Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Will the Real (Fettuccine) Alfredo Please Stand Up?

"Saveur - The New Comfort Food, Home Cooking from Around the World" edited by James Oseland Chronicle Books 255 pages $35

This is a very good cook book and as the gift-giving season gears up, can heartily recommend it.
It isn't "just recipes." Here is a sample and I must say that I never knew this...

Fettuccine Alfredo was "invented" in the early 1900s when a restaurateur in Rome, named Alfredo di Lelio, began serving a variety of fettuccine al burro, a mix of nothing more than butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

1 lb. dried fettuccine, prepared as usual - reserve 3/4 of a cup of the boiling water
2 sticks of sweet butter
3 1/4 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano

Slice the sticks of butter into pats and place them on a serving platter (one with a rim)
Drain the pasta and start mixing it with the butter on the platter, adding the cheese at intervals. If your pasta is dry-ish, add a bit of the reserved pasta water and keep swirling until the pasta is well-coated and shiny-looking. That's it!

No cream, no Swiss cheese. A mere 3 ingredients and a beautiful presentation in front of your guests. Or, you can mix the water and butter together, dump in the pasta, start stirring and adding the Parmigiano-Reggiano in the kitchen.

But do not put in any cream!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Discoveries

When ice cream is a part of dessert or the only dessert, it's my habit to put the half-gallon container on the table with the scoop and let everyone serve themselves. This usually results in meltage because people are too busy talkinig to interrupt themselves by adding ice cream.

Thanksgiving Day I made a happy discovery which is: our double-walled "plexiglass" ice bucket is exactly the right size to hold a half-gallon of ice cream! The ice cream stayed cold; the table cloth dry and altogether it was a happy ending for Richie's pumpkin pie with pumpkin ice cream, garnished with candied pecans.

A cookbook I'm reading (to be reviewed) says that to make "perfect" poached eggs use 4 cups of water, 1/2 teas. salt and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Slip the four eggs into the boiling water mixture using either an empty cup or a saucer. Poached eggs are a good thing because it's pure egg -- no additives like bacon fat or butter. I think of them on buttered toast as "comfort food."

An old boyfriend ('70s, so both of us are now truly old) taught me this one -- for perfectloy round meatballs, don't fry them! Put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees - they will crisp up all around. Cooking time acording to the size of your meatballs.

World's Fluffiest Matzo Balls! Use club soda or seltzer water instead of plain water.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Shoppers: Savages vs. the Civilized

BLACK FRIDAY Shoppers: mace, gun fire and that poor, poor man who died on a store floor. And the shoppers merely stepped carefully around him! How's THAT for cold?

"W" Magazine Shoppers: "W" is an offshoot of Womens' Wear Daily, the go-to-mag for schmatta makers and fashionistas the world over. Yesterday, their Christmas catalog appeared along with the December issue.

Here are some of the items listed. Naturally I picked the high-end stuff.
Tod's travel bag, $32,000
Patek Phillipe 18k white gold and diamond watch on an alligator strap. Tacky - never diamonds and alligator! - $54,700
Cascade flip-flops - $525
A "Bleu Nature" stool which looks like your average log encased in plexiglass $5,998
A Gucci headband for your toddler-girl's hair - $220*
Baby Dior t-shirt - $288*
Burberry children's jacket - $423*
Balmain one-piece swimsuit - $730
Lanvin dress - all pleaty like a Fortuny gown in the '20s - $9,360

These are mail order purchases! The only information given is: a photo of the article, maker, price and either a phone number or a Website to visit to put in your order.

* Do you have any idea of the speed with which a kid can lose an article or grow out of it?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

PoTAYto/ PoTAHto

Any way you say it, we have a plethora of potatoes. Either Richie forgot we had a half-bag of them at home or else he felt it was too good a bargain to pass up, but he bought another 5 lb. bag of the damned things.

