Food 'Toons

"Feed the Kitty" is another great Looney Tunes cartoon from 1952.  This one features Marc Anthony and his found kitty friend as well as some cooking antics. A funny dog, cute kitten, and food? What more could anyone ask for in a cartoon. Enjoy!

Friday Fives

Top Five Food Posts of the Week
  1. UF v. LSU Gator Roast. FYI, Gators won 13-3
  2. Top Chef Season 5 Contestant Fabio Viviani Got Fired 
  3. Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Rosemary
  4. Heirloom Christmas Lima Beans
  5. Cook's Illustrated v. Food Blogs. FYI, Food Blogs won

Top Five Music Posts of the Week
  1. Laura Veirs Releases Her 7th Album in January
  2. Animal Collective Releases an EP Next Month
  3. Sufjan Stevens Continues His Whoa-Is-Me Crisis
  4. Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor Readies Us for His Solo Cant
  5. Flaming Lips Play Conan

Food 'Toons

Growing up in the 1980s, I enjoyed many a Saturday morning eating sugary cereals and watching cartoons.  In most cases, plots were forgettable but the ones that stick out in my head the most are those involving food. Bugs Bunny will always be remembered chomping on an iconic carrot. The 1962 classic, Shishkabugs, finds our hero in one of my first food memories. In the short, Yosemite Sam, as royal chef, has to figure out how to make hasenpfeffer for the over-indulged king. Enter Bugs Bunny; begin madcap shenanigans. Enjoy. 

National Coming Out Day

Happy Coming Out Day!

President Obama delivered a speech yesterday at the 13th Annual National Dinner of the Human Right Campaign addressing his support for Gay Americans and a promise to move forward on Don't Ask, Don't Tell as well as asking Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  Let's hope he does not let us down.  See AP video below:

Under the Fig Tree and Dreaming

Last week my friend Amy, Yan and I pulled the last figs from the tree in Amy's backyard here in Queens (yes, some City dwellers have backyards).  My take of the figs sat in the refrigerator for a few days before I decided what I wanted to do with them.  Four delicious words: Olive Oil Fig Cake.

OMG it is so delicious.

Here is the recipe I came up with:

1 pound of fresh figs, stewed*
3 eggs
1 cup of olive oil
1 cup of buttermilk
1 ½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

1.       Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 10 inch springform cake pan (or relative equivalent) with butter and dust with flour.  Set aside.
2.       Beat eggs and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add oil.
3.       In a separate bowl sift together all dry ingredients then slowly blend into the wet ingredients until smooth.
4.       Combine buttermilk, vanilla, and baking soda in a small bowl and mix well. Incorporate into other mixture combining well. 
5.       Fill the greased pan and give it a few knocks to release the air bubbles.  Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  It should be golden brown and look a bit flat. Cool cake completely before you release the springform (run a knife around the edge to release anything sticking to the sides).

*Stewing the figs is easy: combine all figs with ½ to 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until figs are completely decimated.  Mash or beat figs to smooth consistency.  If you want even smoother you can puree them in the blender.  Peeling them beforehand will make it even more smooth but I like the pulpy bits (and once it is baked you really can’t tell anyway).

Notes: The cake tastes great!  Being the first time I tested this recipe I might reduce the eggs by 1 and oil by ¼ cup.  I have to read a bit more about baking with olive oil.

If you run into some fresh figs I definitely recommend making this recipe.

R.I.P. Goumet Magazine

Conde Nast announced yesterday that they are closing the Gourmet title. This saddens me. My love for cooking was born from the photography that initially drew me in at the newsstand and grew from the best food writing around. Not to forget the best recipes, too. Like this one:

Peanut Brittle Brownies

Makes32 (2-inch) squares

  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/2 hr
from June 2008
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed peanut brittle

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 13- by 9-inch baking pan.

  • Melt butter, peanut butter, and chocolate in a 3-qt heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool. Whisk in brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time.

  • Whisk together flour and salt, then whisk into chocolate mixture.

  • Spread in pan. Bake 25 minutes.Sprinkle with brittle. Bake until a pick inserted in center comes out with crumbs, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.

And the question on everyone's mind (at least my circle of friends): What will Ruth Reichl do?

Open Up Your Throat

At the request of one, I begin to write anew.

In reading over my blog posts from 2005-2007, I found many to be rather interesting and a great insight into the construct of my life. The overall focus being changes; graduating, moving, and acclimating to a new city and job was for the most part the gist of it. But in resurrecting the blog, what will the new focus be? I suppose, taking queue from my interests, it should be about food & music, museums & art for starters.

With that, I'd like to end things with Animal Collective:

Hands down, my favorite album this year is Merriweather Post Pavillion by Animal Collective. I'll post a more comprehensive list toward the end of the year, but this band definitely deserves a post unto their own. Having been out since January, Merriweather got a jump on being my favorite album this year.

What starts off with a layering of guttural vocals and noise quickly folds into melody and the dreamlike vocals that carry throughout the entire album. Adding to the hypnagogic qualities are lyrics like "couldn't stop that spinning force I felt in me. Everything around seemed to giggle glee" in the opener In the Flowers. Each song subsequently builds on the themes woven through the album. Daily life, love life, decompressing from that life, and grieving the loss of life (My Girls and Brother Sport both reference a father's passing) and the finished piece shows men reaching their 30s well on their way to maturity.

There is no doubt that this album is a love letter for the simple life in the City, but fundamentally the message is the same as what we are all looking for regardless of location: a safe place to live and someone to love.

Losing my Vegetarianity

To understand my life now, I have to take things back to November of last year. maybe even earlier. You see, I had been contemplating eating meet since I moved to New York City and November 2006 is when I succumbed to the carnivorous beast.

I moved to NYC in the summer of 2005, and although my diet had drastically changed while in architecture school, it made an even more significant change when I arrived here. I just couldn't afford to eat a balanced, healthy diet like I had been accustomed to. But, I was very much psychologically inclined to be a vegetarian, still.

It took me about a year to get over those psychological barriers. I went home to Florida at the beginning of November and I told my Mom that I was thinking of eating chicken and/or turkey. During our trip to the grocery store, she paraded me up and down the meat aisle as she chose meal items for the week. At the end, she asked if I wanted her to get some chicken to make for me while I was visiting. Feeling a bit quesy from the meat aisle, I declined.

Next up: James returns to NYC and eats meat!