For your consideration…

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 8.02.01 AMEven as a movie fan, I have to admit that, when it comes to the Oscars, I’m sometimes more interested in the fashion than I am about who wins, especially when the Oscar nominations by and large echo those of other awards, like the Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild and BAFTA–call it a case of “awards show fatigue.”  I know I will probably get around to seeing most of the nominated performances at some point down the line (I mean, come on there are 8 films vying for Best Picture alone!)…like when the films end up on HBO, Netflix or Amazon.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun coming up with a menu inspired by a few of this year’s Oscar nominees!

Carol:

Todd Haynes’ I950’s Sirkian drama Carol offers us a richly evocative, sumptuously detailed urbane world, where its title character, exquisitely portrayed by Cate Blanchett, coiffed and manicured to mid-century perfection, dressed in sensuous furs, lingers over martini-fueled lunches with the object of her desire (Rooney Mara), leisurely puffing one cigarette after another.  Throw in a hypnotic, nuanced score by Carter Burwell and nocturnal Manhattan scenes, to quote one reviewer,”shot, at times, in an almost Wong Kar-wai-esque neon blur” and you’ve got me thinking of a strong, classically boozy cocktail like the Manhattan.  I made mine with Bulleit Bourbon and Italian Sweet Vermouth, adding a few dashes of both Spiced Cherry and Angostura Bitters, garnished with a thin slice of orange and a maraschino cherry.

The makings of a Manhattan
The makings of a Manhattan

Normally, I avoid the Red Dye #4, formaldehyde laden variety–but to my delight I found a jar of delicious natural maraschino cherries sans artificial color at a neighborhood wine store…which led to me dropping more than one cherry into my cocktail!

Bartender, I'll have anoher Manhattan
Bartender, I’ll have another Manhattan!

Manhattan

  • 2 oz. Bourbon (or Rye Whiskey)
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Spiced Cherry Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 thin slice orange
  • 1 (or 2) Natural Maraschino Cherry (such as Tillen Farms)

Place the bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters into a cocktail shaker with a 2-3 ice cubes, then shake to blend.  Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with orange and maraschino cherry.

 

The Danish Girl:

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Yes, this film is about the trailblazing Einer Wegener who was one of the first transgender women, braving the early attempts at male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery to become Lily Elbe–so I could’ve come up with something that played with the whole male/female dichotomy.  But being a Pastry Chef, I couldn’t help myself.  I had to make some Danish pastry…though not just any danish.  I decided to make the Danish Kringle, which done properly, is a thing of beauty–a cross between puff pastry and yeast dough.  The other layers are crispy and flaky while the inner ones are moist and tender.  And, hidden inside the layers of dough is a sweet filling–in this case a layer of almond paste and a layer of cherry-fig preserves–which can only be revealed by cutting into the pastry.  I made two different shapes of the Kringle, one a long strip braided (or “corseted”) down the middle and one twisted into the traditional knot, both of which, in my opinion, symbolizes the constraints place upon Einer/Lily in the early days of the transgender experience.  And you thought I was just indulging in some pithy word play!

Making the Kringle takes time…so prepare to spend a couple of days on it.

The results, however, are worth the effort.

Kringle Dough

  • 12 oz. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 1/4 tsp. Dry Active Yeast
  • 1/4 cup Lukewarm Water
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Zest
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour

Cut the butter into 1/2″ thick pieces then arrange them in between two pieces of parchment paper and flatten into a 10″ square with a rolling pin.  Chill until ready to use.

