Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fiddlehead ferns. For one.

When left to fend for myself at dinnertime, I usually don’t put in much effort. I order sushi. Or just have potato chips. Or, when I realize I have an opportunity to have meat, steakonaplate (Meaning: Steak. On a plate. No veg. Goes well with an episode of Dexter.)

Tonight JustAwesome is off to a class called Wholesome Grain Salads That Deliver (Peter Berley) at the Natural Gourmet Institute, which will probably be really useful this summer when we want to eat light, healthy and I’m still trying to lose some tonnage. The NGI, by the way, has a Friday Night Dinner, which can be a fun activity with some friends.

Since it is still soft shell crab season (and JA doesn’t love them), I’ll do that tonight. And spare you the gruesome details of how you have to cut off their eyes to kill them. Oops. What makes this night different from all other nights, is that we have some fiddlehead ferns in the fridge that I’m afraid won’t be good if I don’t make them tonight (ok, they might be a little past their prime). And I hate to waste veggies. And so we have: Fiddlehead ferns. For one. Maybe I’ll even make a salad, with some leftover dressing from the Challenge. We'll see...

There are tons of ways to prepare them. I’ll do what I always do. Sauté with garlic & olive oil. Add herbs. Smoke herbs.

Um, someoneawesome didn't charge the camera battery so I took this with my cell. It’s just as well. The ferns look disgusting. Taste yummy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back on Track!

The last few days have been a little harder to stay on my Weight Watchers plan than usual.

On Friday night, we had cocktails at Savoy, mixed by our favorite bartender, followed by a fabulous meal at our favorite new restaurant, Torrisi. Torrisi has a prix fixe meal that is such a great deal and positively dreamy. You get EVERYTHING on the menu (but only one main). Check out at the menu, it changes daily. The warm mozzarella in olive oil and milk thistle cream should give you an idea. They make pretty much everything themselves. Get there early.

On Saturday I shoved these things down my throat: leftover pork chop for breakfast, oysters and beer, ice pop, soft shell crabs and a half dozen Trader Joe’s Macarons.

On Sunday we went to a 100th birthday party, for a house, not a person (Happy Birthday, 272!). The food was so yummy — little mac & cheeses in espresso cups (perfectly WW sized!), potato latkes, sliders, cupcakes, etc. Yum, yum and yum.

On Monday we went out again — cocktails, cheese & charcuterie plate, mains, no dessert. Place not good enough to share the links, but you get the idea. 3 days of non-WW’s eating, it is time to get back on track.

Which brings me to my post today…

This is a favorite lunch of mine that is super low in Points. Imitation crab meat salad wrapped in lettuce or nori or wasa bread. I cut up some onion, carrots & celery, sprinkled on some cayenne pepper and added a little Miso Mayo spread that I use because I hate mayo but the dish needs some glue. Satisfying and about 2 Points. It is a lunch that I get excited to eat. I love lunch.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ramp it up! And, Dressing 2.

For the food snobs out there, I know, enough with the ramps. For everyone else though, they are a new and exciting, seasonal vegetable. Who doesn’t like some variety? As you can see from the link, ramps are wild leeks. They’re really flavorful.

The scene is pizza night, our house. Night number two of the dressing challenge for JustAwesome. We wanted to try a ramp pizza. But what cheese to use? Fortunately we are blessed with an amazing cheesemonger, Saxelby Cheese, a few blocks away at the Essex Street Market. We were steered towards a super stinky cheese called Fromage de Cow. Funky and AMAZING!! (Thank you, Anne!).

The salad was beautiful, though I can’t remember what kind of mix we got (from the Union Square Farmers’ Market). It had flowers and spicy arugula sprouts and whoknowswhatelse; there were at least 8 different types of leaves in it. Delicious. For the dressing, we went with a simple French dressing, posted as a comment by cousin Cath in Thoiry, France, which is about a half hour from Geneva. Cath is able to whip up amazing dressings without a thought. She has a real gift.

This is her recipe. (Thank you, Cath!)

French Dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
lots of black pepper
Shake or whisk well.
Add honey or sugar to sweeten.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dressing 1

So I’ve been challenged by Feral to make 10 salad dressings in 10 weeks. It’s a bit daunting. I don’t like making salad dressing, this is mostly a result of laziness. You’ve finished making dinner, put together a nice side salad and then you have to whip up a salad dressing? Sigh. Some people, like my cousin Cath, can knock together a delicious salad dressing in their sleep. I can’t. It stresses me out. I make it, taste it, it never tastes quite right, does it need more oil? I add more, taste again, D’oh! that was too much! I add some vinegar, I taste it again, now it’s too sour, so I add some honey, this goes on and on, an endless circle of taste, adjust, taste adjust.

For my first dressing I decided to use a Jamie Oliver recipe. Feral thinks my family is obsessed with Jamie Oliver; she’s convinced it’s some sort of weird family quirk, but it’s not, he’s just big in Britain and has been for about 10 years now. His cookbooks are household staples. One of the reasons Feral thinks we’re obsessed with Jamie is that his Party Cake from The Return of The Naked Chef has become my family’s go-to cake for celebrating birthdays. This cake regularly shows up at our birthdays in Canada, France, Scotland, and NYC, here’s a SMALL sampling:

It’s a good cake. Anyway, back to salad.

Thai dressing from Jamie Oliver’s, The Return of The Naked Chef

4 TBSP fresh lime juice

3 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

a pinch of sugar

2 inch piece of peeled ginger grated with microplane

1 garlic clove grated with microplane

half a small red chili deseeded and finely chopped

a large handful of chopped fresh herbs: cilantro, basil and mint

Put everything in a jar and shake, shake, shake.

It tasted a little sour right out of the jar so I added a bit more sugar. It still tasted tart to me but I trusted the recipe and dressed my salad. I’m glad I did, it was tasty. The salad I used it on:

Lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, asparagus, yellow pepper, carrots, mango, some of the fresh herbs from the dressing, and warm fake beef strips. Topped with a few salted peanuts this was a great dinner salad. I’ll be making this again.