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Broken dishwashers suck
Jan 30th, 2006

I cooked a lot this weekend - sometimes I'll get this itchy feeling around 3 or 4 in the afternoon which means I must pull as many cookbooks as possible onto the dining room table and then throw on my raincoat and sprint to the Red Apple. You see if I don't do this I start hearing voices from inside my refrigerator. "This is the broccoli speaking. I've been in this stinky fridge for a solid week now and no-one has done a thing with me. I'm about to start getting slimy and smelling spectacularly bad unless someone COOKS ME!" This weekend along with the broccoli there were some Meyer Lemons calling out to me - these were causing me particular stress because they're the first Meyer Lemons I've ever had and I only had three. So I felt both compelled to use them up and not risk them going bad, and also the pressure to make them into something glorious.

Isn't it lovely how I can manage to be neurotic about practically anything?

Then there's the fact that my kids won't eat any dish with any kind of flavor or more than one ingredient in it - and you'll start to understand the mountain of food that issued forth from my kitchen the last two days.

For dinner Saturday I made: eggs, bacon, waffles (all for the kids of course), broccoli quiche (used broccoli and a squeeze of the Meyer Lemon, well done there), and refried rice with pork and broccoli (took care of the rest of the broccoli, but was a bit of a bewildering addition to our breakfast for dinner themed meal).

On Saturday Jim and I had more quiche for dinner along with Blueberry and Cranberry Muffins with Meyer Lemon Zest, and Fruit Salad with Meyer Lemon and Thai Basil Syrup. The kids had pork chops and muffins.

All in all it was a very random array of food. But the fruit salad in particular was quite good. I saw the lemon and basil syrup idea online while searching through Meyer Lemon recipes. The full recipe was for a muffin or cake that was soaked in the lemon basil syrup. It sounded awesome but not something my kids would eat. But I had the idea in my head so when I started making a fruit salad to use up the Mango that was also relentlessly jabbering at me from the fridge, it seemed like a good idea to adapt the syrup and make a tropical fruit salad.

To make the syrup I just juiced and zested a lemon and simmered both with minced Thai basil and some sugar in a small pan. I added sugar until I could taste some sweet but the syrup was still fairly sour. Then once the syrup had cooked down to a viscous consistency I poured it through some cheesecloth to get out the floaty bits. For the fruit I combined mango, grapes, clementines, a bit of grapefruit, and a bananna. The syrup was divine, the basil wasn't that assertive, but it provided a very fresh taste that really perked up the fruit. A final sprinkling of fresh basil on top of the orange, pink, and yellow salad was very pretty. I think this would go very well with grilled chicken or any kind of Caribbean inspired meal.


Comments

soooo - new boyfriend. He worked for many years with the Slow Food society and I've decided that it is high time to cook for him. GULP. At some point, I might abandon this cooking for him thing- and let him continue to dazzle me with his culinary magic - but in the meantime, I feel obliged. So THANK GAWD ya'll have been busy.

I think I'm going to go for Kymm's asian peach glazed chicken (made with the apricot jam) and the fruit salad mentioned here on a bed of Mache. Do you have to strain the sauce through cheescloth? Are the floaty bits really that bad? Did you make the sauce with the meyer lemon?

Do you think this menu is too fruity? side of cous-cous with slivered almonds? I thought I'd do chocolate ice cream for desert - what do you think of that sauce drizzled over the ice cream? too much? sauvignon blanc?

-posted by Allison on Feb 13th, 2006
Allison I'm thrilled you're going to be using some of my recipes. I would definitely go for the cous-cous slivered almond side you mentioned, and I'd put some minced flat-leaf parsley on it, I think the menu needs a bit of green.

As far as making the sauce goes, you can leave the zest in one long strip and the basil in sprigs so that you can either fish things out at the end or just pour them through a strainer lined with a kitchen towel. Also I think I neglected to mention that I added water to the syrup as well - about twice as much water as juice is good so you can cook it down longer and really infuse the basil.

If you were going to put the sauce over ice cream I'd go for vanilla rather than chocolate. In fact what I might do is remove the mache from the equation and substitute asparagus (roasted with olive oil and salt is nice and easy) or green beans for the vegetable. And then morph the fruit salad into a dessert with vanilla ice cream - you could even do it parfait style (layer ice cream, syrup, fruit salad, ice cream, syrup, sprinkling of basil on top).

And sauvignon blanc sounds great - or even some Prosecco, I think the bubbles would be nice. Ooh, it all sounds fun, let us know how it goes.

Here's a link to the recipe that inspired my basil syrup if you wanted to follow their steps. I did use Meyer Lemon but it would work just as well with regular lemons.

-posted by Kymm on Feb 15th, 2006
Thank you!!

tommorrow night is the night! I'm a little nervous - but mostly if he doesn't like it he go fuck himself right? I don't mean to paint his as food nazi. But to give you some background - on our 2nd date he took me away to bolinas - and our first stop was whole foods - whereupone he said "OK. Here's the deal: You're in charge of picking out all the food. You can get WHATEVER you want. ANYTHING your heart desires. But it HAS TO BE GOOD food." talk about pressure. We ended up with a kick-ass meal - but it was clearly a test. And he even fessed up to that the other day. He can cook with his eyes closed and he knows a lot of the chefs in town. I know I'm making a bigger deal out of this than it should be - but all of this is to say: THANK YOU for advising me and I'm really happy to have the support and guidance - because honestly I've been working too damn hard to make anything other than salads and garden burgers the last 3 years.

-posted by Allison on Feb 18th, 2006
do we think cous-cous has a reccomended shelf life? i've had some through 3 moves - (like what 2 years) that can't be good huh?

-posted by Allison on Feb 18th, 2006
Oh he's going to be so touched that you put so much effort into it. The whole 'slow food' credo is that you should take time to really appreciate natural ingredients and enjoy the process of putting them together in the kitchen. Not that you have to be some sort of gourmet chef! That's his deal not yours - if he doesn't see that you're totally willing to go along for the ride and enjoy good food right along side him then like you said, fuck him.

But I bet he'll just be happy to enjoy such a thoughtfully prepared meal with a cute girl! (Never underestimate the power of boobage)

-posted by Kymm on Feb 18th, 2006
The dinner... was fabulous! But to say that I cooked it would be a big FAT lie. I provided the concept of the meal and he was clarly the executive director. I opted for mint instead of parsley in the cous-cous - he added raisens and olive oil. He decided to brown the chiken breasts in mint/ onion/ salt/peper/ olive oil and garlic before we baked it with the glaze. We didn't make it to dessert - we got, um, distracted. :)

-posted by Allison on Feb 20th, 2006
What's next?

I imagine this is the kind of exchange that takes place in the pages of Food and Wine or Conde Nast (I don't think I made the latter up, but can't be positive). Neato!

I know I would have been happy to be on the receiving end (of the meal, of course) of such thoughtfulness, and hope he was too.

-posted by Scott on Feb 23rd, 2006
© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com