Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grub Street Diet

One of my favorite features of the New York Magazine Web site is the "Grub Street Diet." Every week, some NY-based celebrity (actor, musician, director, media mogul, etc.) is asked to keep track of everything he or she eats during the week and submit it to the magazine in essay format. Some folks have an interesting life but a boring diet, and with some others it's vice versa.

Recently, Mr Minx and I found ourselves eating in restaurants a lot more than usual, which made me think of the Grub Street Diet. We're in the "interesting diet, boring life" category, as you'll see.

Monday, April 15
Monday is usually Panera day, and my regular order is a large coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I've been stuck on their Mediterranean egg white, which has pesto, spinach, cheddar, and roasted tomatoes on ciabatta. It's quite a tasty combo - love the roasted tomatoes - and plenty filling to satiate me until lunch.

Around 1pm, lunch was a Voskos exotic fig non-fat Greek yogurt. It tasted ok, but the fig seeds made it unpleasantly crunchy.

Mr Minx always has dinner in the works when I get home from work. This evening, he was in the process of making a day-glo yellow Curry of Indeterminate Origin from a recipe he found on teh Innernets. He insisted it was supposed to be a Thai-style curry, but it looked Indian. Smelled Indian, too. In any case, it was brightly colored and slightly sweet and went nicely with a big pile of basmati rice. It also used up the block of super-duper-firm tofu we picked up at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago that was on the verge of expiration.

Tuesday, April 16
Today, I went to Au Bon Pain for my coffee. I like iced coffee when the weather is warm. ABP only offers the caffeinated stuff, so I make my own by overfilling my cup with ice and mixing hot decaf and their Irish cream flavor half and half (their hazelnut is rather flavorless) with some milk. Their large iced drinks are so huge, I end up finishing it with lunch. But first, breakfast, which is a boring cup of Muller FruitUp yogurt in the Peach Passionfruit flavor. It's tasty enough, I suppose, though the fruity part on the top is a bit gelatinous. And now that I've gone to look for the nutrition label online, I've decided that I can no longer eat this particular yogurt. Why? Because it contains tilapia. Yes, I realize that is a fish, but I wonder if Muller knows that?

I was hoping that the UMB farmers' market would have started up already so I can get my summertime fix of two tacos from Ruben's Mexican Food. Instead, I ate the lunch I brought, which was home-made sweet potato hummus with baby carrots and sweet potato tortilla chips.

Mr Minx picked me up from work today. When I asked what he wanted to do for dinner, he suggested we could eat the leftover pasta from Friday. Except for the tilapia in my yogurt this morning, I hadn't eaten meat since Saturday, so really wasn't in the mood for that particular pasta, which had a vegetarian goat-cheese-and-tomato sauce. Mr Minx then suggested we go to Burger Brothers, which at that point on our ride was about a block away, so that's what we did. The first time we ate there, the burgers and fries both were super-salty. This time, the saltiness of my cheeseburger with bleu cheese, pickles, and tomato was my own damn fault, since bleu cheese is salty, but it wasn't anything like the first time. The fries were pretty good, too.

Wednesday, April 17
On Wednesday, I took the day off work so we could get a bunch of errands done. Breakfast was a bowl of cereal - a handful of Honey Bunches of Oats to finish off the box, and another handful of Mini-Wheats, topped with 2% milk.
Squire's everything pizza
We then went to Home Depot to pick up stuff for our new vegetable garden, made a trip to the storage locker to pick up some furniture, including a much-needed office chair. We had been using one of my Dad's old chairs from probably the late 80s. It was so wonky that after sitting in it for more than ten minutes we found ourselves sliding so far forward our knees were in danger of hitting the ground. That one was disposed of in a quick trip to the dump. We had borrowed my brother-in-law's truck, so after returning that to him, we visited with my mother-in-law who lives in the same area. By the time 3pm rolled around, our stomachs were growling and Mom suggested we order a pizza from Squire's, which we did. Almost nothing satisfies a ravenous appetite more than one of their hearty "everything" pizzas topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and meat sauce. I was a pig and ate three slices, but other than the cereal, didn't eat anything else all day.

