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.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

This happened because I couldn't bear to throw away the buttermilk, again.  I usually keep it around for pancakes, because it's better than milk.  But there was that quart, staring at me accusingly.

Biscuits, it whispered to me, suggestively.  Buttermilk biscuits with melting butter and apricot jam.  Buttermilk biscuits with any leftover gravy. Biiisssscuuuuiiiiits--

All right already!
Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix 2 cups flour with 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 6 tablespoons unsalted very cold butter, cut into small pieces.

If you have a food processor, combine the dry ingredients then add the butter, and pulse into course meal.
Otherwise cut the butter in by hand.  Mix in one cup buttermilk until just combined.
Pat the dough out gently onto a floured surface, cut into rounds.  Repeat with scraps (handle the dough as briefly as possible, for best results).

Bake for 10-12 minutes- until light golden brown on top. 
What, too many for one person?  Freeze them on a cookie sheet, repackage, then bake at your leisure, again at 450 this time for 20 minutes.

Coffee, apricot jam and biscuits.  Perfect for a winter morning.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Holy smokes, it's that time of year again--the end of the year.  Perhaps I think not blogging will slow things down, but it hasn't worked, not yet.

I hope your Thanksgiving festivities were tastefully rollicking, and that the following days were filled with pie and more pie for breakfast. It was a sad morning for me when I realized I had already eaten the last of the pie.


In between cooking and eating and cleaning up there are thoughts of Christmas and Hannukah gifts.  I think I have found one that really out does itself in a stunning lack of self-awareness.  More in a moment.
Cut to--The Hunger Games, which, however way you slice your turkey IS all about class warfare--no more glaring than the contrast between Katniss's home town of District 12--and the gleeful gaudy carnival atmosphere of the capitol. Each and every resident a preening Louis XVI or a gloating Marie Antoinette. 

The gift I was talking about?
You can find it right here.  What is it?
The New Hunger Games Capitol Truffle Collection.
A mere $225.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

Gentle reader, I was so giddy about having an essay up, that I forgot to let you know.
If you are interested in a true crime story, you can find it here, at The Toast.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Goddess Marcella Hazan 

I met Marcella Hazan through a book club, remember those? Four books for a $1? Then more formally at an estate sale.   Apparently the recently deceased had never opened the pages of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.  I paid a quarter, and went off, pleased with myself.

Gentle reader, her recipes are timeless, explicit, and surprising.  Last night in her honor I made her mixed salad.

To start, I sliced half a red onion, and let it soak in cold water.  She does require lettuce that I don't know where to buy: lamb's ears, chicory or escarole.  I settled for what was on hand: arugula and romaine.  Per her directions, I diced half a red pepper, substituted a diced celery rib for celery heart, grated a hearty peeled carrot, and diced a tomato.  She also asks for half a fennel bulb and an artichoke heart, but I wasn't up to a shopping trip.  I made do. I added half an avocado that was wandering about. I drained the red onion.

In a salad bowl I mixed it all the vegetables together, then salted them well.  I shook some red wine vinegar over it, then added a glug or so of olive oil. I mixed again.

So fresh, so delightful, or, as she says: "There is just enough, so that what is missing from one mouthful of salad is suddenly and delightfully present in the next."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Been Fishin'

trader joe's striped pangisus 
Yah, I've been neglectful.  What happened? It was hot, and I didn't feel up to cooking.  I was out of town and didn't have to cook, the academic year began, etc. etc. etc.

But here I am. I picked the fish up at Trader Joe's, it'a  very mild white fish, boneless, skinless, ready to go for those of you who prefer minimal fuss and a little extra packaging.  The cashier asked me how I made these and after I explained, a switch was pulled.  My next post, it said, in flashing neon lights.

Quick and Easy:
Defrost one pound according to packaging.
Saute a sliced white onion in a tablespoon of oil.  When soft, to your desired golden brownness, add a minced garlic, and one or two diced tomatoes, a tablespoon of capers.  Stir.  Cover and simmer gently, until the tomatoes break down.  Lay the filets on top, cover, and steam for 8 minutes until cooked through.

Serve on top of steamed rice, or rice pilaf.

