Thursday, December 20, 2007

Totally Lazy Last-minute Holiday Shopping Guide

Last night I was shopping for spatulae at the Brooklyn Kitchen. I asked the owner what else I should pick up for my mom for Christmas and she said, "Egg pants!!" Wow, egg pants? It's really the gift for the cook who has everything. Here's some other ideas for Christmas gift housewares, from HSW to you.

Heart-shaped Egg Mold (tell the eggs to drop their pants and get in the pan)

Dear Diary Flask in a Box

Naked Men in Oven Mitts Magnets

Wine Glass Holder Necklace

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cocktail Party Turned Animal House and a Breakfast Miracle

I tried to have a classy holiday cocktail party -- cranberry-pear bellinis, artichoke dip, crudites, bourbon-pecan truffles, the works! And what happens?

Untitled from KneeniG on Vimeo.

My guy friends end up shotgunning tall boys in my kitchen, and the cops show up on a noise complaint. Hey-o!

After all this mayhem, I woke up Sunday "morning" sometime around 1pm having just dreamed a wonderful dream about the most delicious breakfast. I imagined a poached egg sitting atop a bed of creamy grits, smothered in hollandaise sauce and served to me in a stemmed dessert dish. "Wow," I thought, "that would be delicious. I will have to try making that when I'm not so hungover." I started to imagine it as the signature item in the cookbook I will publish some day.

I met a friend in Fort Greene for brunch around 2pm at this fantastic French place iCi. The restaurant specializes in local ingredients and incidentally is owned by former reality TV guy Laurent Saillard, from Bravo's The Restaurant. Well, what to my wondering eyes did appear on the menu? Poached Eggs with Grits and Truffle Sauce. When it arrived, the truffle sauce turned out to a more elegant sort of hollandaise sauce -- it was the breakfast from my dream (minus the dessert dish)!! Friends, it was a breakfast miracle.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 3

It's a special Christmas episode of Rock and Roll Recipe Radio, and I am joined in the kitchen by my friend Anna. She makes the hot toddys while I mix the cookie dough, we both lick the mixers, and I handle the balls. I mean shaping the cookies into balls. Here's the holiday playlist:

The Wedding Present - Step Into Christmas
Smoking Popes - O Holy Night
The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song
The Flaming Lips - Christmas at the Zoo
The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
Coldplay - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 3 - Dark Chocolate/White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Decorating with Wrapping Paper

Success with a decorating project! I wanted to frame two Audubon bird prints I found at an antique shop recently. I happened to have two metal Ikea frames with concert posters I was ready to retire, but the frames were way too large for the delicate little prints. Inspiration struck! Off to my favorite card and gift shop I went in search of some nice wrapping paper, and I was happy to find this antique-looking paper with shades of green that play well off the prints. After that, it was a cinch to cut the paper to fit the frame and tape the bird prints down in the center. Ta-da!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Turning Japanese (or Thai, or whatever, isn't it all the same?)

Okay, that was not actually my attitude when I decided to make a Vietnamese-style Thanksgiving side dish for my cousin's Chinese exchange student. I was just thinking Asian fusion, people. Does anyone really believe that this nice college girl from Shanghai would really be offended by my contribution of David Chang's beloved Momofuku roasted brussels sprouts to our otherwise pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner? My mom told me Li Ting was a vegetarian, so I simply thought I'd make a veggie side dish with a little spicy kick that might appeal to the visiting exchange student. It's not like I was going to make a speech after the grace explaining how I welcome her to our country and please accept this gift of roasted brussels sprouts in the style of your people. I just love Momofuku's sprouts and wanted very much to eat them myself.

Leading up to Thanksgiving dinner at my folks' house in Chicago I was also starting to imagine the dinner scene from Sixteen Candles where Chinese exchange student Long Duk Dong is perplexed by the quiche and grandpa says, "You don't spell it, you eat it!" Only grandpa would be my dad saying something vaguely, though unintentionally, offensive about Asian people (like calling them "oriental"), and Molly Ringwald would be played by my best friend whose family was joining us for dinner and who was celebrating her birthday that same day.

As it turned out, Li Ting couldn't join us after all, and my friend's birthday was impossible to forget thanks to a massive Mayflower cake she baked for the dual occasion. And I'm not too sure the members of my meat and potatoes eating family cared much for my fish-sauce soaked sprouts, but dammit I liked them!

(Yes, those are little pilgrims made out of Teddy Grahams)

In other Asian cooking news, last night I cooked up a dish of ginger soy salmon with coconut chili spinach. It did a miracle on clearing out my stuffy nose and throat, but word to the wise-- after working with Thai chili paste and cutting up chili peppers, be careful what sensitive body parts you touch with your spicy fingers. Yeeouch!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 2

In the spirit of fall, I decided to make some cozy, harvest-y food. Plus someone challenged me to make lasagna. Tune in to the link below to hear me fumbling around in the kitchen with organic butternut squash, lasagna sheets that stick together, and layers that I get out of order thanks to too many glasses of wine. Or just tune in for the music below:

Neil Young - Harvest Moon
R.E.M. - Me in Honey
Iron and Wine - My Lady's House
Nick Drake - At the Chime of a City Clock
Pela - Lost to the Lonesome
Smashing Pumpkins - Crush
Pavement - Elevate Me Later

Rock and Roll Recipe Radio - Episode 2 - Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna

Check out the recipe I was working from (and straying from) here.