Suddenly, all I can talk about on Friday is what you should make for breakfast over the weekend. Today, I realized that I don't really have anything breakfast oriented to talk about. Or do I?
Here's the question: does the idea of making raw bacon and cheese force-meat repulse you? I mean, by all accounts it should. It sounds and looks pretty gross. But there is just no way you can get the bacon to get so cheesy, or the cheese to get so bacony without doing so. I used my food processor for this because, as I noted to my Sidekick, who was already making me a third cocktail, "She keeps calling for a meat grinder because food processors didn't exist." Don't get me wrong. I have a meat grinder. But drunk food processor use somehow seemed safer.
I always say I could never be a vegetarian. But honestly? If there were enough mushrooms, cheese and Shanghai mock duck involved, I probably could be. When my Sidekick and I first started dating, I asked him - as every one of his predecessors had been asked - if there were any foods he didn't like to eat. And I mean, let's be honest, this is a trick question. This question only gets asked so that I can force you to try your worst gustatory enemies in a way that will make you forgive them. My Sidekick's answer: beets, mushrooms, Jello. Since that day, he has declared beets to be one of his favorite foods, never balks at a mushroom and still despises Jello. We're getting there.
There is something about the color combination of pink and green that has always owned my heart. My first ever bikini was pink and green. I have always loved cutting into a watermelon. My birthday cakes almost invariably had pink flowers with pale green leaves. In these late days of winter and early spring, I can often be found in hot pink rain boots and a ridiculously over-sized green scarf. It's an illness. And it's not going away any time soon. This is all to say that the recipe for Stuffed Radishes I really appealed to me.
As everyone around me knows, I get really hard to deal with in March. It's cold when it should be warm, winter when it should be spring and we have more potatoes and parsnips when we should have ramps and asparagus. I get antsy, what can I say? So, sometimes, when you're eating lunch at your desk because somehow you are the person someone agreed should be in charge of budget data entry every two weeks (believe me, I don't know why either) something as simple and lovely as the cross-section of your Lenny's sandwich can really brighten your day.
There is something so charming about the name of this canape: Bacon and Tomato Canapes II. It sort of indicates that, yes, there is another bacon and tomato canape in this book that includes mayonnaise and eggs and olives. But BTCII gets straight to the heart of what you most desire. Bacon, tomato and butter. And on this particular evening, we were fortunate enough to have Mangalitsa bacon.
In our circle, it's a pretty well known fact that my Sidekick makes a mean cocktail. However, he has a dirty little secret: he also makes a pretty great little movie.
This cocktail, the Negroni for Wimps, is made with Campari's slightly less jaded sister, Aperol. It is lightly sweet, extremely refreshing and has me even more anxious for spring to arrive. I mean, just looking at those ice cubes makes me want to be in flip flops.
So, without further ado, please enjoy the reason I must constantly make snacks. To keep us from getting too drunk.
There are days when New York City is particularly unforgiving. Days when commutes are long and choked with people. Days when the wind whips around buildings like a freight train and blows your umbrella in half. Days when cabs splash you with puddles of dubious composition as they drive past. Those are the days when I miss certain niceties about New Mexico, which for better or worse, is a place where people will still hold the door for you and smile at you without asking you for money or directions.
Those are the days when simmering a big pot of red chile to pour over things feels most imperative to me. And, because my obsession with breakfast becomes increasingly intense with each passing weekend morning, this particular giant pot of red chile was meant for huevos.
A brief survey: Have you ever been so excited to cook something, so meticulous about its pairing and preparation and so trepidatious about screwing it up that when you do, somehow, screw it up you have to sit down on the floor of the kitchen and practice yoga breathing in order to not explode into a fit of toddler-like proportions?
Is this just me? Because that is exactly what happened with the beautiful Mangalitsa pork chops I was going on and on about just the other day. They look so harmless here, nestled in their bed of Brussels sprouts, poised to ruin my evening.
There is so much that I love about this book. A teensy bit of history, (because I am a loser this way) so that from here on out, you'll understand where good ol' Lucy was coming from. This book was first published in 1925 (the edition I have is from 1970, which accounts for the pictures being so awesome). That's post-WWI, but pre-Great Depression, which is revealed in the fact that there are no concessions for frugality. There is no suggestion to use milk instead of cream or paddlefish roe instead of sturgeon. This is a straight up, balls to the wall indulgence for those you are welcoming into your home, entertaining and plying with luxury. Lucy co-founded the Boston School of Cookery in 1915 after studying under Fannie Farmer. So... you know, she's got some street cred. Okay, on to the sexy stuff.
Recently, I've made a pretty solid commitment to the kind of food I love to eat, prepare and talk about. That food is home-style, simple, unpretentious, about feeding the people I love deep down into the depths of their bellies and making them happy from the inside out.
Eep! Something amazing happened this weekend at our farmers' market. Mangalitsa came to us.
I've never worked with the stuff or tasted it before and am super excited. We got two chops, each a half pound, and a pound of bacon.
The farmer we bought this from said they're the only Mangalitsa producers in the area and even said to let him know if we'd ever like to come up to the farm and hang out with "the little guys". I feel like that is an offer I am pretty likely to take him up on at some point.
I'm cooking the chops tonight. Any recommendations from veterans? More porky details to come.