I’m cooking today…

HAPPY EASTER!!

I have this fantasy about writing a cookbook.  It really would be perfect for me…incorporating the three things I love to do: photography, cooking, and writing.  The problem is, I RARELY use recipes, most of what I cook is straight from my head. I don’t measure…cooking for me is an art form, it’s very instinctive.

But I’m going to try.  And since I have all afternoon today to just cook and play, I’m going to attempt to write out the recipes for what I am making.

Be warned… I’m drinking while I cook, so this may get messy!  And I’m making everything one dish at a time so I can photograph the steps.  So THIS POST will update as the day does on.

If you decide to make anything using my recipes, LET ME KNOW!!  I’d love to know how it works out for you 🙂

ON THE MENU~~

Glazed Ham

Spinach Risotto

Roasted Asparagus

Potato Salad

White Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad

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WHITE BEAN AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD

I actually got this recipe from my dear friend Natacha.  Here’s the link she sent me.  I followed the recipe -sort of- the dressing I just kind of made up as I went along.

Dressing

1/2  cup Rosemary infused Olive oil (I infused last night and let it sit over night using 3 springs of rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic)

juice from 1/2  a lemon

2 tbs grated parmesean cheese

salt & pepper to taste

I blended it all together and tossed with 1 can of white beans,  a pint of cherry tomatoes (cut in half) and about a half cup of chopped Italian parsley.  I’m letting it refrigerate for a few hours before we eat it!

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I like to snack while I cook.  Sometimes I eat too much though, then I’m not hungry when dinner is ready.

Trader Joe’s Three Layer Hummus & pita chips, with TRENTARTE, or simply ’33’, my FAVORITE wine…

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POTATO SALAD

Potato Salad is one of those things that I can’t just eat anyone’s.  I’m particular, and everyone I know makes there’s a bit differently.  I actually never liked Potato Salad until I started to make my own.

I like it tart, so I use DILL relish and not sweet.  And I like it crunchy, so I use a lot of celery, and I like it a little wet (not soupy) so it will seem like there’s a lot of ingredients other than potatoes— I like it like that.  I often overcook my potatoes–though not on purpose.  But a lot of the time I’m doing other things, chopping my veggies or just screwing around, so I lose track of time.  Over time, I’ve begun to like my potatoes this way.  I guess I just got used to it.  Be careful though…the WORST thing you can do is UNDER cook them.  I like my crunch to come from celery, not under-cooked potatoes!

And since it’s Easter… I just use the eggs that my kids have cracked during their egg hunt!

You can also add chopped red apples or carrots for extra crunch, some color, and a touch of sweetness.  My dad would chop some green olives and add to is as well….very yummy.

Potato salad

3lbs potatoes, cubed

4 lg celery stalks-diced

3-4 green onions-roughly chopped

¼ c chopped Italian parsley

4-5 hard boiled eggs – chopped

3/4 cup  dill relish

1/3 cup yellow mustard

1 cup mayonnaise – NOT MIRACLE WHIP *gag*

salt & pepper to taste

You can substitute one small yellow or red onion if you don’t have gr onion.

Mix all ingredients together and chill!

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GLAZED HAM

My Ham is actually a few steps so I’ll update as I go…

Most hams you buy in the store are already fully cooked (some are only partially cooked to read the label—you don’t want to eat undercooked ham and get sick!!), so all you really need to is heat it up, and this is when you add your glaze or whatever you need to make it taste the way you want.  Be sure to heat it thoroughly.

I prefer a spiral Ham… I like the way they cook and they’re already sliced, so that’s WIN.  Any bone-in ham will do though.

I start with the Ham, take it out of the package, and put it in a pan with a whole sliced onion.  I sit the ham on top of the onion.  As it cooks, the onion infuses the Ham and gives it a yummy flavor.  I then coat the ham with 1 cup of Coke (Dr. Pepper will work too…or Pepsi if you’re not a Coke drinker) mixed with 1 tsp of ground cloves.  Then I cover COMPLETELY and place in the oven at 250°.  A good rule of thumb for cooking a ham is to cook for 20 minutes for every pound.  You don’t want to overcook, as this will dry out your ham.

