton doesn’t let me down.

And last night, I re-made my Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken Meatballs, only this time I used turkey. And I didn’t have any fresh parsley to hand, which probably lessened my joy a little bit. But it was still pretty good.

And tonight, the plan is to have a salad with pieces of seared tuna on top after we get home from Blind Tiger, where we will hopefully meet Zak from Schmaltz and have some Coney Island Beer!!!

In which I rock out with my Quinoa out.

Posted: June 15th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 24 Comments »

Last night, I made some yummy steak.

I love making steak. Last week’s endeavor with the flank steak went so well that I decided to essentially replicate it, with a skirt steak. Let’s make the note now that a skirt steak is even thinner and even fattier than a flank steak, and I didn’t notice that in time to adjust my methods.

I started out by marinating my steak — I used salt, pepper, my uncle’s “dry rub”, which is basically onion and garlic powders, as well as thyme, rosemary, and possibly something else… and I added red pepper flake, which I love. I rubbed all this into my steak, and then put it in a Ziploc bag, with olive oil and a little Worcestershire.

Then, I let that sit, in the fridge, while I cooked up the other “mixed grains” packet that had caughtmy fancy at Trader Joe’s on Wednesday night. I mixed that with some vinaigrette that I made with too much mustard, white balsamic, olive oil salt and pepper.

While that was hanging out in the fridge, I got out my trusty Lodge griddle pan, which is flat on one side, ridged on the other, and 100% cast-iron. It’s heavy as hell, and a wonderful piece of equipment. I highly recommend it, and it’s seen its fair share of use this weekend, between pancakes x2, and the steak. Here are some action shots:

It probably cooked for about a minute and a half too long, which isn’t sacrelige, but it definitely comes close. I like my meat on the bloody side of medium rare, as I’ve said before, and I’d say about 3 minutes per side should have been fine. I did 4 on the first side, 3 on the second, and I think I would’ve been happier if I’d cut it back. But anyways…. I let it rest for about the same amount of time that I’d cooked it, hoping that it would stay really really juicy and the like. And it did, sort of. Anyways, I was happy because the flavors in the marinade mirrored the flavors in the vinaigrette, and that’s really all I’m looking for – flavors that go together.
I brightened up the couscous/Quinoa/Orzo mix with some Key Lime juice, from real Key Limes that I’d thought about making a pie with – but seeing how little juice you get out, I’ve decided that they’re better in their purest format — shoved down the neck of a Corona.

Until next time, kids — keep eating, and check out the fact that one post back, Zak from Schmaltz brewing commented!!! If you’re in the city, or have access to his beer, get some, and I’m not just saying this so he’ll find out I linked him again and read/comment more. (At least, not TOTALLY!)

In which it finally cools down a little.

Posted: June 14th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

Tuesday night, I made a delicious pizza.

I’m a little weird, in that I will freely admit that it’s too hot to cook, and then go ahead and make a pizza from scratch. For some reason, it seems less hot to let dough rise and then throw it and the toppings into a 450 degree oven. Honestly, it would have been cooler to just boil some pasta, steam some vegetables, and drizzle the lot with olive oil and parm. But of course, I’m a moron.

Luckily, we did discover one of the benefits of hot weather. It helps make beautiful pizza dough. Between the heat of the water I used, and the heat of the apartment, that dough doubled in size with a quickness, and it definitely didn’t have the typical problem of not being stretchy. Because it was hot – apparently Jesse puts it in the fridge sometimes, and we’ve come to find that doesn’t yield the best results. Also, I definitely didn’t use as much flour as I should have, because it was so hot out and for some reason, it just didn’t need as much flour.

I stretched the dough after it rose, and covered it with a sliced yellow tomato, some asparagus and green beans, and parmesan, and some smushed garlic cloves. It baked at 450 for probably about 25 minutes, long enough to turn the apartment into a sauna. It was miserable, but the pizza was delicious. I love making pizza.

