Gnocchi, Eggplant, and the Daily Grind

OK – I think I just figured out how to add a caption again..

Apparently I can’t add captions to photos anymore… either that or the ChromeBook from 2015 that I use to write these posts hasn’t allowed for whatever updates I need to write captions, due to a software upgrade. Just another aspect of my existence that’s fallen behind the times and cannot be updated due to lack of funds. It’s whatever… I’ll spend the rest of my life using my discretionary income to buy birthday presents, help street cats, and buy wedding shower gifts for people while I remain struggling and wearing clothes from Poshmark and Forever21 (remember when I vowed to stop buying fast fashion? Yeah… If I made more money, maybe I could have kept that vow). It’s a fate I’ve come to accept. This is my purpose on life… to stay poor and serve others.

I’ll never own a house, I’ll never have kids (largely because I don’t want kids, but I also can’t afford them), and probably never get married at this rate. If I do get married, I’ll be so old that I won’t even be able to wear the sexy wedding dress I always imagined myself wearing – I’ll also need a “The Swan” level makeover prior to my wedding, because in addition to already needing botox and fillers (but not being able to afford them), I’ll also most likely require a breast lift and lipo by that point in my life. I’m fucked. Fucked financially, fucked in the head… you name it.

The only things I’m currently looking forward to are a Korn concert in August, and a trip to Italy and France that we are planning for September. I will finally see my boyfriend’s parents and his friends for the first time since 2018, and I will finally see the South of France, which I’ve wanted to visit for basically forever. I’m enjoying planning this vacation… however, it means I have to be even more careful with my already-limited discretionary income. I mean I don’t go out much, but when I do it somehow ends up being a $100-$200 evening… EVERY TIME. This is probably why I now only go out once a month…. Fucking Uber prices are out of control these days. I should honestly just delete the app and take my chances being assaulted as a drunk woman on the subway next time I’m out. I spent fucking $57 on an Uber from midtown Manhattan back to Williamsburg last Saturday. I could buy a week’s groceries with that.

Can you tell I’m in a great mood today? 😀

The other thing which has become the bane of my fucking existential existence, is that I am still helping the stray cats that I already busted my ass to raise money for and help off the streets. There is literally only so much I can do as one person, without extra cash to spend on two extra cats. I hate promoting the GoFundMe I created… it feels like begging, and that is the last thing I ever wanted to do. I basically spent 9 months of my life starving (legit… starving) because I didn’t want to ask my parents for help when I was working as a server and not even making enough money to pay my rent (which was only $650 back then….). Like, if I’m not even OK asking for help when I need it myself, how do you expect me to keep asking for help for two cats that everyone now thinks are “all good” just because they’re off the streets and in homes? I do what I can… but what I can do never feels like enough. I really thought my part would be done after the cats were off the street, in homes, and had their initial vet visits… now I get daily texts about one peeing outside of the litter box and the other one hiding under the bed. I sometimes think I did more harm then good. I guess this is why you shouldn’t meddle in other people’s business. Maybe these cats were better off on the street, and for my own selfish reasons, I couldn’t bare to walk by and see them living like that. Maybe they were happier… I don’t know.

Seriously though… I’m only living for this Korn concert and trip to Europe right now. I don’t care about dinners out, parties, drinks with friends… I just need this trip to Europe with the boyfriend I basically see one day a week. I’m over everything. I need a legit vacation, and I need time off with my boyfriend and no one else.

Sunday cheese board – I don’t think we had cheese in months! I couldn’t even finish my glass of wine because I was so fucking hungover from the night before… I am literally never going out again.

I’ve given up on the goal of finding a new job before July 6th, when I have to start going back to my office in midtown 2-3 days a week, but my new goal is to have a new job lined up when I get back from my vacation in late September. I think it’s doable – I just need to find the motivation to do it. I mean, more money is my primary motivation… but it’s so hard to find time and willpower when you’re already in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for work.

Speaking of work, I had to run a collateral errand for the first time in over a year and a few months, and it was kind of nice. The client was so desperate to have someone sign pages in front of me, that they paid for a car service to pick me up in Brooklyn, drive me to two towns in Long Island, and then back to the office in Midtown. I was bitching about the absurdity of it all the night before, but it was really nice sitting in a luxury SUV for three hours, and getting paid to just ride around collecting and dropping off signature pages. I think I could do it more often….

I was feeling good about myself after styling my hair for the first time since early 2020… had to take some pics, naturally
I must have a crop top for every band I like at this point….
My zit comes back in the same place every single month…there must be some sort of underground oil well on my face there. that releases oil when the estrogen starts flowing… LOL

It has been hotter than hell in NYC this past week – about 90-91 degrees every day for the last four days with 82% humidity… absolutely foul. I know people always bitch about how they can’t wait for Summer to come when we are in Winter here. I am not one of those people. Winters here are not even that brutal, but summers sure as hell are… especially in the last several years. Global warming is increasingly evident here. Since it has been so damn hot, I have been avoiding cooking anything that involves the oven or multiple sauce pans of boiling water on the range.

Before the heatwave arrived last week, I decided to take advantage of a nice 78 degree evening we had, and make gnocchi, since it involves the oven and I wanted to make one good meal before I swore off the oven for the next five days. I based the dish I made on one that a little, Italian restaurant in Alphabet City (East Village) had, once upon a time, when they were still open.

My sister was the one who introduced me to this restaurant – I remember going when I was a student at FIT, with my sister and mom and brother-in-law. I think I also went a couple of times after that. I just looked the restaurant up, and they opened in 2000! Apparently, they’re still open and they are now located in Tribeca! Who knew!

I remember they moved to Williamsburg for a brief time in 2013 after the lower East Side location closed, and I took my boyfriend to have dinner there after raving about the place for months. Sadly, when Max existed in Williamsburg, it was not as good as I’d remembered it to be. The food was mega salty and their was a lack of ambiance and coziness that the restaurant in Manhattan had had. Anyhow, they had this amazing gnocchi dish with roasted eggplant, and their marinara sauce was to die for! I feel like I ordered that dish every time I went to the lower East Side Max. And so, having picked up two nice eggplants from the deli last week, and needing a plan for them that was NOT eggplant parm (I was not about to bread and fry shit that night… that requires a very particular mood), I decided to recreate this dish!

This is a picture of the dish, as taken from Max’s website… I cannot believe they still exist! I will definitely have to check them out in Tribeca!
If you’re not going to make homemade sauce (and I sure as hell wasn’t, since I was making homemade gnocchi!) , I highly recommend Rao’s… it’s pricey and a bit salty (if not slightly diluted) but it tastes homemade!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large eggplant (or two smaller ones)
  • 1 jar of quality marinara sauce (Rao’s isVictoria brand)
  • 1 package bocconcino (mozzarella balls) **OPTIONAL
  • grated Parmigiano to top the dish, and for the gnocchi
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • olive oil
  • FOR THE GNOCCHI:
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 2 cups flour ( 1.5 will go directly into the gnocchi mix and rest is for kneading and dusting the counter top, etc)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Set oven to 400 degrees
  • Wash your potatoes and pierce them with a fork in several locations around the potato, rub in oil, and set on baking tray
  • Wash eggplant and cut into small cubes
  • arrange eggplant on same tray as potatoes, coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  • put tray of potatoes/eggplant into oven to bake: the eggplant can come out after 20 minutes, and go into a saucepan, the potatoes need to bake about 45-50 minutes (total), so they will go back into the over after you move the eggplant to the saucepan
Sorry for these snaps from Instagram. I try to make it a pint to take regular pictures on my phone, but I often end up posting videos of the process to my Instagram stories, and then have to take screenshots for the blog!
  • After 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the eggplant will be transferred to a large saucepan on the stove, over low-medium heat (make sure the saucepan is coated with olive oil!)
  • Cook the eggplant over low heat for another 4 minutes or so, and then add in the entire jar of sauce, along with maybe 1/4 cup extra water, and continue to cook over low heat until the eggplant is very soft (it should already be fairly soft after the oven)
  • Once the potatoes are done baking (you should test by sticking a knife into the potato), slice the potatoes open length wise and let cool for a minute, or just until you’re able to handle them without burning your hands
  • once you are able to handle the hot potatoes, use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the potato into a large mixing bowl (you want to make sure you avoid getting the skin into the gnocchi mix)
  • Add in about 1/4 cup grated Parm, 1.5 cups flour, salt, and the beaten egg and mix away! (you can also add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, or even cold water, if needed!)
  • Mix all of the ingredients together to form a soft dough
  • add more flour if necessary (a bit at a time) – the dough should not be sticky or tacky
  • lightly flour the surface on which you will be rolling out the dough, flour the dough lightly and cut into four, equal sections
  • working with one section at a time, roll the dough into a rope that is about as thick as your thumb
  • Next, take a sharp knife and cute the rope into 1 inch sections that should look like little pillows
The little pillows I am referring to ^^
  • I like to lightly flour the gnocchi at this pint, before I make the fork imprints
  • after the gnocchi has been cut into these little pillows, you will use the tongs of a fork to gently imprint the top … this helps sauce stick on them, although this step can probably be skipped if you’re in a rush for time or just not feeling the extra effort
  • Set aside the finished gnocchi, onto a plate or board, where they can later easily be transferred to a pot of boiling water
  • complete these steps with the remaining three pieces of dough (don’t say I didn’t warn you – it literally takes FOREVER… this is definitely a dish to impress or show your love to someone)
My babies!
  • now that your gnocchi are waiting, start a pot of heavily salted water on high heat and bring to a boil
  • You should also turn the oven back on, to 380 degrees (you’re going to finish the dish in the oven after all ingredients have been added)
  • add in the fresh gnocchi once the water is boiling – because they are fresh, they will only take a minute or two to cook
  • you’ll know they are done, once they float to the surface of the pot
  • using a slatted spoon, scoop the gnocchi from the surface up and into the saucepan with the sauce and eggplant
  • Once the gnocchi has been added to the sauce/eggplant, you’ll want to throw in a handful of the little mozzarella balls, transfer the saucepan (as long as it doesn’t have any plastic!) directly into the oven, and bake for about 6 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted
  • Serve in a bowl and top with freshly grated parm and fresh basil for garnish
This is definitely a dish to steal a man (or woman’s) heart)

