Monday, February 28, 2005

the oscars

as a child, i found the oscars magical. i cried at acceptance speeches, i dreamed of one day being up there. ah, the innocence of youth.

it is so hard not to be cynical about them now. once you know that these people have all starved themselves, and injected themselves with botulism, that they wear girdles, and have 5 publicists and 6 lawyers, the movies feel a whole lot less magical.

plus, everyone looked so damn put together, there was really no one to gawk at. before stylists, there was always cher in a spangly leotard with feathers on her head. now everyone is a class act, and it becomes a bore. the best thing to do, is to:

1. gamble. this raises the stakes artificially and gives you the sensation that you care.

2. drink.

3. eat well.

last night, to eat alongside the oscars, i made some spinach feta pies, the recipe for which i promised cerry i would post here.

spinach feta pie (as remembered at work from ina garten's barefoot contessa cookbook):

3 packages of frozen shopped spinach, thawed
6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 pound greek feta, cubed
2 tbsp. bread crumbs
6 eggs, beaten
1 tsp nutmeg
butter
olive oil
salt, pepper

pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
drain all the excess water off spinach
saute onions in olive oil until translucent, or lightly brown
take off heat and sprinke with salt and pepper
mix all ingredients in a large bowl
melt 2-4 tbsp butter on stovetop (in a pan of course)
take a deep pie tin or glass pie dish
use a pastry brush to brush the whole pan with butter
then butter one sheet of phyllo and place in pan, edges hanging over
keep repeating with 5 more phyllo sheets
fill pan (on top of phyllo) with spinach mixture
fold phyllo edges over filling, so top is like a phyllo package
brush top with melted butter
cook for one hour

yum, delish.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

cheap/expensive

a like to play a fun game called cheap vs. expensive.

for example: cheap underwear, expensive bras. or cheap eyebrow wax, expensive bikini wax. in life, it is important sometimes to spend more, because you will get more. also because, in some cases (bikini wax), the stakes are kind of high. with some other things, cheap will do you just fine.

today i went to broadway panhandler and bought some more silpat, because: cheap cookie pan, expensive silpat. is this making sense yet? it comes into play with food all the time. no need to get a fancy piece of pizza. really, the cheap stuff can be extraordinary. don't buy cheap oysters though. or so i have heard.

i welcome your examples (food related, or not) of cheap vs. expensive.

Friday, February 25, 2005

sopranos

due to some unfortunate circumstances, i no longer have access to the complete "sopranos" on DVD. what's a girl to do? watch drea de matteo on "joey" instead? not an option.

i left tony and pussy and paulie and christophuh off mid season three. two boots video downstairs from me does not have season 3. that crappy blockbuster on houston has all seasons but 3. kim's on ave A has been closed for months now. to buy it will set me back at least $60 (and that's for a used one!) besides, once i finish 3, i'll need 4, then 5......

am considering trading my cable for a netflix subscription. i welcome your input on this verrrry important decision.

in the meantime, an italian recipe, which i stole then modified from someone else, and then served up to mara last weekend alongside olives, roasted balsamic eggplant and mozzarella panini:

brussel sprouts
ricotta salata
one lemon
olive oil
salt (obvi)
pepper

place cleaned and trimmed brussel sprouts in boiling water for 3 minutes or until bright green
remove and rinse under cold water
cut each sprout lengthwise, then slice into thin half moons
mix with the juice of one lemon and the zest from about half of it
cut the ricotta salata into small pieces
toss cheese, sprouts, lemon, one glug of oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

patience is a virtue

or as my friend mara and i like to say, "patience is a girl's name."

in any event, this week i am trying to be patient with life. life has been patient with me, it's the least i can do. for example, i have been working in the same boring job that i don't like for nearly five years now. life knows i am working on changing this situation. life knows sometimes these things take time. life knows that the health benefits, paid vacations and 401K are a dangerous seduction. so life is being patient with me.

one way to encourage patience in oneself is to make a pot of soup. here's my recipe for a giant pot of soup that feeds about 8 people.

