tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal

21Dec/120

Pre-Christmas

Dear J - in the year 2 B.T., two years Before Tasty Nom Nom ...

also known as the year 2009 A.D., I made a trial of meat balls and anchovy pasta. (Where I also served bread with pasta.) I think we liked the meal. Because, the following year, this meatballz and anchovy pasta showed up again. By then, like all tasty dishes, it had acquired a "z", e.g. wingz.

For less carb reasons, this dish did not made appearance in 2011. But it is back ... what was it you said about comfort and carby? and was someone hinting at this dish recently?

mosaicd37804b22686fd6e34960946ac3406f0656fa2ccanchovy pasta and meatballs, one dish meal

Since I had no reference of what I did the previous two times, and only vaguely remember it was a blend of ground pork, beef? veal?  and parsley.  I found this meatball recipe to start. I used what I had on hand -  some leftover bread that has been sitting around for too many days, shallots instead of onions, add hot Italian sausage, and improvised from there.  I ended up with 2 parts pork, 1 part beef, .5 part hot Italian sausage, with a large bunch of parsley, a giant pile of parmesan, two eggs, salt & pepper. All lightly mixed together then loosely formed into meat balls. I let them rest for few hours, pan fried, then finished in a 350°F oven, with mixture of water + beer + a little bouillon to keep them moist.

For the pasta, I dumped a box (1lb) of thin spaghetti into salted boiling water. In the mean time, warmed an almost entire tube of anchovy paste with olive oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, lemon juice from one lemon, a large pinch of red pepper flakes in a large pan. Tossed the almost done pasta with anchovy mixture, finished with 1 cup+ of toasted panko breadcrumbs.

I piled meatballs and pasta in large serving bowl, sprinkled generously with lemon zest and parsley. All the while, pretending I am serving a large crowd, instead of just four of us.

I must confess I felt really strange only make a single dish, and eggnog for our meal. But I apparently survive to tell the tale.

After dinner, we play our new games (Yay! Thanks!). Coup (BGG link), was a recommendation from a mutual friend.

DSC_2338my two influences, dead

Coup, a new game

your hand

It is a simple game to teach and learn. However, it does take a little time to memorize the actions and counter actions. I think the game will go smoother, more fun, once we memorize the roles to bluff, convincingly (or not!). It is a good end of the evening quick game.

We finish the evening with Bonhanza, which we stopped playing at our house, when we realize I was missing a Wax Bean.

DSC_2346

My belly is happily full of cookies and our game shelf has two additions. Yay! Merry Christmas, see you next year!

18Dec/120

A break from cooking

Hi J -

I am sure you know what I like to eat, when celebrating an occasion, seeking comfort, or would eat all the time (consequences, what consequences) - crispy fried food. And, of course, my go-to -- Chinese food.

I traded cooking effort for hours of screen time to find a new-to-us restaurant. We agree on Spicy Talk. What an odd name for a Szeschuan restaurant. Also, turns out G had hand shaved noodle chow mein take out from them. I will ask G to pick up take out from them in the future, and probably not just chow mein.

mosaicb6fe65a8a592261d65c9b6680d16ee59b352604aclockwise, starting at the top left:
"chicken nuggets", ma po tofu, Szeschuan fish, hot and sour soup
not pictured were salt and pepper shrimp, a beef fish, and eggroll

I was guilty of ordering too much food.  Plus, I am almost certain it is against some ancient code of conduct if I do not order variety of meats - fish, shrimp, chicken, beef, then soup and an appetizer. The guideline I usually follow is # of dishes = # of people, add soup, add appetizer... I was very hungry when we arrived and failed to exercise any self control.

Overall, the food was tasty  - good spicy level, salty (meant to eat with lots of rice), and greasy (just a little too much, but not too terrible for occasional indulgence). So sad they did not have mustard for N for the eggrolls. I think he may boycott them for that reason.

After dinner, we went to your place to unwind, play games, and eat Jeni's ice cream!

We started with Nuclear War (BGG link), the game that goes with Weapon of Mass Destruction,which we tried over a year ago.

Untitledsetting up my moves

Untitledwith deterrent 

Funny that when I search online for game rules, I got a FEMA document on page one of the result.

