Speak Up

Thursday, May 28, 2009

26 Years Young

May 28

Today's the day I get to say Happy Birthday, Erik! My chef turns 26! Thanks for traveling the road called life with me. Love you forever, Hilary

Long Island Sound 2006

Homecoming 1999

Birthday celebration in Ohio, 2005

Monday, May 25, 2009

Top Chef Masters

Bravo's attempt to gain a summer audience with Top Chef Masters hadn't really intrigued me at all. I like Top Chef, but I like it for the bickering, the judges' blunt honesty, and the crazy personalities. I didn't really imagine that the show would be as interesting with the "masters" such as Anita Lo, Hubert Keller, and Rick Bayless. They won't be living together, duh-these are real chefs and they have restaurants to run. They are all very talented so I picture them all cooking quickly and cleanly, getting good reviews from all the judges. I mean who is going to be nasty to Christopher Lee? But they I heard Wylie Dufresne (WD~50) was going to be on the show....in that case! I've been lucky enough to meet Wylie a couple of times and I just think he's keen. Seriously he's one of the nicest, most genuine chefs I've ever met. Even though he beat Erik (by one small point) I'm looking forward to watching him win some money for his charity Autism Speaks.

Top Chef Masters premiers June 10th at 10PM.

Food is Love,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Suit and Tie Required

Last night upon a miracle sent only from God, Erik was able to take Saturday night off! HNOt eh whole day of course; he worked the AM instead so that he and I could go to a wedding. The general manager of Perry St was married in a beautiful part of Roslyn on Long Island. Everything was beautiful and the chef even danced with me. I know how hard it was for him to get up and boogie so I'm super grateful for that. To understand my stress we have to go back in time exactly one week.
Last weekend I asked Erik if he had clothes to wear to the wedding. He has a suit, but it's old and the jacket isn't fitted that well. He has some old ties rumpled in a shoebox somewhere. My chef doesn't ever have a need for a suit so we keep putting off buying a new one. Back to last week. When I asked Erik if he needed anything he said, "I'll figure something out." Well Friday came and he realized he needed a formal shirt and a new tie. So since Erik was working and I had off, I went to Macy's and wandered around the men's department. I like shopping with Erik; I know his style and what he's comfortable with. But shopping without Erik in a section of the store I've never been to was a nightmare! I was surrounded by all these starched shirts in bags and what felt like 700 ties in various colors and patterns. I finally decided on a blue shirt with a white collar and a yellow tie.

Well, boy was I wrong. Erik got home Friday night and tried everything on. After removing a dozen pins from the shirt and adjusting the tie we realized the shirt needed cuff links. We don't have any of those! Plus the shirt was too big in the neck and he didn't like the style-"too formal". He ended up wearing a pin stripe blazer and a button up shirt with an embroidered pattern on the sleeve and front. No tie. He was a little self conscience about not wearing a tie, but I thought he looked great. However, the problem of the suit still exhists. But now, we really have no reason to buy one until someone else gets married. Actually, we are going to Jean Georges on Monday for his birthday and I'm pretty sure a jacket is required. I have a feeling he'll be wearing the same thing. I don't mind as long as I don't have to go shoping by myself again.

Is my chef the only chef who has a severe lack of formal wear? I can't believe that's so. Most chefs never have time to go to events that require a tie. So what happens when they do?
Food is Love,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pressure Cooker Opening May 27

I've blogged before about being connected to a very important organization: C-CAP. (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) It's a non-profit organization that raises money to help underserved high school students enter the culinary arts field by providing scholarships, teacher training, job training, product donation, and college advising. I couldn't be happier for a program that supports the culinary arts, students, and education. I've been lucky enough to serve on the Junior Benefit committee as well as volunteer at three events now.

Jennifer Grausman, daughter of C-CAP founder Richard Grausman, is very excited to share her documentary Pressure Cooker. This touching film follows three seniors at Philadelphia’s Frankford High School, who find an unlikely champion in Culinary Arts teacher Wilma Stephenson. A legend in the school system, Mrs. Stephenson’s hilariously blunt boot-camp method is validated by years of scholarship success that’s taken countless students from the city’s working-class neighborhoods to the top culinary schools in the country. And under her fierce direction, the usual distractions of high school are swept aside as Erica, Dudley and Fatoumata prepare to achieve beyond what anyone else expects from them.

