Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fashion Shows

You know what you should do? You should check out, where you can find pictures of the complete ready-to-wear collections now being shown in Paris. If you want my advice, you won't miss Comme des Garcons, and Viktor & Rolf, among many others. (Vivienne Westwood is still showing everyone what it means to be good at and deeply thrilled by one's job.) If you get interested, go into the archives of past shows and find the most recent Dior couture show—as my mother put it, it features clothes made by someone who was not thinking at all about how much fabric costs per yard (she meant this in a good way). Dior usually leaves me cold, but this show, a fantasia of origami-inspired details and scrumptious color, knocked me flat.

Lamb Chops

Broiled, with brown rice and sauteed red cabbage. Judy Rodgers, in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, advocates salting all meat well ahead of time. She recommends sprinkling meat, poultry, and even fish, days before you'll use it, and letting it marinate in the resultant briny effusion. May I say that in my experience the lady is right. Even a couple of hours with a dusting of kosher salt transforms meat for me, in both its flavor (which becomes rich and complex and not particularly salty, though does obviate the need for added table salt) and its texture (which I find hard to describe).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Green Bags

Seriously—these are amazing. My sister introduced me to them, and I cannot believe how well they work. Vegetables in my refrigerator are now housed in nothing else, and it is almost alarming how well they keep. I'd swear they were a little *more* fresh for having spent time in one of these bags.

Boston Butt

More Boston butt (hee!) with brown rice and rapini.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Zhejiang Mao Feng

This was the free sample included in my recent order, and man, is it tasty. After all the white tea I've been drinking it has a walloping flavor; a tiny bit of smoke? Or not quite smoke—but something for which smoke is the nearest equivalent I can come up with. Rich and yummy.

PopCo II

Ahem. 300 pages in, 200 to go, and I am the wee-est bit less enchanted by Scarlett Thomas than I was last time I posted. I'm not giving up, but I rather wish I were back reading The End of Mr. Y again.

Boston Butt

Hilarious name! But that, in all its barbecued glory, is what we had, along with roasted cauliflower and quinoa.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wild Boar Sausage

from our organic market (or "health-food" store, as we used to say) with brown rice. Nummers.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


sort of, of red cabbage, leftover brown rice, sardines, and eggs. This is the kind of thing I ate all the time when I was single, and still love, but can't persuade anyone else to even try.

Potato Fritatta

and roasted red peppers. Nothing could be finer.

Real Food

My guide to food. I love this opinionated book. Written by the woman who runs the New York City green market, it is a well-researched manifesto advocating for, in essence, a traditionally balanced diet including lots of animal fats. I'm in heaven! It also introduced me to coconut oil, a staple in my kitchen as any reader of this blog has no doubt noticed. I know, I know—we were all told coconut oil has a billion calories and will kill you quick. But that is the hugely processed kind used in commercial cooking; I'm talking about the good stuff. Not only delicious and wonderful to cook with, but insanely good for you as well. Buy a tub today!

Koigu Sweater

When I recently recommenced work with the pointy sticks (after a ten year hiatus, having knit myself into repetitive motion injury the last time I did it) I swore: no sweaters. For one thing, I wanted small projects that didn't tie me down forever. For another, I was sick of knitting endlessly, only to end up with an ill-fitting sweater. But then—I started knitting again. And it's so incredibly addictive, and really, when it gets down to it, it's all about the sweater. Not to mention that my local yarn shop carries drool-worthy yarn, and my knitting books (rapidly increasing in number) assure me it's possible to knit to fit. In short, I've been suckered in again. As usual, the photo does a disservice to the color of the actual yarn, a Japanese wool-silk blend.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Apple and Cheese

Am I getting, succumbing to, or fighting off a stomach virus?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


My second novel by Scarlett Thomas. I find Thomas engrossing; novels are for her ways to think out loud about ideas, though she is also quite interested in people. This one focuses on Alice Butler, the disaffected employee of PopCo, the third largest toy company in the world. What quantum theory was to The End of Mr. Y cryptography is to PopCo, and both have plots too strange and meandering to describe. I think the quality that appeals to me most in Thomas' writing is (this will sound strange) her self-forgiveness. She is thirty-five and on her seventh novel, a track record that makes sense given the suffusing quality of play and permissiveness in her work. I don't mean that she's a bad or a sloppy writer, and I'm sure she works like a demon. I just mean that one can feel the absence of a censoring angel sitting on her shoulder; somewhere along the way she gave herself permission to write and write and write (though for all I know she may have to fight every day to retain that permission) and it makes her books a pleasure to spend time in.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chicken Thighs

pan-fried, with brown rice, re-fried sweet potatoes, and roasted red peppers. Just between you and me, I gorged—gorged!—on chicken skin.

