Template This Is bc: April 2006

This Is bc

Friday, April 28, 2006

A gracious home

This evening I will be dining in New York City. A New England reprieve has been a long time coming and I can't wait. What I miss most about New York is the food, uhh . . you guys. uhh. . . the pizza. you guys. the pizza. you guys. the pizza. you guys. the pizza.*

I miss both you guys and the pizza. The other day I made a statement to Dave Starr like, "Oh, there's a place in the North End I'd like to go to. I heard their pizza is edible." He carried on that that was a very snobby thing to say and that my new york standards were unfair. I don't think so. That fact that good pizza, bagels, chinese food, greek food, etc. is not readily available up here is an affront to good taste. These people, Dave included being from Philly and not having spent any time in NYC, don't even know that the food that they are eatting isn't nearly as good as it should be! I really hurts me. As a result, I eat those foods about one tenth as often as I would and I did when I lived in New York. Well, at least for the weekend I won't have to worry about not being able to get a good slice when I want one.
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On Saturday I'm probably going to go to this with my mom:

"Gracious Home, the upscale hardware store, will hold a one-day warehouse sale in Queens on April 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Look for bedding, kitchen appliances and everything in between at discounts of 40 to 90 percent. . . . 30-30 60th Street (Northern Boulevard), Woodside" (NYTimes via my grandmother.)

Maybe I'll find something awesome and cheap.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The house red

Today we received the case of 2002 Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon, which Aaron and I ordered. We decided that we needed to have a "house red" and once we tried this we each immediately realized it met all of our criteria. It was red (I guess that's the most important and obvious criterion,) it was cheap (less than $8 a bottle w/ a 20% case discount,) and it tasted great.

This cab comes from the North Coast region of California (Napa, Sonoma and nearby counties,) where the best American cabs are born. I'm no wine expert but I can't imagine there being a better cab from Cali for this price. Of course, Aaron and I had to open a bottle tonight. Amazingly the wine took on a different flavor than that of the first bottle we had. It continues to surprise! What a drink.

The first bottle we had with cheese (Emmentaler, Jarlsberg, and Double Gloucester; amazing cheddar) and the wine seemed lighter than a Cabernet should. It was still full, light on the tannins with a long pleasant finish. Tonight we ate Bucatini with Meatballs and the wine was much bolder. The smoothness and long finish was still there but this time the wine tasted much more of berries, especially currant. It was great.

You can probably find a bottle of Cellar No. 8 2002 Cab for a little more than $10 in your local place. It's cheap at twice the price.

Makes about 10, normal sized


1 large pan
1 large bowl
1 ceramic baking dish (optional)

1 lb. of ground chuck (or ground beef w/ 85/15 fat content, if you can't get chuck specifically)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves or garlic, minced
1 C bread crumbs (make your own with stale bread!)
1/4 grated Parmesan
1 or 2 eggs
dry basil
dry oregano
red pepper flakes
salt pepper
olive oil

Constructing the actual meatballs is not a science but the cooking certainly is. Saute the onions and garlic in a large pan with a little olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Put in a large bowl and let cool a bit. Add to the onion the bread crumbs, and season with the herbs, salt, etc. Mix in the ground beef with your hands. Crack the egg into the mixture also (add another egg if the mixture is too dry to stick together well.) Make sure not to mash everything together. That's just going to make meatballs with the consistency of golf balls. Instead work the mixture with your finger tips.

Preheat the oven to 350 and put the large pan over as high a flame as you can get. Wait until the pan is smoking. Now add a few table spoons of olive oil and then, carefully, the meatballs one at a time. Once you get the last one in, its time to get the first ones turned. Shake the pan bit so that the meatballs roll around another face of them gets contact with the pan. The idea here is that you want to get really nice browning on as many sides of the meatballs as you can quickly with the very high heat. If you do that balls won't have time to turn into triangles and loose their shape in the pan. Once most of the meatballs have a nice brown crust on most of their faces, put the meatballs in a ceramic baking dish with some of the oil so they don't stick and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

This is what I use for the baking part: Le Creuset Oval Stoneware dish You can get it for retail at Williams and Sonoma, at wholesale prices online, or at discount at T.J. Maxx. If you don't have a ceramic baking dish you can use a pyrex dish. You want to make sure that the dish does not transfer heat well, like a metal pan, because then you would have meatballs that were burnt on the bottom. Not tasty.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The scene in which food and wine enter the blog

In the past I've entertained the idea of starting a website where I can make my favorite recipes available and easily accessible. That website has never come to full fruition, but I think that this blog will serve as a suitable substitute. I'm still working on the navigation part but if you like/don't like what I'm doing in the sidebar, I would appreciate the feedback.

I think offering recipes and wine recommendations here will be an important step to offering some real content that I actually know something about. Hopefully there will be something you can enjoy as well.

