Thursday, September 20, 2007

photoshoppers: a call to arms!

it seems my blog traffic has been sadly lacking as of late. i'm sure it has nothing to do with me abandoning this place for weeks at a time, or heaven forbid, the idea of this blog getting old. no, i'm positive it's because i'm missing the one thing essential to every great blogger - an eye catching banner.

here's where you photoshoppers come in. i challenge you to create a banner for my blog. only the cream of the crop may apply, as it clearly must be something worthy of representing my eloquent writing and exquisite recipes. if you need inspiration, i suggest checking out carrie's cooking adventures.

upload your submissions and post them in the comments for me to see. the winner of this challenge receives the greatest honor of all - having his/her banner seen at the top of my blog every single day. and of course, if someone wants to go above and beyond and work some html magic to help me get the overall design of this place out of standard blogger template mode i would be extremely grateful. normally i'd do it myself, but i think we all know my skills are best saved for the kitchen.

okay kids, get crackin and let me see what you've got!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


well, laura's guest blog managed to both cure me of my writer's block as well as tempt me to venture into the world of sushi. it really does feel great to be blogging again, plus, i'd hate for anyone to think that i'm not on top of the latest food trends.

like laura, i went straight to the experts and decided to order in from friend house. unfortunately, as a vegetarian who doesn't eat fish, i found my menu options quite limited. then i stumbled across a dish called asparagus rolls. i thought this would be a great way to sneak in a serving of veggies inside of some warm doughy carbtastic goodness. i got my tub of butter and spreading knife ready and waited for the delivery man to arrive.

well, you can imagine my surprise when a bunch of actual mini asparagus stalks showed up wrapped in rice and some sort of mystery black stuff. what kind of a roll was this?? where was the bread? luckily though, they had provided me with plenty of soy sauce to cover up the flavor of those pesky vegetables. also, based on laura's experience with the boat, i was worried that someone would come back to my apartment to collect the plastic container my "rolls" were served in, so i quickly hid it in a safe place as soon as i was finished.

the verdict: be sure to ask many questions when ordering from a sushi restaurant as their menus are obviously quite misleading. still i suppose, it's a trend that everyone should try at least once.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

message to farmers: NIMBY!

nowadays there's one more thing to add to the list of power plants, trash dumps, and prisons that elicit the cry of "not in my backyard!": farmers. it's bad enough that i've had to put up with a slew of dirty hippy farmers invading union square three times a week under the family friendly guise of the greenmarket. but since moving, i'm now expected to tolerate this neighborhood nuisance just one mere block from my apartment every single sunday.

ladies and gentleman, these farmers have no business in tompkins square park. this is historically a place for drug dealers, homeless people, and riots. not small business owners peddling organic and affordable produce. i decided to pay them a visit last sunday and one vendor even had the nerve to sell me eight ripe and delicious plums for only three dollars.

look, all i'm saying is, we didn't suffer through an industrial revolution just so we could abandon factory farming. do we really want our future generations knowing where their food actually comes from?? i admit, there's probably no stopping those those liberal pinko nutjobs from advocating fair and healthy options for our planet, our workers, and our bodies. but at least let them do it out on some commune or kibbutz somewhere - not in the middle of my urban metropolis.

if you, like me, want to boycott these farmers' markets altogether, i suggest using local harvest to plug in your zip code and find the locations nearest you. this tool for avoiding local family farmers is certainly invaluable.

still don't believe what a crisis this really is?? just check out what happens to the poor twinkie (at a farmers' market!) in this video and learn more about the left wing attempts to undermine the farm bill here.

you hear that farmers? it's on!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

alternate kitchen uses

okay kids, this might just blow your mind... but the kitchen isn't just for cooking anymore. i know many of you out there will never develop the keen culinary skills that i have no matter how hard you try... but now you don't have to let your food preparation area go to waste!

