Posts tagged Sam Shaber

Arugulatastic Salad

Ahhh yes, it’s the quiet ecstacy of a weekday lunch at home. Arugula salad with grilled corn, black beans, pepper jack, walnuts, avocado, grape tomatoes and popcorn with parmesan peppercorn dressing. And Lebanese lentil soup from Chef Rita – my fabulous and gorgeous neighbor here on the Lower East Side. Aaahhh.

Arugulatastic Salad and Rita Soup

Otherwise known as “throw-it-in-a-bowl-and-dress.”  But let me say that the little extra effort to shave the corn off a cob and sauté it in butter and salt for five minutes will turn this salad into a taste sensation you think must be off the black market, it’s so good.  It makes your Muzak into Mick Jagger, your fish sticks into Katsu-ya sushi, your Bud Light into a Fat Tire, your… well you get it.

And yes, I did say POPCORN.  Newman’s Own microwave light butter flavor, to be exact.  Push the envelope people.  Pop the corn.  Trust Punky on this one – it’s like crack in your salad.

Does crack taste good in a salad?

Nevermind.  You know what I mean.

Serve and Enjoy!

wuv,
Sam

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Quiche…

Funny things happen when you crack up...

Smiley Eggs

Yes, on the way to making a spinach, feta and tomato quiche this morning, I looked down into the bowl and what do you know?

Must’ve been those free-range eggs I used.

I’ve been gone for a loooong loooong time and really I have no excuse.  Ok that’s not true.  I have lots of ’em.  Most of them have something to do with the TWO bands I’m in now, and how busy they’ve been keeping me.  (In fact as I type this, concurrently baking a butternut squash to make a great crostini spread with goat cheese and cinnamon for New Years Eve), I am actually procrastinating from listening to the rough mixes of the new happy problem album.  Look out 2011 – big things are coming from the Punky!

And wait Punky, you say you have TWO bands now?

Oh yes, my little chefs, (I wanted to type “cheffies” but that just looks like some variety of blue cheese, so…), I am in TWO bands now, both very different from each other and both looking for bass players.

Ahem.

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Peachy Punky Sweet Cornbread: HOLLA!

Okay, I realize it’s not very punk to say the word “HOLLA”, but really that’s just the sound you make when you taste this surprisingly sweet n’ easy cornbread.  Witness Peachy Punky Sweet Cornbread!

Eet a-make-a you HONGRY!

Yes, this is a good one, especially with summer coming on.

Summer isn’t for like two months, Punky.

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Where the hell ARE YOU, Punky Chef?

Yes thou nose-ringed, spikey-haired lovelies, I have been sorely absent of late.  (I have also, apparently, been talking like a bad Shakespearean actor.)  But here’s the thing: PUNKY DONE MOVED TO NYC.

Yep, buh-bye to THIS:

Hollywood smog.  (Ok I'm cheating - this was during the recent fires.  But still.)

Hollywood smog. (Ok I'm cheating - this was during the recent fires. But still.)

And hello to THIS:

And hello THIS!  (And no, I didn't take this picture.)

No, I didn't take this picture.

And THIS:

But I did take THIS.  Just your typical phone-car.  Everyone's got them in the East Village.  (No, they don't, Punky.)  Fine.  You're so gullible.  GOSH.  (No, we're not, Punky.  Now could you please get us out of this caption?)

I DID take this picture. Yeah, just your typical phone-car. Everyone's got them in the East Village. (No, they don't, Punky.) Fine. You're so gullible. GOSH. (No, we're not, Punky. Now could you please get us out of this caption?)

Yes, I’ve left Griffith Park, valet parking, fake boobs, and the beloved Hollywood Farmers Market behind, and traded them for the sensations of New York City, my hometown.  This has caused great confusion, much celebration, and a complete shut-down of all things Cheffy for the time-being.  Thus, the Big Knife, the Bowl, the Cheese Grater, and even the cumbersome Salad Spinner are packed away in storage while we live the true punk lifestyle; known traditionally as Staying with Our Parents.

