Archive for the ‘baltimore adventures’ Category

quick eggs and tomato

feeling inspired this morning, i rose early and cleaned, did my laundry, got groceries, and went to the gym. after such an unusually productive few hours, i felt that i deserved something awesome to eat. however, after being so unusually productive, i didn’t really feel like cooking. i did a little experimenting and enjoyed the results immensely and so, i figured i would share.

  • 1 tomato (a nice viney one, if you can)
  • 1 handful of chopped mushrooms (your choice here)
  • basil (my basil plant, louie, recently passed and i forgot to get some more, but basil would have perfectly finished the dish)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • baguette
  • parmesan cheese
  • orange juice
  1. slice the tomato the wrong way into 5 or 6 nice, circular sections. not too thick, not too thin, just right.
  2. cut a quantity of the baguette in half, drizzle some olive oil, add the cheese, toast.
  3. on the cutting board, salt and pepper the mushrooms to taste and using your judgement (don’t worry, i trust you).
  4. meanwhile, heat the olive olive oil in a flat pan and on high heat until the oil has the viscosity of water (µ~1 @20C).
  5. add the tomates and mushrooms to the pan. take care to make sure the tomatoes are flat and fully in contact with the heating surface.
  6. wait about 45 s and flip all the tomatoes, you can hassle the mushrooms as you see fit.
  7. in another 45 s, remove everything from the pan, but leave all the oil and juices.
  8. lower the heat to medium, and then crack the eggs and add them to the pan, leaving the yolks intact.
  9. pour yourself some orange juice.
  10. clean the cutting board and the knife.
  11. remove the eggs from the pan.
  12. enjoy.

i liked eating the whites of the eggs with the tomatoes and mushrooms while leaving the runny yolks for my baguette. take liberal sips of orange juice in between bites and reflect on the productiveness of your saturday thus far. i meant to include an excellent picture, but i ate it all before i remembered. the remains:


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stir fry is a great because it’s quick and easy to make with any number of ingredients. also, it incorporates two very fun things: stirring and frying.

stir fry was to be my dinner tonite but, unfortunately, i napped through dinner time. i decided to make it anyway so i’d have a savo(u)ry lunch tomorrow. of course, there are many different versions of stir fry, and you can make it to your taste, but here’s mine. i won’t bother to include exact measures of each ingredient i used because i never pay attention and so i don’t know. use your good judgement and you’ll be fine.

  • half a decently-sized eggplant
  • a handful of mushroom
  • some broccoli
  • two scallion stalks
  • some celery stalks
  • celery heart (keep this separate from the more plebeian stalks)
  • garlic (3 cloves?)
  • some sort of chili pepper, i used half a jalapeno
  • salt
  • sesame seeds
  • basil
  • vegetable oil
  • soy sauce
  1. cube the eggplant.
  2. keep the eggplant in a bowl, lightly salt and mix, keep to the side.
  3. chop everything else up.
  4. pour off any water that comes out of the eggplant
  5. cover the eggplant in a little bit of oil, mix.
  6. leave the kitchen, turn on some music.
  7. heat oil in your pan or walk (high).
  8. once the oil is about as viscous as water and is just beginning to steam, add the garlic, chili pepper, basil, scallion, and sesame seeds.
  9. cook, stirring attentively, until the sesame seeds pop.
  10. add the eggplant and stir so that everything is well mixed.
  11. cover the pan and lower the heat to medium.
  12. every now and then stir the mixture and check on the eggplant. i like to continue this until the smallest pieces of eggplant are just becoming soft all the way through.
  13. add the celery and mushrooms.
  14. add a few splashes of soy sauce.
  15. mix and cover again.
  16. wait the same amount of time as the previous cover cycle.
  17. add the broccoli, mix, cover.
  18. give it two more mixing cycles.
  19. eat.

you can also separately boil rice and add it in. i would increase the initial amount of oil added and then add the rice between steps 13 and 14 and also increase the amount of soy sauce splashed.

i chose the times above (after gathering much empirical data, clearly) because i like my eggplant to be soft and squishy; the broccoli juicy and crisp. if you have another vegetable texture preference, you can adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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At least April showers bring May flowers.

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I visited Balt’amour last weekend to spend time with three close friends from college. Lisa, Malka, and Elana picked me up from the always cheerful Baltimore Travel Plaza.


We drove directly to Nacho Mama’s in Canton where we started sipping on these not-so-lethal hubcap margaritas. I’ve had many a discussion with friends about how the drinks in Baltimore are, for some reason, delightfully less deleterious than the ones in New York. I can drink without the fear of a terrible hangover the next day. Of course, Baltimore’s prices are kinder, too- these hubcap margaritas were $10 each, and we split that four ways.


Nacho Mama’s menu is expansive but I prefer to stick with the nachos- tried and true, with proper cheese to beans to veggies proportions. The jalapeños were actually fiery. My friends ordered quesidillas that were overstuffed, with the tortillas baked to a dry crisp. Not exactly appetizing but with such a large plate of nachos, who needed more food?


The next day we headed to Hampden’s roomy but odd Dogwood Cafe for lunch. We walked down a ramp to enter the large underground dining room and I felt as though I were entering a dungeon. The tables, lighting, and artwork were pretty fancy, yet, something seemed off. We sat next door to the kitchen and while the main dining room is perfectly presentable, I stared at the stretch of uncarpeted, shabby floor leading into the kitchen. I know it was a weird fixation, but that patch of floor was starkly different from the methodically decorated dining room and I started wondering why they hadn’t taken care of the floor everywhere and what this stretch of floor could portend about the kitchen beyond.


