chocolate brownies, condiments, cravings, eating too much, eating until your belly hurts, edible obsession, Local foods, mid afternoon snacks, pairings, WTF

Shelf Analysis

‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are..”–Jean Anthelme Brilliat-Savarian

Some people get a kick out of going through other people’s medicine cabinents to see what secrets their friends and neighbors are hiding–and lets face it a good number of our friends and family are on some pretty fucking interesting medications. But, that just may be me projecting(Busy Brain is as interesting as I get these days). My little fetish is that I’ll snoop your fridge for an insight in who you are. With all of us either labeled, or self proclaimed as, ‘Foodies,” your refrigerator holds your modern shame. If I had taken this photo one hour later, you would have seen three cans of Pepsi Throwback on the top shelf. If I had photographed the vegetable crisper you would have seen a noticible lack of vegetables and and abundance of cheese: Petit Agour, Dubliner with Stout, Dubliner Cheddar, 8 year Gouda and VBC’s Herbed Chevre.

Some of our predilections are obvious and well established, like the ones in my family. I have a feeling if I were to walk right now into my mothers house and open her freezer, there would be 5 gallons of ice cream, frozen dinners and frozen meat. My sister, Rachael, would have left over pasta and meat balls and lots of milk for my three nephews and brother in law. There would be something in there made out of one of her cuilinary school books. I’m guessing there would be remnants of a cake.

This is a look inside of my refrigerator, something very few have actually seen the inside of–the most notable person being a vegetarian coworker I traumatized by showing off my pickled tongue to. I think my food experiments freak a few of my friends out. Hmm… that explains so much..

  1. Butter: Lots of it. This was actually bought to make brownies and polenta with. I ended up not even needing either pound.
  2. Cream Cheese: Plain. We rarely have bagels in the house and this was brought in to make a peanut butter cream for the middle of #7 in the next picture.
  3. Cat stuff. You know ‘Ashy Larry’ from The Chappelle Show? Our cat, Sophie, is a bit like that, minus the crack problem(she opts for catnip, bud and lemon grass). This is cost $10 and was suppose to help and she refuses to consume it willingly.
  4. Pickled Jalapeno’s. I’m actually not sure when I jarred these and, now that I look at the picture, am a wee bit afraid to open it. I think it will remain one of those fermenting things in the fridge that just gets moved around and never opened.
  5. White Truffle Oil. Fancy, I know. It’s only use has been for risotto. It expired last month.
  6. Hakushika Snow Beauty Sake. I’d like to say what I purchased this for but I can’t remember. It may have been after a trip to Pai Men. It may have been because I thought the bottle was pretty. It may have been because I thought I would actually drink it. I obviously haven’t.
  7. Cholula Hot Sauce. One of 5 hot sauces in the refrigerator at the moment. This is their chili garlic flavor and my favorite topping for scrambled eggs on a day off.
  8. Three Wishes Cabernet. Whole Foods answer to ‘2 buck Chuck.’ It cost $2.50 and was purely purchased as a cooking wine. It’s probably vinegar by now.
  9. Sriracha. Purchased to help recreate the Pai Men Pork buns we had for Thanksgiving dinner.
  10. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. Like many things purchased at TJ’s, this was bought out of pure curiosity over functionality or use in my kitchen. And, like so many other TJ’s branded things it wasn’t that fantastic. I believe this was used for a marinade. The only thing I buy from TJ’s these days is coffee.

