Saturday, December 31, 2016
Friday, December 30, 2016
This is a feel good movie, one that does focus a bit on the differences between people, but is largely about celebrating greatness. T.S. Spivet is the underloved son of a father who is a cowboy. His brother is a chip off his father's block and in that vein, he manages to shoot himself and die while the boys are largely unsupervised b their busy father and their distracted mother. TS blames himself and throws himself into his projects, one of which is the perpetual motion machine. He designs a prototype and submits it for a contest at the Smithsonian and lo and behold, he wins. The movie is about his adventures on the way to the award ceremony, his travels and experiences on the road, and the revelation that he comes to about his mother and father and himself as well. Really unrealiztic but heart warming.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
While the salume and cheese plate was the clear winner for the meal, the famous Roman artichokes were at least on the map for honorable mention. So was the burrata with cherry tomatoes.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Fey plays Kim Baker, a reported who spends time in Afghanistan either in Kabul holed up with other reporters in a sort of alcohol fueled college frat kind of experience interspersed with the adrenaline rush that comes with being in combat when they are embedded with U.S. troops. Billy Bob Thornton is commendable as the commander of U.S. forces that Baker works with and Martin Freeman as the charming scamp of a reporter who loves and ultimately leaves Baker. Very funny in a dark gallows sense.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Friday, December 23, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
In other hands (mine included), this would be an epic, a sprawling chronicle of events and relationships spread out over dozens of chapters. But not so here. This is like the book 'Homegoing' in that it tells a very big story in a series of short vignettes over about three hundred pages. Not only are whole decades missing, but they’re also repeatedly presented out of order. The reader is not so much told this story as allowed to listen in from another room as a door swings open and closed. We are ease dropping and drawing our own conclusions, Just brilliant and possible to read in a long afternoon.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
This is a very good sea adventure movie in and of itself, one that is about whalers but is in fact very sympathetic to whales. The whaling industry is waning and so are the abundant whale populations that were hunted and harvested for their oil. It seems that there is always a time when an old form of income for the middle class is waning and another is rising. Now we have steel manufacturing and the coal industry. Then it was whaling. This rendition of the story of Moby Dick, which is told from the perspective of the tale that inspired the book rather than the events of the book itself, is very well done and gripping to watch.
Monday, December 19, 2016
His last several books have been pared down, and this one is no exception. It is the tale of deceitful plotting and murder told from the perspective of an unborn child, who is witness to it all. The story is the classic triad. A man, his wife, and his brother. We do not have to go very far back in literature to find parallel tales to this one, but this is like Hamlet only phase advanced to the womb. So poor Ophelia skips that fate. And the fetus actually is far more effectual than ill fated Hamlet. This is more of a suspenseful comedy than it is a tragedy. Ok, dark comedy, because the deceitful couple do indeed kill off the cuckolded husband while his wife is pregnant with his child (our narrator), but justice is somewhat served in the end. You could see that a follow up story might be in the offing. This could even be a trilogy, recapitulating other literary classics in the future. This is an easy read, something for an afternoon. I read it on a plane, and it was very enjoyable.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté onions until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a platter, reserving liquid. Glazed onions may be prepared up to this point 2 days ahead and onions and reserved liquid, chilled separately, covered. Reheat onions in reserved liquid, adding a little water if necessary, and transfer with slotted spoon to platter. Simmer reserved liquid until thickened and syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup. Season with salt and pepper.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Friday, December 16, 2016
Thursday, December 15, 2016
- 1 ½ cups finely grated pecorino Romano, plus more for dusting completed dish
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus more for finishing the dish
- ¾ pound tonnarelli or other long pasta like linguine or spaghetti
- Good olive oil
- Put a pot of salted water on to boil. In a large bowl, combine the cheeses and black pepper; mash with just enough cold water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste evenly in the bowl.
