Saturday, December 25, 2010

"I tried your Nonna's balls, they were pretty good..."

For Christmas, eating is the new form of torture. Forget about Abu Ghraib, spend the next three days with the Galatioto's. Not only does your stomach get overloaded with food, but the noise level and interrupting that happens is torturous. Among four people, seven conversations can be happening. Don't try to do the math or understand any of it. Marcy was trying to tell a story today during Christmas dinner, which started at 2pm this afternoon. Less than 24 hours before, we were shoveling tons of food in at my place for Christmas Eve. While she was making an earnest attempt to tell us a nice story about my Nonno, Rocco started complaining that its the first Christmas we aren't eating pasta! Not like we didn't have two vats of pasta last night. Marcy finally said, "Maybe I'll finish this story by next year." Don't count on it, Mom.
Among the crazy talk and food, there are always a lot of zingers. Last night, Nonna made real cassatelle and pignulata (honey balls) and Julie made the malafigura of bringing pignulata. Come on Jules, Nonna has got the honey balls covered. So Julie tried a ball and wins for the most demented line of the evening, "Jen, I tried your Nonna's balls, they were pretty good." Julie, this is why you are a welcomed member of this lunatic clan.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


 Arica and Chris put a capital D in dysfunctional, but also a capital L in LOVE! They are a testament to no matter how insane or screwed up things can get, love conquers all. Its truly inspirational in a demented way and I love them like my family.

When Arica is around be prepared to laugh until you pee yourself and be warned that if a bone isn't fractured, for sure something else will get broken. Most of the time she breaks your soul by embarrassing you in front of everyone with some small but private bit of information you begged her to keep her pie hole shut about. She justifies it by saying, "but its true!" And Chris reminds her that, "Arica, people don't want to hear the truth all the time!"
When Chris and Arica came over to make paella as a wonderful housewarming, Arica was already sporting a bright green cast after breaking her arm from punching her brother in the gut. Broken bone: check.

Chris is an awesome cook. Aside from the paella, I have tried his awesome lasagna, the most kick-ass enchiladas and the best BLTs ever. (I need that enchilada recipe, Chris!)

Arica, not so much a cook. Chris said she once melted a pot trying to boil water. She is an awesome baker and makes the best oatmeal cookies in the universe!
And even though her wrist is broken, she is really good at opening wine bottles and getting the party started. For paella, we needed some delicious wine, which we got over at Dandelion, the best wine shop in the hood.

Markus made "his famous" sunchoke bruschetta. I always call it "his" because I basically sit him down and make him peel all the little sunchokes, then chop all the garlic, then roast everything until perfection, then spread it on toast. He is just so good at it, even though he grunts and complains the entire time.

And while he got busy on that Chris started making his amazing paella. Earlier that day I got a list of things to have on hand. Of course I have bowls! Geez! But I didn't have the special paella pan, which Chris brought over along with all the seafood, merguez sausage, chicken, saffron and special paella rice.
With paella its all about layering the flavors, starting with the sausage. Any dish that starts with sausage is a good dish in my book. Chris even made his own fish stock with the shrimp tails and a sofrito of tomatoes and onions. Mouthwatering.
It takes a while, but we sure know how to kill the time, laughing and goofing off. Well at least Arica and I. Markus sits there and God only knows what he is thinking. And Chris rolls his eyes and scolds us the whole time. Well mostly he scolds Arica; I am just an innocent bystander.
There was some major embarrassing accomplished in the form of Arica reading a private letter with sensitive material out loud in a very non-senstive way to everyone. Embarrassment: Check!

