The Morel of the Story

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Well its time to stop mucking about with all my #FEELINGS and get down to it and write about some food.

The sun has returned to the land of seemingly endless winter and we’re feeling less and less like hibernating walruses rolling from bed to car to couch and back again every day. I’m back on my bike and moving freely through the world (at least the part of the world without hills, since its a single speed cruiser).

Mackerel Cove Daffodils

Lovely small green things are popping out of the ground, and so are those lovely lascivious ever-so slightly penile harbingers of spring; morel mushrooms. I’m am not kidding you when I tell you that my heart skipped a beat when I saw them on Saturday morning, chunked right in there between the homenji and the miatake. I let out a small gasp and bouncing on my heels got right in line behind a gentlemen in a small and interesting hat.

The lady in front of us was taking her time, examining every single mushroom available, chatting about this and that, I was practically climbing out of my skins wanted to just reach over and touch just one morel…to make sure it was real.

I chatted with my line-mate, I’d seen him around with his curious hat and fancy basket- from the first word out of his mouth…I knew – a fellow New Yorker, a member of the tribe- its strange how the accents of your youth can affect you. We chatted about mushrooms and NYC and Long Island and Maine, and that’s how long it took the lady to select and pay for her mushrooms.

A Feh-tarsec : The amount of time it takes newly acquainted NY Jews to trade jokes & information.


But back to my mushrooms, my mushrooms, my $7 worth of luxury (an eighth btw). All of the sudden a world of possibilities had opened up. Before the mushrooms I’d been obsessing over lamb, and a desperate need to explore the Portland Whole Foods on my own, without my husband hurrying me along whilst pretending to die from over exposure to overpriced condiments and self satisfied shoppers.

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An 1/8th of shrooms

I understand why he feels that way, and I agree that there are people in the world who believe that since they shop at Whole Foods they have filled their decency quota by purchasing non GMO fair trade coconut oil and therefore do not have to be respectful in the parking lot but I don’t care because I LOVE WHOLE FOODS, always have, always will. If there was a bus from where I live to Whole Foods, even if it took over an hour I would take it just so I could be there alone to explore every aisle. But there’s not and I am still not ready to drive to Portland by myself.

Back to my MUSHROOMS…. now cradled in my greedy little paws…

A boyfriend once referred to my hands as polar bear paws.

I felt free to explore the market and start to plan out the what to cook this week.  I picked up some tiny tiny radishes with luscious greens, a small chunk of salami made with orange peels and honey, a dozen eggs, a purply bunch of mustard greens and two fat leeks, two wedges of locally made cheese, tiny potatoes, a watermelon radish, a stubby diakon, a quart of buttermilk and a loaf of ciabatta and before I knew it my alotted $40 was gone- POOF. (ok, I cheated I put another $8 on debit card)

I took a few moments to construct  this weeks menu.


We had lunch with my husband’s Aunt Nat at The Dolphin, she is lovely and it was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with her.

I had an excellent Bloody Mary and some serviceable fish tacos. The fish was fresh but too many things in that taco, I like them with raw cabbage, lime & crema ..these had an overly complicated red pepper salsa nightmare and avocado chipolte crema. Also I think they cost like $20 for 2 little tacos and some crappy rice.

The Dolphin is great for drinks though, only problem is it’s SUCH a drive that you need a chauffeur if you’re going to really take advantage.


Then we napped for too long because of the Bloody Marys and so we were cranky and didn’t finish our errands until 7:30 – we fell back on an old standby Fried Chicken from supermarket- (I was cranky because I did not get to go to fun butcher or to Whole Foods and Xtian was cranky because of me), I wanted  asparagus and mint fro my morel pasta but our supermarket had been ravaged of mint, asparagus and cilantro by Bowdoin students, which added to my crankiness,

In an attempt to stave off further crankiness we had some Champagne, we LOOOVE Champagne with fried chicken and watched Reds 2, which wasn’t that bad. The night before we watched the last Hobbit Movie which SUCKED so badly it made us even more crabby.



I was tempted to just have my shrooms on toast or  scrambled eggs but my morels wanted to be pasta- so after I cleaned the bathroom, my room, our bedroom, the kitchen and the dining room table I made:

Sweet Pea Tortellini 

I made pasta with the lovely fresh eggs and “00” flour, and while it was resting I made ricotta with leftover milk from last week that was about to turn. I am always so damned pleased with myself when I make cheese and pasta, it’s just so fucking cool. Making food is awesome!!!!!

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I pureed some defrosted peas then mixed them in with the ricotta, a green onion, lemon zest, bread crumbs & Parmesan (it was a bit thick so I used the whey to thin it out a bit).

I sauteed my morels in butter, cubed the last bit of some Bisson’s slab bacon, rendered those into crispy cubes, then I sauteed a bit of leek, de-glazed the pan with sherry until it was dry. Once the tortellini were cooked I added them to the pan with a good glug of pasta water, some whole peas and swirled it all around with a tablespoon or so of cream, a dash more butter and finished with more parm, the buttery morels, the bacon, a good amount of black pepper and it was very good, it was very good.

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I had Welsh Rarebit on the brain, I actually have never even eaten Welsh Rarebit but I watched April Bloomfield make it on Mind of a Chef and I have SUCH a girl crush on her, that I was sure it would be absolutely delicious, just like she said.


I made “bechamel” with Guinness in place of milk and added the two local cheeses + some grainy mustard & Worcestershire sauce, I quick pickled a bit of red onion and made a HUGE salad with watermelon radish, carrots, red cabbage & arugula in an aggressive red wine vinaigrette. Also very good.

Here is a terrible, out of focus picture of said Welsh rarebit.

