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Tag Archives: truffle oil

Gymnauseum

Look at him, stalking all stalkingly.

It wouldn’t matter if I were sitting in the leprosy section of a one-star deli in Qatar, and a gentle sand breeze rolls my falafel off the table, into the jowls of an ill-tempered rhesus monkey armed with a rusty knife… I will fight that macaque to recover my chickpea ball, brush it gently on my hijab and then eat it. I don’t even care if I fail to do this within the five-second rule, either: The monkey and I can go tooth and shiv all day, while our deep-fried prize bakes in the Arab sun. I will still be the victor, and to me will go the still-edible spoils.

The point of this random fiction? I’m not a germaphobe. Having said that… holy shit, gymnasiums give me the bacterial willies. Let me back up a bit: This week, my Dentyne-sized friend, Autumn, has started working full time again (after some medical shenanigans), and is now dragging my rotund ass to the gym on our lunch break. After our first workout, she teased me about how much of a prissy diva I was—how nothing was clean enough for my fragile psyche. Whereas I would normally turn a non-confrontational cheek at such playful criticism, I must stand by my objection. Let’s break it down into components:

First, there’s getting changed. If you’re a man reading this, and have ever wondered about the naked pillow fights that clandestinely break out in women’s locker rooms, let me assuage your curiosity: it’s all true. Problem is, the only immodest contenders are old enough to have done alterations with Betsy Ross—and, oh, do they love to socialize. Look, I adore old folks, and hope to be one myself someday, but towel-up, ladies. I don’t need your dilapidated naughty bits to accidentally graze me. Again.

Then there’s the gym portion of the gym, where meatheads in wife beaters two sizes too small, with necks two sizes too thick, grunt and scream as if recording the audio book for Stoney and the Great Passage of Urethra. But ignoring all that is as simple as using ear buds. What is less forgivable is the pool of jock filth they leave in their wake and waft. How a towel was deemed to be an adequate absorber for such fungal man-leavings is anybody’s guess. More to the point, how have gym-employed bus boys not been invented yet? If restaurants see it necessary to chemically purge a table after every meal—even though food is already served on sanitized plating—how could a light brushing of drenched upholstery be compliant with health codes, at either a state or common sense level? Even the butcher paper a doctor rolls out for you would be progress.

I’ll take my chances with the monkey.

I already feel like I need a shower—which brings us to the closing act of the workout experience. Women, I know how fun it is to make hair art in the shower at home. I know the delights of gathering all the loose strands that have clung to the tile, rotary phoning them into clumps and giving each one a name and backstory. But… do you really need to share your masterpieces publicly? Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just an artless rube. Maybe I should just be grateful for the free toe rings. Shudder.

Of course, I wouldn’t have to endure any of this if I didn’t make such deliciously fattening shit like this:

Savory Ricotta Cheesecake

Bad picture—I was fighting the crowd at work to take it.

Crust

  • 6 oz Italian truffle cheese (this is available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

The inspiration for this crust came after I made homemade Cheez-Its. Preheat oven to 350˚. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until they form a ball. Press into the bottom of a springform pan and prick several times with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before filling.

Filling

Slightly better picture.

  • 30 oz ricotta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Combine ricotta and eggs until blended. Saute shallots, garlic and thyme in truffle and olive oils until just cooked. Fold into ricotta mixture along with salt and pepper. Pour over crust and bake for 50–60 minutes, until a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.

Topping

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups oil packed sun-dried tomatoes

Drain tomatoes of most of the oil they are packed in. Place in a mini-food processor and chop until finely minced. Spread over the top of still warm cheesecake. Place on cooling rack. Once cooled, run a sharp knife around the edge of pan and then flip the springform latch. It can be served immediately or chilled overnight. I made this for the gang at work and it was a big hit.

Whaddya know? I’m once again using the space down here to apologize for everything above. This time, I want it understood that I’m writing from a place of catharsis, not superiority. What the hell do I have to be superior about when it comes to the gym? I’m forty and grotesquely out of shape (although I submit oval is most definitely a shape), so avoiding the gym is no longer an option for combating my sagging sogginess. Someone remind me why I gave up the metabolic goodness of smoking?

TWTG says, “I just want to be filled with a bathroom to pee in.”

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Say Bacon

Future vegan left. Still cool kid right.

