My wife has left me.
My wife Nadia is off to Thailand for ten days with a friend. She has been all about me for the last year with the exciting change in our lives due to the food network. Now it is her turn to take care of herself. I think the key to a great relationship is to make sure both partners always have a chance to have their own space and seek out what matters to them. If you try to find ways to bring your partner joy vs analysing what they are not doing for you it comes back ten-fold. I adore my love. She left yesterday and of course we already miss her. With that said this is a great opportunity for the kids and I to have a fun ten days together.
It did not start off with a culinary bang as we ate at Panda Express at 8:30pm last night after three hours of soccer and basketball practices. Laughing with the kids and seeing how happy they were to be enjoying their beef broccoli made my orange chicken doable. I must say there is something desirable about the sweet chewy coating and the spicy orange tang. My calamari tacos at my first restaurant Sweet Heat were made with a Chinese coating of cornstarch and egg whites. You whisk the egg white and dip the calamari in. Then you dredge it in cornstarch and lay the calamari flat (uncovered) in the refrigerator to air dry. By leaving it uncovered the cornstarch dries out and that is what creates the texture while keeping the calamari encapsulated and moist inside. When you fry it (canola oil) you get a thin, crisp, slightly chewy coating that grabs any sauce you use and won’t let go. I used to use a habanero/pineapple salsa. Tasty memories! I think I need to bring that back to life with the new fryer I just got.
Today I am going to make a batch of Bolognese (the kids favorite). I have also been in a meatball craze lately. I am determined to perfect the meatball. The key is tender and light. Not mini meatloafs but balls of tender pieces of meat barely held together with panko bread crumbs, sweated leeks, garlic and the spice of choice. Browned for depth of flavor but then bathed below a simmer in sauce until they can be cut with a fork held with just one finger and thumb. So far the best I have ever had is at Delfina Pizzeria on California St. in San Francisco. This weekend is lamb meatballs with thyme and sumac tomato sauce.. Those are two of the three herbs in a classic Zahtar (Middle Eastern spice of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds). I love the citrus pucker of sumac with its dried berry flavor. It is a great compliment to the flowery grassy perfume of thyme.
I am going to do some prep over the weekend as well for an abc7 shoot on Monday (Check out my last one on cooking light via the use of spices) and to be ready for a few days worth of school lunches. My gourmet kids had a lunch request for today of panini sandwiches. I made roasted asparagus, mushroom and manchego cheese for Bella and roasted mushroom, salami and cheddar for Seby. The extra work is well worth the joy of seeing them appreciate good food! That is what life is all about! A little love and money doesn’t hurt either. Time to get busy. Have a great day and eat something memorable!
Eat well, Enjoy life, Be happy