Monday, April 27, 2009

Birthday goodies!

My friend Julia and I had our joint birthday party Saturday night, with a mustache/unibrow theme (the majority of guests sported either a mustache and or a unibrow, mine were made from red glitter)

We sort of like like creepy female reincarnations of John Waters and Divine here.

Anyhow, Julia's girlfriend Syreeta is a pro baker and cake decorator, and my dear friend Vally Val (a frequent AITBS contributor) is also an accomplished home baker, so we had good peeps in our corner.

This is a fruit mosaic cake depicting an owl that Syreeta made Julia, who has a fondness for owls. She also made a "parfait bucket" (not shown) full of stuff leftover from making the cake.

This was the delicious, from scratch sponge cake Vally Val made and I decorated with whipped cream and strawberries and blackberries. (No less than three people exclaimed "you made you own birthday cake?" as if I were some kind of Dickensian orphan. First of all, I didn't bake it, and secondly, I wanted to decorate it myself. So there). It was hella delicious. In the background you can see the plate full of delicious "savory cheesecake" that Syreeta whipped up as well. I don't know what all the went into it other than it had a roasted red pepper and facon topping, and a cheez-it crust but it exceedingly good.

Syreeta was also genius enough to make mustache cookies. Some of you may remember her Liberace cookies from an earlier post. I love the coconut "hair."

These pics were taken by Leda because a certain party guest who will remain nameless totally deleted all the pics from my camera by "accident." A tragic accident indeed!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Awesome chef tip

Dating a chef is a double-edged knife, if you will- one one hand he's always telling me I chop things wrong, on the other hand, he can show me how to chop things right.

The one tip that he's given me that's been invaluable is peeling fresh ginger with the tip of a spoon. It works way better than any other technique I've tried and means I'm way more likely to use fresh ginger in my food and beverages. Add a microplaner and I'm in heaven.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Photos of stuff I ate

My resolution, as a food blogger, is to take more pictures of food, instead of just writing about it since I am now the owner of two cameras (when it rains, it pours!) Well, plus the one built into my laptop. But here's the thing- does photographing your meal detract from the experience of eating, or add to it? I'm not sure.

Here's a picture of the brunch I ate on my last day in Cleveland:

"Creme brulee" french toast that had a sort of candied orange flavored sweet cream cheese, sprinkled with candied nuts, home fries, bacon and two of Andrew's "fried scrambled eggs" fritters that made me feel ill all day long (bad frying oil wrecks me). Still the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland is a great spot for brunch, but get there after 1, when they can legally sell the hard booze (they had to modify my coffee drink since they can't legally sell vanilla vodka before 1pm).

This is my friend Andrew's British crocodile leather flask that he is exceedingly proud of. I asked him if using crocodile leather was illegal and he said that they farm them for this purpose. Barbaric yet fascinating.

Chocolates from Cleveland's Lilly. My favorite was the "After Midnight," the round cocoa coated one- bitter chocolate with stout. I am a sucker for a traditional bitter truffle.

Back in Chicago, here's today's lunch:

Rye toast w/ cream cheese and cucumbers, soft boiled eggs with salt and pepper. Eating this alternately makes me feel british, or elderly, but it's a nice simple lunch regardless.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stuff I ate in Cleveland

A Ramos Gin Fizz at the Velvet Tango Room, Andrew had an Old Fashioned

At the West Side Market:

A Belgian Liege waffle, which is made from a dough containing pearl sugar that melts and caramelizes on the surface
Dark chocolate dipped marshmallows on a skewer
Lemon peel, mango ginger and blueberry stilton cheeses
An Italian Sausage sandwich with grilled peppers and onions, dijon mustard and barbecue sauce

Most of this stuff was shared w/ Andrew.

In Amish Country:

Cheese curds. Mmmmmm.
Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer.
Coffee spiked with rum from Andrew's flask.
Stale maple candy.

At the Hickory Inn, AKA "The Hick":

A fried fish sandwich with curly fries (also shared with Andrew)
Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold Beer. Only $1.75 for a mug!

At Andrew's house:

Baguette with sweet butter
A salad of blanched kale, cucumbers tomatoes and greek yogurt (that I made)
Soyaki marinated chicken strips with basmati rice and peanut satay sauce

At La Cave:

Dogfish Head Aprihop (apricot IPA, possibly my favorite new beer)

Brunch at the Beachwood Ballroom:

Boozy coffee
"Creme Brulee" french toast w/ orange flavored creamcheese and candied nut sprinkles
home fries
Deep fried scrambled eggs with curry mayo (hm)

At Lucky's:

Turkey sandwich
Vivienne Provence tea that has lavender and rose petals
A Lilly truffle containing bacon and maple butter

I also bought a pink silk tie, victorian schoolmarm shoes, a coffee service (creamer and sugar bowl on a tray), a Martin Denny exotica album, stockings, body butter, an Amish romance novel, an Amish shotglass and probably some other crap.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

bacon blanket!

My boyfriend Christo made this for a libertarian tax protest and gave it to me as a present afterwards. It's pretty fucking amazing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

caviar inari

So it's been way too long since I've updated (despite the fact that I was functionally unemployed through February). In recent news, I've started boning dating a corporate chef, which is great because he doesn't work restaurant hours but he has access to great ingredients and cares about food as much as I do.

We had a living room Japanese food picnic last night- I made miso soup, hiya yakko (chilled tofu w. ginger, green onions and lemon soy sauce), rappini w. sesame sauce, natto (fermented soybeans) with kimchee which my bf tried and hated (most people find it unpalatable but I like it cos I'm weird), pickles, gyoza and two kinds of inari:

(I have a new digital camera that makes everything blue. I'll figure it out eventually).

He seasoned the rice on the red inari with a sauce he crafted from red lumpfish caviar (he brought me a full jar and it was too salty for me to enjoy straight), lemon juice, egg yolk, olive oil and garlic, and although I was initially dubious, it was really fucking good.

Of course he got all hardcore and garnished it too. I heart food industry people.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Accidentally got a box full of these included in an order of cookies from Alliance. I can only wonder about the group of people who were disappointed to get a box full of normal ones.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wash your mouth with Chocolate

I'm addicted to chocolate. And I'm very picky about the chocolate I eat. I rarely eat anything below 70% cacao, and I'm frustrated by how hard it is to find dark chocolate with nuts or other flavors mixed in. I got excited when I discovered that Jade Chocolates has a cinnamon ylang ylang coconut flavored bar. So I bought it, and I tasted it. Oddly sweet and mild, and then suddenly I feel like I've eaten a bar of soap. I never really registered what the ylang ylang smell was in fancy soaps, but now I know. It's exactly like how this chocolate tastes. Uuughh! Some weird flavor combinations should be avoided.