A few things I ate recently: burgers, pizza, and lasagna. I guess the abundance of Chinese food over the holidays has left me craving the good ‘ol stuff. And none of them very creatively executed, with perhaps the exception of the burger, because I swung by by Amy’s Bread on Bleecker St. and picked up a couple of “mini” sourdough rolls. Well, they were far too big for one burger. In retrospect I think my original idea of making one giant burger and slicing the whole thing in half to make two normal-sized burgers would have made for a better photo op than what I did: grill the burger patties separately, and place each inside a hacked-down-the-middle Amy’s sourdough roll.
I smeared the bun with chipotle mayo whipped up by mixing chipotle Tabasco sauce with mayonnaise, and layered some crisp red onions and a juicy tomato slice in place of ketchup. I also seasoned the meat with a little Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. I know that seasoning the meat is largely un-burger PC according to many of the authorities that be (I think it’s an unnecessary fear of leaning toward meatloaf), but I can’t help myself.
Amy’s Bread on Bleecker St. is sandwiched amongst several of the most high-brow specialty food shops in New York—Murray’s Cheese, Faicco’s Italian Specialities, the Lobster Place and fresh seafood market, and across the street, a Mediterranean market with their courageously eclectic (and expensive) selection of olive oils. My co-workers get their cupcakes from Amy’s when someone has a birthday, which is where I first tasted the most sickeningly moist cupcake I’ve had. It was a bit more like fudge. (In contrast to my previous midtown work locations, where I worked when I first began this blog, I now work in the West Village, which suits a foodie very well.) I would highly recommend Amy’s Bread if you haven’t been there. They also supply bread for L’Epicerie in Fort Greene, my friendly neighborhood French-style grocery. (I got some wonderful merguez sausages from there for a New Year’s Day breakfast with eggs and potatoes.)
I recently watched Lidia Bastianich Lidia Bastianich on PBS make an elaborately piled lasagna, or pasticiotti, as she called it. She made it with the old-fashioned Bolognese sauce recipe which uses two kinds of meat, lots of milk, carrots, onion and celery, and takes literally a whole day to make. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I also can’t find much fault with adding well-seasoned browned ground beef to red sauce for lasagna at the moment. I like lasagnas that hold together somewhat, and made with a sheet pasta that you don’t have to boil before putting it in the oven all prepared and covered. The edges of the pasta are delightfully crispier, and you don’t have to wait an hour, or a day, to cut into the lasagna and serve it so that it doesn’t turn into soup on your plate. Barilla makes a good no-boil lasagna. And though Lidia didn’t use it, lasagna should have ricotta in my book–claiming its own two layers of so with only some traces of chopped parsley, salt, and parmesan along with it.
Vegetable confetti quesadillas–throw some leftover stuff onto a tortilla and see if it sticks!
There must be something amiss when it’s mid-January, nearly sixty degrees outside, and you’re stuffing your expanded belly with halved-roll hamburgers, taking the advice of Lidia Bastianich and Bobby Flay with a grain of salt, and even encouraging others to do so. There’s good days and there’s bad days for every home cook. And then there’s the bad season.