Mrs. LBJ's Rocks: Part II

A day on these have mellowed and enriched; the spices are still potent, but blended, and there is a strong, buttery vanilla bass note that makes the whole thing saturate the palate about twenty seconds after the first bite. A few minutes after finishing the third one I experienced a reasonably strong fermented-sugar aftertaste, so maybe a little less sugar next time. Incidentally: am I the only one who had that sugar aftertaste phenomenon go berserk during pregnancy? I couldn't stand to eat anything sweet because the after-fermentation kicked in immediately and at nuclear strength.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Grilled Cod

with baked sweet potatoes, diced and re-fried in coconut oil, and roasted cauliflower. Oh boy—this was a winner. I need to keep sweet potatoes in the rotation.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Korean Barbecue

Made by our friends the Chwes, one of whom is an authentic Korean. Delicious—bulgogi (thinly-sliced marinated beef) cooked at the table, then rolled with rice and hot sauce in big lettuce leaves. Also lots of little goodies on the side: seaweed salad, kimchi, pickled turnips. I made an absolute pig of myself.

Mrs. LBJ's Rocks

This recipe is from Maida Heatter's Cookies, a great cookbook. The name "rocks" refers to appearance, not texture, by the way (and Heatter's Pumpkin Rocks can't be beat). These are wonderful; spicy and flavorful, with lots of nuts and raisins. The recipe calls for butter and dark corn syrup, for which I substituted coconut oil and Steen's cane syrup; it also calls for shredded coconut and dates, neither of which I keep on hand. Truly the spice in these cookies is prodigious; full teaspoons of cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I had vague ideas that that much clove in one recipe would kill you—but it turns out to be delightful.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Flank Steak

marinated in soy sauce and grilled, with roasted red potatoes and parboiled rapini. Yum.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pork Tenderloin

For heaven's sake--do we eat anything else? Sauce of apples, cream, and mustard; brown rice, roasted cauliflower.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Self-Striping Sock Yarn

This stuff is extremely old news in the knitting world—but it's new to me! I'm a texture-oriented knitter rather than a color-oriented one, mainly because keeping track of all the colored yarns seems so daunting. But here are stripes, and cool ones, with no hassle at all! You can find the particular yarn I'm using (Opal in the Hundertwassers Werk colorway #637A) here.

Roasted Cauliflower

A word about this delectable dish. I first encountered the idea in an article in Cook's Illustrated. The author asked, "why does anyone boil cauliflower?" Good question! She suggested instead a fairly elaborate roasting procedure, involving a particular method of cutting, a small amount of olive oil, and a three-stage roasting process (involving foil). I tried it several times, and indeed she is right: roasting makes cauliflower irresistable. However, after some more experimentation, I offer this alternative method: separate the cauliflower into its constituent florets and toss them with lots of olive oil and kosher salt. Dump them in a nice heavy roasting pan and pop them into a 400 degree oven for about an hour (stir once half way through, if you think about it). The cauliflower will emerge sizzling, with a mahogany patina where it touched the pan, and so good I dare you not to finish it right then and there. I myself ate an entire head last night.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Crab Cakes

pre-made by our favorite boutique grocery store. Also roasted red peppers, corn on the cob, and leftover onion soup. Why don't I make roasted red peppers more often? They're soooo tasty.

Monday, February 12, 2007


A poem for my TV boyfriend:

O House:
I'm glad you're not
My spouse.
But still—
Secret thoughts
Of your stubble dots
Are my favorite thrill.


by Allegra Goodman. How annoying is Allegra Goodman? She's in her mid-thirties, with three (or four?) children, a PhD from Stanford and a job at Harvard, along with three (or four?) best-selling, critically lauded novels. Never mind--this is a fantastic book (I'm half way through). It follows the personal entanglements and fevered politicking that ensue when a small research lab gets remarkable results in a cancer study. One appealing thing about the novel is its probing look at the complications that come along with prodigious gifts (a subject on which Goodman surely speaks with authority). The novel is funny and smart and empathetic and totally convincing.

The End of Mr. Y

Now this is an odd book. A first person present-tense narrator (not my favorite voice for a narrator, but relevant to the plot, as it turns out) discovers a cursed book. The plot is in fact too strange to be summarized, but a pleasure to watch develop. Scarlett Thomas (the author) has been reading in quantum theory and literary theory, and both play prominent but un-pedantic roles in the story. So what if certain charcters are developed only to disappear; I devoured this novel and ordered all of her others.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Onion Soup

from today's New York Times Magazine. A screaming success; delicious, easy to put together, based on stale bread (I am a freak for recipes that use stale bread).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yellow Socks

These were a breeze, because they are small, and because I now understand sock engineering. I made these in a garter rib, using size 2 circular needles.

