Today was just gorgeous - 82 degrees, sunny, lovely breeze. After a crazy, unnerving day in the office, coming outside and feeling a soft breeze against your face can revive the most tired spirit. If I could just bottle this weather....how wonderful it would be.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I WANT this woman to be our next first lady:
Please take a moment to read this article in the NY Times:
A quote in this article really resonated with me:
“I looked out at my neighborhood and sort of had an epiphany that I had to bring my skills to bear in the place that made me,” she says in the interview. “I wanted to have a career motivated by passion and not just money.”
So many of us say that, but for a variety of reasons, lack of opportunity, lack of motivation, fear of failure, keep us rooted in jobs that will bring in the paycheck, but not the joy. I applaud her for doing just that - creating a career that helped the disadvantaged. Realistically, she wasn't completely altruistic; she also wanted to earn a living...and she did it in the smartest way - when you do what you love, the money often follows.
Did anyone watch Gore's announcement of his endorsement of Obama? I've been an Al Gore fan for years - I voted for him in 2000, and I supported him in his mid-80's run when he lost to that firecracker Dukakis (groan, groan, groan). I'm a little disappointed that he won't be actively campaigning for Obama, but I understand why - 2000 did in his taste for partisan political activities. But wouldn't he make a spectacular head of the Department of Energy?
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I've been trying to discipline myself to brown bag it more often. We're really not eating out all that much anymore - too expensive, gas wise and everything else. I always make enough for leftovers and I have been carrying a tote bag with little bits of this and that tossed into plasticware, but I wanted something a bit more organized. I've recently started reading Vegan Homemade, and I liked the idea about her laptop lunches and the containers looked like it kept everything separated. I did some research online, and was ready to order when one day I stopped into the local Koren/Japanese grocery and.....Voila - my bento box:
What you can't see here is the lid that snaps on. It actually keeps stuff in place, one of the things I read were an issue with the laptop lunch case. no place for chopsticks or plasticware, but I have them in my office, so it's no matter. In this picture you see the leftover mango noodles salad (with kiwi because we ran out of mango), some BBQ tofu, hummus, carrots and a peach.
My lunch tomorrow will most certainly have this:
Lentil Salad (courtesy of the Moosewood Cookbook Low Fat Favorites)
1 1/2 cups lentils
1/2 cup chopped red onion (chop it fine)
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
4 cups of water
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
Note: I didn't follow these measurements exactly. I wanted 1 cup of lentils and I chose to cook everything in my rice cooker because I had to run errands this afternoon. The recipe calls for chopped red onion and white onion, which I thought would be killer, so I substituted a leek which definitely softened the flavor. If you have a decent rice cooker with the fuzzy logic (I have a sanyo) just program it like white rice. If you're going to cook it on the stove, combine the lentils, the leeks and garlic with the water on the stove, bring it to a boil, then cover, lower to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until tender.
1 cup plain yogurt
3 T chutney (jarred is fine)
1 1/2 tsp curry owder
2 tsp finely minced red onion (I omitted because IMHO there was enough onion in it already).
Juice of one lime.
Mix ingredients together and set aside until the lentils are done. Optimally, you'll let the lentils cool to room temp. You can speed this up by refrigerating them until they are room temperature.
When everything is room temp, mix together and serve on top of lettuce leaves. I added some pepadew peppers and sliced radish to balance the sweet taste of the lentils.
Ok, I admit it...I have a terrific case of spring fever. Instead of working inside or writing, I find every excuse to be outside working with my plants, playing golf or meandering through farmer's markets and flea markets. I have a backlog of photos and recipes that I want to share.
First off the photos - My R had her 8th grade dance. We bought a dress the night before...yeah, nothing like waiting until the last minute, but it was worth the anxiety of looking, she looked wonderful. She has the better pictures in her camera, but here's a start:
A wonderful time was had by all. I was able to take a few pictures and then ran her to her friend's house so that they could all go to the dance together. I then headed home to go see Tom Petty with my besties. Mr Petty is quite the workhorse - the concert was great.
