Wait, wait, wait, can someone slow down the clock? Seriously, I've been unemployed for three months now (ugh) and the time is flying. This partially comes from all the good and awesome shit I've been doing, but then again, dude, I want a job. I want to be even busier than I am now. The past few weeks has just been insane, with the Soup Kitchen, the Vendys, and then the second half of this week was jam packed. I've been keeping up with Unemployed Brooklyn, and we had another get together on Wednesday in Greenpoint. It was a surprisingly small turnout, but just a nice afternoon with a cheap beer. Briana (UB) is just a sweet girl, so it makes any event worthwhile. Because I'm crazy, I bought a ticket to the Brooklyn Meatup that was happening Wednesday evening. Briana's friend had surprised her with a ticket (after she sort of made fun of the whole thing) so we ended up going down to the Bell House together. We spent most of the time chilling together with her friend; to be honest, there was a ton of people there. Lots of people + me doesn't = lots of success.
But, I did meet a cute guy towards the end of the night (I was lame and went home around 11:30). It happened actually away from the craziness, outside in the hallway by the 'post-it note personals. I was reading some, and another few girls were as well and we were sort of chatting. A guy was standing by the table and joined the convo, and was like "Hah, yeah I put one up. Pretty corny." While it was, I was intrigued, and we started talking. We probably talked for 15-30 minutes (I didn't keep track of time) and at the end, exchanged numbers. I had a total foot-in-mouth, I'm an awkward motherfucker moment at the end, but oh well, I am an awkward motherfucker. It seems pretty obviously platonic (on his end) but dude, I got a number. Now, um, where to go from here?! (Seriously, this chick is clueless.)
Anyway, Thursday was lamb pickup (yes, I went crazy again!) for the Lamb Takedown that was today. Fifteen pounds of lamb picked up in Times Square, along with then going to pick up my CSA share made for a tired girl. By the time I got home, my body went kaput. Which was a bummer, because I had bought a ticket for The Roots $10 Jam at Brooklyn Bowl. I was sad that I missed out on what was most definitely an awesome show and wasted the money. But, at the same time, I had a cake to bake! Yes, my friend Katie's birthday was Friday, and after I decided to splurge on the dinner for Friday, I also decided I would bake for her. Because, as I've said a lot, any chance to bake and give it away, I will.
The cake I chose was complicated for this amateur baker, but de-freakin-licious. I adore Smitten Kitchen, and she seems to have the right hand for desserts; she knows when to decrease sugar on a regular recipe, when to sub, what to make it amazing. So, with chocolate in mind, I went to her site and stumbled on Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. Hrmm, Italian restaurant for dinner with unlimited wine + liquored dessert? Sounds like a plan! So, yeah, between shopping for the takedown and the cake, and baking and errands, I had quite a busy few days. Friday I had a haircut in the morning at Arrojo studio with a student (free! woo!). Finished the cake in the afternoon and went to Katie's dinner in Billyburg. It was a fuuuuun night, no doubt.
And, so, you'd think with 15 pounds of lamb to fix for Sunday that I would spend ALL DAY Saturday cooking, right? Yeah, except that I had the bright idea to go to the Chile Fiesta at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There was a Chocolate and Chili Takedown there, too, with previous winners! So, it was nice to go out and support them. Unfortunately, by the time I went there and then finished up my final shopping, I didn't even get home until after 5pm. While I don't regret going out, considering that I've been wanting to check out the BBG for ages, and it's gorgeous, it was still a bit of an insane plan. Considering I planned on making a slow braised curry, one could say I was hopeful. Or dumb.
Saturday night and this morning was a slow hurry of braising and cooking and transferring to larger pans and cooking more and transferring to containers (Ziploc bags) and yeah. Fun. I made the slow braised lamb curry, created a mango, roasted red pepper and tomato chutney and basmati rice. Also took along sliced green onions, cilantro and frozen peas to add to the curry once I got to the Takedown. A few notes: baking rice is the BEST. THING. EVER. Seriously. It was perfect and that made me happy. Also, shit that I don't plan seems to work great. Like the last cookoff I did, where the "soup" was just a crazy creation I mixed together, the chutney was delicious. I saw chili mangoes at Trader Joes (in the dried fruit section) and knew I had at least a dozen peppers in my fridge from the CSA. It all turned into this yummy sauce, which I plan to write up a real "recipe" for soon.
The Takedown was fun, once I finally got there. A bit more hectic than the first cookoff I did, as there were more competitors and more attendees. While I didn't place (there were 3 judges and peoples choice awards), it was fun and there were some insane dishes there. I didn't get to try most of them until after the awards were handed out, as people were packing up. Most people cooking have a buddy with them, and they take turns getting samples around the room; I was the loser loner cook, haha, so I couldn't exactly leave my spot. While I came home with leftovers, it definitely wasn't the same food overflow as the Soup & Sandwich event.
Serious congrats to the winners; a few of them were already packed up or had ran out of food, but I can say that the Chinese Xi’an Spicy Cumin Lamb with Pickled Jalapenos was just insanely delicious, the Pulled Lamb with pears was divine and simply well done, and the tacos were also quite nice. Also, big thanks to Mr. Matt Timms. Not only is the guy a wacky, fun guy to be around, he truly wants to see these takedowns be a hit and help the cooks in any way he can. Also, one other thanks to the folks who donated the lamb to us, the American Lamb Board. Who turns down the opportunity to cook with such an awesome ingredient?!
Oh, and guess who has a huge career fair on Thursday? And still wants to create something new for the portfolio? Yeah, this week isn't going to slow down.