Quicker and Easier:
Sprinkle defrosted filets with salt, pepper, tarragon (and/or basil and thyme, if you like)
Dredge in flour.  (Don't worry if it gets lumpy or pasty, butter is our salvation).  Lay filets on a clean plate. Melt on medium high a tablespoon of butter on a skillet large enough to hold all of the fish. When the  butter bubbles down, add fish.  After four minutes,  turn the filets.  Add more butter if it's all been absorbed.  Lower heat and cook for another four minutes--or until cooked through.

Serve with sauteed spinach and risotto, or potato salad. Yum, yum.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cleaning out My Wallet

Cleaning out my wallet I came across two Metro Cards.  Flipping them over I found that they're good till July/2014.  And beneath that I read:


I have become an orchid
washed in on the salt white beach.
what can I make of it now
that might please you--
this life, already wasted
and still strewn with

                                         --Mary Ruefle

Monday, July 29, 2013

Do You Eat Tomatoes for Breakfast?

In a recent conversation with writing buddies and their wonderful crop of home-grown tomatoes, someone thought eating tomatoes in the morning was a bit challenging.  I must confess to finding cereal a crime against humanity. 

I do enjoy tomatoes in the morning, whether cooked down, with onions and chiles in Mexican eggs, or sizzled in bacon fat the English way.  

Actually, I can eat home-grown tomatoes any time of the day or night, sliced and salted.  And I did.  So lucky to have talented gardeners as buddies.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The BEST darn kebobs

Marcella Hazan is a goddess.  I run to her to Classic Italian to make minestrone, ragu, tomato sauces. She does everything!  One of my favorite recipes is her take on skewered swordfish.

Cube 2lbs of swordfish (1 by 2" chunks, approximately)
Cut approximately the same number of rectangles of red, yellow, or orange bell peppers.

Place the above in a container or baggy, with a tablespoon of bread crumbs.  Add juice of half a lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, and mix.  Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes on the counter, longer in the fridge.

To skewer:

You will need a similar amount of finely sliced, half moon lemons. If you can, use meyer lemons.
And half inch chunks of tomato.

The pattern should be:
Fish, lemon, tomato, pepper, fish, lemon, etc.

Grill four minutes a side, eight in total.  The fish should be moist, not dry and tough.

Serve with an easy pilaf!  More grilled vegetables! Rose wine!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Current Summer Addictions

Sliced peaches, bananas, a sprinkling of blueberries on zero percent Greek yogurt, with a healthy shower of brown sugar.

Pancakes, with diced bananas and blue berries scattered into the batter before flipping.  A drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of Greek yogurt on the side (for protein, cuts back the hunger pangs caused by all those deliciously empty carbs).


Friday, July 5, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Answered Prayers

Some of you already know that I asked for a goddess, and what a goddess I got! But as a follow up, I wanted to share with you that this goddess delivered!  Because, soon afterward I had the house to myself.  Completely.  Husband out of town on extended business trip, kids out of the house to babysit a new dog.   How do you spell heaven? Me?
e m p t y  h o u s e.

To celebrate, I made myself a dish that no one appreciates with the same amount of enthusiasm: Marcella Hazan's zucchini risotto. A perfect way of using those bushels of zucchini I know you dedicated gardeners out there are growing.

Peel 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, slice into 1/2 inch discs.
In skillet, heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Add half a cup coarsely chopped onions.  Cover and let sweat a bit, as long as you can bear, ten minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  This is to bring out their inherent sweetness.  Raise the heat, and scatter your zucchini, stir to coat with oil and distribute into one layer.  Add a clove or two peeled garlic, to saute with the zucchini (remove if they get too brown). The goal with the zucchini is to saute til nicely browned on both sides, 20 minutes or so.  I have actually rarely achieved this, so do you best.  Sprinkle salt after 10 minutes.

In saute pan, heat another 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and a 2 tablespoons butter.  Add the zucchini, onions and garlic, (drained of fat, best as possible, from skillet); add 1 1/3 cup arborio rice, stir to coat.
Now comes the fun part.  Using heated chicken broth, add half a cup at a time, until the rice has absorbed it. Keep adding broth, keep cooking rice, until the rice is ALMOST as your desired consistency (it will cook a wee bit more under its own heat).  Add another tablespoon butter, and 3 tablespoons high quality parmesan cheese.