Glaze

1/2 cup orange juice

3/4 cup spicy brown mustard

1 cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

Mix together in a saucepan and let simmer on low until all sugar is dissolved.

*Note: most Hams come with a glaze packet- you can use this if you want… but blehhh, they usually don’t have much flavor.  I usually just toss it.

After the Ham is almost doen…like when it has about 15 minutes left…. uncover and add the glaze, then put back in the oven to finish.

And i’m now buzzed 🙂

With any meat that you roast, let it rest for about 10-15 minutes after you take it out of the oven, before you slice and serve.

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SPINACH RISOTTO

My kids love this…and I love it too, but it’s time consuming so we don’t have it very often.  You need to use either chicken or vegetable broth, and I forgot to buy either when I went grocery shopping so I MADE my own vegetable broth.  It’s EASY…

Veggie broth

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 medium onion, sliced or roughly chopped

2 sprigs Rosemary

2-3 cloves of crushed garlic

Add veggies & oil, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add water until pot is almost full, simmer for at least 1 hour. Yer done.

Next-

Now you’re ready for the Risotto…

Spinach Risotto

2 cups Arborio Rice

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

½ finely chopped onion

1 lb frozen spinach, thawed and drained

vegetable or chicken broth (a lot)

½ stick of butter (everything is better with butter—-don’t listen to the critics!)

½-1 tbs Kosher salt (to taste)

Add rice & olive oil to pot, stir together until coated, over medium heat until hot.  Add onion, stir together until onions are soft. Add about 3 cups of broth to start.  Risotto is a pain in the ass because you need to stir is CONSTANTLY.  Arborio rice is a short grain rice—which means it’s very starchy and if you don’t keep it moving, it will stick.  So I usually recruit one of my kids, or in today’s case, my mom, to stir.  As it thickens, add more broth.  At some point half way though, add the butter.  By time you’re finished, you’ll have added about a quart and half of broth, but I’ve been drinking all day so I lost count of how much broth I added. Add salt to taste.

Keep stirring…. Once the rice is tender, add the Spinach.  Cook for another minute or two.  You’re done once the rice is tender and looks like this:

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ROASTED ASPARAGUS

Too easy too make and yummy.  Wjen my kids were little, my husband told them Asparagus was SUGAR CANE…and they believed him, so they ate it.  Now, this is a favorite in our house.

I started with three bunches of asparagus (about 3 lbs), I chopped off the tough ends, and placed on a baking dish, drizzled with olive oit, and sprinkled Kosher salt & black pepper.

I roasted in 350° for about 10-14 minutes, until asparagus is tender.

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And viola! My Ester dinner is complete.  Now that I cooked (and tasted) everything, I am now FULL and I can tell you that everything is DELICIOUS!!

All At Once chap. 2

MONOTONY, WITH A VIEW


Bella led me back to a small conference room with bad fluorescent lighting where a project contract was ready for me to sign along with some guidelines regarding the requirements for the shoot. It was pretty basic stuff; we were going to some office/warehouse conglomeration in Brooklyn to photograph the offices and stock rooms for the parent company’s annual report. We also needed to do some head shots for the regional and branch VPs. Not a whole lot of creativity required and I knew this was going to be simple, but Bella seemed to be really excited about the project, and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why. Continue reading

All At Once chap. 1

LINDA LOMAN MAKES PANCAKES

The morning began as any other, like every other. Up until that inauspicious day, each one was an exercise in predictability. I’d wake, rise, use the toilet, and make my way to my treadmill in the spare room of my apartment to run my typical three miles. Then I’d shower and get dressed in my daily wardrobe of jeans and a t-shirt. Sometimes, I’d shake things up a bit by adding white Oxford shirt, or a navy blue button down with the sleeves rolled up, maybe a gray hoodie. Always the jeans though, I was a creature of habit. Continue reading

All At Once ~ PROLOGUE

PROLOGUE

This isn’t a story about love or romance. This isn’t a story with a knight in shining armor who rescues his princess. This isn’t a story where the boy gets the girl. There are no rainbows, or butterflies. No pretty words or soft caresses to make the pain go away. The gentleman does not kiss away her tears, though the tears are many. This isn’t a story with a happily ever after.