2 large butternut squash (actually, you can make it with cauliflower instead, weird as that sounds)
2 large onions
3 large cloves of garlic
a good curry powder
a box of organic vegetable broth
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

peel the squash, cut in half, clean out and discard the seeds in the center
cut squash into cubes
peel and chop onions
peel and chop garlic
heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a big pot
add onions, then a minute or so later, add garlic
saute until onions start to turn transluscent then add tablespoon or so of curry powder
keep sauteeing
when onions get nice and clear and the whole house smells divine, add the squash
then cover it with the broth and a cup or so of water
bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until squash is tender to the touch of a sharp knife
this will probably take about a half hour
stick your hand blender in and go to town, until it's thick and creamy
add a bunch of kosher salt and several turns of a black pepper grinder
you are done.

now be patient before you take the first bite, or you'll burn your tongue.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

a weekend in the country

a recipe for a perfect weekend in the country:

1. your friend's dad's comfortable and pretty house

2. a roaring fire

3. several excellent cooks

4. 5 dogs, including two puppies

5. a box of wine (to clarify: a box full of bottles of wine. a box of wine is kind of crappy, and we didn't have one, thankfully)

6. a frozen-over golf course

7. a surprise visit from an old friend

8. the sunday times crossword

9. making curried butternut squash soup

10. seeing your friend in love

11. bacon and sausage from the local gun shop

12. driving home (thanks mom, for use of the car) with your good friends and their adorable dog

13. forgetting your troubles

Friday, February 18, 2005

these are a few of my favorite things

it is a fairly common occurrence for friends to call/email me and ask where to eat, where to buy something, where to find something. and i LOVE having the answer. sometimes i have never actually been to the place myself (as with recently directing my sister-in-law to malia mills for "flattering and cool" swimwear).

all of you out there in the blogosphere, feel free to address me similarly. i am a wellspring of such knowledge.

and in keeping with that, here is an abridged list of some of my favorite (nyc) things:

1. tailor: someone recently sent me to felix tailoring on rivington, off ludlow, where i had pants hemmed for $5 a piece. well hemmed, might i add.

2. babka: i bought a chocolate babka at 9th street bakery last week. it was unexpectedly divine, and only $4.

3. coffee: MUD, on 9th street, or from their truck by the astor place uptown 6 train. you can also buy it by the pound for your home use. it is STRONG strong stuff that gives me the shakes and the shits, but i'll drink it anyway.

4. recipe: banana bread from the silver palate cookbook. this is not technically a nyc thing, except that the original silver palate store was in nyc. so. in my old edition of this, the banana bread is not in the index, so it is sort of a hidden treasure. perhaps they corrected it in more recent versions. keep frozen overripe bananas in your freezer, butter in the fridge, and a well-stocked pantry...you're always ready to make yourself some bbread.

5. community service opportunity: ny cares, which accomodates the busy schedules of new yorkers by offering one-at-a-time volunteer opprotunities. a short orientation is required but then you can sign up for projects for the rest of time.

6. bikini waxer: carrie, at oscar bond salon, on wooster. she is sweet, and down-to-earth, and lovely and cool.

7. kitchen supplier: broadway panhandler. around the corner from oscar bond salon, which makes for a great one-two punch. it is so easy to treat yourself there, because everything is so darn affordable. i grin and giggle as i meander through the store.

8. weekday breakfast: pain quotidien, preferably on grand street and mercer. feel like you are in paris. linger over cafe au lait, homemade granola, and the best baguette in the city.

9. shoe repair: jim's, in midtown somewhere. i once had a boot crisis. i was at a fancy benefit that night and asked the ladies at my table for a rec. several called out at once: "jim's!!" i went there and found a line out the door, including a woman from texas in a fur coat, holding armfuls of ferragamo pumps. "i bring them up from texas to jim" she explained. he worked wonders. and was not expensive.

change

the beginning is always the hardest part. whether it's starting a blog, starting a new job, starting a new relationship...presenting oneself is difficult, and new beginnings are somehow all about presentation. i have a bunch of new beginnings on the horizon, and i am trying hard not to be terrified.

my yoga instructor said the other day to "be on the lookout for change." on the one hand, i am always watching the sidewalk as i go, hoping to spot a shiny penny or dime (yoga classes are expensive). but this sort of literalism is precisely why i'll never be a yogi. on the other hand (the non-literal hand, that is) i need not be on the lookout for change, because change has my number. change has me by the balls. everything is about to change. because i will not sit idly by and let my life be unfulfilling or unchallenging or unexciting. so, let's change.

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