Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'VE GOT THE FAMILY MEAL THING DOWN

(for my Bella)
Day 14 of winter break and my husband is in Bella's room knee-deep in pressed board and IKEA instruction manuals and Dash is so mad that I won't let him eat the first batch of crispy bacon that he is hiding under my bed with the dog and it turns out that as of the first of the year eggs in any form make Bella want to barf so I find myself staring at this layered salad wondering why the fuck I even bother when Bella starts digging through the dressed romaine with her fingers and I sputter out Bella what huh what are you kidding me um are you an animal and my tone is so awful and she looks so sad that she ended up with me as her mother that we find ourselves in a hands-on-hips standoff until poof her face opens up into a big smile and before I can yank her in for a hug she grabs some bacon and run run run slides into my bedroom to lure Dash and the dog out from under the bed and then she's yelling out daddy do you want some of mommy's salad because it's really good and I'll bring you some and then miraculously we are all eating at the same time with Dash commando crawling toward the kitchen holding a fistful of bacon and my husband allen-wrenching and nibbling on my five-minute eggs and Bella hovering with me utensil-free over the salad bowl tearing dipping slurping and when Dash finally arrives at the table we start talking about the events of the day like the arrival of Dash's new big boy bed and Bella's genius addition of Best Foods Mayonnaise to the Caesar dressing and the 1,254-piece Lego Millennium Falcon we just finished assembling and then Dash clears his throat and splays his hands with just-so-you-know emphasis and comes out with really mama you're so good at building things and there's a great Lego college in Los Angeles and you should go there you really should and for the first time since my daughter was born 10 years ago I don't want my babies to grow up.
ROMAINE SALAD WITH BACON, 5-MINUTE EGGS, AND CREAMY GARLIC ANCHOVY DRESSING 
You can do the 5-minute eggs a few days ahead of time and store them in the fridge. Bacon can also be done way ahead of time because it should be room temperature for the salad. The dressing also keeps for a few days in the fridge.

ingredients:
6  5-minute eggs (see below for recipe), peeled and halved
10 slices bacon
6 cloves garlic, peeled and whole (to be cooked in oil)
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated (kept raw)
5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
1/2 teaspoon Colman's mustard powder
splash Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or sherry wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (Best Foods, Hellman's, or homemade)
a large head of romaine, cleaned (perhaps stripped of any wilted outer pieces)
crunchy salt
lots of chopped parsley for garnish

directions:
Cook bacon on stovetop or under broiler until nice and crisp. Place cooked slices on paper towel to drain off excess fat until you're ready to assemble the salad.

Place garlic and olive oil in a pot on the back burner. Bring to the boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Cook until garlic is tender (check with a paring knife; it takes about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool for about 15 minutes.

Scoop garlic out of oil and place in a mortar (or a regular bowl). Reserve oil for the dressing. With a pestle (or with the back of a spoon), mash the cooked garlic, grated raw garlic, anchovies, and mustard powder into a paste. Whisk in worcestershire sauce, vinegar, heavy cream, and mayonnaise. Whisking the whole time, slowly drizzle in 4 tablespoons of reserved garlic oil (it's okay for it to still be a little warm). Taste. Adjust. You will probably need to add more oil. But if you like it super tangy you can add more vinegar or worcestershire sauce.

You can leave the romaine leaves whole. Or tear them up. Or cut them into bite-sized pieces. They look more awesome when they're whole but it's a pain in the ass to dress them and eat them (you might need your fingers). Most of the time I cut them up. 

Dress your greens with several spoonfuls of dressing. Add salt to taste. Toss with your hands. Taste. Add more dressing or salt if needed. Top with 5-minute eggs, bacon, and parsley. Sprinkle crunchy salt and a few drops of dressing on the yolks of the eggs. Eat right away. Serve with the remaining dressing in a pitcher.

5-MINUTE EGGS
6 eggs

Place eggs in a medium-sized pot that has a tight fitting lid. Cover eggs completely with cold water. Without the lid, bring water to the boil. Immediately turn off the heat. Cover with lid. Set timer right away for 5 minutes. Place a few handfuls of ice cubes in a bowl and cover with water. When timer goes off, carefully scoop out the eggs and place them into the ice bath. Leave them in the cold water for about 10 minutes. You can leave them out all day until ready to peel. Or store them in the fridge for a few days.

43 comments:

  1. I wish I could fit under the bed with my dog, then maybe I can convince him to come out every so often ( he doesn't like NYC, he hides in protest unless provided food or exercise). Also, the salad looks delicious. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He notes that Macdonald relies heavily on “overcooked similes”. I object to “overcooked”, but it is true that similes are Macdonald’s bread and butter in terms of style and also that, in some of the novels, what seems like a constant use of them can tend to be distracting.
      http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2014/11/ross-macdonald-drowning-pool.html#.VIxMkdKUeRZ

      Delete
  2. I always look forward to a new post here. Every time, I leave happy and hungry. Every time. Happy New Year!

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    Replies
    1. happy and hungry? what an awesome combination. happy new year to you as well.

