20 January 2005

a killer dinner

pan-seared ny steaks

10-12 oz ny steak (about 2" thick)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper (you want a fairly coarse grind)
olive oil

preheat your oven to 450 degrees and place an 8"x8" pyrex baking dish on the bottom shelf. heat a well-seasoned 10" cast iron pan over med-hi to high heat. after about 5 mins, season both sides of the steak liberally with the salt and pepper. when the pan starts to smoke slightly, back heat off just a bit, and pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. using tongs and a paper towel, make a thin film of the oil on the bottom of the pan, and immediately drop the steak into the pan. have the tongs handy and watch the steak. after about a minute, take your tongs and try picking up a corner of the steak. if it comes free, flip it. but if it sticks even a little, back off and wait another 30 secs or so and try again. keep a very close eye on the steak though. the searing process is supposed to be very hot and very quick.

it should take less time on the second side. when it pulls away cleanly, pick up with tongs and place in now scorching hot pyrex dish. cook until meat thermometer reads 125 (about 10 mins, depending on the actual thickness of your steak.) for med-rare (or 118 or so for full-on rare... 135 for toast, erm.. well-done.) remove from oven and plate. let rest at least 5 minutes before cutting.

if you'd like, you could try making the...

marsala and shallot cream sauce

4 good-sized shallots, minced
2 T sweet marsala
2 T unsalted butter
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
2 T finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

when you remove the steak to the oven, add shallots to pan. saute briefly in the accumulated grime and, removing pan from heat (remember to use an oven mitt!) pour in the marsala. carefully place pan back over heat and add the butter. stir till melted and wine has reduced. add heavy cream, and stir frequently over high heat till reduced by one half and thickened. taste to adjust seasonings (if necessary) and add parsley. serve over steak.

sauteed spinach with garlic and prosciutto

3 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bag baby spinach
1 oz chopped prosciutto
salt and pepper

heat olive oil in large pan over med-lo heat. add garlic and cook just till the edges start to get golden. add all the spinach and salt and pepper and toss well to coat. kill the heat and toss till wilted. garnish with the chopped prosciutto.

damn... it was good!

fuck tha dmv!

gawd... keep yer wallets on leashes kids. i lost mine about a week and a half ago, and had to cancel the bank cards and all that bs... and then i discovered that in the fine state of california, one has to make an appointment at the dmv to get a replacement driver's license. that's right campers, an appointment, and the earliest one i could get was for this afternoon @ 1:50. i wanted to ask someone if that meant the state was going to condone me driving around with no license in the meantime, but there was no one to ask. the state department of motor vehicles prefers the appointment be made via their website.

so i arrive at the fullerton dmv office 15 mins early, tell the knuckledragger at the START HERE counter i have a 1:50 appointment. he hands me the appropriate form to fill out and a "randomly generated" number. G241. i don't think anything of it and find a spot to fill out my paperwork. after that, i take a seat, fully confident my number will be called at 1:50. A197. A198. F203. F204. J013. J014. G229. i'm sure, faithful reader, that you can figure this out. i'm in for a long wait, and if i'd known, i would have brought something to read. instead, i had to make do with the "state of california driver's handbook", a delightful read if ever there was one.

and... i've come to the sad conclusion that most of the people i share the highways and byways of the fine state of california with have absolutely no business driving. if they can't figure out the form for a driver's license (be it a new license, a name or address change, or a replacement license like me) when it's printed in like 45 different languages, well... they haven't the intellect to operate heavy machinery, and that's what a car is, even a small one.

so they finally announce my number... window 14 plz! "you got any id? your old driver's license maybe?" the numbnuts behind the counter asks. hello?! i'm here to get a replacement driver's license! i checked the applicable box on my form! and no, i don't have my old one... yer hard-working colleague at the long beach dmv confiscated it the last time i renewed it! so she had to have her cubicle mate look up my cdl #. apparently she didn't know how. *rme*

so... finally, everything is copacetic. i give the troglodyte my $20, and go get fingerprinted and photographed, and atfuckinglast, i get to leave. i noticed the cars in the parking lot on my way out... most of them had dents and dings and broken windows and stuff. i chuckled.

i've never had an accident.

19 January 2005


bought some bourbon... woodford reserve. it's good chit. here's some recipes for some killer cocktails.

the old fashioned

1 tsp white sugar
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 oz. soda water
2 oz. bourbon

lemon twist, orange slice and maraschino cherry
muddle the sugar and the bitters. add soda. pack glass with ice, add bourbon and stir. garnish with lemon twist, orange slice and cherry.

the mint julep

4 sprigs fresh mint
1 tsp white sugar
1 oz. water
2 oz. bourbon

muddle 3 sprigs mint, sugar and water in bottom of julep cup or highball glass. fill glass with crushed ice. fill to the brim with bourbon, stir. dust 4th mint sprig with powdered sugar for garnish. serve with two straws cut short enough to extend about two inches above the cup.

the manhattan

1 dash each of angostura and peychaud bitters
1 splash grenadine
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
2-1/2 oz. bourbon

fill cocktail mixer with ice, add the above ingredients and shake. strain into a chilled cocktail glass. garnish with a cherry.

the whiskey sour
1-1/2 oz. lemon juice, fresh squoze
1 tsp. super fine bar sugar
1-1/2 oz. bourbon

in an ice filled cocktail shaker, place the above ingredients. shake until the outside is frosted. strain into a sour glass. if you do not have a sour glass, you may serve this in a champagne flute or on the rocks in a rocks glass. garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

the side car
1 0z bourbon
1/2 oz cointreau
1/2 oz freshly squoze lemon juice
combine bourbon, cointreau and lemon juice. serve in a highball glass over ice.

enjoy in moderation!

