Archive for April, 2008

I’ve mentioned B here several times. I’ve known him since we were in fifth grade; we “went out”. He was then my first real boyfriend in high school.

It’s really hard for me when I try to write about him here because I don’t think some post on a little blog can really do any justice to what he means to me. He was the first real and true love in my life, someone I desperately needed and cared about. I was a loud, awkward mess and dear God, he wanted to be with me. Me.

I have all these memories from our errant youth and constantly become annoyed with him when a story registers a blank on his radar. I do have a steel cage memory, but I think someone may have partaken in a little too much recreational behavior in college which caused our beautiful memories to be forever erased. Yet, despite my encyclopedic recollection of our younger years, I cannot remember why we broke up.

For this, I am thankful. I am sure it was immature and stupid and I don’t really need to relive that. Luckily, nothing happened when we were 17 can undo what we have now.

He can tell me I am acting like a crazy person better than anyone I know; he mocks me when I am being ridiculous and still makes me laugh as he does it. He understands when to stop and just listen and accepts sometimes, no matter what he says, I am prone to throwing myself on live grenades. He laughs at my jokes, relishes my potty mouth and eggs me on. He accepts my love for Fleetwood Mac and I never fail to remind him of all the painful hours of Phish that were forced upon my bleeding ears. He always picks up the phone when I call and in return, I answer his pleading text messages that come as he stands in the aisles of the grocery store. I unflinchingly admit every mistake, triumph and transgression in my life to him; he has seen the very good, the very bad, and the very ugly. He is kind, thoughtful, hysterical, and an absolute anchor in my life.

He also accepts that I have to say this on the internet instead of to him because I find my feelings very scary.

When we broke up in high school, I drowned my sorrow in pints of Chunky Monkey ice cream, lamenting I would never love anyone as much as I loved him. And though I have loved since him, loved differently, I have never loved anyone the same exact way I love him.

I will think of him as I eat my cone today.

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I grew up eating vats of spaghetti, cooked in an enormous pot with a huge oil slick skimming atop the water. I quickly learned the only proper way to test the strands for doneness was to throw the pasta against the refrigerator door and see if it stuck. Hygienic? No. Oddly satisfying? Yes.

Drowning in Ragu (traditional style!), this to me is pasta. Served along side an iceberg and celery salad doused in ranch dressing, this is one of those meals that perfectly captures childhood for me. I occasionally will long for this meal when feeling melancholy. (If this culinary masterpiece ended with two vienna finger cookies–only two!!– dipped in 2% milk, I might die from bliss overload.)

Yet, something happened to me (and I am sure many of you) a few years ago. In my attempts to slim down, pasta became the enemy. It was..a “c” word…and for a while that “c” word was worse than THE “c” word.

But god dammit, I want my pasta. Oh carbs, how I love you. I want to stare in to your eyes, feel you next to me, envelop myself in your beautiful, starchy goodness. If loving you is wrong I do not want to be right. You are the most delicious sin.

Below is a grown up version of my beloved spaghetti. It is simple to make, flavorful and even manages to sneak a few vegetables in there. I used garlic basil turkey sausage from Whole Foods, as well as whole wheat shells, in an attempt to make this a bit lighter. (Also, if you can believe it, I cut the butter as well.) If I were to make this again, and I eventually will, I would either cut the amount of pasta or throw in an extra sausage or two. I prefer a pretty even ration of meat to carb; it is more filling and satisfying to me. There apparently was a run on broccoli rabe at the grocery stores, so I ended up using broccolini. This was a quicky, somewhat healthy meal that left me with a ton of leftover–nothing sinful about that.

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Adapted from Real Simple

1 pound orecchiette or some other short pasta (I used whole wheat shells)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (I used garlic and basil turkey sausage)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 head broccoli rabe or broccolini
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling it with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the broth and red pepper and bring to a boil. Then add the broccoli rabe/broccolini, cover, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and Parmesan and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the drained pasta, season with the salt and black pepper, and toss to combine.

Tip: Broccoli rabe, a leafy distant cousin of broccoli, has a bitter flavor and smaller florets. For a milder alternative, substitute broccoli. For a more peppery bite, try arugula, Swiss chard, or beet greens.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

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Food Rockz Man, fantastic cook and all around good guy, has pinged me with a meme. He wants to know more things about me, but this is getting tricker as I once had a list of 101 things about me. Let’s see if I am up to the challenge:

1. I have a gnarly scar on the back of my neck from where I had a tumor removed…twice. When people touch it, it sends a shiver down my spine. This has caused more than a few men to think it was them causing the shivering.

2. My first kiss was on the playground when I was 6. I held him down and forced him. Not much has changed in my approach to men.

