Archive for the ‘Comfort Food’ Category

Totally Bizarre Thing I’m Kind of Obsessed with Right Now

Mozzarella with butter (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Mozzarella with butter. Not mozzarella and butter. Mozzarella made with butter. It sounds gross, I know. It even looks gross. And eaten cold, um, well, it’s butter. Which is kind of gross.

But melted together on a pita or bagel or pile of potatoes, it’s amazingly delicious. Melted mozzarella is the stuff dreams are made of – it’s the cornerstone of pizza and cheese sticks and anything requiring gooey, stringy, hot cheese. And melted butter makes everything especially bad for you, which is a euphemism for extremely delicious. As the saying goes, more is more. Skeptics be damned, mozzarella and butter is not too much of a good thing.

My mother and I found this interesting specimen at an Italian deli on Grand St. (and corner of…Mulberry?), where they also sell the most phenomenal Sicilian Black Pepper Cheese and excellent prosciutto and whose next door neighbor is a charming, wonderful, amazing pasta shop where is made the most charming, wonderful, and amazing pasta (pumpkin ravioli! black pepper and cheese tortellini! tomato basil linguine!). We are curious people. And buy weird food – just because we can. And what is weirder than mozzarella with a chunk of butter cradled inside?

Mozzarella with butter (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

The last time we were at the shop, we opted for the traditional mozz, but after we had made our purchase, we overheard a pregnant lady raving about the mozzarella with butter. At the time, I remember someone remarking, “Oh, trust the pregnant lady, they eat a lot.” But in retrospect, mozzarella and butter strikes me as just the sort of pregnant lady craving everyone disparages. I’m thinking pickles and peanut butter. Together.

Although, maybe mozzarella and butter is like that too. But in a good way.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. I just got sort of excited about it right now – I made a “pizza” for dinner with pita, butterella, oregano, jalapeño, sundried tomato, and salami slivers which was just great. » Continue reading this post…

The Simple Life (Sans Paris Hilton)

Avocado and sardine toasts (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Today it is raining. Sheets of fine mist slant through my gray Brooklyn sky and I watch it comfortably curled in my desk chair, writing poetry, drinking coffee, reading Buglakov’s The Master and Margarita, where Satan has just finished throwing a rager. I light candles and take a bath, paint my toenails, watch Jesus Christ Superstar, write more poetry, listen to rain dribble against my air conditioning unit with metallic thwacks.

When I wake up this morning, I find this comment from my mother on my facebook status: I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. All I could think was how the cold has reduced my world to a very small space, and all I do in that space is eat.

Of course, she has no way of knowing that it will be cold in Brooklyn again, that it will rain in Brooklyn, that I, too, won’t want to leave my space – or my space heater. But I consider it good advice, and I eat.

The toaster (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Avocado (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

In the cold, on this day, I want nothing complex. I don’t want to cook. I want toast – and then to stick my hands in the toaster after I pull my bread out. I want salty sardines in olive oil and avocado. Sicilian black pepper cheese. Salt. Pepper. And then I want to go back to my desk, surrounded by candles and light, read about the devil, and listen to rain.

Sardine and butter toast (Eat Me. Drink Me.) » Continue reading this post…

Ingredient – A Quick Shout-Out to Semolina

Semolina flour (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

A few months ago, when I was about to move to New York, I decided to clean out my parents’ pantry of all the things that had been sitting on the shelves for years (not hyperbole) and would most likely be doomed to sit there for many more. I snatched some canned jellies, pickles, pastes, pates, spices, curds, and pastas, knowing they would never be missed. I’ve been slowly working my way through my parents’ pantry here in Brooklyn, and I’m often grateful for that swiped can of anchovies (sorry, mom, I know you would have probably used those) or am inspired by a bag of chocolate pasta I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to buy. Sometimes the food has been sitting around so long it’s already stale – I’ve eaten some disappointing packets of oatmeal, slurped stale Ramen soup, and given away old-tasting pretzels to my less discerning roommates. But so far, the best find from the pantry has been semolina flour.

I had never eaten semolina flour before yesterday. My roommate and I had gone to a kegger in Williamsburg with free Kombucha and free Sixpoint beer, and by the time we left we were feeling hungry and tired after long days. In the mood for a movie and comfort food. I remembered a recipe from last month’s Bon Appétit that I had wanted to try – deep fried eggs with sriracha remoulade, which sounded like the bastion of comfort food: warm, soft-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, spice, pickles, and fried goodness. So I picked up a six-pack of Sierra Nevada at the corner Bodega and made small talk with the owner, who was feeling glum about spending his Friday night stuck under fluorescent lights.

Back at the apartment, I found my neighbor on the couch and told her she was going to have to stay for deep fried eggs even though she had work to do. » Continue reading this post…

On the Insides of Eggs (a poem!?)

Eggs in a row (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

The perfection of four egg halves, which had previously been

two whole eggs, broken open on whole grain toast, hummus,

cilantro, the sting of salt, pepper, hidden red chiles.  The morning,

expansive, deceptive winter sunlight warming inside the windows.

I’ll clean them soon, I think, and return to my book – a cataclysmic look

at the apocalypse and a world of rats.  I eat my eggs.  The three men

with whom I share this space are somewhere behind their closed doors,

and I am alone with the contested floral carpet, the drum set,

the hookah still set up with last night’s coal.  I remember the eggs

before I broke them, mysterious and round, one brown, stolen

from my roommate, the other white, the last of my own eggs.

