Busby Bakes

thoughts on cooking + eating by one who lives for the daily feast

Archive for the 'eating' Category

Hash

Over the weekend I slow-roasted a delicious pork shoulder, loosely following this recipe in honor of our neighborhood’s upcoming festival. As there was an embarrassment of leftovers, tonight the Husband and I enjoyed a lovely hash for dinner.

Hash is simply a way to stretch meat with veggies and a starchy tuber, fried up in a skillet. It lends itself to variation based on your mood and the contents of your refrigerator.

Tonight’s version included (in order of appearance in the cast iron skillet): olive oil, chopped sweet onion, chopped yellow bell pepper, cubed sweet potato, a sprinkle of dried oregano, diced pork, salt, pepper, chopped arugula, minced parsley. To finish, a couple of eggs were nestled in and cooked til the whites were firm but the yolks were still runny (use a lid). Top with hot sauce (the Husband) or Sherry vinegar (me), as you please. Or ketchup, but please, bring your own.

[Ed. note: You poor, neglected blog.]

1 comment

What Petronius said*

I’m not going to lie to any of you: sometimes my daily diet is less than balanced. There are days when the meat or the baguette win the dinner lottery over the veggies and the whole grains. Also days when wine, cheese, and chocolate triumph over all others.

A recent article in the NY Times simultaneously pacified my guilt about loving the so-called naughty foods and inflamed my desire to eat more of them.

*”Moderation in all things, including moderation.” Although there are some who attribute this to Mark Twain.

No comments

Comfort

In keeping with the brisk weather, tonight’s dinner was a completely cute, completely comforting chicken pot pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Company.

1 comment

manger à Genève

The Husband is on an extended project in Geneva, Switzerland. Sound glamorous? Turns out, we’d rather be in Jersey if it meant we were together. Trying to make the best of it, we plan to see each other every 3 or 4 weeks. Last week marked my first visit.

I arrived at the end of a marathon work weekend for the Husband and his team. So we eased into our dining extravaganza. Joined by a few coworkers, we all ordered giant salads at funky Café Art’s, just a few blocks from his apartment and his office. And the red light district.

The next night, we took a ferry across the lake for a swanky date. Total romance at l’Adresse: cocottes of butternut squash gnocchi,  razor clams, a bottle of Johannisberg—a white wine from the nearby Valais region—and a full moon in their rooftop garden.

On Wednesday, we met for lunch at a sweet little crêperie; mine came with roquette and chevre, the Husband could not resist ham and cheese with a fried oeuf on top. That night we nibbled on cheese and cured meat from the neighborhood’s Italian grocer.

I went to the Left Bank the next afternoon to explore and have a coffee and a treat. While the chocolate charlotte at Gilles Desplanches was quite good, the waiters were snooty. Perhaps they were right: our evening began with a couple of  “lake cans” with the Husband’s coworkers. Then we hiked it to the old part of the city for mussels, frites, and trotters, crème brolée (which is what you get when 2 dudes share dessert), and lots of wine  at Au Pied de Chochon.

And then an “unwinder” at La Bretelle, a hole-in-the-wall that advocates smoking, in many forms.

Friday brought a lesson: there are no rooms to be had, even expensive ones at dumpy-looking hotels, on beautiful fall weekends in the countryside near Geneva. After hours of searching for someplace, anyplace where we could go for a weekend of hiking and yodeling, it became obvious we weren’t getting out of town. So, we went out to dinner: foie gras, Champagne, and outstanding thyme-infused fish at La Table in the charmingly groovy suburb of Carouge.

Saturday night saw another picnic in the apartment, this time assembled from our morning stroll through Carouge’s outdoor market: Tunisian olives and Italian sundried tomatoes from the friendliest of olive vendors; delicious cheeses from the stall with the longest line; a bottle of local red; a loaf of le Glâneur; viande des Grisons (thinly-sliced dried cured pork) from Bronnimann & Fils, a stunning charcuterie; and fruit. After shopping we stopped for open-faced sandwiches (fresh anchovy for me, smoked salmon for the Husband) at the quietly hip, completely friendly Vert Boutielle. The Husband had a beer and I chose a complex, unfiltered French white from their list of biodynamic wines.

