Friday, June 13, 2008

Italian sans tomato

This one is from the archives, as you can see it was taken on our $10 Ikea plastic table that doubled for dinning table at our old shoe box, ahem, place.
If you've been following the news you've surely seen the recent outbreak of salmonella due to---of all things holy---tomatoes. And in an ever unsurprising response to such news what do American tomato growers do? Why, they send them to Mexico, of course. Sorry, I'm not going to get on my soapbox but I will say that if we were all able to eat locally grown food this kind of thing would not be such a big deal.

Back to the task at hand. My favorite food, before the bizarro pregnant aversion to chicken set in around month 2, was stuffed chicken. I do a fake out stuffed chicken where I really just slice the breast in half, stuff in the selected fillings and use a toothpick to hide the evidence!

So easy and so delicious, this is my version of Chicken Saltimbocca over creamy corn risotto:

My favorite little Italian restaurant in Soho was recently rendered obsolete. (e.g., like us they could no longer afford the rents in our fine city and were told to take a hike). This took such a shock on my palate that I think my heart missed a beat when in the window I read a handwritten sign proclaiming:

"Thank you for your patronage for the past 25 years, it has been our pleasure to serve you"

The end of an era, and my most beloved dish, the saltimbocca. That plate full of papardelle nooddles smothered in sliced mushrooms with sauteed proscuitto, sage, and chicken, swimming in a light marsala type sauce of pure heaven. My only hope is that they might open an outpost here in Brooklyn, fat chance, but a girl can dream.

My version is much simpler than the amazing original. I don't dare replicate it for fear of utter failure. But this saltimbocca has all the key ingredients with a few small surprises and sits beautifully on a pile of creamy risotto when I haven't had time to roll out some homemade papardelle, HA!

(Follow the link under the photo for the recipe if you are so inclined. And no, it's not kosher!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Watching the ships roll by, and thinking through seaweed...

This week in development Baby P has decided to give Becks a run for his money...on my bladder. Sorry if that's too much detail but since I have to deal with it I thought I would share the love with you too =)

Can you even deal with the cuteness of this mug? (Or how incredible technology has become?)

We have been cooking up a storm in the new place and I would love to share photos if G and I weren't too busy trying to dig through 7 years of things to find our camera. I will try and be better but can't really make promises since right now my whole world seems upside down.

Today's post will be a first for it will be a post from the heart. I am much better at satire and recipes, if not more comfortable. But in honor of truly documenting this miraculous (and crazy) journey, I have to let my emotions out somewhere and this seems about as good a place as any.

When I was little one of my favorite quotes was "there are big ships and little ships but the best ship is friendship." And then I grew up. Or rather life happened. I've been watching ships sail by for years now. People seem to have a way of disappointing you if you expect too much I suppose.

But now I find myself in this precarious spot in my life. A crossroads where, yet again, we are the first couple to take the next step in this case to have a child. And I feel so alone. There is no one there who has taken this journey, no one who can tell me what to pack for this trip or share in this rollercoaster of emotions. Sure, there is enough information online to fill the Red Sea but where are those anecdotes that we aren't supposed to listen to but really come in handy when you are embarking on such scary and exciting adventures? Yes, we are taking a 'birth class' with a bunch of lovely tree hugging, anti-drug, amazingly strong and incredible people. But none of them are "friends".

And that leads me to my first issue. The one of the ships sailing by.... Lots of ships. It happened when we were the first to get married. The supposed life long friends who fell off the earth when they had to share me with a husband and listen to more important issues than which pointy toe heels matched my seven jeans (And yes, I did wear jeans back in the day). It makes me sad that as the years go by the supposed friends I've chosen turn out to be more consumed by themselves then anything else. Maybe it's me who has changed and they've been the same all along...

So there you go. The hormones are raging and I find myself sad and scared and feeling all the while a bit alienated in our cute new home, so very far from transportation and friends and almost too large to wobble down the street with Lola.

