Friday, November 26, 2010

Surprise, surprise?

This past Saturday, I continued my so-called half marathon training with a 12.5 mile, yes--12.5 mile--run through Brooklyn. I wasn't really going for that long of a run, as I had already done 6.4 through Red Hook on Friday. But, once I got out there, I kind of took a more scenic route... And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has done that before!

Needless to say, by the time I got back to my apartment, I was hot, tired, in desperate need of a shower. And RAVENOUS. I think for the last two miles of my run, I kept thinking about what (little) food I had in my fridge, and what nutritious and satisfying meal I could easily whip up. With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, and knowing the I wouldn't be home for dinner at all during the week, I didn't really want to stop for something to cook on my way home, like the chicken curry I was kind of craving. I first thought of French Toast, but I didn't have enough of my favorite Sullivan Street Bakery Pugliese leftover to make that (and as I thought I was going to be eating fried oysters, lobster rolls, and yummy fries at Pearl Oyster Bar that night, I wanted something a little less rich in simple carbohydrates). With some ressurance I'd get my rich-fix that night, I had settled on scrambled eggs (with a little heavy cream I had on hand) with sundried tomatoes, maybe some roasted brussels sprouts, and a side of crunchy apple slices and baby carrots that I was madly craving (go figure?!). 

Walking in through the sliding doors of my building, I instantly remembered I had this mysterious package waiting for me with my doormen. When I checked its origins, when my building sent the package notification, it had been labelled "brand marketing," so I had thought it was a package of product I had been expecting for work. But, when my doorman brought this much smaller-sized package--kind of like the size J. Crew ships a pair of jeans or a cashmere sweater in--I was confused. What is this??

I get upstairs, and naturally, must investigate. I rip open the box with my knife, only to discover the above massive array of cheeses, mustard, salamis, and... strawberry candies from Hickory Farms?? My initial thought was oh-mi-gosh, does this--should this--be refrigerated? There wasn't any labelling on the package, and from having recently taken ownership of a sampler of Graeter's Pumpkin and Cinnamon ice creams (if you haven't already tried their ice cream, run, NOW (vite! vite! vite!) to your computer to get some), know if something needs to be refrigerated or frozen as it's slathered all over the exterior of the package--even if it's sitting in a cooler on dry ice, hard as a rock. This wasn't, so I didn't worry. I unpacked the goodies, wondering who on earth this was from. 

After showering, and reconsidering my new lunch options, I decided that a cheese plate was in order. I mean, I've got some new ingredients in the fridge--I've got to see what they're all about. Now, I'm a huge cheese, salami, and cracker fan. I could each wonderfully gooey Swiss and French cheeses with dried salami, yummy fresh butter, and the most crusty-moist loaf of bread--and the requisite bottle of vin rouge or vin blanc any time. But, there was something about this box of meat and cheese, that had not been refrigerated (but yes, the meat was cured) that struck me as not right, and you've got to listen to those initial instincts right?

Well, I didn't. Yup, I tore into the Italian-Style Beef Sausage, and the Maple Turkey Sausage. Served with the rest of my Manchego, apple slices, baby carrots, mustard dipping sauce, and some wheatmeal crackers, I was a very, very happy girl. I try to avoid any cured products with nitrites--and the sausages did have them--but decided to let it slide, whatever. I definitely liked the Italian-Style Beef Sausage more than the slightly-sweet Turkey Sausage. I like my sausage dry, with a melty-quality to the meat, thanks to some fat. Overall, not too bad. Guess the next thing I'd have to try is the cheese... for another day.

Fast-forward to Monday night. I ended up dining with my parents, as my friend Amanda--who I was supposed to go to Pearl with--was stricken with a bug. Sunday Brunch was a real treat with three dear Middlebury friends at Bubby's Brooklyn. Craving carbs, as I didn't get my fix Saturday night, I made hand-torn homemade whole-wheat pasta, with roasted eggplant and Brussels sprouts. My plans for Monday had changed, and I ended up getting home at just an hour where I needed to make something for dinner. 

I wasn't worried: I had ample amounts of leftover Brussels sprouts, and was thinking an adaptation of my favorite dish from Alta Restaurant. Brussels sprouts, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, thinly sliced apple... and as I didn't have any creme fraiche (or pistachios, for that matter), a couple of slices of cheese with crackers. 

Ah yes... now that I have so many cheeses to choose from, what to choose? I love swiss, but since it's my favorite, I decided to save it, the best for last. Cheddar or Monterey Jack? Neither really went well with the Brussels, and just seemed so blah to me with a cracker. Cheese ball? Hmm... yes, really too processed for my liking, but would two slices kill me? Probably not, I thought.

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