30 July 2007

what we eat

I find this really fascinating: A list of America's top grossing restaurants. And just for fun, here are their menus.

1) Tao Las Vegas Restaurant & Nightclub, Las Vegas
2) Tavern on the Green, New York City
3) Joe's Stone Crab, Miami Beach
4) Tao Asian Bistro, New York City
5) Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC
6) Gibsons Bar Steakhouse, Chicago
7) Bob Chinn's Crab House, Wheeling, Illinois
8) miX in Las Vegas, Las Vegas
9) Fulton's Crab House, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
10) "21" Club, New York City

Such different foods and such a range of price points. And now I'm hungry.

25 July 2007

reading between zee lines

"A black day for the Tour de France"

excerpt from the International Herald Tribune

GOURETTE, France: Let no one mistake it: This was one of the blackest days in the 104-year history of the Tour de France.

Less than 24 hours after Alexandre Vinokourov, and his team, were thrown off the Tour, the mood was grim as the riders lined up in Orthez in southwestern France for the start of the 16th of 20 daily stages on Wednesday.

Dozens demonstrated their anger over repeated doping scandals by staging a silent protest.

The Associated Press reported that some fans booed the leader, Michael Rasmussen, himself under suspicion.

And the French sports daily L'Equipe reported on its Web site that cycling officials would announce later Wednesday that another rider had failed a doping test, after the 11th stage on July 19.


There is a DAILY French paper just about SPORTS? Do we even have that here?

I really don't know what to think with all this doping nonsense. I do believe that part of the problem stems from the (literally) Olympic shift away from amateur athletes to people who, even if not all professionals in the Michael Jordan sense, train and compete in their sport on a year-round basis. And maybe the shift was critical to the continuation of the Olympics, but I see doping as a side-effect of the push to be the best at only one particular thing.

I say all of this, of course, from my own perspective as a globally-competitive...mmm...shoe-buyer.

also, I hear the queen of england has some major jewelry

This headline is from Yahoo! Entertainment News:

"Oprah tops list of highest paid TV stars"


Can we have a conversation about what NEWS means?

"News" is that I watched the Victoria Bechkam special last week, and -- guess what?! She's funny! She actually seems nice (despite the perpetual wearing of six-inch heels that would lead us to think otherwise). And I particularly enjoyed her use of the word "major." (Though I do think that if I and anyone else on this side of the pond are going to use it, we will have to imitate her accent...MAY-jah...and wear big sunglasses, but I've been doing that anyway.)

22 July 2007

a message to my fellow fans

In case anyone is waiting to call or communicate: I'm done.

And in case anyone else is not, I'm not saying a word.

19 July 2007

pleasingly palatable

Last summer, when I visited the farmer's market, I procured pounds of peaches, and posted the cobbler recipe.

This summer, I remembered to take pictures!

For you, my pretty...

veddy tasty

If you happen to be the general vicinity of western Virginia while it's happening, I highly recommend you stop by the Green Valley Book Fair. We went while on vacation last summer, and made a detour on a trip home earlier this month. It's rather like Barnes & Noble for dimes on the dollar. This time I picked up, among other things, a copy of The Best American Recipes 2001-2002. The cover snagged me right away.

Though many recipes look very promising, I tried this one first:

Blueberry Bannock Scone
from Martha Stewart Living
by cooks Hannah Milman and Susan Spungen

makes one nine-inch scone; serves 8

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly sprinkle a 14x16 baking sheet with flour, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, pecans, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and two tablespoons of the sugar.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until it has the consistency of small crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and one of the eggs. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. The dough will be quite wet and sticky; work it as little as possible.

Divide the dough in half and shape one piece into a nine-inch circle on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the blueberries evenly over the circle and sprinkle with two tablespoons of the sugar. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, form a nine-inch circle from the remaining dough, and gently slide it onto the berries. With the backside of a knife, score the top into eight wedges.

Beat the remaining egg with the water and lightly brush the egg was over the top of the scone. Sprinkle with the remaining one tablespoon sugar.

Bake until the scone is golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When cool, cut into wedges and serve.

I followed those last directions (cut into wedges and serve) before I remembered to take a picture.

My modifications:
- I used 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat flour
- I put a piece of parchment paper on the sheet pan (to make it easier to move the scone to the cooling rack)
- I did not use a separate egg for the egg wash. I just kept the container that had held the buttermilk and the one beaten egg, added a little water, and brushed away. (You can also brush with milk instead.)
- I think it would be pretty easy to make this wheat-free. Bob's Red Mill has a great gluten-free flour. Be sure to add 1 tsp of xanthum gum to balance things out. As for the wheat germ, you might need a few more pecans or tablespoons of the gluten-free four to get the mixture to the right consistency.

Won't you have just a tiny bite?

18 July 2007

summer and the whistlestop cafe

We went blueberry picking a few weekends ago, and picked up a few other things at the farmer's market affilated with the patch. (Well, patch is rather a misnomer, since this place also does blackberries, strawberries, apples, Christmas trees...) Among the prizes at the market was a green tomato, ripe for frying!

I thought I should serve the fried goodness with something healthy, so I paired it with baked tilapia with lemon olive oil and tarragon. Being just a tad hungry by the time I got things done, I forgot to take a picture right away. Oops!

I'm not sure why I got it in my head that I wanted a Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade to go with it, but I did and there began a rather enormous recipe search. In the end, no one recipe sounded just right. There were some things I thought that the remoulade should not have (ketchup!) and some that it should (horseradish and cayenne).

I'm pleased to say that my homebrew turned out to be pretty tasty! We had it on the fried green tomatoes, but I think it would also work well on chicken, sausages, steak, eggs (if you like it spicy), maybe anything but ice cream.

CurlyHairDay's Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade

1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp horseradish
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Put all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend away to achieve desired consistency. Done!

The only thing I didn't add that I will next time is Worchestershire sauce. I think a dash of its spicy, smoky, salty flavor would be delicious. Maybe start with 1/2 tsp and taste.

I like a smooth remoulade, with dots of the herbs. I also like it thick...you could add a touch more lemon juice or olive oil if you'd like it to be more of a sauce. There's not very much of any one thing in here, but then, I'm not sure anyone needs jars and jars of remoulade...well, maybe...

08 July 2007

Mexican Second Breakfast

Maybe this is what we should do with movies -- rewrite the script to make it work with the original action! (See the original dance below.)

it's called "Mexican Breakfast!"