Mario friggin Batali. How many ways can you say "not fair"? Ce n'est pas juste!
Eat, drink, and wish again that you worked for Google.
Mario friggin Batali. How many ways can you say "not fair"? Ce n'est pas juste!
Eat, drink, and wish again that you worked for Google.
Anyone else out there feel that Scrubs is the most underrated show out there? Anyone? It was around way before Grey’s Anatomy, has all the angst of Grey’s but with so much humor that you forget you’re partaking in melodrama.
Unfortunately, for all of you (not for me - I still have it Tivo'd), I can’t show you a clip of the recent episode, “My Bad Too.” Long synopsis short, Turk makes a big deal out of his wife, Carla, making him “brinner.” I’m sure you can figure it out: “brinner” is a typical breakfast meal…but eaten at dinner. Hence, “brinner”.
In honor of Scrubs, I made brinner last week: Ina Garten’s Banana Sour Cream Pancakes from Barefoot Contessa Family Style. They’re so easy to make, yet they don’t skimp in the decadence department. In this case, I served it with bison bacon I bought at the
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ c sour cream (I’ve used crème fraîche in a pinch)
¾ c plus 1 tbsp milk (I used goat’s milk from Coach Farm)
2 extra-large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup
Ina calls for sifting together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Frankly, I don’t have time – I just dump it all in the bowl. Whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined. (She’s serious, people – don’t overmix this!)
Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over med-low heat until it bubbles (these are Ina’s directions, but I use a countertop electric griddle, which works fabulously. It’s up to you and what you have in your kitchen. Don’t panic, everyone can do pancakes!). Ladle pancake batter into pan. Distribute a rounded tbsp of bananas on each pancake (I scatter them around). Cook for 2-3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top & the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute or so, until browned. Here, Ina calls for wiping out your pan, adding more butter, and continuing to cook pancakes 1-2 at a time. If you use a griddle, stovetop or electric, there really isn’t much of a need for this because you can finish it in one go. Serve with sliced bananas, butter (of course!), and maple syrup. Ina also says that you can keep the pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Again, this is the beauty of the griddle – no need to keep pancakes warm while you cook them 1 at a time.
In conclusion, let me add that 1) this is the coolest way to get your kiddo to eat fruit for dinner, and 2) I had my friend Anali very much in mind when I made these – she has a total pancake thing and would love these. While I can’t remember exactly what I drank, I had a glass of wine with this meal – truly, pick any meal and there’s a bottle out there, somewhere, that will go with it.
Eat, drink, watch Scrubs and eat brinner.
Perhaps choosing Guiliano’s book seems a bit trite, but don’t knock it until you’ve read it. Additionally, I understand this book isn’t for everyone. For me, though, it was a revelation. My passion for food, my openness to all its joys, started with this book three years ago.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma took what I learned in French Women to the next level. What both authors advocate is a consciousness regarding what goes into your body. What are you eating? Where is it from? Think before you put it in your mouth! Do you really want to eat that? Really? Or are you on automatic pilot? Do you even care? Whereas French Women tapped into my passions, Omnivore’s Dilemma connected to that part of me that is a lifelong learner and seeker.
Why do I bring these books up? Because I may have just discovered a third book. I use the word “may” because my future is yet untold, and it remains to be seen how much impact Alice Feiring’s The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization will ultimately have in my life. Having finished the book, I feel a beginning. I will – and have already started – drinking wine with a newfound consciousness, thanks to
Truly, if you love wine, this is a Must Read. That said,
In a nutshell, for us non-wine writer and non-wine critic types,
Forget about ‘em. Unless you like science experiments.
