Friday, October 28, 2005

Cheese and sausage

This actually worked out really well. I had a girl over who I'm no longer "not-dating", but she is still a good friend so we needed to catch up. When I went over to her place for dinner once, she served me squirrel food. But I don't blame her, she didn't have a kitchen. But she swore that this is her typical dinner and she enjoys it.

Well, I eat pretty heavy lunches, so I've started cutting back on dinners a bit. Plus every nutritionist says to eat smaller dinners. So I acquired the following for dinner:

- smoked gouda - I had some really good stuff from Lazy Acres (kind of like Whole Foods, which we don't have here, sigh).
- wheat bread - There is a bakery around the corner (D'Angelos) which does fabulous breads (but thier pastries kind of suck.. I'll have to mention Tartine up in the city (SF) some time. The best eclairs and lemon tarts... drool).
- salami - yum, she didn't have any, but yum
- grapes - what goes better with cheese and salami than grapes. these were from the farmer's market. they are in season now!!! go out and get some
- green beans - also from the farmer's market, a staple of mine these days. i steamed them till they were still a firm, but bright green.
- white wine - she had bought the bottle when she was in the bay area this summer. It was "Thomas Fogarty" 2005 Monterey Chardonnay (Ventana Vineyards). Also yum

When she called before dinner she suggested we do just what I had been planning. :) So I just said for her to bring a cheese of her liking if she wanted, but it was all taken care of. What did she bring, but Pepper Jack, which I would have loved, but it was "tofu" cheese. I have to say the peppers were nice, but the cheese tasted like rubber. Yuck! What a waste, but she seemed to like it.

I took out my cutting board and put it on the kitchen table. I got my new bread knife (which I love) and a knife for the cheese and we went to work. It was really nice just picking through the finger food, chatting, and drinking some tasty wine. If I had actually been dating her it would have been really nice, especially with some candles and if I had dimmed the lights. All in all it worked well, and I've repeated this basic meal (usually w/o the wine) most evenings this week.

Afterwards I had some small cookies from Tartine (again, best pastries every, well, best one I've been to in the US.. I can think of plenty in Paris and Rome which beat it). They were very thin and crispy with nuts and Scharffen Berger chocolate (Scharffen Berger, that's another post too).

Off to grill meat tomorrow at a friend's house warming party. They are having a bring your own meat bbq, and they will provide all the side dishes and drinks. Great idea, but I still need to figure out if I'm going to go burger, sausage, or marinaded meat. Hmm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I heart steak

I hate to admit it, but I have a secret crush in my life. I love steak. Beef beef beef. Yum!

Ralph's has NY strip steaks on sale this week, so I bought two. For dinner tonight I steamed a whole mess of farmer's beans (~10min) and then cooked one of the steaks. If you have time to plan ahead, you should really take your steak out of the fridge before you cook it, up to 30 minutes before hand, to let it warm up to room temp (or as close as possible). I heated up my grill pan and turned on the fan in the hood above the stove top. Then I rubbed my grill pan with an oil soaked paper town to lube it up.

I seasoned one side of the steak simply with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I could be picky and say use kosher salt and cracked pepper, but only if you are picky. I placed the steak, seasoned side down, onto the grill pan at an angle. While the first side was cooking I seasoned the other side with the same seasonings. I cooked each side for about 5 minutes till it was medium rare. Then I let the steak rest for a couple of minutes and ate.

Steak doneness:
I tell the doneness of my steaks by poking the with my finger. Yes, poking. Its really just a skill you learn over time. But I still fall back on what I learned the first time. If you make a loose and almost closed fist and press into the flesh between your thumb and your palm, that is roughly what medium to medium rare should feel like. If you open your fist a little, it will feel a little softer. If you close your fist, but not tightly, that is probably medium. If you slightly clinch your fist, then its probably medium-done. But really you need to do it the first time and find if you are correct.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bad Dave part 2

So I've still been bad about writing recently. I think that is partially because I've gotten into a rut again with my cooking. I need some inspiration, I need to "spring" clean my kitchen, and I need to stop eating chicken and green beans every night. So starting tomorrow I begin getting my kitchen back in order. After that I will start rediscovering my old recipies and hopefully some new ones with the hope of blogging about it.

That said, tonight I caved. I cave often recently. Tonight I went to Carl's Jr. I didn't fully cave, I got a BBQ grilled chicken sandwich. It should be good, but you just know its loaded with salt and they probably added something else bad. I counter acted that with a salad I had bought at Trader Joe's. Caving is ok as long as you do it smartly. Limit the bad things (sodas, friends, and shakes). Eat healthy most of the time, but don't deny yourself anything.

Things to write about soon:
Fried Fish
Trout Almondine
Smothered Chicken
Oven roasted veggies
Beans, the ones I like (black eyed peas, yum)
Rediscovering baking
Why I stopped baking
Braised green beans with garlic
My weight loss

Tomorrow is jog before work, bagel at work , and then volleyball after work day. Fun fun fun.