17 January 2005

fire up the grill!

it was 85 degrees here today. we're having burgers and fries. dinner will be served somewhere in the ballpark of 7:15 pm pst.

cooked the fries in my le creuset dutch oven. they're great!

16 January 2005

on tonight's menu...

lasagna alla julia

2 lg cans crushed tomatoes, in puree
1.75 lbs ground sirloin
1 lb sweet italian sausage, cut into 1" pieces
1 lg onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
3 bay leaves
1/4 c fresh italian parsley, chopped
1/2 c basil, torn or chiffonade
1 pkg. barilla no-cook lasagna
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 qt. whole milk ricotta cheese
3 cups grated whole milk mozzarella
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

in large dutch oven, warm 2 T olive oil over med heat and add ground sirloin. in a 10-12" saute pan, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat and add sausage.

when ground sirloin is well-browned, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 mins, then add oregano, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper. add the sausage and the oil it was cooking in, reduce heat to low and cook covered for 1 hour. taste, adjust seasonings, remove lid and cook 15 mins.

preheat oven to 350. in large (at least 9x13") baking dish, using a soup ladle, cover bottom of pan with sauce. add one layer of lasagna. add half the ricotta and parmigiano. add another layer of lasagna. add another layer of sauce., and alternate as such till you run out of ingredients. top with mozzarella cheese.

bake 45 mins. remove from oven and let sit for 15-20 mins before serving.

15 January 2005

we're tag-teaming dinner tonite...

grilled marinated london broil, courtesy of wen'l

4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
2/3 cup olive oil
1 (2 to 2 1/2 pound) london broil

to make marinade:
in a bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients until combined well. put london broil in a large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over it. seal bag, pressing out excess air, and set in a shallow dish. marinate meat, chilled, turning bag once or twice, for 8 hours.
remove meat from the marinade, discard the marinade, and pat the meat dry.
preheat a grill and on an oiled rack set about 4-inches over glowing coals, grill the meat, turning each once, 9 to 10 minutes on each side, or until it registers 125 to 130 degrees, on a meat thermometer for medium-rare meat.
transfer meat to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. cut meat diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

roasted asparagus, as done by yers trooly

2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
kosher or gray sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
in a large glass baking dish, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and garlic. season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss. bake until the asparagus are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the stalks, stirring twice.
remove from the oven and toss with the lemon juice. adjust the seasoning, to taste.

tossed salad of baby field greens, olives and tomatoes with a shallot-infused vinaigrette

one bag of baby field greens
4 quartered roma tomatoes
oil-cured olives
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
one shallot, minced
healthy pinch of salt
pepper to taste
various dried herbs n spices (tarragon and parsley would be nice, fer instance)

combine shallot, vinegar, salt, pepper and herbs. slowly whisk in olive oil. toss with greens, tomatoes and olives.

14 January 2005

chili con carne

3 lbs ground chuck
2 cans kidney beans, drained
40 oz. canned tomatoes, juices drained (keep them though)
1/4 c medium-hot chili powder
1 T ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T kosher salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 T blackstrap molasses
2-3 T olive oil

in a large, heavy dutch oven, heat olive oil over med-hi heat. dump in ground chuck and break up with a large spoon. add ground black pepper and brown thoroughly. add chili powder, oregano, and cumin and stir for a couple minutes. add onions and garlic and cook till just soft. add salt. stir well and add tomatoes and beans.

cook covered over med-lo heat for 20 mins, then turn heat down to low and cook 40 more minutes. taste and adjust chili powder, black pepper and salt, if necessary. add cayenne pepper, stir well and cover. cook 30 mins. add molasses, uncover and turn off heat.

garnish with minced onion, sour cream, monterey jack or longhorn cheese.

09 January 2005

sunday dinner

4 mushroom stir-fry with chicken

1-1.5 lbs. chicken breast, diced into bite-size pieces
6 oz woodear mushrooms, sliced
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
6 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 morel mushrooms, chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1 red pepper, julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated dried ginger
1 T chinese five spice powder
2 c chicken stock or broth
2 T dry sherry
2 T soy sauce
3 T cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
2 T canola or peanut oil

cooked long grain rice, such as mahatma

heat oil in large pan or wok over med-hi heat. toss chinese five spice powder and chicken to coat, and add to hot oil. cook till done and remove to bowl with slotted spoon. add all mushrooms and stir-fry till done and remove to bowl with slotted spoon. add onions and red peppers and stir-fry till translucent and beginning to caramelize and remove to bowl with slotted spoon. add garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly. add sherry and soy and deglaze. make a slurry with 3 T of the chicken stock or broth and the cornstarch. add remaining stock or broth to pan and when it reaches a gentle boil, add slurry. stir constantly till it thickens and add all the cooked ingredients and half the green onions back to the pan and heat through.

spoon stir-fry onto plate, top with the cooked rice and garnish with remaining green onions.

