persian persuasion

The one interesting thing about moving around so much is the spectrum of people you meet. It’s not like we meet the same lot of people over and over again. For instance, in Nashville folk were uber friendly, Chicago people were a little scruffier but nice once you got to know them – like they were trying to act like New Yorkers but deep down they couldn’t fight the urge to be the sweet people they are – and South Florida? Um?…it is very international… and mostly on the elderly end.

Working retail, especially in a “high-end” grocer (loosely quoted), there’s the weirdos who come in for their hemp bread and patchouli, but aside from that, people from different cultures. I’ve gotten to know a wonderful Persian woman, who happens to be vegetarian and a master cook. Perfect that she works at a grocery store that more or less caters to alternative diets, she shops for her vegetables and vegan cheese, which she says is really good.

She has owned her own Persian restaurant, written a cookbook and now… makes food for me. How did I get so lucky?

I went to her house for lunch and left not only tipsy from her wine, but so tummy happy from her food I could’ve floated home.

Samosas, spinach-stuffed filo, saffron rice, tabouli (or tabbouleh)…. she is brilliant.



And for dessert? Not only fresh fruit but rosewater ice cream with pistachios. Perfection.

…of course, she brings me her nothing less than fabulous hummus and falafel paste and tells me how to make the falafel. “Little bit of oil in the pan, roll it up like a golf ball and poke your finger through the middle.” Done.

The woman is exquisite!

..enjoy your Persian meals!

C

 

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cold lobster

I dont know about you guys but I am totally in the dark about lobster. Like, for instance, I can tell you all about bbq and chicken fried steak and down-home, country cookin’ but  – lobster? I know its yummy when dipped in butter? It turns red when you boil it…. And…. uh… its expensive? Anyone with me on this?

We didn’t do a lot of lobster cooking in Chicago when I attended culinary school. You can only imagine why. People of the Midwest do not know true great seafood and for obvious reasons…. landlocked anyone?…. (**Disclaimer** Yes, I am well aware there are probably thousands of Midwesterners who can identify amazing seafood when they smell it. Please don’t read too much into that above statement).

So I’ve had two instances of lobster since relocating to South Florida. One was horrific and scarred me and the other, just recently, was I’d say, nothing more of decent. *sigh* Will I ever get a true, stellar representation of lobster? Who knows. Sure as hell not here I’m assuming.

Late last year I had an assignment to go to three local culinary schools and eat at their restaurants. I went to a school in West Palm Beach and had lunch. I figured ok, I’m here for lunch, I’ll get a sandwich and soup. Typical lunch fare, right? Well.. I looked at the choices before me and picked the most unique sounding sandwich on the menu. (Taking chances on a first encounter can either be the death or life of discovering a new restaurant, fyi). “Lobster BLT.” Huh! Sounds fun! I had no idea they were going to serve the imitation lobster meat cold on doughy, dry ciabatta bread. Yuck. Hating life instance #349.

Sunday we had lunch with one of our lady friend’s who met us in Delray Beach to try out a restaurant with us off the main drag called Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll. (Long name for a restaurant. Kinda unnecessary. Linda Bean’s would’ve sufficed). I was obviously ready to order a lobster roll. Duh. But I thought hmm…I wonder if its cold… like that nasty lobster BLT…. I asked a passing waitress and her reply was, “Yep, it’s fresh lobster meat chilled.” ….F word. Then I got antsy and anxious, ugh. I asked Shayne if we should leave. True Libra. Should we leave or no? Should we get the roll or no? Decisions to be made! I settled after seeing our friend walk in and since I didn’t want to stir the pot and get everyone in a tizzy, I just ordered the damn roll…. cold lobster meat and all. Final consensus? Not bad! Not my most favorite thing in the world but.. I guess it could’ve been a BLT disaster. Before ordering I remember looking at this lady, she was having a hay-day with her roll, you could tell she was freakin’ loving it. I was hoping I would catch the same fever after one bite…. not really.
And if I really wanna get candid, it was not worth the price. So there. Linda Bean’s in Delray, B-, because the price was ridic! Lovely location though. Great company and good afternoon. I didn’t have my camera so no pictures. But here is what a lobster roll looks like – oooh!:
Now, are they traditionally served with chilled or hot lobster meat?….

photo credit: countryliving.com

enjoy your lobster rolls!

