Monday, June 29, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Tomato-Peach Compote

After a busy couple of weeks I FINALLY made it into my kitchen long enough to make my own dinner. It was Wednesday, which means the New York Times has its food section, and I had received my Gourmet Magazine that week (as I've mentioned before, I'm a print media addict) so my hands were twitching to create something. I had bought peaches on sale earlier in the week so when I stumbled across Pork Tenderloin with Tomato-Peach Compote in Gourmet, I had a plan.

In preparing to make the recipe I noticed it called for rubbing the pork with a ginger/garlic/curry powder mixture. I had never worked with curry powder before, but I've been enjoying Indian food more and more lately. Of course I was an idiot and just picked some up at Whole Foods, before remembering that I live in Jackson Heights, one of the most heavily Indian neighborhoods in the city, and probably could have bought something exciting and authentic a block from my apartment. I actually went out of my way to be a gentrified hipster douchebag. Sigh.

It's always a challenge working with a new ingredient, not just because you don't yet have a bead on proportion to flavor, but because Will has a slight concern when it comes to new foods. A little history: when Will and I met 6 years ago his favorite foods were chicken fingers and pasta with butter. I wasn't cooking yet but I was an avid eater and this concerned me greatly. For the first few years developing his palate was a challenge, if the food was a weird color or tended to look less then American he would start backing away slowly with his eyes darting toward the Domino's coupon on the fridge. Those days are (mostly) behind us. Will tries everything I give him, and I accept it when he tries something and just plain doesn't like it (shrimp). Still, occasionally I'll have a new bottle of some ingredient or another on the counter and I can see the suspicion in his eyes. This occurred to me as I mashed the garlic and ginger and curry, and it all turned bright yellow.

Will makes up for his sometimes less then adventurous spirit by being a first rate sous chef and bartender. Wednesday the Times ran its summer drinks issue listing summer drinks from A-Z, and Will whipped up a Whiskey Peach Smash for me and a John Collins (the vodka version of a Tom Collins) for himself. Then he created a Queens Park Swizzle from another article. I swear, they were as good as anything I've gotten at Death and Company. I live a charmed life where I can read a drink recipe and go, "Honey, could you make this for me?" and be drinking it 20 minutes later. And since these types of drinks go for about $14 in NY, having Will around is just recession friendly. And in the middle of all this, he also cut up the tomato and peach for the compote. If a bartender had sex with a Cuisinart, the offspring of that unholy union would probably look a lot like my fiancée. Okay, I won't call off the wedding... yet.

After rubbing the pork it gets browned on the stove, and then is moved to the oven to roast. The recipe said 10-12 minutes, I ended up having to leave it in for about 15 to get the inside temperature between 145 and 150. Remove pork from the pan and put it on a cutting board to rest. While it sits you then just make the compote in the same pan! It's a great weeknight dinner. I tend to think of pork roasts only in the fall when I make them with apples, but this is a great way to bring summer flavors into pork. While the recipe takes less then an hour to make, we had bread and cheese beforehand and with the drinks... we ended up eating around 9pm. Not all that unusual for an urban diet really.

Pork Tenderloin with Tomato-Peach Compote
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 Tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 pound of tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 small peach chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in middle.

In a food processor, pulse garlic, ginger, curry powder, pinch of salt, and a grind of pepper until it forms a paste. Rub all over pork.

Heat oil in an ovenproof 12 inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on one side, about 5 minutes, then turn over and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest park of meat registers 145 to 150 degrees for juicy meat, 10 to 12 minutes. Let pork rest, uncovered, on a cutting board while making compote.

Add onion to skillet and saute over medium-high heat until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes and peach and saute until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and sugar.

Slice pork and serve with compote.