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Diwali is this Friday(!) and celebrations are already beginning. This past weekend, I went to the Diwali Dhamaka show at Hopkins and then to my aunt and uncle’s house for an early Diwali lunch.

[a diya]

Minal Fui had made quite a spread. My favorite parts of the meal included the mango lassi and the puran puri, two items I usually don’t enjoy because they are generally too sweet.

[mango lassi]

My dadi had brought this puran puri from India. Puran puri is roti (Indian flatbread) stuffed with a sweet paste made either of tuwar daal (Gujarati) or channa daal (Maharastrian), cardamom, nutmeg, and saffron.

[puris, ghee, and Maharastrian puran puri]

Gujarati puran puri’s roti tightly seals in a substantial layer of sweet pasty filling. Traditionally, you are supposed to pour swirls of golden ghee on top of your puri before eating it. Thick sweet paste, slippery ghee; this is usually too overwhelming for me to enjoy. However, Maharastrian puran puri’s roti is delicately flaky, and pastry-like and just barely covers a less-pasty, more crumbly channa daal filling. With these puris, the ghee is a necessary enhancement, similar to melting butter on top of cinnamon toast- it just tastes that much better.

*”Diwali, Diwali, ane vali hai” means Diwali is coming! My friend Sapna and I danced to this song when we were about 5 or 6 years old. The video is hilarious because we are each performing our own version of the dance on stage. The video also shows that Sapna’s dancing talent and my lack of talent was evident from the age of 6.

[The dancers before another Diwali performance (Happy Diwali Hai). From left to right: Supna, Nikita, Maeghan, Janaki, Sapna, Janki. I was abnormally tall till about 7th grade.]

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…stay tuned.


“Happy Halloween! May your day be full of treats!”
-Fairy Elana

ps: a crazy delicious pumpkin cupcake recipe will be up tonight.

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The August before our first year of college, Rice, Maggie and I went on a weeklong backpacking trip on the Franconia Ridge. We climbed up slick, abrupt rocks. The sky was a dull grey and we shivered in the bruising, pebble-packed hail. There was some warmth in the close darkness of our tent at night, but I kept thinking about our food, stored in a bear box. The bears. I could see them, flashes of black fur running out the corner of my eyes. Rice and Maggie had persuaded me to join them on this trip, but I started questioning my judgment a few hours into the first day. We were surrounded by sky. We were stuck. Of course, there were views: the trees and clouds and cute boys, fellow hikers. But it was cold.

[ice cream time at Kimball Farm, summer ’05]

At the end of the trip, we pealed off our layers near Maggie’s car. We sniffed the air: smelly, exhilarated, and exhausted, we decided to drive to Kimball Farm. We were going to buy dangerous, heaping cones of ice cream. Farm fresh, big-hearted servings, messy meals. Love ice cream. I got two cones: Mocha Almond Assault was one of them, but it was the Black Raspberry Chip, my second cone, that was dripping with nourishment. Ending our backpacking trip with an ice cream feast somehow made everything better.

It’s getting chilly, but ice cream love is still in the air: now is the time to sample fall flavors. Fall flavors celebrate the festive tastes of cinnamon and spice. Pumpkin ice cream, pear ice cream, blueberry, pecan, apple pie, ginger honey, cranberry and cardamom: these are the tastes of fall. What’s better than orange leaves on the trees and a pumpkin cone in your hand?

Seasonal ice cream flavors go away too quickly. Below is a guide to my favorite ice cream shops in various cities:


Christina’s Ice Cream: 1255 Cambridge Street (Inman Square), Cambridge, MA. (617) 492-7201. My favorite flavors: ginger, burnt sugar.

Toscanini’s: locations scattered throughout Cambridge; the one we usually go to is at 899 Main Street, (Central Square) Cambridge, MA. (617) 491-5877. My favorite flavors: Vienna finger cookie; lime-vanilla.

Kimball Farm: locations in NH, ME, and MA; the one we usually go to is at 343 Bedford Road, in Carsile, MA. (978) 369-1910. My favorite flavor: black raspberry chip.

Herrell’s: locations throughout MA; we usually go to 15 Dunster Street (Harvard Square), Cambridge, MA. My favorite flavors: pumpkin, mint cookies and cream.


Cones: 272 Bleeker Street, New York, NY. (212) 414-1795. My favorite flavor: grapefruit sorbet.

Ronnybrook Diary: 75 9th avenue, #1, New York, NY. (212) 741-6455. My favorite flavor: pure, thick chocolate ice cream.

Ciao Bella: a few locations in Manhattan; I go to 285 Mott Street, New York, NY. (212) 431-3591. My favorite flavors: lemon curd, bourbon butter pecan.


Sylvan Beach Café: 7 West Preston Street, Baltimore, MD. (410) 685-5164. My favorite flavor: key lime pie


Holy Gelato: 1392 9th avenue, San Francisco, CA. (415) 681-3061. My favorite flavor: almond joy.


Granny’s Ice Cream (my grandmother!!): Tardeo area. 91-98-921-49-121.

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