Monday, July 30, 2007

Fried Chicken

roasted red potatoes, salad. Hard to beat.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thai Chicken Sausage

with roasted red potatoes (oh crispy salty outsides! oh creamy sweet insides!) and fried okra. A word about the latter: it was outrageously good. My spouse makes it, as simply as possible: lots of fresh, cut-up okra, fried in olive oil until browned and crispy. I ate like a horse, all but stealing it from his plate. I did not come to okra with this enthusiasm; when I got married and in so doing agreed to become Southern by association I was prepared to make certain accomodations, but thought I drew the line at okra. Slimy, weird, and seedy, its charm eluded me. But in a rare moment I decided that what my husband loved I ought least to try, so I made an effort okra-wise. Like all movements of spiritual generosity, this one benefited me far more than the person I was trying to please--I now defend my husband's okra against all comers, though I don't go so far as to actually share any of mine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Again, not actually what we had for dinner, but I was too sick last night to make dinner worth discussing. Perhaps you'd like to hear my thoughts on oatmeal? They are these: McCann's Steel-Cut Oats are the perfect breakfast, but unfortunately take way too long to make. Thus I make do with the regular flattened kind. More importantly: sweetened oatmeal is an abomination. The proper way to eat oatmel in the morning is with plenty of salt and parmesan cheese. If you must have sugared oatmeal, have it in cookie form, where it belongs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Meat Loaf

Meat loaf! Why did that come to me? I hated it as a child, and haven't eaten much of it as an adult, but suddenly yesterday it seemed like the way to go. It was good; a bunch of meat seasoned with tomato paste, mustard, onion, salt, and mushy bread crumbs. I have a feeling that its true potential will be unlocked this afternoon, when I have it again in sandwich form. We had it with fried potatoes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lamb Chops

broiled, with brown rice, roasted red peppers, and carrots. I gave my spouse the bigger chop in a nod to feminine delicacy, then hovered over him until he forked over half of it and I devoured every fatty delicious bite.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Flank Steak

in soy sauce, broiled. Had it with yellow and red peppers, and some really vile corn on the cob.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Ok, not what we had for dinner, but what I had for my pre-dinner meal (not, obviously, to be confused with lunch). So far I've found that the only way to mess up tabouli is to get the bulgur too wet; water dilutes the flavor of the whole thing. Hence, I use bulgur and boiling water in a 2:1 ratio and let the vegetable juices do the rest. Today's version included bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley, salt, and lemon juice (the veggies processed in the Cuisinart) along with some French lentils, cooked until tender. Yummers, and apparently the only form in which I can currently handle vegetables.

Broiled Chicken

An oldie but goody from my childhood; chicken thighs broiled for about ten minutes a side (maybe less). The secret ingredient? Lawry's Salt. Did everyone grow up with Lawry's, a chemically compounded seasoned salt, or is it just a southern CA thing? Yum. We had it with quinoa and steamed little tiny zucchini. Actually, I still can't really look a vegetable in the face, so the spouse ate the zucchini, but making it at all was a little triumph for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pork Loin Braised in Milk

Friends, things are looking up. To celebrate being able to tolerate the thought of cooking, I made pork loin braised in milk, from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cooking (vol. 1). This is one of those miraculous recipes that is so much better than it sounds, and ridiculously easy into the bargain. In a nutshell: brown a 2 lb. pork loin in butter and oil, then add 2.5 C milk, one teaspoon of salt, and a few twists of a pepper mill. Simmer the whole business, in a partially covered pot, for about an hour and a half. At the end you'll be left with tender, juicy meat surrounded by brown clusters of...Marcella calls them "sauce," but cheesy, oily, salty nuggets of wonder comes closer. I served it with a sort of improvised tabouli--this is an absurd pairing, but continues a certain tradition: last time I came emerged from morning sickness I celebrated by making provencal stuffed peppers and Indian sauteed cauliflower. It seems my meal-planning muscles atrophy quickly.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Various Books

Re-reading has always been a thing of mine, and never more so than when I'm under the weather. I recently took a (fourth?) trip through Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, which seems to me as perfect as a novel can well be. I also watched the BBC miniseries based on it, with predictably mixed feelings. On the one hand, I didn't understand or agree with a number of their choices in the adaptation; on the other, there were a few key places where their representation showed me ways I'd been misreading the novel. For LoB heads: the lead actor is very cute, just right for the part, and Leo is fantastic, but they got Wani Ouradi all wrong, from beginning to end.

I also trotted through The Fourth Bear, the second in Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series. I got into Fforde years ago because of his wild and strange and funny and literary Thursday Next series, beginning with The Eyre Affair. The Nursery Crime novels are newer, and the first of them, The Big Over-Easy, was so awful I almost didn't bother with The Fourth Bear. But I'm so glad I did! Fforde seems to have gotten his mojo back, and I couldn't have enjoyed myself more.

Finally, I'm reading the latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. This series is one of four (!) that Alexander McCall Smith writes simultaneously, and I am deeply addicted to them all. If you're curious to know what the outer limits of human productivity look like, check out his vita some time.