Enjoy!!!! 🙂

New York is Dead… for Now

It’s true what they say, New York is dead. It’s not just dead… it’s a dirty, dangerous, ghost town, where crime is rampant, garbage is everywhere, and storefronts and restaurants are empty. Everyone with money left – they went to their houses in the Hamptons, or bought a house upstate. Others, who are not rich, but lost their jobs in the pandemic and couldn’t possibly continue to pay NYC rent, also left. They went back to whatever hometown they originally came from – either to live rent free with their family for a while, or if they could afford to do so, they made the move to another city or town somewhere other than here – perhaps to a city that is still alive with a hospitality industry that hasn’t been totally SHIT ON by the Governor. I’m still here, because I can’t afford to move (yet), and also because my job is based here (even though I work remotely, and pray we will be able to continue to do so for the rest of eternity). My boyfriend’s job is also here, and sadly his is a job that cannot be done remotely (restaurant/hospitality industry). If I had the money or option to just pick up and leave, believe me, I would have done so years ago… I’ve wanted to leave NYC for the last three years, but these past 10 months have been the nail in the coffin, my friend.

I’ve lived here since 2012, and before that, I did two years of college here from 2006-2008. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen the city so dirty, run-down, dangerous, or deserted as it is right now. Everyday, random people are getting slashed on sidewalks, pushed into oncoming subway trains, randomly attacked at subway stations IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, etc.. I’ve never been scared to ride the subway alone – especially during rush hour or in broad daylight (apart from when a terrorist attack happened elsewhere and made me dwell on an attack happening on the subway…). Now? I avoid the subway at all costs unless I’m with my boyfriend. I had to take it the other day to run an errand for work, and during rush hour, RUSH HOUR (8:30am) the train was totally deserted and the stations were totally deserted, save for a few homeless people. It’s eerie, and straight up dangerous. There’s not a soul around to see you if you get attacked or hear you scream for help. All of Chambers St. station in lower Manhattan was TOTALLY empty.

In the past 6 months or so, the times I do ride the train, what I see is tragic. There are more homeless people than ever before – also a lot of criminals and mentally ill homeless people, and also criminals that have been released from prison due to COVID. People who commit violent crimes are being released back onto the streets… and it shows. I’m not saying that the homeless people are the issue – although it’s clear HOMELESSNESS itself, IS an issue. It’s the violent, psychopaths starting fights and carrying knives that I’m talking about. The shit I’ve seen in the last few months, I have never ever seen before in my years in NYC… and believe me, as someone who rode the subway everyday and used it at night… I’ve seen some shit in my years (a guy masturbating into his coat, had my ass grabbed on a crowded train, people riding the train in underwear, people having psychotic breakdowns on the train, a fight on the platform… the list goes on).

A month ago, I was traveling back to Brooklyn from Manhattan with my boyfriend and I saw what appeared to be a homeless man, robbing another homeless man, who was either dead or hopefully just knocked out on drugs and in a wheelchair. I have seen junkies shooting up heroin on the stairs of subway stations at 5pm, making no effort to hide what they’re doing and had to step around them to exit the station. There are no cops to be seen anywhere these days. There used to be officers randomly patrolling the subway stations at all hours of the day – but especially the busy stations (Union Square, 34th Street, 42nd Street/Times Square) and especially during rush hour. Now? I never see a single officer. Like who would I even report what I saw to (in the case of the dead/drugged up homeless guy)? Who would I scream to for help if someone tried to assault me?

I’m not even scared to ride the subways because of COVID. I’m scared because of the lack of people, and the growing increase of subway violence. Just a couple of weeks ago, some guy was punching/beating up women at a subway station in Bushwick, not too far from my house. The attacks were happening around 8pm… a perfectly acceptable time for a woman to be riding the subway alone. Not that that should even be a FUCKING THING – “an acceptable time” for a woman to ride the subway….. Women should be able to safely ride the subway at any time of the day or night by themselves and be and feel safe. What I’m trying to say, is that it’s not like the attacks happened at an off-hour, like 2am. After six different women got attacked by the same dude and at the same station, they finally caught this asshole. I hope he stays in jail for a long time and doesn’t get released back onto the streets because of COVID. I never thought I’d have to anxiously wait up for my boyfriend every weekend when he comes home from work, alone, at 11pm and on the train. But I do worry – it’s fucking dangerous out there. We both have pepper spray key chains now, but I’m not sure what good that will do if a psycho with a machete shows up in your subway care and no one else is there but you and him.

There are straight-up tent cities/homeless compounds sprouting up everywhere – under the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), on sidewalks, wherever. The trash removal and city cleaners have all experienced cutbacks, so there are just piles of trash and litter EVERYWHERE. I’m honestly not sure how the MTA is even going to survive since no one is riding it, apart from a few essential workers. The city is in legit shambles. SoHo, the mecca of tourist shopping, is also ghost town USA. More than half the stores are gone and the spaces remain empty with “For Rent” signs in them. I honestly don’t know how the city will ever recover from this. I don’t think it can.

And if all of what I’m saying here has you thinking about the rebuke Jerry Seinfeld wrote in the NYTimes regarding New York NOT being dead, I’m pretty sure that mega rich asshole wrote that think-piece from his multi-million dollar estate in the Hamptons… not sitting inside his NYC townhouse while trash bags piled up on the side walk and a homeless person took a dump on the sidewalk. Furthermore, unless you currently still live here, you have no fucking say.

I’m convinced all of the people who left have most likely realized they’re much happier wherever they went to – paying less rent, lower prices for groceries, people are pretty much nicer and more friendly everywhere else, and enjoying all that fresh air and more space. The only reason I ever came to NYC was for the job opportunities, culture, and nightlife. Now, that’s all gone. Why would I continue to live here as long as I can keep working remotely for the same company? Why would I choose to pay $2,350 a month for a 1 bdrm. apartment in a crappy neighborhood, when I could be putting that down on a mortgage for what is essentially a mini-mansion anywhere else in the country? Paying $20 for a fucking cocktail I can get for $9 anywhere else in the country? So I can have bragging rights that I live in NYC? I don’t think so….

