Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Good Glass of Wine...

My wife is my best friend, and lately I've seen very little of her. Over the weekend I was back home in North Carolina gorging on pork, and several days before that we were on opposite day/night shifts. So, our first night together we decided to celebrate with a simple little dish from Ellie Kreiger (A really crunchy nutritionist/cook) and a bottle of yummy (and exquisitely cheap Merlot).

The meal: "Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta". Despite my dislike of crunchy healthy tofu loving nutritionists, this really is a yummy creamy tomato dish with the briney/salty bite of fresh feta. Pair it with a fresh toasted baguette and you can sop the sauce while diving into the baked prawns. A velvety Merlot goes down nicely and paired quite well with the acid in the sauce.

It had been a long 14 hours of work, and opening the door to an ecstatic puppy, good tunes on the stereo, and inviting smells wafting though my brainpiece soothed my soul. After exchanging manic jumps, twirls, kisses, and snorts with Fenway(our pup), kissing my wife hello, and sitting down next to that glass of grapey liquid gold I thought..."Nothing like being home with a good glass of wine, great eats, and my wife (Fenway and Manny too)." Who needs more than that to make them happy?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pork, Pork, Pork

Growing up, pork was forbidden. Reading my earlier entries you will see I was somewhat of a Christian Orthodox/Jew/Muslim/Seventh Day Adventist/Jehovah's Witness identified as a member of "The Worldwide Church of God". Summarizing: We kept a Sabbath, No Pork, No Christmas, No Birthdays, and in hindsight..."No Fun".

Our religion changed to something a bit more sane...less "Acts of Faith" and more, "God kinda knows what's in your heart, so it's okay to eat pork, He wont smite you", and voila...I started eating everything I could...pork being one of my most favorite new friends.

Recalling briefly on using "Five Guys" as "Chicken Soup for the Soul" for life changing decisions, I recently used Pork as my newest aide. Actually, I headed home for the weekend to visit my folks, and dad was into making "Pulled Pork Tacos".

As a side regarding my father, he has always self-identified as a "Grilling Man", but his prowess in the kitchen has often been undermined by his enthusiasm to toss everything into the kitchen sink. I too had the same problem until I started reading about food, and then the tumblers started to click into place.

Recognizing his passion and need for honing I got him a book by Rick Bayless, a known American expert on Mexican cuisine. The proposed menu? Pulled Pork Tacos,(rubbed in a savory adobo, smoked, and slow cooked) and Guacamole.

Dad eyes gleamed like a kid's on Christmas morning as he carefully thought out each meticulous step. Step 1: Rub the Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt) down with a savory adobo. Step 2: Smoke the Butt with White Oak. Step 3: Cook that sucker slow and low in the "Crock Pot". Step 4: Make some guacamole. Step 5: Have his son (the sous chef in this case) prep the taco fixins and imbibe some beers to enhance the experience.

The end result: A succulent sexy hunk of pulled pork enveloped in a double corn tortilla with some basting juices, radishes, spritz of lime, and pinch of cilantro. Add the tortilla chips with fresh guac on the side and a few more beers and you had some kind of magic. I was asleep by 8pm dreaming of little piggies flying through buttery flaming hoops after swimming in a basting vat...oh you succulent crispy skinned porker.

Such opulent dining was simple, cheap (the roast cost about 11 bucks for 7 pounds), and exquisite. Making argument against the thousand dollar dinners of Thomas Keller's "French Laundry" and more for the lip smacking dopamine indulgences of pleasure via simple family style dining. Overdosing on a simple pulled pork...I tried, I failed, I slept 12 hours of peaceful sleep.

As for my life changing decision? I think I made it, with aide of pork, libation, and family.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Good Stuff Eatery

The foodies are raging in waves as eating, and blogging about eating is becoming hot gossip. If you tune into Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" or read any of his books, you'll read the same snarky comments about new celebrity chefs frosting their hair and grabbing their first chance at a new t.v. show, thusly selling out to the pirate world of chefdom they once starred in.

Cases in point, look at the reality shows involving Gordon Ramsey berating future chefs, Iron Chef America, Top Chef, and even a foodie movie devoted to Julia Child (her book "My Life In France" is an amazing memoir of her learning to cook and live...highly recommend it). That said, there is a celebrity buzz to certain chefs, it's almost reminiscent of collecting baseball cards when compared to eating at certain establishments. My wife and I will often name drop when referencing "The French Laundry", "Michael Mina", "Komi", etcetera.