Pour pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc.  Serve yourself a heaping bowlful.
That's what I did, and I raised my glass to Pele.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Illustrated Recipes

This week's challenge was to illustrate a recipe.  Chai tea, who knew? Can't wait to try it out.
Avocado egg salad? Sounds delish! I'll be testing them out soon. 

These are the illustrations that sang to me, here, here and here.

If you haven't yet, here's a great site to follow young artists and their summer exploits.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What are you reading?

And by that, I mean, what have you fallen into, and need to shake yourself when you pause and re-enter the actual world around you?  What has overwhelmed and enveloped you, carted you away?
Let me know.  I have a wide open summer and I am hungry for books to devour.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Words to Live By



“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”

Robert Bresson

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Whole Foods Recommendations

In their latest newsletter, they say "Foods you didn't know you could grill" and prominently feature brussel sprouts.  They don't answer my question, "Why would you WANT to?"

Grilled peaches, on the other hand, another recommendation, are fabulous.  Halve and pit them, grill them skin side down and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar where the pit was.  Turn.
See some here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Do the Rooster

 I struck up a conversation with my seatmate.  An exceptionally young looking great grandmother, she was flying from her home in Phoenix to participate in the bowling nationals in Reno.  After a lively discussion regarding Arizona's and Arpaio's strident worker policies (did you realize Jan Brewer was NOT elected by the Arizona public, she stepped in after Napolitano was tapped by Obama?) she shared that a member on her bowling team needed two shots before each game.   Yeah, the member who regularly bowled in the three hundreds.  And then she shared her current favorite drink:

The Rooster;
One shot silver tequila
followed by
One shot orange juice
followed by
One shot tomato juice
followed by
lime and salt.

I was sitting next to a party girl.  Cock a doodle doo!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Keep it simple


When the heat hovers at 100 degrees, and the rest of us keep low to the ground, most of us do not want to cook.  It's time for salads, chilled fruits, cocktail shakers filled with lemonade or iced coffee, made frothy with the shaking.

Shrimp, defrosted in your fridge or counter top or drained in a colander is best for this.

Shred lettuce (iceberg, romaine, clumps of arugula), peel then grate a healthy carrot, scatter green onions, dice a tomato.  Salt,  toss, add a splash of vinegar, dress with olive oil (someone gave me a wonderful bottle of lemon infused olive oil, perfect for a salad such as this).  Add the 8 ounces or more of shrimp you've defrosted, and serve.  Want to kick it up futher? Add avocado and some freshly made pico de gallo (diced onions, tomatoes, jalepenos, cilantro).  It keeps the heat at bay.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Momma said there'd be days like this.


Check out the artist's page here.
Now why didn't MY daughter post that?

Plans for the day? Game of Thrones marathon with my daughter, fast forwarding through the uncomfortable bits.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Swing By, Say Hi

I'll be with Petrea Burchard and Kat Ward in lovely Central Park, Pasadena, Saturday, May 11th, 10ish to 5ish.

Can't make it? Visit a post in honor of some personal issues I've been facing, right here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Taco Bell's Demographic

At college I was lost in New Mexican food for two years, so I comforted myself with Taco Bell.  The beans were soul-satisfying. Later at a park with my kids and fast food one young mother years back commented "How do you get them to eat that kind of food?"  I replied, if my kids didn't eat rice and beans they'd starve.  I still occasionally swing by Taco Bell for a burrito supreme.  Sour cream and ground beef, yeah!

Last night mindlessly watching a terrible action movie (you may have heard of it, Iron Man II)--so mindlessly I was actually tracking the commercials--- this little gem pops up. Probably one of the most diverse commercials I've seen on mainstream tv.  A delight.

Guess which demographic is missing?

I suppose we're still relegated to the servant entrance of  the Spanish language channels.

On another note, one of my students was annoyed that now that the GOP has discovered the need for the  Latino demographic  those Republicans were going to start pandering.