Anyhow, darling, this blog has totally evolved from the food blog it was once supposed to be. So, on that note, here is my recipe for mushroom carbonara (vegetarian, but not vegan):

MUSHROOM CARBONARA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil (plus 2 TBS. more to finish)
  • 3 Portobello mushrooms
  • 3 eggs (I try to buy my eggs directly from a farm where I can see the chickens in action – I know this isn’t a possibility if you don’t live near any small farms, but please splurge on your eggs, and at the very least please make sure they come from cage-free, free-range, humanely raised chickens)
  • Linguini or spaghetti
  • Fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • Fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion (finely minced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 cup of good-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano (finely grated)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika (*optional* – adds a nice smokey flavor, similar to bacon)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup pasta water (taken from the pot of boiling pasta, when it’s almost finished cooking)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and chop your mushrooms and set aside; finely chop onion and garlic
  2. Heat olive oil over low heat in a medium-sized sauce pan, and add in finely chopped onion; stir occasionally over low heat until soft and translucent
  3. Once onion is soft and starting to yellow, add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so, being careful garlic does not burn
  4. Add in the chopped mushrooms, dried oregano, salt, pepper, a generous pinch of smoked paprika, and cook over low-medium heat for about 10-12 minutes or until mushrooms are thoroughly cooked
  5. Add in the chopped basil, cover, and turn heat to lowest setting (or off if your stove runs hot and will continue to cook)
  6. Prepare large pot of water (heavily salted) for pasta, but setting on high-heat and bringing to a boil
  7. While you wait for the pasta water to boil, beat together the three eggs, 1/2 cup Parmigiano, and juice from 1 lemon until you have a thick, rich “sauce”. Set aside
  8. Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta per the timing directions on the box (you’ll want it to be al dente)
  9. While the pasta is cooking, I will usually turn the heat back onto low (if I turned it off) to make sure the mushroom mixture stays warm; this is also when you want to use a ladle or measuring cup to extract and set aside 1/3 cup of the pasta water
  10. Drain pasta once it is done cooking, and then add it back into pot along with some extra olive oil, egg mixture, 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water, an additional 1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano, and the chopped parsley
  11. You’ll want to taste-test now, to see if more pepper, salt, or fresh lemon might be necessary
  12. Mix together until the pasta is well coated and mushroom mix is uniformly distributed, and serve topped with an extra sprinkle of parm and fresh parsley!

Cheers.

Butternut Squash: Thai Curry Style

IMG_3388
Thai-style red curry, with butternut squash used as the base… recipe to follow below

It’s Thursday night, which means I’ve just about reached my peak, maximum exhaustion level for the week (actually, the real pinnacle is usually Friday night after work… that’s when I really crash and burn…).  I used to hear my mom say it, but Goddamn…. “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.” Seriously.  I never even give myself enough time to unwind, exercise, sleep more than 6 hours a night, or even write this shitty blog, and I STILL don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do in a day (cleaning, exercising, writing, etc.). Work and chores and errands and taking care of the apartment, my cats, and everyone-but-myself seems to never end, and this is life without human children!  I think I’ve been living in a state of perpetual exhaustion for the past three years, and it shows.  I really need to start taking better care of myself, because these bags under my eyes are not cool.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I feel like working a 9-5 office job has aged me way more than the irregular hours and sleep schedule I kept as a server or working retail ever did.  At least then I seemed to be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Thank god tomorrow is Friday so I can sleep in the following day.  I’ve turned into a drone who lives for the weekend… FML. Work was absolutely brutal last week – I was doing like 10 hour days and coming in early so I could avoid staying late each night, but that also means working through my lunch breaks instead of getting out for a walk and some fresh air.  I fucking HATE sitting at a desk all day and not having time to walk or exercise.  I feel like such shit about myself and my body when I am not moving or walking and still eating a ton of food. Some might think I’m joking, but I am definitely asking for a desk elliptical for Christmas this year.  I think it will give me a better quality of life LOL.

I’m already thinking about Halloween and trying to make plans in advance so that I don’t end up staying in again.  I always have the best costume put together, and the last couple of years I haven’t even worn it out.  Such a shame! I love Halloween and dressing up and making costumes…. I live for that shit.

This year’s inspo ^^^ I dressed up as MM once before and it was one of the years I didn’t end up going out.   This year, I’m going all out….come hell or high water.

Anyhow… here is my recipe for a “Thai-style” aka, white-people, bastardized-version of curry, made with butternut squash:

 

A couple of notes:

  • Be careful cutting the squash, they’re really firm and you risk the knife slipping out and towards you if you aren’t careful
  • This is kind of time consuming since the squash takes a full hour just to cook in the oven, so you may want to prep the sauce/squash a day before you assemble the actual curry….

INGREDIENTS:

A variety of veggies of your choice (below is what I used):

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
  • 1 green zucchini, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 green (bell) pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 small jar of red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is great and sold most places)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 box vegetable stock
  • 3 Tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less depending on desired level of spicy)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less depending on desired level of spicy)
  • 1-2 limes (*the JUICE from 1-2 limes)
  • 1 bunch of fresh thai basil, or regular fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce (*** OPTIONAL *** I’ve used in curries before, but I did not use in this one)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Cooked white rice to serve (Basmati or jasmine work best)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half length-wise (*** please do this carefully – it cuts with difficulty and you risk slicing yourself or the knife coming out if you’re not careful); gut the seeds and stringy pulp out from the center of your squash by scooping it out with a spoon.
  3. Roast the squash at 400 degrees for 1 hour… test with a fork to see if tender:

 

IMG_3338
The finished squash… yours more take more or less time depending on the size.  Note the fork marks where I tested to see that it was soft enough to blend!

1.

 

 

IMG_3336
Behold: the raw butternut squash

A couple of notes:

  • Be careful cutting the squash, they’re really firm and you risk the knife slipping out and towards you if you aren’t careful
  • This is kind of time consuming since the squash takes a full hour just to cook in the oven, so you may want to prep the sauce/squash a day before you assemble the actual curry….

INGREDIENTS:

A variety of veggies of your choice (below is what I used):

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash
  • 1 green zucchini, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 green (bell) pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, cubed (OR… raw, peeled shrimp, OR…. sliced chicken breast, etc.)
  • 1 small jar of red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is great and sold most places)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 box vegetable stock
  • 3 Tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less depending on desired level of spicy)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less depending on desired level of spicy)
  • 1-2 limes (*the JUICE from 1-2 limes)
  • 1 bunch of fresh thai basil, or regular fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce (*** OPTIONAL *** I’ve used in curries before, but I did not use in this one)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Cooked white rice to serve (Basmati or jasmine work best)

IMG_3338
Your squash will need to roast 50-60 minutes depending on its size…. notice the fork marks where I tested to see that this was cooked through!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half length-wise (*** please do this carefully – it cuts with difficulty and you risk slicing yourself or the knife coming out if you’re not careful); gut the seeds and stringy pulp out from the center of your squash by scooping it out with a spoon.
  3. Put the squash face-up on a roasting pan, and rub the face-up side with olive oil; roast the squash at 400 degrees for 1 hour… test with a fork to see if tender:
  4. Once the squash has cooled down enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out the orange fleshy part into a blender or food processor.
  5. Add in about 2 cups of the veggie stock or enough liquid that blending will be possible (I know my blender has issues mixing everything if there isn’t enough liquid).
  6. Once you’ve blended the squash to a creamy and uniform texture, dump the mixture from the blender into a large saucepan or soup pan/pot and turn the burner to a low heat.
  7. Add in the entire jar of red curry paste and the entire can of coconut milk.
  8. Add in your spices (granulated garlic, turmeric, curry powder, red pepper, cayenne, etc.)
  9. You’ll most likely need to add more veggie stock at this point, as the curry will be way too thick.  My squash was huge, and therefore resulted in a lot of curry once it was blended…. the mixture was way too thick and I ended up adding the rest of my veggie stock.
  10. The curry sauce should be a nice, thick consistency, but still viscous in nature…. it should not be straight-up puree, nor should it be too soupy and watery.
  11. Add in the lime juice, the fish sauce (if you opted to use it), salt to taste, more pepper or seasoning as necessary, and some hand-shredded basil leaves (a nice handful).
  12. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside or put in the fridge if you’re planning to use later.
  13. In a wok or large sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil over a low heat and get your fresh chopped veggies and minced garlic on deck (the canned veggies, like the corn and bamboo shoots, do NOT need to be sauteed with the raw veggies)
  14. You’ll want to sautee your veggies and garlic at a medium heat for only a few minutes, as they will finish cooking in the curry sauce and you DO NOT WANT THEM to be over cooked and soggy (gross).
  15. Once you’ve sauteed the veggies and garlic, add in the curry sauce and continue to cook over a low heat.
  16. This is the point where you can add in whatever canned veggies you’re using, like the baby corn and bamboo shoots, as well as the TOFU.
  17. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning to suit your tastes (you may want to make it hotter with more pepper, add a bit more salt, or a bit more lime juice for some zing).
  18. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with a bit of fresh basil!

IMG_3359
The curry sauce – the squash has been blended with liquid at this point, and simmering on the stove with the addition of all of the seasonings, paste, coconut milk, and more veggie stock… you might want to roast the squash/make the sauce a day in advance since it’s very time consuming

7AAC520A-A041-49DF-9BCA-145759CEED8F

This one was a hit… I will definitely be making this, or variations of this, throughout the coming colder months!  Apart from the coconut milk, it’s also pretty healthy 😀  Or, at least that’s what I told myself after eating half a wok….

 

 

Climate Change and Lentil Bolognese

90 degrees on the first day of Fall… global warming is a real bitch…. I finally bought some sweaters and tights and I’m still wearing sleeveless button-ups.  I remember when I was young, we were lucky if it was 65 degrees this time of year!

