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eG Foodblog: Verjuice - Red, Green or Christmas?


Verjuice
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Hey Verjuice,

Nice to see that you'll be having a homey New Year's celebration.

As usual anything half-decent in Dubai is completely booked up and for ridiculously high prices (read Dhs8,888 per person at the new Raffles China Moon Champagne Bar).

Needless to say going out won't be possible unless you're ready to fork out a minimum of Dhs300 per head for a tasteless buffet - no alcohol included - and hope that someone decides to buy bubbly for the entire restaurant :-)

Happy New Year!

F,

That's obscene but it doesn't surprise me.

I just talked to my family about their plans for New Years. As you probably know, very few people in the U.A.E. born before 1971 have any record of their birth, so to simplify things they were all given January 1st as a birthday. Since it's my dad's mock birthday we usually do something special, with a magnificent and often inedible cake, fireworks, and Michael Jackson's Thriller on the stereo.

Next time I'm in town, I'll invite you over and we'll reenact New Year's Eve properly without the gross opulence and bad food. What do you think?

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Hey Verjuice,

Nice to see that you'll be having a homey New Year's celebration.

As usual anything half-decent in Dubai is completely booked up and for ridiculously high prices (read Dhs8,888 per person at the new Raffles China Moon Champagne Bar).

Needless to say going out won't be possible unless you're ready to fork out a minimum of Dhs300 per head for a tasteless buffet - no alcohol included - and hope that someone decides to buy bubbly for the entire restaurant :-)

Happy New Year!

F,

That's obscene but it doesn't surprise me.

I just talked to my family about their plans for New Years. As you probably know, very few people in the U.A.E. born before 1971 have any record of their birth, so to simplify things they were all given January 1st as a birthday. Since it's my dad's mock birthday we usually do something special, with a magnificent and often inedible cake, fireworks, and Michael Jackson's Thriller on the stereo.

Next time I'm in town, I'll invite you over and we'll reenact New Year's Eve properly without the gross opulence and bad food. What do you think?

:shock: I didn't know that about the birthday thing!

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:shock:  I didn't know that about the birthday thing!

Oh, it's not something you'd know unless you lived there; "as you probably know" was directed at Flotch.

It's a random and interesting bit of trivia about the country. My dad loves saying, "But I feel like a Pisces".

:huh:

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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Hey Verjuice,

As you probably know, very few people in the U.A.E. born before 1971 have any record of their birth, so to simplify things they were all given January 1st as a birthday.

:shock: I didn't know that about the birthday thing!

Oh, it's not something you'd know unless you lived there; "as you probably know" was directed at Flotch.

It's a random and interesting bit of trivia about the country. My dad loves saying, "But I feel like a Pisces".

Very interesting! Does he know when he was really born?

Hmmmm....that could come in handy as a woman. We could lie about our age :biggrin:

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Corn muffin!

I love corn muffins. I love corn in any form, actually, but cornbread and corn muffins are high on the list, right after fresh, sweet corn on the cob.

I know that some people here that it's a sacrilege to add sweetening to cornbread, but I have no such moral fiber.

Delicious.

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Just wanted to add my compliments to the chorus of praise. The area around Santa Fe -- which I never visited during my summer in El Paso; Albuquerque was as far north as I made it -- looks absolutely gorgeous in the winter.* Glad you can afford the outrageously pricey side of Santa Fe living as well.

*I did manage to experience a taste of winter during my summer sojourn, though -- on a drive to a Sunday-afternoon activity in Ruidoso, we passed through an elevation high enough that it began to snow around us. Ruidoso itself was warmer, warm enough that I didn't need to wear a coat to climb a hill I'd estimate at about 150-200 feet. (This was the first and so far only time I've climbed a hill in my life. I wasn't a Philadelphian yet, but it was the summer of Rocky, so my climbing companion and I did the Art Museum Steps dance once we reached the top.)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Onto the requisite fridge shot. I really dragged my feet with this one, I know.

By late morning every day, there a few extra items in here; more on days that I'm entertaining. I go shopping for food every day and try to keep as little as possible in the fridge for a few reasons, the main ones being that I avoid leftovers and frozen food. It's more time-consuming to do it this way, but I make the time and I do it.

Obviously, for someone with my preferences a well-stocked pantry is a must. I am never without a small collection of excellent oils and vinegars, fresh spices, the best tuna and anchovies I can afford, grains (quinoa is a favorite), Rancho Gordo beans, polenta, pastas (I buy all of my pasta, except orzo, from Chefshop) etc.