Wednesday night, we went shopping and found out some effing frustrating news. Apparently our new apartment won’t be ready tomorrow, which is when we were promised it. It’s when I signed a lease for. And yet, we don’t get to move in, which basically screws us over in terms of moving and painting and getting unpacked and stuff. So, Wednesday night we were legitimately in need of some liquid refreshment. We met our friends at Kettle of Fish, and imbibed a few pints of Coney Island Lager (Sword Swallower, primarily) before arriving home around 11 pm.

I set some chicken breasts, which I’d pounded pretty thin, to marinate in a very similar marinade to the one I did for the Flank Steak last entry. Then, I decided I wanted to try and make a risotto out of a wild and brown rice blend I’d been intrigued by at Trader Joe’s. So, I prepared the risotto in the usual way, except that I didn’t add any mushrooms or bleu cheese. I just added a lump of butter and some shredded parmesan at the end. I think that since this rice isn’t like arborio, it needed a little more stock, a little more time. Maybe some water. But the roommates concurred that the chewiness added something to the risotto. I’d recommend trying it sometime. Make sure that you sautee it enought.

Thursday night, I made panini. It was supposed to be soup and sammiches, but it ended up just being panini. I made some tuna salad, with a little mayonnaise, a little olive oil, green pickle relish (because I didn’t have any dill pickles), chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I put some butter on my grill pan and put the bread down with some meunster cheese. I put the tuna on top, another slice of cheese, and another piece of bread. Then, to make it a panino, I put a small skillet with a can of chickpeas on top, to smush the bread. Obviously, flip, butter the pan, repeat. They were pretty yum-tastic.

Last night, we were supposed to have steak again (because it was so good last time), but instead we met some friends for delicious drinks, and then delicious dinner. And then, we went back to our friends Laura and Steele’s apartment and had some of Steele’s latest home-brewed beer. So, tonight, we will have the skirt steak, with possibly a mixed-grain salad and some young field greens….. or just with our bare hands. Y’know, whichever.

In which I catch up.

Posted: June 10th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | No Comments »

On Friday night, I made a delicious dinner. It was the last night before a heat wave, although I didn’t know that yet. All I knew was that since my plan to make dinner got foiled on Thursday night, I had a chance to make two glorious compatriots together on Friday night: Flank Steak, and Gorgonzola-Walnut Spaghetti. I modified both of these recipes, as I am wont to do, from Rachael Ray’s excellent cookbook, Cooking Round the Clock.

I got home and marinated the steak. I can’t remember exactly what I used, but I can approximate.
2 chopped garlic cloves, a few healthy pinches of salt, several grinds of black pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce (I used a TON, because the bottle was more full than I expected. Oops. Still good), a few splashes of Balsamic Vinegar, and about 1/3 cup of olive oil.

I put the above in a plastic Ziploc bag (a big one), and stuck my lovely 1 pound of flank steak in there to hang out at room temperature, while I started the pasta.

I brought the water to a boil for spaghetti, of course.
While that was happening, I put 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 2 of butter into a big skillet. I dropped in 3 smashed (not chopped, just crushed) garlic cloves and about half a cup of chopped up walnuts. I cooked them on about medium heat, probably a little lower, until the garlic cloves turned golden brownish. Stir them occasionally, so that the walnuts don’t burn. Because burned garlic, burned walnuts, it’s just not happy. This took about 5 minutes. Possibly longer.

While that was going on, I also heated up my grillpan, which is basically just a large round skillet, very thin, with ridges like a grill. I put it over screamin’ hot heat, which is a technical term. When the water from the pasta pot vaporized basically the second it was dribbled over the pan, I put the steak on. I was eyeballing it, and I didn’t want to undershoot the timing and have to cook it too long on the second side, so I left it for a solid 4 minutes on the first side. This went on about the time that the garlic was starting to get brownish.

