Saturday, April 4, 2009

Culinary Stylings

On Saturday mornings I like to cook.

Upon rising at the luxurious hour of half-past-ten, I sometimes make pancakes. After a half-decade where Friday night meant an obligatory social outing, I have found that one's late-twenties can be blissfully hangover free, leaving much time for domestic activities. I fancy myself the type of cook who can throw a bit of this and a scoop of that into a big mixing bowl, free of the bonds imposed by restrictive measuring receptacles, and somehow whip up something palatable.

I say 'palatable' because my pancakes are something akin to what Gwyneth would post on her lifestyle blog-every possible fat or simple sugar has been replaced by something macrobiotic or somehow healthful. Ah, guilt-free breakfast carbs!

My pancake recipe:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 oatmeal (pulverized to oatmeal dust in a coffee bean grinder, if you prefer)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 teaspoon baking powder or soda (the charmingly haphazard chef doesn't know the difference)
1 egg
1/2 cup or so of soy milk, or real milk, if that's how you roll
generous sprinkle of cinnamon
olive oil or butter for the pan
walnuts, Trader Joe's frozen berry mix or sliced bananas to throw into the batter side once you've made pancake-sized dollops in the skillet

Assemble. Enjoy with maple syrup.

Since some of these ingredients aren't available in Buenos Aires, I suggest using low-sugar jam in lieu of maple syrup (a poor substitute, I know) and salvado de arena. Delicious.

Like most people who enjoy food, I have a near obsession with the Food Network (I watch the substitutes down here, but crave the Real Thing.) The ladies of the Food Network are assembled into an imbalanced trinity of sorts: Nigella, Giada, and yes, Rachel Ray. With the notable exception of RR, the food network ladies have a mysteriously beguiling sex appeal: the never-fail mother/nurturer+sexually viable demure flirt personae delivers again. I can watch Nigella eat about anything.

What is it about people who look good eating? They are like people who look good crying...or smoking. It ruins it for the rest of us. And something about Giada lulls me into a hypnotic calm (maybe in response to her sincere exuberance about things like rosemary and mozzarella). Yet simultaneously, I am bewitched by the prospect of cooking hearty Italian fare, eating voraciously while maintaining an impossible girlish figure and...Giada herself:

What does this have to do with Made of Scarves? Well cooking is chic, of course. I think so many have become dabblers in the culinary arts because cooking is creative yet practical-one's efforts yield edible results! Also, entertaining holds myriad opportunities for art direction (setting the scene...) and expression of one's personal brand:

Jackie hosts the French Minister of Cultural Affairs in Dior.

Let's hope Jackie didn't serve her esteemed guests typical 60's dinner party fare:

'Frank Stuffed Cabbage'

[From the truly hilarious 'Do What Now.' ] Read it and thank the culinary gods that times have changed, and that we have Alice Waters instead of Fanny Farmer, and that hot dogs no longer constitute a proper food group.

I have a 1969 vintage Playboy as a coffee table book with a photo spread of a dinner party that features pitch-perfect 1960's gag-inducing party fare at it's finest. The event was billed as 'a galaxy of avant-garde food, drink, costumes and decor for hosting a way-out wingding.' Image search is not surfacing any illustrative images, but this Ike and Tina Turner clip did show up as part of 'Playboy After Dark', which is thematically similar, yet maybe isn't a 'wingding'...but nonetheless is still cool:

Having digressed entirely, I will now leave you with my Saturday morning recipe for a leek tart. Buen provecho!

3 eggs
milk (maybe around a quarter cup?)
1 large clove of garlic, diced
parsley (as much as looks nice)
1 large leek, chopped up
2 medium-sized mushrooms, chopped
a bit of hard, sharp cheese (Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano, ect.)
one whole wheat pastry shell
a bit of dry white wine
salt and pepper

Sautè leeks, mushrooms, garlic, wine, parsley and salt and pepper (to taste). Beat eggs with milk. Combine, add to pie crust, grate cheese on top, bake. (Around 15 minutes for a 7 inch pie crust.) Remove from oven, cool and consume voraciously!

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