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  3. Yum. Two questions:

    1. What's the difference between 5-minute eggs and regular hardboiled eggs (from the picture, the yolks look a little more yellow and a little more "aged," as if the texture is difference).

    2. What's your advice on how to prepare bacon so it's crispy vs. soft, but not burned/overcooked? I've searched this on the internet and while I haven't done that much experimentation and trial and error (just doing it twice in the oven instead of on the stovetop, and a couple times on the stovetop), I haven't had success, either.

    Thank you, gura! (the feminine form of "guru"; and yes, I did just make that up).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. the eggs just aren't cooked much. that's all. hardboiled eggs are often boiled for 10, 12, 15 minutes. and i like them gooey in the center. that's the only difference.
      2. it really depends on the bacon. my one warning is never crank to high heat. medium heat. stovetop for optimum control. and just keep an eye out. and keep flipping. sometimes i'll flip them 15-20 times. and it just takes cooking about 20 rounds of bacon and then you'll be very comfortable. just keep on doing it.

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  4. Woah, did you really build the millenium falcon lego set? you have to post a picture of that sucker....

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    Replies
    1. okay, rachel. i posted a photo above! i'm very proud. kind of embarrassing.

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  5. Phyllis, I never knew you were a Lego Master! Just one more talent to add to an already long list;)
    And will you make that salad for me this year? That's my new year's wish.
    xxxooo
    E

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    Replies
    1. well according to dash i am a master! motherfucking yes! ! i love your new year's wish. makes me smile. and i shall deliver.

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  6. In the 90's Michael and I would wake up and watch Martha Stewart at 9am in our teeny apt. on 22nd street. "Wake up and learn" was our motto. One thing I remember is that when Romane is served with whole leaves, as traditionally done in Mexico, one should eat it with his or her fingers.
    Great news for our abode.
    LOVE THIS POST

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. of my. the '90s. here's to continuing to "wake up and learn" every fucking day for the rest of our lives. and yes. i'm a convert. whole leaf romaine should be eaten with fingers.

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  7. Ok, this is all kind of just amazing. I want that salad right.now.

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  8. And so this is what meal chaos (and subsequent calm) looks like ... the salad looks amazing ... and it's amazing that you've found yet another way to sneak in anchovies with your little ones ...

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  9. I love your writing style! Sometimes life is so busy that it just feels like a run-on sentence, so what an appropriate way to write it. I am also in awe of both your salad creating ability and your Millennium Falcon building ability.

    ~Hannah

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  10. Yum yum yum...wish I could come over and take part in that salad with yummy supper, my other favorite cooking blog.

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  11. Oh yes... The Lego Millennium Falcon set, we know it well. Keep track of the instructions if possible, it breaks easily.
    That salad looks delish.

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  12. This looks delicious and just the right kind of finger salad for my little boys:)

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  13. never...never...comment on blogs. stumbled on this one. love your words.

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    Replies
    1. oh thank you so much for commenting. always means a lot but especially from someone who never comments!

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  14. Pretty much all salads taste better eaten with hands and chaos :)

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  15. Amazing recipe and enjoyable story as always! Happy New Year!

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  16. I haven't eaten meat in 1.5 years, but the photo of the bacon gave me pause... Next you head to the 7K piece Millenium Falcon -- Matt and Alex are survivors. That and the Taj Majal and Diagon Alley as of recent Christmas. Love the Lego, although I am a complete non-participant, just an admirer.

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    Replies
    1. susan, i responded the other day and the comment disappeared! i can't believe that alex and matt did the 7k version. i bow to them. we're discussing doing the death star. but i'm not sure we can afford it. no need to start eating bacon. i hear it's not so good for you. maybe just enjoy vicariously? lots of love.

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  17. You recipe choice is so traditional - bacon and eggs- though the implementation is adorable and very special.

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  18. @Susan Fineq - I've heard that bacon is the number one gateway meat ;)

    Phyllis - I <3 you and your beautiful words

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  19. Saw this and immediately made it for dinner. Wonderful.

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  20. I've never really cooked with anchovies. Do you have any recommendations on brands or what to look for?

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    Replies
    1. some people swear by anchovies packed in salt. but you must rinse them before use. i'm pretty low key about the brand. i use anchovies packed in oil with no other additions (sometimes they throw in capers and such). currently, i have a bunch of talatta brand in my cupboard. but i've probably used 30 different kinds over the years. let me know what you use!

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  21. Woman, the way you write just bowls me over.

    "and then Dash clears his throat and splays his hands with just-so-you-know emphasis"

    ReplyDelete
  22. This prompted me to peruse about half of The Drowning Pool – 133 pages or so – to see how many similes I could count. (I’m using the Vintage Crime Black Lizard edition from May 1996). I counted thirty four and no doubt missed a few. I haven’t done the legwork, but I think some of the later books might have a slightly higher ratio. That’s a lot, but in any case I would argue that many of Macdonald’s similes are so strong that they infinitely enrich the work. Not only that – they are so strong that they put many “serious” writers of fiction to shame.
    http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2014/11/ross-macdonald-drowning-pool.html#.VHQTZtKUeRZ

    ReplyDelete
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