Let It Snow

As the snow starts to fly, we shamelessly revert to comfort food. Though loving the food, I hadn’t really intended on making this “Carb Week”… hmm. Oh well, it was gratifying while it lasted.

LasagnaFirst, we made lasagna. This is my most favourite meal with which to experiment; add a little cinnamon to the browned ground beef; ditch the beef altogether and use grated eggplant instead; use full-fat ricotta minus the egg as binder; toss in a little bit of every cheese in the fridge (this week’s included Pecorino Romano); add random fresh herbs, more wine into the sauce, more wine into the chef…

Plus, when I make this, I’m always reminded of that scene in The Godfather where Clemenza is teaching Michael how to make spaghetti because “ya neva know when ya gonna hafta feed a buncha guys if we go to the mattresses”. He cooks the onions, adds the tomaytas, a little wine, some peppas and the secret ingredient- sugar. Then ya add ya meatballs, ya sausage, whateva ya got and cook it ‘til its hot. I don’t really know why this scene sticks in my mind- I don’t particularly love that movie. But I also like that scene where Michael makes his bones. McClusky really slams his head into that table as he’s going down, choking on a bite of steak with a bullet in his throat. Gruesome, but what they’re eating looks good.

risotto.jpgNext, it was Goat Cheese and Walnut Risotto. Decidedly bland, but not unpleasant. The original version of this recipe called for blue cheese and I remember that version being a lot tastier but blue cheese was decidedly not-on-sale and Marc doesn’t really like it that much. Plus, I overcooked the rice- who knew that could happen with risotto? Next time, I’ll go back to the cheater-method of adding most of the liquid first, before stirring in the rest by the half cup over forty minutes.

Peas and PancettaLastly, we made Fettuccine with Peas and Pancetta in a cream sauce. It seems so decadent to use real cream but it makes all the difference, eh. This, also, was fairly bland but hot and creamy and filling. And bacon-y. And cheese-y. There was a time when homemade fettuccine alfredo was my favourite meal, the one I requested at each birthday, along with Caesar salad and barbequed polish sausage. Now, it sounds like a rather odd collection of food for a meal but it was heavy on cheese and garlic and perfection to my 12 – 16 year old palate.

Speaking of bland, here’s something interesting: if flying with China Airlines, one can choose a variety of in-flight meal types. Not only are there the usual kosher and vegetarian, meals to choose from, there are also low-carb, low-cal, low-fat, lactose-free, chinese, hindu, bland, japanese, gluten-free, muslim.. the list goes on. Also, if flying first class or business class, one can view the in-flight menu in advance according to flight number. Example? On Flight 007, Los Angeles to Taipei, one can choose “Chinese cuisine: sea bass with tsu-zih sauce braised roast pork with tofu and mushroom buna shimeji, celery, carrot and wood ear steamed rice” [um, wood ear?] or “Kaiseki style meal: grilled sea bass yuan style and shrimp covered with herb mayonnaise”. The last time I ate airplane food it was cooked chicken breast with “sauce”, potatoes, beans, a tough, little roll, and some gelatinized-cake for dessert. I don’t think they had even invented sea bass yet.

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