Now, as I wrote in an email to Ms. Feiring, I do still like all those flavors I listed above. But at what cost? Do I want that at the cost of authenticity? Giving up what is real? Is 15% alcohol content really what I’m after? The answer, for me, is a resounding no. As
I know, I’m on a tirade, right? Does anything I’ve just blogged seem remotely interesting to you? Then pick up the damn book and read it. I have a wine source where I can get a couple of the wines that
Eat, drink, and taste the earth
* Wanna get a feeling of the backlash? Here's Alice's Op-Ed article in the L.A. Times. Here is one of many responses to her article. In the response, Matthew DeBord decries natural wines stating that, among other things, that natural wines have "weird herby flavors." I ask you, fellow foodies, when did the flavor of herbs become "weird"? I think, perhaps, Mr. DeBord has forgotten that wines come from grapes...grown in the earth...kind of like herbs... Thank goodness Ms. Feiring reminded me of this!
**FYI - the wines being sent to me are all in the $40 and under range. Granted, one of the wines Alice mentioned in her book was going to cost me a cool $150...I bypassed that one for now. On the other hand, perhaps if I paid $150 for the wine I drink with my dinner I would drink it with a greater consciousness and respect. Regardless, $150 is ridiculously steep for me right now.
The most exciting event for me recently is this: Queens Library’s Literature Meeting*. We held it yesterday at our
As you can imagine, with a new format, there were lots of difficulties. Hell, with three different MAC laptops in play, there’s bound to be issues!!! Add to that the surprise appearance of Diamond Comics Distributors, who planned a 10-minute presentation that we were not made aware of…oh, and poor Françoise Mouly went to our Central branch instead of Flushing and was very late. Add to that a colleague that repeatedly kept saying to me, “See?! I told you there would be technical glitches! I told you we should have made David [
You know what, though, it’s funny how things turn out. Elicia Castaldi brought her boyfriend, David, who somehow got every one of the presentations up and running. And it was a good thing that we made room for John, the Diamond Comics guy, because his presentation was really fantastic. And even though Françoise was late and flustered, she pulled herself together and gave a fascinating talk that people stayed for, even though we went over time. And the protest was just another reminder that living in NYC is always an adventure. As for the colleague who wouldn’t leave me alone…well, I still don’t know how I can deal with him in a grown-up manner. Best to keep my mouth shut.
John, the Diamond Comics guy, talked about the history of comics and graphic novels, calling it “the new rock n’ roll.” He was approachable, funny, and interesting. Mark Siegel…well, it’s Mark Siegel. He talked about First Second’s vision and told good stories. Most of the people in the room hadn’t heard him speak before and, well, let’s just say that I had a co-worker that declared she was leaving Queens Library to go work for Mark. I think the whole room was swooning. Elicia was a great complement to the guys – she was sweet and modest, and I enjoyed the images of her artwork appearing in flashes behind her on the screen. And lest I forget to mention, she and her boyfriend are probably two of the most beautiful people you’ll ever meet: someone (I won’t reveal who said it) said, “They look like they came straight off a movie screen!” Also, brave soul that she is, this was Elicia’s first library visit! And with all our crazy technical glitches! Françoise was the consummate pro: gracious and beautiful under pressure. Unfortunately, her talk did have to be abbreviated, but what she did show us was completely fascinating. I’m longing to hear the rest of her talk. Later, on the subway ride home, Mark and Françoise spoke French (I understood every 3rd word) and talked about visual literacy – needless to say, I was in heaven. I’m such a geek when it comes to these things…not to mention that I have an overdeveloped sense of hero worship when it comes to these powerhouse industry types (authors, illustrators, and Arthur A. Levine fit into this category).
I got warm, positive feedback from the librarians who attended; not to mention that some admitted to not having read a single graphic novel before the event…and were happy that now they have. Glitches aside, I will call the event a success. It seemed to reflect my own personality: flying-by-the-seat-of-its-pants, spontaneous, lack of attention to detail…yet also managed to avoid disaster and it was filled with laughter and fun.
Thank heavens it only happens once a year!