I pulled out the garlic cloves, and poured in half a cup each of chicken broth and cream. You stir that around and bring that to the bubble. About the time this is happening, you should be flipping your flank steak.

(underlying all this is the fact that when the water boils, you should salt it and drop your spaghetti, about half a box)

When it bubbles, add about 6 ounces of Gorgonzola crumbles. This equates to about 3/4 of a tub if you have an 8-ounce tub, or you can always bust out your kitchen scale if you’re being fussy. Basically, I just dumped in enough to make me feel good. As it’s melting, you should probably be draining your pasta, and taking your flank steak off after its second 4 minutes, to rest on a plate for at least 4 minutes to let the juicies redistribute.

Once the gorgonzola is all melted, crank on a bunch of black pepper. Taste it to see if you need salt. Shake the hell out of the pasta in the colander, and dump it into the big skillet. Toss it all around and divide between two plates.

Wait until you can’t stand it any longer, and then cut your steak against the grain (whatever that means). Apparently it makes it more tender. I’m going to go with just slice it thin and you’ll be ok. I’m not going to lie, kids, I like a bloody steak. Medium-rare is A-OK with me, and since I generally pull steaks before they hit medium-rare because I’m afraid of a medium-well steak, I usually end up on the rare side of medium-rare. Which is also fine with me. One of the best things in the world, in my newly-formed opinion, is the combination of steak juices and the gorgonzola cream sauce of this pasta. It’s a match made in heaven. Seriously.

I didn’t take any photos of this dish, mostly because I was too hungry to. And because it disappeared all too quickly. But, trust me, the steak was perfect…. nicely crusted on the outside, still a beautiful pinky-red on the inside. I was thrilled. Thin steaks are tough, because it’s hard, of course, to get them done through, but still delicious quickly. Things can get out of hand if you’re not paying attention. Luckily, I was. Yummmm!!!!

Ok, better luck next time, In which I discuss our pizza for dinner tonight. :)

In which you can call me late to dinner.

Posted: June 9th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

After an amazing day at Coney Island, where you bet your ass I rode the Cyclone, AND the Wonder Wheel, AND ate a Nathans’ HotDog, Jesse and I came home to a sweltering apartment. It was too hot to do anything. It was too hot to cook. It was too hot…. to live.

After a little while, I made a pie crust, so we could make the quiche that was abandoned on Tuesday night. I was nervous about its worth as a crust, because the butter and shortening definitely went from cold or frozen respectively, to kind of melty pretty fast. I hoped that it would firm up in the fridge…. but it didn’t really. It was pretty soft, but since I rolled it out on the plastic wrap, I was able to wrap it around the rolling pin and get it into the pie plate. While it blind baked, I used my customary cooking method for the green beans and asparagus, putting the asparagus in about 1 minute before the green beans. I threw them all into a bowl of water in the fridge.

I was also chopping up a clove of garlic and half a red pepper. I sliced the asparagus and green beans, and sauteed them with the garlic, the pepper, and some butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I didn’t want them mushy, I just wanted them flavored, and I wanted to be able to chew the asparagus. So, after they were quickly cooked, I took them out to cool while I whipped up the eggs and cream. Then, I pulled hte crust, took off the foil and beans (which were in there to weight down the crust while it cooked, so it didn’t puff. If I’d left the crust raw, it would’ve been mushy at best and it would’ve taken longer than the eggs to cook. Big mess) and poured in the batter, as well as a healthy dose of gorgonzola crumbles. It baked for about 25 minutes, and then I took it out to cool a bit. During the cooling, a thunderstorm happened!!!

I ran into our room to look at it, and ended up falling asleep. Before I’d eaten. That’s right. I definitely slept through dinner. Granted, it was already 10 PM. But still. I slept through to this morning. I guess that’s what I needed, but I’m still really tired. Strange. And it’s still too hot to cook. Rough.

Anyways. Jesse said the quiche was delicious. I had a piece this morning for breakfast. It was inspired. And I just had a piece cold out of the fridge because I am hungry but don’t want to turn on the stove. Deeelish. :)

In which, yet again, I’ve fallen behind.

