January 2013

Lena 790 xxx
photos from the interwebs

1.16.13 Boob Tube

With the advent of cable and increasingly sophisticated content, television is no longer just for "boobs." In fact, new shows featuring great female characters mean that boobs are now making headway in front of the camera. In general, these boobs are clothed, though on HBO's Girls, writer/director/star Lena Dunham frequently strips down, both figuratively and literally. You've probably heard plenty of rants and raves about this show already (including from me at the tail end of this post) but let me just reiterate that you don't have to be 25 years old or even female to enjoy it. It's illuminating, poignant, disturbing and hilarious. Whether or not Dunham is the voice of her generation, she's an original and one to watch.
Ludwig van Beethoven —
Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.
Posole 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.14.13 In the Soup

As the flu reaches epidemic proportions around the country, I can only hope there are many steaming bowls of broth being ferried to sickbeds everywhere. Take the time to care for yourself and for your loved ones with fresh citrus juices and nourishing homemade soups. These are prophylactic as well as healing. Bone broths in particular support your immunity. Noodles and rice are classic choices to soothe weak tummies, but pozole (also spelled posole)—large kernels of hominy—are another excellent option. In Mexico this dried maize is served in a brothy stew, most often with several cuts of pork (see my recipe for that sort here), but it's also delicious made with chicken. (And here's an intriguing vegetarian version.) I like to think of it as my own Latina take on Jewish penicillin. This is further underscored by the addition of what's known in Yiddish as gribenes—crisp chicken skin cracklings—for soup that turns oy vey and ai yai yai into ahhhh.
Thomas Gray —
I shall be but a shrimp of an author.
Pickled 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.10.13 Pickled Shrimp

I heard Nigel Slater on the radio the other week saying that at this time of year all he wants is the food equivalent of a big, cozy blanket. You know the English love nothing better than what they so quaintly call "cauliflower cheese," and right now I can't really argue with them. I've been cooking from my favorite of Daniel Boulud's many excellent books, Braise, which offers flavorful, falling-off-the-bone one-dish meals that are a brilliant antidote to the mid-winter culinary blahs. But I still crave some light, bright flavors—the citrus and seafood that stand in stark juxtaposition to all those long-simmered shanks and stews—and I've found inspiration in Hugh Acheson's A New Turn in the South, which came out in the fall of 2011. His cooking has been described as bold, eclectic and sophisticated and I can't argue with that either.
Will Rogers —
One revolution is just like one cocktail: it just gets you organized for the next.
Darkside1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.7.13 Bitter/Sweet

I was glad to see the back of 2012. I know I was not the only one. It was a year in which I saw friends struggle with unemployment, with drug problems, with depression. My darling husband, locked in battle with chronic, acute stomach pain, finally saw a glimmer of hope at the prospect of undergoing an experimental fecal transfer (yes, just what it sounds like), only to find out that the FDA has just banned them until stool—newly defined as a drug—has been properly tested. WTF.

I keep reminding myself that we are not defined by what happens to us but by how we respond to what happens to us. I am focusing on humility, grace, gratitude and joy. I am remembering that slow and steady wins the race. I am confident that this, too, shall pass. Meanwhile, I am taking the bitter with the sweet. Including in my cocktails.
T.S. Eliot —
For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.
Oysters 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

1.3.13 Clean Slate

New year. New you? Probably not. The same you, with fresh intentions, perhaps. If you didn't read Frank Bruni's recent piece, now would be a good time to do so. It's about what he calls "these wretched vessels," the bodies we are so actively engaged in criticizing at every step of the journey, but especially at the new year when we all resolve to whittle away at them. Here's what he proposes: We should make peace with them and remain conscious of that, especially at this particular hinge of the calendar, when we compose a litany of promises about the better selves ahead, foolishly defining those selves in terms of what’s measurable from the outside, instead of what glimmers within. Though I couldn't agree more that losing ten pounds will not make you a better person, it's only natural to want a little palate cleanser after all that holiday eggnog and gingerbread and short ribs and chocolate. Something cool and frothy, vegetal and light. Or straight from the sea, saline and frigid. So I can't actually say that getting G one of these as a stocking stuffer was completely without guile.