Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eating in: not so hard

A week ago I wrote about Cathy Erway’s book The Art of Eating In and about HuffPost’s challenge to its readers to like Cathy did and eat in for one week. So, here goes my progress report, day 4.

For me—as for many of my colleagues—this isn’t so very different from a regular week. I usually make my lunch at least 3 days, if not all 5 workdays. Although lunch eats in DUMBO are better than in some neighborhoods, stuff I can make at home will almost always be better. It seems to be merely a matter of organization/planning, and making the time to prepare something. True, I’ve been eating kale salad for four days running, but it did have blood oranges and avocado on top, and those sweet potatoes I baked in the office toaster oven sure made the office smell good.

On Monday, Anna Lappe came to our office and wrote this lovely piece about the merits of eating in and how it made her lunch date with Josh (Viertel) more fun and more delicious.

I myself found that the challenge got me:
Eating at home with a friend in a very casual and potluck-y way that made both of us think: why don’t we do this more often?
Using up food in my fridge and not throwing out as much as I sometimes do (i.e. no produce was harmed/tossed in the making of this experiment)
Eating less
Spending less money

The bog trick will be the weekend, which is often structured around dinners and brunches and the like. Wish me luck.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Eating Out in NY

Day 1:

Not only have I decided to follow the HuffPost's challenge to eat in for one week, I have also decided to try to eat healthier (every once in a while I must remind myself not to eat every single meal as though it were my last). Hence the baked sweet potato and kale/citrus salad I had for lunch. One hour later I felt like gnawing off my own fist.

Note to self: tomorrow, pack protein.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Art of Eating In

My latest, via the Huffington Post.

Apparently I am going to avoid restaurant eating for one whole week. Easy? Not sure yet. Reports will follow.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Biscuits, 2 ways

Every few months I have the ladies over for dinner. I know lots of ladies, but for whatever reason, this group--mes soeurs--are called "the ladies." Making a nice home cooked meal is how I lure them to my apartment. "Bring wine," I say, and they do. Sometimes they bring their boyfriend/fiance/husband type person, and this is also nice. We have had these gatherings all over this city: in the East Village, in Cobble Hill, and here in UPS depot land (I have also supped with them in Los Angeles, Paris, Santa Fe, North Captiva and beyond but my dinner parties have remained in NYC).

Last weekend we gathered for chicken pot pie, something I hadn't made since an avant garde restaurant menu a couple of years back. After much hunting I found the red ribbon bookmark in The New Joy of Cooking right where I had left it--can you tell I don't use that cookbook much?

I topped it with buttermilk biscuits, a recipe torn out from an old Food and Wine magazine. I did the recipe wrong but liked what I came up with. They're insanely buttery and if you manage not to overwork them, they are flaky and light.

A few days later I made use of the remaining buttermilk and some Mountainview Farms bacon, plucked from the freezer, and made bacon shallot buttermilk biscuits for the 4th annual meat lovers an
d chocolate lovers potluck at my office.

Buttery Biscuits
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (that's 10 tbsp. yup, you read correctly), chilled and cut into thick slices
1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 425
whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
cut the butter into the flour using two knives or this cool implement I have that I don't even know the name for
stir in buttermilk until dough is just moistened
dust a work surface with flour; make sure it's cat hair free
turn the dough out onto the surface and knead 2-3 times
pat it into a disk, about 1/2 inch thick
use a biscuit cutter, or the rim of a glass and cut out circles
put the biscuits on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt
bake for 20 minutes, until golden

[to make the bacon ones, cut your bacon into small pieces, then fry it up, not too much since it will go in the oven later; saute minced shallot in the bacon fat; let both bacon and shallot cool; when you stir in buttermilk to the dough, also toss in bacon and shallots]

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Cat food

This is kind of a recipe post. A recipe for what cats won't eat, even if they're starving, apparently.

Came home late Monday night, empty handed (f*ck! forgot cat food!). 'Scool. Cats like people food--this I know because I can't eat a meal without them crawling on my plate.

So I grab two eggs--NICE eggs, farmers market eggs--and scramble them slowly over low heat. Divide them between 2 small plates, put them on the floor.

Cats are totally uninterested.

Open the fridge, grab a container of this lovely french whole milk yogurt, pour it over the eggs. Buddy is interested. Seymour, no. The tang is intriguing to him; this is the same cat who likes Listerine.

I grab a few hunks of homemade chicken pot pie, plop 'em on the plate. I am getting desperate now, as are the cats. In a final, pathetic bid, I grab 2 slices of Jenny's homemade cherry galette. After all, Buddy had sneakily mawed several pieces during my dinner party a few nights ago.

He licks excitedly but once the sprinkled crust sugar is gone, so is his enthusiasm. Seymour, long gone, empty-stomached, gazing out at the UPS depot.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Soda Savings

My soda-less life: 1 month and counting. I just realized a perk, which is that I have saved $15 by eliminating my afternoon Diet Coke habit. That being said, I miss the nice guy at the deli downstairs. Maybe I should stop in and say hello.