Posted: June 5th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 20 Comments »

I admit it. I have recently lost my habit of blogging as things happen. I’m sorry, readership (all 4 of you). I will do better.

On Sunday, I did not make Macaroni Cheese. This is because it was hotter than bejeepers on Sunday. SO, instead, I made mussels steamed in white wine, the recipe for which, complete with photos, you can find…. here. Jesse and I ate on our roof, looked at the sunset, looked at Brooklyn, took some pictures, drank some wine, and generally were…. happy. I’ll post photos probably tomorrow night. It was wonderful.

Me in my natural habitat The View.

And, the reason I cook at all: Us:

Monday night, I did make macaroni and cheese. And I did photograph most of it. I’m going to post pictures of this as well, with small descriptions, so you all know what went down.

And here they are!!!!

Step 1). Saute chopped-up pancetta, and shallot in a little olive oil:

Step 2). Add a little more olive oil to the pancetta/onion, then add some flour to make a roux that looks like this:

Step 3). Add the chicken stock and milk/cream combination outlined in my earlier RoniCheese post, to get something that looks like this:

Step 4). Have your boyfriend grate the cheese:

Step 5). Add the cheese to the cream sauce once it starts to bubble

Step 6). When pasta is done cooking, add it to the sauce and stir it around before pouring it into a baking pan:
Then, put the pasta under the broiler after you sprinkle it with breadcrumbs and grated parmesan, until it looks like so:
and…. Mangia!!!

Tuesday night, we cleaned. Jesse, K and I cleaned up the common spaces of our apartment after we grocery shopped, so that we could start the packing and the moving mindset (our lease ends on the 30th). It took a while, so we just reheated the roni cheese from Monday night. Still yummbly.

Last night, I made salmon and string beans. This salmon is probably the weirdest recipe I’d ever heard of, courtesy of my mother. We once had a bag of frozen salmon filets from Costco. They were beautiful, and one hot summer night while I was home from college, we decided to eat them. I didn’t have any idea how to cook salmon, and the only way my mom could think of was to slather the top with mayonnaise, sprinkle it with dill, wrap it in foil, and bake it for 18-20 minutes. I’ll admit, freely and openly, that I was grossed out by the theory. I eat as little mayonnaise as possible.
But, we did it, and this was amazing. It’s been a go-to for me. I’ve varied it with a vinaigrette, with just olive oil, dill, and lemon, lots of ways. Basically…. I love this preparation.
So, last night, we made it. And I cooked string beans the best way I know how — throw them in simmering salty water for about 2 minutes, 3 at most, and then pull them right out and throw them in an ice water bath. Along with keeping them green, this also keeps them crispy, because it stops the cooking. It’s the best and only way to cook fresh green beans, in my humble opinion. Then again, I have a vendetta against a mushy vegetable…. so don’t take my word for it.

But…. it was teh noms.

Tonight, I planned something although I wasn’t sure if I’d be home or not… it’s my nanny boss’s last night of chef school, and there was some talk of the other babysitter covering tonight.

Alas, this is not the case.

However. That means that tomorrow, we can basically have tonight’s dinner AND tomorrow’s dinner. Tonight, we were meant to have marinated flank steak and my potato salad. Tomorrow… gorgonzola & walnut pasta. NOW, we can have both!! Tomorrow!! Yay!!!

Stay tuned.

Also, I’d like to take this quick break to announce a couple things.
1). I’m moving over the course of this month, so I think that the entries for a while might just be a few photos and a quick desription. I’ll maybe come back later to edit and write about the recipes.
2). You’ll all get to see pictures of my new kitchen, complete with built-in wine rack above the fridge, as soon as we move in.
3). I WILL BE THE PROUD OWNER OF A GRILL FOR MY BACK YARD!!!! It’s at my parents’ house. My dad is painting it green for me, and maybe making me a table…. with wheels possibly. YAAAAYYY!!! Be prepared for all the misadventures that come when this girl tries to lite her grill with the chimbly for the first time. Also, this is a Brooklyn back yard, so no comments from all you suburbans with your acres of grassland, m’kay???
4). Let’s all take a moment to send some vibes of comfort, love, and happy– the likes of which you get from a yummy comfort food — to one of my most awesomest readers. Thanks all.

