Archive | July, 2007


31 Jul

No other word made me feel so cool, sophisticated and superior to my high school classmates.

Brooklyn Bridge

I picked it up while doing college stays.  All the women used it, and it made them sound so worldly. “You’re from Upstate New York? So am I! Wow, that’s… so… random… that they had you stay with me.”

The more I heard it, the more intoxicating it became. I was already trying to curb my usage of “like” having been made aware that intelligent young women don’t use the word while debating post-modern anthropological theories unless Margaret Mead really was like Franz Boas. Adding ‘random’ whilst subtracting ‘like’ felt very grown-up.

I would drop it into conversations just to enjoy the effect it had on my red neck classmates and rural hick teachers. I felt like it was my connection to the world I wanted to be in, the world of high academia, while I was still trapped in the hateful morass of high school.

Brooklyn Bridge

And then one day my English teacher pulled me aside and and asked if I knew the actual definition of the word I had become so fond of. I have no recollection of what I said to her, but I do remember the gist of her response; you’re not using the word correctly, it’s making you sound like an idiot and someday you’re going to regret it. I poopooed her, but of course, she was right.

I realize this story may not paint me in the prettiest of lights but I wanted to illustrate exactly why I have such a strong reaction to this word as it has been rearing its ugly head with alarming frequency in the blogosphere lately. There are currently at least two memes being passed around asking the tagee to tell the world 7 or 8 “random” things about his or herself. Here’s the rub… The things are not random.

Pimientos de Padron

What we’re really being asked to do is to reveal 7 or 8 intimate things, 7 or 8 unusual things, 7 or 8 silly things, but certainly not 7 or 8 random things. There’s a calculation, a process, a method, a choice the writer must make about how much she wants to reveal to a world of unknown people about herself. It’s a cold, thought out thing, most certainly not random.

And so to the people who have tagged me for this meme, thank you. Without the tag I wouldn’t have known you were out there. But, you’ll have to forgive me for not playing along in the strictest of rules. If read closely, I’m sure there’s at least 7 or 8 things in this post that would qualify as new or possibly interesting information about me without having to number them.

Carciofi alla Giudia

I think about my posts while I’m waking up in the morning. I formulate a thesis, or sometimes just a headline, then I plan a rough outline of how I want the text to flow, and then I get up to write while still half asleep.

Before I settled on this ‘random’ tangent this morning I was planning to write about how I’m not a movie person and that I only just saw Mostly Martha this Saturday evening after a dinner of amazing fried veggies and homemade pasta with fresh scarlet runner beans. I was going to plead with you to believe me that I had added the movie to our Netflix queue months ago, long before I knew they were remaking the film. I was going to lambaste the movie industry for not having figured out a way to deliver movies on demand in the way that eMusic has for, well, music. I was going to explain why I hate iPods and iTunes, and I was going to tie up all these divergent things in a witty and intelligent way with a story about the ‘random,’ no, I mean, unusual, vegetables I found at the Greenmarket last Friday.

Fresh Pasta with Scarlet Runner Beans

But alas, I feel that I have already run on for far too many pixels and these things will have to wait. 700 or so words and only a dozen or less about food, on a foodblog no less. I hope that’s not too random.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Pimientos de Padron, Carciofi alla Giudia and Fettucini with Scarlet Runner Beans.

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The Loafer’s Loaf

26 Jul

And, we’re back!

Big Wolf Sunset

What a nice little break. The Adirondacks were, as always, spectacular and relaxing, and if you can believe this, nearly bug free.


We didn’t have much time up there, only two days really, which is a short time when you factor in the 17 or so hours it takes to make the round trip, and the time was condensed by the need to climb a mountain and delve into the final Harry Potter.

Yes. I know. As my mother reminded me multiple times, it’s a children’s book. But you know what? I don’t care. I was simultaneously reading one of the modern world’s most gifted and controversial authors’ attempt at a children’s book, Salman Rushdie‘s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and I can honestly say, in this one throwdown, Ms. Rowling soundly kicks Sir Rushdie’s ass.


But I digress. Where were we? As yes, we were on the topic of ass kickings, and mountains.

After our trip to Colorado even I began to scoff a bit at “our” mountains. For a few years now I’ve felt the need to defend the ‘dacks against the boy’s insistence that the Rockies are more spectacular. I would insist that it didn’t matter! Ours are older! Ours have moose! Yes, but they also have mosquitoes, he would retort, and most of them top out at an elevation lower than Denver, he would add. And after actually seeing the Rockies and being up in them, I began to believe him.

Mt. Ampersand Vista

But no more. We had originally wanted to climb Mt. Marcy but decided it was too far away from camp, so we settled on Mt. Ampersand. Settle might not be the proper word for this hike, actually, hike might not be the correct word for what we did either. I think, climbed, scrambled and flirted with grievous bodily harm might be some better phrases.

There is no settling when you chose to climb Ampersand after the trail has received many days of very hard rain. I’m no weathered mountain climber, or even a very accomplished hiker, but I feel secure in stating that if, like us, you didn’t bring hiking boots, don’t bother with this climb. You’re risking life and limb. Yes, the view is spectacular, but seriously, do yourself a favor and climb a different peak.

Mt. Ampersand Vista

When we got back to camp (after rewarding myself with a Stewart’s Sweet Black Cherry cone) I was too busted up to cook. All I was good for was lying on the couch and groaning. My knees hurt, my arms hurt, my back hurt. God, am I getting old or what?