If you want to see a movie that will touch your heart and open your mind to the reality of hard work and determination, then go see Pressure Cooker. This type of film is something we don't see enough of. No high paid actors, no blockbuster budget, just real, authentic people inspiring others.

The documentary opens May 27 here in NYC at the IFC Center and June 5th in LA and later June 12 in Philadelphia. Tickets for the NYC showings can be ordered through the IFC.
The film has debuted at numerous film festivals and taken home several awards including:

Special Jury Prize, Los Angeles Film Festival
Audience Award, Aspen Film Festival
Editing, Honorable Mention, Woodstock Film Festival
Audience Award, Portland International Film Festival
Best Documentary, Philadelphia Cinefest
Best Documentary-Honorable Mention, Nashville Film Festival
Audience Award, Berkshire International Film Festival

Still not convinced? The trailer alone will inspire you.

Food is Love,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sculpt Me A Donut

All photos property of PeterAnton.com

65 x 23 x 9 inches, 2007

Everyday I am shocked at how talented some people are. Last night I watched Live from Lincoln Center, featuring the NYC Ballet and I was glued to the set. Humans are so damn amazing. And thanks to Daily Candy I've been exposed to two more gifted artists: Peter Anton and Gina Minichino who have food art displayed at the Allan Stone Gallery on East 90th here in NYC.
Peter sculpts all types of food including donuts, ice cream bars, chocolate, and watermelon. It looks so real and delicious! Ah, to be rich and able to afford such luxuries as a 39 inch hot fudge Sunday. Some of his work is feature in the private homes of Bill Clinton, Keith Richards, and NYC's very own Jeffery Chodorow.

Anton describing his art: "Food brings people together and there is no better way to celebrate life. Through the use of humor, scale, irony, and intensity in my forms, the foods we take for granted become aesthetically pleasing and seductive in atypical ways. I like to create art that can lure, charm, tease, disarm and surprise."

I couldn't agree more.

These exhibitions are only running until June 19th so head uptown so see them. And if you can't make it by then check out his website.

Food is Love

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rice Cracked Crusted Tuna

I've been chowing down on Perry St's rice cracker crusted tuna appetizer since the restaurant first opened four years ago this month. It's definitely got lasting power being on the menu this long. The New York Times Dining and Wine section adapted the recipe for home use so now you can enjoy it as much as I do and as often as you like. The recipe is simple and the ingredients are available nearly anwhere. Enjoy!
Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons bonito flakes
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons grapeseed or other unflavored oil

For the tuna:
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 12-ounce piece sushi-grade tuna, cut into four 4-by-1 1/2-inch pieces
8 4-inch round rice crackers, ground to small crumbs
2 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced.

1. For the spicy citrus sauce: Place bonito flakes in a small bowl and cover with 3 tablespoons hot water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.
2. Transfer liquid to a blender. Add egg yolk, lime juice, orange juice, sriracha and salt. Pulse to mix. With blender running at medium-high speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until mixture is thickened. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. For the tuna: Pour oil to a depth of three inches in a heavy, deep saucepan and heat to 400 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer. Meanwhile, combine egg whites and cornstarch in a shallow bowl, and whisk until smooth. Coat tuna pieces in mixture, then dredge in rice-cracker crumbs, making sure surface is covered.
4. Carefully transfer tuna to hot oil, turning once, until deep golden brown, about 15 seconds a side; tuna should remain rare in center. Remove carefully and drain on paper towels. Cut tuna crosswise into 1-inch pieces, and arrange decoratively on serving plates. Stir scallions into citrus sauce, and spoon onto plates. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings.
Food is Love

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

To Please the Chef

We all know how most people react when you tell them you are married to a chef. We usually get one, two or all three of the following responses:

1. Wow, you are so lucky; he must cook for you every night.

2. I bet you eat like a queen all the time.

3. But you're so thin.

I LOVE being married to a chef. I love that it's the perfect challenge for my marriage to keep things exciting, yet manageable. But there is a false idea out there of what it's really like. I've also found that other people seem to be nervous cooking for my chef. Non-chefs seem to think that anything below a four star level of food is disgusting in my chefs eyes. Little do they know that Erik loves burgers, fries, pizza, burritos and frozen food.

