Girl + Fire = Food



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Creminelli Fine Meats & Eats at Food Bloggers LA

This month's meeting of the local food blogging crowd gathered, quite literally, In Erika's Kitchen. More like Erika's perfectly lit kitchen. Between the skylight and huge south-facing window, you can't take a bad shot of food. Absolutely lovely. (Thanks for hosting, Erika!)

Everyone brought tasty treats, like Shockingly Delicious' brown butter and rosemary rice krispie bars, and She's Cookin's wonton cups with mulberries. But the highlight was the charcuterie brought to us from Creminelli Fine Meats.

It's no secret we love the pork products here at G+F HQ. Having huge platters of salumi to choose from was as close to heaven as we were going to get on this particular day, since the end of the world didn't materialize.

And heavenly it was.

My personal favorite was the Sopressa, a fermented salami with flavors of wine and garlic. Suggested uses are on pizza or paired with aged Italian cheeses. I highly suggest simply stuffing your mouth hole with it until you can't eat anymore. Inelegant, sure, but delightfully satisfying nonetheless.*

An authentic Italian import, the artisan meats are rolling out to a local Whole Foods near you. Made without nitrates or nitrites, the meat is simply delicious. To learn more about Cristiano Creminelli and his company's philosophy, please see their website.

*I can't be held responsible if, while savoring the scrumptious meat, if your eyes roll into the back of your head and stay there.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Raspberry Vinaigrette Fail

To continue with my wonderful tales of woe, here's another pretty picture of something I completely botched.

It looks fine. Who doesn't love red sauce on a plate? It's kind of reminiscent of blood, right? Mmm, vampires...anyway.

I did actually eat this. But it had this really weird, kind of bitter, kind of sour flavor that just wasn't working.

The problem here was that I tried to combine two recipes from memory. And since I've been spending all of my free time studying for a meeting planning exam and not a cooking exam, there isn't a lot of space left in my brain for ingredient measurements. Sure, I can tell you how far from the edge of the table the utensils should be set (1 inch), or how much space a place setting takes up (24 inches). Or how to use a spreadsheet control report, or create a zero-based budget. But I cannot tell you how much lemon juice was supposed to go into this.

The answer: far less than I used. Way less than half a lemon. Probably absolutely NO lemon, from what my taste buds told me.

And I really like sour food. And sour drinks. So when I was throwing in balsamic vinegar and lemons, I figured it would all go really well together.

Turns out, I was wrong. So wrong that there is no amount of raw honey or agave or sugar or pixie dust that was going to save this.

Thankfully, I only drizzled enough on here to take a picture and not enough to kill the cheese or baby greens. Because we already know how cheese and murder go together.

So it's back to the drawing board for this. And back to trying to remember the difference between a colloquium and a symposium. And what the heck VAT is...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mac & Cheese Fail

That looks pretty, doesn't it? That right there is my first attempt ever to make macaroni and cheese.

And it was a big, fat, failure.

Sure, it looks nice. But this picture is a lie. It's lipstick on a pig. It's a mirage.

The problem? I decided to just use three cheeses I had in the fridge instead of the tried and true cheddar cheese. Why didn't I already have cheddar in the house? Remember when I couldn't eat cheese? And then I really couldn't eat cheese? We haven't quite recovered from those dark days here.

So I used goat cheese, manchego, and ricotta. It sounded okay in theory. It worked horribly in execution. The ricotta really killed it. Ricotta is a murderer. I never thought I'd come to hate a cheese, but ricotta is now caseus non grata. It's dead to me.

Next time, instead of getting fancy, I'll just run out and get the good ol' dependable cheddar. I do so love a sharp cheddar, after all.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Discovering Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

I'm so very glad the elimination challenge is finally over. I had a beer on Easter to celebrate and...passed out. Yup. Turns out my liver is so shiny new and clean that just the mere sniff of alcohol makes me loopy.

I'm like an alcohol virgin! I'm slowly building my tolerance back up so I can maybe have more than one before having to give my keys up.

A few years ago, a bunch of my Bruin alumni friends and I partook in the Belgian Beer Fest at Lucky Baldwins, and one of them introduced me to sour beer. I was in love. At the time it was the Duchesse de Borgougne. Then the lovely people at Boneyard Bistro introduced me to the Oude Geuze—which I can't even pronounce. I fell deeper in love. So very sour. So very yummy.

It was with a heavy heart that I vainly searched all over BevMo for a beer I can't articulate, so I settled for a brand I'd never heard of called Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale. The gamble paid off. It's my new favorite beer.

Little did I know this was from a brew pub in Philly. Unfortunately, I didn't know about it when I lived there. Plus I was in college, when the best thing we drank was Rolling Rock, but at least now I can enjoy their sour export to my heart's content now.

And since today is my birthday, excuse me while I have TWO sour ales.

And cake!