Monday, February 04, 2013

Day 4: What you ate today, in great detail

Eating is something that I do well, I think.  I talk about food a lot in my daily life, and I have become a good home cook.  I'll tell you what I ate today, and then I will talk about the one American meal we make better than anyone else in the world.

I wake up at 6:00am and get out of bed to go to the bathroom.  On my way, I detour into the kitchen and start my Senseo* coffeemaker.  I drink my coffee with half-and-half in bed.  I usually get dressed first and then surf the internet on my iPad while I drink it.

At about 10:00am at work, I have a little snack.  Sometimes I have nuts or dried fruit or both, but today I had a "thin" peanut butter granola bar.

I had a late lunch today because of a staff meeting that ended at 1:00pm.  I ate leftovers from a Mexican restaurant outing - a chile relleno stuffed with cheese and beef plus some rice and refried beans.

For dinner, I made a leek and potato soup**.  I used my new immersion blender (I love it).  I also had ravioli with homemade pesto***.  For dessert, I had a slice of apple pie.

Something you should know about me is that I love American breakfasts.  One thing that French people ask often is about a "typical" American food, and it used to be really hard for me to think of something.  I would mention clam chowder and Maryland blue crabs, but that was as far as I could get - until I thought of an American breakfast.  It's also the one thing I think we do better than any other place I have ever been.  I love breakfast so much that on weekends, I beg Jube to go to the diner with me.  There are four diners within 10 minutes of our place, and I know their best features (the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, for example, has free refills on hot chocolate and good pancakes, but the homefries aren't very good and their combos are expensive, while the Woodside Deli always has a weird weekend "special" like pancakes with sausage gravy, so it can be risky to go there).

Jube loves to save money, though, so he has learned how to make amazing potatoes at home.  A typical Saturday looks like this:

Wake up "late" around 8:30 or 9:00 and make coffee with cream.  Then lie around the apartment for awhile reading.  Convince Jube to make brunch once we get hungry around 12.  He will make:

1. Bacon
2. In the bacon grease, the home fries.
3. Eggs.  I like mine over easy, and he likes his sunny side up.
4. Toast (this is usually for him, I don't need anything else).
5. I make another cup of coffee for myself.

*I love my Senseo.  For some reason these machines didn't take off in the US, but they did in France, so whenever I take a vacation there, I buy some special coffee pods.

**Slice 4-6 leeks and saute them in butter on medium heat until they are soft.  Throw in 3-4 medium potatoes, quartered and unpeeled.  Add a splash of milk or cream (or half-and-half) and then add enough water to cover the vegetables.  Lower the heat and cover the pot.  Let simmer until the potatoes are soft.  Blend the mixture (like I said, I used an immersion blender, but you can also use an upright blender) and add salt and pepper to taste.

***Put the leaves of an entire package of fresh basil into a food processor.  Add salt, pepper, 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, a big handful of pine nuts, a big handful of Parmesan cheese, and a little bit of olive oil.  Turn on the food processor and continue to add olive oil as needed.  Taste your mixture and adjust to your preference.


Paul said...

Hi Gem,

Straight to the point - I believe you speak French (I know 1000's must on, but I ended up on your site !)

I need a sentence translated into (good, idiomatic) French for my Valentine card for next Thursday, and I don't particularly trust Google.translate.

Can you help?

Best wishes,

Gem said...

Hi Paul,

Although I am not a native speaker, I do live with one, so I am sure we can come up with the right phrase for you. What do you need to say?

Paul said...

Thanks so much for replying.

Here is the cryptic message (it means something to only one person) :

Here's to a romantic Valentine's Day,
in a world where
at most N-1 men are "dogmatics"

Gem said...

OK Paul, here is the translation. It was a tricky one - neither Jube nor I are into math at all, so we had to look up the right way to say it. And we had a fight about how to say "here's to..." but I think it all worked out in the end!

À une Saint Valentin romantique,
Dans un monde où, parmi les hommes, N-1, au plus, sont des dogmatiques.

Paul said...

Thanks so much Gem,

> And we had a fight about how to say ...

Oh dear, that ups the ante for Valentine gifts which you now need to exchange :¬)

Funnily enough, it was French that my parents switched to when having a little "argument" in front of us kids.

I will run with your translation next Thursday, in preference to what I could eke out of google.translate, after repeating many forward and reverse translations, tweaking the English each time (you can see strong similarities)

Il s'agit d'une journée romantique Saint-Valentin,
dans un monde où ...
au plus N-1 hommes sont "dogmatique"

Much thanks,

I will be back with some comments in response to items like

> Slice 4-6 leeks and saute them in butter on medium heat until they are soft.

I gave been round the block a few times with different variants of relishes, am now experimenting with the fermented (sauerkraut) variety.

Gem said...

No worries, I think we enjoy arguing about language. I hope all goes well!