And playing further into the hype we decided to visit "The Good Stuff Eatery", partially owned and operated by Chef Spike Mendelsohn, who was on Top Chef Season IV. Chef Spike opened a burger joint. And instead of reuniting with our med school buddies at a haute cuisine esque place, we all opted to play it on the cheap, and schlepped it over to Capitol Hill.

Honestly, it's a step above "Five Guys". The burgers are made to order per se, but not cooked to the liking of the guest...meaning all are cooked well done. All advertise farm fresh ingredients and gibe with the recent hippie hysteria of free range, freedom of speech, freedom to vote and own land that everyone insists on when buying their meat from Whole Foods (we nickname them Whole Paycheck).

On the whole, the burgers are greasy, and good. Being that Chef Spike curiously placed the burger joint in the middle of a bunch of bars where sloppy drunk horny interns will get the hankering for a burger and fries, it's genius. However, to echo the sentiments of my wife...we expected more. I guess seeing Spike cook his ass off on TV, we wanted a Foie Gras laden black truffle dusted pork belly sprinkled gut bomb of ecstasy. Instead, we found ourselves eating solidly constructed "burger joint" burgers a shade better than five guys (I consider Five Guys to be a good old standard especially if you reference my latest blog).

Of note, the "Village Fries" were limp, lacked texture, and had too much damn thyme and rosemary. My wife makes much better in our oven. His milkshakes however, golden! The strawberry was the best I have ever had, it actually tasted like the tart fresh yet small ruby red picked berries you find at the beginning of the summer. Seriously, I tasted summer, I saw sunlight, and envisioned a picnic and white linen drying on the line.

The "Milky Way Shake"...get a spoon, don't even try a straw...unless you are interviewing a potential date for fellatio. It was thick fudgy, chocolaty, and caramelly malty goodness. After several NCAA tourney beers we ate here, we tried to rally and drink afterwards, no coma.

Thusly, a good meal, it was enhanced with the company of some really good friends of whom we also call Doctors.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Five Guys

So, I'm considering a change in jobs, and I have no idea what to do. After a 3 hour meeting with a prospective employer, I went to Five Guys.

Nothing makes a decision more palatable than a double bacon cheeseburger topped with jalapenos, onions, mushrooms, and A-1 Steak Sauce. Now gimme some fries, dip em in mayo, and then dip some in ketchup.

My decision has been derailed, I'm now in a food coma, I guess I'll just sleep on it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fettuccine with Baby Artichokes and Pancetta

When you see a recipe by Mario Batali, dive in...

Meghan(my artistic muse and wonderful wife) and I saw the most recent issue of Food and Wine and decided to drool...

On the cover...Spaghetti with baby artichokes and pancetta by Mario Batali. Having cooked from "Molto Mario" in the past(Mario Batali's cookbook and a James Beard award winner..that means it's really good) we said, "This should be simple, rustic, and of course pretty tasty".

So, we ventured to the new "Fresh Market" in Annapolis, retrieved our ingredients, and proceeded to completely bail each and every night..."Hon, I don't feel like cooking...just don't feel like making fresh pasta...oh well, let's just go out again..."

As I tried to convince my wife to have a sushi night tonight she convinced me those baby artichokes were wearing out their welcome in the fridge...

So we rolled fresh pasta, she browned a thick slab of pancetta, tenderized the baby artichokes, aromasized the onions, and...


Nasty Good, Yummy Silky Pasta...

Add the salty pancetta, paired with the savory Parmigiano Reggiano and you got magic.

It's rustic, it's simple, it's a dish that is simply easy, pair it with a nice Tuscan Red, and you have good times...

Bon Appetito

Monday, March 15, 2010


It's been too long since a blog. Honestly my blogging energy has been sapped due to some familial things I will have to write about at some point, I just can't bring myself able to do that at the moment. I have heard I have some secret blog watchers and they get tickled (amused in southern) at my blog. I appreciate everyone reading those blogs while drinking or doing drugs...that's why they are so amusing.

On other notes the trumpet took a break (hell it barely got started), I started re-training for that damned marathon in October, and we're beginning to plan our summer plans.

When I am more inspired, I'll write...till then.