Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not a 50s Cocktail Party!

I have to come up with appetizers for an early 1950s cocktail party. Something that says elegant yet retro. Swank yet edible. My old cookbooks are filled with things like rumaki and tomato aspic. Stuff I really, really don't want to make. Last time I had to cook for this type of cocktail party I included "Angels on Horseback" which is a take on rumaki: smoked oysters wrapped in bacon & broiled.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


The New York Times published an article today about the perfect Bacon Butty. That's pronounced "boo-tee" or "bood-tee" not "butt-ee".

The first time I had a butty it was on Thanksgiving at the Mayflower in San Rafael. I was surrounded by sweaty, grown men who'd woken up early to go play soccer on a damp field. They were muddy, tired, getting drunk, and very happy. Football--the real kind with the ball that rolls on the ground--was on the telly and some old guy was about to sing pub songs. I felt like the only non-Brit in the place. Which I probably was.

Just when I thought we'd all be blitzed by noon, out came a cherub-faced lady with a platter of sandwiches. They were passed around and I sunk my choppers into it, expecting turkey (it *was* Thanksgiving, afterall).

Instead, it was a dry, dry sandwich. Drrrryyyyyyy. Half-stale white bread, a thin spread of butter, and some really thick steak fries. It needed salt, mayo, pepper, ham, tomato and lettuce to make it palatable. All I had was half a pint of Newcastle. I was starving, so I downed it as I ate.

And wouldn't you know it, by the bottom of that pint, the Chip Butty became the best thing in the world. I wanted to chase that lady down for more. And I look forward to the powder-dry Chip Butty now every year.

In my current pregnant state, a bacon butty sounds even better. Or a bacon sarnie, perfectly made with just the right bread. Focaccia? Dutch crunch? Sourdough!
Of course, there's no place around here that will grill me up a bacon butty for lunch. I wonder if anyone in the office would mind if I cooked me up some bacon in our kitchen?

Monday, April 09, 2007

5.5 Months Pregnant and How Many Pounds?

Have I mentioned that I'm 5 and a half months pregnant and haven't gained any weight yet? I'm thinking if I keep up the healthy living I'll actually be able to get in shape and be in BETTER shape after the squirt is born!

Don't worry folks, I'm not dieting. Just making better choices.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Miso Sour Soup: A Happy Surprise

Last night I made a happy mistake. I was going for hot and sour soup, but ended up with something that tasted like Miso Sour Soup. I added the egg after the broth had cooled some what, so it all broke up and wasn't stringy. The soup looked murky, but when ladeled into bowls it settled down instantly, like Miso Soup does. And the addition of a smoky ham really added that curious flavor that miso has. new mock miso soup:

Miso Sour Soup
3 Cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 to 2 T minced ginger
3 T cider vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/4 Cup bamboo shoots, thinly sliced (julliened if you can)
5 oz firm tofu, cubed
4 oz thinly sliced black forest ham, or other smoked ham, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
3 scallions, cut into one inch lengths

Heat chicken broth in medium to large pot. Add ginger. Bring to a boil and add vinegar and soy sauce, lower heat to medium-low. Add bamboo shoots and tofu, simmer for 10 minutes, or lower to low and let cook while you're making the rest of your meal. When you're ready to eat, add the ham, stirring to separate. Increase heat to medium, add beaten eggs and whisk vigorously. Add the scallions and serve.