I want to plan a world-wide work strike against climate change – I’m just not sure how to get started.  Imagine the reduction in carbon emissions even if only just for one day, if the majority of people (or ideally all people) took the day off of work and didn’t use their car, and if factories couldn’t operate because they had no workers?! I should take some tips from Greta Thunberg and just start solo-striking all alone… I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my job in the first week…

I was home this past weekend (well, Thursday-Saturday…) to get Tuna neutered.  The cost of the vet upstate is about 1/3 of what it is in the greater NYC area.  Totally work taking a couple of days off of work (I mean, what isn’t worth taking days off work???).  It was also nice to be home with just my parents and to enjoy some end-of-summer weather.

IMG_2958
Beautiful goldenrod everywhere… I love this time of year when everything turns shades of mustard and gold

IMG_2964
By my family’s woods in West Bainbridge

IMG_2951
My parents and Max walking out of our woods

I’m so happy I finally bit the bullet and took the days off to make the trip home and get Tuna neutered.  At least it’s done and over with now and he is pretty much back to normal.

 

IMG_3075
If you want to see more pics of the cats or of Tuna in his Handmaid’s Tale cone, here you go: instagram.com/peepsandtuna

IMG_3100
Because I can’t post a picture of one without posting the other (that would make me a bad mom…), here’s Mr. Peeper at his finest

IMG_2966
This probably won’t be here in the next 20 years if global warming continues unabated

IMG_2968
Sunset through the woods

Pictures never do real life or lighting justice sadly.  I cleaned out my closet a couple of weeks ago and found so many things that I bought with every intention of wearing in a specific outfit, and which have never seen the light of day.  The below tutu skirt is one of them…. I know tutu skirts are very SJP circa 2000’s Sex in the City, but It makes for some pretty fun outfits:

IMG_2753
Paired with my fave Hello Kitty Sweatshirt

IMG_3117
My favorite escape in Brooklyn – Greenwood Cemetery …

I made a really good vegetarian Bolognese with lentils last week, the recipe of which is based directly on my classic Bolognese recipe:

3576121A-A5E6-40CD-9C04-C381E53DE066 (1)

Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups of cooked lentils (brown or French) (roughly 1 and 1/2 cups dry lentils cooked in 3-4 cups of veggie stock, for flavor)
  • 1 box pasta of your choice (rigatoni, spaghetti, penne, linguini all work great)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a large sauce-pan)
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry, white wine (Pinot Grigio works well!)
  • 1 cup freshly shaved Parmesan (plus more to sprinkle over finished pasta)
  • 1 large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  •  1 Tbs. dried basil
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • Salt and pepper (add to desired taste)

IMG_5511.JPG

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pre-cook your lentils, boiling in veggie stock until tender (but not over-cooked or mushy, since they will finish cooking in the sauce!)
  • Set aside the lentils once cooked, and heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over a low-medium heat
  • Add in onions and cook until a yellow-y translucent color (about 6 minutes), stirring occasionally
  • Add in carrots and celery and continue to cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for another 5 min.
  • Add in garlic and continue to cook and stir, being careful not to burn garlic
  • Add in the already cooked lentils and cook for a minute over low-medium heat.
  • Add in the white wine and simmer for about 3 minutes
  • Add in the can of crushed tomatoes along with the granulated garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, dried basil and oregano, and crushed red pepper; stir together and reduce to low heat
  • Add in the small can of tomato paste and stir in thoroughly; continue to stir and cook over a low heat.
  • After cooking over low heat for another 10 minutes or so, add in the heavy cream and stir
  • Add in the Parmesan cheese and continue to stir and cook, making sure cheese is incorporated into the sauce

IMG_5514.JPG

  • Add in the fresh chopped parsley and stir
  • I advise taste-testing as you go along to ensure the sauce has a good balance – feel free to add more salt, pepper, pepper flakes, oregano/basil, or sugar if needed
  • Let the sauce continue to simmer over minimum heat and boil a large pot of heavily salted water for the pasta
  • Cook pasta according to cook time advised on packaging; once pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and either add to sauce pan, if large enough, or back to pot and then add the Bolognese sauce into the pot of pasta – stir well
  • Serve in bowls with freshly grated Parmesan over-top and a garnish of fresh parsley or fresh basil!

This dish is perfect for fall… super hearty, tasty, comforting and high in fiber (if you know what I’m saying….)

IMG_3134
Mushroom “burger” (aka, mushroom patty?) I made last night

Too lazy to write another recipe. Cheers.

 

 

 

Triggered: A Political Rant & I saw Korn and Alice in Chains

IMG_1465
Here’s a picture of the lovely cheese pizza I ate on Sunday, before I launch into a tirade about the state of this nation and you wonder why you’re ready this “food” blog

IMG_1464
Here is a picture of my Sunday evening vino at Huckleberry Bar, where I relaxed for a couple of hours before the real world kicked my ass on Monday morning.  You’ll probably need some vino yourself after readying this blog…. 

#TRIGGERED   Usually I HATE when people say they’re “triggered,” but tonight, it’s the only way to describe how I am feeling based on everything that’s going on in this world and out of my control.

It’s 11:05pm on a Wednesday night in August, 2019, and I am already worrying about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.  If Trump wins a second term, I am seriously convinced the entire government is rigged by the 1% (I mean, we already know it is, but…still….). I cannot continue to live in this nation as an American citizen, a nation that has become a disgrace among all of the other developed nations since November 2016.  My cat’s a$$hole would be a better president than Trump at this point in time. Furthermore, Lord knows, that in the year 2020, America is still not progressive enough (and certainly MUCH less progressive than we were even 10 years ago) to elect a woman as president of the United States.  At this point in time, I’m strongly Bernie or bust.  This country needs tax reform, gun reform, free health care, and better/free education for the masses.  We need someone who will lift of us up out of this dark spiral into which we’ve been dragged down for the last several years.

The whole Jeffrey Epstein scandal has made me sick to my stomach and furious since he was re-arrested back in July, and even more so since he “killed himself” last weekend.  I’ve been following this scandal since the first time he was convicted back in 2008.   I usually don’t believe in conspiracies, but I am quite certain that Epstein must have had the dirtiest of the dirt on a ring of high-profile pedophiles running our own government as well as others (hello Prince Andrew and Mohhamed Bin Salman… looking at you).  Dude was clearly murdered before he could spill the beans and create more issues within our government.  The government is the reason he got such a light sentence back in 2008 in the first place (Alexander Acosta…. all of the high-profile, government pedos involved back then).

I’m also sickened by the treatment of refugees and those seeking asylum or a better life for themselves and their families in this nation.  It’s a damn shame that in the year 2020, in America, our government is tearing innocent families apart, jailing both children and parents in deplorable conditions.

The government corruption, together with the ever increasing threat of destruction of environment and wildlife due to humanity has really brought me to a breaking point tonight.  My boyfriend just got home from work and told me he thinks Donald Trump will win a second term and it’s lit a fire I haven’t felt in months.   I am not being far-fetched when I say that I will have to pull a Hunter S. Thompson in the event that Trump is re-elected.  Either that, or I will have to move to Venice and live with my boyfriend’s parents, with or without him.  I can’t stay in this country that’s falling apart at the seams if there is no hope for the future.

I already assume we’ll all be dead, or at least in the midst of societal collapse, in the next 10-15 years given the impact of global warming, extreme weather, crop failure, destruction of top soil, plastic pollution, mass migration due to all of these factors, water shortages, etc..  I can’t just stay here as an American citizen and watch what used to be one of the greatest nations in the world with the most civil liberties slowly be ground into complete destruction beyond redemption by greedy corporations, corrupt government, and absolute ignorance and neglect in terms of saving what we have left of the natural world.  Instead, we have been turned against each other, the country has once again become rife with racism and sexism due to our esteemed leader and anti-right propaganda, we have to fear being shot as we go about our daily lives, not by ISIS, but by home-grown, white, domestic terrorist psychopaths…. this is no way to live.

Meanwhile, people keep eating factory-farm raised beef and processed chicken nuggets, throwing around plastic, and spraying chemicals on their lawns, with their phone in their hand 24/7, more concerned about the latest episode of the Kardashians, or with some celebrity’s tweet, than about taking what small steps they can to help save the Earth before it’s too late.  I am not perfect, FAR from it.  But at least I am AWARE and I am TRYING to help in whatever small way I can.  I saw some 10 year old girl throw a plastic bottle on the sidewalk yesterday and I almost lost my shit on her, but I knew her mom would have words with me/kick my ass if I reprimanded her child.  THIS is the world we live in… this is why people pollute and this is why people don’t give a fuck… they aren’t taught to care.

Anyhow…. before I self implode, let me pour myself a glass of wine to take some of the edge off and focus on something pleasant.  Like food.  Also, music.