The curry went over just fine. The flavor was understated, and only noticeable when you took a bite from the outside of the pork. I thought it added a subtle and interesting level to the pork, which can be a less exciting meat sometimes. And Will? He had 3 helpings.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Escape from NY, to Bobby Simones

It's a Friday bonus blog! Look for these occasionally, as time allows.
Between Baltimore and New York, I hadn't been out of a city in 6 weeks. This tends to make me a bit stir crazy. I can take the city comfortably at 4 weeks, a little edgy at 6, and tend to start becoming a cynical and stressed out bitch at 8. New York is an amazing place to call home, but no one claims it's easy on the nerves. Between the crowds, the subway screwing you on a regular basis, and the fact that NY had been stuck in a system of rain for about 2 weeks straight, eventually you start thinking bitchy thoughts at other people on subway platforms and those people who stand in the middle of the side walk as if it's their place to congregate and not a place where people are trying to get somewhere so move you god damn.... I digress. I made it out at the midway point this time. I visited my mother in PA last weekend, and enjoying that perk of being in your 20’s and visiting your mommy, she bought me dinner. We tried a fairly new place, Bobby Simone's in Doylestown.
My mom and I love getting a bunch of appetizers and splitting them, and this place features a small plate menu that is ideal to do just that. I ordered a gimlet, one of my favorite old school drinks. The problem with my doing anything cool is my former hippie intellectual mother has already done it. (She would want me to point out here that she was a "classy" hippie, which apparently means she showered) When I went to London, she had already gone, and during the 60's to boot. I'm a fan of yoga, "Oh I tried that when I was in my 20's too!" I like gourmet cooking... "You should have seen the dinner party where I made champagne sorbet" I can't win. There are few things more depressing then your mother having been cooler then you. Anyway, apparently another thing she enjoyed when she was my age and hanging out with her cool 60's friends was the vodka gimlet, which is similar to the vodka martini but more palatable, in that it won't kick your ass quite as hard.
For our small plates we ordered the fries with truffle oil, romano cheese and fresh parsley; the mussels, which come prepared a different way depending on the night; and the trio of kobe burgers (which come with plain fries, a detail we hadn't realized when we ordered the side of fries). All of the food was fantastic, the burgers come prepared 3 different ways with blue cheese being my favorite. The fries were all well made, with the truffle oil fries being down right addictive, and even the next day my mother couldn't stop talking about the mussels. I was cool enough to teach her about moules et frites, the french art of dipping fries in the broth from the mussels.
As I was twittering about the night, I asked for the menu back so I could record the wine I had been drinking. I have found this is an excellent way to not forget what that wine was that I loved and then got drunk off of. Writing the names of the wine on old receipts at the bottom of my purse wasn't working that well, not to mention that I didn't want to be reminded about how much I spent on those heels I bought a week ago and were then ruined in the rain... Twittering creates a less crumplable trail. I got the name, Casa Silva Reserva, a Pinot Noir from Chile but there was no vintage. I asked the waitress, and she headed off to ask the bartender. It turns out I  ad been mislead. They were out of the Casa Silva, so I had been upgraded to the next price level of Pinot Noir, Cosentino Ol'Red. As the Cosentino was a blend, no vintage was listed. To its credit I really enjoyed this wine; it had that nice deep spice you usually find in South American wines, though this one was from California. Still, my mother and I were deeply amused about me "busting" them with my investigative twittering. Score one for the 26 year old with the blackberry.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Niles and the 400 lb. monkey

As Heather mentioned earlier in the week, we spent last Wednesday grabbing food and drinks at Pony Bar before catching a performance of Accent on Youth starring David Hyde Pierce. Heather was meeting me there so when I arrived I scored two primo seats at the bar near the taps (I like to watch the barkeep’s pouring technique. Also they have this neat device under the taps that shoots water up into the pint glass ensuring a freshly rinsed glass before each pint. With the exception of myself, this kind of technology would only impress five year olds.)

While waiting for Heather, I had the chance to peruse the selection of drafts. Their featured brewery was a brewing company out of Colorado called Left Hand. What caught my eye was the fact that Pony Bar had, not one, but two India Pale Ales (IPAs) from this establishment as well as one on their regular beer list. As a fan of IPAs, I nearly urinated myself.

I started off with the 400 lb. Monkey IPA. In matters of beer—as well as in matters of life—when a 400 lb. monkey is involved, I need to be a part of it. Don’t judge me. As advertised, it was a solid IPA: 7% alcohol content, very hoppy and floral with a slight sweetness that tempered and complemented the hops. Much like a 400 lb. monkey, it was both playful and dangerous.

My second glass was Left Hand’s Warrior IPA. This was a much more straightforward IPA: 6.6% alcohol content, very hoppy and bitter with a smooth clean finish—a much more satisfying way to tap the rockies if you ask me (please don’t sue me Coors, it’s all in good fun.)

