I AM INSATIABLE. ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

02 March 2007


I started doing the thing where I ride the bike to And from work as opposed to taking the train up and only riding back. My body loves this in every possible way, as you might imagine. I am not at all tired or hurty! Ha ha! The other big effect is that I am constantly starving. I've been to the grocery store two days running to get enough food to fill myself up. Then I come home and eat and eat and am still hungry.

Last night I brought home a backpack full of parsley, hummus, bread, carrots, spinach, veal, cranberry juice, two kinds of onion, garlic, and probably several other things I am forgetting. Then I came home and started cooking.


Garlic pasta with spinach.
Hot chocolate.

Well, I technically had the hot chocolate later.

1. Garlic pasta, i.e. aglio e olio, is a weekly standard (though not The weekly standard) at our house. We eat garlic nearly every day. I heart garlic. I want as much garlic as possible. Besides that, aglio e olio is astonishingly cheap and comforting and quick. You can start cooking and sit down at the table in less than twenty minutes.

Aglio e olio

olive oil
long pasta such as linguine
black pepper
optional: fresh parsley, grated cheese
and I added steamed spinach.

Put on pasta water; cook pasta while the garlic is on.

Get at least a good six or eight cloves of garlic smashed and de-skinned. Chop them roughly and throw them into a wide saute pan with several good lashings of olive oil. Cook slowly on medium-low. This will depend on the size of your garlic chunks, but I find it rarely takes more than about ten or fifteen minutes.

As the pasta is boiling, wash several handfuls of spinach leaves and throw them in a steamer. I have one that fits the top of my pasta pot, so I just stick it over the pasta for a minute to get the spinach wilted, then add to the garlic. You can either do this or chuck the leaves straight into the garlic and oil, stirring to get them all garlicky.

Drain your pasta and toss it in the pan with your garlic and oil. Mix it all up, add plenty of black pepper and any other garnishes you desire, and serve.

2. Veal.

But we thought you were a vegetarian! Look at all that tofu! Well. I am not a vegetarian. I just don't eat meat very often. The end.

Veal scaloppine are tiny and razor-thin, and thus extremely cheap to cook yourself. I keep getting two of them for two dollars and change. Take that, restaurant anything! I win! This time I even managed to cook them such that they were still pink inside, which is an achievement, as I usually try to do things like "wash a pan" while said dudes are searing. This does not do much for the timing. This time I managed to wash a pan And get the veal turned over in time. In conclusion, I win again.

My veal prep is a basic takeoff of a Nigel Slater technique, which is pretty near the general technique for searing anything at all, only with pan juices afterward. It's also damn near instantaneous.

Seared veal

veal scaloppine
salt, pepper

Mix a little flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Coat the veal with the flour. I never have any excess, as I literally use one handful of flour out of the cold, cold, freezer-living bag, but if you have excess, shake it off. You just want a faint powdery coating. Also pepper. You want the pepper.

Get a wide saute pan good and hot. I didn't even rinse out my garlic-infused garlic pan, and it was already mostly hot. I win again! When things are pretty hot, stick in a lump of butter and let it froth. As soon as it's melted, slap in the veal. Leave it for maybe 45 seconds to a minute (while you wash a pan), then immediately turn it over. Leave for another 45 seconds or so, then remove to a hot plate (or on top of your hot pasta).

You will notice that your pan now has some brown bits and pieces sticking to it. Good. Pour in a couple good glugs of vermouth, or possibly any wine you may be having. White will work better, in my opinion. The alcohol will hiss and foam and try to turn itself entirely to steam. While it's doing that, scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan with your spatula. A metal one works best, but things like wooden spoons are also ok. Then add a handful of fresh parsley and another lump of butter to the pan. Stir it all about, and then, when the butter is melted, pour over your veal. Eat as instantly as possible.

3. Juice.

I was using vermouth as a cooking standby, as I was not having any wine. No. I was having juice. This did not go especially well with the veal and pasta, but it was still good in and of itself. So. I mixed a couple glugs each of black cherry and cranberry 100% pow ouch no anything extra juices to fill half a glass, then added sparkling water to the top. I might prefer tonic to the sparkling water, but still. Juice!

4. Hot chocolate.

So yeah. This was not enough for me. After an extremely green-flavored leftover Halloween sucker, I ended up tooling around the kitchen in search of dessert-oriented snacks. Of course, I hadn't bought any good chocolate. Good job, me. However, I had bought milk, and we did have a container of cocoa stashed up in the back of the cupboard. So I whipped some cocoa into milk, heated it on the stove, and: hot chocolate. Incidentally, I wonder how much of the difference between "cocoa and "hot chocolate", when referring to the actual liquid as opposed to powder, is a regionalism.

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