Have you been perched at your laptop poised to read this week’s M@M and see how LolaDog:FridgeRaider fared this week? That’s as I thought. Everyone loves a sequel. Well, dear reader, after ten days of a normal schedule and no abnormal activity, I settled back into the rhythm of life as I know it. As I toured the National Archives “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit with a colleague today, she asked about Lola’s antics. ”Oh, she’s doing terrific now,” I said, my voice full of bravado and assurance.
Apparently, you can add “mind-reading” to LolaDog’s superpowers, because when I walked back into my condo a mere two hours later, I found the child lock I’d installed on the fridge popped easily off (not even teeth marks!) and tossed gently in the corner of the kitchen. Meanwhile, Lola had worked her way through a pint of sour cream (she’s really hitting the dairy hard) and was just starting on a container of cauliflower soup. Luckily, I arrived in time to save the kale chips and vegetable ravioli. Look, people, my dog is clearly smarter than me. And she doesn’t want me to forget it. Consequently, I have now installed a padlock on my fridge. Next up, new fridge. (Can you just imagine how that sales conversation will go down?? ”What are you looking for in a refrigerator, ma’am?” ”Well, I’m looking for one that is dog-proof.” I’m about to become the CrazyTown show at Home Depot.)
In other disturbing M@M news, remember the strawberry gummy story? Well, I’m happy (and by “happy”, I mean incredibly alarmed and disgusted) to report that the gummy took its final ride this Saturday. Its tiny remanent was there on the way to the Farmer’s Market and gone on the ride home. In case you were counting (and come on, you *totally* were), that gummy lived a long life of 3 months and 3 weeks on the side of my car. Through sweltering 116 degree heat indexes, tree toppling thunderstorms, and a plethora of aggressive city squirrels, it tenaciously clung to life. Maybe you want to sneak a peach into the movie theater tonight instead?
When I’m not trying to outsmart my dog, conducting inadvertent food experiments, writing this post or traveling around the country for Food Fighters, I’m doing cooking demos based on market produce. (You knew that already, right?) I love doing demos for classes, farmer’s markets and health care centers. I’m a pretty friendly individual, and I love the interface food provides for conversation. Still, I’ve heard a lot of kooky things during my culinary outings. This week, I thought I’d share some with you. (You’re welcome.)
Here are my Top Ten Things That Have Made Me Chuckle During a Farmer’s Market Food Demonstration:
10) “Can I have one without the leaves?” (3 year old referring to basil in a cantaloupe salad)
9) “I don’t care for this.” (This one always boggles me. It’s a free demo…if you don’t like it, just throw it out.)
8 ) “Where did this food come from?” (Um…the FARMER’S MARKET??)
7) The vegetarian/vegan who grabs for food before I can tell them what’s in it…and then, immediately spits it out in front of me when I rattle off “bacon” or “prosciutto”. (No adult should spit out food in front of the person who made it unless they are: (a) choking or (b) about to go into anaphylactic shock. This is what bushes, alleys and restrooms are for. Or, perhaps, *listening* before ingesting. Just a thought.)
6) “Can I make this frittata/omelette without the eggs?” (Hmm…tricky.)
5) “Do you have samples of this without [insert food aversion]?” (Not a restaurant. Just a food demo. So…NO.)
4) The people who come by while I’m cutting and prepping (it is a cooking “demonstration”, after all) and say, “Oh. Still not ready yet?”
3) The kid who asked me, “Are you a real chef?” Me: “Well, I went to culinary school.” Kid: “Have you ever worked at Domino’s?” Me: “Uh, no.” Kid (with downcast face), sighs: “Oooooh.”
2) (In a judgmental way) “I could make this myself at home.” (Riiiight, that’s kind of the point??)
1) And my absolute favorite- usually said while going all squinty-eyed and staring me down- “Have you ever made this before today??”
Dear reader, that is my life. Mercurial dogs, encrusted food remains, tough crowds – it’s all in a day’s work. And, honestly, sometimes a girl just needs a cookie and a cup of tea. Let’s get on that.
Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread
Adapted from a Bon Appetit Recipe
Makes 14-16 cookies
These cookies scream summer. Easy, refreshing and a much more exciting way to incorporate leftover basil than just making pesto. With a hot cup of tea, you can almost forget that your dog ate your dinner, the audience hated your demo and your car desperately needs to be washed.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus some extra for dusting)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
4 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until clumpy.
3. Roll tablespoon-size balls gently in your hand (you don’t want the butter to melt). Place on a baking sheet.
4. Dust a measuring cup (1/4 cup works well) with powdered sugar and use to gently press balls into small circles.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just edges are brown. Cool.