Dirty bread pudding

I love dirty rice, in particular, Paul Prudhomme’s dirty rice. Peppers, onions, celery and an entire panoply of herbs and spices combined with ground pork, pork sausage and chicken livers. So when I had to make food for book club I wanted the make dirty rice but it seemed more like a side dish and I adapted it for bread pudding so it seemed like a breakfast strata. One of the members doesn’t eat pork so I used beef and turkey breakfast sausage. Of course I also added like a pound of cheddar cheese. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

And the winner is

Thursday night I had dinner at Lake Park Bistro. Ashish, my sister Ann and her boyfriend, Jay. It was very good. It cost $356 with a 20% tip. The service, which I usually find lacking at LPB was pretty good we did not have the 2 server—(which means each of them think the other is looking after you and hence, no server)—waiter situation they generally have. I had gnocchi and it was OK. The brown butter, if in fact it was brown butter was a little too browned. If it wasn’t supposed to be brown butter, it was burned. No matter, I ate it and it was fine.

Next night, 5 people at Las Botanas. The place was packed, we had no reservations, they said a 20 minute wait but seated us immediately. Margaritas were great. I had plate lunch. It was awesome. Service was good and the bill was $108 for 5 of us.

Saturday Ashish and I ate near the airport in Chicago at Carlucci’s since he was on his way back to Belgium. We had reservations for 6 pm which is early and dreaded eating in an empty restaurant but when we arrived it was reasonably full. By the time we left, an hour and fifteen minutes later, it was packed. The bread was awful. My meal was edible. I should know better than order cinghiale. Wild boar is not something we have here. Service fine. It was $120 for the 2 of us.

Give me Las Botanas any day of the week.

Remains of the day

Last night I took the scraps from the chocolate malt cake I’d made a week or so ago and made bread pudding. I cut the leftover cake into cubes, toasted them lightly, then put them in a malt custard. I topped it with the malt crunch filling that was also left over. I served it with vanilla ice cream. It was over-the-top-delicious.

Impossible to open

Does the person who invents these things ever try to use them? Doesn’t anyone at Kraft use their own products?

I’m not infirm. I can run 3 miles with ease, I lift weights and work with a personal trainer. I take Pilates. I cannot open this. In the end I resorted to using a knife. But, as it turned out, the stuff was filthy. Sweet artificial raspberry. Disgusting. Which is probably why no one at Kraft uses it.

Cakes

I love to see the cakes in the display case at the Metro Market. They never fail to make me smile. I wonder though, who buys these? I certainly would never. While I think they are beautiful 

the thought of all that frosting, particularly on a cupcake, is nauseating.

Corn Flake Cookies

These are some hyper-elaborate cookies the recipe for which is found in the Milk Cookbook. These are sorta like rice-crispie-bar cookies because you use marshmallows but they are made with corn flakes instead and mini-chocolate chips are tossed in for fun. You have to make the elaborate dough and then refrigerate balls of it for 24 hours. 

The cookies turn out to be enormous. They are delicious. Worth the effort and if I ever truly get the hang of the process I will make them more often.

Not ratatouille

Nearly everything I cook for myself tastes the same. Or at least looks the same. I made a . . . I hate the expression stir fry, I don’t know why, I want to call it something like gai kwak jinn . . . but I made a stir fry using basically the same ingredients I used last night for ratatouille but the mushrooms were larger and I added cabbage.

Cabbage is amazing. I bought this cabbage last year. Seriously. And not on December 31st. Like in September. I used chicken (this was a getting-rid-of-crap-in-my-refrigerator meal), celery, red pepper and green onions.

The gai kwak jinn was passable. It looked better than it was, in fact it looked just like ratatouille. But there was too much soy sauce and I neglected to add fermented black beans. I also neglected to make rice or noodles. I was too busy watching Chopped. So I ate it just plain. I’m not sure if that’s allowed in Chinese circles. It seems not right. But then there were no cellophane wrapped fortune cookies at the end either.

Ratatouille

Or something like it. The French eat it cold. Generally speaking, although there are billions of recipes, each ingredient is sauteed separately and then added together in the sauce, briefly simmered and then let sit overnight. This way it does not turn into the mush you usually get called ratatouille. This isn’t really ratatouille since there is no zucchini and little eggplant. And it has mushrooms not usually found in ratatouille. Come to think of it, it’s not really ratatouille at all. I ate it with ramen noodles. The more I think of it, the less like ratatouille it gets. None the less it was delicious. Eaten hot.

Hellish cake

I’m not sure why but I am fascinated by a cookbook from a restaurant called Milk. I love how the author thinks and I am awed by her inventiveness. For the second time I attempted to make her chocolate malt cake. I’m not so interested in eating it. I want to understand her procedures. Under the best of circumstances I am not tidy. With this, which requires endless bowls, I was less so. I’m told it was good.