Sunday, October 26, 2008

why do fools fall in love?

I always find myself with a great sense of purpose in this city in the fall. The sentiment is completely unwarranted yet it never fails to surface year after year after year. When I am walking I cease to wander. I always know exactly where I am going. The future is bright and clear and close. Then I stray into the menagerie that is Whole Foods at 730pm on a Sunday and am immediately deflated of all concept of higher direction or intention.

Nevertheless, I still get a pretty good soup out of it.

You Will Need:

3-4 sweet potatoes (hell...the more the better i say)
1 Apple (any variety, but a sturdy cooking apple works best)
1 med. sized onion
1 tbs. olive oil

To Make:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slide the sweet potatoes in on a baking tray and let them cook until they are nice and tender...about forty five minutes (but a few fork pricks should let you know if they're ready or not). In the meantime, core and thinly slice your apple. Dice the onion up into good sized chunks. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over med-high heat and dump in the apples and onion. As it cooks down, add cinnamon and nutmeg. Be hearty. This party will both smell AND taste good (if you're smart, you'll steal a few slices of the apple before adding it to the rest of the soup. yum).

Let the apple and onion mixture cook through until the apples are soft. Cover and set aside. When the sweet potatoes are cooked all the way through, slice them in half and scoop their innards into a big pot. Add the apples and onions. Add a tsp. each of salt and pepper. Combine with six cups of water and turn on the heat--let this warm all the way through for about ten minutes, so everything is nice and mixed and pulpy.

Next you'll have to puree the mixture down. I did this part in small batches because I only have a tiny Cuisinart, but it still worked beautifully. Once the entire batch was done, I transferred everything back into the original pot and turned the heat on low so that I could spice it to taste. That meant loads more cinnamon and nutmeg (I can't get enough) and a dash or so more of salt.

Turn off heat and serve with some slices of cool cucumber as adornment. Ta-da!

Monday, October 20, 2008

que linda, brazil!

Brazil, Brazil, Brazil! Let me get it all out there right from the get-go so there's no confusion about what's on my mind, in my heart, and tattooed on my left rib-cage (just kidding).

Not just the sun, the rain, the salt, the sweat, and the lack of necessity for formal clothing...but the people, the apartment rooms, the chatter, the streets, the midnight-caterwauling and packed-car-careening around sharp turns... and the food. Of course, the food!

The dominant theme of the trip was definitely the ol' clutter&share, i.e. fill the table as much as humanly possible with as many heaping, steaming plates of delicious food as can be fit and then drop everything (even silverware) and dig in. By the time the smoke clears, not a soul at the table will have retained any sort of recognizable human shape. Instead, each will have gleefully succumbed to the vast, gelatinous influence of laughter, over-indulgence, and pão de queijo galore. Fat, happy, and (as always) BRAZIL!

"You're a ghost, la la la la la la la..." -John Cale, Paris 1919

Friday, October 10, 2008

some things never change

My aunt just sent me a care package. Tucked inside of an old cookbook from Athens was this collection of small photographs, all of which she took in a Paris bakery over twenty years ago. Some things really don't ever change!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

breakfast with alisha

One of the things I love most about having a silly, sort of harmlessly-self-indulgent kind of blog is when other people in my life feel moved to be just as silly and sort of self-indulgent as me by sharing the various things that they make and eat. It justifies my ridiculous culinary pursuits AND makes me into a happy person.

My friend Alisha, who created a veritable piece of artwork out of her banana-layered-peanut-butter-toast this morning, was kind enough to forward along a photo to me so that I might visually partake in/absolutely salivate over her breakfast. PB+B--so simple! So pleasing! Ah, sigh.

I always love a little food-picture-pick-me-up.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Irrelevant Grandeur

Do you ever have that feeling like you just want to plunge both hands deep into your chest cavity and fall backwards off a high cliff as the only possible means of successfully counteracting the catastrophic forward momentum in your life?! Me either. Summer is over; it's fall. Among the things winding down aside from seasons and friendships are my first year in New York City and the Roaring Camp song on my computer from the original AGCS Summer Mixtape. Perfectly Appropriate.

I made this dish weeks ago, when summer corn was still all the rage at the Farmer's Market and a large batch of garden-fresh tomatoes had just been brought to me by a co-worker from his parents home in Virginia. It was a spectacular conclusion to the sweetness of summertime, so fresh that I didn't even cook the corn all the way down before rolling it out of the pan and onto the plate. If you're looking for an easy way to clean out the vegetables in your pantry (in order to make room for things like spice jars full of cinnamon, canned pumpkin and fleshy halves of acorn squash, of course) I really think you should go for this recipe!

You Will Need:
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

To Make:
As usual, so easy it's painful. Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over low heat, add a few sliced mushrooms. Let them cook down for about three minutes. Dice up your tomatoes (as many as you please!) and drop them in with the mushrooms. Add your spices and let them meditate over the warmth for awhile, soaking up the flavors. Everything should be awfully juicy and smelling pretty nicely at this point. Then toss in some handfuls of freshly shucked corn. Stir everything together, cover, and let simmer down for five to seven minutes. At the end-point, the corn should be cooked down but still have retained a little bit of its crunch. Serve immediately! Enjoy.