But don't let me mislead you, whoever you are! The sight of the little face in that ultrasound makes it all worth while. Spoiled? Please. This little boy doesn't have a chance!

And now for the seaweed portion of this post. If I haven't lost you thus far let me complain about my charmed life, and some more fun side effects of pregnancy, a bit more. It seems as if my once sharp mind has crumbled into oblivion. Oh sure, when it comes to researching the safest car seat, pram, and 5 point harness carrier I'm your gal. But writing a simple 30 page review on a topic of my choosing which was once a delicious and exciting adventure? Forget it. Seaweed. Pregnancy is like thinking through seaweed. And my mind is laden with the stuff. Swimming through the stuff in my mind is truly defeating. And fear of disappointing myself and my respected advisor (yes, I really like the guy) is the cherry on the sprinkles on the icing on the cake. Mmmmm, cake.

I told you it was distracting!

The evolutionary advantage of such distractions is that I'm sure to get everything done for Baby P before he arrives. Now if I could only guarantee that he'll help me write once he gets here...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

T Minus 10...

Time certainly flies when you're having fun, and the whole pregnant thing doesn't hurt either I suppose...

This past week I realized, when speaking with a favorite relative who I hadn't seen in way too long, that I had been sorely neglecting this little blog. Now that I think I might have all the special side effects of this whole pregnant thing accounted for, I'm hoping that I can at least document the last little bit of this adventure so that little boy P will have a record that his mom was nuts well before he was born =)

Since last I wrote we made the big decision NOT to move to the country and alienate ourselves from our city centered life and instead take the wimpy in-between, wife appeasing, husband appealing, jump and move to Brooklyn. Yes, I know. Technically it's still the city so the title is not a total lie. Although I still think we have moved to the burbs. This is a fight that I will not win today so I won't bore you with my idiocy.

So here goes, I'll document the rest of this wild journey and share with you some fun recipes along the way. Unfortunately the move to the boonies (my BK friends are going to kill me for this one) meant the end of our quick walks to the farmers market. But hey, we now have doors. Multiple doors. Doors to open and close and to keep the boy away when I want to talk about surprise presents for birthdays....and for the little boy P to sleep soundly while mommy and daddy continue to be addicted to late night t.v. Oy. I'm weepy already. You see what this whole thing has done to me? Just the typing of the m or d word and I lose it.

If I'm feeling real masochistic I might post a photo of my new beached whale self. It's kind of cute, really scary, and all around strange. While I look forward to being a single resident human yet again, I am also loving my little boy's kicks and that at least for now I can protect him in my cavernous mid section. Which, speaking of, has recently acquired some new friends. Perhaps they are little road signs for the doctors lest they get lost! Creepy crawly lines that if only they had an arrow might tell of the little secret I am no longer hiding in my mid-section... Thank goodness for G. He went running to L'Occitane as quickly as you can say "only 100% shea butter s'il vous plait!"

That's all for now. The burrito we ordered for dinner is not only not photo worthy (in all it's authentically green gooped glory) but wasn't made by yours truly.

So little boy P, this is for you. And for anyone else who cares to hear what it's like during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, of the last bit of tediously slow, exceptionally awkward life pre-little one, really it's just the last bit of life before the biggest and potentially best adventure really begins.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Whats been cooking? And sharing the love...

It's been so long since last I've posted I'm nearly embarassed to take up again now, so let me begin by saying that the answer to the title of this post is....a whole heck of a lot! In fact, instead of trying to explain the hiatus in culinary creations I'll share with you a photo of what I have been cooking while not in the kitchen:

Flipper @ 12 weeks (and already pondering the meaning of life!)

When I first stopped posting it was out of excitement, nerves, enter adjective here. However, slowly over time the excitement turned to nausea and that nausea turned into an inability to sit in the kitchen for longer than it takes to pour a glass of water much less the time it takes to sautee an onion.

I know, quit your kvetching! I'm merely one in a zillion women who have done this before me. Perhaps I should claim empathy instead of demand sympathy? Again, I digress... See! not much has really changed in the past month and a half.