my friends sean and amy have turned their kitchen into a state of the art dance studio & performance space:

so talk to me people - what else do you use your kitchen for? whoever has the most innovative response (with appropriate documentation, preferably in youtube form) might just get a prize from me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

i <3 salad

well it's time for me give a shout out to my favorite fellow blogger again. i'd been waiting for a special occasion to make this awesome recipe, but finally i decided i would just treat myself!

in this sweet summer treat you take something plain and simple like this:

and mix it with other fun ingredients containing things like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and modified food starch to make something like this:

pretty great, huh?

snickers salad
(by carrie's dad's girlfriend kelly)
  • 6 chilled snickers candy bars
  • 6 apples (granny smith and/or red delicious)
  • 1 container cool whip
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding

mix cool whip and pudding mix together (i substituted lite cool whip and sugar/fat free pudding for a healthier option). core and chop apples and snickers into bite size pieces. even though i substituted individually wrapped snickers minis (all that packaging makes me feel safe from food contamination... and terrorists) , i still halved or quartered each one. combine apples and snickers with cool whip / pudding mix. drizzle with caramel and chocolate and chill for at least an hour.

this is quite possibly the sweetest thing i've ever ingested (and this is coming from me - the girl who eats ice cream by the tub and donuts by the dozen). i actually wound up using only half the apples called for because there simply wasn't any more room in my bowl to mix up more salad - so perhaps more fruit would have offset the cloying flavor a bit. but as we all know, the more saccharine the better when it comes to desserts - which means the snicker salad is pretty much perfect!

bean harmony

sorry for the lack of updates this past week, but i've been busy checking in on my competition. you may not have realized it, but i'm actually not the only food blogger on the interweb. keeping tabs on what everyone else is up to helps me keep my little mental kitchen to do (and not to do) list fresh.

one great source of inspiration is the cook and author of the smitten kitchen. she and i have so much in common it's downright scary. for starters we're both from new york and we're both named deb(bie). and then of course there's the obvious - that we're both amazingly talented behind the camera and in the kitchen... and not to mention witty as fuck.

i figured it was about time i share one of her recipes (along with some much needed improvements) with all of you. deb certainly had the right idea but it just lacked that special something. luckily i've come along and tweaked the recipe to perfection.

mixed bean salad with tomato and lemon (by smitten kitchen)
  • 2 medium tomatoes 1
  • ½ pound yellow wax beans, ends trimmed and beans halved crosswise 2
  • ½ pound haricot vert, or slim green beans, ends trimmed and beans halved crosswise 3
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 4
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 5
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • glug of white wine 6
  • salt and pepper 7
  • juice of one lemon 8
1 substituted half a can of whole peeled stewed tomatoes
2 omitted
3 substituted one can of cut green beans
4 omitted
5 substituted jarred minced garlic in olive oil
6 substituted red wine
7 omitted
8 used only half a lemon

microwave green beans for two minutes and set aside. heat garlic and red pepper in a large pan. add tomatoes and simmer for a couple minutes. add a splash of red wine and continue to simmer. lower heat and toss in green beans, coating evenly with tomato and garlic. squeeze the juice of half a lemon over everything and serve.

as you can see there was none of that slotted spoon, ice bath, or colander nonsense that deb seemed so fond of. and yet the end result is still a perfectly light summery meal. nice try deb, but next time you might want to check with the expert first.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

do real people eat this? (part one: cottage cheese & banana)

welcome to the first installment of my new series entitled "do real people east this?" in these posts i'll examine food combinations that are (or were) staples for me, and ask if any other human beings out there actually eat them. then it's up to you, my faithful readers, to reply and tell me just how much of a freak i am. i'm kicking things off with a childhood favorite that i still eat today: cottage cheese & banana.

my mother got me hooked on this one early on. i did some snooping on the internets and all i seemed to turn up was a baby food recipe (that seems to use "cottage" and "cream" as synonyms) and some misguided fitness enthusiasts.

so tell me blogosphere, does anyone else out there eat this? and if not, would you all be willing to try, because i'm telling you - it's delish!

