I’m not a formal chef, I basically don’t even like to cook, bake or do anything that requires more than three steps. Yet, that doesn’t stop me from considering myself a foodie and a fan. So, if we have the money and the opportunity to go out to dinner my husband and I go out to eat, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
It’s our hobby, sport, our most delectable treat and by now as you know, we always order dessert. A meal is not complete without it. Lately, I have observed something absolutely intriguing: the almost fried egg on top of pretty much any entrée. What’s up with that? I don’t have a problem with that except it seems like a foodie fad of the month. Where did it start, and why?
A fried egg, sunny side up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Who thought of this? I would clearly love it and would be tempted to order it but every time I have seen it served the egg was undercooked and too “wiggly.” Just my personal idiosyncrasy. Likewise, I do not eat steak tartar, salmonella alert.
Flip this sucker around and make sure it’s cooked properly and I would be most happy to have a fried egg (fried not practically raw) egg on most anything.
I’m open to (some) trends, I even tried kale and quinoa though I was late in the game and did not become obsessed with it like many people I know. Frankly if I never hear those two items again I would be quite happy.
Now, carrot cake and chocolate mousse cake I can hear forever.
I’m fine with this trend though I would specify the egg to be “over medium: there’s something about those loose transparent egg whites that gets my stomach to rumble and I can’t look or eat them. Not a chance.
So, I’m wondering, what will the new trend be? We’ve been through muffins, “cronuts” (I have never tried one or at least the official one) cupcakes, kale and quinoa. I’m happy to try the overcooked fried egg delight but I’m wondering if we could make a new trend happen. One that WE could create just for the fun of it.
PS It does NOT have to be healthy. I pick bite-size homemade jelly doughnuts, with a lot of currant jam.
What would you like? No calories, no fat, no cholesterol guaranteed.
There is an official obituary about our friend Al Mayo that was written in the *New York Daily News and it was very accurate. However, I just don’t want people to remember him that way alone. It feels wrong to me.
The person who died, from my childhood neighborhood, was a lovely man, an old friend that passed away in January. A friend of mine called to tell me the horrible news of Al’s suicide. This was no ordinary death, it was a violent, brutal, grisly death. I don’t want this kind soul, the friend of everybody to be known by his suicide, or his obituary instead of his life, his cheery personality, his effusive grin, his loving and peaceful self.
I refuse to think of him in any other way than the newspaper’s photo that was published. It was a wonderful photo (above) where he is grinning, a twinkle in his eye, kind and sweet. Al was all about peace and love, not violence, not to anyone. In his last years his body was ravaged by cancer, he couldn’t eat, talk, swallow; he had no life, he took his life, violently.
He said hello to everyone and he was like a fixture in our neighborhood, you knew that if you walked around the block you would most probably see Al Mayo smiling, leaning against a store, grinning widely, resting on his cane.
He didn’t have an easy life, he lost part of his leg in a motorcycle accident when I was young so he was probably in his late teens but nothing stopped him. He accepted what happened and moved on. He would be smiling and talking and spreading good cheer to all the neighbors in our little town. His lifelong friends stayed his lifelong friends.
Everyone was utterly shocked by the news but my friends M. and H. and I were shaken at the news, not as much that he had committed suicide but how. For a very peaceful man, he committed death in a very violent way, making sure that no one else would be hurt. Al, only wanted to end his life, never anybody else’s life. He wouldn’t harm a soul.
Al had cancer for a few years, unbearable, painful cancer that left him unable to eat, to swallow, to lead a normal life. If Al couldn’t lead a life that was close to normal, there wasn’t any Al left, he tried so hard and went through so much.
Now this sweet soul, friend to everyone is gone forever. We will all miss you Al and we will always remember your bright, warm smile. We will miss our own elected “mayor.” You were Kew Gardens’ own, Bob Dylan, that’s how important you were to us, will always be.
Al Mayo, Rest In Peace.
Special thanks to Harry Klein, my friend and best friend of Al Mayo.