I went to see Korn and Alice in Chains last Wednesday and they were everything I hoped for and then some.  Both bands honestly surpassed my expectations and Jonathan Davis of Korn was much hotter than I expected.  Oh, and somehow we were front and center!!!!!  Not sure how that happened…. but it was fucking awesome:

IMG_1235
Jerry Cantrell… up close and personal…. I can die happy now. 

IMG_1224
William DuVall – current lead singer of Alice in Chains.  Alice in Chains is one of my favorite bands and they sounded as good live as they do recorded… I am so happy we made the trek to Jones Beach for this concert

IMG_1243
Jonathan Davis in a kilt… that’s hot.  Also, this security dude is legit in every picture and video I took since I was in front of the stage… LOL. 

I’d have to say, apart from the perfect concert (and this one actually was PERFECT – right up there with NIN and Soundgarden in 2014), the other highlight of the day was getting back to NYC at 12:30am and getting empanadas at Empanada Mama on the Lower East Side because we were starving.

HOLY SHIT… if you haven’t been to Empanada Mama, you MUST GO.  Maybe we were starving from walking around all day, slightly drunk, and exhausted.  But damn, those empanadas were delicious and inspired me to try my hand at making my own the next day.  They have this one empanada that is off the hook called the “Viagra”.  It’s stuffed with shrimp and imitation crab and its beyond.  I have to go back to Empanada Mama soon.  The best part?  They’re open 24/7! Despite being open 24/7, it’s pretty nice inside with lots of seating, a full bar, good lighting, and decent decor.

IMG_1361 (1)
The Viagra empanadas were so good that when I woke up the next day, I was craving more and attempted to recreate them at home! 

IMG_1364

They turned out pretty good!  Not nearly as good as EM, but good for my first try and for making the dough from scratch.  I kind of want to get a part-time job at Empanada Mama so I can learn their secrets!

Last night, I made a vegetarian “sausage” and mushroom fettuccine dish, that was so good it fooled my boyfriend into thinking it was actually real meat (he had no idea it was a ‘veggie’ sausage).

IMG_1501

I’ll write the recipe for this one tomorrow.  Hopefully I won’t be feeling as triggered then.  LOL.

Easter Dinner – A Meal to Impress

IMG_7560I am really happy right now because I found a pair of my favorite Hollister boyfriend-style, super-low rise jeans, in mint condition for only $10.   This is the only thing “giving me life” (as the kids nowadays like to say…) on a Monday evening.  What a fucking steal!

My favorite light-wash, destroyed boyfriend jeans from Hollister (*which I have had for the past 5 years), I have literally worn to pieces. They were already “destroyed” when I bought them, but now the holes that they came with are basically the entire length of the jeans, and I’ve worn them so much that they are loose around the waist because every thread of elastic has been worn out. It’s a miracle I was able to find the same pair again since they’re no longer carried in stores. Thank God for second-hand, online retailers! It’s the small things in life….

IMG_7277
Baggin’ Saggin’ Barry right here – I’ve had these babies since 2014 and now, even with a replacement, I still can’t bear to throw them out.  They’re like my second skin – I’ve worn them to so many concerts, bars, parties, and just have so many good memories in them. I think I’ll keep them forever…. they’re like my security blanket.

I didn’t go home for Easter this year.  I hate missing family holidays… especially now that my parents are getting older, I’m getting older, and I’ve realized I am not and they’re not as immortal as I once upon a time thought when I was in my early twenties. It’s hard to go home for a “weekend” when you’re not off on Friday or Monday however, and therefore would either have to request off one of the aforementioned days, or take public transit and then come home same day.  Easter is a holiday that falls on a Sunday every year – it doesn’t make sense to not be granted the following Monday after off, even if it’s a religious holiday – travel time people!

I made do given the circumstances and prepared a delicious meal for two.  I know most people have an Easter ham or some sort of roast, but since It was only the two of us, and I’m still trying to refrain from eating land animals (***there have been a few slip ups when intoxicated) I decided to make seafood instead.  I’ve realized that everything looks fancier when it’s served over a puree or sauce, so in order to make this meal special for the holiday, I decided to make a split-pea puree to accompany the scallops.  I also made mussels in a white wine sauce, and a salad for some greens/fiber.

This is a meal to cook if you want to impress someone – whether it’s a significant other, your mother, your father, a good friend, or someone you really care about and generally just want to treat well.  It not only tastes fucking amazing, but it’s also a filling meal, which I find important, and the presentation is what makes it especially impressive when served in the comforts of your own home.

FOR THE SPLIT-PEA PUREE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of dried split-peas
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1 small Idaho or white potato (peeled and cut into cubes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen, green peas
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbs. heavy cream

IMG_7505

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat the olive oil over low-heat in a saucepan/small pot
  • Add in the minced garlic and cook over low heat for about a minute and a half
  • add in the celery, split peas, cubed potato, and the stock and raise the heat to medium-high
  • bring to a boil and cook until the peas and the potato are tender (you’ll need to taste test)
  • Add in the frozen peas and cook for another minute
  • at this point, most of the liquid should be absorbed, but not all of it! Some liquid is important for the process of blending… but you’ll be able to add more as necessaryIMG_7507
  • Once the peas are soft and the potato is cooked through, turn off the heat and let cool for a few minutes
  • Place contents of the pot into a blender, along with a dash of cayenne pepper and some salt and pepper

IMG_7508
Cooked mixture in the blender (pre-blending)

  • Blend on low-medium setting, until the consistency becomes thick and uniform
  • Add some heavy cream and/or more chicken stock as necessary (you’ll probably need a bit more liquid)
  • Make sure to taste-test to determine whether more salt, pepper, or cayenne pepper is needed
  • Puree should end up being a smooth, thick consistency

IMG_7514
Perfect consistency here… add more liquid as necessary

  • Set aside while you prepare the scallops and mussels
  • Please note:  I suggest doing the mussels and salad next and saving the scallops for last, since you’ll want to serve them hot.

FOR THE SALAD

  • I went basic AF for the salad here, so it’s pretty much just pure roughage
  • I used: Arugula, alfalfa sprouts, and grape tomatoes
  • For the dressing: 1/3 cup mayo, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, juice from one lemon, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 3 tsp. white vinegar, freshly ground black pepper – whisk together in small bowl and voila!

IMG_7528
Homemade salad dressing makes all the difference – if you have an aversion to mayo or want to be healthier, I’d suggest just using olive oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper, and/or some balsamic vinegar

FOR THE MUSSELS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 finely minced shallot
  • 2 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 3 cloves of finely minced garlic
  • 1 lb. (1 bag) of fresh mussels
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. thyme (dried or freshly chopped)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley
  • Toast to serve (tastes like heaven dipped in the mussel sauce!)

IMG_7523

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a wok or large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over low heat
  • Add in the minced shallots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute
  • Add in the bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and butter and cook for another minute
  • Add in the mussels and increase the heat to low-medium
  • As soon as you’ve added the mussels and turned up the heat, add in the wine!
  • Add in the fresh lemon juice
  • Cover with a lid and wait about 2 minutes or so, until you see the mussel shells opening
  • Add in the cream and fresh parsley and give a good stir
  • Add in some pepper and salt and give another good stir
  • Once mussels seem pretty opened, turn off burner and remove from heat – set aside

IMG_7526

IMG_7534 (1)
Hell yeah – the toast dipped in that sauce is heaven on Earth

FOR THE SCALLOPS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. fresh sea scallops (patted dry with paper towels… they MUST BE DRY to cook, excess moisture means they won’t brown at all)
  • 3 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. white wine
  • Split-pea puree
  • sprinkling of alfalfa sprouts

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pat the scallops dry with paper towels
  • Salt and pepper the scallops on both sides
  • Heat butter in a shallow, saucepan over low heat
  • Add in the garlic and cook over low heat for about 1 minute
  • Add in the scallops and increase the heat to low-medium
  • Cook for 2 minutes on each side (approximately 4 minutes in total)
  • sprinkle with lemon juice and white wine, lower heat and cook for another 30 seconds
  • remove from heat
  • re-heat the split pea puree (microwave or stove top)
  • Plate the split pea puree, and plate the scallops with sauce
  • Garnish with alfalfa sprouts and serve hot

IMG_7538
Perfection

And now I am hungry again sitting here writing about this meal… that’s how good it was!

I also did some painting this weekend:

IMG_7561
This one took a surprisingly happy turn, what with the yellow flowers and bright background… still not finished though

Tuna (the new kitten) is coming home this next weekend, and I think Mr. Peeper can sense that he’s about to no longer be the only child because he has been extra lovely:

IMG_7475

404CBE25-927A-46DC-BBA1-3AEF799CB553
Took Peeps for a nice, long stroller on Easter morning.

Cheers.

