September 18, 2008

  • Recipes

    These are simple. Really simple. And pretty tasty. The first two, though traditional mid-eastern fare, are not in any way culturally “authentic” so if you care about that, find a different recipe.

    Hummus, Nate-Style
    Everyone (I assume) has made hummus before. And why not? Not too many ingredients, versatile, easy to prepare, delicious. Perfect. I don’t like buying jars of things that I’ll only use a bit of in one dish, so I ditch the traditional tahini, cut back on the olive oil a bit, and add some (gasp) water. Cumin is the key here. Don’t skimp. Please do skimp on the garlic, though… super-garlicky hummus is unnecessary. Let the chick peas do their thing.

    2 small cans chick peas
    1 clove garlic
    2 Tbsp cumin
    1 Tbsp paprika
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    salt & pepper
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 cup water
    juice from 1/2 lemon

    Blender. Enjoy.

    Tabbouleh, no bulghur
    I don’t really find bulghur to be anything exciting. I sub quinoa & couscous. Definitely use all the herbs, they’re super important. Not much else to say about this one.

    1/2 cup quinoa
    1/2 cup couscous
    1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
    1 bunch mint, chopped fine
    1 cucumber, diced
    2 tomatoes, seeded & diced or a container of cherry/grape tomatoes, cut in half
    juice from 1/2 lemon
    1/4 cup Tbsp olive oil
    salt & pepper

    Cook the grains, combine w/ olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and let cool to room temperature. Add the rest, toss well. Enjoy.

    Dessert I haven’t named yet
    I threw this together with stuff on hand one evening and it was a big hit. As much as I love big, heavy, decadent desserts, there’s a lot to be said for a lighter, less sweet finish to a meal.

    1 cup couscous
    1 can coconut milk
    2 Tbsp superfine sugar (regular would be OK too)
    1/4 tsp vanilla
    1 bag (12 oz? 14 oz?) frozen mango, diced (see note)
    other fruit (see note 2)

    Heat the coconut milk over medium heat until hot – do NOT try to boil it. Add the sugar & vanilla and stir until dissolved/incorporated. Add the couscous, remove from heat, cover tightly, let cool to room temperature. Add the fruit. Let sit at room temperature for an hour, or several hours in the fridge. Serve drizzled with more (sweetened) coconut milk, condensed milk, chocolate ganache, or whipped cream.

    NOTE: Trader Joe’s is the place to buy frozen fruit, especially mango. Seriously, don’t get it anywhere else if at all possible.

    NOTE 2: I’ve used both blueberries and bananas to great effect here. Just about anything would probably work – papaya, pomegranate seeds, apple, kiwi… I really love Trader Joe’s frozen wild blueberries (the tiny kind) (note that using frozen blueberries will make the whole dish rather purple).

    Salad-inspired pizza
    Dewey’s has some really great pizza. The crust is too good to be true, and I’m way too lazy to make pizza dough most of the time, so I don’t try to replicate their pies. They do have a walnut and grape salad, though, that is really delicious, too. I decided to try putting this on some store-bought crust, and it actually turned out great. Please buy a pizza stone if you don’t have one – it makes both frozen pizzas and pre-made crusts a LOT more palatable.

    1 onion, sliced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3 Tbsp butter
    Pizza crust (e.g. Boboli)
    1 1/2 – 2 cups grapes, cut in half
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
    olive oil

    Preheat oven w/pizza stone to 450. Melt the butter over medium heat and cook the onions and garlic until soft and well-caramelized. Brush the crust with olive oil, distribute onions and grapes evenly on crust. Cook on pizza stone until the grapes start to shrivel, about 6-7 minutes. Put gorgonzola and walnuts on pizza, cook another 2-3 minutes. Cut and enjoy.

September 15, 2008

  • Wellllllllll

    At least we all now know I’m still excellent at breaking blog promises.

    Our power went out around 2PM yesterday, and isn’t expected to be restored today, and up to the rest of the week is possible. I really hate not having power. Anyway, maybe I’ll update later today if I feel like it, otherwise stay tuned until tomorrow.

September 12, 2008

September 10, 2008

  • More promises, and a little substance

    The promises are three great (and easy) recipes, tomorrow. The little substance is the rules for a word game that Linda and I have been playing recently:

    1. Choose an arbitration method (much like Scrabble – pick a dictionary, or some online source that will be the final arbiter of “is that a word?” disputes)

    2. Player 1 chooses a 2-letter word to begin the game.

    3. Player 2 picks one letter to drop out, and two letters to add (can include the dropped letter). S/he may rearrange the letters in any way to come up with a new word.