80-ply dough baklava (which is usually 40-ply), speciality of Beypazarı district of Ankara,Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You know when I get something in my mind (like food) I need to have it fairly quickly. I am in search of baklava, so by the end of this weekend, rest assured, I will have had some. Honey, yellow, sticky and sweet, thin layers of phylo dough. It’s not only my favorite color, yellow, but easily in one of my top five favorite desserts.
God Bless the fine people who made these desserts. I’m drooling.
Days go by that seem ordinary, nothing really special seems to happen that you can remember. Maybe, we are just too tied up with our everyday lives to take a breath, and break down our day into moments, seconds, even. I try to do that but more often than not I forget and the days blur together like wet watercolor paintings. Once in a rare while something happens that makes you stop right in your tracks and hits you in the heart and stomach like a wonderful, joyous sucker punch. Yesterday, it was meeting Jack.
Even while I am writing this my eyes tear up and I honestly can’t explain why exactly. Is it that for once something good happened, some miracle answered? That the child I met was so beautiful, angelic, almost ethereal ? I was absolutely honored when I was introduced to her son, Jack. His lovely, pink-cheeked mother, looking exactly as she had years ago, introduced me and Jack held up his hand to shake mine. Something my 19 and 20-year-old children would never think about doing. Was I crying about the miracle of Jack or did it evoke memories of the miracle of my son, a junior in college and daughter, a sophomore in college to me? Each their own miracle and I do not say this lightly.
We had a rough time getting pregnant with our son, two and a half years of infertility treatments, shots, blood tests, ultra-sounds, medication, driving to the hospital at 5:30 am for my blood to be tested, for sonograms, back at night for more blood tests, shots. I did all of this in silence because back in the early nineties, no one talked about infertility. It was a shameful secret. My colleagues, boss, family and friends would make such hurtful comments and jokes all the time about “So, when are you going to have a baby?” Grandparents were no different but finally we had to tell them; we thought they would be more sensitive but they weren’t. People say remarkably ignorant and cruel things even though that is not their intention. I’ve always watched my words to other people but this cemented it. When we conceived our son it was indeed a miracle. Our daughter, 21 months later, was again, another wonderful miracle. Just as I was about to call the doctor for treatments, I learned I was already pregnant! Now we are blessed with two kind, smart, wonderful young adults, it seems like just a minute ago that they were still young.
Jack’s mom is a kindergarten teacher who worked across the hall from both of my children’s kindergarten’s teacher. When I ran into her yesterday I knew exactly who she was. I am the type of person that never forgets a face. I, of course, thought she had no idea who I was but she stopped me, she remembered me and my name and my children. This time, I was the one who was shocked and incredibly touched. How amazing that she remembered me! How could that be? That was always my role.
Then there was Jack, beautiful, angelic, pale skinned cherub, Jack. I remember he had to fight to live, I think he was premature but I truly can’t remember the details. I just remember there was difficulty and when he was born, even though I didn’t know his mom directly I was euphoric. I was so thrilled that I ran to buy a present for her son to welcome him into the world. It didn’t matter if she knew who I was or not, I didn’t care. As someone known to be sensitive to other people, her joy was mine too.
Seeing her face yesterday was more beautiful than a sculpture, she glowed with happiness and with pride. I was so touched by her happiness and by young Jack. I thought about it at night and obviously today too. Jack, maybe when you are older your mom will show you this but just know: that as much as everyone loves you know, you were loved by many people before you were even born. It’s like you had your own fan club waiting for you, every single day. We crossed our fingers, we said our prayers because your mom is such a special and warm person we knew she deserved a boy exactly like you.
Sometimes when I am fast asleep, my husband says I say random thing out loud; one thing I said was : “I’m a frozen banana.” I figured it meant that I was cold in the winter, but as it turns out, it was the summer. Today, I woke up from a nap with the words “The Dawn of Cupcakes” in my mind. Why you ask? I have no idea.