 

 

Eggplant Parm and My Undying Love for Malls

IMG_6603
Eggplant parm – something I truly love to eat and cook any time of the year

Things I don’t love:

  • Most things
  • Most people
  • Myself…JK (…but not really kidding)

Things I DO love:

  •  3$%#$%
  • Platform Heels
  • Wine
  • Hot tubs
  • Wine IN hot tubs
  • crop-tops
  • Fireplaces
  • Faux fur jackets
  • Snow, but only when it’s clean and white
  • Steak Tartare (I’m a heathen)
  • Eggplant Parm
  • Truffle (of the fungi variety, not the chocolate)
  • Malls…

Ah yes, the good ol’ American mall – a timeless institution! All of the stores a girl could ask for under one roof (listen – even if you’re extra fancy, there are malls with Chanel…); the smells of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels mixing with Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works, the fragrance counter of Macy’s and the food court lulling you into a false sense that everything in the world is good and peaceful.

I have a sick obsession with malls – I think it’s because I grew up going to the mall every weekend with my mom, and now the mall is basically the one place left that makes me feel a sort of comforting wash of nostalgia when I set foot in one – it’s like stepping back to the safety and pleasantry of childhood.   They’re always the same – which is what I really like the most I think.  Regardless of whether they’re high-end or middle-brow,  you always know what you’re getting.  There will be a food court, several chain restaurants, an H&M, Journey’s shoes, Sephora, Abercrombie, and two big department stores.  These days, a trip to the mall is a rare treat, since I live in NYC and do most of my shopping on line, or in person in brick-and-mortar stores around the city.  I usually don’t even end up buying anything in the mall to be honest, but I like walking around sniffing candles, reminiscing about my college stint piercing ears at Claire’s, and of course, doing a walk-through of Hollister.  How could I not?!  I worked for Hollister for almost four years, so I like to walk through the store to relive my best memories while taking in the scent of SoCal…. it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  What can I say? Can’t go wrong with a pair of $25 boyfriend jeans…

Anyhow, sometimes it’s really nice to drive out of NYC and go spend a couple of hours at a mall upstate, or in Long Island or New Jersey just to GTFO of the rat race that is life in NYC.  Escaping to a mall for a couple of hours is like stepping back to a time when life was simple, and all I cared about was weather my mom would by me that $60 sweater from Abercrombie or sparkly skirt from Limited Too.  There is also something to be said for the comfort of chain restaurants.  Living in NYC you have the best of the best and all of the variety in the world, but sometimes it’s just as satisfying to get Ruby Tuesday’s, or my new favorite: Zin Burger.

Anyhow… apart from malls, &$%28!,  and cheese, one of my other favorite things is eggplant parmigiana.  If I go to an Italian restaurant and eggplant parm is on the menu, you can be almost 98% certain that that is what I will be ordering.  One of my very favorite eggplant parms in the city, is the one served at Fiat Cafe.  If you’ve never been to Fiat Cafe in Nolita, you should go.  It’s on Mott Street between Spring Street and Kenmare.  The prices are really affordable, the food is amazing, the servers are always friendly, and its cozy.  It’s not fine dining by any means, but for a cozy date night, or intimate dinner with a couple of friends or small family, it’s perfect.  They also do brunch and lunch, though I’ve never been before 4pm.

Everything on the menu is fantastic.  Their meatballs are honestly some of my favorite in the city, apart from D.O.C. Wine Bar, in Williamsburg.  Honestly, my boyfriend and think the meatballs served at Fiat Cafe are not made in house and in fact, we believe they’re of the frozen, store-bought variety.  I am not 100% certain, so don’t quote me on this – but they taste store bought, but like in the most delicious, fucking way you can dream of.  It helps that the marinara they have is perfect.

Apart from the eggplant parm, which is a substantial size and dripping in hot mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, the layers of eggplant are super thin, and fried and then baked to perfection – it melts in your mouth.  It is absolutely perfect, and I’m salivating just thinking of it.  The hairs on my arms are standing straight up, because that shit is SO GOOD, it gives me goosebumps, the same way a good song or good cocktail would.

If I had to pick my favorite eggplant parm upstate, I’d say the Spot restaurant/diner in Binghamton has pretty excellent eggplant parm… or at least they used to… I haven’t been in like 10 years.

Ever since having Fiat Cafe eggplant parm about 6 years ago, I’ve been trying to recreate it when ever I make my own eggplant parm – and this weekend, I’d say I can pretty damn close.

IMG_6605
A cross-section of my masterpiece

The key, I’ve learned through trial and error, is to NOT use any bread crumbs at all, and to use substantial amount of oil when frying (deep-fry style)  The eggplant is first dipped in beaten egg, and then instead of going into breadcrumbs, it just goes into a mixture of flour (Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder) before going into the hot oil.

The marinara sauce is also important – if you’re not making your own, you’ll want to splurge on a good jar of sauce (Rao’s, Meatball Shop, or Victoria brands are all really good quality when going with store bought). You don’t want a sauce that is too sweet (which many brands are – I’m looking at you Classico and Newman’s Own…), or chunky.

It’s also important to cut the eggplant length-wise (long ways, instead of horizontally into rounds), and fairly thin (although, not TOO thin, otherwise you’ll be frying all night… and this is already a time consuming dish to make).

57499876218__64964CA5-489D-4886-A0E6-0CF8B0C16097
Layer’s upon layers of fried eggplant, marinara, and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese… this is right before topping with the final layer of sauce and cheese and going into the oven!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two medium-sized eggplant, or one really large eggplant
  • 3-4 eggs, well beaten in a bowl
  • 3 cups of bleached baking flour
  • 2 cups of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (aka Paremsan cheese)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • Finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil, or a combination of the two
  • 1 ball (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella, or 1 bag pre-shredded mozzarella
  • Homemade marinara or large jar (or two smaller jars) quality marinara sauce (feel free to spice it up with arrabiata sauce or any other variety within reason)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Wash and dry your eggplant(s) ans slice vertically (length-wise) into thin slices (1/4 an inch or 2cm, maybe?  I don’t have a ruler on me…sorry)
  • Beat 3-4 eggs in a shallow bowl; beat well enough that you can’t differentiate between yoke and egg white – should be consistent
  • In a separate, shallow bowl or container, mix together the flour, 1 cup of finely grated Parmesan, 1 TBS. granulated garlic, and salt and pepper to taste (be generous)
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and set aside a shallow casserole dish or baking pan
  • Cover the bottom or a frying pan/large sauce pan with enough oil that the bottom is actually totally covered (this will be a lot… I didn’t say this was a healthy dish 😉  ) and turn to a medium-low heat
  • Next, you’ll dip the slices of eggplant one by one, first into the egg wash, and then lightly coat in flour
  • cook over medium-low heat about 1 minute on each side: the flour should brown ever so slightly – just a nice golden color
  • Be careful NOT TO BURN or get the oil too hot, otherwise everything in your house/kitchen/hair/clothes will smell like a deep-fryer (Believe me, I’ve been there…. makes for a terrible headache)
  • It’s a process you must finesse, cooking, turning, battering at the same time – obviously you cannot fit all of the eggplant slices in the pan at one time, so you’ll have to get the rhythm right (don’t worry… it takes time.  Practice makes perfect)
  • You’ll want to either set the finished pieces of fried eggplant directly into the baking pan, if you have a good system down between frying, turning, and creating the layers within the pan, or, if you are not that skilled yet, just set aside all of the finished fried eggplant and then you will build the layers when you’re done!!!
  • After you have a layer of fried eggplant that covers the baking dish, you’ll top with an even mix of mozzarella slices and grated Parmesan, followed by a light layer of sauce
  • Once your sauce jar is half empty (if you’re using jarred sauce), add some water (enough to almost fill the jar again), and shake vigorously – most marinara out of the jar will be too thick by itself to create a moist and juicy eggplant parm – so adding water is a necessary step!
  • Keep layering until you’ve used up all of your fried eggplant layers (in my experience, you’ll end up with 3-4 layers of eggplant and subsequent toppings, depending on how thin you’ve sliced your eggplant)
  • Add a final topping-layer of marinara, cheese, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley and put into the oven
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes until cheese has melted and is browning ever so slightly

57500179395__74572C8F-8DE8-4D37-88FA-8D08035AF690
Out of the oven and left to cool for about 15 minutes – ready to serve!

  • Once the eggplant comes out of the oven, let it cool/sit on the counter for about 15 minutes – otherwise it will be too sloppy to serve
  • This is one of those dishes that almost tastes even better in the following days, so enjoy your leftovers… you should have plenty – unless you’re cooking for a family of four or more!