Then we ate the delicious paella. I ate two bowls easily. It was perfect. The rice was done just right and all the seafood and the sausage were just so delicious together. Paella is one of those dishes when you see it in the restaurant is for 2 or for 4 only. I like a dish that is meant to be shared.
And then some damage to my belongings just had to happen. Damage to personal property: CHECK!
That day I happened to walk into La Perla sample sale and spoiled myself to some silky unmentionables including a gorgeous robe. I was showing off my new sexy things to Arica in my room while the boys were doing what they always do, make weird inaudible animal sounds. When we heard snoring, I threw the robe onto my bed and we went into the other room to wake the boys up. I looked back and my cat Bean was full on heaving puke all over my new robe! Bile puke no less. This is when Arica and I urinated on ourselves in pure laughter. And it was all over when Markus came in and applauded Bean, "when we were together it was only tee shirts and flannels in bed. Good job, Bean!"
But its not over. To "save" the robe, Arica grabbed it and put the entire thing into the shower!
A little puke might have been remedied with some dry cleaning, but water stains on silk begins the new life of the robe as a dish rag. A very expensive and beautiful dish rag!
Bean really had the last laugh that night when he scratched poor Markus right between the eyes as he was leaving. BODILY INURY: Check!
And this is just a glimpse into an evening with Arica and Chris. I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Chris's Paella Print Out
Notice there are no amounts (Chris is Sicilian) and there are a lot of bowls, set asides, 20 minutes and bullets. He means business! He made it look so easy. Chris, anytime you need to borrow my gas top for paella you are welcome to come over.

•Simmer 8 C. fish stock with salt
•Clean shrimp, place in a bowl, set aside
•Add shrimp shells to stock
•Clean and slice calamari, place in a bowl, set aside
•Clean scallops, mussels and clams, set aside
•Toast saffron, set aside in mortar
•Strain shells from stock
•Crush saffron and add to stock

•While grating tomato, onion and poblano:
- saute merguez
- saute chicken with poblanom set aside
- saute shrimp, scallops and calamari, set aside
- deglaze with 1/2 C. white wine

•Reduce heat to medium-low, prepare soffrito, 20 min
•Add 1 tsp smoke paprika
•Add 2 C. rice, increase heat to medium high
•Add 7 C. stock (reserve 1/2 C.), bring to boil
•Arrange merguez, chicken, scallops, some calamari, mussels, clams and peas
•Do not stir, cook on medium high, rotating for about 20 min.
-optional: bake at 400 for 20 min.
•Reduce heat to medium low
•Simmer until al dente, adding stock if not done
•Arrange shrimp and remaining calamari
•Cover with aluminum foil, cook 2 min.
•Increase heat to medium high, cook 2 min socarrat (?)
•Remove from heat
•Let rest 5 min
•Serve with lemon wedges

Monday, December 20, 2010

Forking Tasty Supper Club in a Box

Forking Tasty Supper Club in a Box
I am a scrooge this Christmas, but if I were to shell out my hard earned cash for some supper club fanatic friend, it would be this. What a great idea! Supper Clubs are hard to get into, especially the good ones, so Forking Tasty is giving you the opportunity to have a DIY Supper Club. It all comes in this adorable box:
What you get:
10 gourmet cookies
10 menu/place cards
6 recipe cards
1 shopping list outlining the ingredients needed for the meal
1 pre-holiday movie short with a hidden holiday trivia game
10 clothes pins for assembly of the place cards
(Note: Food not included)
What you add:
Friends and family
Your magic touch
The food