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So last night Aaron took the reins in the kitchen and organized the cooking of a great meal. Here are the three recipes we followed, all from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, and the wine we drank with the meal. The chicken is a great and easy curried dish, especially for when a sauce would be too heavy or time consuming. The spinach can be extremely spicy (depending on how many chilies you use,) but the ginger and chilies put a great twist on boring sauted spinach. Plain basmati rice can be served obviously, but this turmeric rice is a nice change of pace.

Ground Chicken with Peas
Murghi ka keema
Serves: 3-4
Approx. time: 15 min.


1 large pan (a 10 or 12 inch)

3 T vegetable oil
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/4 lbs. ground chicken or turkey
6 to 7 ounces peas (1 bag of frozen is fine)
1/4 t ground turmeric
1 t garam masala
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper

Set pan over medium-high heat and add half of the oil when the pan is hot. Add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves. After a few seconds (and the spices get fragrant but not burn!) add chopped onion. Once onion gets some color add garlic and ginger. After a few seconds either move this aromatic mixture to a plate or push it to one side of the pan furthest from the heat. Add the remaining oil and then the ground meat. Stir and chop meat until none of the meat is pink. Stir together all of the remaining ingredients, including the onion mixture. Cook until the peas are warm. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves and serve with Basmati rice.

Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies
Saag bhaji
Serves: 3-4
Approx. time: 5 min.


1 wok or large pan

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/4 lbs spinach, trimmed and washed
1 or 2 fresh hot green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 t garam masala
1/4 t sugar
1/8 t cayenne pepper

Cut the ginger very thinly, then stack the slices and cut into slivers. Set the wok or pan over high heat. Add oil when the pan is hot and then add the ginger. When the ginger gets a little color add the chopped chilies and then the spinach. The spinach will wilt quickly. If there is not enough room for all of it, add in smaller batches and stir so that the spinach wilts and makes enough room for the rest. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Serve.

Turmeric Rice
Peelay chaaval
Serves: 3-4
Approx. time: 30 min.


1 Medium pot

2 C basmati rice
2 3/4 C water
2 T vegetable oil
3 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
4 cardamom pods
1-inch stick of cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 t ground turmeric
1 t salt
2 T chives or scallion, finely sliced

Put pot over medium-high heat and add oil when pan is hot. Add cloves, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cinnamon. After a few seconds and the spices get aromatic, add the garlic. When the garlic get golden, put in rice, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine. Add water and cover. When the water comes to a boil reduce the heat to as low as your stove will go. Set timer for 25 minutes. Fluff rice with fork when cooking is done and add chives or scallion.
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2004 Firestone Vineyard Gewürztraminer

I don't love whites but this grape (Gewürztraminer) produces a wine that taste like no other white. I was really blown away by how well the wine was able to stand up to the spice of the Indian meal it was eaten with and how much bold flavor it contributed. It would go really well with any spicy meal that would be hard to find a wine with which to pair.

The bottle is from the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, California and you can find it for under $15. The wine has a musky, spicy flavor but also a little sweet (the bottle says its like lychee)and it finishes very smoothly with almost no acidic feel on the palate. If you want to get a nicer and more expensive bottle, you should probably go for a winery in Alsace, where they specialize in Gewürztraminer.

Good to know: Gewürz means "spicy" in German.
The varietal is sometimes also called Traminer.
The grape thrives in cool weather, so look for bottles from Northern Italy, Alsace, California's cooler areas, New Zealand, etc.

Paired with: Ground Chicken with Peas
Spinach with Ginger and Green Chilies
Turmeric Rice

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rainy Day

Today its rainy in the greater Boston area. Its an inside day.

Watching music videos on demand seems be what we're doing this morning in this house.

Here's a great one we just watched. Chicken Payback by The Bees. In Real Player and in Windows Media

Friday, April 21, 2006

Its got that Woot Wooooo!

Remember whistle tips? Well, dats only in da mo'nin'

Apparently this one's only at night:

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FYI, Passover was broken with a cookie at Trader Joe's and then more completely with take out indian. Both were consumed with dave starr.

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Who else seen the leprechaun say "yea!"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What I would have posted if had a blog 10 days ago

I don't know how this guy did this ( and I'm not sure if I want to know. I know it might have involved cutting and editting many games of RBI baseball, in which case its still cool and an original concept. But if this is the real thing and there was no post production involved? Oh man. I would have to say, in terms of video game playing prowess, this might be superior even to that guy who beats Mario 3 in like 4 seconds.

Now for those of us who do Pesach the traditional way, we can eat chametz after sundown tonight.* The top three things I want to eat after the holiday is over are:

- roast beef sandwhich
- indian food
- tortilla chips

These also happen to be the last three foods I encountered last night but, unfortunately, I was unable to consume. What will you be eating after sundown tonight?

*Pesach is Passover and chametz is bready-type stuff

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The first post

The back story: Adam said I should have a blog. He hounded me for months, during which time he posted on his blog maybe four times. That's another story though. When I asked Emily (both) whether I should go ahead with this they each said, "why not?" Now I have a blog.

Let's start it off right with a link:

If you've been wondering what I actually do during the day, here's a well written article to explain it to you. Shovie and I had training together last August/September.

Another link:

More all the time.