First off, here’s an update on my progress. It has now been three weeks since I started my exercise/nutrition change and I’ve already lost 13 pounds. What I’m doing in these pictures has helped out a lot. I took a day to make some forcemeats. I had some salmon in the freezer and some ground beef. The salmon patties have minced onion, chives, and some old bay. The meatballs have garlic powder, quick oats, basil, oregano, and some red wine. The hamburgers have Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. I scale everything and portioned everything so I knew exactly how many calories, grams of fat, grams of protein, and grams of carbs each portion contains. I roasted everything in a nice hot 500 degree oven to get some browning and make this a fairly quick process. After roasting and cooling these guys, I put them on grids on sheet trays in the freezer so they would freeze individually. After they froze over, I could toss them into respective gallon size bags without worrying about them sticking to each other. Doing things like this has made my life journaling my food so much easier. Not to mention when I get hungry, I won’t have to reach for bags of chips or anything like that. I just pop one of these in a hot oven, throw a bun on it and I’ll have a high protein meal around 300 calories all taken care of.

Off Menu - Rabbit Terrine with spicy mustard, tomato jam and pickled onions - Lunch with the Sanitsky Family - Hopefully kill this creative funk I’m in…stay tuned… #sanitsky #appetizer #rabbit #forcemeat #terrine #charcuterie #beverlyhills #caulfields #thompsonhotel #pate #liver #galoeats #artistlife #brokebutblessed (at Caulfield’s Bar and Dining Room)


It’s a Sausage Fest!

I took sausages for granted, but honestly, after making three different types, there’s a lot that goes into sausage-making.  And I’m not talking about the meat.  You can’t overwork sausage making: heat is its enemy.  And also, it’s gotta be fast and clean.  

We made Sweet Italian Sausage, Spice Italian Sausage, Bratwurst, and Blue Cheese and Beef.  I have to say, the Sweet Italian Sausage was by far my favorite — just really light and delicious!

Lamb Balls with a Rich, Truffled Sauce

A tremendous snack or appetizer, and an especially popular hors d’oeuvre. The sauce is simply a demi-glace mounted with crème fraîche and butter – so easy and rich that it’s almost a joke. But it’s an easy crowd pleaser, so why not? You can use lamb demi-glace if you have it on hand; I actually prefer veal demi-glace. It’s a mellower umami sensation that provides a broad base for the lambiness of the balls to become the focal point – making it with lamb demi-glace is such a concentrated lamb flavor that the balls themselves become overwhelmed and are just a delivery system for the sauce. So that’s up to you – try it both ways and see which you prefer. I generally don’t make veal stock since the bones are trickier to procure than chicken, so I buy a pre-made veal demi-glace and it works well. I don’t know the brand that I tend to use, but I generally think if someone is making veal demi-glace for retail, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s high-end, so you don’t really have to worry about getting stuck with a low quality one. Also, I don’t use any sort of panada in the lamb balls – just lamb and herbs and a bit of cheese. The result is a tighter morsel, so it helps to keep these small. They should be eaten with toothpicks, not forks and knives – think cocktail weenies with kraft bbq and grape jelly sauce, just fashioned for the Coastal Urban Hypocrite rather than the Midwestern Class Act.

Finally, a word about truffle oil. I love truffles. Don’t get me wrong. I have a memory of having a huge mound of fresh white truffles shaved at the table onto a steaming bowl of buttery fresh fetuccini somewhere in the Italian countryside. I don’t think that memory is actually mine, but whoever told it to me described it in such awe-struck detail that it left a huge impression on me and became implanted in my own memory bank so vividly that I can almost smell the truffles when I recall it. The problem with truffles is that they are so associated with delicacy and luxury, many restaurants use canned black truffles or truffle oil to excess. Under-educated and over-pretentious diners who rarely get to eat truffles (like most of us) immediately feel like they’re eating the rarest, most sophisticated, complex, delicious food in the world, simply because it tastes like truffles – no matter that whatever they’re eating without the truffle is so often humdrum or worse. Yes, truffles can elevate the overall quality and experience of a dish, but using canned truffles or truffle oil is just plain cheating. It’s a shortcut to exotic excellence. How can you make a rare and delectable experience so accessible? You’re not fooling me, crappy restaurateurs.

The other issue with truffles is that their flavor is so powerful that it tends to dominate all other flavors. That means that their overuse will result in a) masking all other flavors (back to cheating), and/or b) making all the food you serve taste the same (the steak tastes like truffles, the gnocci tastes like truffles, and the seared tuna tastes like truffles. Great.). If your thing is about truffles, let the truffles shine, use fresh truffles, and don’t be shy with them. But if your thing is something else, like seared scallops, or mac and cheese, or chicken soup, for chrissakes, put the damn truffle oil down. 

That being said, I do keep white truffle oil around for occasional use, because there are some things that it just makes that much more enjoyable. I don’t cheat with it, don’t add it where it doesn’t belong, and when it does find its way into a dish, I use it sparingly. Since I mostly make these lamb balls to put out at a party, and most people are idiots, a few drops of truffle oil in the sauce just increases the ooh and ahh factor, so why the hell not?

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I’m actually relieved to not be writing about pasta any more. I’ve exhausted my pasta repertoire, and I’m feeling relieved and impressed with myself. But it seems appropriate that this next dish is one so closely related to pasta, to serve as a segue. You may eat these meatballs with pasta, as I often do, although I’m sure the purists will note that this is a strictly Italian American combination. There are some Italian American moments throughout this collection, things they do particularly well, but for the most part I like to keep things as traditional as possible and not skew things towards the New World (or at least, when I do so, I like to do so in my own way). These meatballs are delicious on their own, or with a tomato sauce; either way, they do not demand pasta. But the comforts of good old spaghetti and meatballs are often too strong to be ignored.

It’s important to start with your meats cold, so that the fats go into an emulsion of sorts when you mix them, and don’t separate out. You want this to be almost whipped, so there’s a good snap when you bite into them, so mix vigorously. However, you should be careful not to over-mix it or it will become tough when cooked - it should have a bit of crumble, too (see hamburger and meatloaf entries for comparison).

I often feel that as good as these are, there’s a way to make them perfect that I can’t figure out. But seeing as I’m not sure that these are the ultimate meatballs, I am quite sure they’ll do until the ultimate meatballs get here.

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Sooo last time I threw up because I ate too many cherries (and it really wasn’t much since I’m aware they can make me sick). 

Last night I threw up because…. quorn forcemeat probably? It sure tasted like it (sorry, I’m gross, I know). 

Can food please stop making me sick k thx bye