Happily, Bon Appetit arrived yesterday, proclaiming that Potatos are THE side dish of the season with five recipes to prove it. Duck Fat Potato Galette - but I don't like duck fat. Gnocci Gratin with Gorgonzola Dolce - but I've never made gnocci because what's wrong with pasta? Potato and Celery Root Mash -but where in hell do you find "celeriac"? Rosti with Bacon and Scallions is basically a version of home-made hashbrowns with cooked bacon and chopped scallions. But Forked Oven-Roasted Potatoes did look good. In fact, the finished potato looks like a piece of gnocci! Two birds, etc.

6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled but left whole
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425.
Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and dredge them out of the water and onto a rimmed baking sheet. Being careful not to burn your fingers, take a fork and run the tines from top to bottom to create ridges. Roll the potatoes in olive oil and roast. Keep an eye on them and turn them as they brown. This will take between 50 and 60 minutes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beware! Writers in the Neighborhood!

"I Taste Fire, Earth, Rain - Elements of a Life With a Sherpa" by Caryl Sherpa Studio Press 346 pages $15.95

How often does a professional writer have a next door neighbor who married a Sherpa and then wrote a book about it? And who put the writer and her husband in HER book?* How usual is it for a Caucasian professional woman to trek Nepal, fall in love with a Sherpa and marry him?

Caryl did it all. And in doing so, she made me "listen" and "see" Nepal and its scenery and people. I have never had any interest in trekking (eeeuuwwww - I can't wash my hair?!) or mountain climbing (You could get killed doing that!) but her slant on Eastern mystiques piqued my interest and attention. Her husband, Nima, taught me to put my hands in prayer, chest level, and say, "Namaste" or "The spirit in me greets the spirit in you," a lovely sentiment.

The events in the book began in 1991, when Caryl was 38 and Nima was 28. He seemed much younger because he has such a lightness of spirit and sense of joy. He could have been 18. Pity he wasn't, Caryl could have won "First Cougar" and left Demi Moore in the dust.

Caryl, a woman who is meticulous -- all of the elevations are listed in feet (and meters) -- quite sensibly made a list:
Pro - good looking, joyful, speaks seven languages, extremely strong, doesn't drink.
Con - Bad clothes, limited English, doesn't drive, 3rd grade education, bad slapstick jokes.

In Nepal, Nima had no access to television, radio or the newspapers. Once here, the Watts riots terrified him. "They would never do that in Nepal!"

They are an amazing couple and they are still blissfully happy after 20 years of marriage. Caryl's book is a fascinating read. She remarked that it took her 15 years to learn to write and then five more years to write this book. Good job, Caryl! It was time well spent.

To learn more and see photos, visit

* We are a walk-on as "Liz" and "Ed" used as a springboard to a chapter on Nima at the circus. I'm sure she used "Liz" for me due to my undeniable resemblance to the late Elizabeth Taylor. La! when she was alive we were often mistaken for each other.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Scarlett O'Hara Politicians (Editorial)

In "Gone With the Wind," Scarlett repeatedly dismisses a problem by saying, "I won't think about it now; I'll think about it tomorrow."

Given their behaviors, our Congress needs their copies of "GWTW" pulled from their hands and burned. Now the Super Committee is aroar about budget cuts and their thinking seems to be, "Oh, let's let it take effect in 2013 when everyone will have forgotten about it." This is an old scenario, we recently went through it when our credit rating got lowered.

Budgeting should be no surprise. Dudes! It didn't just fly in the window yesterday afternoon! Why can't politicians Be Prepared, as Boy Scouts are said to be? Is there no one in those august bodies capable of calendaring coming events?

This is only another opportunity for the po9ls to strut and pontificate in front of the cameras. Full of sound and fury, of course, but completely devoid of meaning.

If given the chance to do so, I would yell at the House and Senate, "Pull your thumbs out and get with it!"

