Today was an unremarkable day for food, a most remarkable day for movie-going. Please see Wall-e, immediately. It was certainly one of the most transcendent cinema experiences of my life. I didn't even realize I had tears running down my face. This movie is also perhaps the most effective campaign advertisement for regime change imaginable. And it is really, really funny. If I had more thumbs, I'd have them turned up for this one. Two doesn't seem nearly enough. The opening and closing credits are unmissable. AND that damn cute short film at the beginning, god bless Pixar.
I had leftover noodles and vegetables for lunch, maybe my favorite leftover lunch ever (no, that's not true, it's poppyseed chicken, lined up for next week!). Dinner was movie popcorn, and I'm still not quite back to hungry after that.
As promised, though, I can review this weekend's cookfest.
Saturday, I made two cheesecakes for Leia's baby shower. One orange blossom, with a gingersnap crust and mixed berry compote. This is one of my classic cheesecakes, pretty much straight off of Epicurious, except I don't fuss with the more complicated crust on there and I half the berry sauce. I think it's a really interesting approach to cheesecake because it has a few tablespoons of flour in the filling, which makes a rather firm and even texture, and it bakes for 12 minutes at 500 degrees, then turned down to 200 degrees for 55 minutes. WAY off the cheesecake norm, let me tell you. The other cheesecake is straight out of the July Bon Appetit: S'mores Cheesecake. HOLY MOTHER it was good. And simply beautiful. Graham cracker crust (I sub in brown sugar for white sugar), chocolate cheesecake (oops, I used bittersweet instead of milk chocolate, oh well!), with a marshmallow meringue topping. Toasted the top with my kitchen torch and let the oohs and aahs just roll over me. Served both with that good (but risky) pomegranate berry compote and felt pretty pleased with myself.
I also made chocolate chip cookies, and I'm happy to say they were a damn close facsimile to my father's, but I still would like them to be a bit chewier. They were better on the first night, but that's always true, right? We hosted Jon and Ali for shredded beef tacos, potato and yellow squash torte and layered salad. The beef was a triumph, a 2 lb. beef roast from the CSA, I cubed it and browned the cubes, added cumin, tomato paste, tomato sauce, onions and bell peppers, and left the whole thing in the slow cooker for the rest of the day until the meat was falling apart. Served the tacos with refried beans, guacamole, a relish made with red onion and yellow bell pepper, cilantro, cheese.
Sunday I made benedictine (cucumber) sandwiches for the shower. For dinner we had lasagna and roasted vegetable panzanella, both of which were good that night but I can't muster much enthusiasm for the leftovers. I can't quite wrap my head around the panzanella; many changes would be made before I tried it again. Roasting green beans was a disappointment; we've gotten so many with the CSA and I can't find a way to cook them that I'm crazy about. I thought surely roasting with olive oil and s & p would be a winner, since it transforms all other vegetables into works of art.
Monday night we made chimichangas with the leftover taco ingredients, and they were shockingly good. I was forced to offer my gratitude for Austin's college job, which was waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant. He said we were going to fry them and I thought he was stark raving mad. Turns out, about 3/4 of an inch of hot oil, and he was totally right. They looked professional and tasted phenomenal with lots of cheddar cheese.
Folks, that's all I've got. I'm so OVER people shooting off fireworks outside my bedroom window. I'm glad I don't have the type of dogs who think we're under attack. Really, they can hardly be bothered with it all...