"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

How to avoid bread and pasta for a week and live to tell about it

by Julie Tilsner on April 11, 2007

in Minor Miracles, Snacks & Sides

Sardines are very tasty. They taste good on crackers, which means they’re good on the Bread of Affliction (matzos) too. If your foodie friend is visiting you, she will not let you eat these out of the can, hunched over the sink, as you intend to do. Rather, she will dish them into a bowl, spread fresh avocado mixed with freshly ground black pepper and capers onto a matzo, place a single sardine just so, and hand it to you on a plate. She will make you sit down at the table to eat it. And she will make you use a napkin. And it will be good.

Matzo brei is also very tasty. You learned to make it from a Nice Jewish Boy from Long Island many yearsEggs ago when you were giving the other coast a whirl. It is his grandmother’s recipe. You run several sheets of matzo under the tap until they’re good and wet, shake them out, then crumble them all up into a colander. Then you melt butter in a pan, and fry the damp matzo bits until lightly browned. Then you add three or four eggs, beaten with a little milk, salt and pepper. The resulting scrambled egg and matzo is then eaten, in delicious little bites, with jam and a giant cup of coffee.
Your children announce that they love matzo-brei. This will make you feel like a righteous Jew.

Carrot salad with avocado and tofu sounded good (well, maybe not the tofu part necessarily), and since the gorgeous Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini eats it for lunch every day, you decide you should try it. You took four years of high school French. There’s no reason why you should be so impressed with a dish called Carottes Rapées à l’Avocat, but you are. In any case, the recipe, in English, sounds like simplicity itself. You grate the four carrots. You dice your ripe, medium avocado. You toast your sesame seeds. Then you realize that your lemon is too big and that you probably added too much lemon juice and absolutely too much balsamic vinegar, and then, unable to stop the train wreck, you dump in your carrots before it’s all mixed and you find you can’t backtrack by scooping it out. Damn. What you’re left with is balsamic-flavored vegetable slop. Good thing you opted not to use tofu in the end.

Refrigeration for a few hours doesn’t fix the problem. You eat most of it anyway, because you sense that, if prepared correctly, it could be very good indeed. And at the very least it’s probably healthy for you.

Eat the ginger and carrot soup you bought three boxes of from Trader Joe’s, for several meals.

Make the kids a lot of hard boiled eggs. Color some and call it Easter, prompting the kids to continue eating them, along with their chocolate.

Have Tony over for more salmon.

Passover is over the next day and dream of the biggest, creamiest bowl of fettuccine Alfredo you can conjure up.

Next year in Greenblatt’s.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

AT April 12, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Gee BHC, I haven’t had sardines from a can in about 40 years; on the other hand, I am ready for more salmon along with your couscous recipe -where you decorate it with cranberries!


Mister J April 15, 2007 at 8:58 am

What’s wrong w/ eating over the sink?!!! I do it all the time.


Boracay island hotel August 26, 2009 at 6:59 am

Sardines are pretty delicious. Sounds like a good recipe.
Thank you for sharing!


Amy Yannello March 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Dear BHC: This week-long menu sounds fantastic… & just when I’m trying to go w/out wheat/gluten for 1 week (for medical reasons).
Thanks for reminding me of Sardines — used to eat them all the time in college & loved them. (Yes, over the sink!)
Good column! 🙂


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