My slogan for next year? "Never Vote for an Incumbent! (Throw the bums out!)"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

If Only Politicians Could Do This

"No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself."
Thomas Mann (1875 - 1955)

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Problem: The plaza area of Hermosa Beach is burdened with drunks on weekends and all through the summer. No surprise, really, because as far as the eye can see there are bars and restaurants. Many and penetrating are the howls of outrage from the owners of the million dollar mansions that abut it -- noise, drunks urinating on house walls lawns, patios and the fights. The police are resigned to double the numbers of attempted rape on weekends.

Solution: A Hermosa Beach man wrote the newspaper to suggest "pedestrian checks." He pointed out that vehicles are routinely stopped at checkpoints for signs of alcohol abuse by the driver.

He suggests a police perimeter around the entrance/exit to the plaza. You would be told to walk a straight line or blow into a breathalyzer. If guilty, your shoes would be instantly impounded for 30 days and your forehead would be stamped in fluorescent ink "DRUNK." The ink eventually wears off, but you better call in sick until it does.

Shades of Sheriff Joe in Arizona, but possibly effective.

Problem: The very high cost of obituaries in the United States. A double column width, six inches deep in the LA Times could run as much as $3,000 times the number of days it runs. It's as if newspaper management is thinking, "This is our last chance to get money off of this dude - sock it to hiim!"

Solution: From our Netanya, Israel, correspondent who writes, "A month before you die, become Jewish and come to Israel. If you don't need to be in a specific place in the cemetery like next to Hubbie, it's free.

No obituaries - you do have to buy some printed notices which you pin up on trees or in specific places in the town. Other than that, it's word of mouth. When you have to be under ground within 24 hours, there is no time for fancy, schmancy notices and choice of coffins -- oh, yes -- no coffin.

As for the mourners, you show up at the funeral in whatever you are wearing - no need to rush out and buy a new black outfit. The chief mourners definitely don't wear their best clothes because, as the Bible dictates (I've forgotten what it does dictate) but it does end up with their clothes beng cut with a razor blade, just a little cut, but not something you would want on your Versace.

No profits made on funerals here. There are some payments to various official bodies, but overall a pretty cheap affair.

On that cheerful note - have a nice day and live a long and happy life!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

From Another Angle

"An Affair To Remember; My Life with Cary Grant" by Maureen Donaldson and William Royce. G. P. Putnam and Sons 288 pages $18.95

I reviewed Grant's daughter Jennifer's book the other day. But having learned early on to get a second or third source for any story, I went looking through the library stacks for another point of view. And found it.

Grant and Dyann Cannon were married from 1965 to 1968. Grant and Maureen met in 1973, a relationship that continued until 1977. The bitterness of the Cannon-Grant custody fights colored those years. Jennifer said that when her Mom was on location, she stayed with Dad. Au contraire. Maureen said that Grant had to fight for every minute he could get from Cannon. He once flew from a vacation in Acapulco back to Los Angeles for a one-day visit with Jennifer.

Jennifer paints a picture of an utterly idyllic Dad, full of fun and creative ideas. Conversely, Maureen says he really didn't know how to amuse her, a task that fell upon her shoulders.

Grant was 69 when he met Maureen (27) and 75 when they parted in 1977. Grant met his fifth and last wife in June, 1976, but couldn't convince her to marry him until 1981 when he was 77.

This is the amazing part. Long before anyone had ever heard of Viaga, Grant, in his '70s and '80s, was still making love to his girlfriends! (According to them, that is.) Despite telling Maureen that a male had only so many sexual acts in him (so to speak) and that one by one, they diminished the male!

It's an interesting book in that Grant confided a lot about his former wives to Maureen and she clearly never forgot a word. At his urging, she became a photographer and there is a section of shots she took during their relationship.

Certain hers is a very different point of view from his daughter's.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Presents for Geeks

Yesterday a catalog from X-Treme Geek came wafting to our shores, born in on a tide of Christmas catalogs. You, too, can see the marvels I'm about to describe at

Karate Cookies - a trio of cookie cutters in various karate poses. $9.95 Now you can give your gingermen some punch!

