GatroPorn Menu: July.2013

GatroPorn Menu: July.2013

It is getting far too hot outside for my tastes. Mid-90’s and the humidity is on the rise. I keep forgetting every spring that my hair does not do well in humidity and so I don’t preemptively get it cut in time for the great *poof* that becomes my hair in the DC summers. And in addition to that the temperature of one’s food can make a difference to the comfort levels in this god-awful heat.

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas because I often associate the two holidays with a large amount of cooking and eating and partying. I’m not the greatest fan on the patriotic holidays because the types of foods do not create insane food memories of intense bliss in my head. But there are still foods that can excite my palate during the summer holidays… Here is a menu with a few of them along with a couple new items I’m keen to try this month:

Boozy Sweet Tea

“Boozy Sweet Tea” from Dessert for Two
(Click HERE for “Peach-Infused Moonshine” Recipe)

Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad

“Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad” from Food & Wine

New Potato Salad with Garlic Mayonnaise and Cress

“New Potato Salad with Garlic Mayonnaise and Cress” from JamieOliver.com

Mediterranean Sliders

“Mediterranean Sliders” from Athenos (there’s something to be said for good advertising!)

Vegetable Kebabs

“Vegetable Kebabs” from Epicurious

Berry & Fruit Popsicles

“Berry & Fruit Popsicles” from Call Me Cupcake!

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Gastroporn Menu – May.2013

May is one of those odd months. Sometimes the weather is already muggy and gross and all you want to do is sit in a cool pool of water alternating between sipping fancy drinks with umbrellas and licking something frozen. But sometimes it’s still nice and cool out and it still feels like what we think spring should feel like in our minds. So for this month’s GastroPorn Menu I’m going to go with something light that can feel cool enough to battle the heat but can also keep us feeling light enough to go run around and warm up enough to maybe just need a sweater.

Gastroporn Menu – May.2013

Salad with Avocado Dressing Bowls

“Salad with Avocado Dressing Bowls” from Dash and Bella

Matar Paneer

“Matar Paneer” by Dassana from Veg Recipes of India

Saffron Mango Lassi

“Saffron Mango Lassi” from US Masala

Pistachio Saffron Ice Cream Pops

“Pistachio Saffron Ice Cream Pops” from Simply Reem

On Throwing a Grazing Party and Staying Sexy

From Monica Eisenman

So, as some of you might have remembered, I had a party this weekend. And yes there were some road blocks in the plan (like the fact that it was supposed to be last week but we had to push it back a week because of a funeral) but since when are good parties supposed to be easy and peaceful? If someone in your family hasn’t yelled at you needlessly while helping you prepare crusts for mini quiches than your party is going to suck. Because stress breeds good food ON TIME.

The menu, inspired by this month’s Gastroporn Menu, was labeled as a “Tea Party” but with most of my parties turned into an extended grazing affair that was really more like three or four smaller parties all strung together throughout the afternoon and evening. I also made something new that I surprisingly enjoyed eating about an hour or two after all the guests had left because eating them in front of people just isn’t sexy and a hostess should always be sexy: Blue velvet Cupcakes.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

“Blue Velvet Cupcakes” from Sprinkle Bakes

Now… I like making cupcakes. I don’t always like eating cupcakes but I do like making them. Why? Easy dispersal. Try giving away cake at the end of the party and tell me you didn’t wish you’d made cupcakes. And if you aren’t giving away cake at the end of a party then don’t complain to me about your expanding waistline. Take that cake to work and give it away. It will make you more friends and fewer pounds.

Note: Don’t use a tablespoon of blue dye for the cupcakes. That’s too much and cupcakes that turn tongues a funny color…not sexy.

But you know what is sexy? Eating chocolate mousse from a tiny cup with a mini spoon. The recipe I used  can be found in “The Great Disappointment (of 2012)” post. A friend gave me the recipe and I have no idea where it came from but probably the Internet.

Note: I also piped some fresh whipped cream (made with a little sugar and a splash of vanilla) on top and put my brother to work with a piece of 100% chocolate and a vegetable peeler to garnish the tops.

There were also things I really don’t have a recipe for but if you’ve played around in a kitchen long enough you’ll just know what to do. Like stuffed mushrooms and mini-quiches. Watching my caveman-neanderthal dad trying to press rounds of pie crust dough into a mini-muffin tin was absolutely priceless.

And, of course, there were the scones we always make (the recipe is in the “Tea Time, Nap Time, Fun Times” post from many moons ago) served with the remaining fresh cream from above and berries. I love me some berries. I brought the rest to work with me today along with the remaining 3 scones (to give away). Everybody is always asking for that recipe and it’s ridiculously easy so there is no reason NOT to try it. Unless you’ve got allergies, in which case I am so sorry.

Anyone who knows anything about me and my party style also knows that I like complicated. I like the idea of doing everything from scratch and if I had the ability to gather and make all the ingredients by hand on my mini plot of land out back I so would.