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Tuesday (tonight)

I’ve had a little organic chicken marinating in 1/2 buttermilk 1/2 whey from the ricotta + garlic and lemon zest for two days. I’m going to spatchcock it and roast it, along side my tiny potatoes and the carrots I have left from last weeks farket visit. I think I’ll make a salsa verde with parsley, capers, anchovy, garlic and pistachios to give it some green.



Warm soba noodles with crispy tofu in black bean vinaigrette with red cabbage, watermelon radish & sauteed mustard greens

How virtuous of me.



We’ve been doing pizzas alot and I’m a bit bored of them also we are bad at portion control. This week I’m making individual calzones filled with ricotta, chunks of salami and sauteed radish greens and a salad of tiny radishes and arugula in a punchy anchovy vinaigrette.



I have a small slab of pork belly in my freezer- and my husband LOVES having sandwiches for dinner, and that totally fits our Friday vibe. Thursday night I’ll Bo SSam the pork belly till its soft & unctous. Friday night I’ll crisp thick slices slathered with gochuchang on the grill . On to crisp baguettes they’ll go with raw jalapeno, pickled diakon + some fresh cilantro & mint (which hopefully have returned to the shops) + a bit of mayo MAYBE there will be pate maybe not depends on what I can find, and so the week that started with morels will end with Korean pork belly banh mi.



This week the farmer’s markets move from only Saturdays to Tuesday, Friday and Saturday… I can’t wait to see what’s popping out all over!

Sunday is our 1 YEAR Anniversary of moving to Maine. It’s unbelievable, yet it seems like we’ve always been here. (We are celebrating with fried clams, frappes & cheeseburgers at Fat Boys- after which we should probably do a juice fast)


I’ve been pretty vocal on Facebook regarding Gwenyth Paltrow and her food bank challenge purchases, and I’m not an “important voice” or anything, but I wanted to back up my bitching.

My issue is not that shes a very rich person, or a movie star or someone who would spend $27 on a teeny tiney shot of vitamin juice with no hesitation. My issue is that she purports herself to be a real cook, a food writer and I can’t see any other person I know of who is a chef or a food writer or even a real cook making those choices… so I decided to go do my own theoretical challenge.

I went on my local supermarket’s website and made a shopping list. Knowing full well that the reality of it is that you really get $119 a month, and there is more variety available especially in regard to proteins. But as I have mentioned my mother and her husband live at this level, and without our help or trips to the food bank they could go a couple of months without things like fresh limes, cilantro, kale…much less orange juice, lettuce, and cucumbers.






Chicken thighs ( about 4 thighs on sale) 2#  $       3.50
Store brand pasta 1 box  $       0.89
Egg 1 doz  $       1.99
Brown Rice 1#  $       1.19
Frozen Veg (Broccoli, Spinach, Peas) 4- bags  $       3.96
Store Brand Canned Tomato 2 cans  $       1.58
Store Brand Cheese 1  $       2.49
Store brand WW bread 1  $       1.99
Store Brand Peanut Butter 1  $       1.99
Canned Beans 2  $       1.50
Onion 2  $       1.00
Garlic 2 heads  $       1.00
Bananas 3#  $       1.47
Potato 1#  $       0.99
Oatmeal/Instant 1  $       1.59
 Tuna on sale  1  $     1.00
 $    28.13


Then I made a menu- figuring that I did not exist in a vacuum and so had a few things on hand already like tea bags, sugar, salt, pepper, oil & a few spices, also, much as I did when I was broke, I would have a stash of soy sauce, duck sauce & mustard packets, sugar packets, lemon juice, ketchup packets, honey packets, mayo really anything that I could help myself to (also a  handful or so of those 1/2 & 1/2 containers stashed in the fridge)

It’s pretty grim even with a goodly stash of purloined condiments (especially the lack of chocolate and coffee)



1 Egg + 1 cup frozen broccoli + cheese on Toast


Brown Rice & Beans (1 cup each) + 1 oz cheese (onion & garlic + hot sauce)


1 Chicken Thigh braised in tomatoes, onion & garlic + 1/4 box  Spaghetti +1 Cup Frozen Broccoli

Dessert 1 Frozen banana blended w 1 TBS peanut butter



Breakfast – Oatmeal w Raw Sugar + 1 little half & half

Hard Boiled egg


“Fried” Rice – Left over rice + soy sauce+ onions + egg


Baked Potato w/ Spinach & Cheese

+ Peanut Butter Toast



Breakfast – Oatmeal w Raw Sugar + 1 little half & half

Hard Boiled egg


Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich


Chicken thighs (soy sauce/duck sauce/hot mustard) + Brown Rice w Onion & Frozen peas



Oatmeal w salt & pepper + Fried egg & Hot sauce


Leftovers from Dinner


Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup made from canned tomatoes/onion/garlic + half & half


Oatmeal w bananas

Lunch – Leftover Tomato Soup + Extra Veg


Omelet with Onions, Spinach & Cheese & Potatoes



Tuna Sandwich (mayo & relish)


Beans & Rice w Cheese


Spaghetti  w Garlic & Broccoli



“French Toast” w Bananas


Toast & Peanut Butter


Last Chicken Thigh +  Caramelized Onions with Toast + any veg left

This is just one option- there are other ways- I could have included a quick trip to TJ’s to pick up a $1.19 pizza dough, there are sales on things like yogurt ($1 each) there are $1.50 boxes of cookies and 2 for a dollar chocolate bars, and .89 Stock… and its amazing what like $5 more could do…amirite?


