Tag Archives: writing

Quick, Step, Step

3 Apr

Mr. C. Pinchy by DTR.

Getting back into the groove of things here at home.  Odd to know that my season has changed.  Glad to know that cooking and food has fully re-entered my life.  I am in a big list mood, it seems that is all i do is make lists.  So here is another one to add to my posts.  The food list of 2012.

Food/Summer Goals I Want to Reach

  1. Write the class outline
  2. Take a photography class
  3. Plant my garden
  4. Bake 6 new cookies
  5. Bagatelle time
  6. Outline 2 other singles
  7. Write a short story
  8. Take a foraging class
  9. Eat more local meat
  10. Join a CSA
  11. Eat a lot more veggies
  12. Have a seafood party
  13. Have a party at the house
  14. Go to the cleve
  15. Be happy everyday

Where Have I Been?

16 Nov

Sorry for the long delay in writing.  A lot of crazy things have occurred.  I mean A LOT!

I think I have mentioned that I got a new job some time back working with cider folks, then my job with Ruhlman, and my personal life.  The cider project is very interesting and dominates the majority of my day.  It can be anything from research, preparing platters of food, pressing apples, etc.  Ruhlman is pretty awesome, he has a new book and he came to the city to promote it.  I got to spend time with him and I want to spend more time working with him.  Personal life is going well and the curling has just started up.  So, I’m in a frenzy of driving, playing, working, eating, and sleeping.  You get used to the schedule.  I enjoy it.

There is so much I want to write about; food wise, dining out, life wise, and such.  But, I really need to buckle down and doo it.  I need to make the commitment to writing again.  I miss it.  I miss it a lot.  I miss the way the words flow through my mind to my fingers.  How ideas are woven together.  How a sentence can have  rhythm.  I miss my voice.  I miss my thoughts, the way i think, the puzzle peices in my head.

By far the biggest thing that happend in my time away was the passing of my babcia.  That will be my next big post.  I need to finish the story.  It is nearly there.  She is gone and I miss her more then she will ever know.

For now I leave you with a few quotes that I am loving at the moment.

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” Tim Duncan

“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”  Ernest Hemingway

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see? –The Mad Hatter
Louis Carroll

Cleveland Bound

7 Apr

I have fallen off the face of the world again, but this time for good food, friends, and work.  Last week I scurried over to the Cleve to see some curling friends and the Boss.  The turnpike makes the trip fast, the radio stations are not the best, but it is a smooth and fast ride to the city.

I met up with my former teammates from the Kzoo nationals for some happy hour fun at Paladar, a latin kitchen and rum bar; that has slow service.  We ended up eating some guacamole with cucumber and pickled onion (it needed more pickled onion), beautiful root chip that had tortilla chips hiding in the bottom (I was not happy to see this), and yucca fries (dips were not great).  I really enjoyed their root vegetable and plantain chips with the guac, very good.  Besides the great company we inhaled their mojitos.  I splurged for the fresh mango, while Court just went with the classic mojito.  I should have ordered the prickly pear to do something new.  Shame on me.  We moved on to another restaurant after one more friend joined us.

Next order of business for eating was the B-Spot, Micheal Symon’s award winning burger joint.  OMG it is simple, good, and fun.  Plus, it was sooooo busy.  Boss said I should go and I am happy I did.  The 4 of us went to the jam packed B-spot.  Court’s hubby met up with the girls for dinner, he is too funny, he really is.  The table shared the fries & onion rings and each of us ordered a burger, well Court got the walleye sandwich; it is Lent.

  • Shroomage burger with portabella, blue cheese, Lola steak sauce, griddled onions
  • Thin Lizzy burger with griddled onions, cheddar, mayo, pickles
  • Breuben burger with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss, Russian dressing

There were lots of interesting items like fried bologna, salami, coppa, eggs, and more to either be served alone or to top a burger.  A very fun and exciting menu.  Good sized portions too, not over the top.  All the burgers are cooked to order, there is a pickle bar, and an extensive condiment caddy at the table with a coffee BBQ sauce it is KILLER.  B-Spot also has a good number of beers on draft and in bottle, plus “Bas Ass Shakes”.  Yes, I had a Vanilla bean apple pie bacon bourbon shake. OMG it was good, next time I would want the root beer float or the chocolate espresso.  Good burger binging!

The next morning I had to drive in to see the Boss, but stop off and fetch some bread at On the Rise Bakery.  I walked into the bakery and bam, I was smacked in the face with the smell of fresh bread, yeast, sugar, and just a lot of yum.  A huge grim came to my face.  God, I love great bread.  The smell, the feel, the shape, and the taste.  This was bread nirvana.  I also met and spoke with Adam, the owner and head baker of On the Rise.  He loves his bread, I enjoyed my time with him.  A man with true vision.

