Monday, February 27, 2012

Picky Lunch

I've talked about my love of "picky dinners" right? Not to be confused with a dinner for picky people, no a picky dinner in my house is one that you casually pick at. There are no silverware involved. Everyone shares from the same platter of little piles of food. 

I suppose if I were in Spain this would be close to tapas. But, alas, I am at the Country House and so it is  called a picky dinner. Or in today's case "picky lunch".

The thing I have noticed about my picky lunches is that they are usually when I am by myself. I have gotten slightly better at cooking a meal for one, but the problem is, when I am working at home I usually get so wrapped up in whatever creative project that is at hand and the limited time that I have to work on it, that lunch usually happens as an after-thought and I'm so hungry by the time I actually get around to it that I really don't want to wait for something to actually be cooked. 

And therein lies the beauty of a picky lunch. In the time it takes to cut a few pieces of cheese, grab a handful of crackers, toss some tomatoes in olive oil & balsamic, and throw on a few chunks of last night's bbq chicken, lunch is served. 

As I make my way back down to my studio, and resume my spot at the computer, I can simply PICK. A tomato here, a cracker there. 

Ahhh... delighting in simple things. It's one of my favorite things....

What are your favorite items for picky food? Do tell..... 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lucky Peach

Two Christmases ago a very thoughtful boy gave me a Kitchen-aid mixer. How could he possibly top that this past Christmas, outside of a trip to Italy, of course? Well, he came pretty darn close with a subscription to Lucky Peach. A very cool food magazine that I knew nothing about. 

This is not your mother's (no offense mother) food magazine. 
This magazine is brand new, as in just birthed. In fact the first issue that I received was only the second one published. I must say I feel like I am in on something very cool and sort of underground. Rebellious almost.

Lucky Peach is "a quarterly journal of food and writing". It is published in June, September, December and March. When I opened the cover of my first issue I read this from Editor in Chief, Peter Meehan: "After we wrapped up the first issue and I had a minute to stand back and look at the thing, I felt like it was the magazine equivalent of throwing an M-80 into a bowl of ramen and taking a crime-scene photo of the results. That was a good thing, at least for me".

Well, Mr. Meehan, it was a very good thing for me too. With such articles titled: "More Things Were Eaten", "Miso Horny", "Eat, Drink, F*@k, Die", and "Nobody doesn't Love A Cake With A Runny Center", what, I say WHAT is not to love. 

Yeah, I said it. I am head over heels in love with the brash, raw writings about things beyond appetizers and cocktails, not that I don't love a cocktail and an appetizer. I mean all you have to do is behold the covers of this magazine to know that you will be in for a ride. Who thinks of tattooing a pigs hind quarter with the body map of a human, for god's sake?! I love it. 

And a small disclaimer, if you are easily offended by the F-word, it's written about seven times in the first seven pages, but that too, I must confess - I love. I mean we're talking about FOOD. But not just the romantic, touchey-feeley aspect of food, but the boiling hot kitchens, the long hours, the hard work. And it's not just some foodie blogger such as myself ranting about such things (although, in my defense I did grow up in my parents restaurant and am currently dabbling in my friend's cafe, I do however know my place on the food chain) the writings in Lucky Peach are coming from the big dogs of our food culture. The likes of David Chang of Momofuku, Daniel Patterson of Coi Restaurant, Mario Batali, etc. etc... In fact, in both issues so far, my (*)boyfriend Anthony Bourdain has written a story woven around a random movie of all things.   

SO, with all of that said, I urge you to get your subscription to Lucky Peach. Heck, now that I think about it, it may even have been the catalyst for my recent return to Swigs and Grinds. For that I thank you Lucky Peach folks, because I have missed my little spot here in the blogoshpere. Till next time.....

(*) Ok, maybe I don't want him to be my boyfriend as much as I actually want to BE him. But that's another story....  

Quote of the Day :
 "A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into".
~George Orwell
(as quoted in issue 3 of Lucky Peach)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Imperial Stout, a new love

Alright, alright...  I've been missing in action. Again. I HAVE been busy with the art of survival, not to mention the art of photography, painting, raising children, making food, eating, drinking, being merry etc, etc... My 11 year old daughter has been disturbed by my absence here and has several times told me that some concoction that I've whipped up needs to be photographed & shared, stating, "Mom, you have followers that are waiting for you!"

I'm not so sure if the breath of my followers is bated or not, but here I am none the less...

There have been some things recently that have been inspiring me in the Swigs & Grinds department and so, at long last, I have finally decided that today is the day when I shall share them.

The first is a new swig in the form of beer that I have discovered.

I am learning that my taste in food AND beverage is similar: big, bold and brazen. Sheesh, sounds like much of my life - but that's another story. This beer is Sam Adams Imperial Stout. If you like dark beer this is a serious treat. It's almost not just beer. It's like a hybrid of coffee, chocolate and malty booze. It's thick and creamy and you only need one because it's over 9% alcohol.

Look for it at specialty stores and do pick some up!