Clothespin Chopsticks - imagine a 9 in. long, thin clothespin - Yep, you got it! $9.95

What do the Japanese do with their splintered baseball bats? They turn them into re-usable chopsticks with a suitable carrying bag. $29.95

Coffee Fiend? Starbucks Junkie? Start your morning by showering with Costic's Caffeinated Soap! It's peppermint scented as an additional wake-you-up bonus. 4.5 oz. bar $5.95 "Topically-applied caffeine is thought to be effective in reducing skin cancers as well as reducing the appearance of cellulite. "

Hmmm, save myself %5.95, take the cold leftover breakfast coffee and wash my face and rinse my behind! Do-able and I'm not even a Geek.

The Ultimate in Fastidiousness - Poop Freeze. Love your dog, but dread his, uh, output? Spray the steaming mass with this product and it instantly creates a -62 degree crust, making disposal that much less Eewwwww. 10 oz. can $12.95

Change your look with Fingerstaches! These are small moustache-shaped decals that you attach to your index finger then hold your finger across your upper lip. 19 styles - Fu Manchu? old West bandit? Only $4.95

Be the hit of the party as Rasta Santa! The traditional red Santa hat, trimmed in white (faux) fur which sits on -- not your hair -- but a pile of white dreads! Santa goes Island on us! $19.95

First we put them on our pets; then we bought them for our car side windows. Finally, you yourself can proudly sport reindeer antlers with little ears and tufts of brown marabou at the horns' base. $7.95

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Daddy's Girl or Daddy's Obsession?

"Good Stuff, A Reminiscence of My Father Cary Grant" by Jennifer Grant. Alfred A. Knopf 177 pages $24.95

Cary Grant married five times, but his only child, Jennifer, was born in 1966 during his marriage to Dyan Cannon. Cary was 62, Dyan 29 when Jennifer was born. Two years after the birth, they were divorced but Jennifer writes their shared custody was amiable. (Despite the fact that custody wars ran along for years according to other sources. ) Cannon was often on location and Jennifer thus spent a lot of time with Dad, who lived only a couple of blocks away. Cary retired from acting to devote himself full-time to being a Dad.

Because all of his records and memorabilia had been lost in a fire during WW2 and because he wanted to make sure she had hers, he had a room in his house turned into a bank-quality safe (complete with big steel door) to house his meticulously-filed collection - all of his notes to her; hers to him, photos, tape recordings of ordinary conversations, home movies.

The book is a selection from this material, whose collection began the day of her birth and continued until Grant's death, at age 83, when she was 20.

According to Jennifer, she handled the transition from adored only child to one who must now share Daddy with another woman with aplomb, simply because Barbara was such a delight.

Cary met Barbara Harris in 1976 when Jennifer was 10, but wasn't able to persuade her to marry him until 1981. There was a considerable age gap of 46 years. Cary was 77 and Barbara was 31. When Cary was 80 and she 34, they began trying for an artificial insemination baby, but were unsuccessful. Jennifer thinks this was quite unselfish of Dad at an age when he could expect to be the star attraction, not a squalling baby. The marriage ended in 1986 with Grant's death.

This book struck me as weird -- when Jennifer's mother was home and had custody, Grant used to get in his car and drive to the corner to wave to Jennifer as her school bus passed by. the room-into-a-safe for everything from baby shoes, childhood books and toys... either Cary was REALLY sincere about saving her childhood for her or crazier than betting a NASCAR race. You decide!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Richie's Gravy Boat

Richie read the post about my misgivings about gravy boats as serviceable items. I said they are hard to hold without wobbling and getting gravy where you don't want it (i.e. tablecloth.)

He turned to me and said, "Why not put the gravy in the Mr. Coffee pot? It's got a lid and it's easy to pour from."

Except for the incongruity of having a Mr. Coffee pot full of gravy on the table, it's really not a bad idea. It would certainly be a conversational piece.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sounded Good in Theory, But the Reality...