One egg cracked the second it hit boiling water, a filament of space

furrowing inside the shell.  But broken open, on the whole grain toast

with the hummus, the cilantro, the salt, I can’t tell which egg is which,

and each bright yolk reveals itself the same. » Continue reading this post…

Better With Butter: Aunt Lynda’s Corn Puddin’

Mountainous mashed potatoes (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

The first thing I said when I woke up this morning was: “No more butter. Please don’t make me eat any more butter.” And then, because there was nothing else to eat for breakfast, I stuck a square of macaroni and cheese topped with a dollop of tomato puddin’ in the microwave.

If you’re unfamiliar with tomato puddin’, let me enlighten you on how it’s made. Two cans of chopped tomatoes are mashed with five pieces of white bread and one cup – yes, one cup of sugar. This concoction is then baked until all the natural health benefits of the tomatoes have been removed. Also good to know is that according to my family, this dish counts as a vegetable. Just some trivia.

Christmas in my family is predominantly loud. This year, though the pair of almost-octogenarians presided over only two braches of the family tree – my mother, father, me, my two brothers, my aunt, her husband, her two daughters, one daughter’s husband, his two children, her three children, and a dog – the decibel level was impressive. Everybody’s stories needed to be told at the same time, their recipes recounted in maniacal tones. The children seemed unable to have as much fun if someone wasn’t screaming and the camera’s shutter clicked so often the room began to resemble a disco rave.

I love my family very much. But I am a quiet person, and it takes a little time adjusting to the chaos of the (almost) entire Cohen clan. Fighting passionately about the rules of Mexican Train dominoes, telling the story (again) about that embarrassing thing you did at your baptism (like poop your baptismal dress) when you were a few months old, or belittle other family members’ sports teams as creatively as possible. It’s very Norman Rockwell, but a little louder and with less pastel. » Continue reading this post…

The Mother of Invention

Greens, eggs, feta (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

As my college career draws to a close, I find myself running into one problem more consistently than any other. I have no food. The budget is low, time is tight, and the tamarind paste to usefulness ratio is completely out of whack.

There have been some successes in my quest to empty the pantry, but there have also been some definite mistakes. Pasta, cottage cheese, red pepper flakes. Not so good. Lasagna with curry sauce. Not so good. Today, however, I came up with one of my greatest wins. Steamed greens topped with a fried egg and crumbled feta cheese.

Last Saturday was the opening of the Farmer’s Market in Davidson. I love the market, because it’s the best place to buy produce in this area. The meats and some of the cheeses are a little expensive (though delicious), but you can’t beat a big bag of mixed greens for $2. I found a new vendor at the market selling some of the best feta I’ve had – crumbly, yet thick and salty with a finishing bite of brine. In addition to the greens and feta, I bought baby cabbage, freshly picked strawberries, kohlrabi, arugula, tomatoes, and a basil plant. A good day.

My Farmers Market purchases have been seeing me through the past week. One day I had toasted flatbread with tomatoes, basil, and feta. On another, boiled kohlrabi tossed with butter, rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. But today’s invention has definitely been the best.

I’d never cooked greens before this batch – partly because I’d never eaten greens before coming to school in the south. I decided to try a variation on steaming, which involved sticking wet leaves into a skillet with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then covering the skillet with another skillet. » Continue reading this post…

Oh Sweet (Second) Home (Savannah) (a post by Josh)

Savannah, Georgia (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

For the past few summers, I’ve worked as a backpacking leader, tramping around the Appalachian Trail with rising college freshmen for entertainment and for some cash. This is all fun and dandy – I really couldn’t think of a better way to spend a summer – but the breaks in between the sessions (24 hours a day for eight days) don’t come soon enough sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong here: I love hiking. I love being with new people. I love cooking in the woods. But I think what I miss the most is the ability to pick up, go some where beloved, and chow down on some good food. I want to say, I can cook a mean gourmet-backcountry-meal. I just love eating fresh crab from the Georgia coast more.

It’s about a four hour drive from here to there (Davidson to Savannah), but when you’ve got four other compatriots, a loud sound system, and promises of going crabbing, the four hours fly. Along the way we stopped at small gas stations equipped with large pink elephants, a lot of opportunities to buy fresh Georgia peaches, which we hastily took advantage of, and even more chances to get some firecrackers. We all focused on the food, not the explosives, though.

My friend’s house, the one we were driving toward, is located out on a surrounding island of Savannah. It’s not only on an island, but on the inter-costal waterway. What this means is: lots of chances to go out on a boat and search for crabs.

“Hey, if y’all want to get your bathing suits on, we’ll head out to the boat soon.”

“How many can the boat fit?”

“About three.”

“But there’s six of us.”

“It don’t matter, we’ll make it happen. That boat’s a strong one.”

My friend’s optimism never ceases to amaze me. » Continue reading this post…

Monday Wonder

Moroccan sardines (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Mondays aren’t notoriously good days. But this Monday, everything seems to be going right – I worked out this morning, had a deliciously crisp, cold apple for breakfast, and am still awake without having had my usual cappuccino.

But the best part of my day so far, has been lunch. I’ve recently discovered that the best way to have hot, fresh (well, kind of) French bread without gobbling an entire loaf in the hours before it goes stale, is to buy unbaked loaves, tear them into serving sizes, wrap them individually in aluminum foil, and freeze them.

I heated one of those bread packets in the oven until it was brown and crispy, smeared it with butter, and then topped it with Moroccan sardines in chili oil.

It was exactly what I wanted without knowing that I’d wanted it.

The softness of the sardines, their saltiness, that quick, subtle hit of chili and the richness of melted butter on crisped bread – sigh. It was delicious.

  » Continue reading this post…

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