    4. Repeat, alternating turns until someone is stuck. The last person to come up with a word gets a point.

    5. If the person who received a point can also come up with a new word (that the other player missed), they get a bonus of some kind. Maybe another point, maybe a beer, whatever.

    6. Obviously, no cheating. Your brain, pen/paper/scrabble tiles/word processor, and the dictionary (to check your potential answer) should be all you use.


    1. Player 1: to
    2. Player 2: rat (drops O, adds R A)
    3. Player 1: trot (drops A, adds O T)
    4. Player 2: froth (drops T, adds F H)
    5. Player 1: thorax (drops F, adds A X)
    6. Player 2: harlots (drops X, adds L S)
    7. Player 1: chariots (drops L, adds C I)
    8. Player 2: ostracism (drops H, adds S M)
    9. Player 1: hailstorms (drops C, adds H L)
    10. Player 2: assimilator (drops H, adds I A)
    11. Player 1: assimilation (drops R, adds I N)
    12. Player 2: (can’t think of anything)

    Player 1 would get a point for stumping Player 2, and also a bonus if s/he could come up with a word that could come next (e.g. “irrationalism” – drop S, add R R) or another word that works.


September 9, 2008

September 8, 2008

  • Monday dinner – superfood, etc.

    Quinoa is, simply put, amazing.  Low in the bad stuff, high in the good.  Loaded with protein and iron, and versatile as fuck.  Easy to cook – it’s lots more forgiving than most grains, texture-wise – it’s something everyone ought to eat more of.  So here’s one way I whip it up from time to time:

    1 cup (uncooked) quinoa + 2 cups cold water
    1 cucumber, seeded & diced
    1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (basil would be fine, too)
    4-5 green onions, diced (white and green parts)
    1/2+ cup dried cranberries (not craisins, please)
    2-3 Tbsp olive oil
    1 cup crumbled feta

    Cook the quinoa (just like rice – combine grain & water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover & reduce heat to minimum for about 15-20 minutes).  Uncover and let cool while you prep everything else.  Combine everything together.  Salt & pepper if you’d like.  Eat it.

    You could use low- or non-fat feta here; the cheese’s texture isn’t all that important, and the low- and non-fat versions of feta still have that lovely briny flavor.  Basil instead of mint changes the character of the dish entirely, but it’s equally good.  You can serve this with some kind of grilled meat, and/or a dollop of plain yogurt if you want to be all Mediterranean about it.  Pine nuts make a fine addition as well.

  • If at first you don’t succeed…

    …spend a few months pretending you never promised renewed posting.

    Went to Findlay Market this weekend; we got some amazing tomatoes and garlic (really, there is a difference), as well as some decent-enough-for-being-from-Ohio corn. Alli said she likes the apples she got, but I’m skeptical. Apples come from New York. I haven’t had decent cider in years.

    We also picked up Obama pins. It didn’t take him very long to become establishment-Democrat simultaneous to much ado about “change,” but now that I’m voting in a “purple” state, I have to be pragmatic and throw my hat in with the Democrats no matter what.

    At any rate, Linda was whining at me to start posting again, so here’s something, at any rate. I’ve got a good end-of-the-summer dinner planned, so maybe I’ll post a bit about that later. Also some stuff about growing basil. Namely, do it. Oh, and I’m going to be making ricotta soon, so that’ll be something.

June 5, 2008

  • Thursday Impressions I

    So I’m a giant impressionism fan.  Monet, especially, but I really love it all.  So I have some impressionism ties, like Monet’s waterlilies & Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which I wear on Thursdays – for no particular reason other than I enjoy it.  It seemed like a good idea to, therefore, post a painting on Thursdays in the spirit of this arbitrary tradition.

    Here’s Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge, from 1899:


    This one has some sentimental meaning for me, too, so it’s one of my favorites.

  • A New Leaf (so to speak)

    All right, I’m going to start posting again.  Before any of you current subs (if any?) get all excited (I flatter myself because it’s fun), it’s going to be different.  My life isn’t interesting (not that I’m claiming it ever was), so I won’t write about it much.

    Primarily, this will be an occupation during the couple of months Alli (my wife) will be away digging starting next Thursday.  If I decide to keep going after that, I will.

    Expect: lots of baseball, extremely short and vapid book reviews, cussing, sparing & concise political raving, a couple (or more) weekly features (first one in an hour or two, way before anyone will have read this), re-posts of particularly amusing items, and a nice dollop of nostalgic self-indulgence.

    Don’t expect: depth, breadth, wisdom, humor, or anything else you might normally look for in blog-reading.

    There may or may not be a redesign of the site.  I am, as ever, lazy about that shit.