Yesterday afternoon we met Bob and Pat (Brodsky) at the monthy jazz club. As always I expect an adventure there that I can write about, but, alas! It was nice to hear the latest scholarship musician, who looked to be about 13, play the piano so well, but ... not on a par with the great saga of the black woman and the encounter there.

Afterwards we sashayed over to Hudson House, PCH, RB (previously reviewed) for a bite. Pat has been hungering for sauerkraut of late and when she spotted "Turkey and Brie Reuben with sauerkraut and 1000 Island dressing" she ordered it. It did look good so I did, too. It was nicely presented on one of their traditional square plates. But ... Brie is not the cheese for this and the dressing was a mere daub. The sauerkraut had been washed of all of its salt and while the whole thing was "mild" it just didn't taste like much. The bland got all blurred together.

But I still love Hudson House! And they still have brown sugar ribs on the menu. The lamb meatballs are gone, but there is now lamb on sugar cane skewers or how about a chicken meatball or truffle goat cheese mac with 'shrooms and Shiitake peas. (But goat cheese in mac and cheese? No worries - happily they change their menu from time to time.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Talking Turkey

This is the time of year that you can score big savings on things you use all-year round. Our supermarket traditionally has "Buy 10 for $10" tags on: Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup; Swanson chicken/beef/vegetable broth.

But today's Target section has even lower prices! Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup - 59 cents! French's French-fried onions - 6 oz for $2.79 and I seem to remember $3.95 at the supermarket. Swanson broths - 59 cents a can.

I am thinking of buying a three dish buffet server (Target $27) because I despise cold food and our guests traditionally are in no hurry to be the first at the table. It drives me wild! This model looks to have steel "dishes" which presumably I could put in the oven and cook such as the green bean casserole or the roasted Brussel sprouts with caroway and either the dressing or the candied yams.

After I've seen how big it is, I may also purchase a white porcelain gravy boat (Target $5) but gravy boats are often unwieldy... maybe with a small ladle...

And, to save some calories on the lush feast, baste your turkey in chicken broth -- it works as well as butter and assures you of having enough "juice" to make lots of gravy. I do think gravy should be a separate (and exalted) food group of its own.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rainy Days Are For Reading

The wind is tossing the tree tops with abandon; occasionally, the rain comes pelting down. A perfect day to hunker down in my chair and read.

"Holidays in Heck - A Former War Correspondent Experiences Frightening Vacation Fun" by P.J. O'Rourke Atlantic Monthly Press 265 pages $24

This is O'Rourke's 16th book and in it, he and his wife and children go exploring. Not to such as Six Flags or Disneyland. That would be too easy. China, Kyrgyztan and the Field Museum, Chicago, are a few of their destinations.

Do Sparrows Like Bach? The Strange and Wonderful Things That Are Discovered When Scientists Break Free" by the editos of New Scientist. 219 pages $13.95

This is an engaging little paperback with some interesting goals and amazing ways the scientist in question chases his discovery. A shirt that rolls up its sleeves in reaction to heat was discarded as it cost $2,500 to make the prototype.

In 1994 a design firm came up with this (as if flying isn't hellish enough.) Airline passengers would be loaded into individual pods, complete with a reading light, entertainment center, at the gate and then conveyor-belted out to the plane and stacked like logs on a lumber truck.

At the 1976 Olympics, the East Germanm swimmers each had 1.8 liters of air pumped into their colons before competing. This, uh, technique was said to help the crawl and back strokers buoyancy, but the breast stroker complained that his feet stuck up out of the water.

Top Screwups Doctors Make and How To Avoid Them" by Joe Graedon, MS, and Teresa Graedon, PhD. Crown Archetype 314 pages $26

This is a book that you don't have to bother to read from cover to cover. There are a series of appendixes in the back of the book that are much terser than the chapter and can be read a lot faster. I can't say that I really learned anything new after having read them. Possibly all of my doctors and pharmacists must have read it though because they are all acting properly.

Friday, November 11, 2011


"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its supidity."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
(1890 - 1969)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Most Unlikely Appetizer
(from Alpine Village, Torrance) - a Reuben Spring Roll. Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese in a spring roll wrapper, deep-fried and served with 1000 Island dressing as the dip.