Sunday, December 19, 2010


There aren't many people in the world that get me as genuinely excited as Alexander. Take a cold shower; I don't mean it like that! He has that contagious fun energy that you don't come across in most people. When I see him I am instantly pumped and basically hug attack him screaming. 
Alexander MADE my water balloon birthday party this past summer. As best friend Arica walked into the backyard, all cute in her sun dress, he pelted her in the eye with a water balloon. She was visibly stunned and it takes a lot to catch that girl off guard. He then walked over to her, stuck out his hand and said, "I'm Alexander, nice to meet you." What a greeting! 
When you are super great, you tend to have super great friends. So when Alex invited me over to his place, I knew I was going to meet a lot of awesome peoples. A blast from the past, old friend from Ecko Unltd., Marz was there and I also got to meet Hama!, who is as amazingly awesome as Alexander, so its not surprising that they are roommates and great friends and we took to each other right away.
Hama and Alex are not only hospitable and generous with food and drink, but with the people around them, and that makes for a great party energy. They are friend sharers, if you will, the opposite of self monitors, who often compartmentalize friendships and relationships because they often act differently around different groups of friends. Alex and Hama are always stupendously great so no need to self monitor. A little friendly psychoanalysis never hurt anyone!
The theme of this dinner party was East Meets North: "a multi-cult-y dinner party" ... mixing "Japanese and Swedish pub-style food in a Swedanese Japstravaganza." Who could possibly say no to that?
Little place card all mixed up around the long table was a fun way to introduce everyone. Everyone was so friendly, positive and had interesting shit going on. Let's face it, at most parties, there is at least one dick in the room. But not at this party.
Hama was a busy bee in the hot open kitchen, but after all the hard work was done she just kicked it with everyone. What a down to earth chick with a genius head on her shoulders. Like Alexander, a special someone you don't meet everyday.
The food was absolutely divine and the mash of cultures well complemented one another. 
Hama made:
Linguini with shiso pesto topped with uni (sea urchin). (shiso is a japanese "basil", also known as perilla) - DROOLSEY! The pesto had this slightly sweet spicey aroma from the shiso and the texture of the sea urchin is so unique.

Inari zushi (fried tofu stuffed with sushi rice; topped with julienned egg crepes. sushi rice was mixed with Japanese rice vinegar, root veggies, and ground seasoned chicken) - What I adored about these babies was how gigantic they were and the perfect sweet sour flavor on the fried tofu skin. Scarf alert!
Alexander made yummy finger sammies with dill everywhere! The textures and flavors were bursting all over. Some people cook with passion, Alexander cooks with curious excitement. Can anything taste more kickass than Japanese mayo, potato, bacon, parm and radish? Answer = no.
Gravlax, dill, lemon, parsley, Japanese Kewpie Mayonaise, Radish 
Japanese Kewpie Mayonaise, Potato, Bacon, Parmesan, Radish
Butter, pressgurka (thinly sliced pickles), Pickled white wine herring, dill

Cod Roe Caviar, Egg, Dill on knäckebröd
Pickled beets, Radish (plus something I [Alexander] can't remember, maybe parsley?) 
All that sounds great, but it tasted divine. I did my usual food shoveling routine. Not one dish wasn't phenomenal. 
While photo swapping, I was honored to have an email exchange with Fanny, Alex's Mom. One way to understand why Alex is so superb is to know Ms. Fanny, whose emails back and forth culminated in this precious dialogue:
Fanny: "I think 'Sir Alex and Miss Fanny' sounds very Brittish Theater TV Movies. Miss Fanny is wearing a white cotton lace dress and a parasol. Sir Alex in a dapper riding suit comes up through the hedge on the way to the stables."
Me: "Can I adopt myself into you family and be on the television show?
I can be the weird neighbor who is always caught falling out of trees or ruining the hedges, trying to do some bird brain thing. Mostly I'm trying to spy on Ms. Fanny to see what she is making for dinner. Then I rudely invite myself over."
But for real, can I come over? And get adopted. You people are awesome. Hama and Alex, happy to know you and look forward to stuffing our faces together very soon! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Monday, December 6, 2010

Mini Food Cook-Off to support Greenpoint Open Studios!

     Another fabulous food competition to support Greenpoint Open Studios! This time, get creative and make a mini anything, sweet or savory! Free to enter. Winner get $100 gift certificate to Brooklyn Kitchen. $10 to judge, plus the chance to win about a billion raffles from awesome local businesses. And, Keep The Home Fires Burning Art ShowKeep it on the hush, but there may be mini rice balls in my future! WHAT?!?!? Bring on the mini!

Friday, October 10, 2010
Fowler Arts Collective, 67 West Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Facebook invite

Afterparty (of course!) at The Diamond (43 Franklin St.)