  1. Polenta setting overnight to make ‘Crispy Polenta Fries‘ from Find.Eat.Drink. For us, the recipe should have been cut in half, or even 2/3’s, as it made a good 2-3 dozen thick cut fries.
  2. “If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream”–Julia Child. I’m afraid of neither and often have both in the house. This was used to make the ganache for #7.
  3. Morimoto Soba Ale. I brought this into the house sometime over the past year because of a reading a while back that Joe @ PFC recommended it highly. Because I don’t drink beer I rely on others to turn me on to brews to bring home to the Missus. This was one of them and it’s been there for over 6 months. If it’s salvageable, it will be used to make tempura.
  4. Cranky Rooster Eggs from my Cape SoPo Winter Share. Since posting about it two months ago there has hardly been a day where these eggs have not been in my kitchen. Truth be told, my last pick up from the Winter Share had three dozen eggs in it. Three dozen for two people. The yolks, as orange, tall and firm as ever, have made me catch my breath more than once at the sight of how just exactly perfect they are. I probably shouldn’t have said all of this because now you’re going to scoop them up before I’ve placed my order. Jerks.
  5. The required slab of bacon. Uncured, smoked thick cut from Whole Foods 365 line. It was the least expensive bacon in the cooler and far from the best. Too thin(even though it clearly said ‘thick cut’) of a strip made for an easily overcooked, dry piece of bacon. Thankfully it was easily saved on a breakfast sandwich made with the above mentioned eggs.
  6. Beef Shank. I was going to braise it and went for short ribs instead. It’s now living in the freezer.
  7. Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies I dropped the ball on photographing these before they were devoured to the point of pain and then given to my co-workers to get them out of our sights. They were heaven. I added a bit of Mascarpone to the peanut butter mix and substituted some all-natural Nutella knockoff for the peanut butter in the ganache. This was at their final chilling stage.
  8. Castelvetrano Olives. The ‘Kermit’ Olive. So bright green that it turns people off. It seems unnatural but they are one of my absolute favorite olives and worthy of their own ‘Edible Obsession’ themed post. Think less briny and more sweet; A black olive in green clothing with more tanginess than meatiness to it’s flesh. Primary use: sliced and added to a four cheese quesadilla.
  9. Bay Leaves. All of my days off are spent cooking long projects, like braises, and it also includes stock making, whether beef, chicken or vegetable. So, naturally, I use a lot of bay leaves.
  10. Hellman’s Mayonnaise. There are three major things I just can’t make the ‘all natural’ switch to: Ketchup, Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise. I don’t care how bad it is, I refuse to part with it. From creaming up some deviled eggs(do you sense an addiction being confessed before your eyes??), slathering on a sandwich or going Dutch and having some with french fries, I refuse to compromise on mayonnaise. Not only is it a dressing in so many childhood linked food memories(like Grandma’s Potato Salad, Mom’s Deviled Eggs) but it just has a better flavor to me.
best meal..ever, Bresca, eating out, eating too much

33 dishes, 5 restaurants, 3 days, 2 people–Day Two pt. 1

March 5,2010–early reservation

Bresca: This is our first trip in since the summer of 08. Another unofficial participant of Maine Restaurant Week.
3 Courses for $40.10

First Impression: I felt very, very girly walking through the door. The lighting made everything seem like a dreamscape; menus were pink; side table was a gorgeous antique. The banquette seating really opened up the dining area and eliminated the cramped feeling that we had before. The music was varied and the staff nicely controlled the volume as we noticed the music lowered was turned down to a near whisper as the general buzz of the restaurant increased.

1st Course
The Mrs:
Late Winter Salad: Candy Cane Beets, apple, walnuts, endive, lettuce, buttermilk dressing

Me: Foie gras bon bons, winter fruit chutney, toasted almond; pickled Sparrow Arc farm pumpkin; Chorizo and gorgonzola stuffed dates

There wasn’t a bad piece of food on either one of our plates. In fact there could have been a platter of the
Foie Bons on the table and I still would have longed for a bit more. And while the foie was velvet, it was actually the chutney that did it for me. And, for those that know my love of fatty livers, that is a bold statement. But, it was all there: Salt, Sour, Bitter, Savory and Sweet–all perfectly balanced. While I was moved at Boda, I was immediately connecting to the plates that were coming out. The salad the Mrs. ordered had come at a high recommendation from Kate and was greatly enjoyed by both. Everything about the dish was light and refreshing, not to mention just visually stunning.