The staff were so friendly and welcoming.  Just an all around great place that sells high quality, hand crafted bread.  I purchased 5 french baguettes, pain au chocolate, jam croissant, and got a cookie.  All were fantastic.  I love slicing into bread goods and seeing the layers of laminated dough in the pain au chocolate or the irregular holes in the baguette. Hmmmm I wish I had one now.

The middle of the day was so much fun.  Working with my boss, hanging with his family, and learning the ropes.  I also got to spend quality time with his wife.  I am very happy with my employer. 🙂  Smiles all around.  We talked shop about books, business, and future projects.  My heart was racing with all the excitement.  It still is.  Oh, I want to share, but I can not.  So, we will move on to more food.

Found out at the end of the day that there was the Indians home opener.  That meant, we need to leave the house NOW to get downtown.  We started off our feast at The Greenhouse Tavern that is owned by Jonathon and Amelia Sawyer.  A really down to earth, energy filled, farm to table restaurant.  To me it the Greenhouse Tavern embodies the philosophies of many midwestern chefs.  There is something different about midwestern folk.  It does draw us back to the farm to simplicity, even if we live in the bigger cities stuck in the middle.

The items on their menu are exciting and filled with fresh ideas.  I love the fact that there is poutine on the menu.  If you have no idea what that is then check it out.  It is heaven!  Below are the dishes the three of us shared.  I enjoyed all of them.  I liked the hominy and the foie clams.  So delicious.  I need to give props to them for the chicken wing confit.  This is a great idea!  I hope to see more places doing this technique with the wings.

  • Crispy Hominy with pork shin cracklins, pickled red onion & lime juice
  • Foie Gras Steamed Clams with butter, red onion brûlée, late harvest viognier vinegar & grilled bread
  • Whole Grilled Padrón Peppers with heirloom garlic cilantro pistou & lemon zest
  • Crispy Chicken Wings Confit with roasted jalapeño, lemon juice, scallions & garlic

We scarfed up our meal.  The staff were very accommodating and friendly, as they are in the midwest.  I know when I go back to Cleveland I am coming back here.  It fit my personality just so.  Plus, I loved their use of acid/citrus; overbearing in one dish, but I was happy to see its appearance.  Thanks!

The last stop before I had to head home on the pike was to Micheal Symon’s Lola Bistro.  I have only read about this place, so I was very happy we had the opportunity to quickly eat there.  The Boss gave the green light and we were escorted to the chef’s table that is nestled beside the open kitchen.  I love open kitchen’s.  The intensity, the heat, the clatter of pans, quick busting flames.  It is so exhilarating.  I can get lost in all the movement and action.

We quickly perused the menu.  Boss ordered our dishes and we were inundated with staff who were waiting to talk with him.  So many questions, so many stories.  All exciting to hear and to be around.  Below are the dishes we ordered.  I enjoyed the pork belly and the bone marrow.  The marrow is the sexiest food around.  Nothing beats it’s lusciousness, well maybe a perfect torchon.  The only thing I really wanted here to make some of the dishes pop was some acid.  Overall beautiful flavors, presentation, and service.

  • Pork Belly: butternut squash, apple, blood orange, cilantro, ginger
  • Crispy Bone Marrow: various accompaniments
  • Ceviche: jalapeno, Fresno, red onion, lime
  • Beef Cheek Pierogi: wild mushrooms, horseradish, crème fraiche
  • Sea Scallops: warm spring pea tart, english peas, shaved radish & pea tendril salad, lemon essence

During our quick meal, stories were flying around about Symon and Keller.  I could not believe my ears.  Great stories, ones I can only file away.  I am so happy that this is my future.  That these two people I am sharing dinner with are the ones I get to work with everyday.  I hear their ideas and help them as best as I can, so they can be excellent. Wow!  Intertwined in the conversation in an instant a glimmer of green caught my eye in the kitchen.  Green with a thin base of brown.  I kept watching and then it was revealed.  Thinking it was dessert, caught off guard it only came to be an entrée.  It was the scallop dish.  We had to get that and we did.

The scallops were seared perfectly and were accompanied with a warm spring pea tart, that is what we thought dessert was.  The green was reminiscent of a pistachio tart or cream.  The tart was rich and lovely, it made me think of English mushy peas.  The salad on top was nice, but the dish cried out for some more acid to cut through the richness of the tart and the scallop.  Besides this, a beautifully executed dish both technically and visually.  All in all I was very impressed with Lolas.  Another place I will return to, but I also need to eat at Roast in the D.