Friday, August 10, 2007

miracle of modern science

one of my favorites fruits is the mango, but i've always detested what a mess they are to eat. well now there's been an amazing technological advancement that's turned the mango into an simply snackable comestible.

i don't know what sort of genetic engineering or scientific mumbo jumbo went on in a lab somewhere to make this a reality, but i'm just happy it did.

heaven forbid my dining experience should ever be hampered by napkins or hand washing. now, finally, i can eat my fruit with a plastic fork out of a non-biodegradable container like a civilized human being. hooray for science!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

a vegetarian snack

one of the great things about living in new york are all the amazing vegetarian options available. today i was hungry for just a little snack and was able to whip up this amazing mini-meal.

i started off this tasty treat with some parmesan chunks on table water crackers.

for dessert i indulged in a little ready to go jello cup. but i sweetened it up even more by topping it with some mini marshmallows.

and because it's never too early to get your drink on, i accompanied my nosh with a nice glass of red wine (a shiraz / cabernet).

isn't it awesome all the things you still get to eat while being a vegetarian??

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

triple berry surprise

okay kids, this recipe is a bit involved, so you might want to enlist some parental supervision. there's prep work and stove usage... but don't worry, no knives! anyway, now that i've been turned on to one of the hot new cooking trends out there, it's opened up a whole world of possibilities to me, not the least of which is wheat berries!

triple berry surprise
  • 1 part wheat berries
  • 4 parts water
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/8 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
rinse wheat berries in cold water. to cut down on actual cooking time it's best to soak them overnight (or for extra easy cookability soak them for a full day and pretend it has nothing to do with the fact that you forgot they were already sitting there on the stove for a good 12 hours). i used a half cup of berries and 2 cups of water because i don't actually own a full set of measuring cups (a true chef just knows) and the half cup was all i had handy. bring water with wheat berries to a rolling boil and cover pot. let cook until most of the water in the pot has evaporated (for an added crunchy film, ignore pot boiling over and smell of burning wheat and allow half the berries to fuse to the bottom of the pot). drain berries (or not, depending if you went for the crunchy film effect) and top bowl with raspberries and goji berries. add a splash of soy milk and drizzle with honey.

i suppose i've given away the fact that the surprise in this recipe is really just some soy milk and honey, so if you make this for friends be sure not to spoil it! some might also argue that this is more of a breakfast dish than a dinner one. but as you all know, i refuse to be bound by society's norms of time specific food.

Monday, August 6, 2007

oooh swanky!

last night's attempt to go get drinks landed us in a bar with no air conditioning and warm beer taps. since this was clearly unacceptable and we suddenly realized we were craving this crazy thing called dinner, we ventured out into the west village in search of food and drink. this might not sound like a mighty task to anyone else, but i'm not one to just jump into a new relationship with a restaurant on the fly. i like to do my research, go through a little courtship first, you know develop a mutual sort of appreciation with the place. i've got some serious standards when it comes to the quality of my food.

and really, what says class more than a place called señor swanky's?

my dining companions had the cheese enchiladas and the mexican love sticks with swanky glaze [too. many. jokes. must. continue. blogging.] respectively.

i had the vegetarian salad (PS how meat-tastic must a place be when you actually have to sepcificy that a *salad* is vegetarian) and the waiter and i played this fun little game where he offered me different dressings then reported back that they didn't actually serve them. while this taught me that apparently no one in swankyville had ever ordered a meal consisting primarily of greens before, i did get the bonus treat of discovering their delicious carrot dressing which i never would have tried if my first 17 million dressing choices hadn't been shot down.

