Scene from a Marriage

A Friday night in Forest Hills.

Wife: Want to got to Nick’s for pizza?

Husband: No.  I’m in the mood for a hamburger.  How about Sante Fe Steakhouse or TGIFridays?

Wife: Um, no.  How about Johnny Rockets?

Husband: I think their hamburgers are disgusting.

Wife exits Stage Right and heads to the kitchen.

Hmmm … what have we here?  Some broccoli.  Some frozen tortellini.  Garlic and olive oil (always).  Could a dinner that is even easier than takeout be at hand?

Broccoli with Tortellini

1 Bunch broccoli
1 Bag frozen cheese tortellini (also works with cheese cavatelli or meat tortellini)
2 -3 Cloves garlic (amount depends on how much you like garlic)
Olive oil
Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

Fill a big pot with water and set it to boil. 

Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into florets.  Mince the garlic.

When the water is boiling drop in the tortellini and broccoli and set the timer for about 6 minutes.  Once cooked, drain them into a big colander.  Use a paper towel to wipe the remaining water from the pot (be careful!) and set it back onto the stove on a medium flame. 

Add two to three tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic.  Saute for about 2 minutes.  The garlic should be fragrant and golden.  Dump the tortellini and broccoli back into the pot, turn off the heat, and toss it all to combine.  Add salt, pepper and, if desired, red pepper flakes. 

Serve.

Husband:  Mmmmm.  This is yummy.

Good husband.

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One Potato, Two Potato

I’ve never been a big fan of potato salad.  I’m not sure why.  I love macaroni salad (but only the way my mother makes it).  As an adult I came around to cole slaw.  But never liked potato salad — even the way my mother makes it.

When I was the food editor at iVillage we used to run a recipe contest with a weekly theme.  One week in the summer was, of course, potato salad.  The winner was different from any potato salad I’d ever encountered.  I later learned that this is the way the French make it.  Those clever French!

I made a version of this tonight.  It’s really yummy. 

I simplified it a bit.  Basically, I boil the potatoes and the green beans, then toss them with a vinaigrette.  I made my dressing with white wine vinegar instead of red.  I’ve also done it with lemon juice.  What’s best, this salad tastes good warm, room temperature or cold. 

Enjoy!

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Spam Recipe

No, not a recipe for Spam, that versatile canned meat product (which, I’ve actually never eaten). No, this post is a reprinted recipe that I received via a spam email message. I’m not sure what the intellectual property rights implications are with regard to recipes received from unsolicited email. I’m willing to take the risk.

In any event, here’s the message, in its entirety:

—–Original Message—–
From: Blair [mailto:link deleted]
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 8:02 PM
To: Tami Forman
Subject: Zucchini Loaves

Returned from vacation and finally got a chance to respond back to my emails. While on our trip, came across this wonderful Zucchini recipe and wish to share it with all.

Blair’s Zucchini Loaves

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini (1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring well.
Combine all purpose flour and next 9 ingredients, stirring well. Add zucchini mixture, stirring just until blended. Spoon batter evenly into 2 greased and floured 8x 4 x 2 1/2 loafpans.
Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pans on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and milk, stirring until smooth. Drizzle evenly over loaves; sprinkle with pecans.
Yield: 2 loaves.
**(These loaves may be frozen up to one month; drizzle with glaze after thawing.)

The Zucchini Loaf recipe is not for me and I wish not to receive any more .
—–Message End—–

I assure you that, despite the chummy tone, I do not know “Blair.” I have no idea what the point of this email is. I assume that the opt-out link (!), which I’ve omitted here, went to some kind of site where money was meant to be exchanged — for either legitimate or illegimate purposes. But the lack of a call to action combined with my reluctance to click on weird links leaves this a mystery. I haven’t tested this recipe, so bake at your own risk.

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Ya gotta break a few eggs

Super simple, super yummy weeknight-worthy dinner.

4 Strips bacon, chopped
Brussels sprouts, shredded (I don’t know how many.  Five?  Six?  Something like that.)
1 Onion, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
Parmesan cheese, grated (amount to taste)

Saute the bacon in a skillet until crispy.  Toss in the onion and saute in the bacon fat until soft and translucent.  Toss in the sprouts and saute until bright green and wilted. 

Pour in the eggs and tilt the pan until the mixture is evenly distributed.  Sprinkle the top with cheese.  Cover and let sit on a low flame a few minutes, until the eggs are just about set. 

To brown the top, run it under the broiler (check and make sure the skillet is ovenproof) for 3 minutes.

Cut into wedges. 

Serves 2   

Dinner is served!

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Truth v. Beauty

First, there was Googlism, which turns  any search term into a weird free verse.

Now, there is Googlefight.  Enter two search terms and see which one "wins"

Go try it.  Seriously.  It’s loads of fun.