08 January 2005

tonight's dinner.....

pan-seared rib eyes with a creamy shallot-marsala sauce

1.5-2" thick rib eye steaks
3 large shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c marsala
2 T unsalted butter
2 T chopped parsley
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

sear steak on both sides over med-hi heat in a cast-iron or other oven safe fry pan. for medium rare, put in 500 degree oven for 2 mins. let rest 5-10 mins. for rare, just sear and let rest 5 mins. deglaze pan with the marsala. let reduce by half and add the butter. dump in shallots. cook till slightly soft and add garlic. add heavy cream and reduce by one half. salt and pepper to taste. remove from heat and add parsley. sppon sauce over steaks.

*smashed* cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, separated into florets.
4 slices thick bacon
2 large shallots, minced
1 c shredded sharp cheddar
3 T grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives, for garnish
1 can lo-salt chicken broth

place cauliflower, chicken stock and enough water to almost cover in a 3-4 qt pan and bring to a boil. reduce heat and cook till fork tender. meanwhile, in another skillet, render the bacon and remove with slotted spoon to drain. add shallots to pork fat and cook till soft. add garlic and cook one more minute. add bacon back to skillet. mash cauliflower as for mashed potatoes, add cheeses, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. garnish with chives.

sauteed baby spinach with garlic

1-2 bags fresh baby spinach
5 cloves garlic, chopped, not fine
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

add olive oil to large skillet and saute garlic over medium heat till soft. turn off heat and add spinach, tossing with tongs till wilted. add salt and pepper.


07 January 2005

who'll stop the rain?

well... this weather we're having, that we've BEEN having, really sucks all ass. it's cold. it's rainy. we've seen the sun 2 days since xmas.

we've had considerably more rainfall in the last couple months than we get in a typical year. landslides are becoming an almost daily occurrence, and somewhere in southern california, the flash flood warnings have turned into an actual flash flood.

in the mountainous regions in the state, they've reported snow accumulations in excess of 14 FEET since xmas.

i know, i know... the weather is worse wherever you are. but... consider this: the rain and ice and snow you are all enjoying right now kicked our ass first.

05 January 2005

i know this is going to sound shallow, but...

i am a girl after all, and why shouldn't i be stoked that my hair is within inches of being long enough?

i decided last summer,after about my 6th shitty supercuts coiffure in a row, that i wanted to get a decent haircut. that meant i had to let it get really crappy looking and way overgrown first, so joyce* would have something to work with, and by that time, i had decided i wanted it to be longer.

so here i am... 6 months later, and my hair will be where i want it by my birthday.

yes, it's stupid, but i'm stoked. i've been sad about the disaster in se asia for well over a week, and i'll take being in a good mood any way i can get it.

* she's @
http://www.luxsalon.com, an aveda concept spa.

04 January 2005

ok... enuf with the food

for now anyway.

ok... i don't know how many of you out there have online friends. i have a few. buffalo, ny... toronto, canada... i've had friends as far away as australia. anyhow, several of my pals are at loggerheads right now, and i can't for the life of me figure out why this sort of shit happens.

i refuse to deal with people over the internet that want to give me or cause me grief. it's bad enough when you get crapped on by people you can smack around if necessary, but when the person is a couple thousand miles away and insisting on playing games, well... stick a fork in em.

this isn't to say i am not as supportive as possible when something goes bad in one of my online friends lives. indeed, i am... as i can be, doing whatever i can to bridge the distance. a friend of mine recently lost her mother, and i wish i could have been there to give her a hug, or take her out for a drink, something tangible... so i sent her a care package of altoids fruit sours and made her a cd i hoped would make her laugh.

she touched something i touched, which is the best i could do.

anyhow, the people i spend time with via the internet are people who make me feel good. sometimes they annoy me, and sometimes i ache for them when things aren't going so well. i will do what i can to meet a few of them someday. but i will not get caught up in drama i did nothing to create and i won't give someone else's drama legs to stand on.

k... i will climb down off my soapbox now.

be nice to each other people!

happy new year kids!

well well kids... i've been rather lax in posting since last year, so i thought i'd at least let you know what we're having for dinner tonight.

ravioli with creamy tomato sauce

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds spinach ravioli or tortelloni
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. add the ravioli and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. drain the ravioli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. toss the ravioli with the remaining oil to coat.
meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking often. whisk in the ricotta and enough reserved cooking water to thin the sauce to desired consistency. for a thicker sauce, use less pasta water; for a thinner sauce, add more water. return the sauce to a simmer. season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
spoon 3 tablespoons of sauce over the bottom of each of 6 bowls. arrange the ravioli over the sauce. drizzle the remaining sauce over the ravioli. sprinkle with the parmigiano reggiano and the basil, and serve.