Category Archives: Narratives

A Love Sandwich

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A funny thing happened this past weekend, dear blog-friends. I’d like to share it with you if that is okay.

We had family in town and it was important to not spend all day in the kitchen when there was important family time to be had.  It was time to bust out the crock-pot and find a recipe that was as delicious as it was easy. Then it hit me. This blog featured a great pulled pork sandwich recipe not too long ago. It was the logical choice for the occasion, so I visited our blog to refresh our memories on how to brew this little treat.

When the familiar banner loaded and I revisited some of our experiences, I was reminded how fun it was to do. I recalled the soufflé that I was so sure would collapse in on itself (but didn’t) and the cupcakes with the cookie dough middle that were a lot of work, but even more fun to try.  I remembered struggling over a boiling pot of molten caramel to capture a picture with my iPhone. I also thought of Mark’s cheeks collapsing while trying to suck the too-thick blackberry shake through a straw. What fun!

It’s been great talking to family and friends that read the blog and took the time to let us how much they enjoyed it. We were reminded how much we enjoyed cooking and chronicling it.  We even miss the random spam comments from people overseas trying to trick us into posting comments about buying cheap pills on the black market.

So…

Consider it a late New Years resolution, but we are determined to find the time to do the things that we most enjoy and doing this is one of those things, dear blog-friends. We enjoy YOU! So we’d like to come back, if you’ll have us!

Until very soon,

xoxo

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Quinoa Mariniere with Scallops & Roasted Asparagus

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Have you ever seen a scallop when it was alive? Eek. Google it.

We’ve come to learn that the same friendly, French-speaking man that works at Ina Garten’s preferred seafood shop in Sagaponack, NY does not work at our local Shaw’s Supermarket. When Ina goes to the supermarket, she pulls up in her BMW coupe convertible, wearing a custom made button down and a little scarf from Hermes. She walks up to the counter and smiles at Jacques over a sea of fresh haddock, swordfish and mahi mahi.

“Bonjour, Jacques,” Ina exclaims in her breathy alto, “I’m having a great dinner tonight for my multitude of gay friends and I need one pound of those fresh scallops.”

Jacques smiles back, straightens up his pinstripe apron and loads the perfect amount of fresh scallops into some parchment paper and hands it back to Ina.

“Sounds great, Ina. I’ve got some great ones in here. Brought in this morning!”

They air kiss each other, wish one another a great weekend, and off she goes into culinary fabulousness. Thanks in part to Jacques of course, the sommelier of seafood.

That is Ina’s life. This is ours:

It’s was Columbus Day so we are in mesh shorts, hats, tshirts and flip-flops. It’s October, but a balmy 80 degrees, so everyone is in a generally unpleasant mood since we are being robbed of the best season in New England. As we strut up to the counter, clearly amateurs in the fresh seafood world, Jason turns to the seafood man (who most likely worked the deli the day before and the pharmacy the day before that) and asked, “Can you show me what ½ pound of scallops looks like?” When the man loads four scallops onto the scale, it is evident that two relatively hungry men wouldn’t fill up on that. “I’d better go with one pound,” Jason added.

It was as if we insulted his wife. He turned from the scale, and proclaimed, “Are you awarrrre of how much these are per pound?”

This was not Jacques from Sagaponack. This was Dick from Waltham.

Forget the fact that they are $19 a pound. Forget the fact that that is a horrifying number and that Dick was probably right to assume that we would never pay that. It was the principle! So he handed us our ½ pound of scallops in a plastic container and we strutted away from his counter carrying our bruised egos and a bag of quinoa.

 

At quick glance, it looks like Dip-n-Dots.

KEEN-wah is how you pronounce it and it has been everywhere lately. People are eating it dried with granola, or cold in salads with roasted tomatoes on the vine. They are all the rage in the health food community and are shipped in from mostly South American countries. It is a rice-couscous love child.

We were inspired to make this dish after seeing a recipe for risotto using quinoa, but we weren’t interested in adding stock and flour for thickening to actually make a risotto, so we took the lazy way out.