But beware of making things complicated to your guests. Try to make things they can just pass by, pick up with a couple fingers, and just put in their mouths (which is where your party food SHOULD be going). Otherwise they will pass by the stuff with a dip or the thing that goes on top of that other thing and go straight for that stuff that just ends up in their mouths.

Here’s a recipe that looks good:

tartelettes chèvre et confiture d'oignons

“Tartelettes Chèvre et Confiture D’oignons (Onion Tartelettes with Goat Cheese)” from Vaniglia

There’s often at least a couple people at a party known as “grazers”. These are the folks that don’t take a heaping plateful and then start denying food while patting their bellies. These are those smart party goers that pace themselves. A min-quiche here, a cupcake there, caprese salad on a stick? Why not! Oh and then maybe another deviled egg. So set things up nicely for these folks. They know what they’re about. And, as always, stay sexy, Foodie Nation!

 

Gastroporn Menu – April.2013 (“Delusions of Grandeur”)

Never let it be said that I didn’t know how to plan a party.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning my 25th birthday party (or rather my Silver Jubilee as I prefer to call it). Of course, I almost never get to have my birthday parties close to my actual birthday. Some people would take this a sign to just do something small or try again some other time. But not me. Nooooope. If I can’t have a party near my actual birthday I’m going to create a whole different holiday to make sure I get my party quota in.

My birthday is in March but I’ll be out of town all week. The weekend after that I’m working and the weekend after that… Works!

So this month (which is not my birth month) I’m using the Gastroporn Menu to help plan my Silver Jubilee Tea. I’m expecting around 30-35 guests but the number could be anywhere from 20-45 at this point. The menu is mostly finger foods and drinks (including tea of course). Since this is a very real and going-to-happen party menu I need to keep in mind that if items can be made ahead: Great!

I title this menu:

Delusions of Grandeur

Savory Nibbles:

  • Mini-Quiches
  • Tea Sandwiches
  • Vegetarian sliders
  • Crostini
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Baked brie w/Crackers

Sweet Bites:

  • Macarons
  • Scones with Devonshire cream and jam
  • Profiteroles
  • Cupcakes (Instead of a cake)

Tea & Coffee Bar

Gastroporn Menu – March.2013

We’re skipping a couple of the winter months and heading straight into Spring! March also happens to be the month where my birthday is located. Happy Silver Jubilee to Me! There are several uses for Blood Oranges in this menu due to the fact that I have recently found a good place to procure them. Perhaps there’s even some illusion to the religious holiday that lands within the vicinity of my Aging Day and the fact that it will signify the end of Lent. I’ve given up buying recreational books and it’s been somewhat trying. Good thing I’ve got a personal library to keep me going!

Gastroporn Menu – March.2013

 “Oo Shiny!”

Artichoke and pea soup with fried curd

Artichoke and Pea Soup with Fried Curd

Baguette with Parmesan and Roasted Garlic

Baguette with Parmesan and Roasted Garlic

 Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce, Roasted Okra With Chili Oil

Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce, Roasted Okra With Chili Oil (Follow the link to the original blog with some very good photos that go with this meal)

Luscious Blood Orange Bars with a Brown Butter Crust

Luscious Blood Orange Bars with a Brown Butter Crust

Bloody Mimosa

Bloody Mimosa

A Quest! A Quest!

I always feel guilty playing around on Pinterest while at work. But for some reason I have no problems playing Tetris on my phone during committee meetings. Well… They’re really bad meetings. Nothing ever gets done and in the end we always have a worse problem than we started with. I can’t believe that this is what an “Adult” workplace looks  like. It’s ridiculous. There will probably be a new VP to oversee the new Dean who was installed in my office to oversee the Director who’s been here for eons without a vacation and who actually worked up to 18 hours a day 7 days a week over the summer because there wasn’t anyone else to help out. Until they finally hired me, that is. Then there were 2 of us working insane hours but at least they were less than his previous hours.

We need more worker ants! It’s really too bad that all those student workers we pay to sit out at the front desk all day are next to worthless. Maybe it’s because I’m on the wrong end of the complexion scale but I’ve never been so mistreated by anyone as I have been by the students who (believe it or not!) work for me in this office. One of my freshmen just got the Monday night shift with me and he’s still fresh and helpful. I intend to keep it that way. And there is one other decent worker but she just got married (to another student I think) and they have a baby-toddler. How sad it is that the newly married mother is a better student and more productive worker than the ones on a music scholarship who sits at the desk watching YouTube all day? Tragic.

Anyways, I digress.

Today’s self righteous college students with their attitude problems jut really bother me!

Okay, I’m sorry. Had to get that out before I could continue.

When I was working in the English Department it was always very clear as to who was in charge: Dr. C——-, the chair of the department. She actually referred to herself as the Queen of the Underworld on several occasions. The English Department is in the basement so this actually made perfect sense. As an eternal honorary citizen on the Underworld I still go down every morning to get proper hot water for my tea.