Whisk together the yeast, water, milk, and sugar; let stand for about 5 mins., then whisk in the egg and vanilla.  In a stand mixer or food processor fitted with a dough blade, mix together the flour, salt, zest and dissolved yeast/egg to form a smooth dough.  Turn the dough out into a grease bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 mins.  About 15 mins. before you plan to roll out the dough, take the butter block out of the refrigerator.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12″ square, stretching out the corners so that the it’s thickest in the middle.  Place the butter block in the center (corners lining up at the center of each side), then fold each corner of dough towards the center to completely encase the butter.  Carefully roll the dough out into a 8″ x 14 ” rectangle.  Fold the dough into thirds, then rotate it 90° and roll the dough out again in the same size rectangle and repeat the tri-fold.  Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill for an hour.  Repeat the roll and fold procedure another two times, then wrap the dough and refrigerate overnight.  When you’re ready to use the dough, cut it in half and form into whatever shape you choose (see photos).  Fill the Kringle with your choice of sweet filling (e.g. fruit preserves, almond paste, sweeten cream cheese).  Brush the Kringle with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp. milk or water) and sprinkle with coarse sugar and/or finely chopped nuts.  Bake at 350° for 20-25 mins. or until golden brown.

 

The Revenant:

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You can’t talk about The Revenant without mentioning the vicious bear attack on Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass, or how he survives the bitter cold by taking shelter inside the carcass of a dead horse.  Since I already paid tribute to The Danish Girl with pastry…so no “bear claws” here…I came up with something even better…or at least more creative–Pig in a Meat Blanket!  That’s right, you heard me.  It’s a seasoned pork tenderloin wrapped in meatloaf, then strips of bacon.  Yeah, it may seem rather twisted, but I guarantee the finish product is no joke.

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To make this meaty loaf of goodness, take any favorite meatloaf recipe (you’ll need about a little more than 1 1/4 lbs of meat mixture), flatten about half of it onto a foil-lined baking pan, then place about an 8″ seasoned strip of pork tenderloin in the center (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little smoke paprika).  Cover the pork with the remaining meatloaf mixture, pressing in around the pork the seal in the seams.  Arrange 3-4 strips of thick-cut bacon diagonally across the top of the meatloaf.  Bake at 350° for about 40 mins.

 

Steve Jobs:

This is one movie both Rina and I saw in the theater and thoroughly enjoyed.  Boy, that Aaron Sorkin can write some mean dialogue!  Michael Fassbender is captivating as Jobs, but it’s Kate Winslet, whose pitch perfect portrayal of Joanna Hoffman, who we love.   In honor of Steve’s Polish right hand (wo)man and confidante, I give you my Apple Pie-rogis–cinnamon apple-filled dumplings pan-fried in browned butter, dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with salted caramel sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pierogi Dough

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter, melted

Whisk together the dry ingredients in mixing bowl, then make a well in  the center.  Whisk together wet ingredients, then pour it into the center of the well.  Mix everything together with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth.  Let the dough rest covered with plastic wrap for about 20-30 mins. before rolling out.

For the filling I simply sauteed a couple of small diced Pink Lady apples in a tablespoon of butter, until just tender, then sprinkled in a tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon.

As Polish American as Apple Pie
As Polish American as Apple Pie!

Binge Worthy

The weekend is upon us and like many people trying to wind down from a week of stress (which for me is pretty much all the time), we like to hunker down for some therapeutic binge-watching, catching up on all those recordings piling up on our DVRs or finally getting around to seeing what the fuss is all about and setting sucked into an entire season of some hot new series on Netflix or Amazon.  Laura is preparing for the highly-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot by binge-watching the original series.  Rina and I are still waiting for her to get through the entire Buffy the Vampire series so we can finally do a post about it!  With two kids running around, this could take awhile.  Recently, Rina and I both tried to get into the latest BBC adaptation of that behemoth tome of Russian literature War and Peace.  I lost interest after episode 4…or whenever Prince Andre and Natasha got gushy with each other at some royal ball.  Rina persevered a while longer and would now like those 12 hours back!  I think I tried to like War and Peace simply because I really liked the cast of actors, many of whom I’ve enjoyed watching in other productions, like Lily James (Downton Abbey), James Norton (Granchester), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall), and Jim Broadbent (Bridget Jones).  But even the grandeur and “epic” drama couldn’t keep me watching, because (who am I kidding) it was torture enough wading through that book in college…and I was a LIT major!

