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Spring Petit Fours

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I made petit fours for spring! Chocolate, almond, and creamsicle cakes layered with apricot and ginger jam and almond paste. The baking and assembly were really quite easy; the tough part was the icing. You can see I made a mess of extra fondant, but the colors are so pretty (and the cakes are so yummy!) the mess was definitely worth it.

Wanna try it yourself? Recipe here.

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Roasted jalapeños topped with avocado, mushroom and cilantro

I recently read an article about tavi gevinson graduating and being 18 and being a hot cool grown-up now. I mean more eloquent than that.

in the article, tavi says great connections aren’t made at fun parties but in sharing tears over disappointments. friendships are made in sadness.

recently I guess I’ve put that to the test. it’s been a weirdo summer but it’s also nice to learn that some people are really cool. and that I can do things I thought I couldn’t.

last night I had a potluck to celebrate all that. I gathered a nice group of friends, who in turn gathered an incredible assortment of foods to share. we had juicy watermelon I couldn’t stop eating, amazing homemade zucchini bread, delicate pistachio rosewater cardamom cookies, and more!

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this lucky girl kept the leftovers and right now I’m munching on a donut peach salad with almonds.

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in addition to being a celebration of august and the uncertainty of the universe, last night was an experiment in creating an intentionally sober event.

since I’m not drinking I’ve been more aware of the ubiquity of alcohol. it’s always happy hour somewhere. there are even breakfast drinks! Facebook events scream don’t worry there’s wine! there’s beer at coffeeshops.

and people say there’s alcoholism in my family and I feel like everyone says there’s alcoholism in my family and maybe that’s because alcohol is an addictive substance. there’s alcoholism in your family unless you’re in a family of teetotalers.

so I wanted to test the sober waters. the result: one person accidentally brought a six pack.

but I put it in the corner, we sat on the floor, and we talked. about wage labor, about the selling of one’s morals, about secret nonAmerican citizenships. I learned a lot! we looked at zines I once grabbed at black coffee coop and played with my roommates dog. we ate food. it was a nice night.

my contributions, cos really I set off writing tonight intending to blog a recipe then got carried away, were potato and beef knishes and stuffed jalapeños. the knish recipe is a family recipe and I’ve decided a SECRET RECIPE!! tho if we’re together I probably can’t resist whispering it to you. I also may have blogged it out before.

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but the jalapeños were new and great and I am excited to share the recipe with the world.

Roasted jalapeños topped with avocado, mushroom and cilantro

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vegan, gluten free, spicy!!

you’ll need 1lb or approx 15 jalapeños
1 regular size container mushrooms how much does that thing weigh?
3 very ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic
small handful of cilantro
coconut oil or whatever oil you choose to use
I don’t think I even used salt

well first why don’t you take your contacts out or finish your eye things for the day cos after cutting jalepenos you don’t want to be doing that business.

ok. cut the ends off all the jalepenos. slice in half, or don’t and just remove all the seeds and stems if you’re feeling fancy and/or dexterous. I don’t have good knife skills. whatever you do, remove the seeds and stems. that’s where the spicy at.

save some gradient between zero and half of the seeds and stems, depending on your spice tolerance. I saved half, and I really can’t imagine anyone would want to go hotter than me. really. I promise.

coat the jalepenos in a teeny bit of oil and salt if you like and put them in the oven at 350 till the filling is ready.

set a pan to low heat no oil. dice the mushrooms and put them in the pan to sweat. a little salt. garlic next, then diced jalepeno guts if you have any. add a bit of oil if you care to.

after 5 minutes of this, or, when everything is hot and melded, remove heat and put the stuffing in a bowl to mix with avocado and cilantro. mash the avocados in with a fork.

stuff the jalepenos and bake for 10 minutes let’s say. and they’re ready to enjoy!

really I’ve gotten myself hungry writing this: I’m going to grab a jalepeno from the fridge. they’re good cold too! please try them and tell me what you think!

beer for dinner, I am a sinner

I had beer for dinner and a croquet Madame for breakfast and I’m feeling a little sick right now. I’m sitting on my back patio, listening to a weed whacker, drinking ginger tea. since I’m jobless I’m trying not to eat a ton; it’s cheap beer and coffee, whatever food’s at the bottom of my backpack, whatever friends buy for me.

just cos I’m broke doesn’t mean I can digest gluten and dairy any easier. but eating crappy food and feeling crappy does keep me full for a very long time.

