Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Quest for the Muffaletta

Today I am headed on a last minute business trip to New Orleans and I couldn’t be more excited. Well, it would be much better if I were going for vacation and able to take my husband instead of missing his
birthday to spend time with my weirdo company. I am sitting in the Atlanta airport right now waiting for my connections and I think it's the perfect time to declare my quest.

New Orleans- The Quest for the Muffaletta

New Orleans is a mecca for great food! Though I am excited for jambalaya, gator meat, crawfish and bigniettes, there is one food that has been on my mind for years. The Muffaletta!

As a sandwich lover this has been a dream of mine for some time. The Muffaletta is simply a round loaf filled with Sicilian meats and cheeses and topped with an olive salad. There is no reasonable explanation for my fascination, but it resides in my core. Right next to where my soul should be.

The combination of history and rareness has peaked my curiosity. Outside of New Orleans these sandwiches are nearly impossible to find. So, I have 4 days to eat as many Muffalettas as possible. Normally this would be easy but as I will be working 14-hour days we will see….

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fart Salad

You may think something called fart salad would be a novelty or some kind of weird food that tastes like farts. But you'd be wrong. Fart salad is perhaps one of my most versatile dishes. It is a simple bean salad that can be served with any meal or as a snack. Whenever I have this salad it is pretty much all I eat for two days until it's gone. And it couldn't be easier to make.

So you may be asking, why is it called fart salad? Well, we all know beans are the magical fruit with the tooting and such. For some reason I find this combination of beans, peas and corn just takes it to a whole new level. I have a fridge full of fart salad right now and since I started writing this blog I've farted four times. And these are not little, quiet farts. They are loud and explosive. On it's own, it won't make smelly farts, but this guarantee doesn't stand if you consume other foods with it. It takes about six hours for the farts to really reach their peak and if you continue to eat the salad you will have a steady stream throughout the day and night.

Just think of the uses for this! You could add a little extra to your Walter the Farting Dog Halloween costume, impress your friends with a fart signaled power hour, or simply get a seat to yourself on the bus. All I ask is that you please use this recipe responsibly. Oh, and it tastes really good too.

1 lb bag frozen peas
2 cans whole kernel corn
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 can black beans
1/4 cup minced red onion
salt & pepper

balsamic vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic chopped
handful of basil leaves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
about 1 cup olive oil (more or less depending on taste)
salt & pepper

1. Dump peas and minced red onion in a large bowl
2. Drain and rinse beans and corn and add to bowl
3. In a blender or food processor blend garlic, basil and vinegar
4. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until you get the flavor and consistency you want. The thicker the better for this salad (that means more oil)
5. pour dressing over beans and mix
6. salt and pepper to taste
7. eat and fart.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Keep It Simple

Turkey Burgers

In my quest for the perfect turkey burger I decided to play around last night. Turkey burgers are often too dry so I attempt to improve them with whatever I have on hand. Last night’s attempt will possibly go down as the most sorry and sad attempt to date.

I wanted to class them up. I bought some nice rolls from the bakery and sautéed some onions and mushrooms for toppings. Everything was looking good until I started to make the actual turkey burgers.

I began with 1.5 lb of ground organic turkey. I have tons of basil from my garden so I chopped up a handful of leaves and threw them in. I also had some left over roasted garlic in the fridge and figured it couldn't hurt. So that made its way in too. While grabbing the garlic I saw half a shallot that was going to be bad in a day. I minced that up. I still hadn’t addressed my dryness problem so I finely chopped some mushrooms and in they went. One egg as a binding agent. Salt and pepper.

As I was making the burgers I found them entirely too wet (from the egg). I searched for cracker meal or bread crumbs to help. I knew I had some but I couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere I could think they might be. No luck. I did find some tortilla chips. Could tortilla chips work with my Italian flavors? Why not? I crushed them up and threw them in. This was the downfall of the burgers.