It was still good. So good we’d like to share it with you if you wouldn’t mind.

You’ll Need

½ pound of fresh scallops (or 1 pound if you have Beyonce’s money)
1 cup of whole-wheat quinoa
2 cups of marinara sauce
1 bouquet of asparagus
¼ cup of Italian style breadcrumbs
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (grate it yourself, please!)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 450. This is for the asparagus. Don’t forget to do this first or you will find yourself with cold scallops in your hand waiting for the asparagus to roast.

Measured to perfection

Second step is to measure out one cup of quinoa. It might not look like much, but one cup of dried quinoa can yield about 4 cups cooked, so unless you haven’t eaten since Monday, start with only one cup.  Make the quinoa according to the package directions and set aside.

Snapping their stumps off is a great way to get out agression.

Wash and clip the asparagus and lay out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Using your hands (duh) roll around the asparagus until the oil and dry ingredients are evenly coated throughout.

Roasty-toasty and ready to rock-n-roll

Toss in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, heat your marinara sauce on low.

Once your asparagus is about halfway done, start heating up a sauté pan for the scallops. Use medium heat so you don’t burn the hell out of the little fish. They are fragile and pissy and will turn against you in a minute.

Lay your scallops in a bowl and lightly drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Toss together carefully until evenly coated.

These will totally be worth the $270 they will cost you.

Transfer the scallops to the pan and DON’T TURN YOUR BACK FOR A SECOND. Treat these scallops as if they were the Chucky Doll. Remember the Chucky Doll in the movie Child’s Play? Would you turn your back on him?

HELL NO!

Scallops cook really quickly and go from raw, fleshy discs to shriveled, dry balls in minutes. Start by cooking for 1 minute per side until they are opaque and browned to perfection. They might expel some liquid, but don’t freak out. All is well. They are not sick or rancid.

Then, combine asparagus, scallops, quinoa and marinara and enjoy!

And whatever you do, don’t offer any to Dick from the seafood counter. He won’t appreciate them the way you will.

xoxo

Culinary Capitol

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Honey! We're home!

We know what you are thinking.

“Where in the hell have you been?! Are you not eating anymore? Are you done blogging? Do you not care about your 8 subscribers or the 5 random people that found your site by accident?”

Now don’t be so dramatic, dear blog-friends. Of course we still care about you. We jaunted off to the bureaucratic center of our nation for a wedding and a few days of R and R.

Don’t think for one minute we weren’t worried that you would forget about us because we haven’t posted in a few days. As matter of fact, we couldn’t wait to go to D.C to try some new places out and tell you all about them! We thought of you the whole time. We were faithful. Were you?! It’s okay if during our absence you cheated a little and found a much more established gay food blogger, or if you decided that all of our cooking was too fattening and you needed a low cal break and stumbled upon a healthy options blog that we love.

It’s okay, we forgive you, as long as your little affair is over. Just for you, we’d like to share some of our culinary escapades with you while we were away.

Only 690 calories!

Lunch on day one was sort of an emergency. We flew in on Jet Blue early in the morning, checked into our nice little hotel right near the mall, and trudged through the uncharacteristically hot fall day to the National Holocaust Memorial Museum.  By the time we were done there, it was the high heat of the day and we were tired and emotional. Lunch was a necessity and there was no time to troll Yelp or Urbanspoon for recommendations so we set sail past protesters and lost families in search of anyplace with a table and food.

And we found the Corner Bakery. It was on a corner. How original.

The food there was less than enjoyable. Jason blew 46% of his daily calorie allowance on chicken salad with raisins and almonds on some dry slice of wheat bread. Mark “enjoyed”  a ham and cheese sandwich and some wilted Caesar salad. They were served with a side of crushed potato chips and a pickle which was still more of a cucumber. Oh! And the personnel there seem to be adverse to cleaning off tables so it’s hard to find a clean place to sit at.

"Above all, have a good time!"

After the less than edible lunch, it was time to pay homage to the one and only Julia Child! Her kitchen was a mere half mile from the Corner Bakery and we couldn’t resist!