What makes a series binge-worthy, you make ask?  I say, if it doesn’t hook you in from the first episode, even in the first 10 minutes, then chances are it won’t sustain your interest for the long haul.  Here are a few of my favorites and why I think they’re are worthy of binge-watching, in no particular order:

Orphan Black (BBC America)

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This brilliantly conceived, thought-provoking sci-fi fantasy drama (BBC America) about human clones showcases a fantastic cast of actors, including Jordan Gavaris (the irrepressible Felix), Maria Doyle Kennedy (fierce Mrs. S.) and Dylan Bruce (delicious man-candy Paul).  Most importantly it shines a spotlight on the mind-blowing talent of its star Tatiana Maslany, who at last count has played about a dozen distinctive characters over three seasons, and often three in a single scene.  Why she hasn’t garnered more acting awards is beyond me.  The series deftly weaves a complex web of twisty plot lines involving multi-layered characters that surprises you at every turn.  You’ll find yourself impatiently clambering for the next season to start!

Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon)

While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of classical music, I am a fan of the sexy Gael Garcia Bernal, who stars as the irresistibly eccentric, passionate “rock star” maestro Rodrigo who takes over as conductor of the New York Symphony from his more stately predecessor played by Malcolm McDowell (Thomas).  It’s a humorous, sexy, refreshing and sometimes harsh behind the scenes look at the world of classical musicians, with wonderful performances by Bernal, McDowell, the ageless Bernadette Peters, Saffron Burrows and newcomer Lola Kirk, who plays aspiring oboist Hailey.  If you have Amazon Prime, be prepared.  You might find yourself streaming both seasons in one weekend.

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Jessica Jones (Netflix)

Unlike Rina, who practically lives and breathes comics, I’m a late comer to the genre.  I have in the recent years, however, become a fan of the Marvel universe and in particular of the cadre of bad ass Marvel women, from Agent Carter to Black Widow.  When Netflix came out with their own female-centric Marvel series Jessica Jones (starring Kristen Ritter as the title character) I was intrigued–mainly because one of my British obsessions David Tennant (the 9th Doctor Who) would be playing her nemesis Kilgrave.  Tennant as Kilgrave, who by the way is seductively sinister, was the hook but Ritter’s emotionally raw and physically commanding performance as Jessica is what got me glued to the screen.  She’s not your typical heroine and Jessica Jones is not your typical action series.

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The Fall (BBC/Netflix)

Jamie Dornan’s chilling portrayal of Paul Spector in this gripping, intense British psychological thriller will make you forget about his performance in Fifty Shades of Grey.  He’s at once a loving father and a cold, calculating, sadistic serial killer preying on young women in Belfast, who is in turn being hunted down by the very determined Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson played by Gillian Anderson, brought in from London to head the task force.  The two engage in a riveting game of cat and mouse in which it is not always clear who is chasing whom.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Netflix)

This import from the land down under is an engaging mix of good old-fashioned detective drama, romance, intrigue, and a dash of humor set in 1920’s Melbourne.  The title character Miss (Phryne) Fisher, played by the incandescent Essie Davis, is a sharp-witted, sexy, glamorous, free-thinking female private detective of independent means who effortlessly navigates her way through various social circles and cultures in pursuit of justice and adventure–armed with a pearl-handled pistol and an enviable wardrobe. As a thoroughly modern woman Phryne has her fair share of dalliances but its her “will they or won’t they” romance with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) that keeps everyone guessing…and captivated.

Whatever you choose to binge-watch this weekend, there is one essential thing you’ll need (besides a comfortable couch)–a binge-worthy snack to help power you through hours of viewing.  Popcorn is my snack of choice…but not just any popcorn.  Oh no.  I’m talking about my “crack” Miso Soy Caramel Popcorn–an unbelievably addictive sweet and salty concoction that combines the airy crunch of popcorn with the umami of Japanese rice crackers. Yes, you can thank me later after you’ve inhaled a giant bowl full of this!

