Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Join me for a glass of wine Thursday August 14, 7:pm

In the Bay Area, kids? Come meet the Amado Women and say hello--I'll be pouring some wine for your efforts.  Here's what Books Inc, SF Opera Plaza has to say:

Playwright, Pushcart Prize-nominee, award-winning short story writer, and director of the Community Literacy Center at Occidental College, Désirée Zamorano shares her debut novel, The Amado Women. In a June 13th article for Publisher's Weekly, Désirée stated "As part of the Latina community, I recently realized that we have a superpower: invisibility." The Amado Women not only vanquishes this "superpower," it does so with  grace, beauty, and a powerful story about four women, connected by birth, separated by secrets. This is a must-read for all.
The Amado Women has been selected as the August 2014 Book of the Month for the Los Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, has been listed among 5 Must-Read Books for Summer 2014 by Remezcla, and has been named 1 of Eleven Moving Beach Reads That'll Have You Weeping in Your Pina Colada by Bustle.
Books Inc.
601 Van Ness
San Francisco
Would love to see you!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Now is the Time to Honor Summer Flings

Originally printed in RLife

Years ago, while touring my husband's country of origin with his aunt, Cupid blindsided me. 

Perhaps it was the quick city tour from the left side of the road, starring Big Ben, and the Tower of London, maybe it was his aunt's crisp, posh accent, but I knew deep in my heart, that I was irrevocably in love. With her classic, Hunter Green Range Rover. 

A few years later, when it was time for us to buy a car, lust and desire filled my heart with a madness of longing. I wanted one. My practical husband said we could buy a Range Rover if I didn't mind putting a mechanic on the payroll.

Ah, well, he was probably jealous.
I put this longing aside, and decided to be a faithful wife.  And for ten years, I was. I drove a serviceable minivan. I safely hauled kids around, as well as hundreds of cubic feet of camp gear. But there was no spark, and inwardly, I railed against this tyranny of monogamy.
Speeding along the freeway, or pulling up to the car pool, no one could possibly imagine my past: walking through the cobbled Parisian streets at four in the morning, sighting the soldiers with their rifles guarding the Albanian border, or weeks spent on the Adriatic coast, nude sunbathing.

Sitting in my van with the peeling wood side-paneling I was just like the millions of mothers around me. People saw carpools and Oreo cookies. Anticipation, excitement, a return to the illicit thrills and passion of youth was what I craved. It was time to push the minivan over a cliff, put a bullet in its heart, and move on, preferably to some flashy bad boy model. 

Only then did I realize I had been carrying a torch. The Range Rover remained idiosyncratic, quirky, provocative. It would know me, understand me, sense my every mood. Now observers would know a woman like me could wipe the rattlers and the tumbleweeds from the bush bar as I trekked through the desert . Yes, it was an environmentally heedless dream. But remember, it is better to love too well, if not too wisely.

Ultimately I was reunited with my 1994 Range Rover Hunter Green Classic model. My husband, probably intrigued by thoughts of a menage a trois, agreed and we bought it. Later that winter we drove to Reno, to Denver, to Santa Fe, to the Grand Canyon and back, the six cd changer crooning in my ear the entire way.

Unfortunately, when we returned home, the honeymoon was over.

You see, each week, bits would fall off, plastic, metal, rubber, revealing my new love to be, well, past its prime. When the panel to the fuse box fell off, my 9 year old was delighted to test the fuses en route. Once those were fiddledwith the moon roof wouldn't budge and the car alarm sounded at the worst moments, like when I started the car. As gas prices rocketed, my gas mileage plummeted. My car had turned into something needy, demanding, and imperious.

After spending the equivalent of a decent family vacation on essential repairs, I ran errands and went to retrieve my children from school. My key froze in the ignition. During my call to Auto Club the operator asked for the make and model. 
When I told him, he said, "Wow."

"Wow, as in you get a lot of these calls?"

"No, wow as in it's a Range Rover."

I took a deep breath. I glanced at the parking lot, where my car waited, out of ear shot, resolutely immobile, unaware of the coming betrayal, It was time. My heart was pounding wildly. In a low voice I asked, "You looking to buy?"

Road side assistance demurred.

