Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some Food - Segment I

Here's something you should know about me: I don't stage or style my food shots.

Oh, you've noticed?

What usually happens is that two bites in I remember that I might want a photo, so I run and grab the camera, rotate the bowl so the smudgy edges are out of the shot, and take two tight shots. Sometimes just one, because I'm hungry, dang it.

I admire great food photographers like the saints that they are. I bow before their ironed vintage tablecloths and spoonless bowls. I respect their perfect white balances.

I just happen to be more of an eat-and-shoot kind of girl. I hope you understand. 

This is what I like to call basil gremolata pasta salad. Boil your pasta, blanch some asparagus and green beans, toss in some artichoke hearts, black olives and halved grape tomatoes.

Mix the zest and juice of a lemon (squeeze the life out of it) with a couple of cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, a big fistful of chopped fresh basil, and olive oil.

It's zingy.

Don't do as I did the last time and decide that it's too zingy and add more olive oil. You'll regret that a little.

Still? Yum.

Remember how I sometimes only take one shot? I present to you Exhibit A. But it's still too good to not share. It's not the oatmeal's fault that the sky was so sunless and the photographer was so half-asleep.

Boil up some real oatmeal. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar. Heap it on top of frozen raspberries, blackberries and chopped peaches. It melts 'em up so nice.

And can I pause for a moment to express that at this very moment, I find it hard to believe that any one of you cares about my blurry fruitmeal or my oily pasta? It's a wonder that will never cease to amaze.

Wait - am I on a secret reality show this entire time? Were you all paid to pretend to be readers? Am I the girl version of Matthew Kennedy Gould???

Now, nothing says Spring to me quite like cucumbers and onions. That's what it's called, "Cucumbers and Onions". Fancy.

I'm not sure if this is something everyone knows about, or if it's more along the lines of baloney boats.

All I know is, peel and slice 4 cucumbers and one big sweet onion. Toss them in a bowl along with 2 cups of sugar, a pinch of salt, 1.5 cups of white vinegar and 4 cups of water. The next day you'll be in pickly, sweet, sour, veggie heaven.

Sidenote: If in a rush you forget to add the vinegar, your cukes will lack a little...something. But the kids might like them better.

And now, I have a very bold statement to make. It is not without a great deal of contemplation and and soul searching and humility that I, as the first unofficial connoisseur of not-too-spicy salsa,  announce that my salsa is indeed the best there ever was or ever will be.

For a while, the title belonged to La Fiesta in Troy, Ohio. But upon further review, the crown only first one head, and that head happens to have crooked ears and flat hair. I know it probably seems like I rigged the results, but I care too much about salsa to deny you the truth.

It's the lime juice, people. You've got to wring that sucker out.

I made a batch two weeks ago and was entirely powerless to its charms. I ate it on a full stomach. I ate it late into the night. I felt like Calvin after a trip to IHOP. I could. not. stop.

I've posted the recipe before, but it just feels right to do it again. Plus, I've tweaked it a bit over the years.

1 large can of whole tomatoes, undrained
1 regular-sized can Ro-Tel mild tomatoes with green chilies, well-drained
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 jalapenos, membranes and seeds removed (leave some in if you like it spicier)
3 cloves of garlic
juice of one lime (every single drop)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cumin (I usually use a little less than 1/4 tsp.)
1.5 cups loosley packed fresh cilantro leaves (this is not optional!)

Pulse everything except cilantro until is the desired consistency, then add the cilantro and pulse again. Serve with Santitas white corn tortilla chips. Say it with me, "White corn!"

Then thank your lucky stars that you waded through the first part of this post to get to the salsa, because in the end, it really is all about the salsa.

Tell me, what's your signature dish? I'm not willing to share my crown, but I'd be happy to send you a gold-plated replica.