My step mom is a typical Midwestern mom who cooks three meals a day. She's a great cook too, making delicious meals complete with bread and butter, meat, potatoes, veggies and dessert. And she was scared to cook for Erik. Come on. If anyone should be scared to cook for my chef it should be me! I can't make a meal to save my life and Erik isn't afraid to say when I've goofed a meal. But I don't worry because he would never expect high level cooking from me or anyone else who's not wearing whites. So all you non-chefs out there: Don't worry cooking for a chef; they are much easier to please than you think.

Food is Love

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Toys

The chef's birthday is May 28, exactly two months after mine. Older and wiser. He begged for this super expensive Nikon D5000 camera. Arg. Of course, he had to set his heart on something that should be equal to three or four birthdays combined. But he has it now. I thought that would be the end of camera-talk, camera-websites, and camera nonsense. HA. I got home at 5:15 today and I haven't said more than a few words to the chef who's been to preoccupied with his new toy to notice me.

I'm really glad he has this new hobby, but this is my only night of the work week to have an adult conversation after spending all day with second graders. Oh, I love doing voices when I read, tying shoelaces, and grading papers but I'm only human and I need something stimulating. I guess I can't expect Erik to drop all of his interests to spend his only free time with me. And if that's going to be true then I've got to make sure I'm not sacrificing my independence either. It's 8:20 PM and I'm going to bed to read a book.
Food is Love

Just for Fun

I have a new interest/obsession with Failblog.org so I thought I'd compile some restaurant related mistakes, known as fails, for you to have a laugh at.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more more pictures

fail owned pwned pictures
see more more pictures

fail owned pwned pictures
see more more pictures

Food is Love,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time to Say Goodbye

Like clockwork, my mind and body seem to drastically change every Saturday at 11:30 AM. I wake up a happy, well-slept woman of the weekend. I catch some lame yet addicting Saturday morning TV. I grade a few papers, write my math plans for the following week, and get dressed. Erik wakes up and we usually have breakfast together and chat about the Sunday ahead. But right at 11:30 when the chef is dressed and hovering around the door gathering headphones, keys, and glasses I get struck by a lightening bolt of rage and sadness. I don't even know it's coming, but Erik always does. I start getting mad at him for leaving without actually articulating that feeling. I refuse to kiss him goodbye, I complain about something useless and inevitably he leaves on a sour note because I got moody all of the sudden.

We've realized this happens now and we've started to talk about it, but it's not until 11:28 that we're both catching on to this rage. I seem to survive Tuesday through Friday because I leave first to go to work. There is something much different about Erik leaving first on Saturdays. I'm the one being abandoned. I know you're all thinking I'm a drama queen using the word "abandoned" but I'm just in touch with my feelings. (Group therapy once a week and I'm not afraid to say that.) And what does abandonment mean to me? It's a feeling that I would guess a lot of other chefswives can relate to. I connect to the feeling, remembering my past and being abandoned, so to speak, as a child. I don't want to be left alone all day. Once the chef is at work and cooking and ordering, yelling and cleaning I'm fine. It's those moments around the door that I dread.

An easy fix would be simple: get myself out of the house on Saturdays before Erik goes to Perry St. But I'm not interested in quick fixes and patch ups. I want to correct the issue completely. I think I've already started that by talking about it here on the blog. Perhaps next week will be a little easier now that I've released some of the negative feelings associated with the chef leaving. Time will tell.

Actually the chef and I are going to a wedding next week! The general manager at Perry St is getting married on Long Island and Erik is working the AM only so we can go. I'm so excited! A wedding is like a romantic date wrapped in cake complete with champagne and a conga line.

Food is Love

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Get Your Dance On with Parsley

For your viewing pleasure I present a hilarious video about a Middle Eastern tasty treat:Tabbouleh.

Thanks, Eat Me Daily for making my day with this vid.