Miso Soy Caramel Popcorn with Furikake

  • 12 cups Popped Popcorn (preferably air-popped)
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 5 oz. or 10 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Miso Paste
  • 3 Tbsp. Furikake (seasoned seaweed topping)*
  • 1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds

*You can find the furikake in most Asian markets.  Just be aware that some varieties contain bonito (fish) flakes, so read the ingredient label.

Place the popcorn in a large heat proof bowl.  Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a medium saucepan (at least 6 qt capacity), combine the sugar, corn syrup and water, then bring to a boil.  Add the butter and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 260°F.  Turn off the heat, then stir in the soy sauce and miso paste to combine, then the baking soda.  The baking soda will cause the mixture to foam up a bit.  Quickly pour the caramel evenly over the popcorn.  With a heat-proof rubber spatula coated with non-stick spray, toss the popcorn around to thoroughly coat the kernels with the caramel.  Spread the caramel corn out onto two sheet pans coated with non-stick spray.  Bake for about 25 mins., turning the mixture a couple of times during the process.  Remove the caramel corn from the oven and immediately toss in the furikake and sesame seeds, scraping the bottom of the sheet pan to loosen the caramel corn.  Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Binge-Worthy Snack
Binge-Worthy Snack!

Small Dice Challenge: Last minute Valentine

This is late for Valentine’s Day, but my husband has been home lately in the evening and has been cooking.  Therefore, I haven’t, so I have been sitting back and enjoying the simple life (though not really because I have kids!)  My Valentine’s story, though, goes a little something like this.  Before leaving for work the evening before, my husband tells me that he is working Valentine’s Day morning and will be off in the evening.  What?!! I didn’t plan anything.  Ugh, holidays are so much work.  I didn’t feel like searching for things to make, and I figured my experimental meals wouldn’t be romantic, so I cheated this week.  My sister-in-law made a roast beef in the crock pot when we visited for Christmas.  I knew my husband enjoyed it, and it seemed so simple when she told me how she made it.  I texted her really quick and asked where she got the recipe.  Come to find out, she didn’t have a recipe, she just threw everything in the crock pot.  It did help that she told me to put the vegetables at the bottom, because I wouldn’t have known to do that.  Also, she explained that she whisked beef stock and seasoning together to pour over everything.  This was also helpful, because I wouldn’t have known to do that either.  After throwing everything in, I set the crockpot to 7 hours on low.  Actually, I set it to high, but then had to go back to double check my sister-in-law’s text and then changed it to low.

I then had to come up with a dessert.  Mostly, though, it was for me and my daughter, since my husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth.  I remembered seeing something on Facebook that involved cherries and chocolate, and it looked like something easy to make.  I first made some brownies, then crushed them and made a coat over the cherries.  Of course, I learned that I needed to dry the cherries, since the wetness made the brownies not stick.

After creating the base, I melted some white chocolate in a bowl over a boiling pot (a trick I learned watching pastry cooks in the kitchen).  My daughter helped by dipping the cherries into it.  It is not a clean process.  When the dipping was done, we put everything to harden in the fridge.

About an hour before eating, I realized I had some brussel sprouts in my fridge, so I decided to roast those with garlic and butter in our handy little toaster oven.

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When the brussel sprouts were done, we were finally ready to eat.  The food was enjoyed by all. The kingdom rejoiced. Cupid played his trumpet.  And we lived happily ever after.

 

An Affair to Remember…Now that was when people KNEW how to be in love.

We thought it was only fitting, given that it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, to celebrate the granddaddy of all classic Hollywood romantic dramas  An Affair to Remember (1957).