The next day, we were quite sleepy and chose just to lounge about.
Yes, that IS a Davy Crockett hat on her head. The first born wisely chose to go hang out with his dad..nothing worse than lazy women!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I should be back on track by the weekend, but in the meantime, I'm going to post a recipe that I tried this week that just knocked my socks off. I found it in Vegetarian Times:
Chilled Mango Noodle Salad
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 red jalapeño chile, finely chopped
8 oz. dried rice-stick noodles
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leaf lettuce
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup bean sprouts
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, crushed, optional
- To make Dressing: Warm all ingredients in saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Cool.
- To make Salad: Soak noodles in hot water 15 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
- Cook carrot in pot of boiling water 30 seconds. Transfer to colander with slotted spoon, and rinse under cold water. Add noodles to water and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to colander with carrots, and rinse under cold water. Drain, and chill.
- Toss noodle mixture with lettuce, basil, mint, and 1/2 cup Dressing. Divide among 4 bowls. Top with cucumber slices, bean sprouts, and green onion. Arrange mango slices on top, and drizzle with remaining Dressing. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts, if desired.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Anne d'Harnoncourt, the longtime curator of the Philadelphia Museum of Art died this past weekend. To me, she was an inspirational woman; very educated, highly refined, but very down to earth and almost evangelical in her belief that art is part of the city's lifeblood. The exhibits that took place during her tenure (1971 through 2008) were unbelievable and formed my love for fine art. As a child I was able to see Marcel Duchamp (the museum has the largest collection in the country), learn to appreciate the differences between the various eras of European art and developed a love of Asian and modern art. Most people are most familiar with the Philadelphia art museum via the Rocky films (and the museum graciously displays that awful Rocky sculpture in the gardens that lead up to the massive stairway and his footsteps at the top of the staircase,
but it's the treasures inside that separate Philadelphia.
I'm a museum freak, I love, love, love them. I try to hit an art museum in every city that I visit and have been lucky enough to see the major art museums in many cities in the US and in Europe. The National Gallery and the British Museum, the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay, the Pitti, the Vatican, Bibao, the Met, MOMA, the Guggenheim, Boston's Museum of Fine Art, The National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Gallery and SFMOMA, all are spectacular. I hit a city, I go to the art museum. I even loved the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, Remingtons to die for, but I will always have a special place for the Philly Museum. Because it's not as massive as the other museums, it's digestible, and because it's smaller, there is an emphasis to have quality be the theme in the galleries. There are world famous paintings for sure, but there are also lesser known pieces from the same audiences that are sometimes more incredible than their better known counterparts. There aren't a lot of controversial pieces, but the museum didn't shy away from it, it just tended to be in the temporary or special exhibits - and what ones they were, I've written about Frida Kahlo, which as a huge hit, but also, Monet, Van Gogh, the Barnes, Dali, Cezanne, Goya, Delacroix, Picasso and the list goes on. I've never had the opportunity to meet her, but she was a familiar face and I had seen her on occasion in the museum.
I hope that who ever has the task of filling d'Harnoncourt's shoes preserves the notion of quality as they pursue new avenues of art. It's something that is troubling the city, and I think is something that is not specific to the city. In this morning's paper, an article about this noted that not only will Philadelphia be looking for a new CEO/director. Philadelphia joins the Guggenheim, Seattle, and the Met are all looking, too. I'm amazed that all of these incredible museums are sans leadership. Is it indicative of our culture over the last decade? I find it amazing that we turn out investment bankers like puppies, but the arts continue to wither on the vine. I think it's a telling picture of how lopsided life has become in the last decade. Art and the arts are essential to balanced lives. Art enables you to get away from day to day pressure and think outside of the box - it affects everyone in a highly personal way. You can use it to recharge your batteries, to express yourself, release your anger, feel love or pure joy. It shows the many faces of beauty, whether its a Rubenesque bather, or a weathered Bedouin, or a child. It forces you to see diversity, yet allows you to find comfort in what pleases you again and again. What saddens me is that we as a society repeatedly fail to see the importance of this balance. What are your thoughts about this? Do you see this lack of balance?