The Emerald Story (Bella’s Birthday)

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Today would have been my grandmother’s 102 birthday, she was a wonderful Grandmother and I love, loved her as much as I’ve loved anyone…this is one of the Waks family legends involving The Big B-

The Emerald Story.

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My grandmother had a flexible moral compass. Ok who am I trying to kid, my entire family has an open relationship with what other people say is “right”. This is not say that we are thieves and liars, cheaters or fakers, though possibly at one time or another every one of us has been one or the other.

My grandmother Bella, would find things. We never knew the real story of how she managed to come home with the wallets and tee-shirts, single gloves, wads of cash, broken earrings, jackets and silver dollars, but it seemed odd that one person could find so many wallets. We’d accept her gifts of used wallets curiously absent of any identifying factor but with cash intact, as we slip the one glove back into the drawer full of single gloves. This one time, though, she came home with suitcase full of raw emeralds.

It was the late 70’s or maybe it was the early 80’s, JFK was still being called Idlewild by long time New Yorkers and you could buy a plane ticket with cash and without ID. If you left your suitcase in by the gate while you went to make a phone call, you wouldn’t return surrounded by sniffing dogs and the bomb squad, though you may find, as this one gentleman did, that your suitcase was no longer your suitcase.

My grandparents, Bella and Willy were returning home from visiting his sister in Argentina, and while Bella was waiting for Willy to get their suitcases, she happened upon another one, just sitting there in the airport, obviously forgotten and abandoned. So she did what anyone would do, she picked it up and took it home, because it was too beautiful to leave just sitting there, all alone.

My Poppa Willy was not a great noticer of things; it is 100% possible that he had not realized that though they left South America with two suitcases they returned to Manhattan with three. I can easily see how this happened, since I myself have inherited Bella’s talent for small chaotic moments, we are whirlwinds of activity with too many things to say and too many bags and too many things in our hands, often with keys, glasses, chocolates and oranges spilling out of all sides. A quiet, thoughtful man can easily become befuddled around us, which is why we marry them.

Home again home again, with one more suitcase than they left with. Once their dirty things were in the washing machine, and their clean things were put away, and breakfast had been made, dishes washed, once Poppa Willy had settled comfortably in his chair with the New York Times and the radio blasting, Bella went to open the Suitcase.

It was a beautiful suitcase, embossed leather with brass hard ware; it must have been very expensive. It was lined inside with pockets, and at first she pulled out some beautiful men’s shirts so nice and white, hopefully they fit Willy.  Underneath were a few pairs of just wonderful men’s underwear, so beautifully made. She could not believe her luck to find such lovely items, the suitcase could very well have been filled with dreck, on the other hand it could’ve been filled with money, which just goes to prove there’s all kinds of luck.

Underneath the shirts, the socks and the underwear was a largish cloth bag. The bag was heavy for its size; in fact it felt like it was full of rocks. What kinda meshuga carries around a bag of rocks? Unless…she held her breath and slid them out on to the bed in the small room. They were rocks, they were green rocks. She thought they could be emeralds, she’d have to call someone and certainly not Stinko Sam the Jeweler, that gonif. She’d call Ira, of course.

Ira, my father, was at that time, not without his nefarious contacts. My daddy started out as an Adman, a younger, Jewish Don Draper. But he’d moved on to working with the fledgling cable channel known as HBO planning parties and special events. Ira also had a nice sideline business, assisting his friends and coworkers in the purchase of a certain popular Schedule II narcotic. It was lucrative, or at least it helped pay for his lifestyle choices many of which involved models and took place at Studio 54, Area and at parties where it would not be unusual to answer the doorbell and find Keith Richards holding a machine gun and a bottle of vodka. So besides being the main light and day of Bella’s existence, her Ira was someone in the perfect position to fence stolen goods.

My father came over immediately. He lived 4 blocks away and he stopped only to pick up a few black and white cookies at the bakery near Poppa Willy’s old candy store. Sitting down next to his father at the table he had a bowl of matzoh ball soup, it was nearly noon and he must have been starving, already. He ate soup, he had some strong Ukrainian bread, some apple sauce, some cole-slaw, a few grapes, they had tea and cookies and then Bella beckoned him over to the small room. Ira, she said I just want to show you something.

After refusing to try on the underwear and the shirts, opting not to take home the socks or even the suitcase. Meshuga, but maybe Stuart will like them. He got a look at the jewels and they looked like raw, uncut emeralds, there was really nothing else they could be, besides fake raw uncut emeralds. Ira agreed that Sam the Jeweler was a gonif shyster and couldn’t be trusted, besides who knew if this had been reported to the police? They’d have to go underground, call some who knew how to deal with this situation. From the phone in the his parents’ bedroom, my father called Uncle Louis, himself a South American import as well as a supplier of Schedule II narcotic substances.

Emeralds were not part of Louis’s repertoire, he’d have to pass on this one and send my Dad one step up and above on the criminal ladder. He knew a guy, he’d put my father in touch with the Guy. My father should wait to hear from the Guy.

A few hours later he gets a call, from the Guy. The Guy says, how can I help you? My father says “My mother brought something back from South America that may interest you”.  They agree to meet. My father goes back to my grandmother’s house, has some more soup, a piece of chicken, some cucumber salad, a slice of the apple cake that was baked since he left in the afternoon. My grandmother is elated not only has she seen her Ira twice in one day, but my grandfather still hasn’t got a clue as to what’s going on.

My dad goes the meet the Guy, at his office in Midtown. It’s a nice nondescript sort of place, an office like any other office, with a secretary, a coffee table, a small sofa and a couple of chairs in which sat a couple of other guys with curious bulges in their sides.  Bulges which became less curious and more obvious when they stood and put their hands in their pants pockets.

They pat my father down and escort him in. The guy stands up from behind a messy desk and shakes my father’s hand. They discuss the weather, the Mets, where to get a decent cup of coffee in the neighborhood; finally the Guy asks my father again “What can I do for you”. My father explains the story, his mother found a suitcase at the airport… the Guy raises his eyebrow…she took it home and to her surprise there was this bag of uncut emerald in the suitcase, she was going to give them to Sam the Jeweler his Aunt Helen’s boyfriend to sell, but he’s a criminal, no disrespect. The Guy raises the other eyebrow, OK, he says, lemme see.

He pours the emeralds out of the bag and on to his desk, he carefully weighs each one in his hand, he gets out a loupe, he examines each one carefully. “Where did you say they were coming from when she found the suitcase??” “Argentina”, my Dad says. “Ok well that explains it, Argentinian emeralds are shit, I can give four- five hundred bucks for these”. My Dad says sure that’s great, that’s fine. Then the Guy says “You wanna see something? “My Dad says sure, that’s great, thinking that this was probably the moment when the Guy would shoot him in the face and steal the emeralds. The Guy reaches behind him to a pile of stuff on the top of his filing cabinet and brings out a velvet bag, from the velvet bag he pulls out an uncut emerald as big as a tangerine- it looks like something from outer space it’s so green. “This, my friend”, he says “this, is a fucking emerald”.

He buzzes the secretary, laughing he says “Jeanine, give Ira here six hundred bucks to bring back to his mother”. My father says thank you, shakes his hand and leaves.

When he gets home he calls my grandmother to tell her the emeralds were worth five hundred dollars and he’ll pick up bagels and bring it over in the morning, my grandmother is beside herself with joy.

The story does not however end there, a few days later my father gets a call from the FBI, the Guy’s phone was being tapped, what was it, they wanted to know that my father was bringing him from South America, they’d like to see him in their office the next day at 11 am. Now my father panics, this could be really bad, the story is so ridiculous they’ll never believe him and besides at this very moment there is most definitely enough of a certain Schedule II narcotic in his apartment to send him away for a very long time, besides he has the kids that weekend. This can’t be happening. Then he stops panicking and he starts thinking. He’s going to need a lawyer.

He calls Mitchell his friend’s husband, besides being an enjoyer of Schedule II narcotics Mitchell is a Real Estate lawyer, a somewhat inept Real Estate lawyer who wouldn’t know a criminal code if it bit him in the ass. A lawyer so ill-suited for the situation, that only someone either very innocent or very stupid would bring him with them so go see the FBI.

And so they went to see the FBI, My father, Mitchell and Bella, they brought the suitcase though my grandmother refused to give up the shirts, the underwear or the socks. They explained how my grandmother got confused sometimes, it has been a long flight, she thought it was hers, when she found the emeralds she didn’t know what to do. My father, he bet on the horses occasionally and his bookie gave him the Guy’s number, it was only a couple of tiny rocks. The Guy gave him a hundred dollars for them, this hundred dollar bill in fact if they want to trace it and see if it was stolen. Bella told them all about her trip to Argentina, how terribly her sister-in-law kept house, but how delicious the pastry was and such good coffee.

Afterwards, my father, Bella and Mitchell went back uptown but on the way the stopped at Katz’s and with the Guy’s hundred dollar bill bought a couple of corned beef sandwiches, a couple of pastrami sandwiches and a tongue sandwich on seeded rye for Bella, who loved them.

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Me & Ira 1976 or so

This is a true story with which I have taken a few liberties. All of the  things that happened did happen, but maybe not in the same way.


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Raw, roasted and pickled local beets with labneh, pistachios, baby lettuce & black radish

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Halibut en papilliote, many citruses, purple cauliflower, herb paints, Israeli cous-cous with pomegranate and preserved lemon.

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   Pistachio Pavlova, lemon curd, whipped marscapone, poppy seed/pistachio dust, passion fruit, raspberry

Halibut en papilliote, many citruses

Serves 4

  • 4 6-oz portions freshest Halibut, skinned ( other options Opa, Cod, Haddock, Mahi Mahi)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel Pollen
  • 2 Tsp Aleppo Pepper
  • 2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1 lime
  • 1 grapefruit (pink or white)
  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil
  • 4 parchment cooking bags
  1. Pre-heat oven to 475
  2. Mix together the fennel pollen, aleppo pepper, salt & black pepper (if you don’t have fennel pollen grind some fennel seeds)
  3. Zest all the citrus
  4. Segment all the citrus into supremes- Peel fruit with sharp knife, remove all the white part, slid the edge of knife done the inside of the tough membrane and swivel up and around the fruit releasing it – do this over a bowl- to catch all the juice. It’s really hard to explain- if you don’t know how to do it, you- tube it.
  5. Dust fish on both sides with “Fish Spice”
  6. Place 1 piece of fish in each Parchment bag, along with shallots & citrus zest- Close tight and place on sheet pan, place in hot oven
  7. Cook for @ 8 minutes
  8. Remove let sit 5 minutes
  9. Carefully open each parcel, pour any juices into a bowl- place fish on warm plates
  10. Take about 1/2 cup of the citrus juice (use remaining for cocktails!) and add to fish “juice”
  11. Whisk in olive oil, season taste-
  12. Pile  fruit segments  attractively on each piece of fish (try to make sure each piece has at least one of each kind or fruit)
  13. Ladle citrusy olive oil generously over each
  14. Garnish with fresh mint, tarragon, chervil , dill or parsley


Serve with Isreali Cous-Cous- sauteed in brown butter with fresh pomegranate arils & chopped preserved lemons (or lemon zest) and seasonal vegetables- Asparagus is nice.





Not a Good Week- nope not at all

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I’m always  hesitant to write a blog post when things aren’t going so well, I wonder why I feel the need to share my disappointments and failures, its not as though I want lots of of poor you comments, that would just make me run for the hills emotionally, part of the process of this blog is opening up and arriving at a place where my writing is real and so the next “book” I write is the one I should be writing.

So here it goes, not sure if I’ve shared what I am currently doing to earn money right now but it’s not anything interesting, and I swear I’d be less shamed if I was about to say well I’m working in porn or for the Republicans, because at least that would entail doing some thing that is interesting, I’m working a dull dull office job, that has very little to do, requires almost no mental ability whatsoever, I have no interest in the product the company sells, and I spend most of my day alone in an office that is not really close enough to anything but a gas station, a smoke shop and the salvation army store. I make less now than I did when I was 23. It’s bleak, its the opposite of what I love to do or even what I like to do, I feel like Bartleby the Scrivener. The man who owns the company is very nice and the guys are fun, and the checks don’t bounce, so it could be worse.

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This is my office mate Carlos… he’s eating a part of cracker that fell out of my bag.

Well the job I had been looking for since before we moved here was finally up for grabs!!!

I pulled what little strings I could find and got fast tracked to an interview, I aced my first interview, I was smart and funny and charming.

Then came my second interview where first they asked why I moved here

Easy answer love it, reminds me of town where I lived when I was young

Tell us about a memorable event you worked on –

I DID NOT tell them about the Elizabeth Glazer Event where I had a conversation with Julianne Moore while standing in a bag of garbage – (me not her), where I chased a chicken through Soho at 5 am and where I confused several bald people with Stanley Tucci- because it sounded name droppish

Instead I mentioned a parade with lots of moving parts and municipal meetings with police, fire dept etc, and when prompted told them about building a float in my apartment for Wing Bowl.

I was asked how I would handle several requests from several people and I said-

Everyone’s opinion has value, and its important to listen and separate what they want from what they need, then do what you can to give them what they need.

Then I was asked questions like; Don’t you think you’ll be bored having worked in New York City and Philadelphia, are you sure you will be ok cleaning the toilet if you have to, where do you see yourself in three years, can you share an office, do you think you can handle not having an IT department to help you if the computer shuts down, will you carry boxes if you need to because there won’t be anyone to help you, since you cook why don’t you want to get a job in a restaurant (asks a person who has never in fact worked in a restaurant).

I said- I have no problem cleaning a bathroom that I use, I have worked for myself so I know to call geek squad or my brother,  I’d love to be around people again and I’ve shared offices, I’ve shared desks, I know how to work in a small space, you take your cell phone outside if its an animated call, and you respect when the other person has headphones in and you don’t eat tuna or food with lots of cumin at your desk.

I moved away from New York City and Philadelphia because I wanted to live in a small town and be part of the community there, yes I can carry boxes, and in three years I hope to be living here and be an involved and viable member of the community.

I’d prefer not to work in a restaurant again, thank you very much.

There was one person who asked most of the pointed questions, the ones that suggested that they thought I was going to feel too glamorous to do anything but swan about in the job, I heard that same tone before when I interviewed for my first job here, but they had advertised for a interested foodie with excellent cooking skills and they actually were looking for a dishwasher/janitor so I should have listened to her but this job was different.

It’s very frustrating, I mean yes I did have a few jobs that look like maybe they were glamorous but goddamn life has beaten a hell of a lot of that needless pride out of me and who’s to say you can’t wear perfectly applied red lip stick and struggle to survive at the same time?

We had a cleaning lady when I was younger named Judy , Judy was a woman of reduced circumstances but she still wore her diamond earrings and lipstick to clean houses, and why shouldn’t she.

The interview was on Friday….

On Saturday I was at the  soup kitchen breaking down and cooking insane amounts of chicken.  After 4 hours I met Xtian at the supermarket, he was in a great mood and I was exhausted and had chicken on my shoes and in my bag I had a boning knife (sheathed) , a pint of hot chicken fat,  a piece of blueberry pie in a quart container, a wallet, a makeup bag, a bandana, a scarf and some gloves.

I was in line to check out and Xtian walked away, he hates checkout and walks away without helping,  ]its annoying. I was so annoyed and tired that I got a little frantic when I couldn’t find my wallet which is rather sleek and often hard to locate in a big bag and it’s entirely possible that I had left it at home since I had no need of it at soup kitchen.

Well- while I was frantically looking for my wallet while avoiding spilling hot chicken fat all over the place (it was super wrapped but still- my luck). Well I remembered the chicken fat but I forgot about the knife, the knife came out of the knife guard with my fumblings and cut the shit out of my hand, my right hand. I looked like a crazy person, I mean who has a knife in their purse? What kind of lunatic screams on line at the supermarket? Also I was in “Kitchen Clothes” no make up and my hair had been in a bandana for 4 hours, and did I mention I had raw chicken on my shoes???

After I beg a band aid from the pharmacy and get all the stuff in the car and wipe my blood off the shopping cart  Xtian tells me he let the bird out of his cage,  but everything was fine, the cat got in but the bird was fine. Fine seems relative, I guess by fine he meant not dead.

The bird was NOT dead but he was also not fine, his leg is broken, he’s permanently injured, he’ll live and he’ll adapt but for the next 8 week or so he’ll be pretty uncomfortable, I took him to the vet ($70- which was earmarked for my new glasses).

