Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Hurricane Irene didn't hit my parents as hard as it hit other areas. They are out of power until Friday - Friday! - but on the plus side, their recently-dug pond is now almost full. And, being my parents, they took the canoe out on it.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The Decemberists have made a music video about Eschaton, a game played by the residents of the tennis academy in Infinite Jest. This is the sort of thing that is both delightful and depressing: delightful because one of my favorite bands clearly likes one of my favorite scenes in a book by one of my favorite authors, and depressing for the same reason. I am just so predictable. Mike doesn't like it when I call myself a yuppie, but I am something for sure.
Anyway, the video is entertaining, if a heck of a lot less gory than the scene in the book, where a kid winds up with a computer monitor stuck on his head. Infinite Jest is, among many many endlessly documented other things, about how humans entertain themselves, and the dark nature of entertainment. A kids' war game is pretty fitting for this theme. The Decemberists have lots of songs about war, which is odd for pop music, but not odd when you consider that they go for the old-timey thing, and also that given how much of human history involves war, it shouldn't just be the Decemberists and 99 Luftballons covering it.
I don't really have a point. Just that this is noteworthy to me. Here's the video.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Today is Monday, and that generally means domesticity in the Brecki household. Mike is working on his radio show, and I am working on a not-at-all-elaborate-meal-that-I-somehow-managed-to-make-complicated. Salad with greens and parsley from the garden (the first time the arugula plants have enough leaves that I feel comfortable snipping them!) with a mustard dressing (with a sampling from my 5 tubes of European mustard!), roasted potatoes from Katie and Larry's farm, homemade bread that I am still hoping will rise (fingers crossed), and a riff on feisty green beans. These beans are called Dragon's Tongue, and we got them - you guessed it - at Katie and Larry's farm. Pre-cooking, they were yellow with purple bands. Beautiful. I blanched them - mostly following the recipe, sans ew-y ew-y raisins - then cooked up garlic with a bunch of super aromatic spices.
Hell yes I use prepacked red pepper. If it comes with your delivery pizza, save it. Mostly for use when camping, but sometimes you can bust it out and make it work. I tossed the beans and spices with walnuts and tarragon in lieu of the recipe's almonds and cilantro. Work with what you got - plus I am obsessed with tarragon. Which is odd since I don't really like black licorice favor, but this is not the time for soul searching. Or maybe it is.
UPDATE: The bread didn't rise, but was delicious anyway. Mike and I ate pretty much the whole loaf. I recommend the recipe, but only if you have more self control than we do.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Irony of Yoga Fashion and Its Gusseted Crotch of Higher Consciousness:
"This is America...Misappropriating traditions, commodifying bliss, taking whatever is best and most inspiring about a cherished, ancient form of human wisdom, packaging it, marketing the hell out of it, and selling it back to you for enormous profit—this is what we do. If Lulu’s sales are any indication, no one’s complaining."
Word. But man, I love my Lululemon yoga pants. They make my butt look ridiculous. Ly good.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I took all of last week off from work because my father was in town. We went camping in Yosemite (more on that later) and then to our friends' farm. As always, they were super generous with both their time and their produce. I took home a few boxes of fruit and veggies, a dozen eggs from their chickens, a loaf of homemade bread, and more. Bonanza.
The tomatoes, they overfloweth. So last night I made sauce from scratch, using some of the bigger and more beat up tomatoes. I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe as a guide.
You may be able to see that there is a serious amount of basil in the sauce (garlic too, but that is maybe not so visible). That is because Katie and Larry also gave us 5+ bunches of their basil, including some cool varieties like lemon, lime, and cinnamon basil. They smell and taste exactly like they sound - which is lemony/limey/cinnamony basil goodness. The plain basil went into the sauce, and the lemon and lime basil went into a pesto, which I made with pecans, since that was the only nut I had on hand. Copious amounts of their garlic went in as well. No pics of the pesto, but it looks exactly like all other pestos, even if it tastes a bit different.
There were some tomatoes that were too beautiful to put into the sauce, so I made a tomato tart roughly based on David Leibovitz's. I used another head of basil to line the crust (a Trader Joe's crust, because anything involving butter scares me) and to scatter throughout the layers. I also threw in some crushed walnuts, both because I had them leftover from our camping trip (victims of getting packed into the bear canister) and because they are amazing in combination with tomatoes and cheese. Throw them on pizza next time you make it at home - you will not be sorry. Here's the sucker before the final layer went on.
I topped the tart witha bit of grated cheddar, some cherry tomatoes, and big dollops of Katie's goat cheese. Her goats are producing more than she can handle, so she's been making cheese out the wazoo. This cheese was chevre-like, and super tasty. Per David Leibovitz, I attempted to drizzle honey on top, but mine is local and a bit goopy and it plopped more than it drizzled.
While the tart baked and the sauce bubbled, I had my actual dinner - because of course at this point it was after 9 p.m. and I was hungry. I toasted Katie's dad's onion-dill bread, spread the chevre on it, and topped it with basil and prosciutto (left over from a restaurant meal - I don't generally buy meat for use at home). With a glass of red wine, it was perfect.
Not that I didn't have a bit of the tart when it came out of the oven.
It was super tasty, and I have it all to myself since Mike is a) not that into tomatoes and b) trying to pinpoint an allergy by abstaining from dairy this month. So if you are in the neighborhood, please come by and have some tomato tart with me.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
New York Magazine has a great column, Nostalgia Fact-Check, that revisits old pop culture "classics" to see if they stand the test of time. I just read all of them in one go.
Once we rocked out to it, in various living rooms and bedrooms and, yep, religiously affiliated coming-of-age ceremonies. And then, quickly, we developed pop-music consciousness, and felt shame. Years later, we got over our hang-ups, and started taking pop music seriously. And now we can all look back and realize, with a deep sigh of relief, that we appreciate “The Sign,” and are nostalgic for it, unironically.
So true. That song is dope. The rest of the album, eh. Like, "All That She Wants":
I distinctly recall thinking this song was about a woman who wanted “another baby,” as in a human baby, and was planning on stealing it from the narrator. It’s been at least a few years since I realized this is actually about a woman looking for a "baby," as in a romantic partner, but that ominous original interpretation hangs heavily.
Good god, me too.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Last weekend was a biggie! Dear dear Boof got married, and it was a fun, emotional, beautiful, bad ass wedding. I've just started to go through my photos, which is going to take forever, but here are just a few.
Bethy gets ready.
The wedding party bus to the ceremony.
Mike and I got gussied up.
Our bouquets were stunning.
And so were the bride and groom. Who did not seem the least bit nervous.
The bridesmaids didn't look too shabby either.
The setting was divine.
The beer that Mike and I brewed for the ceremony turned out to be delicious.
The bride got to enjoy it, as well as the braggit (a traditional wedding beer) that her brothers made.
And we all lived happily ever after.