- Once the water is boiling, add the pasta. The second before it is perfectly cooked (taste it frequently once it begins to soften), use tongs to quickly transfer it to a bowl that has been heated in the microwave, or over the pot of pasta water , reserving a cup or so of the cooking water. Stir vigorously to coat the pasta, adding a teaspoon or two of olive oil and a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce if necessary. The sauce should cling to the pasta and be creamy but not watery.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
- 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 2 heads broccoli, 1 pound each, cut into bite-size florets
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons roasted (Asian) sesame oil
- Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar and salt. Add broccoli and toss to combine.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour mixture over broccoli and toss well. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and up to 48 (chill it if you want to keep it for more than 2 hours). Adjust seasonings (it may need more salt) and serve.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
Thursday, December 8, 2016
In the end, it was very well done, and entertaining. George Clooney plays a self-centered obnoxious cable TV host of a financial advice show, where he does everything big. The recommendations are no fail, the mistakes of others are unforgivably stupid, and everyone exists to please him. What's not to like? Pretty much everything. His producer is played by Julia Roberts and she is in contrast everything that you would want in a co-worker, including that she sticks with you to the bitter end.
Clooney gets taken hostage on national TV, and is being held accountable for a bad tip that he gave. As the crew look into the allegations of wrong doing, they begin to feel that there really was something fishy about a company that seemed like a sure fire thing tanking over a matter of hours. The script is smart and funny and you even manage to like Clooney by the end. Watch for entertainment, not to think too much.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
- 8 (6-ounce) English-cut short ribs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, trimmed and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, trimmed and chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, smashed and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 3 cups beef or chicken broth
- ½ cup plum sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- Freshly grated horseradish, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat meat dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper.
- Heat grapeseed oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add short ribs and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
- Add onion, carrot, celery, lemongrass, garlic and ginger to the pot. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and cook, stirring to dissolve any of the brown bits that may still be on the bottom of the pot. Add broth, plum sauce, soy sauce, thyme, parsley and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
- Return short ribs to pot, along with any juices, cover and slide pot into oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours.
- Transfer meat to a plate. Strain braising liquid into a fat separator. If you don't have a fat separator, use a ladle to skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid; then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
- Discard bay leaves and thyme stems and transfer vegetables to a food processor. Process vegetables until smooth, then add 1 1/2 cups of the defatted braising liquid to the processor and pulse to combine.
- Return sauce to Dutch oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add short ribs and turn to coat in the sauce; set aside until you’re ready to serve. Make sure the sauce is thinned, and put ribs on top, sauce on the bottom, and reheat.
Monday, December 5, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Ham is one of my favorite poet-turkey meals, and we served this with a traditional macaroni and cheese as well as non-traditional sides like eggplant with chickpeas and pomegranate molasses and roasted asparagus.
1 spiral-sliced, bone-in ham (7 to 10 pounds)
1 large oven bag (plastic)
3/4 cup ruby port
3/4 cup cherry preserves
1-1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- It is important that you do not unwrap your ham. Leave it fulled wrapped in plastic, but remove any outer wrapping (such as plastic mesh). Discard any glaze that comes with your ham, after reading the list of ingredients so that you understand how disgusting it would be to actually use it.
- Put wrapped ham in a large tub (or small ice chest) and fill hot tap water. Allow to sit for 45 minutes. Drain the water and fill with more hot tap water, and allow to sit for another 45 minutes. This will allow the ham to gently come up to temperature, and significantly reduce the amount of time that the ham spends in the oven.
- Set an oven rack to the bottom of your oven and pre-heat to 250-degrees. Unwrap the ham and remove the plastic disk covering the bone from the bottom of your ham. Put in an oven bag, and close the bag snugly over your ham. Put ham in a roasting pan (or Pyrex casserole) cut-side-down. Use a paring knife to make four 1″ slits in the top of the bag, which will prevent the bag from inflating (and popping) during baking.
- Bake for about 10 minutes per pound (e.g. 11-pound ham took 110 minutes). The center of the ham should reach 100-degrees; measure only in spiral slices, not the unsliced top portion. Remember the ham was fully cooked at the factory, you are only re-heating it; not re-cooking it.
- With 20 minutes cooking time remaining, put small saucepan over medium burner and reduce 3/4 cup port to 3 tablespoons; about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking over medium heat for 10 more minutes; until it reduces to 1-1/2 cup.
- Remove ham from oven, and increase your oven to 350-degrees. Cut the oven bag open and roll down the sides to that the ham is exposed, and brush the ham evenly with 1/3-cup of the glaze. Bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove ham from oven bag, reserving the juices to loosen the glaze. Again, brush the ham evenly with another 1/3-cup of the glaze. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Add 1/2-to-3/4 cup of the ham juices to the remaining glaze. Place over medium burner until it becomes a thick sauce.
- Carve your ham, serving with the sauce passed separately.