I toasted the buns, threw on some onions and mushrooms, a little mayo....

NOPE. This did not work! I knew it was bad when Sean took his first bite and said, "this is 'different'". This was possibly the second worst meal I have made this year, after the italian/thai fiasco a few months ago. But I don't discuss that.

My conclusion is that when it comes to any kind of burger, be it beef, bison or turkey, it is best to keep it simple. Add a good amount of salt and pepper and don't overcook. You will be much better off than adding everything you have laying around.

On a scale of Palin to Obama, I give these a Mccain. Which is somewhere in the middle but definitely towards the bottom.

Horrible Turkey Burgers
1.5 lb. organic ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. roasted garlic
1/2 shallot finely minced
5 large white mushrooms chopped fine
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 handful crushed tortilla chips
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all in a bowl, make patties and cook till done. No need to bother trying to gussy them up- you can't hide the fact that these suck.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The First Step....

Step one is admitting you are a housewife....

It has been almost a year since I left New York to begin creating my nest in Pittsburgh. Though children are still a distant thought, the idea of owning a home and enjoying more space than our one-bedroom, mouse-infested apartment in Queens was tempting enough to inspire a move to Pittsburgh.

I had to quit my well paid and very enjoyable job upon leaving New York. I had to, but that's not how it happened. They offered to let me work from home. I thought this would only last a few months. But as I am narrowing in on one year I realize this position could be as permanent as when I reported to an office each day like the rest of you suckers.

Working from home is the best deal anyone could ask for, but it does get fairly dull staring at a computer all day. Your mind wanders, your urge to watch soap operas increases and your motivation to get out of your pajamas and take a shower fades.

From January to early spring a typical day in my life looked a bit like this:
* Wake up at 8:59, exactly one minute before I was to report "in" for work
* Pull my laptop onto the bed and pull the covers back over me
* Sleep for 30-45 minutes more
* Browse Perezhilton, WWTDD, check my e-mail, facebook, myspace, humane society website to see if they have any cute new dogs.
* Send IM to my boss to show him I am a committed employee 
* Get out of Bed
* Make coffee and eat some food, probably lunch as it should be around 1:00 by this point
* Take work calls, write work e-mails, send out bills  while watching Gilmore Girls repeats
* Fight off the temptation to drink whiskey
* Take a Power Nap
* Figure out what time my bosses will be leaving work and figure out what could possibly   happen between then and now and try to avoid that.
* Fight off temptation to smoke weed.
* Browse Perezhilton, WWTDD, check my e-mail, facebook, myspace and the humane society
* Brush my teeth
* Send IM to boss thus proving my commitment

Please notice that I have not listed 'shower'. This could go on for days at a time. I may even wear the same clothes all day then to bed and the next day. I would only change when I knew Sean would be coming home and would notice. I realized this was not me. I was fading into my furniture. I needed to get off my ass and start doing something during the day. The problem is I can't leave my house because I need to be available when needed for work. 

It started slowly. I increased the frequency of fancy homemade dinners. I painted a few rooms. I bought a set of vintage aprons. Then one day, I woke up and thought, What the hell, let's do this thing!

So I decided to become a serious housewife. Well, kind of. I decided to take on all parts of being a housewife I found enjoyable and ignore the parts I don't. So please, don't expect my house to be clean or my sheets to be ironed. That kind of thing doesn't happen here. Maybe that's something for the future, but for now I do what interests me, what is fun, and what entertains others.

This blog will be full of ideas for entertaining, recipe successes and failures, party ideas and random "housewifey" tips. There will also be restaurant reviews, cool things to do and ideas on wasting time. And I am getting paid for this! My job takes about 2 hours a day on average to complete so whatever else I find myself doing during that 9 hour day, you will find here. So while you're sitting in your office pretending to work; read up. Learn a few tips. Avoid a few pitfalls. Because no one knows when they might unexpectedly find themselves becoming a housewife.