Food is Love,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Food Is Love

Per my own advice I decided to tell the chef that I wanted and needed him to cook more for me. We talked about the impact of food and in the end we both agreed: Food Is Love. I've always known this to be true since working at my charter school (one of the original 13 in NJ). When children steal food it's not because they are bad or seeking attention or hungry. It's because they crave nurturing and food is a way to be nurtured-either acquired legally or not. It breaks my heart when a student steals because it raises the question, "What is really going on here?" It's never about the food. Think back to your own childhood and I'm sure you can related many loving memories to food. Your parents could have been the worst cooks but the food came from them and it meant something. I'll never forget how my family spend most nights choosing things from the Wendy's value menu. That fast food and the process of getting it had a powerful impact on me.

I've also learned that one way to impact a child and show them love (in a politically correct, 2009-way) is to give them food. In the beginning of this school year I knew a particular second grader would give me some grief. She didn't have the best upbringing so far, but it was getting better. I worked it out that I gave her some food from the cafeteria each morning. She could have gotten it during breakfast but I made sure I was the one handing it to her. It was always something small like a package of gram crackers or a bag or animal crackers. That student has made a complete turn around and she doesn't know it but she'll be student of the month this June. Of course, it's not all due to my giving her food each morning, but it certainly helped to strengthen our relationship. If you get love, you give love.

Last night I was treated to sautéed Sea Scallops with Lemon Braised Artichokes, Asparagus and Spring Onion with Bacon-Fat Mashed Potatoes. It was fantastic. I definitely experience umami after the scallops. I can't wait to leftovers tonight. And the best part is that Erik and I decided to make a big meal like this on a regular basis.

Food Is Love

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stopping Power

I read other blogs written by chefswives (see the DCW blogs on the right) and I've noticed that other chefs seem to cook more for their wives. Ah, yes I remember a time when my chef would cook a couple days a week. What happened? It's been months since he's made anything using his chef skills. Don't get me wrong, I love pasta with sausage, but any Food Network fan can make that. I want some scallops, butter sauce, bitter greens salad. I want wine with my meals, and I want to use a napkin and sit at the kitchen table! Our table seats six and the only time anyone sits here is to use the computer.

I've asked Erik to make more food at home, and he did, once. I don't want to push it too much because I know he doesn't really like cooking at home. Perks of being married to a chef?-yeah right. It's not even about the food either. It's about feeling worthy of some attention and feeling cared about. Any Peter Eater with a ressy to Perry St gets the 3 star treatment from Erik. Just not his wife; it's sad really.

We'll see what happens when he reads this.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Ladies

I think the holiday itself is a little ridiculous in that it funnels all love for Mother's to a certain day. But I'm glad it gives us the opportunity to pamper our mothers. Maybe there are some people who only show mom love on the second Sunday in May each year. I bet their mother's realy look forward to today.

Summer, 2008

My mom is perfect.Not Martha Stewart Perfect. Not Heidi Klum Perfect. Not Hillary Clinton Perfect. She's Hilary Anne Perfect. She uses a pizza cutter to cut up pancakes and she's not afraid to swindle that thing in her purse to IHOP. She swiped a magazine from her dentist because Jean-Georges was on the cover of it. Her hair and make up are always done for any errand. She taught me the power of Home Goods/Marshalls/TJ Maxx.

Mother's Day 2002

Two years ago my sisters taped her dancing without her knowing it and put it on YouTube. She found out later, and laughs it off. It's got over 11,000 views. What's a few more?

Good thing she can't work the Internet. Love you Mom!

I hope you all have a Mother's Day that suits you perfectly. I'll be at home today since the chef has to work on his day off. Too many mom are eating at Perry St today! Oh well, Happy Mother's Day, Ladies!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Best of Firenze

The best spot in Firenze, Italia is no where near The David, The Duomo, or the Ponte Vecchio. A true taste of Italy is located on the other side of the Arno. No, I'm not talking about the Pitti Palace either. I'm referring to the best restaurant in all of Italia! Ok, so I only ate in Venice, Florence, and Milan -(McDonald's... {twice}). Aside from the blemish of MickyD's on my food record, I think I have pretty good taste in restaurants.
Sant'Agostino23 is a small and hip in a non-hip way. The restaurant is cozy charm in a local neighborhood in Florence. We stumbled upon Sant'Agostino when were desperate for a good Italian meal. After all, everyone told us that we would eat like kings there. I was disappointed in Italy initially, but once we found Sant'Agostino I knew Italy had gems. But like all gems, they have to be hunted for and sought out.

