Friday, March 25, 2016

More of my cooking weekend--or a relic from the past

Anybody ever have one of these? I believe it dates back to the ‘50s or ‘60s. Jordan was cleaning out a cupboard over the refrigerator, seldom used, and came to me with a puzzled look. I explained it’s a sandwich maker. You put two buttered slices of bread in it (butter the outside of the bread) and fill with whatever you want. I believe I used to put sharp cheddar and tomatoes in my sandwiches, but I think someone I knew put bananas with either powdered sugar or peanut butter. Then you close the sandwich maker and trim off extra bread. Jacob likes ham and cheese quesadillas so I bet he would like one of these sandwiches. Jordan cleaned it but says she needs me to instruct her on how to do it. All you do is put it over the stove--I think I did that with a gas stove; now I'd do it on my indoor grill.

In the same cupboard she found a glass water pitcher that enchanted her and a lot of liquor that I’ve apparently carried from house to house for thirty years. A bottle of crème de banana—what do you suppose I made with that? A bottle of marsala she immediately drained and threw away on the grounds that it should have been refrigerated—not sure about that. Betty thought it was a white wine but I said no, it’s a dessert wine. Grenadine—when in the world did I used that? Jordan is efficient at dumping things she doesn’t think I need any more. Downsizing continues.

My first cooking experiment was a triumph. The Italian tuna sandwiches were delicious. The secret was the pesto which I made last night—Italian parsley, capers, anchovies, lemon zest, a bit of pepper. Betty and I had ours on croissants. Jordan had hers on healthy Ezekiel bread—sprouted 100% whole wheat—not nearly as interesting. Jacob had bagel bites—Lord, deliver me from processed food. Stuffed the sandwiches with watercress, quarters of hard-boiled eggs, and the really good chunk albacore tuna I get from a cannery in Oregon. A recipe I’m keeping. At one point Jordan said, “I just got a bit of something really spicy. Did you put cracked pepper in here?” I confessed to a pinch of cracked red pepper, and she said, “I just got the whole pinch.” I’ll leave it out of tomorrow night’s recipe.

At happy hour, we got to talking about fish—since it’s good Friday, my neighbor, a lapsed Catholic, still won’t eat meat so he was going for fish tacos tonight. Jordan’s vegetarian friend, Chandry, used to eat fish but says no more. She’s gone vegan, but she’s a careful vegan and brought up something I didn’t realize. If you eat faux chicken or beef or whatever those tofu fake meats are, you’re essentially eating processed food. Not sure what there is left for her to eat except kale which she loves and I don’t really like. She’s coming to have dinner with me one night soon, wanted to bring it; I finally said you bring your dinner, and I’ll fix mine.

One final food: had a terrific lunch yesterday. Perfectly broiled scallops on a bed of green chile cheese grits. They were supposed to have pico de gallo on them but I asked them to hold that. This restaurant, Fixture, has a scallop of the day. Most days it’s something I crave, but some days they put bbq sauce on them. I think scallops have too wonderful a delicate flavor for strong flavors like pico or bbq.  Not sure if I’m becoming a gourmand or just fussy.


Unknown said...

In regard to your scallop question: you are simply exhibiting good taste. The use of catsup or bbq sauce or whatever tomato based sauce makes me shudder. A touch of lemon (try lime for something different) or a simple dot (a small one) of a malt vinegar will retain the taste and add a zest to it. (Uh, you DO chew with your mouth closed, don't you?)

judyalter said...

I try to. Had a relative by marriage in the past who missed the closed mouth lesson and I hated eating with her. Of course my kids went through the "see food" phase.