This is a story about loss. And regret. And pain. And the havoc that was wreaked upon the lives of the innocent and unsuspecting. This starts with wonder and hope and curiosity. It begins with friendship and laughter and supportive gestures. Even seduction.

But it does not end well. No, not at all.

You see, the boy does not always get the girl. It’s a fact of life; something my father told me when I was just a boy and I had to watch my beloved pet and best friend die after being struck by a wavering car on a wet and rainy road.

Sometimes bad things just happen.

But what my father failed to tell me then, a lesson that I evidently needed to learn the hard way, was that sometimes those bad things that happen are completely our own fault.

This story is my story. It’s the story of how I began with everything, but ended with nothing, not even hope. It’s not a fairy tale, more like my own personal nightmare. This is my confession of how I broke the heart of the woman I promised to love forever, of how I tore apart two families, one being my own; of how I destroyed everything I held dear to my heart. I lost my wife, my children, my home; I very nearly destroyed my career. I alienated my friends and parents. I lied, cheated, and stole.

I did the worst of the worst to the best of the best.

My name is Edward Cullen, and I am an adulterer.

Duality

Today he decides to help me fold the laundry.  I would rather let it sit untouched, unfolded, and just live from the laundry basket for the next several days, but that annoys him so I let him help me.  Most of the clothes in the basket are mine.  As we fold we create little piles of his things, my things, his shorts and pants, my shirts and underwear etc.  He comments on my t-shirts.  Some are newer, many are very old, worn and faded.  Those are my favorites; they are most comfortable.

I decide to just leave the piles of my own laundry on the bed for the time being because since there is so much, there isn’t any room in my dresser.  It desperately needs to be cleaned out.  I can do that another day.  He says two things that are interesting to me:

1. I have more t-shirts than any woman he has ever known.

I’m very casual.

2. He says I have two separate wardrobes, one for the house, and one for out of the house.

Interesting.

The thought occurs to me that the self I present to the outside world must be different from the self I am when I at home.  This must be true for most people though, I think, right?  We’re more relaxed at home, less formal, comfortable.  So then I realize then this isn’t such a fantastic idea after all.  But I’m still intrigued by the notion of duality.  We can not possibly be the same person to everyone and every situation.

But how does one compartmentalize who they are?

I know for a fact that not a single person knows all sides of me.  Not even my husband.  What would he think if he knew my secrets?  I don’t think he’d be very happy at all.

Paradox

I look at him and think about the type of person he is.  It’s funny because I’ve known him my entire adult life, but it’s only now that I am really beginning to know him.  But then, I am only now beginning to know myself so I shouldn’t be surprised.

He is a paradox, a contradiction.

His nature is at odds with his personality.  His Nature is that of a Giver.  He’s a giver…to me, to anyone he meets.  He gives completely, thoughtlessly, selflessly and generously.  And to me, he’s a giver completely in a physical sense.  It’s sweet, when I see it.  It doesn’t happen on a daily basis really, but I’m always so surprised when I see how he wants, needs even, to give.

His Personality is the opposite.  He is arrogant and reclusive.  He has this superiority complex that gets on my fucking nerves.  He’s not always nice.  He is judgmental.  Sometimes it borders on rudeness.

I sometimes find myself at odds with these two personas he possesses.  How does one exist with the other?  I wonder if he ever finds himself at odds with himself?

And as I discover this about him, I realize something about me.  I am the opposite.

I am not a Giver.  I am a Taker.  I am not selfless.  I am narcissistic.  I’m not happy about that, so I hide it.  I do nice things so that it will make me look good.  Not selfless at all.

I admire his generosity, and yet I am annoyed by it.

When we first met, nearly 17 years ago, he told me that he was an asshole.  It was a warning.  I learned that is was true, he is an asshole.  But I wonder if he has realized that I am an asshole too.  A bigger one than he is.