Monday, February 16, 2009

New Orleans

One thing I miss about our Paris apartment was the light. And my camera. My pictures always came out great. Now I'm often using a phone, and they're not as clear or crisp or macro'd, but in the moment when I'm dipping beignets into au lait, something about it just feels necessary.

I had never been to New Orleans, yet I'd created this culinary wish - I just want beignets and coffee. Maya made it come true, walking us to Cafe du Monde, just a few blocks from our hotel, just an hour before our sessions were starting on Sunday.

I enjoyed the previous day's hotel breakfast. Smaller beignets, grits with cheese, hunks of potato, hotel eggs, Oprah's favorite tea. I chewed through each piece of fried dough at the hotel channeling other memories - soapapillas, carnival friend dough, zeppoles. It got me through.

Sunday morning was something else - a dirty table outside with tourists like us all around, and piles of powdered sugar between here and there. Our dough arrived swimming in the stuff and while I'm not usually a dipper, I plopped each one eagerly into my tiny cup of coffee.

3.00 each. 4.00 with tip. We left our cash on the table, bloated bellies ready for our day, and re-lived our other meals - I had had puppy drum for the first time (Lauren used to catch it in the summers so she knew what it was), a lot of praline, and a mediocre po'boy, but the beignets were truly the best.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sushi Bowls

Maybe it was Restaurant Week, but something had me yearning for simple, healthy food last week. I then opened the cookbook I'd been both shunning and lauding, Super Natural Cooking. I'd had partial success with her recipes, and while many looked good, I wasn't always inspired.

Then I made these sushi bowls.

The note about sauteing mushrooms in the sidebar, the frozen edamame lonely in the side pocket of the freezer, the avocado that tasted great but was clearly cold-burned (see the lines in the picture) ... all of these inspired me to whip up these bowls.

Yes, brown rice may cost 5.99 for a pound at a market, but it was worth it.

The citrus soy vinaigrette, the cream of the avocado with the crunch of sesame and vegetal note of nori - we ate through our bowls as though they were endless. And got up for more.

I don't often make one-pot meals, but this one is a winner. The chunky lentil soup too - cooked long and topped with parmesan and good olive oil, these helped us recover from excess.

Until we went out for Liam's birthday on Friday. Lobster poached in butter and I was a goner again.