in the end the nice mr. waiter man comped us a round of swankaritas to make up for the salad dressing debacle. you know when you eat at a place that's officially dubbed a "mexican cafe and celebrity hangout" they know how to treat their high profile guests. never fear señor, your reputation's safe with foodland.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

cool summer lunch (aka the boyfriend special al-mode)

i know you're all probably already insanely jealous of the way my significant other wines and dines me, so i must admit i was hesitant at first to post this entry. i'm just going to have to ask the ladies and the gays to do their best to exercise some self control and keep their hands off my man after reading this.

cool summer lunch (by the boy)
  • one deli sammich
  • one bag of cool ranch doritos (the "cool" part of the summer lunch)
  • one iced tea
  • one pint of ice cream
accept boyfriend's offer to pick up some lunch, and do your best to hide the annoyance in your voice when you realize he's hitting up the deli again. argue with boyfriend over phone while he stands in the deli and insists they don't have any teany or honest tea even though they've had them every. other. time. you've been there. settle for some apricot shit from inko's that tastes like acetone instead. enjoy with an al-mode side of ice cream eaten directly from the container (cause we're classy like that).

i've actually watched them make this meal at the deli several times myself and i think i've nearly perfected the at home version of it. it involves slicing a roll as well as some lettuce and tomato so it's a bit advanced, but i'll be sure to post it anyway once i have it all worked out.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

guest blogger: tracey

well my kitchen's still out of commission but luckily guest blogger tracey has stepped in today. i hope you enjoy this awesome recipe she has to share with all of you. thanks tracey for coming through in a pinch!

grilled cheese (by tracey)*
  1. dial 617-254-8114 and ask for moogy
  2. await buzzer alerting you that food has arrived
  3. observe cryptic "GrCh" written on your sandwich's wrapping. does this mean grilled cheese, or greasy cheddar?
  4. the latter, it would seem:
  5. unwrap, observe toasted perfection, and enjoy.

*please note this meal is prepared best in the metro-boston area only

all cooked out

yesterday's 12 blog entries in 12 hours have left me physically and emotionally drained. it truly is exhausting maintaining my top notch standards in the kitchen. i really want to share some new and amazing recipes with all of you, but i'm afraid i'm stuck in leftover hell right now.

not to mention the current state of my dirty dishes.

but never fear, as always i have a backup plan, and will review for you my dinner from a few nights ago.

maoz in union square is one of only two locations in the the US for this vegetarian falafel chain. the sign said "hungry?" and amazingly enough, i was! i knew that if this place specialized both in fine cuisine *and* mind reading then they really must mean business.

the best part of this meal was the fact that they only prepared my food to a certain extent, after which point they deferred to my superior culinary technique. it was like experiencing the joys of cooking and eating out all rolled into one! i ordered a junior maoz royale (small falafel with eggplant and hummus) on whole wheat pita. at the salad bar i really let my talent shine and added tomato, lightly fried cauliflower & broccoli, and tabbouleh with both tahini and garlic sauce.

all the other patrons in the restaurant couldn't stop staring at my clearly superior falafel. of course, that may have also had something to do with the fact that the entire place is about the size of my bathroom and they simply had nowhere else to look. though i think it's quite obvious which of those two explanations makes the most sense.

Friday, August 3, 2007

one brainwashing to go please (lg15 12 of 12)

so it's over. and i'm thinking i could use a nice healthy dose of some of the stuff daniel got before the miss me? video. after all, it did wonders for danny b, just think what it could do for me...

i'm far too exhausted to even pretend to have a recipe for this one. i live in new york for fucks sake, the pizza came from the pizzeria on the corner and the ice cream is ben & jerry's from the bodega on the other corner. and here's some virtual spin art to seal the deal.

i'll return to my regularly scheduled gourmet blogging tomorrow and see the rest of you lonelycrackers on the interwebs on monday!!

the snack that smiles back (lg15 11 of 12)

it's best to try and think positive at times like these. but even if bree survives the ceremony she's going to need a fair bit of deprogramming. in fact, i think i'm going to be in need of some deprogramming myself after spending nearly 12 hours straight at the computer today. i'm reminded of an interesting technique that sarah introduced in the bedside manner video.

