Sunday, February 11, 2007

this + this, but not that + that

I do have a kitchen again, although there are still 2 more stages to the renovating: the upper cupboards and the floor (see left, the paint job). And D and I have been cooking--how I missed those beloved ordinary meals that were so unattainable when the kitchen was full of ladders and plastic tarps: shrimp stir fry, meatloaf, baked potatoes with various toppings, etc. etc.
I'm not quite ready to post about the actual cooking yet though--I'm easing my way in by food contemplation: imagine me with chin leaning on one hand, a cartoon balloon over my head that has a picture of a cake in it, or maybe a steaming pot of stock, or some handmade pasta (one of my food resolutions).
Today I was thinking about things going with other things: sometimes they do and sometimes not. So I've started a small meme, a version of the fives: list 5 food pairings that you've discovered go very well together (maybe against expectations); and 5 that you really don't like at all.

Here are mine:
5 delicious partners
1. Ginger snaps and cheddar cheese--the snaps should be very gingery, the cheddar sharpish. This is an idea I got from a good friend, Susan of Bluffton, a late-night snack invention when she was getting her Ph.D. in creative writing. When I was visiting her several years ago, she brought out the gingersnaps and cheddar for one of our food and talk fests. "You'll love this," she said, and I was an immediate convert.
2. Potato chips and ice cream. Unflavored chips, of an unsurpassed crispiness and saltiness, and any kind of ice cream, although I like them best with chocolate. Salty and sweet--very classic; also crunchy and creamy. There's so much going on you won't be able to hold a sensible conversation. The first time I ate chips and ice cream together it was to gross out one of my squeamish cousins. I scooped the ice cream up like dip while she squealed in horror. Now I just eat them sedately from side-by-side bowls, which is just as good.
3. Cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives. They can be eaten together casually and promiscuously out of a bowl for lunch, or skewered jauntily on decorative toothpicks. Each makes the other taste more so--more sweetly tomatoish, more bitingly, piquantly olivish.
4. Saltine crackers with butter. This takes your snack life up a notch without noticeably increasing prep time. Open box of crackers, spread butter thinly. Make a stack so you don't have to go back to make more when you've gotten to a good place in the book you're reading and you don't want to stop and go back to the kitchen. I prefer unsalted butter, but if you're a saltlover go for the double dose.
5. Hardboiled eggs and French dressing. I usually make my own salad dressing now, but if it's going to be on a halved hardboiled egg, it has to be Kraft French Deluxe. The taste is important, but also the brilliant (some say lurid) color.

5 food hostilities
1. Prunes and chocolate. I like prunes, I like chocolate, but they just don't go together for me. Hopeful, I try them out again every once in a while, but--nope. Even as I'm typing this though, I had a vision of prune chocolate chunk muffins, so who knows? (Chocolate and apricots are fast friends though.)
2. Champagne and beer. Probably no one needs to be told this, but champagne and beer do not go well together. Especially not when they're mixed because you don't have a lot of champagne, and you think that beer (which you have a lot more of) will make it go farther when you're celebrating New Year's Eve at the home of one of your friends whose parents are spending the weekend in Las Vegas. I don't like to admit whose idea it was.
3. Coconut milk and pumpkin. One of the worst soups I ever made was a pumpkin soup made with coconut milk. It's true that I was not following the recipe, so it was my my own fault, but it was awful. The only time I've ever thrown something away (usually if things go bad, I put it in the fridge and pretend that I'm going to eat it later, until it grows a coat of mold and then I throw it away).
4. Sausage and gravy, as in sausage gravy. I've given sausage gravy many chances, because I ought to like it--I like them when they're decorously apart, but when they come together I draw back in horror. Maybe it's because I don't think gravy should be white? I know it's not because it's high in fat.
5. Celery stuffed with peanut butter. Who is responsible for this? I don't like the way it tastes, I don't like the way the peanut butter stickies up the crispness of the celery, and I don't like the way it looks--green and brown, not attractive. The only thing celery should be stuffed with is cream cheese mixed with a dollop of horseradish and a squeeze of lemon juice--a sanctified and beloved hors d'ouevre in our family.
I'm tagging Plan B, Madame X, Pen in Hand, Book of Marvels, No Feeling of Falling, and I'm hoping that Alternate Side Parking will take some time from the pressing business of moving her car from one side of the street to the other as well.


ThursdayNext said...

I admit to being a lover of celery with pb! Its called ants on a log sometimes, and the "ants" are chocolate sprinkles! :) This was a great post/meme!

lucette said...

Chocolate sprinkles: hmmm. Might make a difference.

Brian Kornell said...

I'm with you on the celery and peanut butter.

MJN/NYC said...

I have accepted your challenge!

K-Oh said...

Oh! I'll have to think about this. Sadly, I almost like everything with everything-- except, like, freshly brushed teeth with coffee.

cole said...

Sorry, but y ou are just wrong about the peanut butter on celery. Wrong, wrong,wrong.

I suggest next time to mash up a 1/2 of a ripe banana, add some unsweetened peanut butter (but salted!) and add some brewers yeast to it. I also like to chop up some dried apricots with it too. Yum. We pack this in my sons lunch often and he is the envy of the other Kindergartners in his class.

This mixture is also good on apple slices and eaten like a sandwich. yum.