3. I haven’t seen my brother in 5 years. Nothing bad happened, we aren’t fighting; we just are not close. This doesn’t bother me, though tends to make other people uncomfortable.

4. I often struggle with how much of myself to put on this blog. Though, of course, I am Lemmonex to a certain (ok, large) degree, I am much more than some sassy, drunk, sex-crazed food blogger. I find too many people become their personas, almost losing who they really are. I don’t want to be one of those people.

5. If you ever see me with my nails unpolished, mark this day down on your calendar. It is a very rare occurance. Like brushing my teeth or combing my hair, this is a part of personal grooming I would never consider not doing.

6. I had a friend who used to say “People tell Lemmonex things”. And they do. People generally feel really comfortable around me and sense I can keep a secret. This also means I have a ton of shit on everyone. It makes me feel drunk with power.

7. I am addicted to texting and emailing. My response is almost Pavlovian. I hear my phone beep and I run to it. I respond to emails instantly. I think some of it has to do with being a planner; I see a task or something that needs a response, and I want to tackle it instantly. This makes dating hard because I find the delayed response annoying and counterproductive. If it takes me a few hours to respond to an email while at work, you know I am actually really busy.

OK, bettyjoan, WiB and rothko…you are it.

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Trailer Trash

“This tastes like America”, cried Irish Lebowski.

More like the dirty, trashy part of America, this cake really does taste like sweet, beautiful freedom.

It embodies the best this great nation has to offer…

This cake yearns for knowledge.

It benefits from the sexual revolution…

…yet, stilll engages in self destructive behavior as a result of the shame.

Like most of us in our overindulgent society, this cake struggles with it’s weight…

..but it is a true Patriot, so this cake can do no wrong.


Note: Look, I know this is not really a recipe, but I am also the girl who brought you a poundcake sandwich. What do you expect? Sometimes, I just have to embrace the white trash/inner fat girl in me. This is best served along side frito pie, ambrosia salad and a Coors Light

Jello Poke Cake

1 bx. yellow or white cake mix (Yellow, for me, is the only way to go)
1 (3 oz.) bx. red jello (I used raspberry–it is classy)
1 (8 oz.) carton Cool Whip topping
9 x 13 baking dish
Bake cake according to package directions. While cake is cooling in its pan, poke holes all over with large fork. Mix jello according to package directions. Drizzle jello liquid over cake. Make sure jello penetrates all holes. Chill several hours or overnight. Frost chilled cake with whipped topping. Serve.

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Class Act

I’m that girl who always drags out her spring clothes at the first sign of warm weather. It doesn’t even have to be warm, merely threatening to be warm and the short sleeves emerge. I yearn to ditch heavy tights and let my bare legs feel the welcoming air. Sandals are my best friends and they plead with me to come out and play.

Last year, I pulled out my favorite wrap dress at the first sign of balmy weather. It was still a touch cold, but I would not be deterred. I happily flounced through the day, ignoring the slight nip in the air. I’ll be honest; I was strutting all day. It was warm, I was showing some skin…I was in my element. I walked through the grocery store, smile on my face. My ego was being adequately stroked by what seemed like dozens of men giving me sly grins…this should have told me something.

My dress had come untied, leaving my whole torso uncovered and my teeny, tiny slip and bra exposed for all to see. Drink it in, fellas!

This is a scenario I hope not to relive this spring, but past experience tells me there is a whole world of potential humiliation and embarrassment awaits for me in this short lifetime. So, I tentatively drag out the spring clothes this season, hoping that this isn’t the year I recreate that glorious, class-filled moment.

Along with all the clothes, out comes all the warm weather recipes. The matzo soup from Monday looks to be the last soup for a while…and I could not be happier. Though I know I will be yearning for some stews and chilis by September, I am sick of eating my meal off of a spoon.

What better way to welcome spring than with a burger? This Greek feta burger has been in my arsenal for a while. I swear AuntLifesSaver made something similar once, but when I inquired about it about a year ago, she had no recollection. This is my memory of them. They are salty and moist; a fantastic change of pace from the normal, plain turkey burger. A word of caution: I have tried to cut fat with these in the past using extra lean turkey breast and fat free feta. Please don’t try this at home; they were dry as hell. It needs a little bit of fat to maintain moisture and flavor. This is obviously a pretty simple recipe, but a good one to have in the arsenal during the warm months.

So welcome, Spring! Hopefully, strangers will not be welcoming my half naked body anytime soon.

Greek Feta Burgers

Source Unkown/Made Up

1 package ground turkey

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 green onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

Using hands, mix all ingredients, being careful not to overwork the meat. Form in to patties and cook until cooked through.