In which we get a rant.

Posted: June 1st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 19 Comments »

Ok. There are many things I love in my life, and a few things that I hate. I hate being so tired that my head nods unbidden I hate that I accidentally knocked my French Press off the kitchen table about 40 minutes ago while trying to spread out pizza dough, smashing it into pieces and cutting my hand twice in the process. I hate asshole members of RedSox Nation who chant “Yankees Suck” even still, especially in venues not involving the Yankees. For example, the jackass in the Sox hat last night at Cheap Shots yelling at the bartender that the Yankees sucked. You make me look bad. Also, when you’re in Tampa Bay, don’t start a Yankees Such chant. Especially if you’re in Tampa Bay for a Patriots Game!!!!!

And then, I hate my apartment’s stove. I hate it for many reasons. The most basic is that its cooktop is tiny. Its 4 burners just don’t have enough space to breathe. Also, even when I turn the smallest burner on the lowest setting, it’s still enough flame to scorch chili onto the bottom of my stockpot. That’s just goddamned ridiculous. Furthermore, the floor is not even in my apartment, and the super couldn’t be bothered to level out the stove, so it’s not even. It tilts toward the front. Which means that stuff doesn’t cook evenly. Also also, its oven is very flimsy. And it makes the room INCREDIBLY hot. Basically, I hate this stove. I also hate the lack of counter space in my kitchen. I cannot WAIT until we move. I cannot wait until I have a corner sink, and a hood with a fan, and another fan in the kitchen too…. I cannot wait for counter space. I cannot wait for a level floor and cabinets, and a kitchen that’s up to regulations. As much as I love who is here…. I do not love this kitchen.

I also kind of hate working till midnight because my nanny bosses work in the food industry and “11:30″ is a malleable concept. But I kind of like it because Jesse and I get to engage in “bistro dining”, aka eating after midnight, because on Saturday nights, I get home wired, and cook. This is relevant, I swear. Also our dining plan got screwed up this week, with all the lease-signing/going out for Burgers and fries at Dumont Burger, going to see the Sex and The City Movie/going out after ness, and the “new apartment not being ready yet” ness. So basically, tonight we made Wednesday night’s planned dinner, since we ate at Dumont Burger and tomorrow, we’ll make Friday’s planned dinner. Which means that today, we made pizza with tomatoes, goat cheese, olives,garlic, shallots, and parmesan. And I’m just starting to eat it now, at 2:16am.

Jesse made another stellar crust, while I was finishing up at and traveling home from work. When I got home, I stretched it and flattened it out, and the french press smashing ensued…. and then I finally got it set up and docked (which means I poked holes in the part that the toppings would be on, so it didn’t puff up too much.) and started by sprinkling some parmesan on it. Then, I added sliced tomatoes, goat cheese, and whole black olives. Then, in a moment of inspiration, I added smashed garlic cloves, and a sliced shallot. Then, more parmesan. I baked at about 425… and it was DEEEEELICIOUS!!!! And kind of pretty.
Here it is cooking. The crust always ends up really thick on my pizzas. Apparently I didn’t learn enough as a pizza wench back in high school — I don’t know how to stretch a pizza properly. I’ll have to learn.

Anyways. It came out beautifully, and I was really happy about it. I love tasty food, and these flavors rocked out with their stuff out. It was nommy!!!!
Yaaaay pizza!
Hopefully, tomorrow, I will post photos of my nommy mac & cheese, so you can all see what I mean when I cook it. Hee. You should be happy.