Monday, January 30, 2017
The story is told beautifully and sympathetically. The outcome is clear from the beginning, it is after all a Disney movie, but the telling is worth the time it takes, and in the midst of it all we peak into a continent that is poorly known or understood.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 cup grated onion
Salt and pepper
2 lightly beaten eggs
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
- Scrub your potatoes and shred them, unpeeled, using the shredding disk of a food processor.
- Add shredded potatoes, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Put half of potatoes in center of clean cloth dish towel. Gather together towel ends and twist to drain as much liquid as possible; allowing the liquid to drain into a measuring cup. Empty dried potatoes into a second bowl, then dry the reminder of the potatoes. Allow the reserved potato liquid to stand for 10 minutes, so that starch and water separate.
- Cover potatoes with plastic wrap and microwave for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring mixture with fork every 30 seconds, until warm but not hot. Evenly empty potato mixture over a second rimmed baking sheet. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. There is not need to wash out bowl.
- Pour off the water from reserved potato liquid, leaving only the potato starch in measuring cup. Add eggs and stir until smooth. Put cooled potatoes back in to bowl. Add minced parsley, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and potato starch/egg mixture. Toss until everything is evenly combined.
- Place another wire rack over a third rimmed baking sheet. Line with a triple layer of paper towels.
- Add 1/4″ of oil to a 12″ skillet. Preheat over medium-high burner for 5 minutes until reaches 350-degrees (oil will be shimmering but not smoking). Measure 1/4-cup of potato mixture and place in oil. Push down with spatula until in becomes a thin disk. Fill pan. Cook for 3 minutes per side, until they become golden brown. You may need to adjust the burner so that the latkes bubble around the edges. Remove to drain on paper towels, then place on baking sheet.
- You may been to add a little more oil to ensure you have 1/4″ depth, reheat oil to 350-degrees and repeat step 8 with the rest of the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper according to your to taste, and serve with sour cream.
Friday, January 27, 2017
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
This is another recipe out of Nancy Silverton's Mozza at Home cookbook, and it is equal parts delicious and easy.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs. mixed mushrooms
salt to taste
1/4 c. fresh tarragon leaves
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Cook the mushrooms, cap side down, season with salt along the way. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Do it in two batches if your pan is not big enough. Pout about 1/3 c. vinegar in and cook until the mushrooms have absorbed the vinegar, then add more, taste, and add shallots, toss some more, and add more vinegar to taste. Garnish with tarragon leaves, and salt to taste.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Enter Ethan Hawke (John), who is married with two kids and a little bit self absorbed. As is his lovely wife, Julianna Moore (Georgette). Maggie is full of warmth and confidence in who John is, far more so than his wife, and he falls for that and she falls for him. This affair is consummated on the very day that Maggie has self-inseminated herself with her college friends sperm.
Fast forward a couple years, Maggie and John are married, and Maggie is doing literally everything. She is raising the kids (hers and John's), earning the money, and ferrying everyone around, and one say she looks up and doesn't want to do it anymore. Never fear, she has a plan for that too. It is a movie that is a little bit fun, a little bit serious, and a little bit mysterious.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Sunday, January 22, 2017
My friend Dina made this for us one night for dinner. I agree with her that I like the smaller pancakes better because there are more crispy edges, but this one looks beautiful and serves a crowd.
- 2 pounds Potatoes
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 2 eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs or matzo meal
- Vegetable oil
- Grate potatoes and onion by hand or with grating disk of a food processor; drain in colander or strainer. Combine potatoes and onions in a large bowl with eggs, salt, pepper and bread crumbs or matzo meal.
- Put about 1/8 inch oil in a large, deep skillet, either nonstick or seasoned cast iron; turn heat to medium-high. When oil is hot (it will shimmer) put all the batter in pan, and smooth the top. Cook, shaking pan occasionally; adjust heat so mixture sizzles but does not burn. Continue until bottom is nicely browned, at least 15 minutes.