Sunday, we just had to get out of town. We decided to visit the Château de Chillon at the far west end of the lake. Before our early-morning train to Montreux, we ran down to the local boulangerie for big, buttery, flaky croissants, including a Nutella-filled variation.

That evening a comforting, lovingly made, truly delicious dinner of curry and whole roasted fish at Jeck’s Place completely made up for the unhappy discovery that this place was not open for late lunch. After a emailing ahead. And receiving confirmation. And an expensive taxi ride up the mountain.

On my last day there, after learning how to work the spotless laundry mat that the neighborhood streetwalkers use (note to self: don’t stand outside whilst waiting for the dryer cycle to finish), I set off to find locally grown green lentils. Much as I would have loved to visit Ferme Courtois, the train sure wasn’t going to get me there. In an email exchange (thank you, Google Translate), Madam Courtois suggested I buy them at Manor, which was a 10-minute walk from the Husband’s apartment.

Holy mother of gourmet goodness: It was Whole Foods meets Harrod’s in a country that loves their food and drink. The enormous section dedicated solely to chocolate was packed with tourists and locals alike. The bakery and patisserie were mobbed. There were dozens of kinds of butter. I saw charcuterie so beautiful, I almost started crying. They even sell salt cod. A bit heart-broken that I’d only found this shrine to the palate on my last day, I bought my lentils (and an embarrassment of chocolate) and can’t wait to return in November.

Then I headed to the old town to satisfy my desire for an indulgent hour spent sipping coffee, eating pastry, and reading at a quiet outdoor café. And of course I’d forgotten my book. After some bewildering moments in a Christian bookstore, I found a newsstand and bought something to read (Vanity Fair, the one with Lindsay Lohan on the cover). And then I wandered around…and around. It seemed the best patisseries were take-out only. And the chocolateries/tea rooms were packed with tourists on traffic-y streets. I didn’t want lunch or a drink, so no cafes. All week, this quest eluded me. I almost caved at a charming crêperie. But I really wanted a pear tart. Or apple, if there was no pear. Frustrated, I compromised.  A patisserie doing steady business on a remote corner offered slices of a gorgeous tarte aux poires. So I bought one and went home. And I had my coffee and ate my tart at the Husband’s tiny desk with the window open.

It was time for a proper Swiss send-off. That night we met with the Husband’s coworkers at Au Petit Châlet, an inviting Heidi-styled place, for rotisserie chicken and a bottle of Swiss Gamaret. In lieu of an unwinder, we indulged ourselves at Mövenpick. Glad I did a lot of walking. Can’t wait to go back!

2 comments

Crazy, Glaze-y Days of Summer

Readers, it’s been a crazy summer. Happy to report that the Husband and I have been putting our former neighbor’s cast-off Weber to good use. A recent weeknight dinner was inspired by a New York Times recipe for a Stout Citrus Glaze.

Lacking a true stout, I used a random bottle of Java Vanilla Porter from Atwater Brewery. No idea how it migrated from Detroit to the back of our fridge.

The strong flavors of the beer settled down with the addition of balsamic vinegar and lemon. The Husband spread this sticky brew on some gorgeously thick lamb steaks from Mint Creek Farm, purchased on my sole trip to the farmer’s market this summer. Delicious!

No comments

dinner no. 30: avec

avec

615 W Randolph (at Jefferson)

For the last of our April dinners out, we chose avec, which is where the Husband hatched the whole idea a few months back. I adore everything about this place but the noise.

We met up after work with a friend. The three of us huddled around the end of one of the communal tables and tried to hear each other’s witticisms over the din of a happy Friday evening. A frosty apology to the couple next to us whose facial expressions went from scared to shocked to annoyed. A hug to our waitress who rolled with it when we misheard the special of porgy as “Corgi.”