Nuclear War is a fast game, once someone gets bored with propaganda and starts the war. The game feels like a twisted dark humor, art making a statement on real life. The title and premise, like Pandemic, fills me with promises, but leaves me wanting more. It has potential, but I think game play / mechanic may be too straightforward, winning seems to be mostly luck of card draw, with a little bluff.

What do you think?

Filed under: eating out, games No Comments
16Dec/120

Comfort Food

Dear E,

I think everyone probably has their favorite comfort foods. I know when someone else isn't feeling well, I feel compelled to make him something comforting. In winter (alright, late fall), I tend to pick something warm, gooey, carby.

I picked Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese aka Crack 'n Cheez. As usual, I swapped out the homemade breadcrumbs for panko. I also added ground mustard to the recipe-called-for nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Otherwise I follow the recipe.

Fight! Or not
ham fight

Let it be known that the Crack 'n Cheez was the start of this dinner plan. The rest ... an afterthought. I added an arugula salad with pears (from our farm share), a bit of your goat cheese, and champagne vinaigrette. This is one of my favorite salads -- sometimes I add some persian cucumbers as well.

Dinnah
dinner plate

I bought a Smithfield spiral sliced ham with Paula Deen's crunchy glaze, thinking it would be similar to the boys favorite Honeybaked Ham. It... wasn't. Now I know!

Catan what? So sick of settlers! #gamenight
Catan, again!?

After dinner we played a round of Catan. Nooooo! My heart wasn't in it and I had to be nudged to perform my resource banker duties more than once. Whoops! I totally have Settlers burnout. N won!

But we got in a round of Castle!
Castle, a favorite

After Catan, we played a round of Castle. I really like Castle. It's fun, contentious, and a good way to end the night. I always try to fly under the radar in Castle -- so I hope for cards that don't force me to attack anyone. The thing is that once you start attacking someone else, then they attack you back. If you somehow manage to not attack anyone, you tend not to get attacked and therefore have a higher likelihood of playing all of your cards and winning the game.

I think N won Castle too, by the skin of his nose.

Next time: more comfort food?

3Dec/120

Thanksgiving Weekend Deserves Two Posts

Hi E!

Thanks for hosting Thanksgiving! We had a lovely time.

Due to some Very Serious Feelings on the necessity of potatoes at Thanksgiving, we supplied two of N's favorites. Plain ol' mashed potatoes and Bobby Flay's Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes.

Too much fud

After our hockey game tonight, I talked to N and discovered that he does not actually follow Bobby Flay's recipe for the sweet potatoes. He does NOT use two cups of heavy cream! (my arteries thank him)

He takes 2-3 chipotles and puts them in a food processor with just enough cream to cover them and makes a paste. As he layers the thin-cut sweet potatoes in the pan, he spoons a little bit of paste over each layer. This makes for a more sweet potato-heavy dish but doesn't lose the overall effect.

I like sweet potatoes but I am not a big fan of the sweet-on-top-of-sweet casseroles out there with brown sugar and nuts and marshmallows. This dish is a recent favorite because the spice of the chipotles helps counter the saccharine of the sweet potatoes.

A couple of days later on this Thanksgiving weekend, we got together for tasty delivery (!) pizza and games. This is notable because we actually tried a new-to-us game!

Munchkin

It seems that almost everyone who games keeps a Munchkin deck around. It's quick, it's funny (lots of different themed decks out there!) and it's not so RPG-y to deter the non-roleplayers, but is roleplaying influenced enough such that the roleplayers seem to like it as a sort of game snack.

It took us a while to get going. I was very frustrated that I didn't draw a Class or Race card until the very end of the game. The gameplay was pretty quick once we figured it out and I could see us playing it at the end of the night another time.

You won, but we realized later that you can't get to the winning point by buying a level/playing a level-up card, it has to be from killing a monster. I bet we won't forget that next time!

After Munchkin, I pulled out Carcassonne to avoid the usual suspects (Uno, the bean game, or Catan).

Tidiest Carcassonne board ever

My recollection of this game is poor. I lost. N or G won. They were close. I suck so bad at Carcassonne. Maybe I'll have to download it for my phone and start playing it more often.

See you next time!