I just got back from Chicago for a quick birthday vacation. Besides packing plenty of warm clothing and deciding on restaurants: iNG, The Bristol, The Publican, C-House, XOCO and Bari I also prepared my kitchen for a few days’ absence. But one more Chicago plug — Twisted Spoke, plenty of interesting, local and international beer, plus…inescapable ’70s porn. Enjoy a mustache with your Goose Island.
Anyway, here are some ideas on how to quickly prep your kitchen for a more welcome return.
Four Things to Freeze Before Vacation
1. Freeze Bread
There’s usually some sort of bread around my house looking for a quick toasting and buttering, or a nan looking for a dip in lentils. Either way, I rarely ever finish a package before its time is up. Before you see mold – and before you go away – toss the bread into the freezer. If you don’t have time for anything else on this list, this is the least you can do to save your food for future use.
2. Freeze Fruit
In this time before spring’s strawberries and summer’s, well, everything else, I’ve been leaning on the banana (especially in my double almond oatmeal). I used to throw the whole banana in the freezer, peel and all. But soon the skin would blacken and turn slimy, and make the whole thing a mess. Now I peel the banana, slice it and throw it in a freezer bag. So far the banana hasn’t turned too dark. I added the frozen banana right into a new batch of cooking oatmeal, letting the banana warm up and soften into the oats. A frozen banana is also fab blended straight from the freezer with some Greek yogurt and topped with raw oats.
That cartoon light bulb sometimes appears over my head when I eat certain things; food is strongly connected with my memories. Ask me anything about high school calculus and I will probably stare at you blankly. But let me eat my way through Little Italy in NYC to find that amazing, hole-in-the-wall joint where I had that lasagna on our high school trip to the city, and I am sure I could tell you (or I would at least have fun looking for it).
Most of my memories of eating studying around Europe are connected with food. It was not only the food itself, but what was happening around us, the weather, how we were feeling, the people we were with, whether we were upset or happy or sick or drunk. Cantaloupe gelato in Bergamo, Italy. Proscuitto wrapped melon in Venice. And I can’t forget the bus ride out of Venice and the urgency with which I asked the bus driver to stop at the next exit. Too much vino and partying the night before? Of course not. I just needed some air. Ah-em.
I remember the potato soup and “mean green bean salad” (as I called it) that I cooked at a friend’s apartment while her French host parents were on vacation. American girls shopping for ingredients and cooking in a French kitchen. Yep, dream. What I learned in school that day? I couldn’t tell you. But every time I make potato soup, I think about that French apartment. It’s a memory so clear, it was like it happened yesterday.
If there’s one thing that Liz Lemon knows, it’s how to live life by honoring food. Follow her advice to be the best eater you can be.
15. Turn a Drink Request into Fried Cheese
14. Know Your Math, Part I
(Photo: Fuck Yeah Liz Lemon)
13. Learn the Closing Times of Donut Shops
12. Pretend Men Are Sandwiches
(Photo: You’re a Dumb Whore)
11. Keep Canned Beans On Hand
(Photo: Characteristically less than exuberant…)
10. Always Hide Your Pasta
(Photo: The Girlie Show) continue reading…
The Perennial Plate Episode 14: Meat from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.
I almost feel blasphemous for this post after forkitude’s great article earlier last week about the inordinate amount of meat the average American eats. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly agree that our intake is out of whack and personally make a point to only consume red meat once or twice a month. However, I also believe a nice cut of beef with a simple pan sauce is one of the greatest things in the world and probably why we have canine teeth.
But I also know a lot of you believe in knowing more about where your meat comes from. The video above, from The Perennial Plate, offers a brief glimpse into a Minnesota meat processing plant that provides locally sourced, grass fed beef to their community. For a blunt look at the (after)life of a steer, press play above. The video is a fairly graphic, so it probably shouldn’t be watched by the squeamish or those at work, but isn’t that what the internet is for?
As some of you may know, our very own gansie has been on a mission to find the best grilled cheese in DC. One place she hasn’t yet ventured is my kitchen. What you see above is a mac ‘n’ cheese grilled cheese. Only you ESers would appreciate something as beautiful as this and wouldn’t mind that it means you have to hit the gym or an extra hour or two (or in my case actually going for once).
Now, this is what I call “winning.”
Instead of watching elephants balance on their hind legs and 90-pound women fly through the air, I ate lunch in the Pie Car, the dining area for the 300 or so members of the Ringling Bros circus. What does a circus performer eat? It’s certainly not the cotton candy found at concessions, but it’s not health food either. A few D.C. food writers were invited to eat in the dining car and try Chef Michael Vaughn’s food.
Think wedding food. Hotel meeting food. It’s not easy to cook well for hundreds of people, and in a tiny traveling circus train kitchen, it’s no different. The chef prepares breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks totaling 3,000 meals per week. Performers live 11 months out of the year on this train so everyone has some sort of cooking device in their “room,” from a microwave to a full-fledged range.