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Happy together (Sept. 8, 2001)

READIN

Jeremy's journal

Los verdaderos poemas son incendios. La poesía se propaga por todas partes, iluminando sus consumaciones con estremecimientos de placer o de agonía.

Vicente Huidobro


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Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Almuerzo

Sylvia and I went down the street to La Galera for lunch today -- tasty... Now I am floating on a pillow of pupusas and pollo guisado and rice and beans.

posted afternoon of November 6th, 2011: Respond
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Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Quick tasty dinner

(Made up on the spur of the moment this evening and worth remembering. It takes about 15 minutes including prep time.) A vegetarian pasta dish (vegan even, if you omit the grated cheese at serving time); for those who prefer it with meat, lamb or veal would probably go nicely in place of the beans.

Rigatoni and yellow and red

  1. Heat salted water for the pasta.
  2. Prep: chop a small yellow onion, a yellow bell pepper, some carrots and a yellow summer squash into bite-size pieces. (The carrot pieces should be smaller.)
  3. When the water is nearly at a boil, heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add about a Tbsp of olive oil. When hot enough that the onions will sizzle a bit, add the onions and some salt and stir around.
  4. Add the pasta, preferably penne or rigatoni (or wagon wheels or shells would be good, too), and a little bit of olive oil to the boiling water. Return to a boil and lower heat.
  5. As the onions start to cook, add the carrots and some turmeric and some oregano. Keep stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and the squash and a little more salt.
  6. Heat a little bit of water in a saucepan over a low flame. Drain and rinse a can of canellini or kidney beans and add to the saucepan with a splash of soy sauce. (I used kidney beans, which were the "red" -- the dish would perhaps not be as visually interesting with cannellini but I expect it would taste very nice. Broccoli would also add some nice visual/textural diversity.)
  7. Everything should basically be ready at about the same time, 10 minutes or so after you returned the noodles to a boil. I served the noodles and vegetables in one bowl and the beans on the side because of certain family members who are not partial to beans; or they could all be mixed together. Tasty with grated asiago cheese and red wine.

posted evening of November 5th, 2011: Respond
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Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Mountain Out, Valley Home: a visit to the farmer's market

Midway along last week's ride up to Eagle Rock, I had the thought that this would be a fun way to ride to Montclair, riding up Eagle Rock Ave. to Mountain Ave. and then down Bloomfield. (I normally ride through Orange, along the west side of Rosendale Cemetery, which is a nice ride of about 6 miles with not a lot of hills.) When Ellen said yesterday morning that she wanted to go over to the Montclair farmer's market and get some vegetables for dinner, my ears perked up... I ended up taking the Mountain Ave. route there and riding home through the valley with a bunch of veggies and some sausage and some bread on my back, about a 14-mile round trip. (Got mildly "lost" or off-course only twice, pretty good for Montclair -- I find the street layout there to be among the most confusing anywhere.)

This is the first time this summer I had been to the Montclair market, and I always forget how great it is, a bit more fun and lively than any of the other local farmer's markets (which are to be sure all organized by the same group and have many vendors in common) -- just something about the layout of this particular market and the vibe... Lunch today and yesterday was just tomatoes and bread, both bought from Vacchiano Farms -- the tomatoes in particular are the first good tomatoes I've had this season. My impulse is to say that they are the tastiest thing I have ever put in my mouth -- I think overstatement is a natural impulse when it comes to the first good tomatoes of the season. Suffice to say, they are spectacularly good tomatoes. Dinner yesterday was grilled eggplant and sausages, also from Vacchiano; their brocolli rabe sweet pork sausage is very nice on the grill. Dinner tonight will be summer squash and green beans; I am thinking now that I will make a curry with them.

posted afternoon of July 17th, 2011: 1 response
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Friday, May 28th, 2010

Farting Around

I was in St. Marks Bookshop last night (on my way to meet some friends for a wonderful dinner at the Ukranian National Home) when this fantastic book caught my eye... Almost the perfectly ideal book to buy on one's way to (what amounts to) a meeting of the Thomas Pynchon Fan Club.

Not just the cover (what caught my eye initially) is great, either; Dr. Allen's voice is a joy to read. Here is her description of the book, from the introduction:

We might think of this book as "drutling," a term that, according to John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, applies to a "dog or horse that frequently stops in its way, and ejects a small quantity of dung at intervals." It farts around, its progress nonteleological, visiting topics as the wind blows, spending too long on some ideas, returning to spend even longer on them, and undoubtedly omitting more than it digresses upon.... The fart, which disposes of the body's waste gases, is the sign par excellence of the futile endeavor: we fart around when we do nothing useful.