Since nobody will have sex with vegans, we can’t hope to clear our plate of society’s leaf lovers through prima nocta. There is hope, however, as I like to believe that one of them dies each time I write “bacon” on the blog. I don’t mean this metaphorically—as though my delightful wit will somehow reprogram their dietary glitches. I mean it’s a culling song, like telling a fairy in Neverland you don’t believe in it. Well, I don’t believe in fairies, either, mine just live in the blue states.

I’ve mentioned my BVFA (Best Vegan Friend, Ami) before, and, despite anything I’ve said about her ilk, I absolutely adore her. We’ve been besties since high school, and I would never let a thing like Doing Food Wrong impede our progress as heterosexual lovers. But here’s a story anyway: Ami, like yours truly, turned the big four-oh this year, and invited the boyfriend and I to her birthday party. Of course we went, but knowing this was going to be a healthy affair (to put it diplomatically), we decided to fill up on porky goodness beforehand. This was for a sense of symmetry, and to see if meat mouth could melt vegan skin.

Or is it bark?

I digress. We chose The Salted Pig in my hometown of Riverside—the name alone was reason enough. We went there with the intent of ReKimmending it, but it just wasn’t special enough for such charity. Nothing on its menu stood out from a million other gastropubs, save for one item: Bacon Fat Popcorn. (Oh yes they did. Their menu even says so.) This isn’t bacon-flavored popcorn, nor popcorn with bacon salt. It’s corn. That has been popped. In fucking. Bacon fat. Of course I had to steal it, then make it better and feed it to my subjects. You owe me.

Better Bacon Fat Popcorn

Oh yes I did.

  • 2 tbsp bacon fat
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • Bacon Salt
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Heat bacon fat and truffle oil in large pan. Add popcorn—the oil should be hot enough that it immediately sizzles. Cover with lid and shake. I use a pan that has a glass lid so I can watch the corn pop, but you always can do it by ear. Shake pan over burner as corn pops. Turn off heat as soon as popping slows down. Sprinkle hot popcorn with Bacon Salt (to taste), parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Toss and serve. Amaze the neighbors, show up a trendy restaurant, sneak it into the movies, etc..

This post had everything! Love for bacon, hate for vegans (although I think they got off lightly), vulgarity, shaming, an easy white trash recipe and it all segued nicely. All we’re missing is some sweater cows… click here? Nope. You can’t. And, oh, just in case my blogging curse does work: bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon.

TWTG says, “I put it in my purse, because I stole it outright.”

Au Revoir, Foie Gras

Note: The following is somewhat of an extension of Monday’s argument. Click here to get a frame of reference.

Foie gras or faux pas?

As of July 1st, foie gras will be banned in my hometown of California. Why? Because the methods we use to fatten geese (which involve forceful overfeeding via tubes) have been deemed cruel. I adore foie gras, so my first reaction to this was “blue state bullshit!” But, Russell, my meticulous man of moderate musings, had to (once again) stop me from being myself. He tried to point out a web of contradictions I had not only spun for myself, but also managed to get caught inside—as I’m both the proverbial spider and the figurative fly? I really need to stop drinking before attempting metaphors.

Earlier this week, I took a firm stance against animal testing, and I stand by every word of it. Russell thought I was talking out both sides of my mouth, however, because I reserve no moral Kool-Aid for how livestock should be handled before the slaughter. After all, it makes no difference to me if these birds are mistreated to harvest fattier livers. I celebrate veal. (I mean, look how cute those calves are in their tiny boxes—they’re like little bonsai cows! How udderly adorable! See what I did there?) And I really couldn’t give less of a shit whether the range of my chickens is free or barb wiry oppressive.

Does this indifference make me a bad person? Absolutely. But, shockingly, it doesn’t make me a hypocrite. (So, yeah, continue sucking eggs, Russell!) My issue isn’t that testing on animals is torturous. Animal cruelty is nothing new, and isn’t even uniquely human—I’ve seen dogs proudly strutting around with live birds in their mouth, and cats batting around mice until they die of shock. Rather, my issue is more about wastefulness. Food is as noble of a cause as we’ve invented (given that it falls under the category of resources), but I see no nobility in killing for what is essentially collecting data. If you can’t understand the difference… get a haircut, you damn hippy! I’m joking. Mostly.