Heather had a glass of the Voodoo Vator Stout from Atwater Brewery. The thing that infuriated me about this was that they gave it to her in an eight ounce glass rather than a pint. There are a few beers that Pony Bar does this with, but this was not advertised as one of them. It was at that point that I grew to about three times my size and began smashing elements of the bar, waitstaff and anyone with the nerve to try and subdue me. Again I almost urinated myself (Fun side note: The urine would have been neon green and blacklight responsive.) I was finally quelled when Heather reminded me that she’s not a big beer drinker and she preferred the smaller size.

Her next round was Left Hand’s Milk Stout. Heather asked the bartender if she could have the Milk Stout served in the half pint glass like her first round. The bartender was happy to oblige but still charged us the full price (urge to kill—rising.) The beer was nice: A bit milder than the Voodoo Vator, but maltier and more flavorful than, say, a Guinness (please don’t sue me Guinness, I’m in enough trouble with Coors.)

We got our check. The shot of whiskey we enjoyed cost us a cool fifteen dollars which caused me to finally urinate myself. Heather tells me I should see a doctor about this problem, but it’s not a big deal. As the mop and bucket were brought out, we took our leave to enjoy a sophisticated night of bright lights, madcap comedy, and David Hyde Pierce. Bring it on Niles.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Betting on the Pony... Bar

This week was a bit of a whirlwind, with small bites grabbed when convenient.  On a night Will had class I even whipped out my staple of first year out of college style cooking. Annie’s Organic Peace, Pasta, and Parmesan with focaccia seasoning and whatever leftover meat is in the fridge. Yes, I cooked like I was 23. For those having the kind of night where this kind of dish is desired or required, a frozen sausage can be fried up and goes nicely in this as well. Makes about 2 servings, so if you’re not feeding a boyfriend or roommate, it makes a decent lunch the next day.
On Wednesday night I scored theatre tickets at Manhattan Theatre Club on 47th, so Will and I decided to do pub fare at a place we’ve been attempting for a month now, Pony Bar on 10th Ave. This endeavor started the week it opened, hearing about its plethora of micro-brews and being desperate for decent after work places in Hell’s kitchen we headed in, ordered beers and asked for a menu. No-go, Con Ed hadn’t given them permission to open the kitchen yet. This was distressing as food was a definite requirement if we were going to bar crawl that evening. We finished our single drink that night and moved on to a bar providing victuals. A follow up phone call when making plans about two weeks later revealed it STILL wasn’t open. With my fingers crossed, I called Wednesday afternoon and was assured food was being served. 
Apparently they were in the early phases of promoting their menu, because when I walked in there was a photographer with full set up taking pictures of an admittedly appetizing looking burger. The photos don’t seem to be on their website yet, but I would bet they’d be there soon.
Will, allured by the temptation of a model I suspect, chose the Burger and myself the Italian Sandwich. I was more then impressed with the food. Will’s burger had an excellent onion roll that had me stealing bites, it was soft with the onion adding a bit of crunch and the burger was still juicy despite Will’s puzzling affection for “medium well.” My sandwich was wholly satisfying, slightly spicy and addictive. The roll was soft and the meat perfectly portioned. An herb mayo had me rueing my inability to finish. Had I not theatre tickets I would have asked for it wrapped.
About halfway through our meals I noticed behind the bar three small bottles of Hudson Whiskey in Baby Bourbon, Four Grain Bourbon, and Manhattan Rye. Being a snob I have to point out here that technically the bourbons aren’t, to be called bourbon it has to be made in Kentucky (similar to how it’s only Champagne if it comes from Champagne, France) therefore by definition New York whisky is ineligible. But I digress.
On bartender’s recommendation we tried a shot of the Baby Bourbon, sipping and passing it between the two of us. Will commented that it was carmelly, almost like a scotch. It was a well crafted whiskey, well placed on the tongue, and like most things of craft and some elegance, expensive. The check revealed the shot to have cost $15.
 With its proximity to the theatre district but its distance from Times Square I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a bite before a show without dealing with tourists. Fair warning, it gets a bit flooded with the after work crowd so you may have to hover a few minutes for seats. The real lure of the bar is its variety of micro-brewed independent beers. Will, in his greater alcohol eloquence, will cover that on Wednesday.
For those interested the play, Accent on Youth, was very funny, witty, and involved a sense of self awareness to the construction on of a play. It was a charming way to complete an excellent date night.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Abrazo del Toro/Tinto 2007

Heather and I have been trying to get more into Spanish wine. Mostly because we enjoy it and don't drink it enough, but partly because it seems like a sexy thing to to do.