So I have more news...not only have we created a whole new life in the past few months...but the adorable, lovely, and talented Val from More Than Burnt Toast has given me the most thoughtful and wonderful gift and inspired me to ditch the dramatic nausea complaints and re-enter the blogosphere, if only to show you pictures of the taco bell burrito I ate last night. I know, it's pretty disgusting!

Val has bestowed upon me the nice matters award which is so exciting because I've never been awarded anything in blogland. In fact, come to think of it, I don't think I've won anything since battle of the bands circa 1998. Yikes!

So thanks to Val for sharing her kindness with me. I am constantly inspired by her Mediterranean themed cuisine and think I might actually warm up a saucepan again soon to make her recent creation of chicken in avgolemeno sauce. It is the first normal thing to sound good to me in 2 months! Woo hoo!

Now for the fun part, I get to pay it forward to 5 of my favorite fellow bloggers! What a nice way to tell someone you think they're swell. Here goes:

The first recipient of the nice matters award was my first friend in the blogosphere. She became a fast friend and we were soon emailing recipes and craft ideas over the pipelines. She is an inspiration and a force to be reckoned with...and she is the lovely Amanda from Crazy Mom Quilts!

Number two is another culinary genius whose passion for cooking is equal to her desire to help others, including saving many of my potential kitchen disasters. She's a maven and needs no introduction and is the brilliant Lisa of La Mia Cucina.

Number three is another person who wins the award for perpetual niceness and gladly takes newbies (yes, I did just write that) under his wing to share words of wisdom and that is David from Authorblog.

Numero four is happily bestowed to my sister in law and fellow blogger who has taken it upon herself to single handedly save the world from imminent disaster. All joking aside, she is passionate about making this world a better place, especially for women, and Galina from Oh, Your a Feminist! is one of my all time favorite people.

The final award, number five if your counting, goes to my favorite partner in crime who constantly inspires me with her menus (how do you do it!??!) and is a most warm and generous lady. My favorite American living abroad, the last one goes to the incredible Katie from A Thyme for Cooking.

If you've read this far, thanks! I hope you will take a look at the incredible blogs written by these wonderful warm folks. I'm grateful that you have let me join your community and look forward to sharing tasty treats again real soon...

Until then, happy eating!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seasoned Eatings Recap

When Katie (A Thyme for Cooking) and I announced our Seasoned Eatings event this year I thought that maybe there would be about 5 or ten bloggers joining in to partake in the international gift giving. To my surprise, and surely due to Katie's brilliant and compelling blog, we had over 20 fabulous food bloggers join in the festivities!

While I hope you enjoy reading about everyone's special gifts here, I also hope you will take a moment to visit each bloggers post to hear the details of receiving and cooking with these new spices. Thank you to everyone who participated... I'm already trying to cook up another reason for gift giving in the coming months so if you had fun this time or weren't able to participate in this event stay tuned...
Let the round up begin!

The ever creative Carla from dessert-lounge received handmade sheep cheese with Greek oregano (Handpicked in Greece!!!) from Laurie at Tastes Like Home (Med Cooking). With these delicious ingredients she made a delicious looking oregano chicken. I hope you saved us leftovers, this looks incredible!

Darling Lisa from I've got Seoul received her delicious seasonings from Carla at Dessert Lounge. While we haven't seen the culinary creation that will certainly result, I have no doubt that Lisa will do these seasonings proud! We will stay tuned until the results are posted.

The amazing Meryl from My Bit of Earth received Korean red spice from Lisa at I've got Seoul. She promises to make up a nice batch of pre-Christmas munchies real soon at which point I'm sure she will share the delicious results. (so stay tuned!)