Our house used to be filled with the sounds of our lovely little bird singing his heart out to classic rock, and now its very quiet because Pudgie doesn’t feel much like singing. And I don’t blame him, and it feels like a large amount of joy has just been sucked out of the air.

Poor thing, its heart breaking and awful and IMSOMADATXTIAN. Pudgie is resilient is getting around his cage and he’s eating and drinking, and we just have to make a few more adjustments to make it more comfortable for him, and maybe he’ll feel good again. I just got him to sing to me again after we moved his cage 2 months ago, and now he’s broken.

Well after that I put away the groceries and went to check my email to find a form email letting me know that it was a tough decision but they chose someone else for the job.

And there went that last shred of joy that was hiding in the corner.

Saturday Night was “I hate Maine, I hate my husband, I hate my life, I hate everything”

So now what?

Sunday was a barely veiled feelings – Sad, bitter, angry, disappointed, even angrier, hopeless…….

The job I was waiting for is no longer an option…what the fuck am I supposed to do now?  Any ideas- if you say open a restaurant then I hope you have some idea of how to do that with $45 and if you send me that link about the Inn in Maine Essay contest, can I borrow $125 for the entrance fee?? And the a few more thousand dollars to cover the taxes and the renovations? Its a great idea, but its not as free as it seems.

I need some help, I need a partner or someone to work with if I’m going to have my own business again I can’t do it alone, its too hard.

Sunday actually wasn’t 100% awful because Pudgies not the only resilient one in the house, went on field trip to an Asian market, had a few bloody Mary’s cooked a lot of vaguely Asian food.

Monday was tough, I felt so defeated, I left there on Friday feeling triumphant and a slunk in, it was like having to go back to jail after a furlough. I’m lucky to have a good friend who sensed that and brought me lunch and ate with me in my cage.

 Tuesday–  whatever St Pats – who cares, well fine here’s my recipe for:


Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream

1.5 Cups Irish Whiskey

1 Can sweetened condensed milk ( if you are vegan use cream of coconut)

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons very strong espresso

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon toasted Saigon cinnamon powder

2 Cups vanilla  almond milk

Put it all together in a blender and blend on high until fully incorporated

Pour into sterilized bottle

Will keep 2 weeks in fridge

If you want it richer replace almond milk with 1/2 & 1/2 or heavy cream

I think it would be kind of awesome to make it with dulce du leche made from boiling the condensed milk can- it’s different but the same.

Today – I was really hoping I made a mistake and it was actually Thursday but I didn’t, its Wednesday.

On the upside I have my first Maine catering job on April 2nd.  Here is the menu

Feta Gourgeres, Olives, Dates

Raw, Roasted & Pickled Beets with Labneh, Candied Pistachios and Mint

Halibut, Warm Olive Oil, Citrus Segments, Isreali Cous-Cous, Asparagus

Meyer Lemon Pavlova with Pistachios

Tahini Truffles


Its a dinner for 8, I have reliable  help, it will go well.

Saturday I’ll go to Restaurant supply and buy some stuff I’ll need like plastic containers, parchment and new towels.

Sunday is Maine Maple Sunday so in an attempt to remember why we moved here we’re going to visit a sugar shack, have some ice cream with warm maples syrup, I’m going to make sourdough pancakes with Christine’s starter and that night I’m bringing dinner over to the Tedford, the homeless shelter. I think I’ll make either a baked pasta with meat balls or a BBQ Chicken casserole depending on what’s on sale.

And then I think I’ll make Fried Chicken for dinner and things will find a way of looking up, I hope.


ok well this makes me happy at least  …..

Equine Dreams and Bitter Greens


Oh a horse a horse my kingdom for a horse…

We had a little adventure, thanks to Groupon, we got to sit on some horses for a half an hour while they walked through the snow. It was not exactly the greatest time ever, nor were the views much to speak off, oh and the stupid snowmobilers were omnipresent but still I got to be on a horse and that’s what counts.

Of course I haven’t a kingdom of any sorts for which to trade for a horse. But if I did I would trade it all for the magnificent one we met on Sunday. He was a Percheron, a white one, he was like an enourmous unicorn ( but without the horn).

What he looked like in my mind


I swear I got all giggly and short of breath, it was like all my 9 year old dreams came true he was going to be my best friend and my faithful companion forever and we would have adventures and I would wear dresses and flowers in my long long hair and I’d braid my hair and his mane every day and I’d have a bow and arrow and off we’d go to Narnia, where we’ll have tea with Mr. Tumnus and Aslan will make all the snow disappear.

What he really looked like- still f’ing incredible


Of course none of that happened, I did get to pet his nose a bit, and since I had no snacks he was pretty disinterested in me and the sound of my dreams being shattered like so many discarded light bulbs rang through the winter air, except not really, what happened was he got a little bitey so we left him alone, his head was like 4 feet long he was the biggest horse I’ve ever seen in person, I did not want to piss him off.

He was a most absolute and excellent horse.

And as this is the winter of my discontent that is clearly not yet been made to glorious summer by anything.. yet but I hope it will, perhaps not till aft the ides of March.

Ok I’m done now its out of my system. Well, almost I must tell you of my Salad days, when I was green with envy and most definablely cold in blood. Ok, I’m done.

I have been craving bitter bitter greens lately and I made a terrific salad last night, it was pretty powerful flavor wise, all this white white snow is so lacking and I wanted something that was almost shocking, just almost too much and this salad was exactly that.