Split: Sea Urchin Linguini ~ uni, evoo, basil, mint, lemon zest–Add on for $11

Before we went, I had read a recent interview with Erik, Krista’s husband, where he talks very deeply about her cooking and the balance she keeps of masculine/feminine…and I kept that in the back of my mind throughout this dish, as he mentions it specifically in the interview. Having never had Uni, I decided to take a shot at it.
And, as it turned out, it was everything that I had hoped it would be. A co-worker who also had ordered it the previous night called it “Ethereal” and I have to say he’s not far off in his assessment. The level of delicacy and assertiveness that was brought into balance in that half portion, which was a perfect sharing size, is absolutely unmatched. Buttery, lush and surprisingly light this is truly one of the best dishes I have ever eaten in my lifetime.

The Mrs: Honey Glazed Duck Breast: roman trading spices, Amarone poached dried plum, frisee, soft mascarpone polenta

Me: Fish Special:Seared Cod with braised tomatoes, capers, basil, hericot verts

Duck is a rare find in our house as I’ve never gained a great appreciation for it nor the skills to properly cook it. So, when the opportunity arises for the Mrs. to order it when we’re out, she jumps at the chance. Bresca, from reading various reviews, apparently does a mighty fine version of it as it seems to be one of the most reviewed items from her menu (you can include the Panna Cotta on that also). And while I could have gotten fat and happy just sitting there with a bowl full of the polenta the duck was still just a little too gamy for my tastes. The Mrs., however, loved everything about it.
I’m not quite sure if the Cod dish has exactly those components (fuzzy memory and all) but I know that the dish itself was wonderful. This skin on the cod was beautifully crispy, the salt of the capers balanced the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes that popped from the slightest pressure of my fork. Probably the 2
nd best fish entree I’ve had–only to be rivaled by Evangeline’s Halibut and micro-mussels that I had last year.

Dessert: The Mrs.:Strawberry and Banana Creme Brulee Napoleon
Me: Buttermilk Panna Cotta with tropical fruits

By this time, I was drunk on food and the desserts were like doing shots when you know you should have stopped a few tips back. But, honestly not having dessert at Bresca would be foolish and short of an insult. And, just as quickly as we beat back the idea about being able to fit any more food, we were suddenly invigorated and wanting a second round, especially the Napoleon–which Kate does a great job summing up during her own venture out.
But, we needed to go as there was only an hour or so between this meal and our next venture… not to mention that was also ready to repeatedly stab the pretentious local English Professor, who spent the majority of the 2 hours dining next to us and seemed to be slowly torturing her waitress with her wine knowledge and special demands. I’ve got a pretty high threshold for pretension and wine/food snobs–you kind of have to be when it’s your job–but this woman was insane. Ordering for her two friends, completely dominating their conversation with her own verbal diatribes on wine, how she’s been given certain perks at Bresca(1/2 glasses of wine, I guess was her big thing because we heard it overandoverandover again) and why she doesn’t like the new younger professor on staff, but feels he’s good for the students because he can relate more to them. 2 hours of this.

Ambiance: Stunning. One of my absolute favorite moments of the night was sitting, just beyond the service nook leading to the kitchen, and watching Krista’s shadow kind of dance around on the wall while she plated desserts. I loved the contrast of the softness and feminine feel, while above on the chalkboards is the drawing of a steers head and another drawing, just below the ‘1 cheese’ listing, nudging you to “Eat More Pig”..with a heart over the ‘i’.
Service: Impeccable and welcoming. We were one of the first tables to be seated and we never felt dropped or forgotten about throughout the entire meal, even as they attended to needier customers. Another nice feeling was that there was never a point where we felt rushed, which I heard some friends had experienced during their outings for RW.
Food: There is one quote to best sum it up: “When I am eating, I know nothing. But when I am finished eating, I begin to understand. ” –Don Quioxte During the meal, we were caught up in the lushness and decadence of it all..but, later on that evening I realized that this was simply the best meal that I have ever had the privilege to eat. I can’t believe it took us so long to go back and now it seems I can’t dine there again soon enough.


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