So, here's my fridge. It contains local, organic eggs from Lori's Farm, milk, duck fat, goose fat, miso, maple syrup, limes, butter (Organic Valley and Pamplie), a small chunk of raw milk Pecorino, vitamins, and some random jarred goods like preserved lemons and mustard.

The freezer contains only ice and the bag of roasted green chiles shown earlier.

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edited because I accidentally typed 'toasted' instead of 'roasted' green chiles. Can you imagine?

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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"Toasted" is what everyone gets by 11:59:59 local time tonight. (In much of the Eastern Hemisphere, that hour has already come and gone.)

Wow! I don't think I've ever seen a fridge so pristine in the time I've been reading eG foodblogs! If I hadn't learned differently already, I'd have assumed you were a bachelor (heterosexual) or a graduate student just from seeing this.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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More on the U.A.E.:

In order to afford its people an elevated degree of privacy, local-style properties are surrounded by walls about ten feet high. Houses are usually situated in the center of the lot, so there ends up being a ring of land surrounding the house that can be used for any number of purposes from tennis courts to miniature golf courses. Although it will not seem that way in the photos, our house has a modestly-sized garden by U.A.E. standards.

Ex-pats generally live in either a flat or a compound, within which the small villas are usually surrounded by smaller walls of their own.

Le jardin:

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My father's passion is farming and agriculture, so we ate mostly our own meat and produce when I was growing up. We grew several varieties of dates and bananas, as well as mangoes, pomelos and other citrus fruits, almonds, figs, cucumbers, lettuces, the most ambrosial tomatoes from a Lebanese graft from February until April, and another half dozen fruits I don't know the names of in English.

Tragically, a few years ago, a law was passed dictating that the U.A.E. Municipality was to begin spraying diesel fuel from helicopters in the wee hours as a cheap pesticide on all residential gardens, several times a week. As a result, none of us will eat the produce, even though it continues to thrive.

We also occasionally raised goats, rabbits, geese, ducks, chickens, turkeys and... peacocks. We still have them, but we have since transported them up to Ras al-Khaimah, where there are no reflective windows for them to continue bashing their heads into (and subsequently breaking their necks).

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Another aspect of all local-style (this is the technical term, believe it or not) homes in the U.A.E. is the presence of an indoor and an outdoor kitchen.

The indoor kitchen is used for assembling sandwiches, making breakfast, baking cookies, and casual dining. My sister took this picture while standing on the platform in the nook where we eat breakfast, lunch and snacks. It's not a very practical room, as you can seem but then again it isn't intended to be.

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The outdoor kitchen is for doing anything with onions, garlic, meat and anything that spatters. It's where things get butchered and where stock pots get scrubbed. It's got a much better stove and a bigger sink. I prefer to cook in there, but I think I stand alone in my preferences. No pictures, sorry. My long-distance photographer refused, saying it was too unattractive (well, it kind of is).

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Another aspect of all local-style (this is the technical term, believe it or not) homes in the U.A.E. is the presence of an indoor and an outdoor kitchen.

The indoor kitchen is used for assembling sandwiches, making breakfast, baking cookies, and casual dining. My sister took this picture while standing on the platform in the nook where we eat breakfast, lunch and snacks. It's not a very practical room, as you can seem but then again it isn't intended to be.

gallery_11735_5545_180173.jpg

The outdoor kitchen is for doing anything with onions, garlic, meat and anything that spatters. It's where things get butchered and where stock pots get scrubbed. It's got a much better stove and a bigger sink. I prefer to cook in there, but I think I stand alone in my preferences. No pictures, sorry. My long-distance photographer refused, saying it was too unattractive (well, it kind of is).

....just as the'dirty kitchen' in the Philippines, my favourite spot, you do not stand alone :smile:

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....just as the'dirty kitchen' in the Philippines, my favourite spot, you do not stand alone :smile:

Is that what they call? Hilarious!

It is a smart design though. With the heat and humidity, you'd never be able to rid the house of the smell of certain foods if you cooked them indoors. Even with A/C and fans, we'd wake up with our hair smelling of biryani.

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I'm loving this blog! I did one year at St. John's in SF before transfering out to major in Greek and Latin. I just adored the area. St. John's was a great way to be there, although it was kind of hard to concentrate on academics in those gorgeous surroundings.

Looking forward to tonight's activity!

Edited by Tess (log)
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Susan,

That is equally complimentary as it is coincidental; I just redid my guest bathroom over the course of this blog:

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That sink has to be one of the most beautiful objects I've ever seen! Magnificent!