Now, I’m not entirely heartless—I make an honest effort to buy all natural meat products, and so should you. Thus, show me a bill demanding more ethical treatment of geese before we foie their gras, I’ll sign it. Show me a ballot, I’ll vote for it. But, to arbitrarily take it away? No. Sorry, but no. I’m hungry, I’m selfish and I don’t want to move to Arizona.

Loaded Mac ‘N Cheese

I can't afford foie gras, legal or not.

  • 1 bag (16 oz) pasta
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cubed ham

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cook pasta as directed, drain and return to pot. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add shallots and saute for a minute or two. Add flour and stir continuously for 2–3 minutes. Slowly add milk and stir until mixture starts thicken. Stir in cheese until melted. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, pepper and salt. Add sauce and ham to pasta, and mix well. Spray a 9″ x 13″ glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add pasta mixture to dish and bake for 20–25 minutes. Let casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving. If you want to be extra fancy, drizzle some truffle oil over the mac ‘n cheese before serving. We’ve been eating Easter ham for days, so I thought this would be a good way to get rid of some. I knew I was right when the kids asked for seconds. 

Credit for today’s rant (and title) goes to my bite-size friend, Autumn. I didn’t know about the foie gras issue until she brought it to my attention. She’s my partner in decadence, the one I play fancy dress-up with whenever I like to pretend to have money. Riddle me this, then, California: How am I supposed to do that when you are incrementally killing our friendship with these embargoes on our elitist snobbery? Blue state bullshit, indeed!

TWTG says, “Oh, there’s a huge twinge of guilt, but whatever.”

Hare And Makeup

Emo Bunny says, "but testing made me fabulous!"

To say I don’t give two shits about Spring cleaning should not imply that I could maybe give one. I choose to keep a messy house for excellent reasons: I’m lazy and we both know you’ll forgive me. But, with the raccoons at their dad’s and Jesus appreciating a nice house on Easter, last week was spent squeezing out a couple deuces (which I believe makes it a quartet) of cleaning goodness. I am a lady and a scholar.

While I worked the upstairs, I assigned Russell to clean the kitchen. Despite being The White Trash Gourmet, I hate doing dishes and every good cook needs a plongeur. When he found the bottom of the sink, he asked for some Comet to scrub it out. Now, I get he said this as an eponym—the way people ask for Kleenex instead of tissue—but, being the cruel mistress I am, I had to instigate. “I don’t buy Comet,” I scoffed. “They test it on animals!” I went on to rant about Proctor & Gamble (which has always sounded like an evening of poker and colonoscopies) and how famously horrible they were to bunnies.

“You’re horrible to bunnies,” Russell replied. “You wrote an entire post about how proud you were to murder them!” I insisted there was a difference, but he fired back, “not to the bunnies, there isn’t. Whether they’re eaten for dinner, or tortured in a lab, it doesn’t make them any less dead.” He wasn’t making a serious argument, just poking the bear like a moron. He knows there’s a difference. He understands we are meant/built to eat rabbits. They are (by definition) prey, and our sharp teeth and ability to digest more than lettuce accommodates these facts. Every culture has found a way to respect their kills. It should going without saying, then, that there is absolutely no honor in expending animals in the name of beauty and cleaner toilets.

So. Yeah. Suck eggs, Russell.

Bacontatoes

Potatoes, stuffed with bacon, topped with bacon.

  • 3 lbs (more or less) potatoes, diced
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp minced shallots
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp truffle oil
  • 1/4 cup milk (more or less)
  • salt/pepper

Disclaimer: I made these for Easter dinner, and I really didn’t measure as I went. (They were so yummy, however, I just had to share.) Thus, the measurements above are approximations.

Place potatoes in a large stock pot and add enough water to just cover them. Add a generous amount of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15–20 minutes. Drain potatoes into colander. Add butter and shallots to the same pot that potatoes were cooked in and saute until shallots soften. Remove from heat, add back the potatoes and other ingredients, and mash until the potatoes are nice and creamy. I like to add my milk a little at a time to make sure that the potatoes don’t get too soggy.

In the interest of fairness, I did a little research and Proctor & Gamble sold Comet to Prestige Brands in 2001. I have no idea if the latter is kinder about their testing (I said a little research), but that still doesn’t alleviate a semicentennial of doing the wrong thing. Hence:

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green
Comet, it tastes like gasoline
Comet, it makes you vomit,
So try some Comet, and vomit today!

TWTG says, “Oh my God, your meat is flying everywhere!”