anti-cult goldfish crackers (by skyisempty)
  • 1 bag of pepperidge farm cheddar flavored goldfish crackers

purchase goldfish crackers from your local convenience store and feed them to either yourself or any other recent vicitims of mind control or brainwashing.

when accompanied by a soft scratching under the chin (such as one would pet a ferret) this technique has been shown to have startling results.

tea time (lg15 10 of 12)

sooooo.... bree might be dead? everyone is freaking out. sounds like it's time to calm the nerves with a spot of tea.

in oh, the places you'll go daniel and rebecca shared a pot of tea. but seeing what's happened to the TAAG today, i'm not about to go making any order recipes anytime soon. plus, have you noticed that it's 90-something degrees outside today?

order-free iced tea (by debbie)
heat water in kettle until it comes to a rolling boil. pour boiling water over teabags in teapot and steep until tea has reached desired strength. allow teapot to cool on counter for several minutes then pour tea into a large plastic cup and place in the freezer for approximately one hour.

remove tea from freezer and pour into a new glass over ice. add honey to sweeten to taste.

so yummy it can almost distract you from a teenager dying in some sort of pseudo-medical cult blood letting ceremony.

whoa, sour (lg15 9 of 12)

if the creator's aren't above a bit of product placement, then neither am i.

and what better time than 20 minutes into the ceremony when we're all wondering if bree is dead to plug some gum!

and not just any gum, new ice breakers sours gum! bree chewed these in the truckstop reunion video.

i personally prefer the box with berry splash, strawberry, and raspberry lemonade; though they come in other flavors as well. the recommended serving size is two pieces. you can try more than that if you dare, but you risk having a complete overload of sourocity.

lonelycheese & lonelycrackers (lg15 8 of 12)

okay it's 20 minutes until the ceremony's supposed to happen, jonas has been stabbed, and sarah still hasn't arrived with the compound.

so what better time to sit down and relax with a recipe that spencer showed us in the bree solution.

cheese and crackers (by LAlabrat)
  • 1 box of crackers
  • 1 block of cheese

arrange crackers on your plate in any quantity/pattern you like. i used TLC's roasted garlic & thyme party crackers and placed five on my plate because i thought they looked purdy that way. slice enough cheese (i used a low fat cheddar) to equally cover all of the crackers. ideally all of this should be done with telekinesis or stop motion animation, but feel free to use your hands if necessary.

best served with pouches of capri sun.

play with your food (lg15 7 of 12)

here's a fun snack that can double as a game too (as gemma taught us in her very first video nut kills man).

squirrel, nut, man (by gemmers19)
  • 1 container of mixed nuts
  • 1 willing squirrel
  • 1 friend with a nut allergy
toss all ingredients together and see who kills whom first.

the fun never ends!

i like donuts (lg15 6 of 12)

donuts have made several appearance in lg15 videos. jonas longed for one in the unthinkable happened, daniel stole one in let's play doctor, sarah declared her fondness for them (for the second time) in entertaining myself, and spencer ate one for breakfast in his car during i'm here to help.

this recipe is much easier than stealing a donut from a nurse's station. simply walk or drive to the nearest dunkin donuts and purchase a donut with chocolate frosting. et voila! dessert doesn't get much simpler than that!

thanksgiving in august (lg15 5 of 12)

i've been sharing some great snack recipes with you all afternoon, but now it's time to get into some serious cooking.

thanksgiving feast (by lonelygirl15)
  • 1 bottle of cranberry juice
  • 1 bag of potato chips
  • 1 container of trail mix
  • 1 package of turkey jerky

bree made this meal in picnic form for daniel in the thanksgiving video. it's a great new take on the traditional thanksgiving dinner with the turkey jerky (i substituted primal strips meatless jerky) representing the turkey, potato chips as mashed potatoes, trail mix for stuffing, and cranberry juice instead of cranberry sauce.

i can't wait to make this for my family come november!!