Now, then:

How do you NOT take a sexy picture of a sausage? Beautiful meat, bursting from a crisp, snappy casing, delicately browned and waiting to be bitten into... ('Scuse me,I'm having a hot flash...) :laugh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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For those who have commented or PM'd me about my sink, thanks! I love it, too. In case you're interested, here is the pic of the sink in the master bath. It's about twice the size of the other one, and I like it just as much:

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I am obsessed with home renovation and would work on my house constantly if my budget allowed it.

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I brought the coffee and decaf with milk over to my friend Duncan's house, because he had promised to make me one of his special omelets. When I got there, his dog Racer X ("Rex"), who is my second favorite dog in the world after my own, did not want my attention to be directed at anything other than him, so he positioned himself in the middle of all of my shots.

Rex is half-wolf and half-Akita, and he weighs 130 lbs. He thinks he's the size of a kitten, and will try to get into your lap.

If any of you have seen the film 'The Tao of Steve', then you may be interested to know that Duncan wrote the screenplay, and the film was shot here in his house.

After the film was released, Duncan was asked to start writing a relationship advice column called The Tao of Love.

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Vic the cat:

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After I arrived, Duncan sheepishly admitted that he was out of eggs. Could me make a run to the store? No, I was too hungry, so we went to Bumble Bee's Baja Grill instead.

Salsa bar (those SFR Best Of Banners on the wall are probably getting to look pretty familiar to you guys):

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Roasted tomato:

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Tomatillo:

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Habanero:

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My favorite of the menu. I usually get a salad with lamb (they use organic local lamb) or the Tito burrito with shrimp.

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Today, I tried the Tito with char-grilled mahi-mahi.

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The second half:

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And now I'm full.

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Love that you have an Umm Kulthum/Oum Kalsoum sig line, btw.

I got that line from a documentary about her. She says it about planes and trains (she was really scared of missing them) but it's what I always say to my husband when I'm putting food on the table and he's still somewhere in the house doing stuff, so I figured it was foodrelated enough to have as an eGullet sigline :smile:

oh and speaking of music: every single time I'm reading your blog I get this Dusty Springfield song ringing in my head: I said I wanna see the world/I wanna be a free girl/I gotta travel, I gotta travel

I guess it's both because your blog makes me want to travel and have coffee and muffins in all those lovely places you're showing us, driving country roads and looking at the mountains, but also the sense of freedom that I get from your life. It looks bright, colorful, and warm.

oh and that has to be one of the emptiest fridges in the history of eG foodblogs :shock:

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Ah, a free moment at last.

It's close to 4 a.m. and the last of the company just filtered out of the house.

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As I was shopping for the ingredients for tonight's dinner, it dawned on me that I never took pictures of the individual dishes from Christmas Dinner, nor did I ever post a menu. I tried to do better this time around, but hey! Stuff happens.

There were eight guests in all, including one six year-old (who left far before 4 a.m., okay?). Four of us cooked and the others were kind enough to do most of the cleaning up. What a treat.

There were a couple of non-drinkers in the bunch, so we had pomegranate soda and ginger beer chilling with the champagne and Bandol Rose.

Menu:

Red Lentil Soup (Turkey)

...

Aysh Abu Al-Lahm (Saudi Arabia)

...

Fettat Hummus (Lebanon)

...

Brik (Tunisia)

...

Machbous-inspired spiced rice with lamb sausage (United Arab Emirates)

...

Fried Cauliflower (who knows where this originated? Everyone at the table had eaten it growing up)

...

Raw Vegetable Salad

...

Turkish Coffee Ice Cream

...

Baqlawa (Lebanon)

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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The brikmaster, B, was the twentysomething year-old brother of a friend, F, who was also present tonight. He is here from Tunis to donate a kidney to F, who is scheduled for a transplant within the next couple of weeks. B's presence made the evening extra special, though we all spent the greater part of the night poking fun at one another's Arabic (there were four different dialects being spoken).

Preparing the hummus for the fettat hummus:

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This is C preparing the rustic Saudi dish of her childhood. She calls it "Meccan Pizza". The filling contains lamb, tahini and mint, among other things, and the crust contains a special blend of spices that she mixes and keeps on hand.

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The soup, fifteen minutes in:

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Sausages:

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R, a linguist, is removing chickpea skins on autopilot while moderating an intense debate about Islam:

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The Meccan pizza, baked:

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Grating lime zest into the machbous. I like my machbous with lots of caramelized onions:

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The finished dish. Someone stole the parsley I'd been saving for a garnish:

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Brik, wonderful brik:

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Fettat hummus:

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Edited by Verjuice (log)
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