Next time I long for a fling, I'll settle for a strategically placed tattoo or piercing.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Cocktail Recipe: The Amado

Yes, I've been gone too long, and I'm not sure when I'll return.
In short, it's been a lot of celebrations and wish fulfillment, thanks to THE AMADO WOMEN

In their honor, a champagne cocktail:

The Amado

In a champagne flute pour:
One half part vodka
One part grapefruit juice
top with
One part pink, slightly sweet champagne.

Stir once, gently.

Bittersweet, in honor of their lives.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Barbarism and Barbecue

According to this post in Salon, barbecue traces its roots back to cannibalism. According to this post, (in my honor, may I add), by goddess Margaret, all that should be right up my alley.

How appropriate, then, that I should have recently developed a savage addiction to Ken Bruen's work. London Boulevard (a play on "Sunset Boulevard," get it? I was halfway through the book before I could figure it out) is dripping with violence, blood, noir and hard boiled allusions; I was going to return it to the library, but then changed my mind. Working through its references should fill my summer reading list.

Although Bruen's Irish, his writing style is strictly US of A. And what embodies that legend most? Bar B Q.

I will not post the recipe, I will merely give you the link for the most amazing Carolina pulled pork sandwiches. Last night we used the smoker, and let me tell you, dinner was smokin' hot.

Sounds like a 4th of July recipe, to me. That was a revolution, right? We are a violent bunch of people.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

You CAN do this at home

I love manila clams.  They're small and flavorful, and pop open, when steamed, in minutes.

1/2 pound per person.
(what follows are ingredients per person/serving)

In a saute pan add a splash of olive oil. Saute a tablespoon of minced shallots until translucent. Add a clove of garlic, a teaspoon of minced jalapenos.  Cook a few seconds, until soft.  Add half an ounce or so of sliced Spanish chorizo, saute briefly.  Into sauce pan splash a bit of white wine about.  Once half-evaporated, add a half a cup of broth (fish, chicken or vegetable) and bring to a boil.   Toss in your rinsed clams, lower to a simmer, cover and check after three minutes.  The clams will be opening right before your eyes.  If not, give it another minute or two, but no longer.  (And don't pry open the closed ones, they're shut tight for a reason).

Serve in a soup bowl with plenty of the spicy broth, crusty bread and sweet butter.

Soooo satisfying!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Crab Risotto

The kids have flown, the spouse is out of town. Sola, perduta, abbandonata, as the Puccini aria goes.
On the upside, the menu is all my own.

Here's something I made for myself.  Full confession: I actually had shrimp stock in the freezer, making it so much more memorable.

In a heavy sauce pan heat  a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil.  Add a tablespoon of shallots.  Stir until transparent, or cook until caramelized a bit. Stir in half a cup of risotto, heat through.  Splash with white wine, stir until evaporated. Add salt.
A half a cup of watered down stock at a time, add to sauce pan, stirring over medium heat, until liquid is absorbed.  Keep doing this until the rice is done to your desired consistency (cooked through, but not mushy). This may take 15 minutes.  At last,  stir in a teaspoon of unsalted butter, a scattering of chopped herbs: tarragon, parsley, chives and half a cup of crab (canned, I'm not fussy) stirring until heated through.

A little fume blanc with your meal, and you could be singing like this.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sweet Sipping

Grammercy Park, NYC, outside my daughter's dorm.
My daughter heads home today, and in honor of her return from the cold we'll have a celebratory cocktail and nosh.

Drink recipe via the glamorous and ebullient Nigella Lawson

The Poinsettia:

Per champagne glass--
a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier
Fill halfway with cranberry juice
Top with sparkling wine.

This, and my daughter, will be sure to make the evening sparkle.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet Potatoes are Your Friends

To many of us, these weird looking tubers make an appearance once a year or so, filling pie shells, or topped with mini marshmallows.  I used them on Thanksgiving for a wonderful casserole, mixed with butter, brown sugar and topped with pecans.  Pie filling posing as a side dish.

Afterwards there were unused sweet potatoes left in my fridge.  Not up for a brown sugar binge, I searched, and I found.

Thank you, Chicagolist.

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  As it warms, scrub clean your tubers, then cube (skins, warts and all).
Toss them in a baking dish, add a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil per potato, and toss again til they are well-coated. 

(You can add pepper and a dash of cayenne--but this way the subtle sweetness is more pronounced)

Roast for 20 minutes, remove from oven, mix them up, return to oven for another 10-20 minutes until a bit crusty on the exterior and meltingly tender on the interior. 

Divine. I promise you, too, will thank Chicagolist.