My husband, lovely little narcisst that he is, staged a Googlefight between his name and mine.  He won one round, but I was able to eek out a win with the clever use of quotation marks.

I also had fun with Britney Spears v. Jessica Simpson (Give it up for our girl Brit).

As for the title of the post, Truth v. Beauty, three guesses which one won.  Cause it’s about what’s inside that counts.  Uh-huh.

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Super Sunday

It all started innocently enough.  We’d just moved to New York and the Super Bowl was coming up.  A friend mentioned how he wasn’t  interested in football, in fact, he didn’t even know which teams were playing, but that he was very interested in the commercials.  A few others people we know, all people working in some part of media, agreed that a party devoted to watching Super Bowl commercials would be fun.  So we invited everyone over, ordered Chinese food and had a blast. 

That was eight years ago and while the cast of characters has changed over the years the tradition remains the same.  We call it the Anti-Superbowl Party, but that’s actually not a great name.  There really isn’t anything anti- about it — we watch the game, after all.  We just pay more attention to the commercials.  And truthfully, since our hometown team, the Patriots, started winning these things even we’ve become slightly interested in the action.  Plus, starting a few years ago some actual football fans have crashed the festivities (dragged by wives, generally). 

Anyway, this year’s menu is make-your-own sandwiches and veggie chili.  Chips, of course,  and beer.  But I also have to make sure that I have enough wine and clean wineglasses. 

It’s not your typical football crowd.  And that’s just the way we like it.

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Cornered (Again)

Last night my husband was craving a burger and suggested TGIFridays or Santa Fe Steakhouse, both in our neighborhood.   It is my deeply held belief that eating in a chain restaurant anywhere within the five boroughs of New York City is a sin.  I parried with the suggestion that we try Corner Bistro, famed as the burger that Danny Meyer wanted to emulate at the Shake Shack.  Fortunately, I’d shared the heavenly Shake Shack experience with him so he was game.

Yum, yum, yum.  The burger, the fries, both delish.  I must confess that I think Shake Shack is better, but maybe I had one too many lunches there this summer.  But Corner Bistro is good and worth the wait to get a seat.  If you are not in the mood for a burger, go somewhere else.  The menu consists of burgers, a chicken sandwich, BLT, grilled cheese and bacon, and chili.  I think the only reason chili is on the menu is so they can make chili burgers.   It’s that kind of place.

Corner Bistro
331 W 4th St (Map)
NYC
10014

Mon-Sat 11:30am- 4:00am
    Sun 12:00pm- 4:00am
(212) 242-9502

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Cornered

My main criteria for restaurants is delicious food (obviously) and friendly service.  You don’t have to bow at the waist, but I don’t want to be made to feel like I’m back in the high school cafeteria, lorded over by the cool kids.  So when my husband and I decided to have a quick bite at the restaurant above a trendy nightspot, for the sake of convenience, I didn’t have very high hopes.  I figured the food would be mediocre, if we were lucky, and that the service would be snotty.

So imagine my amazement at the little gem that is Cornershop.  On the corner (get it?) of Broadway and Bleecker it is above Table 50, the aforementioned trendy nightspot.  The food is yummy!  I had a marinated skirt steak with thick fries and salad.  Preston, the aforementioned husband, had an upscale BLT with slices of avocado and chips.  He also had a lemonade that he pronounced "As good as you make" — a high compliment, indeed.

The service was truly friendly.  After the waiter took our order, a black-clad waitress noticed me menu-less and came whizzing over to make sure we’d been attended too.  When she came back to clear our plates I raved about the steak, prompting her to bring over two glasses of Muscadet. 

Plus, the space is gorgeous.  Well-designed, but approachable.  Comfortable without feeling sloppy.

An altogether superior dining experience. 

And the party downstairs at out-so-trendy Table 50?  Let’s just say that it was on a whole other level.

Cornershop
643 Broadway at Bleecker
NYC
(212) 253-7467
Open 24 Hours

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Puerto Rico Diary

On the desk by the phone at the Wyndham Resort could be found a small piece of paper with the following:

Due to our tropical location, long distance telephone calls carry an additional surcharge.  Please bear this in mind when making long distance calls.

Huh?  How does the fact that we are in the tropics, as opposed to any other faraway place, have any bearing on the phone charge? 

Frankly, given the number of New Yorkers we ran into it might have been just as effective to write "Hey, knucklehead, this ain’t Coney Island.  The call is gonna cost ya."

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Sense of direction

When my college roommate got married, she sent the requisite "how to get here" sheet with the invitation.  Since she was getting married in England, and most of her friends lived in the U.S., she felt compelled to include the following:

FROM AMERICA: Fly east over the Atlantic.  Turn right at Iceland.  Continue south, and get off the plane when you see red double-decker buses.  If you see people drinking red wine, eating lots of cheese and inflaming world politics, you’ve gone too far.

Too far indeed.

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