Tag Archives: cooking

talk of hot dogs, bladder infections & half-assed movie reviews

posted by:  audra

good evening, lovelies.  did everyone have a blow-your-head-off/i-just-ate-16-hot-dogs-awesome father’s day weekend?  i did.  except there were no wieners involved whatsoever.  this time.  at least in the frankfurter sense.  i managed to avoid all processed meats and processed cheeses(!) this weekend in favor of cooking things that are good for me at home.  aaaand, i worked out both saturday and sunday.  which never, ever happens on the weekend…  aaaand, lost 2 pounds.  finally.

my current weight:  158.0.

which is good.  considering the first week — my efforts consisted of 2 days of sweating & eating well, then following that up with 5 days of laze & massive amounts of beer consumption…along with gratuitous snacking.  i’m gross.

anyway, this last friday night we went a’trolloping to whole foods, which always inspires me to eat well.  it’s the one place i actually enjoy grocery shopping.   i picked out some lovely filet mignon & gathered some things for a potato salad…don’t worry!  the cute kind of potato salad!  not the yellow kind with cut up egg, mayo & relish!  this one is some sort of french recipe i had scrawled onto a note card in 2001(!).  i think it’s from saveur magazine…?  and why i didn’t just cut the thing out of the mag, i’ll never know.   anyway, the salad consists of fingerling potatoes (whole foods was out; i used baby reds), lots of tarragon, good kosher salt, cracked pepper & champagne vinegar.  that’s it!  oh, & apparently some mayonnaise…even though i would swear it was olive oil & vinegar based…it had likely been seven years since i’d last made it & i didn’t remember assembling it with mayonnaise like the recipe had suggested…but i followed along & did the mayo anyhow.  it only called for 3-4 teaspoons, but…

next time i’ll leave it out.  i think just some olive oil would be much, much better.

so that was that, & with some of this, and to start we had my favorite, favorite come-in-your-panties-amazing goat milk truffle tremor cheese, a triple creme delice de bourgogne, and a lovely oregon gorgonzola…cleverly or retardedly named oregonzola.  i can’t decide which.  i took some drunken photographs of the half-eaten cheese plate, only to realize later how gross it looked smeared across a pink depression glass plate.  maybe next time i’ll think first.

yeeeeah, sorry about that.  but the little dish of honey?  lover-ly with the delice de bourgogne.  amazing, in fact.

this was the filet mignon & such…i know it looks ghetto!  and sparse!  it does!  but it was awesome.  i swear it.  next time i’ll dress the plate up with flair & glitter…but i was super-tired & starving by this time.  this photo is purely for ‘proof that i made it’ purposes.  we had some sort of cheap $17 pinot from california with it, too.  block 45 or something?  i don’t remember…but it wasn’t terrible!

saturday was completely unproductive.  i had lofty plans of getting up early (9 or 10-ish), getting all of the laundry done, including the sheets, clearing off the patio, cleaning the floors & being showered & dressed-up by 3pm.  but i should know by now that once these sort of inspirational plans are sought, i will fail tremendously at them.

i got up at 1:00.  then realized that we needed haricot verts, basil & some fresh anchovies for the niçoise platter i was to put together later.  i did minimal cleaning, if any, read my book, melted some fat off of my thighs–courtesy of mustang sally–and was barely out of the shower at 5.  which in turn, landed us back at whole foods around 6:30.

i think dinner commenced at 9 or 9:30 that night after a floundered attempt at watching nighthawks (not the one that was made in the 80s with sylvester stallone, you guys!  jesus!), supposed to be “very controversial” & “daring”1970s film about gay men in london.  this one guy’s a middle school teacher, so he’s forced to be closeted, blah blah blah, then goes out to the clubs to fag it up at night…leading a double life.  sound exciting?  it’s not.  it’s totally boring & i would swear there is absolutely no dialog within the first 20 minutes of the film–in a non-dramatic way.

anyway, this niçoise platter…so easy, you guys… so easy!  if you make this for your friends, i promise they will think you are brilliant in the kitchen & love you forever!  you might even get laid.  it’s that pretty.  you just make a french potato salad (not the tarragon one i mentioned before, but one with basil, flat-leaf parsley, scallions & a vinaigrette–dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, olive oil, good kosher salt & cracked pepper.), & assemble the rest:  grilled ahi steaks, arugula, steamed haricot verts, good anchovies, kalamata olives, heirloom tomatoes & a hard-cooked chicken egg.  i took drunken photographs of this too…nothing great, but you get the picture…

sunday was a movie day that totally made up for that nighthawks debacle!  first we watched a french horror/ thriller, set in romania that we’ve been dying to watch called them (ils in french).  get this immediately.  i’m not even kidding.  i even gambled on a bladder infection because i didn’t want to pause it to make a break for the loo!

