February 28, 2010

It snowed on Friday to the point that even making it to the bakery felt like a treat-meriting feat. Almond croissants and a slate-colored sky are not a recipe for melancholy but the following seemed appropriate.

Remember the sound? Of bullets in dead bodies? Like a shot into a rotten leg, a wet thick leg. All a man is: wet leg of blood. Remember the flap of a turn curtain in a blasted window, fragment whispering in that awful breeze: never, forever, never, forever. - Michael Shaara


February 21, 2010

Even the ordinary White House staff was somewhat alarmed. Kissinger was asked at a meeting whether the invasion did not expand the war. "Look," he replied, "we're not interested in Cambodia. We're only interested in it not being used as a base." The wider justifications he cited dealt with superpower relations. "We're trying to shock the Soviets into calling a Conference," he said, "and we can't do this by appearing weak." William Safire asked if it did not breach the Nixon Doctrine, and Kissinger replied, "We wrote the goddamn doctrine, we can change it." At the end of the meeting Haig stood up and shouted, "The basic substance of all this is that we have to be tough." That was indeed a point. -William Shawcross


February 17, 2010

-sweet potato-quinoa-capers-sardines-
surprisingly delicious

-Mr. ffolliott, with a double 'F'.
-I don't get the double 'F'.
-They're at the beginning. Both small 'F's
-They can't be at the beginning.
-One of my ancestors was beheaded by Henry VIII. His wife dropped the capital letter to commemorate it. There it is.
-How do you say it, like a stutter?
-Just a straight 'fuh'. -Foreign Correspondent


February 11, 2010

Not fancy feast, just sardine pate. On Finn Crisps. With mustard. I was going to have an Alton but I had neither bread nor avocados, having just blown through a batch with the help of a butter tasting (bread butter and avocado: gross? more gross than avocado and cheese? same thing, nearly). So instead I just ate this, inspired by this, and wondered afresh why everyone has been so newly gaga over sardines lately. Didn't we always know they were delicious? Aren't they always on those "top healthy foods you think are putrid but are actually tasty and good for you" lists? I put sardines on and in everything, and tonight that was rye crackers. It probably did taste a lot like cat food.


February 10, 2010

Weather, n. The climate of an hour. A permanent topic of conversation among persons whom it does not interest, but who have inherited the tendency to chatter about it from naked arboreal ancestors whom it keenly concerned. The setting up of official weather bureaus and their maintenance in mendacity prove that even governments are accessible to suasion by the rude forefathers of the jungle. -Ambrose Bierce


February 7, 2010

Again with some food, because I actually made something more interesting than vegetable medley last week: vegetable medley with SAUCE. Inspired both by Heidi's always enticing recipes and a friend's current struggle with GERD (don't ask, it's as awful as it sounds and prohibits the use of spice and tomatoes, amongst other things. But on the plus side it always makes me think of Steve Martin saying "Gern Blanston," which never gets old.) I made this lentil-almond stir-fry last week and am posting it primarily because of the adapted mint sauce I made by accident. As with a lot of Heidi's recipes this one is immensely adaptable but I like what I came up with so here it is.

Lentil-Almond Stirfry with Walnut-Mint Sauce
thanks Heidi
2 cups cooked puy lentils
1 sweet potato cut into 1/2" pieces
2 shallots, sliced
a dozen or so brussels sprouts, quartered
several dates, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
olive oil

For mint sauce:

~1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh mint
1 jalapeno, deveined and deseeded
1 Tbl lemon juice
2-3 Tbl olive oil
pinch of salt
1-2 Tbl honey
1/3 cup walnuts
Pulse all the mint sauce ingredients in food processor until the mint is broken down but not entirely pulverized. Adjust honey to tone down the spice level to your liking.

Add a splash of olive oil to skillet and cook the potatoes and shallots, covered on medium heat, for about five minutes. After the potatoes are cooked through but not mushy, take of the lid and raise the heat. Cook and stir potatoes until they are browned.

Add lentils and cook until everything is heated through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add a little more olive oil to the skillet and cook the brussels sprouts with a hit of salt until they are cooked through and browned.

Add the lentils, potatoes, shallots and almonds to the pan and stir until everything is warm and incorporated.

Serve topped with chopped dates and mint sauce.

I couldn't take a better picture than Heidi so here are the Hidden Cameras instead:



So much for veering away from baking. Last week I had one of those old pangs of baking desire around 1 in the morning. Not one to deny old impulses, and having just purchased some cocoa powder, I answered the call. I've been wanting to make a batch of Baked brownies for a few weeks now but have had neither the eggs nor the chocolate nor the wherewithal to plan ahead to do so. Enter this recipe, which calls for only two of the first and none of the rest, and results in a brownie delicious enough to please everyone and resemblant enough of a boxed-mix brownie to especially please those beset by nostalgia for such things. It comes together quickly (I was in bed by 2) and next time I'm throwing in some chocolate chips at the end.

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen (heed her suggestion to put them in the fridge prior to cutting).