Often phrases pop into my head and only recently have I forced myself to write them down. When I was younger, I wrote poems in my dreams, damn good poems and then forgot them immediately upon waking. Sometimes words or phrases just jump to mind and if I go to my computer right away the essay writes itself.
I have been thinking about Hostess cupcakes lately, which as you know, are leaving us (she said with some hostility). Hostess Orange cupcakes were a tradition for my family for Christmas every year, except for this one. I had a wonderful idea of a bartering system.” I’ve got Yodels, how much for Orange cupcakes?” But, in this day and age, I’m jaded. Internet swapping somehow sounds dirty to me and those super-sweet Orange cupcakes were anything but dirty.
I’ll be honest, I can live without another Twinkie; I’ve had many in my lifetime, for a short while in college my nickname, started by my sister, was “Twinkie.” People have made such a fuss about Twinkies that it’s likely another company will do some sort of similar product. However, no one has mentioned the Orange cupcake, the one with the white squiggle of frosting on top. Forgotten by everybody except old baby boomers and my family? No one even mentioned them in the many articles written. You and the Snowball, pretty much got screwed. So, I am here to stand up for you, to mourn YOUR passing, to try to describe to new people, younger people, something they will never know. Orange cupcakes, I will remember you and your friend, the pink Snowballs too. Nothing will ever be the same. It’s just plain sad.
p.s. I was going to beg for orange cupcakes but I didn’t think it would sound professional…(PLEASE)
In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would show you what my son, 20, whipped up at the last minute. He called it Corn Bread Pudding. The photo below is the closest I could come to it but his did not have jalapenos in it, instead he had diced red peppers. It was the first time my kids and my nephew contributed to the meal and it was very, very special. Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was sweet.
I feel like a monkey, somewhere, somehow I have evolved into a monkey from a human being, it’s the evolutionary theory backwards. All I have craved lately are bananas. Not just bananas but banana smoothies, made by moi. I LOVE THEM. They comfort me, soothe me, and make me feel happy. I’ve had one every day for about five days now. There are no more bananas in the house anymore, I must go shopping tomorrow but waiting for them to ripen is an exhausting ordeal.
When I want them to ripen faster I put the bananas in a brown paper bag with an apple tossed in because I once read this hastens the process. If it doesn’t at least I don’t have to see green edges, which in fact, is the only way my mother and son can eat bananas. Raw bananas? Ugh. There must be a science to banana eating and yes, I have also heard that you should peel a banana from the bottom like the monkeys do. I’m flexible, I do that once in a while but eating them while they are green? No, that will never do and don’t confuse green bananas with plantains because that is just entirely different. You need bananas with freckles, especially if you are baking with them, carmelizing them or using them in a yummy smoothie. I also make a mean banana bread but so far, that’s a family secret.
I am sharing my banana smoothie recipe with you, I only hope it gives you as much joy as it gives me:
In a blender put:
3 ripe bananas (RIPE is the operative word, not okay if they are green)
a small container of yogurt (you choose) I have used strawberry/banana yogurt, cherry vanilla or plain yogurt (I use 0 percent)
a bit of crushed ice (many people like icy smoothies, like my daughter, so feel free to add ice cubes or more crushed ice-I like them more creamy)
a dash of vanilla and almond extract to taste
2-3 Tablespoons of vanilla ice cream or low-fat vanilla ice cream (optional)
one teaspoon of brown sugar (optional)
a peach, plum, raspberries, cantaloupe or any old fruit that needs to be used (again, optional)
Blend at High for about a minute.
Take a Tablespoon to taste, adjust as needed. Pour, serve and enjoy!
Yellow, sweet custard with a crispy, burnt sugar topping. The custard is so silky
on your tongue and inside your mouth. Taste buds awaken with delight. The top layer of
carmelized sugar is delicately crunchy. It’s a dessert for something special, a birthday, an anniversary, a celebration. I don’t make these, I must admit, so for me, it’s a treat at a restaurant to indulge in a dessert fantasy, taking tiny bites with a shining, silver spoon.