- To turn, slide cake out onto a large plate, cover with another large plate and invert. Add a little more oil to pan if necessary, and slide pancake back in, cooked side up. Cook 15 minutes or so longer, until nicely browned.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
We decided to watch this classic movie that was set (and made) in the post McCarthy era but when the fear of the Soviet Union was at it's height. The basic plot is that the Russians and the Chinese collude with each other to capture a soldier during the Korean War, and to brain wash him into being an assassin automaton. The training takes place in Manchuria, and after a few trials of killing some of his fellow soldiers, he is sent home literally as a hero. His whole unit is under the spell, and while they have nightmares, they are excused as the aftermath of war and not what they represent, which is memories returning. The assassin is hooked up with his American handler and the plot fro control of the United States is set in motion. The opposition has a candidate that they control, and they go about getting him into the White House by means other than those of a democratic state. Is any of this sounding the least bit familiar? Well, truth is stranger than fiction, and our current story has yet to finish unfolding.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles, and it is something to behold.The original version of this, from the high classical period in Greece, was rumored to be the most viewed art in the ancient world, more popular than even the pyramids at Giza. Why was this so? One is that while it was very common at the time to depict men naked, to have naked women was new. Venus is depicted just stepping out of the bath, her towel at her side. Her hand is demurely over her genitalia, but as you move around the statue, her hand appears to be in fact pointing at her genitalia, to invite the viewer so see what all the fuss is about. she had an expression on her face that is hard to interpret, is she coy or seductive? She is standing on one leg, with the other knee coming forward, which is a stance that started at this point in time, but continued for a very long time. It gives the figure an S-shaped stance overall that is quite attractive. This version is in its own alcove in the Capitoline Museum, and is well worth seeing in person.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 anchovy fillets
- 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
Blend oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring, occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper.
Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole. Set pot over alcohol burner or gas table burner to keep warm. Serve with vegetables and bread.
Monday, January 16, 2017
That even though
Her sins are white,
The master double-deals her left and right?
Same master deals us black and white ...
Take up your hand — what do I find?
A pair, sister — we're two of a kind.
White sister, white sister, why can't you see
Into yourself when you look at me?
(You stare through me as though I'm a wall,
But you need me to catch you when you fall.)
White sister, white sister, blind as you pass,
Take a look at me in your looking glass!
Back stair, front stair, oh look either where,
Neither has yet our full womanly share;
I've been taken downstairs, but you've been taken, too.
Face up to your mirror: you know that it's true.
I've been kicked down to the ground — mud smeared in my face.
You've been shut away upstairs — set on a wobbly base,
How quickly you can fall from a pedestal base.
Feet firm upon the ground makes a lot safer place.
Don't spend all your mind on making up your face,
Pick yourself up clear and wipe off your tear-smeared face;
Set yourself straight and take your proper place.
White sister. White sister, still blindly you pass,
Gazing alone in your looking glass ...
White sister, white sister, you'll never see
Through to yourself while you look through me.
White sister, white sister, why can't you see
You're seeing yourself when you look at me?
On all woman's flesh is the master's mark,
And the heel doesn't care if it's light or dark.
White sister, white sister, why can't you see
Into yourself when you look at me?
White sister, white sister,
You'll never he free
Until you take
A good look at me.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
They come head to head in a campaign in Bolivia, where he is backing the front runner and she is for the corporate candidate. She does a good job heading her opponent off at the pass and standing up to her candidate, who is stubborn as well. But in the end she is not happy with the outcome and she stays to work with the opposition.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
- 24 medium-size quahog clams, usually rated ‘‘top neck’’ or ‘‘cherrystone,’’ rinsed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ pound slab bacon or salt pork, diced
- 2 leeks, tops removed, halved and cleaned, then sliced into half moons
- 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups cream
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped parsley.
- Put the clams in a large, heavy Dutch oven, add about 4 cups water, then set over medium-high heat. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. (Clams that fail to open after 15 to 20 minutes should be discarded.) Strain clam broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or doubled-up paper towels, and set aside. Remove clams from shells, and set aside as well.
- Rinse out the pot, and return it to the stove. Add butter, and turn heat to medium-low. Add bacon or salt pork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pork has started to brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from fat, and set aside.
- Add the leeks to the fat, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes and wine, and continue cooking until wine has evaporated and the potatoes have just started to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add enough clam broth to just cover the potatoes, approximately 3 cups, reserving the rest for another use. Add the thyme and the bay leaf.
- Partly cover the pot, and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the clams into bits about the size of the bacon dice.
- When potatoes are tender, add cream and stir in chopped clams and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Let come to a simmer, and remove from heat. (Do not let chowder come to a full boil.) Fish out the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard.