Spry magazine points out that holiday meals are often served mid-afternoon or earlier or later than one's usual dinner hour. This can be tough on diabetics. Healthful snacks include nuts, whole grain crackers and/or fresh vegetables - no fatty dip! A vinaigrette might work well instead.

Caveat Emptor
Yesterday's mail brought the Joie de Vivre catalog. This company sells authentic French canned and bottled foods, dry products such as dishes, cups, soaps, doormats, charm bracelents -- in short: everything to give an American the idea he/she is in France.

One item is the brand Amora; another is SaVoRa, both mustards. I have seen both in French supermarkets and they are inexpensive there. Amora is $6.95 for a 15.5 oz. jar. Savora is $9.95 for 13.6 oz.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

16 Days Till Thanksgiving!

Which may explain the tremendous population explosion at our gym. There were people everywhere. But Thanksgiving dinner is the one meal per year that everyone throws caution to the winds and I'm looking forward to it -- bring it on!

I haven't made this recipe for more than 20 years, but now that Trader Joe's sells already-shelled pistachios, it seems like a good time to dust it off and make it again. WARNING: this recipe makes 12 CUPS of dressing. You might want to halve it...

1/2 cup raisins to soak in 1/4 cup Calvados (a French apple-flavored brandy)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups cubed baguette, crust on
2 cups pistachio nuts
1 stick butter
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teas. nutmeg
1/2 teas. paprika
1/2 teas. dried thyme
1/4 teas. cayenne
2 tart apples, cored and cut in small chunks
juice of one lemon (approx. 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup chicken broth

Brown the bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and toast the nuts for 8 minutes. Cool and save
Melt the utter and saute first the onions, then add the mushrooms, garlic and seasonings. Moisten the apple chunks with lemon and add to the onion mix.
Add the bread cubes and pistachios, and raisins and toss it all. Moisten with stock and cook at 350 until top is sllightly browned.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coming Attraction

Next Door is celebrating their daughter's first birthday today and we have been lucky enough to be included in the invitees. B-list, you may be sure, but nevertheless...

However: it is now 48 degrees outside and raining floods periodically. Not deterred in the slightest, they wrote that we would be having a Traditional British BBQ -- in the house.

They instructed that all of the guests remove shoes when they arrive as there will be "many babies lurking about." Naturally I assumed this meant our hosts meant everyone to get falling down drunk, but less likely to do damage if not shod. My sister dashed my hopes and feverish expectations substantially. She said it was because the babies would be on the floor and shoe soles are majorly unsanitary. Which come to think of it is the reason I don't go barefoot in my own house. God only knows what's down there.

Hope to post pictures later today. Babies are cute little buggers -- when they're happy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Two Things

Our Old Neighbor
Some 20 years ago, our next door neighbor was a woman named Caryl Thornton. She was single until she took a trip to Nepal -- and brought back a husband! Nima was Caryl's trekking guide and she fell in love with him, the life style and Nepal itself.

Nima is one of the most gentle men I have ever met. But he was also tough enough and strong enough to climb K22 there. He's an excellent cook and we loved to have dinner at their house.

Yesterday I got an e from Caryl promoting the book she's written about all of the above. She'll be doing a book signing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 17th at Pages, 904 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach. To learn more, visit

I can't stop circling Dore Greenspan's French table (previously reviewed) and stealing little bites. I would never have dreamed that "carrot salad," found here in delis, cafeterias and school lunches is a very popular French food!

CARROT SALAD aka in France "carottes rapees"
1 lb. carrots, peeled and shredded
handful of raisins (optional)

2 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup mild oil
Beat together, squeeze any water off of the carrots and toss.

Scallops are already sweet but she says that her Caramel-Orange Sauce for them merely plays up the sweetness.

1 lb. sea scallops, cleaned, sauteed and set aside somewhere that they will stay warm

2T sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup orange juice
1 T sweet butter, cut into thirds.