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.14.05 PMSure, there have been several versions of this classic tale about a playboy and a singer, engaged to other people, meeting and falling in love on a transatlantic ocean liner–Love Affair (1939) starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne (good) and Love Affair (1994) starring Warren Beatty and Annette Bening (dreadful)–but the best one of all features the dynamic duo of Cary Grant (Nickie Ferrante) and Deborah Kerr (Terry McKay), whose onscreen chemistry virtually crackles with energy, from the first moment their characters meet aboard ship.  While all the other passengers are fawning over the infamous Nickie Ferrante, Terry isn’t impressed and takes pleasure in mocking his Lothario reputation.  “You don’t happen to have a match?” he asks her (opening his cigarette case), to which she responds,”You could light it from that inscription, couldn’t you?” (referring to his ex-lover’s amorous declaration).

What I find most intriguing about their relationship is how candid they are with one another, particularly with respect to their previous relationships (in the case of Nickie, his MANY dalliances).  Both admittedly enjoy living the high life, even if it’s on a lover’s dime, and don’t exactly relish the idea of having to trade in the pink champagne for beer, which could come off as somewhat unseemly…except that it IS Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr so it’s all good.  When they make their pact to give themselves six month to essentially “grow up” and get real jobs, you get a sense of how genuine their love is, which makes their subsequent struggles to reunite all the more touching.

No wonder I find myself, like Meg Ryan’s character Annie in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), bawling at the end of the movie and wondering why it’s so hard to find that kind of love.

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I’d like to think that the kind of love in An Affair to Remember can exist in real life…well, minus the car accident and permanent paralysis that is.

If you’re not exactly in the mood to binge-watch a marathon of romantic movies this Valentine’s Day (which according to experts is a bad idea), I have the delicious alternative.  In honor of what is arguably one the best romantic movies of all time, I present my An Affair to Remember-themed Valentine’s Menu.

Cocktails:

I came up with two featuring Terry McKay’s bubbly of choice, pink champagne (or in this case sparkling rose wine).

The first is a twist on the classic Champagne Cocktail, with a spiced cherry bitters instead of the Angostura–three to four dashes on a sugar cube dropped into a glass of chilled bubbly enhances the fruitiness of the wine.

The second is a sparkling version of a Capri, a delicious mix of fresh ruby grapefruit juice and Campari, made even more delightful with the addition of sparkling rose.  Rina says the cocktail makes her think of sunny Capri which in turn reminds her of the part in the movie where Nickie and Terry visit his grandmother in the south of France.

Entree:

For the main course, I went with something a little more modern–Seared Duck Breast with a Citrus and Pomegranate Marsala Sauce, served on a bed of baby greens tossed with blue lake green beans and diced beets, dressed with a sherry citrus vinaigrette.  Yeah, I probably could’ve made Bouillabaisse (which is what Terry recommends Nickie have as they slyly pass each other on the staircase) or something really traditional like Steak Diane–but that would be too obvious.   Besides, juicy pink duck breast with crispy skin is much sexier…and it’s a dish you might find on one of today’s ocean liners.

IMG_3839Ingredients:

For the Seared Duck

  • Two 4-5 oz. Duck Breasts
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Large Shallot (or 1/4 Small Red Onion), minced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Dry Marsala
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup Citrus Segments (e.g. mandarins, oranges)
  • 1 tsp. Citrus Zest
  • 1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter

For the Sherry Citrus Vinaigrette

  • Juice of 1 Small Orange
  • 3 Tbsp. Aged Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Agave Syrup or Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Minced Shallot
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Dessert:

Baked Alaska is one of those showy desserts that has been a staple on ocean liners and cruise ships for ages.  If Nickie and Terry weren’t trying so hard to fly under the radar they might’ve enjoyed one of these in the dining room.  It looks much harder than it really is.  I made a very dark chocolate midnight cake for the base (although you can substitute with store bought chocolate pound cake).  The cake is super moist and dense, and freezes well so you can stash the leftovers and save it for another dessert.