It get’s me to thinking that we’re becoming to top heavy in terms of our administrative scheme at the University. A recent conversation had me referring to it as the epitome of Vogonity with all the paperwork it takes to get a check cut or try and use any of the rooms on campus for events or seminars and meeting! Don’t even get me starting on trying to find a location for a meeting…

No. What we need around here is a grand monarch to whom everything goes and either gets a thumbs up or thumbs down. Like in the Arena. There should be no hiding that this is the case. Trying to make every thing seem all well planned and thought out and democratic will only make people more frustrated. If you’re going to be oppressive you should have the guts to be honest about it.

Every day court will be held up on the 3rd floor and the “University Monarch” — who may choose from a list of appropriate titles such as “The Academician” or ” His/Her Educatedness”– for a certain number of hours and there will be a line that follows the old ways so there’s no favoritism, merely the willpower required to get yourself into that line far up enough that you can be seen that day. A request will be made and the Monarch can ask for the opinions of his/her advisers (finance, scheduling, legal, etc.) and then make a final decision.

Guess who thinks she could be a great Monarch….

My first order of business would be to set up a real calendar of events that everyone has access to. That way no one will ever make a stupid scheduling request because they simply have no idea. Simply log onto your computer, see the schedule, decide whether or not you really need to make a request based on the schedule or petition the schedule and then, based on your decision you can either go upstairs and stand in line or you can stay in your office and focus on actually working with your students.

My second order of business would be to fire the third party company that runs the cafeteria and start all over again. I am aware that a large amount of the readership of this blog may not be aware of the Health “Message” of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church (and most of its affiliated institutions, such as my workplace) so I’ll give you a brief synopsis, without all the politics of why some countries ignore parts and become martyrs to others and blah blah blah.

We should all be vegetarian. Preferably vegan but vegetarian will suffice. We should also refrain from alcohol, caffeine, and (if you’re a purist): vinegar, melting ice cream, baking powder (but it may be baking soda I can never remember because obviously I’m not a purist), pepper or spiciness of any kind…. and there are others but it’s not necessary to continue. I think the point is clear. It’s pretty strict in theory. Luckily there are only small groups in the world that actually keep to this lifestyle and then tend to be like the Amish in terms of how often they make it out into “The World” (which they are in but not “of”). The rest of the SDA community is pretty “OK”. Promise.

While I obviously don’t adhere very strictly to many of these rules I’m a fan of religious institutions being true to themselves in that if they are going to preach/teach something they should do it wholeheartedly. So when I took this job and found out that they were serving caffeinated sodas in the cafeteria I was little unhappy. Mostly because the last thing my Freshmen needed was caffeine to mess up their already horrifying sleep habits but also because the cafeteria boasts as being a vegetarian restaurant in keeping with our church’s message. And by vegetarian food I’m not talking something like this:

A Vegetarian Harvest Dinner, from Saveur

I’m talking stuff like this:

Tofu Scramble (the link takes you to a review from “Freezer Burns”)

My Gma used to make stuff like this. It’s disgusting and an affront to tofu everywhere.

So of course we have students who are used to having a lot of meat in their diet and suddenly BAM! Tofu scramble… but here’s some Pepsi! Not okay.

The only good thing I’ve heard or experienced in the cafeteria is that there is a decent salad bar. Not much of a compliment when you think about it. I mean how hard is a salad bar? Considering our chef has supposedly won awards for his vegetarian cooking I’m not impressed. But I do like salad. Which brings me back to playing on Pinterest at work. It’s chapel time so I can actually do that now.

If you’ve been to my Pinterest account at all you will see that I have all the GastroGasms boards somewhat separated for easy browsing. I really wanted one for salads because I like salads and think that there would be better salads. My mom happened to make me a few nice one this morning to take with me to work (I know I’m SUCH a big girl!) and I had a fantastic one last night at an employee banquet. Other than the salad  and the bread there wasn’t much to write about, SDA banquets are fairly drawn out and rather dull affairs and everyone just automatically gets up and leaves after closing prayer. No dancing. Dancing is evil. Probably because there’s no booze and we’re all just so exhausted from all those committee meetings.

But my Gastrogasms: Salads Board is pathetic. Only 20 pins. 20 is pretty lousy, especially with the amount of time I spend looking for recipes and Gastroporn. So I am now on a quest (Yay!) to try and find more salad recipes. Here are some recent additions (all of which I intend to try within the next 2 weeks):

Crispy Okra Salad

Cucumber and Feta Salad

Grilled Zucchini and Spinach Salad with Feta and Roasted Hazelnut (aka: Zucchini Ribbon Salad)

Deconstructed Caesar Salad (Also great site for additional Gastroporn)

I’m now on the prowl for more salads. If you know of any please share. The findings will be posted to both Pinterest and the GastroGasms Facebook page.