Pander away, baby, but I'm not waiting for us to be in the national spotlight.  I'm waiting for us to simply be visible.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Desert Skies

I came to camping later in life--post childhood yet pre-children.  It's been a terrific way of seeing the least seen: Anza-Borrego, Bryce Canyon, King's Canyon, Joshua Tree.  And now that we're almost post-children, there's so much more space in the car for firewood and food.

Lamb kebobs:

2lbs cubed lamb, sized for a skewer
(preferably from the leg, as it will cook more quickly and tenderly)
Place cubed meat in a ziploc bag.  Add two cloves minced garlic, a teaspoon of dried rosemary, lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a quarter cup of olive oil. Marinate for at least an hour before placing onto skewers.  Grill 4 minutes a side, or until meat is medium rare.

While the meat is marinating and the grill hot, skewer red onions and chunks of red peppers. Grill until slightly charred on each side.  I like warming them up on the grill a bit just before serving.

To serve:
Scatter arugula over your plates.  Top with your skewered meats and vegetables.

Afterwards gather round the campfire and sing U2 hymns.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Neue Galerie

File:Egon Schiele 079.jpg
Egon Shiele self-portrait
In New York City there is this spectacular museum which houses Austrian and German Expressionist art and design. Klimt is there, alongside his protege, Egon Shiele, whom I had never heard of, but blew me away with his audacity.

To recover from the aesthetic overload, you can step into Cafe Sabarsky, a gorgeous recreation of  Viennese cafe life  with a view of Central Park through its windows.   Everything is visually elevated here, from the German nationals dining on the main courses accompanied by their children and bottles of Riesling to the cups of hot coffee served alongside chunks of sugar and bowls of freshly whipped cream.    Every detail is striking or gorgeous.


This recipe, although not as pretty when I make it as the photograph in the cookbook, reminds me that I once visited.

Rosti potatoes from Cafe Sabarsky
adapted from Kurt Gutenbrunner

Per person:
Boil a russet potato unpeeled until just cooked through.
Place in a bowl filled with ice water.  When cool enough to handle,  peel, and grate into a bowl.
Salt and pepper generously, a touch of nutmeg, mix thoroughly.

In a small saucepan heat oil until hot, turn potatoes into it, flatten.  Cook on one side 3-4 minutes then turn for another 3-4 minutes.

Ideally it should be wildly crisp on both sides, and tender within.  Mine come out with mixed results, but they remain delicious.  Consider them Austrian hash browns.  Serve with sour cream or yogurt, garnished with chives, maybe even smoked salmon.  Or serve alongside pot roast, any roasts, Calvados chicken, or, when the cravings hit, all on their own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Calvados Chicken

This is an easy and delicious way to jazz up that chicken you've been too bored to face.

For one whole chicken or three to four pounds of chicken pieces:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Slick a pan (that can later go into the over, covered) with oil, heat to medium low.  Add half a pound sliced mushrooms.  Salt and pepper, toss around a bit, and cover for five minutes (you will interrupt the cooking to stir them around a bit).  Remove mushrooms (now intensely mushroomed flavored) onto a plate.  Braise your salt and peppered chicken pieces, skin side down first, 3-4 minutes a side, half that for the breasts.  Remove to plate with mushrooms.

Saute 4 peeled and diced granny smith apples (really, I'm not fussy about which kind) 2-4 minutes until browned.  Add a diced shallot, and four minced cloves of garlic. Saute and stir around until everything's soft.

If you have Calvados, a fancy French apple brandy, now's your time to add 1/4 cup.  If not, brandy will do.  Cook until reduced by half (the heat of the pan seems to do that practically immediately). Add two cups chicken broth, one half cup apple cider.  Stir around, bring to a simmer, add chicken pieces (except white meat.  Not yet!).  Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of flour on top, and place into your oven for ten minutes.  Remove, now add the white meat.  Return to oven, covered, and braise for another 20 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and a tablespoon of butter.  Gently mix, and it's ready!

Spectacularly full of flavor.  We ate it with the English peas and Rosti potatoes, potato details to follow in a future post.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dutch Babies

Kinda sounds like gangster patois, doesn't it? 