Walking down via S. Agostino (get it?), we passed number 23. We had already poked our heads into what felt like dozens of stale looking restaurants with old sandwiches wilting in the windows. But something about 23 was different. It felt like New York. It seemed real and sincere and a little bad ass, too. There were articles from Food and Wine and other local Italian media sources posted outside. We stepped inside and BUMMER, they weren't open for another hour. But after talking with the general manager and saying hello to chef Mirko Innocenti we knew we had to come back. Erik's chef radar must have been going off because as soon as we walked out he said, "Did you see those guys? They're hard core." How could he know? Must be a chef thing. Although we were famished and suffering from gurgling bellies, we walked to a local park to pass the time taking silly pictures with a pigeons.

The menu at Sant'Agostino23 can be described as meaningful, direct, and approachable. I loved everything we ate. The first time we went (yes, we ate here two nights in a row) we ate in the traditional way with antipasti, primi, and secondi. I wish I could remember the specials we had, but I have a terrible food memory. I can only remember the things we ate on the menu because I asked to keep one. The second night we ate there we asked for three pastas to share. Spaghetti con bottarga di tonno, gnudi ricotta e spinaci al burro e salvia, and fagottini di pasta fresca con ricotta e cariciofi. NO questions asked, this place would fly in New York.

But until they decide to open a West Village branch, I'll be dreaming about Sant'Agostino23.
Photos of Sant'Agostino23.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Need Me!

I feel like a old Korean Tang Soo Do 당수도 instructor. Let me explain, please. I have been given the most wonderful opportunity to advise, relate to, and comfort wives of chefs from all over the world using this blog. But what happens when the chefswives I know have mastered their relationships and no long need me (or this blog) anymore? What happens when the chef's new schedule gives him nights and weekends off and his chefwife no longer surfs the web for answers, but has dinner with her chef? I'm so jealous. The student no longer needs the teacher.

I want you all to be happy with rich, rewarding, meaningful relationships. But I also want to be needed. Who doesn't?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chef Mumbles

In my hair? On my sandwich?

My chef really loves his condiments. Especially mayonnaise. This is what I heard while I was putting on my shoes early this morning on the edge of the bed:

"The mayonnaise isn't working."

"Isn't working for what?"

"It's not working as a hair product."

No, mayonnaise isn't really good for that. Then again, I've heard it can make for some shiny locks.


Monday, May 4, 2009

This Is It

I wanted to include a list of blogs written by women for women to the sideline of this website. I thought that giving us some more options as far as support would be an added bonus to the growing support we have for each other here. I googled "blogs for wives" and guess what I found. THIS BLOG! This is a great resource for women and I'm pleased to be bringing you all together. Made. My Day.

I love you all!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chef Mumbles Become Interactive

"Potatoes Bed" 2006 Dom del Torto

The days of just Erik mumbling in his sleep to himself may be over. There is a whole new breed of early morning mumbles emerging. Today around 6:30 AM, Erik tells me: "Don't move." So now I'm scared thinking there is giant furry spider on my back. But I think back to other moments similar and decided to play along for the sake of "Don't wake the sleepwalker/chefmumbler." He then presses his hand firmly on my back and removes my covers. He says, "The potatoes are moved." I just rolled over and looked at him inquisitively. He started telling me about the potatoes and how there was hot oil, but now there isn't so everything is okay. With each new statement he seemed to become more lucid. He started to smile and said, "What's going on?"

I don't know. I just don't know.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Zagat Winner!

The winner of the one year membership to Zagat.com is....CER! Thanks to random.org CER's comment was chosen as the winner. You have 48 hours to contact me with your name and address or you'll have to forfeit the prize. Boo hoo! CER would eat...Taco dip & chips, but only how my mother makes it -- blend of sour cream, cream cheese & a bit o' lemon juice, with salsa, fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a hefty layer of freshly grated cheddar. No taco seasoning or ground beef or olives or any of that -- just the spread and fresh veggies. It is to die for.

Sounds good, CER. Congrats and enjoy the wealth of information that Zagat has to offer!