The very lucky Chris from Melecotte received many amazing things from Gattina of GattinaMia including: peppercorns, green olives, oregano, Jamon potato chips AND crackilng corn kernels with a unique (and translated) recipe from a Spanish magazine. The resulting open-faced sandwich with Spanish anchovies and peppercorns is still making me drool! There's another recipe, too...but you have to check her post to see it ;)

Betty from Cuisine Quotidian received some authentic Old Bay Seasoning straight from Chris at Melecotte. I cannot wait to see the final results but first take a look at the exciting package that arrived:

The lovely Jann from Traveling Food Lady received some beautiful spices from Betty of Cuisine Quotidian. She sauteed the lovely spices with some fresh winter squash which resulted in a unique new favorite!

The culinary genius Laurie from Med Cooking received gorgeous Italian sea salts seasoned with aromatic herbs from Jann of Traveling Food Lady which were promptly (and deliciously) turned into Ladenia (Olive oil bread with tomato-onion topping). YUM! Laurie was also kind enough to give us a bit of a lesson on Ladenia in her post, check it out!

The lovely Lannae from a Lannae's Food and Travel received jerk seasoning from Deb of Debs Wine and Garden. Not only does this chicken LOOK amazing, but it sounds amazing too! Check out Lannae's adorable post for the full story of how she made this yummy dish.

The talented Pamela from Zoomie Station received fermented black beans and asian style noodles from Lanne of Lannae's Food and Travel. Poor Pamela had quite a day and was thrilled to relax and enjoy this yummy looking (and surely tasting) dish.

I was lucky enough to have Katie herself as a secret santa which meant I received a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Straight from France arrived a beautifully packaged container of Quatre Epices (four spices?) which from what I can tell is made of clove, nutmeg, ginger, and some kind of pepper, along with some other authentic and delicious accouterments! With this beautiful package came a recipe for a traditional Alsatian cake that was unique and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Thank you to everyone who played along. There are a few remaining bloggers whose entries will be added as I receive them. The other half of this roundup can be found on the amazing Katie's site: A Thyme for Cooking right HERE!

Happy holidays and Seasoned Eatings to all.

Yule never believe what the daring bakers have done this time...

What do you get when you stick 4 Jews in the kitchen and ask them to create a traditional Christmas recipe? Sounds like the beginning to a good joke, huh? Nope. Just this month's daring bakers challenge!

I don't know what the best part of this months challenge was... It could have been the fact that it was a humongous hilarious disaster, or maybe because it was absolutely hysterical to cook with my sister in law and her boyfriend, or maybe because I learned that a sheet cake should cool completely before adding buttercream frosting and rolling it...

Really, the list could go on forever.

The moral of the story is this month's challenge will go down in Portnoy family history as the most entertaining cooking event thus far. Thanks daring bakers!

The good news is, it looked good after it sat in the fridge to cool overnight, and it actually kind of tasted good, too.

The best part was watching sis-in-law create an updated Mr. Bill and his girlfriend, representing multicultural diversity in true liberal fashion (Thank goodness for her *huge hugs*). And watching her boyfriend D make a nativity scene (can you find baby Jesus?) and a pitch fork carrying gnome, I mean really...does it get better?

Overall, it was an entertaining activity. I can honestly say a good time was had by all (caveat: in between my kitchen temper tantrums) and eating the final product was truly sweet success.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Theres always time for blondies....

Could it be? Am I really posting twice in a day? Really now, I shouldn't set such high expectations for myself but I couldn't resist sharing photos of the delicious treat I whipped up this morning for one of my most favorite faculty members birthdays.

Dark, milk and peanut butter chip blondies

After a brief online search for the perfect recipe, I decided to adapt a recipe I found several times and it was not only easy but fast, my favorite way to bake!

In fact, I would say it's 2 easy. And here's why: if you have 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 sticks of butter, 2 eggs, , 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 cups of flour, and 2 cups (for a gluttonous result, use at your discretion!) of assorted chips (peanut butter, milk/dark chocolate) you are in business.

Add ingredients in order (first blending sugar and butter then add other ingredients) until you get to the flour. Stir flour in by hand and then add accoutrement's (chips) and you are in business. Pop it the bakers edge or a buttered/sprayed 9x13 pan in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes and enjoy.

And just in case you beat me home, they are on the top shelf in the aluminum foil honey!