Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good Eats

Last night my book club met at my house to discuss Just Kids by Patti Smith. We found the book very appealing and fascinating, and discussed it non-stop, except for eating the refreshments that I made. One funny memory that she relates in her memoir was of meeting Allen Ginsberg. He appeared just as she realized that she didn't have enough money for her sandwich at the automat -- he bought her the sandwich and a cup of coffee and sat down with her. After a while he asked "Wait, are you a girl?" She's a girl.

"I thought you were a pretty boy," he explained.

"Do I have to pay you for the sandwich?" she asked.

"No, my mistake."

However, food wasn't really a theme of the book. Much of the time in her early life as a New York art scene wannabe, Patti Smith didn't have much to eat. She does often mention eating at the automat -- things like mac and cheese, or a sandwich on a poppy-seed roll. Not much inspiration for refreshments.

Smith mentions that when she and her lover Robert Mapplethorpe had a bit of money they would buy a bag of Mallomars. I decided that would be my one literary menu choice. When I went to the market, though, I found out that Mallomars are seasonal! The chocolate is too melty in summer. So I bought Canadian Whippets, which are similar.

In order to make this a scholarly post, I read the Wikipedia entry on Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats. And learned more than any sane person should know about Mallomars, Whippets, and similar confections from Israel, Denmark, England, and even the Phillipines as well as other places. Turns out Mallomars are really a New York thing: 70% are sold there. If you want to know more, you can read the article and the many places that it diligently links to.

A couple of people suggested that the might like recipes for the non-themed but seasonal food I made for the meeting. First, the healthy parts:

Not-quite caprese salad. Do you get tired of the classic combo: fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and vinaigrette? I've had it quite often this tomato season. I love it, but wanted some variety for my tomatoes, so I used a goat-cheese log and chopped dill and parsley, and a few black olives too.

Carrot salad, but not cloyingly sweet, rather savory. It's similar to a Moroccan-Jewish (and also Israeli) recipe. Simple: grated carrots and vinaigrette made from oil, lemon juice, rice vinegar, cumin, Spanish smoked paprika, ground coriander, a crushed garlic clove, and a parsley garnish. Around half a teaspoon of each ground spice for around 1/2 cup oil and around 1/4 cup combined lemon juice and vinegar.

Again I made peach-plum cake from the Polish cookbook. For the recipe see this post from last June. Nearby you can see a watermelon and pineapple fruit bowl and the Whippets.

And one more picture of current cooking ...


Tonight: steak on the grill with great grill marks. Thanks, Lenny.

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