We quickly agreed on sharing all dishes and ordered chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, served in a tomato sauce; crostini spread with English pea puree and mint oil; a very salty shrimp dish; a beautiful selection of salumi served with a sharp cabernet mustard; and a flatbread topped with lardo, lamb tongue, stinging nettles and garlic which no one liked but me.

And we ordered a bottle of a delicious French country wine, Pont de Gassac-Selection Guibert. And then another. And then went to Bar DeVille for a nightcap.

Total was $50 each.

No comments

dinner no. 29: FAIL

We were supposed to meet up with a friend and his lady who were visiting from L.A. The Husband’s flight home from D.C. was delayed. I had some work to do. We bailed on the plan.

I decided to stay home. My dinner consisted of olives, some addictive crackers, an apple, and slices of a brown sugar and fennel salame from Boccalone that a friend had brought from San Francisco.

The Husband tried a little harder. He had a sandwich from Potbelly at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Terminal B).

1 comment

dinner no. 28: Crust/Matsutake Sushi & Steak

The Husband had taken an evening flight to D.C. He and a colleague ate at Matsutake Sushi & Steak at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Main Terminal).

This second part is painful.

After working late, I ordered delivery from Crust:  an arugula salad and my favorite, the  sausage pizza topped with shaved fennel. I found a wad of chewing gum on the bottom of one of the slices of pizza. Mint flavored.

No comments

dinner no. 27: Jane’s

Jane’s

1655 W Cortland (at Paulina)

Still reeling from the previous night’s extravaganza, the Husband and I agreed we should aim for simplicity. Also brevity, as we had an early morning meeting with our contractor the next day. So we headed to Jane’s, a friendly neighborhood place with a consistently fresh, yummy menu.

The Husband ordered a delicious combination of black beans, brown rice, and grilled veggies that came with a tangy yellow pepper salsa. I listened to by stomach’s plea for a light meal and ordered the salad of beets, asparagus, and oranges with a bit of chevre on the side. We added a Daisy Cutter and a glass of viognier—and we were eating like we do at home (sans the different entree thing).

We enjoyed our perch at the table in their front window. No one was sad when the table where little kids outnumbered mommies left shortly after we arrived. Way to rock the half-price bottle of wine night, mommies!

Total was $45.25 and we were home before 8. W00t!

1 comment

dinner no. 26: L2O

L2O

2300 N Lincoln Park West (at Belden)

After a last-minute rescheduling, at last it was time for our April dinner orgy. We’d heard great things from friends who have been here and had read the accolades in the press. I was excited. I love seafood. I got a manicure.

L2O is off of the lobby in the Belden-Stratford building, which is a place that’s always confused me. Happily, all traces of potted palms, shiny brass, and is-it-a-hotel/is-it-an-apartment-building muddiness vanished once inside the restaurant. It smelled like orchids. Attentive service. Shadowy wall panels. Chill music.

As I waited for the Husband to arrive I sat on a white leather sofa in the sexy, intimate lounge. I never sit on a white leather sofa. I’m rarely in a room one could call “sexy.” A nice man brought me a glass of Champagne. I ordered a whiskey sour for the Husband, who came in and sat with me in the sexy room. We were almost disappointed when it was time to sit at our table.

With hardly any deliberation, we decided to splurge on the tasting menu (12 courses) with wine pairings (9 two-ounce pours).

From the first of 2 amuse bouches to the last of 3 desserts, this was one of the most completely enjoyable dining experiences we’ve had together. We’d never had seafood treated so lovingly. Highlights included individual vessels for shabu-shabu, incredibly fresh halibut, unfiltered sake, vegetable purees and sauces that exploded with intensity, amazing wines, and the best scallop I’ve ever eaten. The breads were small masterpieces. The room was beautiful. The dishes themselves were beautiful. The newly-engaged Italian couple sitting nearby were beautiful. Our server was relaxed, friendly, and welcomed all of our questions.

And instead of taking notes (or pictures) we simply enjoyed the experience. We talked and had fun and were the last table to leave. If you can, go.

No comments

Next Page »