Start the sugar in a dry pan, stir it until it browns. Then add in the white wine and orange juice all at once. BE CAREFUL as it will bubble up. Cook down the sauce until it's half of what you started cooking. Cut in the butter, a chunk at a time, add a little white pepper and serve over scallops.
handful of walnuts (optional)

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Cook Like A Man" - Esquire

Having written the book review yesterday, the subject was still fresh in my mind. I got to thinking and finally taking a bit of umbrage at this "cook like a man" stuff. According to Esquire, if you take a "normal" food like oatmeal and then do something exotic to it as in add jalapenos you have then cooked like a man.

I think that most men want simple preparation and a single strong taste. Two simple things - ease and taste. Here is a good example - tuna-macaroni salad.

You need:
1 can of tuna, drained, and flaked - any kind you like; packed in oil or water.
2 slices red onion, chopped
6 pimento-stuff olives, chopped
1/2 box elbow macaroni
mayonnaise to mix it all up together.

Prepare the onion and olives while the macaroni cooks. Drain it, toss in the onion, olives and tuna and add sufficient mayonnaise for the texture that you like. Hot macaroni sops up mayonnaise a lot.

Optional touch: while the macaroni is still steaming hot, take a tablespoonful of olive "juice" and sprinkle it over the hot macaroni. You'll get a deeper olive taste.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Books

"My Year With Eleanor" by Noelle Hancock Harper-Collins 295 pages $24.99
The book opens with her sitting on a beach in Aruba with her boyfriend. Her cell phone rings - "You're fired."

Back in New York, she notices an inspirational sign in a Starbucks - "Do one thing every day that scares you," Eleanor Roosevelt. Our Heroine decides to do this which is more or less a direct steal from Julie Powell's "Julia and Julie."

I made it to page 8 where I read " shrink a few days later at our bi-weekly session..." Slap! Book closed. I don't have the time, patience or energy to read another whiner from a selfish, navel-gazing spoiled brat. But, what else could be expected from the woman who was the founding writer of US Weekly's entertainment blog?

"Eat Like A Man, the Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever Need" by Esquire editors 223 pages $30
Buy an olivewood stirring spoon because it's a dense wood and unlikely to fray out anytime soon. Recipes included Jalapeno and Ancho Oatmeal, macaroni pie (mac and cheese baked in a pie tin) and a page on steaks. "Red" cattle are the same breed that produces kobe beef. A Texas firm HeartBrandBeef, started with 11 head of these cattle which were the only herd outside of Japan. These cattle were guarded by the Texas Rangers for 14 years while they grew to become a herd of 5,000.

Interspersed among the how-tos and recipes are interviews with chefs, essays on cooking and food-based fiction.

"Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy - Advice from Rock's Ultimate Survivor" by Ozzie Osbourne Grand Central Publishing 274 pages $26.99
This is a very funny book. I'm enjoying it immensely because if Osbouorne did write it, he's matured considerably from his bat-head dining days. His advice is practical, his sentiments seem sincere and his euphemisms inspired.

And for medical junkies and hypochondriacs who are always wondering, "Hmm - should I call the doctor?" this is an excellent substitute consultant if you can't get through to your own doctor.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Final Halloween Census Report and Winner

Our reporter in Cape Coral, FL, e'd in this morning -- her street there hosted 453 kids! She added that it was a +/- count as "There were kids everywhere!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Old Business
We had a grand total of eight trick or treaters last night; a group of five and later a group of three and that was it. Our reporter in Libertyville, IL, notes that 53 kids came to their house. Our Man iin Dallas reports exactly none. Schools there have parties in their gyms instead of door-to-door solicitation.

New Business
I declare this to be the official First Day of Winter in Redondo Beach. I pulled on my Uggs this morning for the first time this Fall, it being about 60, foggy and altogether unpleasant, just like it was yesterday. This kind of dank, murky weather is fine, admirable nearly, for Halloween, but Halloween is now over.