Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vital News Flash!

Julian Fellowes is taking on the Gilded Age. He says
"It was a vivid time, with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls. Of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king."

Clearly so very different from today--

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Naked Truth

How do you feel about your neighbors?  
In my previous home my new neighbor greeted us with a basket of strawberries that spilled onto our shiny wooden floors.  The gift of food was foreshadowing: we had meals at each other's home, shared recipes and small bites; I remember insisting she come over right now to taste a new cookie, still warm from the oven.

In our current home, one neighbor of 13 years greets us, barely, but, I feel, it's his way of interacting with the world.  Our previous neighbor, of 11 years was a model of consistency: he had his morning walk and his evening walk.  He swept his drive.  We sipped rose on his patio and chatted about his time in WWII; at Christmas I sent over cookies while he sent us See's.

At 92 he passed away.

The first time I met our current neighbors I was in a hurry and they  had blocked our driveway with a truck.
Ah, foreshadowing.  During the open-window summer months their microwave that cooks their breakfast blasts at 6:am; their security alarm is set to go into histrionic self-destruct mode AFTER they've left their home.  In the cool fall air they pour their empties into the recycling bin at 6:30 am; he works sawing tile or drilling concrete under our bedroom window; they installed a motion detector light that flashes into our bedroom when a squirrel scuppers by; they have decorated their drive way (which we see from our living and dining room) with the broken debris of a wood shop/gym. 

This all should be funny, if I were more ZM (zen master) and less EA (easily annoyed--look it up in the DSM).

What has sent me over the edge is that they have no drapes. Perhaps they did not realize one of their bedrooms is completely visible to a visitor to our dining room. I have taken to leaving the dining room light on at all times, in an epiphany-provoking attempt.

Last night, what did I see next door as I set the table?

I promise more psychological warfare updates as they occur.

And now you know what a nutter I truly am---

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dining Alone at Home

It's the perfect moment to be selfish.  No worries about someone else's sensitive palate or over-reliance on animal protein.  Frugal or extravagant, depending on the mood.

I opted for this:

For every pound of boiling pasta place three tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add four ounces creamy gorgonzola and 1/3 cup milk. Place heat on low, add two teaspoons of salt and mush the cheese as everything melts together. Drain the pasta, add to skillet, along with 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan. Toss. Serve. Devour.

It was memorable.

The down-side about eating alone?  When that bottle of wine is done, there's only one person you can blame.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Death By Turkey

In our home, leftovers are gobbled up quickly and gratefully  (no cooking involved!).
This year I did not host, but was rewarded with ziploc bags of leftovers.  We headed over to another home for a second dessert pit stop (always room for coffee and  homemade pecan pie)  where our hostess couldn't say goodbye without giving us half a dozen white takeout boxes filled with her delectable leftovers.  (She uses the turkey carcass for soup stock.  Mine goes pope's nose first into the trash bin.  She's a real woman, I'm a mere pretender).

The first go-to is always a turkey sandwich, slathered with mayonnaise.
My brother-in-law's favorite is always a stuffing sandwich, skip the turkey.

Here are a few more ideas for shredded turkey:

5) Turkey pot pie.  (Do yourself a favor and use Pillsbury's instant rolls to drop on top--you're tired, after all).

4) Turkey quesadillas

3) Turkey enchiladas ( I recommend Las Palmas green sauce. Yes, you MUST fry the tortillas before you dip them in the sauce)

2) Turkey risotto: add chopped turkey to your favorite risotto recipe.  Throw in some sliced sausage, for savory flavor.

1) Turkey mole, my family's favorite.  No need t0 bring out the Rick Bayless cook book.  Just pick up a jar of Dona Maria mole mixture, adding a smidge of peanut butter and a chunk of Ibarra Mexican chocolate to taste.

And you?  Any other interesting twists?

What? You gonna pretend you don't like sweet and savory?  Perhaps you've never tried barbecue?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Anne Lamott Gives Thanks

I love her.  I loved Bird by Bird and Traveling Instructions. Vulnerable, painfully sensitive,
with an explosive sense of humor.

She gives thanks here and here.

 Oh, and I shall give a little thanks.  We are 23 years married today.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More Thanksgiving

Really?  You still haven't figured out the menu?
Enter the NY Times, always ready with a wry hand up, here.

I clearly need that freedom software, as I've been amusing myself for sometime with this.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Killer Thanksgiving Apps

I get emails, I get emails----

From a buddy who was a recent site-rep for a tv shoot, one of TWO Latinas
"Latina on set ok - but don't let a female or a minority near those directors' and writers' chairs!"

From another faithful reader

"Have you heard about this app? I know that many well-known writers use it.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I need an app for freedom from all the pie my father-in-law is going to make...and that I am going to eat."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebration/Consolation Sundae

 Two large scoops chocolate ice cream.
Drizzle with salty caramel sauce.
Sprinkle with beer nuts.

Whether you won or lost yesterday, either is reason enough to raise your spoon and dig
into this.

Ice cream, the great equalizer.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

It's not so much that I'm voting for Katniss Everdeen, as against President Snow.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Text from a Stranded Lower Manhattanite

Union Square in complete darkness

Mom can you make ropa vieja and matzo ball soup and albondigas and split pea soup and macaroni and cheese and salmon and poached pears and swirly pasta even though it's expensive?

Author's note: said daughter was out of power for a week.  Her long wish list narrowed down to one item: a bath.  Her school and dorm buildings now have power and she's back in class, as of today.  Hard to fathom how many remain without a home to return to.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Radio David Byrne

A few weeks ago, after an all-day board meeting, a group of us walked out of our hotel and past another on Shelter Island, San Diego.   People had brought their camping chairs, parking themselves on the public greenbelt.  Why? I wondered--then realized to listen to the music that wafted out of the concert venue, free of charge.  David Byrne was performing, that very moment!  I pointed this out to my companions.

Who? They said.
WHO? I said.  Ever hear of the Talking Heads?

For those of you who are familiar with this fellow, you may not know he broadcasts a play list he composes, new each month.  You can find it here.  I've enjoyed going through the archives, just to see what music tickles this musician, and see if I recognize a few of my own favorites.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Countdown

Where will you be on the day?  Right now my family is playing hot potato, delaying the decision until some neurotic A personality (moi) can no longer bear the suspense and comes down hard.

In the meantime, make something for the morning that will suffuse your home with scents of gratitude.

Pumpkin bread pudding with salty caramel sauce.
Inspired by the Little Flower Co.

Cube stale challah or brioche, enough for five cups.  Set out to dry further.
In a larger mixing bowl combine:
One egg
1/2 teaspoon cinammon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice or mace, a smattering of nutmeg and a crush of cloves.
Stir in a cup of half and half, half a cup brown sugar, half a can pumpkin puree (plain, unseasoned).
Mix well.

Stir in the cubed bread, and let it soak in for 10 minutes or so.  Pour into a buttered 8 x 8 pan.
Bake in 350 degree oven until firm all the way through, 30-45 minutes.  Remove and cool until you can no longer contain yourself.

While it's baking, make the salty caramel sauce.  The best recipe in the world for this is right here.
The secret? DON'T STIR it while it's coming to a boil!

Your family will thank you.  And if they don't, eat the whole damn thing yourself.
Not up to the challenge? There's always caramel corn for breakfast--