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¡hot plate! spicy chinese eggplant

28 Jul

So it turns out the Dalai Lama has an initiative to educate the Tibetan monks in some key academic areas, including physics. Josh was lucky enough to be one of the physicists to spend a week with the Tibetan monks in Bangalore, India, where he got to eat, sleep and teach monks right in the Sera Mey Monastery.

Now Josh’s culinary preferences traditionally lean heavily toward the big-chunk-of-meat genre, but at the monastery the diet was basically vegetarian: okra, lentils, vegetable soup–and some hard-boiled eggs thrown in for good measure. A lot of us honestly wondered if Josh would survive this unplanned exercise in mostly-herbivorism, so imagine my shock when he came home and actually asked if we could try out something vegetarian for dinner!!

Picture2

no animals were harmed in the making of these monks

Lucky for me, my awesome former boss Kristin is vegan AND loves Pinterest, so I immediately turned to her board of amazing vegetarian recipes for inspiration and landed on this spicy Chinese eggplant recipe. The spice level in this recipe is intense; next time I would cut it at least in half. Even so, making a legit Asian sauce was so fun, and I was COMPLETELY ADDICTED to the leftovers.

and i do mean SPICY

and i do mean SPICY

And what did Josh think? He also loved it, although he MAY have tried to sneak in a roast beef sandwich “post-dinner snack” later that night. Fortunately, I caught him in the act and convinced him to eat a super-yummy veggie sandwich instead (hummus, avocado, cheese and balsamic–what’s not to love??), so I can still say Operation Vegetarian Dinner was a success. Whew!

 

For your drooling pleasure, here are the other vegetarian dinners on our to-devour list. Do you have a favorite vegetarian recipe? Please share it below!

Chickpea curry w/ coconut rice

Crispy orange cauliflower

Mushroom lemon lentil salad

Roasted grape, goat cheese and honey stuffed sweet potatoes

 

the punch line

18 Jul

I have a bad habit. I laugh at my own jokes. Like, a lot. Once, Josh and I got caught in a short hail storm in Washington DC, and as we peered out of the car windows at the little ice bombs dropping from the sky, I shouted with mock indignance, “OH HAIL NO!”

I almost died laughing at that line–and not just a “funny ha ha” laugh, but the deep-bellied Gina laugh some of you might recognize as especially, ahem, boisterous–while Josh just had to sit and wait my laughter storm out. (Confession: Sometimes one of us will bring this little anecdote up, and I laugh all over again. I’m pretty sure you know you’ve got a good joke when it still cracks you up years later. Even if you’re the only one laughing. …Right??)

I think they meant to use the “Chelada” font to spell the word “Gross”

Fast forward to last night, when my sweet husband drove me to the grocery store to get some mint cookie ice cream. He had been craving a beer himself, and I suggested he get a can of Bud Light & Clamato–one of his favorites (despite earning an official Beer Advocate score of Awful).*

Josh shrugged. “I don’t think Bud Light & Clamato will go well with the ice cream.”

“Um, Bud Light & Clamato doesn’t go good with itself,” I shot back.

There was the tiniest silence before it happened. I roared–I am so witty you guys!

“Gina… that wasn’t even that funny.” Josh noted tenderly between my giggle fits.

And you know what? I kind of see his point. But it was too late, the Gina Joke laughter dam was broken.

 

* This review sums up the Bud Light & Clamato nicely:

It’s somewhat tolerable, didn’t make me gag too much and I might’ve been able to nurse it until it was gone, except you weren’t kind enough to put it in a regular 12-ounce can.

Oh no.

Instead you decided to put your clammy concoction in a huge 24-ounce aluminum jug, making it impossible to finish without it getting warm, which makes the Chelada feel like someone rinsed their mouth with it and spit it back into the can.

and then josé andrés and i became BFFs

15 Apr

When we got to Atlanta in December, one of the first things Savory did was join a science meet-up group. We’ve gone to science trivia and a couple of lectures at bars (I know, we’re hard core.), but as a guy with a Ph.D. in physics and a gal with a food blog, we were especially excited when they held an event a few weeks ago titled “The Physics of Cooking.” So cool, right?!

