Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Local recommendations

Don't you love being in the know? Like visiting a new town and having someone give you the skinny on the best fattening foods?

Our quartet has turned into a trio over the past week.  We dropped off our daughter at the center of the universe, that's right, NYC.  In January I had walked past a place near Grand Central; this past week I walked in, got pizza by the slice for the kids, and a wonderful stuffed spinach calzone, drenched in garlic, crammed with mozzarella, truly a thing of beauty.  Bringing back the slices to the hotel room the elevator fella sniffed at the label on the box.
"You wanna know where to get the best pizza in the city?"
Are you kidding me?! Of COURSE I want to know!
He leaned over to let us in on the secret, pausing, then pronouncing  "California Pizza Kitchen."

Okay.  So maybe the ratings by locals are overrated.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Compounding Your Errors

Richard Feynman gives some interesting advice.  If you don't know how to pronounce a word, pronounce it loudly.  Dr. Laura apparently knows the correct pronunciation, she's just confused about appropriate usage.

Interesting about some personalities who use scorn and humiliation for entertainment purposes:  they turn out to have the thinnest of skins.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Doing things all wrong--

 Sigh.  After another season of New Jersey Housewives, I realize I've been doing everything all wrong!  Yes, I know, I, along with many others, choked when Teresa paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, in cash, for furnishings.  And, no, I don't need a black onyx kitchen counter.  And her husband is a bit of, well, a vulgarian.  But did you see the size of that jewel he gave her on their tenth? The chinchilla jackets the girls wore in their gondola? The size of the cruise ship they sailed out of Venice, Italy?  The size of their bankruptcy?  In case you hadn't heard, $11 million.

I know her Bravo gig isn't going to cover that.  But what slays me, is how did they get to dig themselves so deep?  Some company (ies) was definitely extending an enabling hand (s).  And, what does it feel like to spend so much money?

Fuhgidaboudit Pasta:

Bring salted water to a boil, add a pound of pasta.  I'm keen on fettucine or linguine.

Slick a saucepan with olive oil.  Heat on medium.  Add 4-6 minced anchovies and stir until the anchovies melt away.  Add a coupla minced cloves of garlic.  Let sizzle for half a minute, don't let it discolor.  Add a pound of chopped tomatoes, salt, simmer and stir until soft.   If you feel that's too simple kick it up with minced basil and black olives.   Pour over your drained pasta.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fresh Fish Friday

US farmed rainbow trout is a "best choice" according to the Monterey Aquarium's seafood watch.  I picked up a four pack the other day, dived into a coupla Jamie Oliver recipes, and emerged with this:

Preheat oven to 475 (whaddya complaining about?! This is the coolest So Cal summer on record!)

Mince a bunch of thyme, mix with sea salt and olive oil and use to coat the interior and exterior of the fish.  Lay in a baking dish.

Boil a pound of rinsed and trimmed string beans until tender.  Drain.  Set into another baking dish, coat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, add cherry tomatoes if they're handy, salt, and pepper.  Set 6-8 anchovy filets on top.

Bake for ten minutes or so.  Half way through I stir up the green beans with tongs, making sure anchovy bits get every where. I turn over the trout, to be sure that both sides get a bit of the heat.

A small miracle: everyone in the family approved.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Full disclosure:  I'm one of those whiny broads who complain when someone whips out their handheld to answer, text, or find information to confirm or deny a passing snippet of conversation.  I will needle the gadget freaks and their partners.  What, we in the flesh aren't good enough to hold your attention? Don't contain enough sparkle or zing or flavor?

And yet, and yet...

I'm the same one who packs three or four books to filter out the noise of the mundane, or to shield myself from unwelcome feelings (boredom, irritation, etc.)  If anything, a book is even more anti-social,  because it creates a worm hole in an alternate universe where the company is either witty, knowledgeable and urbane, or thrilling and entertaining, or emotionally engaging.  How can real life compete with that?

I dunno, but I'm working on it!

Recommended reads: Breakfast with Socrates and Hamlet's Blackberry (which has gotten a lot of attention this past month).  I may even unplug my laptop, close my book, leave my phone behind, and talk to someone, face to face. I'm just having a little problem getting started.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I'll be doing

with the rest of my summer.  Check it out right  here.
Got any favorites of your own?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chipotle Bacon

Got your attention did I?  Good! Okay, so not precisely bacon, but grab a coupla thin pork chops, with bone for texture and fat for flavor. Flash pan fry them, a minute or so on high each side, then lower the heat. Add a cup or so of canned tomatoes pureed with two chipotles and a little of their sauce. Cover the sauce pan and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes (those dry pork chops will simmer tender, if you let 'em).  Serve with rice and beans and warm tortillas, and let me know how you like it.