"What did you do last night?"
"Got drunk, got a DUI and threw up on a cop."
"I think you should consider AA."
"It was off a Spanish Red."
"Never mind. That sounds super cool."

I want to have that exchange with somebody. I digress.

This wine hits you with its fruitiness at first but then eases you into a mild spicy finish. It works its way into your heart. You feel richer for the experience.

I would recommend this wine, especially to anyone just starting out with a red spanish wine like we are. It wont grab you by the balls and scream in your face, it will caress your balls and whisper sweet nothings--in Spanish.

Producer/Importer: Covinca S Cap. / Evak. Inc
Region: Carinena Spain
Purchased: Trader Joe's Wine Shop, $5.99

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh Holy Hell

I had a number of epicurean topics to choose from this week, I ate from the bar menu on the opening night of DBGB, but I live twittered that event. I went to a Mets/Phillies game at the new Citi Field (Phillies won by a run in the 11th inning, so a shout out to my home town). While the Blue Smoke chicken wings were delightfully spicy and falling off the bone, and while Will's Shake Shack Burger was juicy and the fries were crisp, the excitement about there being real food at a NY ballpark has been extensively written about already.

Then today I made the somewhat ill fated decision to tackle the Big Apple Barbecue, despite having seen this picture from last year.

Yeah, it was as bad as all that.

I had carefully picked a time, 2pm on Sunday, for a few reasons. 1. This was right in between lunch and dinner. I'd be dealing with snackers, right? 2. It was supposed be cloudy, maybe even a little rainy on Sunday. This would easily pick off the faint of heart as well as the tourists. 3. A musician who I had met back when I interned at the McCarter Theatre named Bill Sims Jr. was playing at 2:45, and I really enjoy him. The entire music lineup was sponsored by 101.9 Rock Experience, which Will cleverly chose to dub "Roxperience!" I had worked in a 45 minute buffer so that I could get food, drink, and be all situated by the time he went on. This plan was fool proof. To quote many a 1980's sitcom, "What could possibly go wrong?"

Well I had vastly misunderstood people's eating schedules and it was in the mid 70's and sunny. Will and I arrived to a wall of people and twisting confusing lines that led to places that may or may not be out of food. It took us 20 minutes just to fight the crowds and find the beer, and then once we got through the line to the main beer tent they weren't serving the cider I wanted, for which you would have to go across the courtyard where the hard cider had it's own table. Thank god I'm one of the few people who enjoy the fermented drinks of ye olde forefathers, that process was actually painless.

Once we had found a place in the dirt to sit (I had forgotten to bring the picnic blanket I had bought YESTERDAY for exactly this type of event) and put our stuff down, I decided to forage out in search of food. It was only 5 minutes until Bill went on, but he was playing until 4. I would grab the food and be in like flint.

Oh Holy Hell. I had decided on brisket, looked at the map, and decided to head for the northern most corner to the Salt Lick. After shuffling for 10 minutes to get there, it turns out the Salt Lick was out of brisket, but as the tiny woman shouting at the large crowd informed us, they were still serving sausage! Sausage. Right lady. At the biggest barbeque event of the year, surrounded by southern pit masters from across the county, I was going to eat food best procured year round from Little Italy. I was tired of pushing my way to different stands, however, so I decided pulled pork sandwich was just fine and shifted to the next line over to BlackJack BBQ from Charleston, South Carolina.

The guys in front of me were so preppy it was cartoonish. Polo shirts, sandals, and, no kidding, one of them was holding a football. In the middle of a crowd the size of the one pictured above, he had a football. Where he thought he was going to throw it is a mystery known only to himself. Maybe he envisioned himself playing a game of catch with the guys chopping up an entire pig "OK guys, out of bounds is this dense crowd of people over here, and that dense crowd of people over there. The goal line is that traffic jam on Broadway, and if you hit the Empire State Building you've gone too far." With such company I wove my way through the line for a solid 45 minutes, dreaming all the while of the Sunday Times I left at home, or the iPod that just wouldn't fit in my tiny clutch that looked so cute with my outfit.

