Friday, October 23, 2009

There's Something About Meatballs, and A Sweet New Year!

Wow. So I just looked at this blog and realized it has descended into a PR arm for the book and there is NO FOOD on the first page!!! That is Very Bad, and this will correct it.

Greetings from Seattle-- a lovely town full of delicious food. BUT... you know, after eating out for 6 days straight now I gotta say, I just want some home cooked goodness, you know? Last night at our singing at Third Place Books Hostess with the Mostess Wendy Manning arranged for a staff member (ROCK STAR) to make food from the cookbook for the signing. I thought I was going to dissolve into a puddle of tears when I smelled the Overnight Chuck Roast, Rice Pilaf with Garlic Yogurt and Potato Salad!!!! Delicious.

And speaking of delicious, this post has been sitting around waiting to be written for about a month! Shame! Italian Meatball dinner on Rosh Hashanah weekend. Brilliant! And the tomatoes, chard and herbs??? From MY GARDEN!!!!! Below, the invite.
Hello again, hungry kiddies!

Maybe I flatter myself, but I want to get a few more of these in before I go away on Book Tour! The Musical! (see: Jazz Hands.) Seriously, the publicity machine for Forking Fantastic! Put The Party Back In Dinner Party (by yours truly and Zora) is really ramping up and before you know it, we will be drinking endless martinis on jet planes, arriving in baggage claims sloppily calling for our "handlers", trashing hotel rooms, removing our clothes at book signings, and auctioning my signed brassiere off for cab fare back to the trashed hotel room.
So in light of what MY future holds, and how much I know you will miss me, I thought we would partake in a good old fashioned red checked tablecloth dinner this Saturday night. Karl and I recently had dinner at a much revered place here in Astoria called Trattoria L'Incontro. I had Ossobucco over gnocchi, he had meatballs and spaghetti. As good as the ossobucco was, it couldn't hold a candle to those meatballs; they were ridiculously delicious-- tasted like someone's mom had made them. Then just last weekend I had the fine pleasure of being with Scarola at her little Fire Island hideaway and Sunday night she made her "Sunday Sauce" as Nick (another real Italian) called it. I carefully watched her marinara and definitely learned something so I could foist it upon you. Here is what I am thinking:

Chicken Liver Crostini (in my lifelong goal for mine to be as good as Michael White's, I try again)***
Mussels and Clams with Preserved Lemon, Wine, Garlic and Chili Flake (and Crusty Bread!)
Herb Salad from my garden!!
Pasta with Meatballs and Marinara
Broccoli Raab
Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Capers and Anchovy Vinaigrette
Chard and Cauliflower with Sherry Soaked Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts
Garlic Bread!!!!
Some sort of desserty thing. (honestly, after those little fried peach pie things from last week's dinner, I am still in dessert coma)
Usual Rules Apply. First 20 rsvps get the seats, $35 + a bottle of wine gets you in the door. No cancellations after Friday at 5pm, I gotta make some meatballs! Address with confirmation.

This was the "fun" side of the table. They were so self entertaining, I didn't even need to get over there! God-- does my backyard ever look more beautiful than this? I think not.

Cauliflower-- roasted with olive oil, then tossed with Chard (from my garden!!) that I sauteed with garlic, sherry soaked raisins and chili flake. Very southern Italian and fucking good!

Tomatoes-- mostly from my garden, with red onion, capers, and a vinaigrette made of rice vinegar (very soft acidity) a touch of sherry vinegar, garlic, salt,pepper, olive oil and ANCHOVIES. Tons of em mashed up. Sooooooo good. I could eat this all day long.

Clams and mussels with smoked paprika, white wine and garlic. An old friend-- sort of standby that never disappoints. Sort of like that special booty call person in your life.

Oh Michael White... I will discover your chicken liver pate secrets YET!!! This time, I sauteed them in butter and sherry, and then did a redux with port and sherry and added a little sugar, a little vin santo and tons more butter. I think next time I add marsala.

More tomato porn...

Toasted pine nuts-- these were supposed to go on the cauliflower.. and then I forgot. So I think we just ate them. They would have been great on the cauli/chard, though too.

Oh you unphotogenic little anchovies.... I know how beautiful and special you are!!!

Karl, my loving husband, documents my debut as a farmer. I grew all of that, yo! Austrian ancestors would be so proud... If only I could roll proper pastry too!

Golden raisins, soaking in warm sherry. Yeah.

Roasted cauli, waiting to be united with sauteed chard

Meatballs!!! Veal, pork and beef meatballs. Combined with a paste of garlic, red onion, herbs, bread crumbs, eggs, and olive oil. Sooooo moist and delicious and full of flavor.
Ohhhhh broccoli raab, you bitter bitter mistress, you. How I love thee.

Test meatballs.

Meatballs in the raw. Hot.

Another lovely and successful evening. I have no recollection of dessert-- oh wait-- i do too. It was apples baked with cinnamon and butter, finished with bourbon whipped cream. You know, in honor of Rosh Hashanah. Thanks to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Tour! The Musical! Video Links below of EARLY AM TEEVEE!!

Ok, so it's not really a musical. But it does involve going from city to city, checking into fancy hotels, driving rental cars very fast through unfamilar streets, consulting the iphone a lot for directions, calling friends who are from whatever city we are in to find out where to eat, signing copies of Forking Fantastic! in bookstores and "liberating" them from their bad placement in the store, and getting up REALLY early to do local teevee segments. Here is Portland and Here is Seattle. Notice what quick studies we are and how much better we get after PDX! I LOOOOOOOVE book tour! I was MADE to go on book tour!!!

Tonight we are on to Third Place Books in Seattle (7-8pm)-- run by the lovely and amazing Wendy Manning. (I know that because she has had dinner in my home a few times and I am sooooo looking forward to seeing her again!) Tomorrow we are at Dahlia Bakery in Seattle.It is lovely here, what with Salumi, Anchovies and Olives and Maximus-Minimus, (which we just call "The Pig Bus").

Off I go to freshen up for the clamoring masses at the book signing....

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Forking Fantastic Debutante Day Is Here!

Holy Shit.

I know that I shopped a teevee cooking show, got rejected all over town as "too edgy", "Not Rachel Ray enough" and "not like our current lineup", got depressed, wondered what was next and then *bing*! said, "well, let's just write a book and then they'll have to give us a teevee show, right? Isn't that how it works?

That was almost 3 years ago. Today, through a series of minor and major miracles, a lot of Dallas (10 seasons!) endless reruns of Law and Order SVU, Mahler Symphonies, Shostakovich, Bruckner, Brahms, lots of Bach chorales and fugues, Monteverdi, a gorgeous roots box set called Goodbye Babylon, tons of SND for friends and strangers, lots and lots of recipe testing, encouragement from so many, unconditional love from my husband and friends, and lots of vision and support from our team at Penguin, Forking Fantastic! Put The Party Back In Dinner Party is HERE!!!!

I can hardly believe it. Everything else I have created has been temporary-- music, theatre, food... here in the moment and then forever a memory. There is a beauty in that. But now I have a book that you can hold, and touch. It is amazing and exciting and thrilling and scary and.......Zora and I did it.

Perhaps a few people will be converted to home cooking and dinner parties for friends and strangers. That would feel like great success.