May 30, 2007

Italian Weekend

No, we didn't spend the weekend abroad. We spent it enjoying the new flat-screen television we installed in the backyard near the pool. Maybe it was The Sopranos marathon which, as it subconsciously poked at our bellies, hypnotized us to crave pasta. Sunday night we had spaghetti bolognese. The sauce takes a full day to cook and is flavored with pork ribs- it's the tastiest sauce we've made yet. We added meatballs made with ground pork and ground beef. Monday evening, we had chicken marsala. A friend at work gave me the recipe (I had never made marsala anything). It was okay, it was on the rich side and I didn't see the point to the chicken. I think I would use veal if I made it again...or make it meatless. (I can't say vegetarian because there is chicken stock used in the preparation of the sauce). It tasted best without chicken on the fork- just the sauce, fettucine and mushrooms made a savory combo.
I guess I should check the TV Guide this weekend to decide what to buy at the grocery store...and the eggs.

May 25, 2007

Movin' on Up

My friend Betty, her husband Victor and their children Julian and Jaiden have bought a house in Cape Coral on the west coast of Florida with a heated pool and a fully automatic pool vacuum (I'm not jealous!). They are moving tomorrow. Although I have known Betty for a bit less than three years, we became close friends quickly and it will be sad not seeing her on a regular basis. Of course, we have based her last day of work around several small snacks and meals. We had Krispy Kreme Donuts this morning. We're going to have pizza for lunch and early this afternoon, artichoke dip followed by cake. Our arteries will be as clogged as US-1 by the afternoon rush hour. Not a bad way to go!
For those of you who haven't met Betty, she works with us and makes us laugh every day. She and Victor are following the Steinberg family tradition of naming their children names starting with "J". Victor is a professional videographer and is available for weddings and bar mitzvahs. He will be working for Channel 6 in Ft. Myers. Best of luck, guys. You will be missed...and the eggs.

May 23, 2007


In February, at the Temple Sinai auction (in Portsmouth, Virginia), we bought this buddha. We don't know a thing about them, but this one looked really happy and we thought he would be perfect for us, never mind that we live in Miami and buddha weighs at least 100 pounds. That is just one teensy-weensy, almost inconsequential detail when you have been enjoying an open bar and complimentary food for the last 6 hours. To make a long story short, buddha landed safe and sound in Miami in early April. Many believe that rubbing buddha's belly brings good fortune. I figured it couldn't hurt. I started rubbing his belly every day. We started getting money in the mail the next day- first, a refund for home insurance. The next day it was a settlement check from a class action lawsuit we had signed up for and forgotten about. The next, notification that our car insurance premiums were dropping. You get the idea. This has gone on for weeks. We're still rubbing buddha's belly daily...and the eggs.

Stuffed Pork Chops

Still trying to make up for the pork time I lost during my childhood, my partner made homemade stuffed pork chops for dinner last night. She used her mother's recipe for homemade stuffing. Wow. Wow. Wow. These were wonderful. It's 7:44 a.m. and I could eat another one right now. She made the stuffing by ripping apart bread, sauteeing onions and celery in butter, adding a little oregano and mixing the whole thing together. Simple- right? Worlds better than Stove Top...and the eggs.

May 22, 2007

P.F. Chang's

After I took a sorely needed mental health day Friday, my partner took me to the best chain restaurant ever, P.F. Chang's. We had a wonderful dinner, including desserts. Our dessert order prompted the waiter to inform us that the cake, aptly named "The Great Wall of Chocolate" was a very large piece of cake, big enough for four to share. I must have looked at him with a blank, faraway stare, as if to ask "why are you telling me this" because he went on to explain that he once had a customer complain that he served the cake without the "feeds four" warning. Oh. I immediately, and without thought, informed him that we weren't at all intimidated by large pieces of cake. It's funny that this photo, which I took with my cell phone, makes it look like there was more sauce than cake- but-- trust me, that wasn't the case. And no, we didn't finish it all (until Saturday)...and the eggs.

