Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Satisfy Your Wife

The Gourmale shows you how to satisfy your wife—in a mere 3.5 minutes!! Please remember, I’m not a chef – I’m just a dude who digs food. This episode focuses primarily on braising, which is an amazing way to get food both golden brown, and incredibly moist and tender.

Recipes featured in this video include the following. I don’t really measure stuff, I kind of play it as it lays:

Quick Brussels Sprouts Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pecorino
Toast crushed walnuts in a pan over med-high heat for about 5 mins until golden brown, and let cool. Shave brussels sprouts (pref. with a mandoline), grate pecorino, add walnuts. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over, add a fair portion of extra-virgin olive oil and toss. If you’re feelin citrus’y, add some orange slices. Tasty.

Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potato
Peel, and then poke some holes in a sweet potato. Then coat with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly chopped rosemary, salt (kosher or Maldon) and pepper. Roast for about 45-60 mins on 450. Turn once during cooking – about half-way through.

Braised Fennel with Fresh Oregano and White Wine
Trim fennel bulbs (removing fronds) and slice into 3/4″ thick pieces. Sauté in olive oil until golden brown – about 5 minutes. Turn them over, add salt, chopped fresh oregano (or thyme would work well too), 1/2 c white wine, 1/2 c chick or veg stock and cover. Put in the oven on 450 for about 20 mins.

Braised Chicken Legs with Sage and Lemon
Rub chicken legs (thighs would work nicely here too) with lemon. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and cayenne, then chopped fresh sage on both sides. In a heavy pan, heat olive oil on med-high heat, then add chicken legs, skin side down. Cook for about 7 minutes until golden brown, then flip them over. Squeeze the rest of the lemon and the other half, add them to the pan. Then pour in some white wine (about 1/2 c), cover, and reduce heat to low. Let them braise in the liquid for about 25 mins, depending on the size of the legs. (Small legs I’ve pulled out at 20 mins and they were perfect).

For the sauce: heat and scrape up the drippings, add a little more white wine and stir until it’s thickened a bit, then pour over the chicken.

If that doesn’t satisfy your wife…nothing will.

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A Man’s Place is in the Kitchen

In the majority of the couples I know, the guy does the cooking.

Is this a paradigm shift in domesticity roles? Why do I feel it has gotten little attention?

And hey, I’m no teary-eyed Glenn Beck doughboy waxing nostalgic for the “good ol’ days when I was a kid” and mom used to don the apron and have to cook everything. I just happen to like cooking, and, my wife doesn’t. And I know lots of other guys who are happily sailing in the same boat.

So why has it become okay, or dare I say “cool” for a man to be the primary cook in today’s home kitchen?

One reason surely must be celebrity chefs and the Food Network. When I was a kid (oops, there I go getting all Glenn Beck again), I watched a ton of cooking shows. Lots of Julia Child, but also Jacques Pepin, Justin Wilson: The Cajun cook, Jeff Smith: The Frugal Gourmet—who’s career (according to wikipedia) tragically  “came to an end when two of his male assistant chefs brought charges of sexual harassment against him.”

Yikes…

But the past ten or so years have seen the rise of numerous cool/macho/hip chefs who have become household names – Anthony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsay, and I suppose even Emeril Lagasse with his terrible cooking and inpsipid catch-noise (“Bam!”). All these guys helped take cooking out of the kitchen and into our living rooms—it made cooking something a guy could relate to, and want to emulate. No longer was the chef a skilled professional in the back of the kitchen, he was just a dude like us.

Bourdain, in fact, scribed an excellent op-ed in the NY Times (as part of an end of decade roundup) in December noting 2007 as a watershed year for food and our relationship to it:

“The brilliant, pioneering work of LA Weekly’s Jonathan Gold was honored with a Pulitzer Prize, the first time for a food writer — and this, surely, was a Very Important Moment. But 2007 was also the year that Food Network canceled “Emeril Live,” and stopped ordering episodes of “Molto Mario,” a calculated break with the idea of the celebrity chef as a seasoned professional and a move toward an entirely new definition: a personality with a sauté pan.”

I’ll be getting more into this subject as it really is the meat of The Gourmale blog…and I encourage anyone’s thoughts.

In the meantime, another cookie recipe from my mom (actually my nana):

Nana’s Crescent Cookies

1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 t almond extract
1t vanilla
1t cold water
1c crushed pecans or walnuts
2 c flour

Mix together. Use approx size of large marble and roll into crescent shape.

Bake 325 15-20 min on buttered cookie sheet.

Murderer’s Thumb Print Cookies

I have very strange looking thumbs. They are flat, and square, and resemble a big toe.

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My thumbs make bowling difficult—how to find a ball light enough for my weak paltry arms, but with a hole large enough to fit my wide toe-like thumb?

I am not the only person in the world with these thumbs. Apparently, according to what I am sure is a very reliable blog, Megan Fox has them too. Apparently they are also problematic for nail salon professionals.

This physiological anomaly is referred to as Murderer’s Thumbs or Potter’s Thumbs, and apparently a lot of people have them. Also, they signify nothing—I am neither a murder, nor a potter. Though I do occasionally like gardening, and I will kill insects that annoy me or my wife.

But more importantly, I’ve launched a new blog—The Gourmale. Here, I’ll write about stuff I cook and eat, and will include the occasional rumination on why I cook and eat what I cook and eat.

Today, I’m baking these almond thumb print cookies—it’s a recipe I found on Epicurious. My mom used to make thumb print cookies when I was a kid (as I suspect yours may have as well) and I have fond memories of them.

For me, it was finally something for which my flat, shovel-like thumbs were useful.

This is likely not anything like her recipe, and I was lacking matzoh meal (which I found strange to see in a cookie recipe) so I followed one of the reviewers comments (sort of) and replaced that with ground pecan meal which (they used almond meal) I bought at the Echo Park Farmer’s Market.

I’m preparing them for a dinner party at my friend Peter B’s house—I’ve instructed him how to marinate a leg-of-lamb in garlic, olive oil and rosemary, and I’ll help him grill it on his extraordinarily expensive Weber grill. The only other time he’s used the grill is when I was there last time to christen it.

Sometimes I wish I had an expensive grill, but then, my Weber kettle seems to work just fine.

Here’s how the cookies turned out. A little flatter and squatter than I remembered them, and one of the centers fell out. Also, I clearly need to buy a cooling rack.

Ah well. Let’s hope the lamb works.