The payoff was two extremely good pulled pork sandwiches that were satisfyingly juicy with a delectably sweet sauce. The potato roll was fluffy, if a bit generic, and even the cole slaw was yummy, and I usually don't touch the stuff. Hustling them back to our spot by the stage I got to catch the last 20 minutes of the set, and Bill Sims Jr. was as good as I remembered. Will asked if I wanted to get another drink and walk around for awhile, but I was done with the crowds, and I remembered what a flavorful Mint Julep Will can make. I decided we could continue our Southern gastronomical "roxperience" from the comfort of our own living room.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good Morning Baltimore

For the past week I have been attending a theatre conference in Baltimore and engaging in that wondrous activity—work travel dining. Work travel dining is far from vacation travel dining, which is planned to be relaxing and pleasurable, and often researched far ahead of time, making the meals themselves their own vacation events. Work travel dining is bites grabbed when a moment exists, packaged food stored in your lodgings, and mostly an endless array of hors’ dourves, pastries, and wine delivered to you by a variety of catering companies. This is not to say the food isn’t creative and tasty, but it does not make a full, rounded, and healthy diet. I dread stepping on the scale in the morning.

There were many artistic highlights on the trip, moving speakers and a group of Sudanese dancers that make beautiful art with beautiful purpose. Baltimore, despite my never making it to the lovely inner harbor neighborhood, provided some dining highlights as well.

The first evening after wandering around trying to find the downtown area (and almost ending up at a deli,) a group of us stumbled upon the lovely My Thai restaurant happy hour. Three dollar wine and sushi was an excellent and revitalizing experience after the long day of travel. The house red wine was a Malbec, a variety I have been very interested in lately. These wines often come from South America and have a nice rounded spice on the palate. As I had eaten sushi for lunch, I ordered their softshell crab special where the crab was done tempora style with a spicy sauce on the side.

The second day it was decided that drinks were called for before dinner could be dealt with so the group headed to Grand Central where the bartender gets props for pointing out the evening’s vodka special when I ordered my gimlet. The gimlet was mixed smooth and well balanced; I’ve had far too many that were like drinking a bottle of Rose’s Lime Juice. A few drinks into the evening, a few of us decided that if food didn’t happen soon then getting up for the conference in the morning

probably wouldn’t happen either. When the Mexican restaurant we tried to go to was closed (as burritos are amazing drunk food) we found Akbar, a fantastic Indian restaurant. I live in a very Indian neighborhood, but my ordering capabilities are somewhat limited. I do better buffet style, off a menu I know how to recognize the words nan and tandori and that is about it. Luckily we were with an expert orderer who introduced me to Chicken Tikka Masala, a dish that very nearly prompted a marriage proposal from our group to the chef. It was a lovely mild blend of spices, poured over yellow rice or with garlic nan dipped in. We devoured the dish entirely.

While the hors’ dourves, buffets, and glasses of wine tend to blend together in my head from the last few days, a special mention does go to the American Visionary Museum for an excellent Opening Reception. A surprising cream cheese and pesto dip, a taco salad on slivers of baguette, and even a classy re-imagination of the mini pigs in blankets were a satisfying spread amongst inventive pieces of pop art including a huge statue of the drag artist Divine. And this was all made better by the attendance of John Waters. They also served a white wine sangria that reminded me a bit too strongly of lemonade to be considered an artistic showing. If I hadn’t kept it to just one it might have been dangerous—that drink went down far too easily.

Breakfast has been, on the whole, a sad experience for me this week. I stayed in a dorm room with a kitchenette, but no dishes or cooking apparatus. I one point I tried to toast a piece of bread by just resting it on an electric burner, but all I managed to accomplish was burning a circle into the slice. I just put peanut butter on bread after that. When a breakfast spread was laid out it was not exciting—bagels no New Yorker would touch, donuts that looked squishy, and coffee that was at best sub par. Usually I stuck to the almond pastries that were tasty but not exactly a healthy way to start the day.