May 17, 2007

So much food, so little time

Commuting to work has taken a huge chunk of time which I used to spend grocery shopping and cooking. I am embarrassed to tell you what I have eaten for dinner this week, but I just started reading Paula Deen's new memoir and she says not to hide anything because people will find out anyway. Ernesto's Taco Shop is a small restaurant chain in South Florida. They have three locations, and one of them is within a few blocks of my house. This week we've had tacos twice. Aside from the homemade tacos my partner makes, Ernesto's are the some of the best I have had. Soft corn tortillas bursting with flavor. Try their carnitas, which are made with shredded pork. They also come with guacamole and chopped tomato. Excellent- and it's just icing on the cake that you can request no cilantro. I hate cilantro.
Now for the dirty little secret... this is hard.....suffice it to say that last week I was one among 1000 winners of the Kentucky Fried Chicken controversial "hear the buzz tone in the commerical" contest. I won $10 in KFC gift certificates. At least I didn't have a lot of pots and pans to clean this week. 'Nuf said...and the eggs.

Hedwig, the Angry Finch (Meet the Family Part I)

You could say our Sun Conure, Hedwig, eats like a bird. If birds eat like hogs, that is. The bird eats constantly. Hedwig was hand raised and is very tame and comfortable being handled by people. He/she prefers to be hand fed, but there aren't enough hours in the day. Hedwig's gender can only be identified by doing a DNA test, and since we aren't planning on breeding Hedwig, we're fine not knowing.

Hedwig goes crazy for unsalted peanuts- you need to know this because in case you are ever holding Hedwig and are wearing jewelry, you will need the peanuts to distract him/her.

Hedwig is 8 months old and is the newest addition to our menagerie.
...and the eggs.

May 16, 2007

It's all about the artichokes

I love artichokes. Seriously, is it wrong to develop food "crushes"? Artichokes are one of the first foods I remember eating and I have never grown tired of them. They're the whole package- visually pleasing, fun to eat and tasty.
I prefer them simply steamed and served with hollandaise sauce. Eating them that way is too cumbersome for parties, so I share my artichoke love with friends by making a quick and easy dip. Try it:
1 cup artichoke hearts (non-marinated) chopped
1 cup mayo
1 cup parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients in bowl.
Transfer to oven safe dish.
Sprinkle a little paprika on top.

When oven has preheated, cook dip in oven for ½ an hour to 45 minutes, until top turns brown and bubbly.
This recipe is no fault. It is a real crowd pleaser. If you have a good artichoke recipe, please e-mail me or leave comment and I will try it out...and the eggs.

May 15, 2007

My Summer of Ham and Cheese

Summer, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, 1976. When I was 11 years old, I stayed at my grandmother's house for the summer. She would drop me off at the country club where she was a member and would leave me for most of the day. The first day I was there, I noticed there was a snack bar. I made a mental note of it. As soon as it could possibly be considered lunch time, which was probably 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., I went to check out the offerings at the snack bar. The menu was posted on one of those black plastic signs with the letters stuck in on pegs. Along with the expected hamburgers and fries, I saw "ham and cheese sandwich". Being Jewish, I had never tasted ham, and was thrilled with the opportunity to sample a forbidden treat. Also having been raised in a rather sheltered manner, I was excited to test my independence by ordering lunch for myself--albeit debited from my grandmother's account. When the snack bar attendant asked for my order, I asked a few questions about the other menu items and casually ordered ham and cheese without one single pang of guilt. I was as proud of myself as I could be. A few minutes later, I bit into the warm sandwich- the taste of the ham and cheese was nothing short of amazing. The saltiness of the ham with the creamy, melty, mellow cheese sent my taste buds into a frenzy. I ordered another and repeated the same rountine every day I was at the pool without parental supervision.

After the summer had ended and my family was back home, my mother confronted me one day about a bill my grandmother received from the country club. Evidently, I had charged several hundred dollars to her account, and she didn't expect to have to pay a bill that large. When my mother asked me what I could have possibly eaten there all summer, I lied and told her that I had a few lunches and that the bill must have been incorrect. I never heard anything else about it until a few years ago when my Aunt Sharon mentioned it to me-- I never knew the story had made the "family rounds".

The purpose of the story is to help illustrate how food has become an important part of my life. I remember meals I had at restaurants when I was as young as 8 years old. Fortunately, my parents took my brother, sister and I to restaurants - and - put no limitations on what we could try. Throughout my blog, I'll include reviews of various restaurants and discuss recipes and cooking, and I hope you will too.

Luckily, my partner shares my passion for cooking and food, although not to the same extent. She is the best cook I know.
...and the eggs.