Oy.

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Disco Biscuits: Parmesan Lace Wafers with a Punky Party on Top!

These are the easiest thing ever, people, I’m serious.  And I don’t get serious very often, so this must be HUGE.  Seriously, you just shave, plop, and blot.  2 minutes.  Total perfection.  And I wanted to find a cool, punky name for them, y’know, like “Sid Viciousnesses” or “Ramonezones” or something.  But then I thought of awesome jam band the Disco Biscuits and suddenly there was no going back.  Witness:

Don't they just make you wanta BOOGIE?

Don't they just make you wanta BOOGIE?

Now there are few things farther from punk than a jam band.  First, jam bands have real musicians who tend to play their instruments extremely well.  Second, jam bands do not wear make-up, leather pants, lace stockings, or nose rings.  Third, the goal of the jam band is to gently rock and rhythm their audiences until they swirl and flutter gracefully around the floor like little entranced butterflies just out of the cocoon, whereas punk bands SLAM their audiences over the head, from the side and in the face with LOUD, PUSHY, OBNOXIOUS, ANGRY, CYNICAL emotion.  YEAH!  HAH!  UNGH!

I will say that cynicism goes well with the jam bands at times too, though they tend to express it with more of a “heh” than a “HAH!”, if you know what I mean.

But nevertheless!  A recipe title is a recipe title, and I have just enough integrity to know when it’s time to get my jam on.  So, grab a sheet pan and a cheese grater, and come with me…

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“Raptures”: Chocolate-Strawberry-Banana Shortbread Bars…

Yes, you will experience rapture when you bite into these sweet, smooth, chocolaty, shortbread bars.  Plus, it’s one of the greatest Blondie songs of all time, and Blondie were one of the greatest punk bands of all time, so it’s alllll coming together, eh?  Witness The Raptures: Chocolate-Strawberry-Banana Shortbread Bars…

"Hang each night in rapture..."

"Hang each night in rapture..."

Aaah, yes,  Are you ready?  Are you drooling?  This one borrows a bit from Paula Deen‘s Orange Citrus Dessert Bars (the shortbread part) and a bit from many recipes by my all-time cooking idol, Ina Garten (the chocolate part), and of course the rest is all PUNKY.  Come with me…

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And Now, a Word About Farmer’s Markets (and a $21 Challenge!)

I know, I know.  I “ooh” and “aah” about my Farmer’s Market all the time, and you’re like, “Get over it, Punky.  JEEZ.”  So, I thought it would be good to show you why I’m so emotional.

"Vat ah BAAAAGEN!"  (Say it out lound like my Jewish grandfather and it'll make sense.)

"Vaht ah BAAAGEN!" (Say it out loud like my Jewish grandfather.)

I used to be just like you.  That is, if you are the kind of person who goes to the occasional farmer’s market, heads straight to the pastry table, buys a scone or an apple turnover, and then heads-out, overwhelmed by the whole experience.  I FEEL YOUR PAIN, YOUR ISOLATION, YOUR FEAR.  Punky knows, believe me.

BUT!  What I’ve discovered, is that my love of cooking grew with my trips to the farmer’s market, because the farmers themselves would tell me what to make with their produce!  How to bake a butternut squash, what a kumquat is, where you can put dried fruit, etc.  (That sounded dirty, but anyway.)  And the more I go, the more my mind opens and my IMAGINATION ignites, to the point where I’m creating flavors in my head and then seeking them out on the tables.  Sometimes I simply pick something up, a sprig of cilantro, a blood orange, an ear of corn, and just by smelling it, my gears start to turn.  (And I’m sure all the farmers appreciate my nose on their products.)

There is also, of course, the financial benefit to shopping at a farmer’s market.  This week I only had $21 on me, so I decided to see how much I could get for it.  A $21 Challenge!  The picture above shows you my bounty, going clockwise from bottom left, and with prices on the ones I remember.  (Some are by weight and I can never keep it straight):

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