Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Buvare: Parisian Popper

I am intrigued. I read about this curious shooter the Parisian Popper in a recent issue of the Fader. East Village bar Heathers (named after the owner, not the film) put the drink on their menu after a group of French visitors ordered it one night. The drink involves one can of Sofia (bubbly in a can) and a big shot of Patron silver tequila. You pour the Patron shot in a rocks glass, top it off with a sweet blast of Sofia, then slam the glass down against the bar, causing the whole thing to fizz over. Then you shoot the entire glass..
Takes me back to my college days hitting up some sad sports bar for "Thirsty Thursdays" $2.50 Mind Erasers before dancing the evening away at 80's night down the street..
Yes.. Still, I think the Parisian Popper could be a healthy upgrade!
Je bois a votre sante! (I drink to your health!)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Recettes Secrètes: Megan's Albondigas

The day after Christmas, my family got together with my brother-in-law's family to take my niece on a hay ride to view Christmas lights in Tucson's most notoriously lit-up neighborhood, fittingly called Winterhaven. My sister invited us over to their home for a light dinner beforehand, and the Albondigas she whipped up was probably the best I've ever had. Below is how she makes it..

Megan’s Albondigas
Okay- this is kind of a mix between tortilla soup and albondigas. Sometime I make it and just add shredded chicken instead of the meatballs and call it tortilla soup. It can be served over tortilla chips or just with warm fresh tortillas on the side. And any or all or none of the toppings can be used. Adjust everything to taste and add or subtract whatever sounds good to you…
PS… it keeps for at least a week and re-heats well…and freezes really well.

In a large pot…
Olive oil
1-2 white onions chopped (large pieces are fine)
3-4 carrots chopped (large pieces are fine)
Once the above are getting soft:
Add 3-8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed or halved
1-2 tsp oregano (Mexican is best)
1-2 tsp (or more) New Mexico chili powder
1-2 tsp (or more) ground cumin
(can add any other Mexican spices if you want…cayenne, pato sauce etc)
Stir a bit more, then add:
½ -1 bunch cilantro (whole, stems and all)- reserve some for meatballs and topping too…
Chicken stock (as much broth as you want)- I do a huge pot and use 8-12 cups
1 can diced (or petite diced) tomatoes (optional)
1-2 limes juiced
Cover and let simmer for 20 min to 2 hours….

In a bowl, mix (but don’t over work)…
1 lb ground beef (or Turkey) – this will make about 4-6 servings, I usually do 2- 21/2 lbs and if I have extra, I can eat them later.
1-2 eggs (depending on amount of meat)
¾- 1 ½ cup dry bread crumbs (homemade, plain from can or Italian seasoned from can)
Ground cumin to taste (1 tsp or more)
Chili powder to taste (1 tsp or more)
Mex oregano to taste (1 tsp or more)
Pato sauce to taste (if you want it spicey)
Minced garlic to taste ( 1-4 cloves)
Minced cilantro and/or Italian parsley ( half cup?)
Lime juice to taste (a squeeze or so)
Salt and pepper to taste (or garlic salt or whatever you want to add)
If you want- make a small patty (a tablespoon or so) of the mixture and cook it up on high heat for a minute or so in a small fry pan to taste and see if seasoning need adjustment.

Once mixed, form into uniform size balls- a few larger ones, or lots of little ones…and place on ungreased bar pan (Stone with sides). Cook in oven at 375 until browned maybe 20 minutes or more. You don’t need to turn them if you cook them in the stone. When done, drain on paper towels.
When stock is ready, strain into a new pot (or bowl and then back into original pot). SAVE the carrots if they are still somewhat hard (if they are mushy-discard). If saving the carrots, dice them into smaller bite size pieces and put back in the broth. If the carrots are mush…dice a few new uncooked carrots into bite sizes and add to stock and simmer till tender.

Soup- add to stock
Black beans (optional- to taste)
Corn (optional to taste)
Zucchini and/or yellow squash cut up (how ever much you want)
1 more can diced tomatoes (strained- or fresh diced tomatoes)
1 small can green chilis (optional- I didn’t have these that night, sometimes I add them)
Cooked rice –
(Now…I usually cook my rice separately before hand and then add it to the soup. You CAN add it uncooked to the soup and let it cook in the soup.. BUT it will use a cup or two of your broh, so if you add it uncooked, you may want to add more chicken stock). Sometimes I will add some of the cooked rice to the meatballs too!
I have also in a pinch used a diced potato or two in place of rice (cooked either before or cooked right in the soup).
Simmer until all the veggies are tender and you are ready to serve. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add more Pato or other hot sauce if you want more kick.

Optional toppings:
Shredded cheddar or mex mix cheese
Crumbled Cojita cheese
Lime wedges
Sour cream
Minced Cilantro
Pato/hot sauce
Tortilla chips
Warm tortillas
[That's totally not my photo]

Croquer: Babette's Feast

This Friday 1/9, The French Laundry's metropolitan sibling Per Se is recreating the famous indulgent meal from the climax of the 1987 Danish film Babette's Feast for A-list NYC diners (at $3,500 per person they'd have to be - I hear Martha Stewart will be in attendance).
The post about it on Tasting Table caught me by surprise.. For two reasons. One, Babette's Feast was the first foreign film I ever saw, with my parents when I was probably all of 10. I remember salivating when Babette, the Parisian chef in hiding finally served the bleak Danish townsfolk her marvelous [and sinful] meal. So the other day at Amoeba when I saw a used copy of the film I couldn't resist revisiting a classic. The second reason the timing is bizarre, just LAST NIGHT I finally picked up the memoir "Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter" by Phoebe Damrosch which I bought a month or so ago, which documents the misadventures of the first female captain at one of New York Citys most prestigious restaurants, Per Se...
If you do happen to have $3,500 handy, here's the info on the dinner:
Friday, 1/9
6 p.m.
Babette's Feast at Per Se
In what might be the most expensive dinner-and-a-movie ever, Per Se will screen the famous food-lover's film, then re-create the movie's decadent feast. The admission price ($3,500 a person or $6,000 for two) benefits the Allow Theater Company.
Per Se, 10 Columbus Circle; http://www.alloytheater.org/ or call 917-319-8109 for tickets
[via Tasting Table]

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

En Vitesse: Kraft holiday ads circa 1986

Thanks for this Paul, it brought back a flood of memories.. Every year my sister and I would watch our cruddily taped-off-TV VHS copy of Jim Hensen's "A Christmas Toy", complete with these amazing Kraft commercials... Enjoy!