Sunday: Other Than the 2 Tbls. of Butter …

photo-27Other than the 2 Tbls. of butter that I used over the course of cooking, well, this scramble is pretty damn healthy. Which isn’t to say it couldn’t be improved with cheese. And which also isn’t to say that it surpasses in quality the lox and eggs I had the other weekend. 

Nonetheless, a protein-rich and delicious start to a beautiful Sunday. I had a couple of things going on at once: I quick-poached a salmon fillet (Whole Foods does a good all-purpose, Wild King Salmon 2-pack) while I sautéed all these fresh veggies (zucchini, red bell pepper, tomato). 

photo-28photo-29                                          I pulled out the salmon before it was entirely done, deskinned, and added to the vegetables. The last step was to add the eggs, which I just cracked on top of everything. For a brief moment, I entertained the idea of keeping the yolks in tact … that is, until I broke one. At which point I went for glory and mixed everything as well as possible. And then ate it all.



Saturday: The “This Is Why Summer Is My Favorite” Post

Reason no. 1 of what is going to be a fairly long, running list: impromptu barbecues! 

photo-26After about an hour browsing the (amazing) cookbook section at the (also amazing) Strand bookstore, I was really hungry. I called a friend, who, as it turned out, was hungry too and happened to be at our friend’s apartment in Brooklyn that has a backyard BBQ area (this is where we barbecued last weekend, too). 

A short 10-minute subway ride later, we all rendez-voused at Sunac Natural Foods,  just off the Lorimer stop on the L Train if you take the exit where you pop up by Union Street. We picked up some curry chicken salad, potato salad, a package of hot sausages, requisite buns, and two of the most perfect avocados I’ve ever purchased in my life. Really, they were absolutely perfect: Soft and ripe without being bruised, mid-to-large sized, smooth like butter. Just beautiful. I would pay $1.99 for an avocado every single time and have no qualms about it if avocados were always like these ones. 

The rest, as they say, is history. Since I’ve been raving about the avocados, which were turned into my picnic table (play on tableside) guacamole, here’s the recipe:

photo-25Picnic Table Guacamole 

1 ripe avocado
2 Tbls. salsa
1/2 lemon
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Scoop out avocado into a bowl; add two spoonfuls (or more, to taste) of salsa. Squeeze juice from half lemon; add healthy shakes of garlic powder, salt and pepper. (estimate 1/2 teaspoon?) Mash, mash, mash, with a fork. Eat. Savor.

Dinner: The $5.50 Italian Combo Latenight Hero – Hero

photo-20I just couldn’t do pizza again; it wasn’t that sort of day. So I was more than delighted to discover that Fat Sal’s, which has no less than four signs proclaiming “Pizza,” sells a whole lot more. 

Stopping at Fat Sal’s was a strategic move: I was heading out to a bar on a mostly-empty stomach, so bringing food with me was a preemptive move. The chalkboard menu includes full-on plates of pasta, baked pasta dishes, chicken and veal options, pizza (of course), all written in this meticulous block-print handwriting.

I gravitated toward the sandwiches: portable, delicious and good now or in three hours (proven!). I was intrigued by the veal hero (only $7.25!, note to self for later), I opted for that classic cold-cut combo: The Italian. Ham, salami, mortadella, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion.

photo-22photo-23This thing was enormous! I carried it around tucked into my arm like a football for a while, and when I finally broke it out, it satisfactorily fed three of us.

It also came with a small container of red wine vinegar, laced with herbs, that would have made an excellent drizzle on the whole thing, had I not assumed it was a sample of coleslaw or something and not opened it until there were just a few bites left. Next time …

Lunch: Not Sure What I Just Ate, But Don’t Think I’d Call It “Pizza”

photo-19When you get right down to it, New York is really so weird about pizza. There’s a certain pride about it; “the pie” is one of those iconic food symbols of the city. There’s also the egalitarian bent: The slice as common ground. We all stop in for a slice, at some point or another; in a city this diverse, that is something to take pride in.

All this pride and emotion leads to a certain protectiveness of pizza’s merits, as if the acknowledgment of the existence of bad pizza, or un-pizza would somehow make these principles less glorious. (Entirely untrue!) So what to make of this? 

photo-17… I was confronted with all these thoughts and more today when, in one of the most humble of all restaurant establishments, the stripmall pizza joint, I found one of the strangest pizzas I’ve ever seen in my life. I discovered the “Fresca Pie” ($30) , “fresh mozzarella, fresh diced tomatoes and fresh basil,” ready and waiting in all its diced tomato glory at Paradiso Restaurant & Pizzeria in Rockville Centre, a small town on Long Island that’s just a short, 40-minute LIRR ride from Penn Station.

photo-18How would this bruschetta-pizza love-child hold up against the sanctity of the slice? I like to consider myself fairly judicious, but even I don’t think I’d call it pizza.

More like: fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, that happens to be on top of a doughy, breadstick-like square. But what does this mean? I’m still not sure, but today turned out to be a much bigger day than I’d imagined.

Breakfast: The Hojicha Green Tea Mystery Train

Isn’t “light caffine” and “green tea” a bit of a paradox?

photo       I mean if we’re comparing apples to apples, green tea certainly is not the tea drinker’s half-caff. So why list “light caffine” as the third bullet point front-and-center on the packaging unless Mighty Leaf is advertising the fact that they’ve actually gone in and lightly decaffinated the tea? Therein lies they travesty, at least in my view, tired already before the day’s begun, chugging away on the Long Island Rail Road before the clock’s even struck 8 a.m.

Dinner: What Is a Ciabattine? (aka the Breakfast at Tiffany’s Sandwich Post)

photo-16Not exactly a sandwich bread — the ciabattine  turned out to be a little tough, would have made excellent olive oil dipping bread — I was so excited about the rosemary I could see caught in its crevices (the ciabattine) that I bought it anyway. 

I keep calling the bread a “ciabattine” because I called it a mini-baguette at the bread counter at Agata & Valentina and was promptly corrected, and of course I don’t want to intentionally mislead anyone. (Unintentionally is another matter.) Of course, I came home and immediately Googled “ciabattine” in search of illumination: There are plenty of Italian references, not many in English, and one very interesting use of “ciabattine” as a Flickr tag for photos that have nothing to do with bread (as far as I can discern).

photo-15… Back on track now. The ciabattine still served its purpose as the basis for my brie, basil and strawberry sandwich, which is a trifecta I would repeat any day, although maybe next time on a softer roll.

There’s just something special about brie and strawberries — a little bit of decadence on an otherwise ordinary day. Strikes me as very Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s … while relatively simple, it gives off the air of having grandiose plans.