* Elicia emailed me today post-meeting, asking me for the fancy name for our meeting so her rep can include it in Elicia's info. Unfortunately, there is no fancy name. This is only the second one of these I've participated in, and we've always called it "the lit meeting." But I'm sure there's some fancy name we can give it before I email Elicia back tomorrow!
Monday: Children’s Book Week kick-off breakfast, hosted by the Children’s Book Council. It was held in a bank. Really. Then I ran around NYU, trying to get registered for a Food Studies class in the fall as a non-matriculated student (I failed). In the afternoon, a preview at Little, Brown. That night, my last French class of the semester. Voila! Le fin!
Tuesday: Work. Homework. Dinner. Watch “Dancing with the Stars.”
Wednesday: Work. Homework. Dinner.
Thursday: Preview at Random House in morning. Back to work by 1:00 for meeting. Leave work at 3:00 to go to Kew Gardens Hills to see program with Kirsten Miller (she’s awesome). Come home. Make dinner. Homework.
Friday: Career Day at the kiddo’s school where I try to make Queens Library sound cooler than Google (Adam is representin’, too – I’m gonna smoke him!). Work. Dinner. Week over.
It’s been one of those weeks. And here was my dinner menu this week:
Monday: Adam flew by the seat of his pants while I was at French class.
Tuesday: Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe (thanks, Giada)
Wednesday: Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad with Honey Vinaigrette (courtesy of Cooking Light - some of the best-flavored shrimp I've had to date)
Thursday: Penne with Vodka Sauce (thanks again, Giada…I hadn’t cooked Giada in ages so I thought I’d revisit some of my old faves from when I was just starting to cook)
Friday: Friday is the one night a week we eat in front of the TV, and we uncreatively call it “TV Dinner Night” and it’s sort of become a family ritual. Not to mention that it’s become a fun challenge to design a dinner that can be eaten picnic-style in front of the TV. So this Friday, it’s nachos.
Stick a fork in me. I’m so done with this week.
Eat, drink, and rejoice in Friday
Page-turner: that’s the best way to describe this book. Was it flawed? Of course. Ruby gets into one scrape after another, and one contrivance after another gets her out. I was able to easily overlook this (I don’t claim that everyone will), mostly because I find Christine Fletcher to be a really wonderful writer (
Christine Fletcher is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I recommend Ten Cents a Dance with enthusiasm to teen girls 14 and up.
NOTE ON THE COVER: Curiously, on Good Reads, this is the book cover on display:
I am curious about the change because I like the one above better - it's bolder and simpler, not to mention that it really gives you some information about the book's storyline. That said, I really like the title in red on the actual cover, and I also appreciate that they show Ruby's face, rather than featuring another decapitated girl on the cover. So I suppose you could argue each cover has its strong points...
I needed something easy to transport and something that could be served at room temperature. And I also thought that, given the few Jewish and vegetarian members of our committee, it was best to avoid any meat products (I found some deelish-sounding proscuitto recipes). Epicurious came through for me again and I discovered Parmesan, Rosemary, and Walnut Shortbread. Per the recipe, it was recommended to top it with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, which I also found a recipe for. I won’t put the whole recipes here because I don’t want this to the The Longest Post Ever – follow the links. Here’s how it all turned out:
Rolled in "logs"
In the oven (because I forgot to take one before I put them in there!)
The finished product
It turned out delectable. The shortbread was buttery with a melt-in-your-mouth quality, and the pesto was the perfect foil, giving the shortbread zing and pizzazz. Not as many people ate them as normally wolf down the breakfast bakery goods I usually bring in, but I was very pleased with the praise from those who did give it a try. The pesto is super versatile: the recipe actually includes mixing it with linguine. It worked on the shortbread well, and it would also make a fab sandwich spread. The salty shortbread would be great with tomato soup (or any soup, I suppose).
I won’t do this every month when the committee meets, but I still had fun shaking it up a bit by combining my two favorite things: children’s books and food.
Eat, drink, and do something unexpected.