If Yan Could Cook. . .

Archive for December 2008

Salmon Dip, Roquefort Cream, and Other Banalities

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On a television show, one character arrived at another character’s apartment – they didn’t know each other well – and wheedled his way inside. “I have two Porterhouses and a six pack,” he said.

My initial reaction was to squeal. “That’s awesome!” I said.

My boyfriend, slightly miffed, brought up the fact that he’d been bringing me boxes of Chinese pastries regularly since we met. “Steak trumps pastry, come on,” I said. Later I conceded that while bringing raw steaks and beer to someone’s home is romantic, it’s also invasive – someone showing up to use my kitchen when I wasn’t ready for them would irritate me. Except, you know, there’d be steak.

“You think beer and steak are romantic, my dear, burly man,” he chided, gently.

Salmon Dip

I like this picture a lot, because it displays the grandeur with which I eat and hints at the squalor in which I live. The simultaneous presence of cockroaches and prosciutto is not uncommon in my home.

In the dip, in no particular order: garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, canned salmon, sour cream, green onions, Havarti, Monterey Jack, white cheddar, lemon juice, black pepper. The garlic and spinach needed to be cooked and the cheese needed to melt, but essentially this was all just flung face-first into a pan. I’ll admit that sour cream, artichokes, and lemon juice resulted in a little too much tartness: the trick here would be to go absolutely wild on cheese. Spinach, artichokes, and enough cheese, and you could be grinding shoes into it (personally, I recommend crab, fish, or crushed nacho chips) and it would still be delicious. I ate it on Stone Wheat Thins and slices of cucumber, with a mango smoothie (frozen mangoes, ice, yogurt, juice) at hand, lazily paging through a textbook. Snow blew furiously past my window; I stayed at a distance where I could not tell if it was actually snowing or powder was just being stripped violently from the rooftops. Someone messaged me to ask if I wanted to go work out with them at a gym on the other side of town. I declined, mouth full of hot cheese, thinking, “Are you mad?”

My friends and I had a Christmas potluck during a week where I was completely strung-out from exam preparation and over-caffeination. My two addictions – academic praise and coffee – had left me looking and feeling like the junkie I was: haggard, jonesing. Dismayed at the idea that of actually cooking, I went with Roquefort cream gnocchi and the candied walnuts I had made before for a salad. As I predicted, people asked me all night if I made the potato gnocchi myself, and I had to say no (I suspect it wouldn’t be that difficult, but I don’t tend to break out the pastry bag during the school year). The dish was actually deceptively simple. The storebought (gah) gnocchi was just dipped in boiling water. The sauce was just a big hunk of blue cheese, crumbled and melted, along with micrograted white cheddar, and a full cup of 15% cream. Black pepper to taste; adding salt is for fanatics. The pasta and sauce were tossed together in a casserole dish, topped with a ridiculous layer of shredded parmigiano-reggiano, and then run under the broiler until coloured. I thought the flavour was too strong (it was a wicked blue cheese) for a group setting, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

When someone asked me what I brought, I thought about it for a moment, and said, “Cheese.”
“What else?” he inquired.
“That’s pretty much all that’s in there,” I replied.

I confess I have essentially stopped cooking during the exam period, which has been going for weeks now. Today, for example, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. and had nothing but coffee until after nine p.m., when I fell, dizzily, into the snow. I am not saying that to be melodramatic and emo – I wrote a literary analysis paper in between. And I did not follow it up with cigarettes and pouring my papery, delicate-as-glass legs into hipster jeans, sitting dead-eyed and starving through a band and then writing darkly of sensory sensations on a very different kind of blog. Once the awfulness of the paper was behind me, I did what I always do: sat in a cheerful fort made of clementine oranges and potato chips.

I think the city needs to regulate bacon consumption. I would like, very much, to sit down in a diner and be refused service, on the grounds that I have exceeded my allotment for this month.


Written by skimfu

December 18, 2008 at 2:28 am

Posted in Fish, Pasta