Archive for May 2008

I ‘m giving up drinking Coca Cola for political reasons. I even wrote in past blogs how much I enjoy drinking it with certain dishes. My Kindergarten teacher tried her best to dissuade our class back in 1969 from drinking Coca Cola. She dissolved a baby tooth in a large glass bottle. It disintegrated about 20 minutes later. Because my mother was an extreme health food nut, I didn’t drink sodas until I was a teenager. My pathetic love of sugar was/is a sad & stupid rebellion against my mother. Everything she taught me about nutrition turned out to be the truth. I need to give up sodas and sugary drinks entirely. They are so bad for the body. I know this. I’m working it on it. Slowly. Baby Steps. That’s me- 5 planets in Taurus- the slow moving woman. Eventually I get to my goals. It just takes me longer than most people.
My birthday was Mother’s day. This year I had two birthday dinners. The first being the night before at a wonderful seafood restaurant ( I’m keeping the name to myself). Raw oyster variety platter, lobster bisque and fried soft shell crab in a wonderful lemon butter sauce. Everything was excellent. The next night ( my real birthday), I decided to have pate with crackers, cornichon, olives, Humboldt Fog Cheese, French bread, a simple green salad with my special homemade salad dressing and pommes frites ( French fries) cooked in duck fat. Yes I said Duck fat.

I had been consumed with finding duck fat after reading Ruth Reichl’s book GARLIC AND SAPPHIRES. I asked at one of the farmer’s markets I shop at if they carried duck fat. They did not. This led me on a journey to find duck fat in Philadelphia. At first I went to the internet and quickly found a site in Florida that sell duck and goose fat but they wanted about $9 plus shipping for 7 ounces. I figured 7 ounces wouldn’t be enough. A friend mentioned checking Asssouline & Ting- a shop in downtown Philadelphia that sells caviar. I went to their website and my friend was absolutely right- they sell duck fat and get this in 6 lb tubs! The price for 6 lbs is $30. So much cheaper than the Florida site and local. I ended up driving to their warehouse ( getting lost- thank you Map Quest) and finally getting the the big plastic tub of fat. I made the French fries from Russet Potatoes- rinsed out the starch and flavored them with salt from the Camargue. I decided to go all out and made a aioli ( garlic mayonaise) to dip the fries into. Heaven. I have frozen the rest of the huge tub of Duck Fat. I haven’t decided upon its future.

Last Weekend I went to visit a friend in NYC. We went to see the Takashi Murakami show at the Brooklyn Museum. While I like some of Mr. Murakami’s images ( the 60s Mod pop art smiling flowers and his wild cartoons), I was dismayed to see lots of little kids at the show. His work aside from the smiling flowers, was very adult in nature. I am not going to write about it . No I am definitely not a prude ( see my work) but even my friend (who is a teacher) felt the show was inappropriate for small children. We wandered around Brooklyn. I just adore Brooklyn. We stopped in ONE GIRL COOKIES and had hot chocolate topped with huge homemade marshmallows and assortment of their cookies. I love the lemon cookies the best- oh yes and the brownies-sinful! Full of butter. I had a difficult time not buying anything in FLIGHT 001 but eventually caved in at EXIT 9 and bought some very cool change purses and a much needed wallet. I love NYC ( of course). My friend has a miracle. The force of the shower reminds me of the hose they spray the elephants with at the zoo. My body and aura was clean in about 10 seconds. No joke. My friend could charge people lots of money to spend 10 seconds in the miracle shower. I wish I had that kind of water pressure.

I had promised my friend that I would cook when I stayed over. We went to Union Square farmer’s market so I could buy the ingredients for the meal. I decided to make my friend a dish I call ” P.M.S. Pasta”- which I created several months ago during that time of the month. The night I created the dish I was craving a creamy pasta dish. I like Trader Joe’s Frozen Mac N’ Cheese but sometimes it can be too cheesy and salty for my palate. Originally I used pancetta but at the market I opted for lamb sausage flavored with fresh rosemary. The recipe appears below. Once again I am sharing this recipe freely but it is my own invention.

Katie Pfeiffer’s P.M.S. Pasta- Great Any time of the month!

Serves 2 to 3 people

*8 oz package Fettucine ( you need a wide noodle for the sauce of the dish)- I like to use Spinach Fettucine

*4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

*small onion chopped fine

*3 cloves garlic finely mined

*1/4 lb pancetta or bacon diced (can substitute sausage)

*1/2 stick of unsalted butter ( you may add more if you wish)

*small basket of cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters

*1 Cup Heavy Cream OR 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream +1/2 Half N Half

*small bag of baby spinach- washed- if the spinach has stems please remove them

*1/4 cup grated Parmesean or Pecorino or any other good Italian hard

cheese you would usually top pasta with.

*1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

*Freshly cracked pepper

Prepare pot cook the pasta. Get the water simmering almost boiling. Wait to cook pasta when the sauce is almost done.

In a skillet heat olive oil on medium high heat. add garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes, add onions. Saute approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Add diced pancetta. Cook until pancetta is done. Add butter. Add cherry tomatoes. Cook about 2 minutes. Add cream. Cook another 5 minutes. Add spinach. Add grated cheese, red pepper flakes, cracked ground pepper ( to taste). Turn the sauce down LOW or off.

Follow the directions for cooking the Fettucine. I like my pasta al dente. Drain pasta and add pasta to the skillet of sauce thoroughly coating the pasta.

Serve with hot crusty French or Italian bread.

This pasta is obviously not low cal but I figure it is full of iron and calcium.


DVD Recommendation:

A must see documentary for all artists is “THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI“. This documentary is about a woman who befriends an elderly Japanese Artist who is homeless. I have to say this is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. It is bursting with Buddhist themes and shows how love and kindness transforms and unites people. I think this documentary should be shown in every public school to everyone. Life changing. Life affirming. Wonderful!

Other Treasure Hunts or Material THINGS I’m Currently Obsessed with ( besides cooking with duck fat):

1. Vintage reading glasses from the 50s/60s– really difficult to find even on eBAY. I’m talking about the plastic kind made in Japan and also the half glasses plastic.

2. Vintage Overalls- I just bought a fabulous pair of vintage never worn U.S.A. made Osh Kosh Men’s Railroad Stripe overalls- they are a wee bit big but I love them anyway. I’m tempted not paint in them but probably will.

3. Hee Haw Overalls in my size. I have a friend who has a pair of these and wears them to work. Finding them in adult sizes ( on eBAY) is tough.

4. Asian Noodle Dishes– I just bought a book on Asian Noodle dishes ( used) and was hoping it would fulfill my desire to find the right cookbook that has the kind of noodle dishes and noodle soups I’m looking to make at home. I enjoy eating at a nearby upscale Asian restaurant but they charge $10 for a small dish of lo Mein or Chow Fun!

5. Latvian Artist Janis Tidemanis- ( Oct 1, 1897- April 12, 1964)- His Artwork is

incredible. I swoon and salivate over it. Mr. Tidemanis spent time in the U.S. studying art. If you do an internet search you will see examples of his work. Incredible. Stunning.

6.  BIGELOW’S CONSTANT COMMENT GREEN TEA- I ‘m off the coffee train
once again ( I managed to stay off it for 7 months and then fell off the wagon.  I am back drinking Green Tea.  I loved Constant Comment when I was  young- the orange, cloves and other spices.   I went through a box last week.  I keep buying out the stock from one of my Super Markets.  Tried to find  it NYC for my friend- went to several stores.   You can order this on the internet.  Excellent with honey or sugar- brings out the flavor of the oranges and spices.

Tashi Delek,