I think we  need bitter after so much soft food and sweet food and sort of innocuous comfort-y foods like stews and potatoes. This salad sort of slaps you in the face, like a Film Noir broad would. “Stop yer whelping”,  it would say, if it could, a cigarette dangling from the corner of it’s mouth, a martini at it’s elbow.. “Sit up straight, life ain’t always soft and sweet, sometimes its tough to chew, its bitter, and also kind of fishy, but that don’t make it bad”


A Broad’s Salad : Chicory with Asiago and Anchovy

  • 1 Head chicory (washed & dried)- (sometimes called curly endive)- in a pinch or if you are a wuss you could use escarole or romaine but it won’t be the same.
  • 3 Anchovy fillets
  • 1 Large garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil
  • 1 Tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • Lots fresh ground black pepper
  • Good Salt
  1. Rub Garlic clove all over the inside of your salad bowl
  2.  Cut or rip chicory in to bite size pieces and put in salad bowl & season liberally with salt & pepper
  3. Blend together the remaining ingredients  (plus the garlic clove)-  until creamy. I used a Magic Bullet blender for this but you could use a stick blender or a regular blender, if you whisk it by hand the cheese will never incorporate.
  4. Toss the salad

Serve with some grilled peasant bread rubbed with garlic, salt & oil.

You could totally put an egg on this, maybe two.

Hunks of crisp pancetta would not be bad either, nor would shaved fennel or marinated roasted tomatoes.

I feel like if you had this salad with a salumi plate and a few glasses of wine you’d be really content, but you’d have to include mortadella, it just feels right.

This is super fabulous as side with some fatty meat like pork belly or after a bowl of  rich pasta. We had ziti in Marcella Hazan’s tomato butter sauce – also known as the best fastest easiest tomato sauce ever.



What this week’s menu looks like:



Richard Olney’s Chicken Gratin, Rice, Brussels Sprouts & Megan’s chocolate Almond Cake

( This recipe is a serious departure form my usual style, and it was good, and would probably make it for guests again, because its the sort of thing people who are not me really like- I feel the same way about mashed potatoes)


Marcella Ziti & Chicory Salad


Pork Loin with Mustard/Apricot, Sweet Potatoes, Kale


Turkey Meatloaf, Orzo Mac & Cheese Broccoli


Red Cat Pan Roasted Chicken, Polenta, Roasted Tomatoes & Fennel


Home Made Pizza (meatballs??), Asparagus Salad



I like making lists and I cannot lie

photo 1


Hello and Happy Year of the Goat… I freakin LOVE LOVE goats, I had a goat as a pet once her name was Gabby and she lived in our house, and she loved to eat everything but most of all banana chips. She was super friendly and would cuddle on the couch and chase us around the house.

One night my mother and her boyfriend at the time, Marco Vassi a well known pornographer, who oddly enough spent the last years of his life living next door to me in NYC, were having a drumming party, this being the 70’s they were rather the thing to do. At one point during the drumming a speaker fell and hit Marco in the head, an ambulance was called… when the ambulance arrived they found several people drumming and dancing in circles around a man bleeding from the head and a goat. It is a wonder child protective services were not called.

I hope everyone had the Valentines Day they wanted to have.

I finally got my hair cut, its shorter than I planned but it was very dry, its very dry here


So V-Day was nice, Xtian bought me red roses even though I wanted orange rose and a heart shaped box of chocolates, the box of chocolates was fun because I like to take a bite out of every one and then put them back, it’s something I used to do with my Grandma Bella. She had a secret stash in the silverware drawer and every so often we’d  bite and discard chocolates and feel like Elizabeth Taylor. When they are very good chocolates I feel bad wasting them.

photo 1

I got him a bottle of bourbon and some ear plugs and a Groupon for a whiskey tasting, plus I made him a card and some special chocolates. Ok, so maybe I am just good at giving gifts but no so good at the receiving of gifts, this is a constant theme.

That night during the not blizzard we went out for Scorpion Bowls and Pu-Pu Platters which was totally fun!photo 3 photo 4

On Sunday we lay about like walruses and watched a ridiculous amount of television… including Broad City which is amazing and brilliant and I love those two crazy Jewish Girls so much!!!!


We also watched the six hundred hour long SNL 40th anniversary show which was just really more sad than funny, the Californians skit just sucked and went on for way longer than it needed to, there was probably much smarter funnier way to get Bradley Cooper & Betty White to make out, and uch Sarah Palin that asshole, at least she looked terrible. Bill Murray was great, of course, he is the funniest person on the planet and even though I do not know he seems like a pretty great guy..a real mensch.(if you need evidence of that read THIS)

photo 5
TV watching snack
photo 2
This Week’s Menu
photo 5 (1)
Rice Bowls moved to Wed to Thurs because of Chinese New year..also we had dumplings
photo 2 (1)
Monday Nights Pizza which I changed to Zucchini & Mushroom


But I digress.  Lists, I LOVE to make lists.  I make shopping lists, and activities lists and things to do lists and sometimes just random lists of things like flavors of ice cream I would make if I had an ice cream shop:

  • White Chocolate Curry
  • Carrot Cake
  • Bitter Chocolate Bergamot
  • Pink Peppercorn Peppermint
  • Roasted Banana Walnut
  • Coconut Cream Pie
  • Toasted Almond/Caramelized Almonds
  • Burnt Vanilla/Pink Grapefruit
  • Honey Sherbet
  • Coffee Molasses

Sometime I make lists of words I like

  • Affenpincher
  • Stroopwaffel
  • Pamplemousse
  • Asinine
  • Uxorious
  • Strachiatella
  • Babushka
  • Luxe
  • Indubitably

Or of things that I want to fix the house

  • Repaint cabinets that blue color or something cool because I HATE THEM
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  • Curtains every where
  • Curtains in dressing room
  • Chair in dressing room (BD couch??)
  • Do Stuff to Kitchen island(pegboard, baskets, hooks)102227743.jpg.rendition.largest
  • Throw out everything
  • Hang pictures
  • Glitter eggs