Dinner came to an end and the evening did to.  This was one of the best working days I have ever had in my life.  So much excitement and enthusiasm for what I do and who I work with.  I have so much respect for the two of them.  One armed with words and the other with photo.  The two meld together to make it work.  It is perfection.  I still can not get over it.  I am waiting for a pinch or to wake up.  Nope, it is really happening.  So, I wait for my text, the email, or the call from them.  Ready to hop into action, to get done what needs to get done, to ask questions, to make it work.  This is what I do and sometimes it is with a full stomach of great food.

To all of this… Thank you M & D.

B-Spot
28699 Chagrin Boulevard
Woodmere, OH 44122
Phone: 216-292-5567
www.bspotburgers.com

Paladar
28601 Chagrin Boulevard, Suite 900
Woodmere, OH 44122
Phone (216) 896-9020
www.paladarlatinkitchen.com

On the Rise Bakery
3471 Fairmount Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44118-4265
(216) 320-9923
www.ontheriseartisanbreads.com

The Greenhouse
2038 E 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-443-0511
www.thegreenhousetavern.com

Lola Bistro
2058 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
216.621.5652
www.lolabistro.com

A Meat Reflection

28 Mar

My head is filled with ideas, images, words, food, and more.  It explodes daily either on the ipad or on my computer.  I am trying to get some of these “things” out of my head and organized somewhere.  For now you know that they are thrown around my brain, like my clothes that are found in every room of the house.  I must say I do promise more charcuterie projects and I will threaten you with chocolates and a bagatelle.  Oh, curling is over…. for now.

Today I am sharing this with you.  I wrote this a few months back for a magazine.  Sadly, it did not get picked up, but I loved writing it.  Enjoy

Beef Tartare: A Gateway Food Drug

I come from a meat loving family where all types of proteins are consumed, cooked, and devoured.  Growing up my family would nosh on pork, veal, fish, lamb, and beef; never chicken, my father hates chicken.  Now my parent’s rules differed for raising my sister and I.  Mom was the boss in the family and did most of the cooking.  My father on the other hand permitted anarchy and interesting eating habits.  Two patriarchal culinary delights stand out in my mind, pasta with sour cream and raw ground beef.   You guess which one still infuriates my mother.

At the ripe age of six my father began feeding my sister and I raw ground beef.  Dear old dad was allowing us to eat ground sirloin and he had no concerns that it could make us sick; but it never did.  Oddly enough my father is a family physician and a former health inspector.

Anytime it was hamburger, chili, Swedish meatball or taco night I would wait anxiously to receive my well-seasoned portion of raw meat.  Dad would always season it with salt and pepper perfectly.  I would gobble it down and try to get some more.  I had no idea until I was in high school that this was not normal for kids to eat raw meat.  I also learned that raw beef had a fancy name: tartare.

In Middle school my raw beef eating habit made it easy for my father to introduce me to raw tuna and other sushi items.  In this respect raw beef was my gateway drug to various other raw meats.  To this I salute my father for taking a risk and knowing that his little girl would love tartare of various animals throughout her life.  Thanks dad!

Busy Baking

26 Nov

This past week I have been bogged down with two things.  My oral surgery and my baking project.  I can not reveal too much about my project,but I have baked 4 types of cookies in the past few days.  In that time I have begun to question the actual meaning of a cookie.  Kinda funny right?

Well it is pretty interesting to begin to examine the actual formation of the cookie.  Start to ask yourself questions about the essence of a cookie.  The sugar, the fat, the flour, the sweetness, or the savoriness.  What are the actual components that make a cookie?  How is a cookie different from a piece of candy?  How is a cookie different from a cake or a slice of bread?  Interesting.  No it really is. 😉

I will be able to reveal more of my project in the coming weeks, but know that my mind is at work and my hands are at play. There is nothing better.  I love my new job and my new role.

I can share with you that my chocolate chip cookie is coming along.  I am considering switching the light brown sugar with dark brown sugar.  The dark brown sugar adds a depth to the cookie a more complex sugar component because of the molasses in it.  I know I like the creaming process of this cookie and I will begin to add variations to this cookie base.  I need to get my naga chips, coconut flakes, and curry.  I have been dreaming about that combo for sometime, now my secret is out.  I have a secret combo coming out soon, but that will be shared later.

On a side note from this cookie explosion.  I have been thinking about a summer farmer market job with my cookie production.  I am going to cost out a summer business plan for my cookies.  I have more time in the summer and I hope to gain access to a commercial kitchen.  So there…

Oh, I have also been thinking about taking classes in writing again.

I thank you. 🙂