Impromptu International Dinner

To celebrate the return of a dear friend and my Foodie buddy Flyboy, who just returned from the Motherland after a long 3 years, I held an Impromptu dinner with a few friends….some Vegetarian some not. Flyboy is a world traveler by virtue of his ..thank you for your Service…and his love of ethnic food rivals mine.

Many of you know of my tendency to batch cook..usually once or twice a month, on a day when not much is going on. And that is how the rainy- is -it time-to- build-an-ark-Noah day started.

My frig looked like a frozen tundra, and I had just returned from yet another sojourn to ye olde market.

I immediately set to work, pulling out all the contents of the Cold One, meats and fish in the left sink, vegetables in the right careful not to disturb the Breyers, smoothie fruit, or leftover lemon pound cake.

To my delight, the fridge yielded the ingredients for what became an international veggie/ meat eater dinner.

After sending a few texts…I’m cooking. You’re invited. It’s this evening. No, that’s not last minute, that’s impromptu..I donned my Betty crocker apron, fired up my kindle ( to pull up recipes), grabbed a few trusty cookbooks and my own collection of favorite recipes, poured a glass of rose, turned the stereo up loud and entered the world of forget your troubles and let’s get happy.

Two hours later. ..Voila! The aroma of Indian lentil curry, fresh spring vegetables in Masala sauce, garlicky peppery African chicken n collards, cauliflower/brocolli /parmesan bake, roasted curry spiced zucchini and squash, spinach and garlic stir fry, Pad thai (shrimp and veggie), and slow roasted lamb chops permeated the air.

After everything was baking, simmering and roasting, I prepared a few starters: beet and cheese tortellini on a pick, Havarti and cherries, spicy chili lime pecans toasted, and my newest grocery find..creamy dill lentil chips ( a minute in a hot oven brings out all that creamy dill goodness plus a pleasing crunch.

For dessert,  I gathered all the fresh fruit in the crisper, washed it with the Fit organic fruit and veggie wash ( Thank you nice stranger in the veggie aisle (yes, Virginia I talk to Strangers) who gave me 2 tips: cucumbers dipped in natural peanut butter for midday boost and Fit spray…and plated it with what has to be the best yogurt in the dairy, Siggi’s Icelandic cream style black cherry (drop of honey added).

Throughout this entire time, Lil man was staring at me intently, quizzically as only woman’s best friend can, from the hallway adjoining the kitchen. Like his predecessor Lucky, he was hoping against hope that his meager bowl would house the contents of some of this sumptuous feast. Later, after the guests had left and I was busy cleaning up the Mess, a few pieces of perfectly roasted lamb found their way to his aluminum dish.

Yes! He growled, It was worth being secluded in the bedroom while The Humans stuffed their faces!

A picture is worth many words. Here’s what you missed, Reader…

PS the beer, wine and Grey Goose compliments of the guests.

💯 Things I❤️About Montreal…

Bonjour Mes Ami! (French spell check app not working)

As some of you astute, eagle eyed Readers discovered, my July adventure found me in none other than the Exquisite Jewel of a Neighbor north of us Montreal, Canada!

My raison d’etre or reason for traveling in the heat wave of 2018 to this glorious, heaven on earth, 6 hours from NY, respite from twitterization of the US government ( did I say that…please don’t detain me at the Border …. City can be summed up in one word :JAZZ!

However, Little did this starry eyed music seeking, Foodie searching, Adventurer know that she would discover some of the world’s finest jazz and so, so much more!

Five days was hardly enough time to capture the richness and beautifulness (not a word) of this gentle, world class, forward thinking/acting home to champions of all men/women!

Lest, I start sounding like a commercial, I will let the pictures and a few words that follow tell this Tale.

Set your pilot on automatic ( Flyboy, Welcome Home And Thank You for Your Service!) and Readers enjoy the ride.

As always, feel free to comment/share/ click follow/ send cash…hell iola, I’m broke now!

(Note: This post will continue over a few weeks of the summer until I have posted all the 💯 reasons. My use of The French language is gratuitous and in no way reflects on the  years of study at Jacox  Jr High; Maury High, Los Angeles City College and Big Blue ODU.

Dang, all that and she still can’t hold a conversation beyond bonjour, merci, Bien, Bon! Mais oui, Voulez vous…What Patti LaBelle sang…

Hacking Recipes

Reader, This is part 2 of my abbreviated Foodie post from last week in which I shared some thoughts/pics on Foodism ( not a word).

Lest you think I am only a Restaurant-goer, here are some pics and back stories representing my own home cooking abilities ( all the single men gasp and drop their remotes…dang a woman who can rattle those pots and pans…where is she?)