Shopping lists are my favorite, right now I have one going for a trip to Trader Joe’s, always a bit of an event because in theory there are only 5 or 6 things there that I don’t want, and only 10 or so that I actually need at any given time. And my editing skills are such that even though I know editing usually means removing items/word I always seem to end up with more…

I have dreamed of these and now they are a reality


This is the practical (ish) version of the list, things we need in the house that we use or have run out of that are cheaper, better or only at Trader Joe’s

  • Olive Oil
  • Capers
  • Almond butter
  • Wine (case)-NOT 2 Buck Chuck that is total shite- however Revolution Chandonnay and Pontificus Cotes Du Rhone blends are great and LESS THAN $8 a bottle, also they have a totally drinkable German sparkling wine for like $
  • Sherry (dry)- for cooking, $4 natch
  • Vermouth (white)
  • Coconut oil
  • Pizza dough
  • Cheese – Parm, Cheddar, Mozz, Goat, String
  • Brown rice
  • Risotto Rice
  • Gerolsteiner water
  • Kale sprouts
  • Bacon
  • San Marzano tomatoes
  • Whole wheat pitas
  • Quinoa
  • Tulips

Aaaaand then there’s the other list, the stuff I want list. This stuff  that’s better at or only at TJ’s or they don’t have it at our supermarket and I’m not paying Whole Foods Prices for it…. but it’s all stuff we can do without.

  • Truffled Marcona almonds
  • Pretzel bagels
  • Hazelnut Milk
  • Dates
  • Meyer Lemons
  • Amaretti cookies
  • Ghee
  • TJ’s Salsa Verde
  • Everything Crackers
  • Frozen Dumplings
  • Frozen Scallion Pancakes
  • Frozen Shrimp
  • Frozen Artichoke Hearts
  • Frozen Wild Mushroom Mix
  • Frozen Root Veg Strips
  • Lemon Curd
  • Cara Cara Oranges
  • Tahini Sauce
  • Marscapone
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Kouign Amman


Then there are the things I would pick up if we weren’t going to go to the regular supermarket

  • Little gem lettuces
  • Arugula
  • Juice
  • Mini Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Butter
  • Stuff for Oscar Night Hoagies ( Pickled hot peppers, mortadella, proscuitto, salami, provolone)
  • A Chicken
  • Some Fish
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Dishwashing Soap

And this is why Christian has a fucking heart attack walking through the doors, I’m at probably $250-300 which is a helluva a lot more than we usually spend on groceries, though a lot of it is pantry items that will be used throughout the next few months. I can justify anything.

In other news it’s snowing. AGAIN. And I am CRAVING cake, yellow cake with chocolate icing, and I have absolutely no reason to bake a cake like that, nor should I have one in my house and there are NO decent cupcakes of that sort available here in Brunswick, Maine.

What I Miss About Philadelphia

  • My friends….you know who you are, even if you are not in this picture.
  • mybuds1928245_71307547836_7454304_n
  • Bumping into people I like at random
  • Fresh Direct
  • The view from my deck
  • thedeckview
  • Walking to a bar, a restaurant, walking anywhere really
  • Food delivery- Chinese esp.
  • New Year’s Day
  • mummers
  • Real Pizza
  • Di Brunos & Claudios
  • The rest of the Italian Market
  • Good bread/bakeries I would kill for a eclair from Miel.
  • Green Aisle Grocer
  • SEPTA (OMFG yes, I said that)
  • Chili Bowl/Wing Bowl
  • 1960773_627191044035235_1938549277_o 242786_10150317894322837_4172556_o
  • Restaurants
  • H&M
  • Real Tacos
  • Chinatown- Steamed pork buns, Szechwan food, noodle soups, Soup Dumplings, Dim Sum most of all
  • Abroadable-Eats-Dim-Sum
  • Pho
  • Asian Markets
  • Mexican Markets & Bodegas
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Places that are open past 10 pm

What I don’t miss about Philadelphia 

  • Bumping into people I do not like at random, esp one who I know I would see the minute I step foot in Philly, that bitch.
  • Hearing someone vomit, hock a lugey, talk on the phone, take a piss or fight outside my window
  • The douches at Pat’s & Geno’s at all hourssnowdick
  • The Pushy-BabyCarriage-Dog situation at Filter Square Farmer’s Market
  • The number of hideous stories on local news
  • Dirt and grime
  • Street crime
  • Trash all over the sidewalks always esp. on trash dayphilatrash
  • The PLCB
  • Tumbleweaves and other interesting street garbage ( maybe I sort of miss that)
  • stuff on streetphillystreet
  • Masses of shouting pushing teenagers
  • Shitty angry people en masse
  • philadmv
    Philadelphia DMV
  • Foul tasting water that is never cold enough nor hot enough
  • Hard water’s result on my hair
  • $100 to get Farrah groomed (it’s $35 here)
  • That black dust in my house
  • Walking up 4 flights of stairs to get home
  • Crowds
  • Being far from the ocean
  • Pretentious bullshit
  • Car alarms
  • Violence sort of simmering underneath at all timestankonstreet
  • Traffic Noise
  • General Ugliness
  • The Smell
  • Hipsters
  • damn-hipsters

On that note I am going end this with yet another plea to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE  rate my ebook on Amazon, please its the only way other people will buy it.

The reviews that work don’t mention that you know me, because of course everyone’s friends  family say nice things about 4 (1)

This weekend I’m back at MCHPP making a zillion banana breads iwth a pack of Bowdoin Students SO EXCITED!