Enjoy 😀

Oh, also, in other news – despite what negative things my family has to say, I can’t fucking wait for my kitten (Lord Simon Pier Tuna) to arrive.  Mr. Peeper has been so hard up for a friend that he now waits by the door when he knows our neighbor across the hall is taking her dog out.  He sits by our door and meows until we let him into the hall so he can go sniff and greet Quincy (the neighbor’s little dog)… that’s how much he wants a friend/brother.  I pray he gets along with/likes another cat for a friend as much as he likes the neighbor’s dog.  My poor boy.

OH . MY . GOD…

In other, other news – while I just had my back turned typing the above paragraph, I heard Peeper (speak of the Devil) licking something on the counter behind me, and turned around to find him licking olive oil out of the sauce pan I just readied to make Bolognese sauce… AWESOME.  He’s probably going to shit his brains out now. Fabulous.

15D9D4F5-75D0-47B5-B8D9-6BB6BEB8F52C
My pride and joy

 

 

We Eat Because We Are Emo, and We are Emo Because We Eat: Vegan BALLZ and Anger Issues

IMG_6568
A joyous week indeed… disdain, chest-ne, bac-ne, LIFE IS GOOD! 

Before we get into the food talk, I have to have a brief rant (actually, two, brief rants):  I’m getting a second cat, and apparently no one in my family supports that decision.  I’m not sure why, considering I’m a more responsible pet owner than anyone else I’ve EVER known.  I’m under the impression that they think that I’m going to become a cat lady or something.  Like, that’s NEVER gonna happen, guys.  First off, I’m far too vain and concerned with outward appearances to ever let myself go (i.e. becoming morbidly obese with bad teeth and wearing purple tracksuits) and/or to walk around smelling like cat piss whilst wearing a sweatshirt that’s embroidered with cats.

Secondly, I would never become a cat hoarder, nor would I ever even consider owning more than two cats, MAX,  at any given time – not even if I had a huge house and a yard and it was an actual possibility.   I don’t think I’ve exhibited any “cat lady” signs that should make them worry that that’s the road I’m headed down either.  My apartment is fucking immaculately clean, I have plenty of friends with whom I socialize with on a weekly basis, and I am in a long-term, stable relationship. Like WTF?  I’ve also been lectured: “what about when you have real kids?  What if your kid is allergic, or you don’t have time for the pets?” To this I say (1) Every other degenerate parent I know that already had pets when they had a baby seemed to make it work, (2) I would probably give away a kid that I’ve only had for two weeks before a pet that I’ve had for 5 years, and (3) my cat is already more high maintenance than a bald baby who sleeps 18 hours a day will ever be, so I’d still have plenty of time to care for him (them).

I am also the best cat-parent I know.  Like, honestly, who else spends two hours a day brushing their cat, pampering him and playing with him – even on the nights I come home dog tired from working late? One of the major reasons I’m getting a second cat is because I want Mr. Peeper to have a friend and playmate to keep him company during the afternoon.  Not that I’m not home EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT and make it a point to stay home when I can on weekends just to be with him.  Most cat owners I know think that because they have cats and not dogs, they can leave their cat(s) unattended for an entire weekend or longer.   I have never left my cat alone for more than a 12-hour stretch and I never would, because I think that’s being a negligent pet owner.   I’m so fired up right now…. You’d think I just told them I’d eloped with a carnie I had known for only 24-hours in Vegas ,or like, quit my job and was moving to Puerto Rico with a circus worker.

It’s also not like I’m having a kid anytime soon (or possibly ever, at this rate), so why not get a second pet?!  Anyhow, this is Simón Pier Tuna… a.k.a TUNA:

img_6579.png
Meet Tuna! He will be coming home to join the family at the end of April!

Sorry everyone, I have to keep ranting, because it’s MY FOOD blog, and I’ll rant about whatever I want, even if it’s non-food related.

ANOTHER RANT (*VERY WOMANLY RANT AHEAD* – You’ve been warned if you’re a guy):

I love being a woman, mainly because I like wearing makeup and heels without judgment, and also because I can’t imagine myself being a man.  Despite all of the advantages of being a woman (who am I kidding – WHAT advantages? Discrimination in the workplace? The expectation that you’ll handle all of the domestic duties on top of full-time work? LOL), there are also many disadvantages. There are times when being a woman sucks. Also, the state of healthcare and coverage in this country sucks hard on any-given-day.  The United States is essentially the only developed nation WITHOUT universal healthcare… and that blows exponentially.   Like, even with insurance, the healthcare in this country SUCKS.   I already have an extremely high deductible given my annual salary – my deductible is 4.6% of my annual salary.  For those of you in countries with universal healthcare, a ‘deductible’ is the amount of money you must pay out-of-pocket before insurance even kicks in to cover any percentage at all of your medical bills… yeah, it’s confusing.  It took me until this year to fully understand how deductibles actually work (or, should I say, DON’T work).

Anyhow, when my insurance switched over to my new job in January, the birth control I have been on for the last 8 years of my life was no longer covered.  It had been 100% covered (FREE) with my last insurance.  In my opinion, all birth control should be free – it’s preventative care and could save insurance companies tons of money in the long run. Anyhow, I digress…. with my new insurance, for the SAME birth control medication, I would end up having to pay $500 out of pocket every 3 months.  Guys, this is the cost of my medication WITH INSURANCE.  WTF? ! It took me three different birth controls to find one that actually met my needs and didn’t completely fuck my body up when I started taking this pill 8 years ago.  I tried three other pills before I ended up with this one, and each one had terrible effects ranging from weight-gain, Dolly Parton-sized breasts, nausea, headaches, etc..   I know this sounds like some “Alice in Wonderland” magic mushroom shit (one makes you tall, one makes you small), but I’m serious. This is the only one that worked for me, without terrible effects.

I called my doctor as soon as I found out my normal medication wasn’t covered, and decided tried another one that WAS fully covered by my new insurance, which the doctor assured me was similar, and I gained 5 lbs. on the 3 days I was on it, and cried over everything for no reason.  At that point, I just threw all three months work of it away and said ‘f*ck it.’  I am too old to deal with this shizzle.  I have no intent of having a kid either, if anyone is wondering. I’m just also not dealing with unnecessary weight gain and mood swings at this point in my life.

I just can’t keep playing Goldilocks and trying to find the perfect size chair or the right temperature porridge at this age, you know?  I knew what actually worked for my body, and it’s been taken away due to America’s fabulous healthcare coverage.  Anyhow, I was feeling confident and happy in my decision to be rid of hormonal contraceptives, since I know that they aren’t that great for you in the long run.  Now, my skin is going haywire and I’m like psychotic.   I’m breaking out all over my body – my chest, my back, my jawline, my neck… like WTF?!  Is there no winning in this world?! Also, I’ve been way more emotional in the last two months than I have been in the last 8 years. I am not OK with this.  I don’t know what else to do except to ride it out or order the only other pill that has the same ingredients my old one did, which is only available in Europe.

Anyhow.  I’m done bitching.

I made some awesome vegan, ‘meatless’ ballz for a potluck work party I had this week.  We have a couple of vegans/vegetarians in the office, so I figured I would just make something everyone could enjoy instead of making both vegan and meat.

IMG_6556
These are similar to the vegetarian ballz featured in an earlier blog post, but totally free from animal products

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa (white, red, mixed, any color quinoa is good)
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup Mozzarella-vegan (soy-based) ‘cheese’ (can’t really call this shiz cheese …)
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbs. freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt/pepper/granulated garlic to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • THIS FIRST STEP YOU CAN DO A DAY OR TWO IN ADVANCE:
  • Cook 1 cup dried quinoa in about 3 cups vegetable stock – add more stock or water as necessary, until all water is gone and quinoa is cooked through, and light and fluffy
  • Once the quinoa is cooked, set aside to cool or until ready to use

IMG_6543

IMG_6545

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Drain and rinse the 2 cans of black beans and lay out onto a baking sheet to dry and go into the over
  • Put the tray of beans into the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until they are dry and begin to crack on the outside
  • While the beans are in the over, chop your onion, garlic, and fresh herbs

IMG_6553

IMG_6544 (1)
This is what your black beans should look like when they come out of the oven

  • In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic over low heat, until cooked-through (add the onion first and cook until translucent, and then the garlic last and cook for another couple of minutes) – set aside once cooked.

IMG_6548

  • In a blender, pulse the fake mozzarella cheese until it is crumbly
  • Next, add in the dried black beans into the blender along with the olive oil, and pulse until crumbly
  • Dump this mixture into a large mixing bowl
  • Add in your cooked onion/garlic mixture
  • Add in the cooked quinoa
  • Add in the seasonings (chopped basil, chopped parsley, salt/pepper, dried pepper flakes, dried oregano, granulated garlic, soy sauce)
  • Add in 3-4 Tbs. of the tomato paste
  • Mix everything together with your hands

IMG_6550
Everything added together and partially mixed – I threw in more tomato paste because it needed more moisture! The great thing about making ‘meatless’ balls, is that you can taste test as necessary without worrying about salmonella!!! Taste away!