Dinner at the Ukranian National Home was just great. This seems like one of the very best places in the city for having dinner and chatting with a largish group of people, at least on a night when they are not busy -- only one or two other tables were occupied, and the warmth and intimacy of the dining room (and the Obolon) made everybody comfortable. I had the halušky (thick homemade gnocchi) with sauerkraut.

posted morning of May 28th, 2010: 1 response
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Monday, May 24th, 2010

Munchies in South Orange

Ellen and I had dinner Saturday at an extremely promising new restaurant, Munchie's on Irvington Ave. and Ward Pl. Main dishes are standard Jamaican fare, oxtail, escovitch, various forms of stewed and jerk and curried meat. We had the very good curry goat and the less-good (pretty dry and not flavorful) jerk chicken. What really stood out about the meal for me was the excellent quality of the side dishes -- rice and peas, steamed cabbage, mango salad -- they were just great and kept us there and interested in every bite. Definitely recommend giving this place a try! Although maybe don't order the jerk chicken. Also they are open for breakfast. I hope they last -- I got the sense from being there that the proprietors are really into what they are doing. It is great to have Caribbean food back in town after the closing of the lamented Trinidadian place on First St.

posted evening of May 24th, 2010: 2 responses
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Sunday, August second, 2009

TV Dinner

Michael Pollan's article in this week's Times Magazine, "Out of the Kitchen, onto the Couch" is well worth reading. He spins the current popularity of cooking shows on TV in some interesting directions, and makes me want to watch Julie & Julia.

posted evening of August second, 2009: Respond

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Cruda

Today I made a raw tomato salsa that came out pretty well. Here is the recipe:

Note: part of the target audience for this is Sylvia, who does not like spicy food, so there is only a little bit of heat in it from the garlic. Add spicy peppers according to taste.

Salsa Cruda

Spices: (all measurements extremely approximate)
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seed
  • 2 tbsp. cumin seed
  • 1½ tsp. rock salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
Vegetables:
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
Wash vegetables; pluck leaves off of cilantro. Roast fennel and cumin until the seeds start to pop, i.e. about 2 or 3 min. over a high flame. Grind spices in a mortar; add and grind salt, then add the garlic and mash it all together. This is easier if you slice the garlic fairly thin first.

Dice the tomatoes and onion fairly small, and chop the coriander fine. Put all ingredients in a bowl with a pinch of salt, toss together.

This is ready to use right away but improves with an hour or two in the fridge.

posted afternoon of July 4th, 2009: Respond
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Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Cooking on Christmas

Here is a nice activity for a wintertime holiday which you don't observe, when you feel like staying inside comfortable with your family: Sit in the kitchen listening to/playing music and make stock, then make soup.

Lentil Soup with beef stock

Ingredients:
  • Inexpensive cut of beef with bones in it.
  • Onions, carrots, celery, garlic
  • Bay leaves, fennel seed, peppercorns
  • Lentils and any vegetables you like -- I am trying Swiss chard here.
  • Potatoes and/or rice
Preparing the stock:
If there is a lot of meat on the bones, trim it off and reserve. Roast the bones with some onions, carrots, celery and garlic chopped roughly and some bay leaves, fennel seed and peppercorns. When it is sizzling and starting to brown, put it in a soup pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer a half hour to an hour, then strain.
Preparing the soup:
In the bottom of a soup pot, sauté some salted onions and garlic and any meat you reserved from the stock bones. (Bacon might also be a nice addition here.) Add carrots and celery and when it is looking soft, lentils and starch. Sauté briefly and then deglaze with red wine, and add stock. Simmer for an hour or so and season to taste.

posted afternoon of December 25th, 2008: Respond

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Cultural expectations

The best noodle soup is the curry noodle soup sold by Nyonya. That's what I think anyway -- so you can imagine how excited I was a couple of weeks ago when I noticed there is a branch of Penang (same ownership as Nyonya) on Rte. 10, in the same shopping center as Kam Man Foods. This is fantastic -- I've eaten there a couple of times in the past month, and it is definitely in the same high league as NYC restaurants. The servings are even larger than I had remembered though: If you are dining by yourself you will most likely take half of your food home for another meal. (I love that if you buy noodle soup to go, they will give you noodles and broth in separate containers, to mix at home.)

I had lunch there today (Curry beef noodle soup), and was surprised when the (Malaysian) waitress who has served me a few times so far greeted me by saying "Hola, Señor!" I smiled, said hi, and did a double-take -- does she think I am Latino? I can't figure out what would make her think that -- and by the time I recovered it was too late to ask. My only idea is that she had noticed me reading a book whose author's name José is prominent on the cover... Kind of a stretch. Or possibly I mis-heard.

Update: Curry beef noodle soup is also extremely good reheated the next day. I was worried the noodles would get soggy from sitting in the fridge overnight; but not at all.

posted afternoon of December 13th, 2008: 2 responses

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Pio Pio

Before the concert tonight, Ellen and I were looking around for a place to have dinner. Our idea was to have chicken and plantains at one of the many Dominican restaurants on the Upper West Side, not because they are especially great but as a way of remembering our first dinner date, at La Rosita. But as we were walking along Amsterdam, what should we see but Pio Pio! Can it be? This was one of our favorite places when we lived in Queens; we had no idea it had come to the Upper West Side. But it has; and that is the place to go if you're hungry for chicken and plantains.

posted evening of November 22nd, 2008: Respond

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