Friday, August 26, 2011

Everybody Panic

You'd think we never had a hurricane before.

Hurricane Irene

I mean really. Last night the supermarket was mobbed. Like there was a blizzard forecast. I realized it was the storm forecast when I saw people had their carts full of milk and bread. People bulked up with 4 or 5 gallons of milk and shopping bags full of bread. What's with this milk and bread thing anyway? Really. When did we become such a bunch of scaredy cats?

I lived on the end of a dead end road in a sleepy little town when hurricane Gloria came through and I went without power for almost 3 weeks. What are they gonna do with all that milk when the power goes out?

I've seen more "storms of the century" than I can count.

Keep a couple cans of food and some candles handy and relax for heaven's sake...

Storm Ready

Sunday, August 21, 2011

No place I'd rather be

And nothing else I'd rather do.

20 August 2011

I can't think of a better way to enjoy a beautiful Summer day.


What's this? Beer? In a glass?!

Beer in a glass

I'm trying to acquire a deeper appreciation for beer. By noticing things like...what it looks like. I drink my beer out of a bottle. And honestly, last May was the first time in 30 years it occurred to me to drink beer out of a glass. Since then I've had beer in a glass a couple of times and I've liked it.

Here I've been drinking beer for 40 years and I still don't know what my favorite beer looks like. I imagine it's kind of straw colored.

So. To bring more depth to my experience I have made the commitment to have at least one beer from every 6 pack in a glass. I still can't make even a wild guess about what beer may taste like based on what it looks like. But I find the appearance of that nice frothy head on that Long Trail IPA somehow...satisfying.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Right on time

Fresh figs in the markets this week. It's fig season!

I love fresh figs. I like dried figs too but fresh figs are special treats. It's going to be very hard not to eat one of these every night for the next few weeks.

Drizzle some honey over fresh fig slices or quarters. Add cracked black pepper and crumbled goat cheese. That's such a perfect way to eat a fresh fig I don't have them any other way. The season is so short I never tire of them.

Edited to add: Just like this!

Figs, by the way, go really well with pork. So a curl of prosciutto would have added a little something to this. Fig based sauces are also excellent for pork chops and pork loin.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's on my list

My bucket list.

Montecristo number 4

The world's best selling cigar. The Montecristo number 4.

The height of decadence here in the US is puffing a Cuban cigar after dinner. A good first cigar.

It's not bad actually. I'm sure it's an acquired taste. I like the taste of the wrapper. And oh. Do *not* inhale one of these things!

So there. I've smoked a Cuban cigar. I can cross that off my list. I'm sure Hemmingway would nod approvingly.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Channa Masala?

Get out! My very first curry!

Chickpea Curry

I love curries. But I always felt they were too complex for me to prepare at home. Well. I was inspired by this. There are tons of curry recipes out there. Chickpea Curry, variously called Channa Masala, Chana Masala, Cholay, Chhole Masala, is easy and delicious. This can be served over rice or with some toasted rustic bread or pita chips and some greens.

The ingredients:
  • 1 lb. chick peas. Canned are fine. I fix my own from dried.
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil. Oilve oil or Canola oil.
  • 3 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Chhole Masala blended spices
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder (more if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Up to 3 cups of water. I use the liquid from the chickpeas.
  • 2 tablespoons of water squeezed from soaked tamarind. You can also use 1 teaspoon amchoor powder or even some lemon juice in a pinch.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, as much as you like
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onions and saute until they're browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the dried spices. Stir and heat for 5 minutes or so. Add the chopped tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt if you like here. Simmer for a few minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add water to make a gravy. The amount of water will vary with how thick you like your gravy. Up to 3 cups. Simmer this for 15 or 20 minutes. The longer you go the better it is.

This is a fragrant and flavorful northern Indian dish and you can use the very same recipe for chicken or cauliflower. Healthy and delicious.

Serve it over rice and scatter chopped fresh cilantro over the plate. With many thanks to my friend S for helping me with the recipe and the ingredients. I'm quite thrilled to make this!
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