I had planned on whipping up a spectacular Middle Eastern feast, complete with harrisa marinated chicken, couscous and yogurty cucumber salad, but I was saved by the fact that it was Sunday and after 6pm. No groceries were open so we’d have to make do with produce from my mother’s garden and leftover filet mignon. It’s a rough life, I know.

Sand Castle

And that was it. Just two short days of peace and quiet and nearly one whole day traveling back. It’s wonderful to be home, it always is, but I do wish we’d had more time to sit in the sun, swim and hang out with my mom. But alas, time marches on and I have to pay the bills somehow.

The Burbling Hudson

Since we’ve been back I finished The Deathly Hallows (if you’ve finished it too (and only if), head over to Slate and read their awesome, grownup discussion of all the twists and turns), cooked No. 21 on Bittman’s amazing and inspirational list (which I realised only after the fact) and contemplated making my new favorite cheaters “bread” at least once more.


Cheater’s “bread?” Oh yes. Before we left I was seduced by the siren call of fresh favas at the Greenmarket (and no, I had not woken up that morning with a tribe of Berbers in my apartment to help me shell them). I decided that since I knew what I was in for, this second time with favas couldn’t be nearly as bad as the first, and I was right. The boy and I shelled the favas while sitting on the stoop, and then I whipped up another variation of my new favorite dinner in the whole world using the favas, some fresh corn, peas and squash and adding a wee bit of tarragon to the pistou.

Scallops In Brown Butter, With Peas, Favas & Corn in a Mint & Tarragon Pistou

But I wanted bread, but I was too lazy to make bread, so I cheated. I trotted around the corner to the awesome grocery/bakery Cangiano’s, bought two balls of pizza dough (for a dollar no less), popped one into an oiled bowl, let it rise for a few hours, then rolled it out, folded it over once, inserted a layer of fresh herbs, folded it again to form a loaf, rolled it out once more, pushed my fingers into it to dock the dough, smooshed on some olive oil, sprinkled it with coarse sea salt and a few more fresh herbs, then baked it for 15 minutes at 450°.


The “bread” was delicious. Salty, herby, perfectly yeasty. I can’t recommend this method enough for quick, easy bread when you’re feeling too lazy or too time crunched to make your own loaf from scratch. Who says cheaters never win?

Back In A Bit

19 Jul

Over The Brooklyn Bride, 87Deg. F.

My feet have tread too much pavement.


It’s been too long since my hands have felt water that didn’t come from a pipe.


It’s time for a little escape from New York.


See you next week.

I Can Haz Pickles?

17 Jul

Where would I be without the Internet?


Obviously, this blog wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have a job. I’d have to glean useless knowledge from books and I probably wouldn’t laugh as much on a daily basis as I currently do.

My friends and I, like most people, enjoy a certain amount of, what shall we call it, the sending of links? Not to the annoying level (I hope) of say, my aunt who likes to send out those stupid emails that ask you to think of a number and concentrate really hard, blah, blah, blah.

No, I prefer to think that our link sending has a certain level of sophistication, that it serves an international purpose, that we’re trying to educate ourselves by drinking from the font of interweb knowledge and exploring new levels of social discourse. What? You’re not buying this? Okay. Fine. I’ll admit it. Yes, there is a lot of CO and LOLcatz. There. Are you happy now? So embarrassed…


Recently I sent a link to a food product I’m sure you will all be very shocked to hear I’d like to try, Pickle Sickles, to my pickle-loving (but not that much) friend and possible BBQ-crawl co-conspirator Dave. After he made several IM-speak icky noises he sent me back this link saying they’re his favorite and that the Boy and I should try them and that I’m demented for ever even thinking of eating frozen pickle brine. Some people will just never understand picklemania…

And so, with three bunches of baby carrots leftover from the Independence Day cookout that got rained out moldering away in the fridge the Boy and I made Firecrackers. Of course, I couldn’t stick to Alton‘s recipe. I mean, who keeps onion powder, or for that matter, white sugar, around the house anyway?

Ann's Summer Sparklers

I mixed and substituted and boiled and washed and packed and poured and cooled and then chilled our little carrots. And then we waited. And waited. Three or four whole days we waited. Finally, it was time. We cracked the lid and gingerly pulled one out.

And how were they? So good. So very, very good. Corgi puppy levels of good. Disapproving Rabbits levels of good. And yes, even Dramatic Chipmunk levels of good.

Ann's Summer Sparklers

They’re spicy, tangy, crunchy and just ever so slightly sweet. So go on, make yourself some Firecrackers, or, better yet, some of my Summer Sparklers or if you prefer cucumbers, try some of Lisa’s Dilly Guys. Just get on it and bottle yourself some of this amazing summer produce.

Or, if you really must, you can pickle some sausages.


That might be taking it just a little too far, even for me!

Head below the jump for the recipe for Ann’s Summer Sparklers.

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Just Peachy

13 Jul

A real quick hit before the weekend.

Bay Ridge From Above

Do try and get yourself up on a roof this weekend if at all possible. Or to a park. Or to a backyard.

Peaches & Melons

And if the fruit where you live is as incredible as the fruit is here in New York this summer, go grab some, buy a little prosciutto, or jamon, or whatever cured pork product you can find, and wrap it around something!

Prosciutto & Melon

We all know and love melon with prosciutto, but what about porky peaches? Possibly even better if you can believe that!

Peaches Love Prosciutto

So I ask you… What’s your favorite thing to wrap prosciutto around?

Happy weekend ya’ll!

Be on the lookout for some “firecrackers” around here early next week.