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Oh gentrification; you are evil, yet offer so many things to me. Columbia Heights, once a neighborhood my delicate middle class sensibilities shunned, has quickly become an urban mecca. It amazing how a Best Buy, Marshall’s and Target can make a neighborhood not seem so scary. Oh, suburban luxuries, thank you for making me feel safe.

With the influx of all the retail outlets, Columbia Heights was hurting for a neighborhood restaurant. “The Heights” stepped up to the plate and it has proven to be a lovely little neighborhood spot, but it is not without it’s drawbacks.

First the good stuff. Though I don’t have any kids (praise Allah), the place is family friendly, yet it doesn’t seem like there are kids crawling all over the place. Noise levels are decent and the space inside is open and well lit. Their hand cut french fries are to die for; dark, salty and screaming for malt vinegar. They serve a mean crab cake, which is creamy and not chock full of filler. Their french toast with pecan caramel sauce may be the best sweet breakfast dish I have ever eaten; the bread is thick and eggy and the caramel pecan sauce is sweet without hurting your teeth. I was tempted to lick my plate. Service in general is attentive and friendly; a special touch on one of my visits was our server asking if there were any food allergies he should be aware of.

…except this Sunday, the service was kind of all over the place. We were at the bar, and the main server there seemed painfully hung over. I am never one to begrudge someone a fun Saturday night, but please don’t make me wait for my coffee for 20 minutes. Take some Vivarin and get it together, buddy. That wasn’t the only thing off about the brunch; I got two thin, paltry, soggy strips of bacon with my french toast. I practically needed a map to find them on my plate. My friends mac and cheese with crab and shrimp at a recent dinner was lacking in creaminess and had a bit too much mustard. With something as decadent as mac and cheese, it might as well hold no punches. Also, the goat cheese and spinach salad would be a whole lot better if the walnuts were candied and the dressing was adequately seasoned.

So, The Heights is good, even very good, but not great. They need some work, but the lack of competition in the area is probably it’s own worst enemy; it does not need to change. The place will be packed, no matter what kind of food it serves. A few tweaks could make it a real destination.

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As a Women’s Studies major, I got to take some pretty wacky classes in my tenure at GW. Some of the gems included “Women and Sexuality” (women are oppressed in the bedroom as well as the boardroom), “The Superhero in Film”, (“Supergirl” and “Tank Girl” were shown–this somehow counted towards my minimum credit allotment– and I actually understand “Crises on Infinite Earth”), and “Anthropology of Gender” (women have had the shit end of the stick throughout time and in varying cultures). I had some really great classes and learned a ton, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit some of my course work was total nonsense that really has no bearing on my life now. This most valuable lesson I learned from these throw-away classes was I can bluff my way through almost anything. Come to think of it, that has served me well…

One of the more interesting classes, “Women in Judaism”, proved the most maddening. I convinced an unsuspecting friend to take the course with me, and we sat in the back the whole semester, the only goys in the class. The rest of the women (there were never really many men in my classes…shocking, I know) in the class were Jewish and a select few spent the whole semester tearing each other apart. The Conservative Jews hated the “JAPs” and the Reform girls loved attacking what they perceived as the backwards practices of their Orthodox counterparts. It was like these girls were the Sharks and Jets of Judaism. That semester showed me that women will turn on each other and rip each other to shreds, no matter how much they have in common. I did leave that class knowing the difference between a mitzvah, a mikvah and a messhuganah, so all was not lost.

I also know matzo. Now, I will never, ever say my matzo ball soup is as good as your Jewish mother’s. A few college credits and kissing a few Jewish boys does not a chosen person make. But for a Shiksa, it is not half bad. Now, I have come to learn this is a delicacy that is deeply person; some people like theirs with chicken, some need onions, KassyK told me she cannot eat hers without cauliflower. This soup keeps it simple; just some carrots and a kiss of dill in the broth, along with, of course, the pillowy matzo balls. Reading plenty of recipes lead me to believe there is no better way to make this than with seltzer: they are light and magnificent. (Of course you may like them heavy and leaden…I cannot please all of you.)

Matzo Ball Soup

Derived from many sources

Matzo Balls

1/2 cup matzo meal

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons or seltzer

For soup

2 to 3 quarts prepared chicken stock

2 carrots, thinly sliced (I chopped a handful of baby carrots)


A few sprigs of dill

Mix all matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water to a brisk boil in a medium sized pot.

Reduce the flame. Run your hands under water so they are thoroughly wet. Form matzo balls by dropping spoonfuls of matzo ball batter approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them loosely into balls. Drop them into the simmering salt water one at a time. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes.

About ten minutes before the matzo balls are ready, bring prepared chicken stock to a simmer with the sliced carrot in it. Ladle some soup and a couple matzo balls into each bolw and top with a couple snips of dill. Eat immediately.

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