A sad bagged lunch was also provided on some days, but on one occasion I braved the “Historic Lexington Market” in search of sustenance. Immediately inside the door was a crab place, and since I wasn’t going to make it to the inner harbor I was determined to eat a crab product. A little background: Baltimore has just been named “Murder Capital USA” and some neighborhoods reflect this. One cannot enter Lexington Market without the feeling that it may have been a better idea to come with a group—preferably a group of large, intimidating looking men. Or a big can of mace. I made a brief attempt to explore the market before abandoning the idea and heading for that place next to the door which seemed like the best place to be. I ordered a crabcake sandwich that was served to me by what might have been the ugliest woman in the city with a unibrow that I felt could have used it’s own hairnet, but to her and the establishment’s credit, it was a very decent sandwich. Maybe next time I’ll just see if they deliver.

One of the clear highlights of the trip was the free Old Bay packets given out at the end of the conference, which, as the lovely ladies handing them out pointed out, were "the flavor of Baltimore." You don't want to know how many I fit in my suitcase...

I write this on the bus on the way back to NY, we just stopped at a rest stop where my options were Burger King or Popeye’s. I look forward to being in my own kitchen again, complete with pots and pans and a toaster. Next year’s conference is being held in Chicago, and I’m sure I can find many former favorites of the current White House resident to try before then!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Portabella Burgers

Last year Michael Pollan wrote an article in the NY Times proposing a theory on the human diet that went as follows: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Looking at my own cooking I realized that I didn't follow this theory by a long shot, I was a die hard carnivore. Blogger and Times food columnist Mark Bittman has been using a "vegan before six" approach to achieving this, and I modified that approach to "vegetarian before six" because you'll get my cheese and bread when you pry them out of my cold dead hands. Full disclosure: I've been known to cheat with sushi, ahi tuna is a seductive siren to me.

The economy being what it is, this has meant increasing my vegetarian cooking skills in the evening so that leftovers can be brought into work for lunches. It's a recession diet baby. Up until about 6 months ago almost all of my best cooking was done with meat so learning to cook without it, even on the occasional basis, has been a severe challenge. Seeing a sale on portabella mushrooms last week, I decided to test that staple of the vegetarian diet, the Portabella Burger.

The recipe I used included brushing with a balsamic vinaigrette, grilling, topping with cheese, tomato, and arugula and sticking on a grilled bun. With a brilliant stroke of luck, I had made lamb chops with a rosemary balsamic sauce the week before, and the remaining sauce was still in the fridge. Any opportunity to not waste expensive balsamic sauce I seize upon. The sauce mixed with some olive oil worked beautifully in place to the vinaigrette. Should you not happen to have such a delightful sauce in your fridge, however, store bought should work just fine.

Rosemary Portabella Burgers
Addapted from Bon Appetit

2/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 round rolls, split
4 large portobello mushrooms; (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed
4 slices deli-style provolone cheese
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup (loosely packed) arugula leaves

Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Whisk vinaigrette and rosemary in small bowl. Brush cut sides of rolls with vinaigrette. Place rolls on grill, cut side down. Grill until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates.

Brush mushrooms on both sides with vinaigrette. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms on grill, dark gill side down. Close grill or cover mushrooms with small metal roasting pan; cook until mushrooms begin to soften, brushing with vinaigrette once, about 5 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Cover; grill until tender when pierced with knife, about 7 minutes longer. Place 2 cheese slices on each mushroom. Cover; grill until cheese melts, about 1 minute.

Place 1 mushroom on bottom half of each roll. Top each with tomato, arugula, and top half of roll.

The best part? By wrapping the tomato and mushroom separately and sticking an extra piece of provolone, a handful of arugula, and a bun in a bag, I had two days of brilliant vegetarian lunches that were envied by coworkers, making me feel the appropriate level of smug. When arugula is sticking out of your sandwich, people know you aren't eating PB&J.

You will notice on this blog that a good deal of the recipes come from Epicurious. I am a Gourmet Magazine subscriber and they post many current and past recipes here along with ones from Bon Appetit. Like an 80 year old woman, I still subscribe to print publications. I get daily delivery of the NY Times and currently refuse to buy a Kindle. Someday I will probably be won over when they start refusing to bring me my lovely paper every day, but for now I revel in my stubbornness.

Last thing before I sign off for the week, I mentioned in my welcome message that I work out of a very tiny urban kitchen, and I thought the readers might like to know how tiny.

And no, there is no dishwasher.