Original photo! Shocking, isn't it?
 In Anaheim there is a restaurant called the Original Pancake House.  Along with simple, satisfying coffee you could get Swedish crepes and a dish of lingonberry jam or an apple pancake that can feed a small country.  On spring mornings, where the birds had been singing before dawn, and the air was as cool as the clear sky, we'd head over and I'd order a German pancake, also known as a Dutch baby.  Garnished with lemon wedges and powdered sugar, it was an ethereal treat, between the tang of the lemon and the sweet, and the crunch of the edges.

Easy to do at home, while the Meyer lemons are falling off the backyard tree:
(adapted from James McNair)

Heat your oven to 475 degrees
Place two tablespoons butter in a 4 inch baking dish (skillet, ramekin). Melt in oven.

one egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp almond extract
lemon zest

Pour batter into melted butter.  Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges raise and crisp.  Garnish with lemon wedges and powdered sugar, or toppings that sing to you: sliced bananas, toasted walnuts, shredded coconut, fresh berries.

Make larger batches in pie plates.

Did it disappear too quickly? Easy enough to make another one.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Peas in a Pod

Over at the LA Times Russ Parsons shares a simple way of cooking English peas.
And you know, I've always wondered.  I've bought the things shucked, and boiled them too little or too long.  I've bought the things in their pods, and been annoyed by the labor of freeing them.
So, what's the secret? According to Russ and his buddy Sylvia Thompson:

In a saucepan bring an inch of water to boil.  Add a chunk of butter.  Throw in your English peas, cover and simmer for three minutes or longer (if older and larger).  Drain, salt, and eat as if they were edamame.
Very delicious indeed.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Game of Downton Thrones

Spoiler Alert

Season Recap:
Eddard Stark lost his neck to Lord Grantham; Tyrion dreamed of burying his face between Lady Sybil's teats.  Bran fell from the top of Downton Abbey, while Arya threatened to slice Thomas from soup to nuts. Tom Branson and Theon pledged fealty to Robb Stark, Her Grace Cersei sent Matthew to Harrenhall, while promising Mary a more appropriate match, to her son Joffrey.

Carsten and the maesters became unwilling servants of the Night Watch---
Edith is wed to Tyrion, and is plagued by dreams of dragons.  Lady Grantham plots revenge.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Do Not Disturb

I blame my daughter.
She came home last summer and read all the books.  HBO offered a freebie, and I watched two episodes.
"Ignore the naughty bits" my daughter urged, knowing me.  Once I did I was captivated by the complicated plot line and the complexity of characters. Pick up the novels and they are even more layered.  You hate someone, and a thousand pages later you have such understanding you are now rooting for them


I devoured Tomes 1, 2 and 3.  I briefly thought of quitting my job, ignoring my family, renouncing my worldly possessions and aspirations to continue Books 4 and 5.  Then I realized there are two more books planned, and it took George R R Martin 5 years to complete the most recent.

If I'm not posting, you'll know I'm savoring every page of this epic called "Game of Thrones."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet Nothings

Sonnet XLIII

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 
Under my head till morning; but the rain 
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 
Upon the glass and listen for reply, 
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 
For unremembered lads that not again 
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry. 
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree, 
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, 
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: 
I cannot say what loves have come and gone, 
I only know that summer sang in me 
A little while, that in me sings no more.
---Edna St Vincent Millay 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Croque Monsieur

Croque Monsieur Food Illustration for recipeFirst of all, it is an OPEN face sandwich.  Second, it is NOT a grilled cheese.  And, third, it does NOT involve bechamel, a white sauce.

If you have a broiler, it is a simple as slicing bread.

Take a thick piece of bread, I prefer pain de campagne, a rustic hearty loaf.  Lightly butter.  Place slices of ham on the butter side, covering the bread (trim to fit, precisely, if you are French).  Add a layer of sliced Gruyere.  Dab dots of butter on top.  Run under the broiler until cheese has browned.
No broiler?  Butter both sides of bread, and pan fry gently until the cheese melts.
Not enough protein?  Top it off with a fried egg for a croque Madame.