I’m weird about food on a good day, and when I get nervous things get weirder. right now my fridge is full of leftovers I can’t eat or get rid of: in case of starvation, in case of maxed-out credit card, in case of zombie apocalypse.

this morning the guy I’m dating took me to brunch at cafe presse. I could barely eat but wasn’t too proud to over-order and box everything to go. bad girl. much gauche. yes Madame in a box. cake and salad on top please. I almost yoinked bread and butter too but since I don’t like butter and bread makes me sick I thought that would be crossing the line.

maybe you are thinking: stop being so weird, emily! you are alienating the people who like you and fucking yourself! maybe you are right. but if I weren’t myself, my food-hoarding, internet-oversharing self, who would I be? and worse: what would I eat?

also I like to be as weird as possible with dudes up front so they don’t think I’m not weird.

maybe you are thinking, if you are so poor, emily, stop spending money on beer! that one is true. I am staying sober except on other people’s dime until I am gainfully employed, but last night was a special occasion. the occasion: the dead baby downhill.

every year for 18 years there is a huge bike party in Georgetown, an industrial brick neighborhood in south Seattle. I never go to Georgetown because I thought it was too far away, except it’s actually only a 20 minute bike ride from the hill. last night will be the first of many adventures.

there were live bands, pedal-powered carnival rides, bike jousting, beer. limitless beer. apparently this was the smallest dead baby ever but I had a good time. nostalgia kills in a city that was killin it 18 years ago. i met some cool people, made some drunk plans. I saw kids do tricks on bmx bikes, saw grownups joust on unicycles, saw drunk and less drunk people, cool and less cool bands.

I saw literally the worst person ever shove his way in front of my short friend as we stood on tiptoe trying to watch bike burlesque. and then he smoked a cigarette in a crowd.

literally the worst.

but then my friend got new handlebars that rained down from above so karma is real. and that guy is 4eva a douche which I think is a pretty bad punishment.

at 2 I left my friends and biked back to the hill with my date. we listened to la luz and I drunk cried about my job and he made me tea and then we went to sleep. he is a cool dude.

fast forward: morning rain, French brunch, tummy, tea, now. now is for napping: funemployment ftw!

even with infinite free time I still can’t do it all. there are art parties and block parties, bike upon bike rides, and it’s always happy hour somewhere. Seattle summer is boundless.

but sleep is necessary; good food too. time to stop being weird and get out the ole trusty credit card.

nap first.

I will dream of organic local produce and endless jobless summer

a quest for dumplings

since I’ve been back I’ve been feeling like a superhero. biking for hours, biking for days. after yoga this morning I was dreaming of dumplings and a bike ride when I realized I can go anywhere in the entire world (in Seattle). so, encouraged by the yelpmaster, I decided to check out fu man dumpling house in bitter lake.

I biked with my friend around green lake till she zipped up Wallingford and I headed toward the interurban via Dayton. it’s a residential street – small houses set back on patchy green lawns, front fences. lots of cars. a kid playing tennis in the driveway with his dad; the ball bounces into the street. dawnit.

yellow wildflowers give way to pink roses. an old school bus gives way to hoo. a family continues celebrating on a wooden deck. yes dogs yes dog poop no cats.

I hop on the interurban for a minute and it’s glorious. what a trail! no bumps, flanked by art. art like a flip book; art like a sunrise on metal plates.

then a wrong turn then a right turn then fu man dumpling house.

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here I am.

it is crowded inside but there is a seat for me. I know I want hot and sour soup with dumplings. I do not know I want, but adore, a plate of pickled vegetables: fresh cucumber cut lengthwise, green beans popping with peas, slivered cabbage.

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then: soup.

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the broth is thick with egg and tofu, onion and cilantro, pulled meat, slivered carrots, leeks? the soup is fat with dumplings, skin pulled translucent, here pink, here green, over a quivering ball of meat and scallions.

it is hot. it is sour. it is delicious. everything melts.

I eat – sip and slurp. I slow. 80s rock gives way to gaga and back again.

the walls are orange.

I am full and
surrounded by dumplings.

NYC: Day 3

Awake again. I have discovered my routine. Bagel in an hour or so; elongated desire sweetens the reward. When it finally arrives — toasted everything with low-fat veggie spread, with bitter coffee, with fresh squeezed juice — I can sink down into my day. Check my messages, read my book, plan. I find the route to PeekBrooklyn, deemed by the Internet to have the best leggings in NYC. It’s an hour and a half away, so I find a friend to join me for part of the ride.

Biking with Chris quickly transforms my rhetoric to dust. All the la di da, I bike everywhere. Piddilly diddilly, there are hills here. Look at me, I’m a badass. No, Chris is a badass. Riding his wife’s, my friend Jacquie’s bike, so small on him it’s like giraffe using a pogo stick. And with grace. He doesn’t even sit. He stands, pumping, look ma no hands, texting with his left while catching a frisbee in his right. Meanwhile I’m huffing and puffing, mostly sweat, bagel clutched between my teeth.

We end with a bodega and a walk. He gets a Gatorade and a breakfast sandwich. I look at a brown banana. And then he goes home to work and I continue south, meandering. See small shops and cafes I plan to revisit and lose forever. Bike around one park and along another. Lose my chain using the wrong gear going up a hill I didn’t have to.