A few years ago, I learned how to batch cook . In fact, I had been doing this for years, but didn’t know there was a term for it. Simply put, it is the idea of preparing several meals at one time, usually done on the weekend to eliminate that running-in-from-work-at-the-last-minute-trying-to-prepare-a-meal syndrome.

I have learned that in some Foodie circles, it has been elevated to a social event complete with wine pairings where folks gather at individual homes and batch cook and socialize at the same time…kinda like an old school red/blue light in the basement party..but not really).

This ratatouille is a recent product of a batch cooking tequila fueled session. Back story: I was alone. I had insomnia. Food Network episodes ended at 3:00am. I had a crisper full of one week old summer veggies. Voila!

This cinnamon peach bread pudding is actually part of a video I taped for an audition tape to the Food Channel. The recipe was courtesy of one of the Food Network guys and I was attempting to demonstrate how to make this yummy dessert by substituting some of the called for ingredients for those I actually had on hand. What the hell is a cinnamon chip? Who has peach preserves..I thought they only did that with strawberries? 6 eggs..guess they never heard about garbanzo bean juice. Remember cholesterol clogs and kills. Half and half? Okay, here’s some coconut milk… This is, after all, the mark of a good cook…

 

And I must say, it was scrumptious…my taster friends practically licked the pan.

That same batch cooking session ( started as a cleaning the refrigerator moment) yielded a huge pot of creamy black bean soup, fiery jerk chicken wings, a heavenly Greek moussaka, and a baked crab/zucchini dish I would give my first borne for… just kidding T, maybe the second born.

Writing about food, always makes me hungry…guess its a Foodie side effect…so I need to put this tablet down and go rummage through the fridge before I become h-a-n-g-r-y…another Foodie term. Hey, maybe there’s a market for a Foodie dictionary…

I digress…often

Bowls of food have become the latest food phenomenon. I think it has its origins in Asian fare…but all the ethnic food folks are starting to make their version of this space saving, visually appealing, can-be-eaten -with -one -hand -while driving/texting meal.

Even fast food giants have gotten into the act with a glop of potatoes, topped by a glop of corn, topped by those poor genetically manipulated bird parts…all smothered in heart stopping gravy…hmm yum.

Here is a healthier , life giving version. This mound of fresh veggies and soba noodles became a steaming bowl of stir fry sans protein and seasoned with a mixture of Hoisin, ginger, garlic and red chili oil.

Bon appetit!

 

 

EATING OUR FEELINGS


Like many others, I am a Foodie.

Not sure what the official Webster or Wikipedia definition is, but I define it as someone who simply enjoys eating. This is NOT food addiction leading to obesity and a starring role on Reality TV kind of thing.

Although, I confess, I sometimes watch those shows when I find myself thinking about Chunky Monkey in the pre dawn hours of an insomnia riddled night. I also sometimes channel surf to Hoarders and Catfish when I feel my depression turning to obsession.
Watching those shows is more of a preventative measure on how to avoid a pleasurable experience becoming an addictive one. (Note: This is probably where the mind doctors pick up their pads, raise their eyebrows and start scribbling furiously).
Most Foodies are not threatened with obesity simply because Nature has provided us with a high metabolism, a treadmill or good genes that keep us from tipping the scales. Girl, I am tired of you skinny b*****s talking about how you can eat Anything and not gain weight.
What the world doesn’t know is that we are… eating our feelings.
My journey as a Foodie began back in the lazy hazy days of Black hippiedom when eating natural was all the rage. Back to Earth was our slogan and Vegan/Vegetarian restaurants, Juice Bars, and Farmers’ Markets abounded in the city of Lost Angels. These were not the trendy places seen on Food Network and Travel Channel today, but often little patchouli scented neighborhood joints with a few Goodwill cast off tables and a well worn counter. And like Cheers, everyone really did know your name.
Fast forward to Real world adulthood-jobs, taxes, Xanax. Being a Foodie became a form of entertainment where an otherwise boring, mundane evening could be transformed by a trip to the local market or, if funds allowed, sampling the offerings at one of the ever increasing ethnic restaurants sprouting up across the City.
For a Southern born grits and gravy girl eating out was sheer heaven. And according to many of my fellow Foodie friends can be something akin to orgasm.( Or at least will cause you to break out in the foot happy dance where your feet literally start tapping the floor).
Girl please food aint never been as good as sex.
Today, Boomerism and Foodie are synonymous for many Golden Girls/Guys. Eating out, always a big part of any family gathering, now takes on an elevated meaning for ladies/lads of leisure. It has become the alternative to a date and often takes the form of meet ups, food/wine/beer tasting, food truck rodeos, etc .

And like the proverbial kid in a candy store, there are so many eateries to choose from…a plethora of tempting sights, smells and textures all designed to satisfy any craving/fantasy/heartbreak/disappointment/joy life sends your way.
Eat, drink, and be Merry!