- The chowder should be allowed to sit for a while to cure. Reheat it to a bare simmer before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.
Friday, January 13, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
I love this bold painting with both vibrant colors and dramatic textures. It reminds me a bit of Georgia O'Keefe's work (no, I do not know what I am talking about, not in the least, this is just a personal and very unsophisticated opinion). They were contemporaries at a time when there weren't a lot of prominent female artists in the United States at the time.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
This past year has been one that I would characterize as harrowing rather than enjoyable, starting off with me in the hospital. I have been a bit more stable as the year progressed, but I haven't even finished chemotherapy yet, so the road ahead is still long and treacherous for me. Since when your wife is unwell your life is quite poor, wish him well today and going forward.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Marnie is very annoying. She calls Lori constantly. She doesn't know what to do with herself and she doesn't know how to help Lori. But she tries. She immerses herself in things in an effort to find her bliss. She gives freely of herself, and even though it is weird at times, she is rewarded for it and she moves forward. She goes to Lori's therapist to try to spy on Lori, but when the therapist suggests what her motivation might be, Marnie takes it to heart. She thinks about things and makes adjustments. Lori on the the other hand, is completely stuck and she is completely unmotivated to get better. She wallows in her misery about the loss of her father and her boyfriend. It is painful to watch. And it is not solely depression. There is a component of denial involved. Lori is a cautionary tale and Marnie is a beacon of hope.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
This book is about two friends from childhood who are really almost more like acquaintances from the very beginning. Their main attraction to each other is that they are the same shade of brown, which is not much of a trait to build a friendship on, but it helped both of them feel less alone when they were in grade school together. The book goes on to explore color, class, colonialism, and the trajectories that life can take you on when you don't think and just act on what is the thing in front of you that appeals to you. It is a very well told story, one that involves all sorts of careers and places. One thing it does say loud and clear to me is that the legacy of slavery in the Afro-Caribbean population is that of not feeling like you truly belong anywhere, not even in Africa. It makes it easier to pick up and leave where ever you are, but harder to settle down. Very thought provoking book with main characters who are largely unlikable but who make you think.
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Friday, January 6, 2017
Thursday, January 5, 2017
One small chicken, 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 pounds
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage
- Sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Season the chicken 1 to 3 days before serving (for 3 1/4- to 3 1/2-pound chickens, at least 2 days): Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry (a wet chicken will spend too much time steaming before it begins to turn golden brown).
- Slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets, then use a fingertip to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Push an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.
- Using about 3/4 teaspoon sea salt per pound of chicken and pepper to taste, season the chicken liberally all over with salt and the pepper. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity and on the backbone. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
- When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 475 degrees. Depending on your oven and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the heat to as high as 500 degrees or as low as 450 degrees during roasting to brown the chicken properly.
- Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.
- Place in the center of the oven and watch for it to start sizzling and browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over (drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking). Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to re-crisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes. Total oven time will be 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Pour the clear fat from the pan, leaving the drippings. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl. Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings. As the chicken rests, tilt the roasting pan and skim the last of the fat. Place over medium-low heat, add any juice that has collected under the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Stir and scrape.
- Cut the chicken into pieces and pour the pan drippings over the chicken.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
It is a well told story, one that chronicles a nation's response to the last political uprising and what we were willing to suspend at that time. I think going into a new political crisis, it is well for us to remember what we are up against and what they will try to take away from us, because in reality, we only hold the votes, we don't hold many of the other cards, and it would be well to remember how we have to fight when that is the case. Great read.
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
That said, this is a largely predictable movie that is not less enjoyable for that, if your expectations are aligned in the right places. It is not a movie for the ages, but it has competent acting, a decent script, a balance between hope and despair for the future, and a smattering of special effects, and a handful of double dealing that always makes the good guys look a little bit better that they can still believe in the good of others even when much of their lives they have been treated badly. If you missed the first two movies, you might want to skip this one, but if you saw them, catch this one too.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Sunday, January 1, 2017
As it turns out, I am not quite done with that. Bad diseases warrant longer treatments and I am certainly in that camp. The good news is that there has been time for enjoyment that has been sandwiched in as well, and with shorter vacations, we have been able to focus on food, museums, walking, and theater. Oh, that pretty much sums up every vacation, but we have done it for shorter periods of time this year. Just hoping that 2017 has more of the good things and less of the bad things than 2016.