Thursday, April 17
I was home on Thursday, too, and after a breakfast of toasted Panera honey wheat bread topped with a bit of Richard Blais's recipe for pimento cheese (post on that coming soon!), I decided to tackle a recipe from a cookbook that I received for review. The pineapple upside-down cake from Tate's Bake Shop: Baking for Friends turned out extremely well. Except for the part when the caramel oozed up the side of the pan and out onto the bottom of my oven. Luckily, it was lined with a sheet of foil that caught the now-burning and smoking caramel, and I quickly whipped it out and replaced it with a fresh sheet, all without: 1) burning myself; 2) causing the cake to fall.

No lunch again today because we planned to have dinner with my brother at Birroteca. He's been threatening to move out of town and has been trying to eat at as many of the restaurants I've recommended as possible. Earlier in the year, Mr Minx and I had a terrific meal at Birroteca with our friend Melinda, but it was mostly vegetarian in nature. This time, we ordered dishes fit for a carnivore (and a post about that meal will be forthcoming). We again ate the calamari alla plancha because it's so freakin' good, but we also tried the meatballs, the duck duck goose pizza, and the Thursday special of Sicilian steak.

Friday, April 18
I was back to work today and had an Oikos Café Latte yogurt for breakfast. No fish in that yogurt, but it does have "black carrot" juice for color. Huh? It was really good - I'll buy this one again. Lunch was leftover hummus from Tuesday with more baby carrots.

For dinner, we had the leftover pasta that we eschewed on Tuesday, beefed up (literally) with some of the steak left over from Birroteca. We try to be really good about eating all of our leftovers, whether they come from meals eaten at home or in restaurants. There's too much waste in this country as it is.

Four days a week, we eat nothing between dinner and bedtime, but on the weekends, we indulge in a bit of ice cream. Tonight we had it with some of the pineapple upside-down cake from Thursday.

Saturday, April 19
Breakfast was leftover black bean enchiladas from last Sunday's dinner, topped with a fried egg. We need the protein for the day ahead.

For the past three Saturdays, we've been attempting to downsize our storage locker. This week, we made still more progress before calling it quits and going home to wash up a bit. Honestly, I can deal with dust and grime for only so long before my dirty hands trigger my semi-compulsive need to wash them.

After washing up, we decided to have dinner at Earth, Wood, & Fire. The last time we were there, I fell in love with their coal-fired chicken wings. They're perfectly cooked, tender and juicy, with a nice crisp skin with patches of char and a light smack of cumin. I had some of those with a small arugula salad with bleu cheese and seedless grapes.

Late night dessert was a bowl of ice cream with pineapple upside-down cake.

Sunday, April 20
The original plan was to meet my brother and Dad at the Nautilus diner for breakfast. Mr Minx and my brother were then going to head down to the Orioles game and Dad would drive me home. But Dad wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home with the dog. While the boys ate omelettes and bacon, I made myself a sandwich with pancetta, a fried egg, and a spoonful of Blais' pimento cheese on toasted rye. While the Nautilus is fine and dandy, I dare say I probably got the better end of the breakfast deal.

After taking quite the long walk with the dog in order to obtain one of those horrible "e-collar" thingies so he won't scratch his eyes out (he has terrible hay fever), I spent the afternoon reading cookbooks before heading to the kitchen to work on dinner. I wasn't sure if the boys would be up for dinner after the game, but I made enough for several people anyway - red-braised chicken thighs, smashed marinated radishes (both from Fuchsia Dunlop's latest Chinese cookbook) and some oven-roasted asparagus with sliced garlic. I fixed a "beauty plate" for photographing, then ate that as my dinner, along with the lion's share of asparagus.

We finished up our ice cream stash with more cake before hitting the sack a bit earlier than usual.

See. Boring. And long-winded, to boot.

Posted on Minxeats.com.
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