Lamb Chops

broiled, with roasted red peppers, corn on the cob, and quinoa.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Chicken Thighs

pan-fried in coconut oil, sauteed red cabbage, and quinoa. The best part? I ate all the skin from the leftover chicken while it was hot and crisp, and am using the meat (and leftover cabbage) for a sandwich today.

Oatmeal Cookies

Same old recipe, but this time I used one cup of light brown sugar instead of the cup of dark brown and half-cup of white the recipe calls for. They are delicious, and quite different from the others in flavor and texture. They are less sweet, of course, and also more salty. The spice flavors are less pronounced too, though I don't know if that's the sugar or simply that I ate them on the same day as making them--the spice may develop over time. The texture is much lighter and crisper; no candy-like chew to the crunch. As always, I substituted coconut oil for the butter. Successful cookies.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


of potato soup and tenderloin. Also a few clementines and some See's candy, since we're out of cookies. Husband not home for dinner, hence the scrounging around.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


grilled in a grill pan, with ersatz hoppin' john made of brown rice and field peas (made with chicken stock in the rice maker). Also some rapini, parboiled and tossed with olive oil.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Potato-Garlic Soup

from the Feb. Cook's Illustrated. Mighty good, particularly with bacon crumbled on top. Also red cabbage sauteed with apples.

The New Beyonce Album

B'Day. I love it; particularly "Get Me Bodied," "Suga Mama," and "Irreplaceable." Does it go without saying that there was a time when I would have died rather than confess to myself that I liked a new Beyonce album? There was such a time—but that's all over now.

Pork Tenderloin

marinated in rosemary, garlic, and olive oil, and grilled outdoors (also grilled apples); wtih brown rice, and parboiled broccoli rapini tossed in olive oil. It's amazing what grilling will do for any piece of meat.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Green Socks

Ta-da! My first-ever pair of hand-knitted socks. I am pleased; it wasn't as hard as I'd feared, and it is quite satisfying to knit a shaped object. The picture is not at all accurate with respect to color, but does show that they fit (whew). I noticed as I knit (on two circular needles, rather than the traditional set of four) that I couldn't keep the stiches where the needles met from stretching out, creating long vertical wakes in the pattern. This distressed me hugely; none of the socks in the book looked like this. A quick internet search revealed that this is a common problem and that those wakes are called "ladders." I found a few tips to correct them, and they began to look a bit better. So, problem kind of solved. But I also took myself in hand, reminded myself that any kinetic art is learned by doing over time, and that this was my first attempt as opposed to the book author's nth attempt. I decided to forgive myself. Problem solved.

A Bowl of Cereal

for husband, and a bowl of lentil soup with brown rice for me.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Gunpowder Green

Temple of Heaven Gunpowder. My weekend tea. One uses so few of these tiny little nodules per cup that my quarter-ounce has lasted a long time. The description claims a "flowery" undertone, but my palate insists on vanilla. Although really, when it gets down to it, I drink it for the name, not the flavor.


ordered by phone, brought home. With sausage, spinach, onions, and mushrooms.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Potato Frittata

(get used to hearing those words in this category) with roasted cauliflower and a few strips of bacon from our first Bacon-of-the-Month Club delivery.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Problem Solved

I mentioned making oatmeal cookies in an earlier post. These are my favorites to eat, but hitherto I have hesitated to make them because the recipe called for smooshing them down before baking, one by one, with a glass. I hate that step. So then, a few days ago, looking at two big trays of unbaked cookies, it came to me: I could smoosh them with my fingers! No sticky glass-bottom, no icky sugar- or flour-crust left on top as I tried to prevent the glass from sticking! Problem solved.

Brown Sugar Cookies

I made these from a recipe in my beloved Cook's Illustrated magazine. They involve browned butter, an ingredient that has been on my mind ever since reading an essay (in last year's Gourmet Christmas cookie issue) about cookies made with it. I made Gourmet's cookies, but found them too rich, and way too much trouble (since they involve hand-shaping each cookie. I make drop cookies or I don't make any at all.) The ones I made yesterday called, in fact, for rolling each cookie-dough ball in sugar, but I didn't. I did do everything else the recipe said, and ended up not with the nicely risen, crackle-top little beauties the magazine pictures, but rather with pancake-flat, thin, crunchy disks. Never mind—they are *delicious.*

Pork Tenderloin

sliced into medallions and pan fried; the pan juices became a mustard-wine sauce. Along with that we had quinoa and roasted cauliflower. Mmm mmm good.