IMG_6555
In-motion shot from my IG story… sorry!  Once the mixture is a good texture (i.e. holds together when you roll it, but not too dry), you will roll into meatball sized balls 

  • Roll the mixture into golf-ball sized balls once it is the right consistency and flavor
  • Place the balls on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe dish to bake; cook for 30 minutes or so
  • You may have to rotate the balls half-way through cooking, to ensure even cooking on all sides
  • Serve with your favorite tomato sauce, alone, or over pasta!

DC7D8958-4D5C-4C42-82A1-8BCF74ED6FFE
Not as good as turkey… but I’m a heathen by nature and it’s hard to change my tastes

After I slaved away making these balls, I worked a 10 hour day and came home to make myself some ratchet ramen:

57482520828__689FA599-ECDA-46CA-BD94-DEA2FA1E3546
Now we’re talking … 

Once again I basically haven’t slept all week.  Today I let my alarm go off at 8 minute intervals over the course of 1.5 hours…. who does that?  For the amount of time I continued to have interrupted sleep, I could have just re-set the alarm another hour out and gotten some solid sleep.

I cannot wait to sleep this weekend. What’s new? Oh well… what do you expect from a future cat lady?

 

 

 

Bad Luck, Veggie Ballz, and Elton John

Another week has come and gone, and what a week it was! I saw Elton John perform Saturday night with my mom and sister at Barclay’s Center which was literally a dream come true.  I am so happy I had the opportunity to see him on his farewell tour since I have wanted to see him since I was 12.  I know what you’re thinking – what kind of weirdo, freak 12 year old is obsessed with Elton John? Me.  That’s who.

I found an Elton John “Greatest Hits” cassette tape the summer that I was 12 in the upstairs bedroom of my Grandma’s house, and she said I could have it – which is what my grandma always said whenever I found something I liked or wanted in her house.  The tape had belonged to my uncle Bill, who had passed away six years earlier due to complications of AIDS.  I brought that tape home and listened to it front and back and on repeat all summer long.  I memorized all of the lyrics to every song and found myself wanting to know more about the life of Elton John, since all of his songs seemed to be deeply personal and I, as a deeply emotional, 12 year old girl entering puberty, related to them on so many levels (or so I thought at the time…). Little did I know, I would end up relating much more once I had actually experienced real life…

I was never particularly close to my uncle Bill when he was alive since I was young and I didn’t see him that often. When he passed away, his life (and then subsequently his death) was kind of shrouded in mystery to me.  He was an openly gay man and brought boyfriends home to my very-Catholic-grandmother’s house for holidays etc..  No one had an issue with how he lived his life, but no one ever really talked about why he died – in fact, I didn’t find out until I was much, much older.  I do remember making him a ‘get well’ card when he was sick with a picture of Marilyn Monroe that I drew on it, which is pretty awesome in retrospect… he really loved that.  I also remember a couple of times he took me grocery shopping with him when he went to the store for my grandma, and all of the ladies would coo over me and over him pushing me in the shopping cart, and he seemed to eat that shit right up. My memories of him are very few.

Anyhow, I digress.  The point I am getting at, is that I finally felt some sort of connection to my uncle through this shared love of Elton John music. I was only 7 when he died, and grew up feeling like I really missed out on a relationship with him.  As I’ve grown older and heard some of the stories relayed from other family members about my uncle’s love of partying and the practical jokes he liked to play on people, I’ve also realized that perhaps we have much more in common than just the mutual love of Elton John :p I think we would have gotten on quite well were he still alive.

IMG_6267.JPG
Thank you mom 🙂 (even though you don’t know this blog exists)

It really does mean so much to me that my mom, who I’m pretty sure was quite concerned with the fact that her 12 year old daughter was obsessed with Elton John, bought me these tickets. I don’t think I can thank her enough or tell her how much it really means, but I will try regardless.  The concert was a solid three hours of Elton John entertaining – singing, playing the piano, and talking to the audience about his music and his life.  It was awesome.  HE was AWESOME.  Such a good singer and piano player, even in his 70s.  He played ALL of my favorite songs (minus ‘Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word’), which really surprised me.  I didn’t think he would play ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ or ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues.’  The concert was surreal.

I finally filed my taxes yesterday… all I can say is ‘someone please come put me out of my misery.’  It ended up being worse than I thought.  I legit think I’m going to be destitute forever unless I start stripping or something.  I really can’t catch a break in this life.  I also had a severe case of cystitis last week, having not had it in like 4 years.  I was sitting at work on Thursday morning when it started to feel like someone was beating my kidneys with a baseball bat.  By the end of the day I knew I was totally f*cked for many more reasons which I won’t elaborate on here – let’s just say if you’ve ever had it, you know what I’m talking about.  Brutal.  I don’t know how I made it through the work day.

I’m back to normal now (as normal as I’ll ever be), and trying to figure out what to look forward to now that EJ concert is over.  You know when something seems so far away, and then before you know it, it’s over?  I’m the same way with vacations, parties, etc. – I just look forward to something for so long and put all of my stock into it, and then once it’s over, I’m so emo and empty inside.  I remember my mom got tickets to this concert last February for my birthday, and I kept thinking “wow, that’s so far away!”  Well, here we are, over a year later, and now it’s over.  I guess I’ll just look forward to paying off my taxes and being poor now and hopefully getting shredded for summer. JK… but not really. What else????

IMG_6308
Vegetarian lentil “meatballs” in homemade vodka sauce

I used to make these balls all the time and haven’t in a while.  It’s honestly easier to just make fish, seafood, or pasta than it is to try to create a ‘meatball’ without meat.  These balls are time consuming, but totally worth it if you have the time, or if you just cook the lentils in advance, so that they’re ready to make into ballz when the time comes!  This dish is super healthy, super filling, packed with protein, and if you’re anything like me, will also make you super bloated for a solid two days (I love legumes… but my gastrointestinal tract begs to differ).  Whatever… it’s choc full of fiber, delicious, and cruelty-free… it’s worth being bloated.

I made the same vodka sauce I made last week, since it’s a real hit in this house.  You can find the recipe HERE by scrolling down.  These balls also match well with any store-bought or homemade marinara, or pesto. I guarantee you that if you cook this dish for someone (whether they’re a vegetarian or not), they’re going to love these ballz and be very impressed.

INGREDIENTS (FOR THE BALLZ):

  • 1 cup dry (uncooked), brown (“french”) lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (you can also use beef, but then it’s not really vegetarian)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (or carrots, if you’re in a pinch – which I was when I made these… mushrooms are better!)
  • 1/3 finely chopped yellow or white onion
  • 3 cloves finely minced garlic
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2  cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • ***Sauce of your choice*** (tomato/marinara work best!)
  • ***Pasta of your choice to serve with***

IMG_6299
The lentils before cooking – these babies take about 20-25 minutes at a rolling boil to cook through

DIRECTIONS:

  • Cook the lentils in the vegetable stock until soft; this means cooking for 20 – 25 minutes at a rolling  boil… taste test to make sure they’re soft and all liquid is absorbed.
  • While the lentils boil, in a large saucepan, add 1 Tbs. of olive oil, and cook the minced onions, garlic, and mushrooms (or carrots, if you went with carrots)… cook until onions are translucent and veggie is cooked through:

IMG_6303
I used carrots, but mushrooms are honestly preferable.  I wasn’t thinking when I did my groceries earlier in the day.

After the lentils are cooked and liquid has been absorbed, dump into a large mixing bowl and let cook until malleable (should be ready to handle in 5 minutes or so)

IMG_6300
Cooked lentils should be free of excess liquid, soft, and edible.

  • Mix the remainder of ingredients (apart from the olive oil – which you will use to fry the balls in) into the bowl with the lentils:

IMG_6305
Looks like one egg here  because the other one is hiding – you will need 2 eggs if you want your balls to be moist! 

  • Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly and by hand.
  • Heat the remaining olive oil (plus more as needed) in a large saucepan over low-medium heat.
  • Form the balls by hand, packing and rolling the mixture into golf-ball sized balls, and dropping into hot oil

IMG_6307
Lightly brown on all sides over low-medium heat.  Unlike actual meat, these balls will lose their shape if they are not lightly fried/crisped on all sides.

  • Rotate the balls so as to lightly brown/crisp on all sides… these balls will fall apart if you simply plunk them into hot sauce, whereas balls made from actual meat will be fine to cook by submerging into boiling sauce, these will not.
  • Once balls are browned on all size, add into sauce, or set aside, and then top your finished pasta with the balls and sauce.

IMG_6311
Bon appetit, bitches