Chocolate Midnight Cake:

  • ½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Boiling Water
  • ½ cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup minus 2 tbsp. Cake Flour
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Sea or Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda

Sift cocoa and sugar into a mixer bowl. On low speed whisk in boiling water for 3 mins. Increase to medium speed and add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk for another 3 mins. Sift together remaining dry ingredients and gradually whisk into the mixture. Continue whisking for another 3 mins. Pour batter into a greased and parchment-lined sheet pan (10 ½ “ x 15 ½ “ x 1”). Bake cake at 325 degrees for approximately 15-20 mins. or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely.

To make things easier, I used a store bought raspberry-swirled gelato.  Any ice cream or sorbet will work, although since it is Valentine’s-themed I’d pick something pinkish or red and white swirled.  The Italian meringue might be the hardest part.  If you don’t want to go through the trouble of cooking a sugar syrup, you can whip up a simple meringue, beating 2 egg whites with about 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff and glossy.  I’m not all that big on pyrotechnics, so I didn’t toast the meringue the old school way–with flaming 160 proof liquor.  Avoid calling the fire department and use a small kitchen torch.

Nothing says “I love you” like your very own Baked Alaska.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Comic: Downton Crabby

Aw, just in time for the next episode, so we can share our rage together! I know it’s hard to tell in this comic, but I actually like this show. I think I like it too hard that it hurts. So pull up a chair, make Mimi’s Crawley Pimm’s Cup cocktail, and enjoy! (Also, CAUTION, there are a lot of SPOILERS if you haven’t watched the show till tonight which is at Episode 6, Season 6!)Downton Crabby by Rina Ayuyang





Small Dice Challenge: Asian Fusion

I think it’s been awhile since I have done a mystery challenge.  I guess it’s time to get back to my roots.  Plus, I had some lamb that was going to expire, so I had my daughter pick out other ingredients to go with it.  She chose the following:

 

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Natural lamb flank steak, Organic green onions, Grapefruit, and Organic Brown Eggs

I was having a craving for some Japanese after hearing that Mimi was celebrating Chinese New Year with an amazing feast featured here, so I decided to make my own Asian fusion meal. I had a little bit of wontons leftover from the time I stuffed them with chicken and cabbage.  This time I was going to do it with cream cheese.  I sauteed the green onions a bit to bring out their flavor, then I mixed in soy sauce, garlic, and cream cheese. My daughter volunteered (by volunteered, I mean I told her she needed something to do) to wrap them, so I showed her a couple of times and put her to work. My daughter tasted a little and said, “I think I like the smell, not the taste…but can I lick my fingers?” She did a pretty good job, no worse than me, that is.  It even inspired her to say she wanted to be a chef, but I’m not holding my breath.  Just this year, she’s gone from Dr. to midwife to Vet to Chef and by the time she was finished making the wontons, she wanted to be a teacher. As she was telling me how “easy” it was to be a chef and a teacher, I put the wontons in the oven at 350°.

While the wontons were getting crispy, I made rice and started on my lamb.  Now let me tell you about how I like my lamb.  If you put anything more that salt and pepper on them, they are ruined.  I like them gamey straight from the fields of Scotland.  I have to taste the flavor of the lamb along with the grass that it ate.  That is all.

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What I did with the grapefruit was something special.  I remembered that Mimi, my muse, had told me a couple of weeks ago that she made kimchi aioli which sounded interesting to me, especially since I had some that was homemade (not by me) rotting away in my fridge.  I blended it with the grapefruit and vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise) as well as salt and pepper.

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At this point, I started to get a stomachache from something I might have eaten earlier in the day and was indisposed for a little while, which allowed me to burn some of my rice (because I forgot to turn it down to simmer) and overcook my wontons.  In the end, though, my meal wasn’t half bad (I didn’t eat any of it, though, again stomach issues).  My daughter, however, enjoyed it, yelling from the table to me in the bathroom, “Your food is REAL good, Mama!” She ate everything on her plate and even asked for more aioli for dipping. Alas, I’ll never know how good it was, but if the kid likes it, it’s a success!

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