I stop at a 7-Eleven for cash, see a thrift shop across the street and move in. Though first I do refuel — leftover bagel and Americano, view of shadow and sun.

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Life Boutique Thrift is one of those that donates its proceeds to some worthy cause, thus justifying my excess. They hold my backpack and let me use the bathroom. I construct a bed from found materials and never, ever leave.

It was a sensual experience. When I first arrived I felt too sick to see. Half-sleeping on friend’s couches and trading vegetables for carbs and booze takes its toll. Even with the espresso I could barely focus. I wandered in a daze. There were so many furs I almost completely lost my shit. But there’s no way I could have fit them in my carry-on. Even without I walk onto the plane unzipped.

The other women in the store and I chatted, slowly. I like your bag. I like your scarf. Is this coat too big? Twenty words in two hours.

I tried everything on. Justified my upheaval with my credit card. And I am now the proud owner of a kurta, a Chinese silk jacket, a black and white button-down with just one button lost.

I did feel a little bit guilty that I used sunshine and balmy weather to escape museums, then hid in a thrift shop all day, but that’s a problem for another time. To leggings. To the bike! I find the exact address and it is nothing. An unmarked brownstone. Is this the speakeasy of tights stores? Do I need a password? I walk through the gate. I walk up the steps, through the door, into the foyer.

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With the feeling that I’m breaking and entering I hurry back outside. Damn you, Mercury!

A salad, a salad, my kingdom for a salad! What a routine I’ve built: Bagel breakfast, half saved for afternoon snack. Biking and thrifting followed by writing, reading, salad. And later on, with friends freed from wage labor, booze.

I was feeling particular. Hungry enough to be light-headed, but still flitting across the street, back and forth, reading menus, unimpressed. “What do you even want?!” I asked myself at one point, exasperated. I didn’t know the answer.

Finally, Cupid struck. Dollar oysters. Salad nicoise. Completely empty.

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I never had a chance to order shellfish. I had such fun in the bathroom — splishing and splashing and rinsing the morning’s toil from my arms and face — that when I exited I found the salad awaiting me. What delights I had not anticipated! No tuna salad, no green beans. Instead: seared tuna steak and freshest tomato. Biting onion and hard boiled egg. Capers and olives. And the cherry: fresh bread and olive oil the dankness of which only compares to the acete in España.

I feasted for hours. Writing, eating, pausing, chewing. I constructed many perfect bites. I stared into my waitress’ eyes. I was the only customer.

Three hours later I had cleaned my plate and written a thought piece about my current political and economic affiliations where I concluded that I am furthering systemic inequalities for the sake of my own comfort and ego. I tipped extravagantly and bounced.

It was time for dim sum. Time to bike over the Manhattan bridge, gasp at the skyline and continue living. In Chinatown I saw mysteries being unloaded from 18 wheelers and a poster for a lost dog that broke my heart.

lost dog

I was the first of my friends to arrive. The restaurant had a C rating; I entered cautiously. Luckily they’re closing, done serving for the night. My friends and I were forced to go elsewhere. We settled upon a place with escalators and an A.

Escalating up we hear gongs and bells. At the top we stumble into a wedding. Purple and white flowers; endless lobster. Our dinner is more modest. Steamed dumplings split between the meat eaters. Steamed dumplings split between the vegetarians. Too much hot sauce, juicy oranges, telling fortunes. “Including others in your life will bring you great happiness.” What a thing to say to a satisfied loner in Seattle revisiting best friendship on the other coast!

We go to a nearby speakeasy after dinner. This month’s password is the cat’s meow.

It’s dark inside. A long haired girl sings softly. I spend $20 on the cocktail that most closely resembles a Manhattan. I sample my friend’s egg whites and gin. I scowl at the girls clueless that a camera flash ruins ambiance. I sip my whiskey, Vermouth and absinthe, then it’s back to Astoria again.

Shame Bagel Always Satisfies

Warning – Not Safe for Family Members

It’s 9am on a Sunday and I am the most terrifying person in this restaurant. Want proof? The single guy sitting next to me just got a breakfast sandwich on French toast and I was like, ‘Is that a breakfast sandwich on French toast?’ and he refused to engage in rapport. I’m still wearing last night’s black dress, black tights, blue bike shorts in lieu of underwear. My messy hair has been pulled into a mocking facsimile of a ponytail and there’s a giant bruise on my neck. I am alternately staring fixedly into space and smiling with pure love and soul acceptance into the eyeballs of strangers — all while scribbling these notes in sleep-deprived cursive into my waiter’s order pad. All while eating a MOTHERFUCKING ACTUAL BAGEL IN SEATTLE ! Thank you Roxy’s Diner.