I was pretty stoked when we walked into the lecture hall at Georgia Tech and they had a whole lab table set up next to the podium–but just about went into complete freak-out mode when the emcee casually mentioned that, along with two physicists from Harvard, José Freaking Andrés was presenting!

tapas: a taste of spain in america, by jose andres

my ultimate guide to spanish cooking

I was first introduced to JFA when I received his tapas cookbook as a gift. Dudes, the tapas in that cookbook are beyond legit. His flan recipe is the best I’ve tasted (close second: the flan from Colombia restaurant in Florida). Best of all, I finally found a recipe for croquetas that truly reminded me of those sauteed pieces of heaven I so frequently enjoyed when I studied abroad in Spain. I make those croquetas once or twice a year, and I am not exaggerating when I say it is a spiritual experience.

So what’s a famous chef doing with some geeky physicists? Turns out, JFA is as passionate about innovation as he is about food. He teamed up with Michael Brenner and David Weitz from Harvard and they put together a class on culinary physics.

For Andrés, the pairing of food and science “opens new highways to creation” in the kitchen. They did some cool experiments with food and talked about the importance of collaboration and reaching beyond the boundaries of your discipline–but what really made the experience unforgettable was JFA himself. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that his storytelling is as delicious as his food; when he speaks you just get entirely engrossed by his absolute passion, a mix of both urgency and joy.

As soon as the presentation was over, I rushed the stage to meet him–the man whose tapas have been a delight to me for years, at whose restaurants I dined at with friends and forced every single one to order the flan for dessert, and whose stories of the next food frontier left me completely entranced. And as I shook his hand with a grin that threatened to devour my entire face I blubbered, “Mucho gusto. Can I get a picture with you?” Then, as I dragged the two professors from Harvard into the photo and Savory snapped the picture,  “I have a food blog. You’re going to be famous.”

Really, Gina? I have a food blog?? You’re going to be FAMOUS??? JFA humored me despite what a pompous lunatic I must have looked like, and I could barely contain myself as I literally skipped out of the auditorium and into the street before shouting “OHMYGOSH I GOT A PICTURE WITH TWO PHYSICISTS AND JOSEFREAKINGANDRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Jose Andres visits Georgia Tech

josé andrés, pre-'hot plate' fame bump

fruit, you so crazy!

22 May
Kiwano Melon

Kiwano Melon. Definitely NOT available at your local grocery store.

Stumbled across this slideshow, The 10 Most Beautiful Exotic Fruits In The World, on BuzzFeed and had to share because not only are the pics crazygorgeouscool, but the flavors sound AMAZING! Take our little friend here, the Kiwano melon, which the site says “tastes like a mix of bananas, limes, and cucumbers.” Um, yes please!

Life is so cool, you guys. I mean, how does stuff like this even exist, much less be delicious?? I remember the first time I tried a kiwi, I was in Spain and my señora gave me one after dinner. I had seen them before but never had one, and that first bite was one of the most delightful moments my tastebuds have ever experienced. I bet these fruits are just as fun.

unexpected enchiladas everywhere!

23 Feb

Why can I totally see myself having this EXACT conversation?

Excerpt:

me: If I was driving a brain-car I’d make it go to Taco Cabana all the time and you’d be all “Where are we going? We don’t have time for this” and I’d be like “I’m not doing it! It’s the car. It must want enchiladas” and then I could get enchiladas all the time and you couldn’t yell at me about it because you couldn’t prove I was doing it on purpose.

Victor: When have I ever yelled at you about enchiladas?  WHY IS THIS EVEN AN ISSUE?

me: You’d totally yell at me if I suddenly veered off to get unexpected enchiladas. That’s why I’ve never even tried it. Because I know you. But just wait until we get our mind-control car. There are going to be unexpected enchiladas everywhere.