Perfect for lunch on a cold, cold day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


"The Matchmaker" Thornton Wilder's play turned movie later turned musical, stars Shirley Booth, Anthony Perkins, Robert Morse and Shirley MacLaine.

My sister and I laughed in giddy delight as kids, watching Anthony Perkins and Robert Morse, two lowly clerks, searching for adventure.  And the code word for when they found it? "Pudding!"

I suspect you think puddings are dull and pedestrian things.  If so, you've been eating the instant version.  Here's a recipe, dark, sweet, silky smooth, with all the promise of a sweet adventure.

Double Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Home Desserts by Richard Sax

In a mixing bowl blend two tablespoons corn starch, 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder (Note: okay, I don't sniff at any chocolate bar, I accept all, from Hershey's to Valhrona, but your cocoa's gotta be good.  No, better than good, it's gotta be great.  Break the bank, dole it out to yourself in your mochas, trust me, it's worth it.)  Whisk in two egg yolks, a whole egg, then 1/4 cup cold milk.

Over a medium flame bring 2 1/4 cups whole milk and a 1/4 of sugar to boil.  Remove from heat.  Whisk half a cup of the hot milk into the chocolate mixture, then another half a cup, then another.  Return to saucepan, and gently bring to a boil, whisking all the time. Gently boil for two minutes, by then the corn starch and eggs will have wrought their magic, making the liquid into a thick pudding.

Remove from heat, add 5 ounces semi sweet chocolate (I use chocolate chips) and two tablespoons of butter.  Whisk well.  Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour into a container to cool. (I will admit to eating it warm, out of the saucepan). 

In Connecticut the Jewish delis top their puddings with a splash of half and half.
I recommend it highly.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crime and Punishment

I'm sure you've heard of Eve Ensler.  Have you heard of her documentary set in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility?

If not, I recommend it for this coming year.  "What I Want My Words to Do to You."

Then we'll meet for a discussion afterwards.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Good to Eat?

Years  back I read a book on all of the odd things people have eaten throughout history.  My daughter called recently and told me of a friend who had traveled to South Korea and eaten a fried tarantula.  It took her thirty minutes to gather up the courage, but once she did she said it was delicious.  That tops most of the food in the book Good to Eat.

Many people I know look at turnips in the same way they look at a tarantula.  I'm not quite sure why; I remember peeling, salting and snacking on them in front of the TV as a kid.  These days, I prefer Julia Child's navets a la champenoise: perfect for a cold day, savory, filling and delicious.

Peel and slice two pounds of turnips into manageable quarters or eighths.  Parboil for eight minutes.  Saute 4 ounces of bacon in 1 tbl butter until lightly browned.  Add 2/3 cup diced onions, cover and cook slowly for 5 minutes. Blend in 1 tbl flour and cook slowly for 2 minutes. Add one and 1/4 cup stock, (or water with bouillon flavoring) salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4 sage and simmer for a minute.  Gently add the turnips, coating with the liquid.  Cover and simmer until tender, around 20-30 minutes.  Add water as necessary.  Serve alongside any roast meat.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Scalloped potatoes

When I was a kid, my mom made scalloped potatoes.  We didn't have them often, just enough for them to be memorable and me to recognize the box they came in. Now, you can find dozens of recipes which kick up the simple, satisfying flavor of a potato, but this one, from the Joy of Cooking, makes me hum.

Butter a baking dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil.
Peel and thinly slice three cups worth of red or white potatoes.
Boil the sliced potatoes in salted water for eight minutes; drain, rinse.
Cover the  bottom of your roasting pan with a layer of potatoes.
Sprinkle a two teaspoons of flour over them,
grate a tablespoon of butter over that.  Repeat twice.
(Got some chives handy? Add those between the layers)
Scald a 1 1/4 cups of whole milk.  Season with 1 tsp salt, 1/4 paprika.
Pour over the potatoes.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

There will be no leftovers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

5 Reasons Teachers Should be Armed

5.  To stimulate the economy.

4.  To show their students the Golden Rule--It's not for wimps, anymore.

3.  To better advocate for the arts and creative thinking.

2.  To prove might makes right.

1.  To take out bone-headed policy makers.