Last night I went to my first show at the Crocodile. La Luz was playing. I’ve been hearing about them for months, ever since a friend in Austin saw them perform and texted me about it this spring. I biked down to Belltown after an easy night at work that moved a little faster than I did. After briefly getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Denny, I was there. Crowds queued outside, smoking cigarettes, waiting for nothing. My friend had already bought me a ticket. I went in.

Dude York was on stage so I decided not to find my friend just yet. After six months of singledom and solitude, people make me a little bit antsy. I watched Dude York alone, backpack on my back, and when they finished and the crowd thinned I saw my friend. She was with people I knew and more. I took a swig of vodka cranberry from her water bottle and wandered away to find more booze and to people-watch. Every girl looked like Grimes.

A friend of my friend won a dance contest. She deserved it. And then La Luz came on. They were good — in a surf rock girl band background music kind of way. This was their album release show and they played out the full album in order. Which was cute. But really, it was kind of boring. I used to go to underground punk shows in Buffalo. I saw a tiny metal band in Ballard last week. I need music to fit the setting: classic rock for driving; Ella Fitzgerald at home; James Blake in the shower (if the shower I just took is any indication). La Luz would be perfect for… a high school makeout session. Live, I want something a little more ridiculous.

We split after the show. The dancer went to Capitol Hill. My friend and her boyfriend grabbed a bus back north. And I — buzzing off espresso and whiskey and sexual inattention — decided to chance the writhing hellscape that is the Frontier Room. It was as disgusting and dude-heavy as always. I accepted a whiskey ginger from a married man from Brazil, agreed to kiss him on the cheek, and then refused to stop talking about Portugal. Why would anyone want to be kissed on the cheek? By a stranger?! After he left I danced with another guy. He bought me a shot of whiskey; I learned his birthday is the day after mine; I correctly guessed that his little sister was born on September 11, 2001; we went back to his place.

We didn’t do it. He did try to stick shit into my ass like it was a toddler’s shape-sorting toy. And I was like, ‘A square can’t fit into a triangle! Call me when you learn geometry.’ He also chewed on me as if I were a delicious bagel and he a teething Jewish infant and now I have to wear a neck scarf to work.

But he broke my heart, this man, this boy, one year and one day younger than me. He moved here from Mass a year ago, recruited by Amazon straight out of college. He makes more money than I do I’m sure, and lives alone in a nice apartment with a brand new kitchen and no furniture. His living room empty save the framed photo of him and his siblings that says, ‘We Miss You!’

I tried to sneak out while he was sleeping. No dice. “You’re not going to say goodbye? You’re not going to leave me your number? I feel so used.” So I wrote my number on the bottom of an empty case of beer and I took myself out to brunch.

Bikes, Beers, Ballard

I did end up going on a bike ride last night. At 6 I found myself dressed and stir crazy, and so I tried to go to some event at Magnuson Park that the Stranger suggested. The whole bike ride over — down my street, across the Burke Gilman, into the park — I thought wonderful things about myself. ‘Look at me, going to a community event at my local park on a Friday night. How great am I?!’

When I got into the park I could find no party. This may be in part because I never got off my bike to look around. But when I start riding it is such a hassle to stop. All I could see was a bounce house and I didn’t much feel like strolling over there all like, ‘Where the booze at?’ So I just kept on riding. It was such a lovely evening, all fall cool and invitation, with a cozy grayness that felt like a cloud hug. I rode around Sand Point until I found the Burke Gilman, and then I rode on through to Ballard.

I didn’t have any plans. The Stranger’s suggestion had thwarted me once. I just wanted to ride. I decided I’d stop in Fremont if I felt tired, I’d go on to Ballard if not, and hell, if I got to Ballard and still wanted to keep going, I’d go over to Capitol Hill or some shit. That didn’t happen. Once I passed Fred Meyer my neck and left shoulder started aching from being hunched over, and Capitol Hill is not exactly my happy place. So I locked up my bike in Ballard and wandered up and down Ballard Ave looking for something to do.

For a few minutes I listened to a fun folk band from Reno, Buster Blue, play outside Conor Byrne; they’re playing inside tonight. I stumbled around and finally wandered into Percy’s and Co., a speakeasy-esque bar that opened six weeks ago. They offered to spray a lady’s vitality tincture on my cocktail but I just ordered a draft and some fresh, local wilted pea vines and carrots. They were delicious, if oversalted. The bar was nice but after poking around I discovered a gorgeous heated open back patio that looked out over the water. So I sat back there with my book and my beer, my peas and carrots and, later, summer tomatoes with house-made ricotta, crushed croutons and fried basil. Perfection.

Two beers in, I was drunk and sleepy. I hopped back on my bike, rode back to Wedgwood, ate a chocolate cupcake, watched some 30 Rock and went to sleep. Goodnight Friday.