…and we also watched dear zachary.  a documentary made by a guy named kurt who loves his childhood friend andrew.  andrew gets murdered by his psychotic ex-girlfriend.   kurt goes all over searching for the people who were in andrew’s life, & interviewing them.  drama ensues.  and i’m telling you, i’ve never cried so much during a movie everrrrr. that shit ripped my heart out.  watch it this weekend, you guys!  it’s amazing.

sigh.  okay.  that’s it.  you’re caught up.  goodnight!  i love you!

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pappardelle con porcini

posted by:  audra

quite possibly one of my most favorite things to do ever is making pasta.  sort of like making your own chicken stock or marshmallows.  very satisfying.

friday evening i was quailing in agony trying to decide on dinner.  in a panic, i suggested one of my most loved recipes, pappardelle con porcini.  super easy, this one.   i’m not certain why i love it so much, but it’s likely due to the silky, fat ribbons of pappardelle.  i just love long & wide noodles.  really,  all sexual innuendos aside, who doesn’t?

sigh.  anyway.  the grocery trip was a nightmare, as usual.  this particular grocer didn’t have any flat-leaf parsley in stock.  now, i detest curly parsley.  i hate it so much.  i think i hate it more than sam hates heelys…really!  but i had to settle.   and this store did not have a single porcini mushroom in sight.  so, again, i settled.  on creminis.  it was either that, or white buttons…

but moving on…this little gem is from the darling lidia bastianich.  i see her show on pbs occasionally, lidia’s italy, & i’m totally in love with her.  so cute.  she’s the grandmother i dream of having.

okay, ready?  it’s a long one.  pour your drink now.  here we go…

pappardelle con porcini

papardelle with fresh porcini mushrooms

for the pasta:

2 cups unbleached flour, sifted

1/4 tsp. good kosher salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 tbs. warm water, or more, if needed

for the sauce:

1/4 cup porcini mushrooms, trimmed & sliced…or, of course, creminis or whatever wild mushroom you have lying around

4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed…i crushed & sliced mine

good kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs. unsalted butter

3 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano…and for god’s sake, get the real parmigiano-reggiano

pasta instructions:

in a food processor, combine the flour & salt & pulse a few times to blend.  mix the eggs with the oil & add to the mixture.  turn the machine on, & gradually drizzle in the water, beginning with the smaller amount.  put too much in, & it will be gluey.  stop & feel the dough; it should adhere when squeezed, but shouldn’t feel sticky.  continue to knead the dough in the processor until satiny-smooth.  transfer the dough to a bowl, cover & let rest at room temperature for about an hour before rolling out.

cut the dough in four parts.  working with one part at a time, roll the dough out at successively narrower settings on a manual pasta machine, ending at the next to last setting.   using a knife (i used a pizza cutter), cut the rolled dough crosswise in 1 1/2-inch wide strips.  my strips were 38” long, & i cut them in half lengthwise, and then half again crosswise.  i prefer them that way, but whatever.  let them dry slightly where ever you’ve cut them, for about 30 minutes.

sauce instructions:

in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  add half the mushrooms & garlic, season with salt & pepper & cook over high heat, turning the porcini occasionally until lightly browned.  transfer them to a plate & repeat with the remaining oil, garlic & porcini.  [here she says to discard the garlic, & i think that’s just wrong.  use your own judgment.  i also prefer to caramelize the mushrooms for several minutes before moving them…this means placing them in the hot oil & not touching them for at least 4 minutes, otherwise they will steam, not brown.]  meanwhile, boil a large pot of water, toss in some salt & your pappardelle.  it shouldn’t take them more than 3 or 4 minutes to be al dente.

return the porcini to the pan & add the butter & parsley.  add the stock & simmer over moderate heat for one minute.  season with good kosher salt & freshly ground pepper.  add pasta to the sauce, along with the parmesan & toss gently.

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