Winter's Block

Let me make this clear: I don’t have writer’s block, per se. I could probably prattle on for several pages about nothing if need be, effortlessly. I have the words at my disposal. It’s food I don’t have this week, Big Hungries, or more specifically, food served at a restaurant that I can then review here. Once again, it’s January, a time to munch on lunches comprised of hummus and raw veggies, plastic sacks of green, seedless, grapes, and vegetarian miso soup with shitake mushrooms. It’s a time to stare obsessively at pictures of the Miss America contestants in Las Vegas and dream of rocking a dress that short:

I stayed in my house most of the weekend, working on silly craft projects and organizing the house, post-holidays. Oh, and getting ready for my annual Miss America party, which is this Saturday. Hence, the art project:

Something tells me on one is going to be lining up to pay for my one-of-a-kind creations anytime soon. Anyhoodle, my local pageant in the Miss America system survives on the monetary generosity of girls who like glitter, so I made this box to encourage them.
Making a rhinestone crown out of various sticker sheets from Michaels is time-consuming, so instead of getting my butt out of the house and eating so I could produce an interesting blog for you this week, I made, like chicken fingers and spaghetti over the weekend. BOR-ING!
My lack of content did get me thinking about the places I’ve been meaning to review, but still haven’t eaten at with enough frequency, or collected enough photos of, to offer a comprehensive picture yet. Places like Romalato’s, in Watertown. I have two lines written in my little BHS notebook about it, a couple of errant photos, and no real content. Another of these is Owego Original Italian, in, you guessed it, Owego. Last spring, I took two terrific pictures of a fantastic lunch there, but two items does not a review make.  I apologize, and I will get back to both of them ASAP so I can share their wonders with you.
I thought instead, this week, we could discuss mail ordering food. I know some of you out there in the blogosphere are shy about internet shopping. I consider it a necessity when you live so far afield of a major metropolitan area. As promised in my Big Hungry Awards post, yesterday I ordered some delicious green chile sauce from my friends at the Santa Fe Ole Food Company. I can’t wait to make pork chile verde later on this month!

Another favorite send-away of mine, which I’ve written to you about before is Vosges Chocolates, from which I received a large delivery Monday. Do not doubt me when I tell you that their caramel marshmallows could drive away the toughest case of Seasonal Affective Disorder an Upstate winter can conjure. The caramel actually oozes out above the homemade, soft, vanilla-infused, cloud-like marshmallow! Send some of their sinful bacon caramel toffee to a friend, and you may receive proposals of marriage and the like. I have some of this on hand as a prize for one of the games at my party this weekend, and I’m already jealous of whomever wins it.

Something that has caught my eye recently is Gilt Taste. Gilt.com is an invite-only site usually touting sample sale luxury goods of the fashion variety. But with this new site, they’re hawking gourmet foods to make you drool, including cake that comes in a jar, which has absolutely captivated me. I must have some. This site also publishes recipes from the likes of Ruth Reichel, so I’m in good company with my fascination. Check it out when you need a gift for the gourmand in your life who has everything. I bought some white cheddar and truffle oil popcorn from here last year, and enjoyed it immensely.
Another culinary cult item that has been blowing up on Twitter for the past couple months, is currently enjoying a premo locale in my refrigerator, and graced the gift baskets of two foodies on my Christmas list is Bacon Marmalade. I have stirred this sticky-sweet and salty jam into oatmeal, added it to sautéing green beans, eaten it straight up on a cracker, and smeared it onto a breakfast sandwich. In NYC, our hipster friends are eating it over ice cream. Isn’t the world MAD with decadence? The versatility of this ingenious item is its biggest asset.

Mail order chicken pot pie is next on my culinary mail order to-do list. Mindy Kaling, who moonlights as the hilarious Kelly Kapour on The Office but whose main purpose in my life is amusing me via her genius blog, The Concerns of Mindy Kaling, recommended this item last year. I hope someone orders it for me: Dean and Deluca Chicken Pot Pie. Also in my future: macarons. Not macaroons, the coconut haystacks enrobed in chocolate, but macarons, the delicate French cookies in imaginative flavors, which I wanted to buy at the Apple Pie Bakery in December, but from which Shawn dissuaded me. Never trust a boyfriend who talks you out of cookies!

OK, you guys, I just scrolled back up and looked at the picture of Miss New York, and now I feel all guilty about prattling on about my pot pie and macaron fantasies for pages and pages. I’m going to eat some grapes and adjourn this party until next week. Maybe by then, I’ll have a real topic for ya.Wah-wah. My personality is big, my hunger is bigger!    


  1. No problem! This is from my awesome health coach, Sheri:

    Sheri's Miso Soup Recipe

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cooking Time: 15 minutes
    Yields: 3 servings


    3 cups water
    1 tsp. Hon-Dashi Bonito Fish Soup Stock
    1 cup bok choy, finely chopped
    3 t miso paste (I use Miso Master Organic red miso)


    In a soup pot, combine the water and the soup stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a light simmer/low heat and add in the bok choy and miso paste. Simmer for a few minutes and enjoy.

    Note: Just be careful not to bring the soup back to a boil once the miso is mixed in, as this will affect the nutritive properties of the miso and the flavor. I've also loaded this soup with tons of great things, like a 1/2 block of extra firm tofu cut into tiny squares, wakame, seaweed, some udon noodles or even shredded carrots. SO delicious!

    BHS Note: I added crimini and shitake mushrooms, bok choy and green onions that I pre-sauteed with some white pepper to the finished soup, and added soba noodles while the dashi broth was coming together, before the miso.