C

i hate spaghetti

I feel like I’m losing it. The imagination and desire I possessed as a culinary student to produce exciting meals. Do not get me wrong! I still love making things and following recipes and improvising and eating great food but I feel like as worker bee, now, my main objective when making dinner is to just get something yummy on the table in a somewhat quick fashion. Not microwave quick, but as showcased in a way earlier post – making beef burgundy-esque dishes every other night doesn’t really cut it. So I started poking my nose through lots of sharp-imaged, pretty foodie blogs and sites with their simple, modern, clean templates…. It’s so interesting to read about what other people are cooking and with such sophistication! I feel like a numb-nuts. Especially since I am somewhat formally trained. But the point is I don’t feel like I am reaching beyond my potential and honing my skills. First order of business: I need a knife sharpener. I have been dropping BOMBS as far as hints and even put it on our wedding registry last year but I guess people just figured I needed something like a salad bowl instead of a knife sharpener so I can sharpen the $900 knife kit from $40,000/year culinary school I went to. Just sayin’.
Second order of business: Get a new job, one in a kitchen. Pay will likely decrease and sucky hours will increase… but I feel its imperative to my future as a food writer and professional in the culinary arena to make this happen. I have no clue when it will or if anything will happen soon, I just feel like its got to. Somehow. I applied for a job at a country club but that never sprouted anything. It’s hard enough just to find any job, much less the one you really want these days. No excuses – upwards and onwards!
I also have this conscious urge to work in a bakery again! I don’t know what it is, I am in love with pretty pastries.

Dinners haven’t been too grand and lunch has been either 1/2 sandwich or Special K. I am really trying to keep my intestines happy and going light on the bad stuff. And you would not believe this but its true – I haven’t had ANY candy since Ash Wednesday (except, OK, last night I had one Ghiradelli chocolate square – but c’mon… women need their chocolate every so many weeks).

But here is the real monumental thing happening in my food life. I am starting to get Italian food cravings. A little background about yours truly: it’s my least favorite “ethnic” food group. Ever. All that chunky red sauce (heartburn), noodles (bloated), and cheese (lactose intolerant)… ugh.. and I love you mom, but I always hated the spaghetti. Every time. However, I’ve always really enjoyed basil-olive oil combos with fresh tomato. That was the extent of it. So the other day my coworker was chomping on chicken parmesan and it looked so appetizing – I was eating a half of a turkey sandwich on sourdough and a 1/2 cup of mushroom bisque. That night I told Shayne I reeeeally wanted chicken parm. We went to an “italian” restaurant and had some, it was gross. So I’m back at square one with “italian” food. Still hating it.

enjoy your meals…

C

lunch break : #2

What am I feasting on today during this lunch hour??

I passed up a lunch out with my coworkers for: Sweet & Sour Chicken Kashi, carrot snacks with ranch and aqua. I love love love the microwavable Kashi meals, especially the sweet and sour one… I remember a very awesome skinny chick I worked with in Nashville (who is still skinny and awesome) who introduced me to these… I have been a fan ever since. Thanks Renee 🙂

It’s all for the best. The place they were going serves up greasy, (but yummy) bar food and I’d rather sit here filling up on Vitamin A and whole grains and blog…..
Getting back to it!

..enjoy your Kashi!

lunch break

OK I have a big Texas post to publish but I dont have it quite ready so I am filling in with this.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Not that its a total tragedy that I’ve never posted my lunches before.. but they are the highlight of my work day. Not that I seriously hate my job, but its not want I want to be doing the rest of my life. I want to stay home, go to restaurants, visit kitchens, talk to chefs and be a full-time cmyfood.com blogger and food writer. But… for now… I am forced to scarf down my lunch at a desk. ..While checking my email… blogging…
And what am I having, you ask?

A (very disgusting-looking but yummy) Shayne special: 1/2 baked potato, Campbell’s Firehouse Chili and cheese sprinkled on top.
He has been an amazing husband and has made my lunches lately. 🙂

enjoy your lunches!

C