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Lazy, lazy, lazy.....gardening, a lovely lunch in Collingswood, drinks with friends, reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and cooking up the wonderful produce I got between my produce box and Collingswood's Farmer's Market.
Saturday - a whole day to myself! The day dawned and I fairly bounced out of bed. Did an hour of yoga and made some juice and toast, then headed out the door to the farmer's market and to have my hair cut and colored at Bauhaus Gallery. The farmer's market is growing every year, and it's so wonderful to see the community come together. There is music every week, great coffee and all the local farmers, bakers and food artisans bringing out their goods. I spent the morning with a cup of green tea and a gorgeous croissant, strolling past the tents and buying the last of the jersey hot house tomatoes, zucchini, turnips, strawberries and basil. I also picked up some beautiful peonies to augment the last of the ones from my garden. The light pink ones are mine and the darker ones are from the market:
Once I finished with the market and the haircut, I took my book and sat in the window of Tortilla Press, a great little BYOT (tequila) restaurant on Haddon Avenue. I had the fish tacos - very different from the typical fish tacos that you get in most places around here. It was a tilapia filet wonderfully spiced with achiote, chipotle, and just a little sea salt. The tomatillo sauce and the guac was dynamite - I really need to get a phone with a camera so that I can capture this stuff.
Saturday night was spent having drinks with friends and yet more Mexican food.
Sunday - I slept in, had a fuzzy head from the margaritas - I now remember why I don't drink all that much any more. Today was gardening day, deadheading the climbing roses, tying up the creeping hydrangeas and praying that next year will be the year they finally bloom. I inspected my tomatoes and peppers in their pots and lo and behold:
The peppers aren't yet out, but the plants are doing well as are the herbs:
The day passed lazily, talking with my daughter about drumming (her new obsession - more on that on another post) and reading. Finally, I moved myself from my sunny spot on the porch to make some dinner. On the menu:
Stewed tomatoes and peppers with olives and beans
One large red bell sliced into thin slices
One half large vidalia onion sliced into thin slices
Three cloves of garlic minced finely
1/2 can San Marzano crushed tomatoes (can't wait until I can do it with my own!)
1 can cannelini beans rinsed
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pits removed and chopped coarsely
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped coarsely
1/4 cup of red wine
Heat a 2 count of olive oil in a large saute pan, then add the onions. Turn the heat low and cook the onions for about 15 minutes until they begin to caramelize, then add the peppers and garlic and cook for another 10 or until the peppers are tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until flavors blend and the peppers and onions are soft.
I serve this over grilled polenta rounds.
Wilted spinach with raisins and pine nuts:
1 large bunch of spinach (don't use baby spinach for this one)
1 large clove of garlic - slightly crushed
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of pine nuts
Wash the spinach well and tear out woody stems. Soak the raisins for 10 minutes in warm water then drain. Toast the pine nuts and set aside. Heat a 2 count of olive oil in a saute pan and add the garlic, sauteing until the garlic is golden but not browned. Discard the garlic and add the spinach sauteing until wilted. Add the raisins and pine nuts and toss.
I added chicken for my mother who has to have extra protein
Mine was the vegetarian version:
Finally, I uploaded the pictures from R's middle school play, Oliver. She played Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker. The play was pretty standard middle school fare, but it is a way to highlight which kids are going to go on to do more theater in high school. The high school has an incredible theater program and they are lucky enough to have use of the regional professional theater for their plays. The pictures aren't that great, but R was wonderful, just about one of the best in the play (and I am not speaking as a proud parent, she just loves this stuff). Anyway, here are the shots, no close ups, but R is the one in the top hat: