Friday, January 18, 2008

And the Bagels

So Hanif arrived after a ten hour drive that should have taken three late in the evening on New Year's Day. We had a fanstastic time driving around in the snow to different bars and an even better next day when the weather cleared. We started off at the Fairmount Bagel Bakery near Schwartz's for fresh sesame bagels and liberte brand cream cheese. The dough is sweeter than New York bagels and the holes are bigger. There is some kind of spectrum that I will plot someday between the Russian pretzel-ring bublik to the Turkish larger doughier simit (pictured on this blog on Aug 21, 2007) to the Montreal bagel and then the H&H style oversized overfilled NY bagel. Anyways, we thoroughly enjoyed ours for breakfast and then for a snack later in the day while skiing/skating around Mt. Royal Park.


I arrived in Montreal on New Year's day in the middle of a blizzard. I was very much impressed both by the quantity of snow and the number of plows out clearing and reclearing the streets during the day. I had arranged to meet Hanif in a cafe off St. Laurent that was about 20 minutes from our hotel. On my walk over, however, I saw that everything was closed and the sidewalks were nearly empty. But not so in front of Schwartz's Charcuterie Hebraique, which without prior explanation distinguished itself as some kind of Montreal must-do. Since it was the only-do within miles, I sat down and had my first taste of viande fumee. Don't tell a Montrealer I said this, but it's basically pastrami. And pretty damn tasty pastrami, at that. As for my meal, a real connoisseur will note two mistakes in my order. I should have gone for pickles instead of the slaw and black cherry soda instead of the coke. Duly noted for next time...


While Bestie and Brubbie were splitting chickens, roasting squash, and braising cabbage, I was living the less-is-more culinary life of Bidisha and George in S Royalton, Vermont. They make many of their meals in this ingenious device - a ceramic pot that sits inside of a pressure cooker and is excellent for all sorts of ricey beany dishes. This is a steamed apple and corn pudding that we made midday on New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Year's on the Motor Row

Since the middle Feiman child, given a month's respite from classes, wouldn't dare come to the Midwest, the Jesse and I had to muddle through without our brother/bestie on New Year's Eve in Chicago. I got a camera for Christmas, and did the honors:

Jesse split and roasted a chicken.

...roasted butternut squash with Parmesan and rosemary, thyme, sage, or some such business. I made this again last week with just cheese and thyme and it was awesome leftover and smashed into a sandwich with some hot sopressata.

Also, cabbage and apples.

All this was accompanied by a personal tour of Jasper Johns: Gray and a visit to the Art Institute's prints and drawings vaults. Yum-yum, fun-fun. Thanks, Jesse!

Friday, January 11, 2008

eventually i made it up to san francisco and headed straight for Papalote.

where i was entranced by the selection in the beer case.

and remembered how our weekly once described the ambiance as "sexily varied" or "esoterically erotic" or something ridiculous like that.

i ordered a tofu mole burrito with guacamole, on a wheat tortilla(only in california can vegan mexican wholegrainyness taste this good!) and ate while catching up with mojdeh, who'd also had papalote takeout earlier in the night.

the following day, katie b. and i went for a hike in the oakland hills and then hit up the berkeley bowl. we decided to make up recipes.

like grilled pork chops stuffed with rosemary sprigs and served with baked meyer lemons. and curried parsnip soup with a cilantro garnish. also on the dinner table, sauteed kale and a bottle of white wine, served at room temp.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

so... i went home for the holidays, a trip that involved a handful of little jets, a couple of greyhound rides, and a singular, spectacular los angeles sunset. (it was a lot prettier than this picture would have you believe).

being home was wonderful. and, finally having access to a stove of my own, i did some cooking.

there were the christmas dinner pies--dutch apple and pumpkin, plus a quince tart. quinces courtesy of the scrawny sani tree.

and some roasted chicken with parsnips, dried apricots, prunes, and more quinces. cooked by my mom.

as was the burnt "tadigh"

and the koresh-eh beh, a stew with yellow split-peas, pan-fried eggplant, chicken legs, onions, tomatoes, and homemade french fries sprinkled on top. (the french fries were damn delicious ,which meant they were completely poached by my brother and i and had to be replaced with crushed lays potato chips).

when we recovered our appetites several days later, my dad made another stew. this one with chick peas, ground turkey, potatoes, and onions.