You can almost picture Julia and Paul sitting at this table.

It was really a great experience to be that close to her kitchen. Granted we had to stand in a small plexiglass vestibule to get close enough for a picture that was 25% reflection of what was behind you, but it was still an experience!

It was the subtle things that we loved the most about her kitchen. Her shelf of cookbooks had many of the staples that you would expect. The Joy of Cooking, Larousse Gastronomique and other essentials were coated in splattered food and peppered with oversized fingerprints. They were loved. They were used. But one shelf above the must-have cookbooks were HER cookbooks.

Her proud library

And the best part? These too were used. Coated in drops of gravy and splatters of red wine. If it weren’t for the plexiglass barrier, we most likely could have smelled that wonderful aroma that comes with books that have aged and been put to good use.

Open concept!

She was kind of a kitchen tool hoarder, but in a good way.

You can almost smell the stew, can't you?

Being gay and being in the Museum of American History, we had to also track down the ruby slippers. So we did. But they were more maroon than ruby. Which was kind of sad.

With a little crisco, they might actually fit Mark if we tried.

After a very gay-centered tour of the Smithsonian (Julia’s kitchen, ruby slippers and the First Lady’s exhibit) we needed a nap. After a few hours of relaxing, we were ready to have a little dinner at a nearby McCormick and Schmicks.

Moules mariniere

Perhaps it is because we have been spoiled by Legal Seafoods. Perhaps it was because the martinis and dessert was so much better than the dinner, but we weren’t thrilled here either.

Mahi Mahi and Cosmo!

Poor Mark. He ordered pecan crusted mahi mahi but what came out was a filet with a pecan jam on top. It was swimming in what appeared to be chicken noodle soup with gnocchi.

Um, yes please

But the dessert! Holy hell! Chocolate espresso creme brulee with fresh berries. Across the table from that? A flourless chocolate cake sundae. Bailey’s on the rocks and an Irish Cream coffee, too! It was heaven.

Um, yummers. Like totally. But the strange part? When the waiter brought our bill he asked if we wanted to buy discounted movie tickets. What? For real? Why is a seafood place (that isn’t good at making seafood) selling Regal Theater tickets?

We came to DC for a wedding and it was truly wonderful.

A CD of songs they love

The food was delish and the atmosphere was simply gorgeous. We didn’t take any photos of the food at the wedding because we were too busy talking and drinking. But it was divine from start to finish! We did get a cool shot of the venue:

National Building Museum

But, before the wedding started, we had a dirty goose martini with blue cheese and bacon stuffed olives. It only seemed right.

Dirty girl

So now here we are. Back home in suburban Boston, planning out our next week of culinary adventures. We bought some quinoa to cook with for the first time so that should be interesting!

Thanks for letting us get away for a few days!

But seriously, damn it. Enough cheating on us with that amazingly sweet blog that we love to bake from. We were only gone a few days.

xoxo

Bonjour and Bon Appetit!

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Well here we are, but a mere speck in the vast blogosphere, but here nonetheless! We are two gay men, married, residing in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts near the even greater City of Boston. By day, we each work for “the man” but by night, we play by our own rules. Chronically co-dependent (in a good way) we do just about everything together. We (hope to learn how to) cook, we (wish we had money to) shop, we (domestically) travel, and now we (pretend that someone will read what we) write. And you are lucky enough to read it all happen here.

After four years of marriage we found that we needed a hobby. The “get-up-go-to-work-come-home-eat-takeout routine” was becoming, well, a routine. We don’t own an animal, don’t have children and tv-watchery tends to suck what few available hours there are away in a mere flash. One of us liked to write but never did it, the other liked to cook but (you guessed it) rarely did it. So this, blog-friends, seemed like a fancy middle ground where we could do both together. In the end, we benefit and so do our friends and family for being the ones to help us devour our culinary brood.

Since cookery is relatively new to us, we will chronicle our epic fails, dignified successes and all the in between. And just for fun, we might throw in some thoughtful and creative ideas for the home in general. Join us, will you?

xoxo

Pretty things, but what do they all do?