Archive for March, 2010

hidden borrowed dal recipe

March 17, 2010

I have been working on a good dal recipe. For those of you who have not had the pleasure dal, lentil, lentil dal. I have not perfected mine yet, but I am closing in on something. I want to like my homemade dal; lentils are really good for you.

Here is what I know. The lentil cooks fairly quickly. I have made fairly boring attempts so far, but unlike the first and second attempt, my third attempt did not taste like dirt, or health food, but as my wife said “this is bland”.

She was right; but I am determined to make a “wow this doesn’t suck” attempt, and my sister suggested this one she found in a magazine and has graciously shared here. However the recipe is hidden as a comment in one of the other posts. I have not made this recipe yet, but I will let you know what happens.

Hint: It is in the “eat food” category,  it looks really good, and includes mangoes.



March 17, 2010

Kasha Varnishkes are a power meal which is super easy to prepare. There is no need to get fancy with this one, but it is a wicked base.



2 cups of broth heated and simmering in a small pot

A little butter (or a lot if you roll like that) to flavor the olive oil

Olive oil (you can skip this if your heart is made of titanium and you are using a wad of butter)

Onions chopped into smallish 1/4 to 1/ inch (try red ones if you want some sweetness)

Farfalle noodles (not egg noodles in this one) prepared as described on the box, drained and set aside to cool. Barilla makes a decent one.



A deep pot or saute pan. I found one that’s like an industrial non-stick wok, but a soup pot will work as well.


1. Heat a large pot for a few second over medium high heat.

2. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and butter and heat for a second or two.

3. Add chopped onions and cook for a few minutes stirring rapidly until almost translucent.

4. Add 1 cup of kasha and stir to coat with butter and oil for just under a minute. The kasha will give off a slightly toasted smell.

5. Add broth and reduce heat, be careful the broth can come to a rapid boil at this point so stir rapidly and remove from heat if needed until it returns to a simmer. This is less necessary on a gas stove, but works well on an electric range. Occasionally, I’ll get another burner up to a low medium and just move the pot, and turn off the hot one.

6. Simmer covered on low heat for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

7. Remove from heat and stir one more time. Let sit for a few minutes.

8. The final step is to mix the kasha together with the pasta. You can warm the pasta in the microwave if you want; I like it cool. Additionally, add a bit of warm broth (1/4 cup) to warm it up if you are fearful of the nuclear toaster (microwave).

Eat this as a side with meat, veggies, or as a filling snack.

virtual shirt copy

March 17, 2010

1. careful, it may be hot (black shirt-white type)

2. this is not a step (tiny white type on upper back of black shirt)

3. tractor beam active (tiny white type on shoulder of black shirt)

Please feel free to add…


March 12, 2010

It has been  a few months since I participated in the following chain of events. My wife brought home a very “cute”, emaciated, female, and filthy light (it was hard to tell the exact make and model) colored cat. The cat was tiny, kitten like (although almost three years old as told by the accompanying shelter paper work), and very friendly.

Because she was ill, and positively disgusting, she was quarantined in the study (a tiny room which we have done our best to make comfortable as well as functional). As it turns out the cat was a Siamese (read completely psychotic) . It became the cat “Amy’s” secure space even after she was deemed well enough to join the rest of the household in their relentless pursuit of claiming the controlling stake in the ownership and control of the house. Amy is friendly and easily acclimated herself; playing with our neurotic dog and are older female cat. The older cat still hisses and takes swings at Amy from time to time, but I have caught them playing late at night.

Roughly a month ago we decided to remove the extra litter box from the study; this was Amy’s executive wash room, but the space was rendered almost useful. I forgot to mention that; unlike other more cat like cats, Amy likes to play with her crap and roll in the litter box. She also loves to spread the litter around like an old zen monk in a garden of sand and stone she spreads the litter and carefully places her turds. It was time. We showed Amy the new litter box and we removed her old one from the study. I wiped every square inch of the study (it was covered with a thin film of cat snot) and we moved back to more normal patterns of life.

A few days went by before we realized that Amy was not using the new box for her daily constitutional. She had decided it would be much better to perch herself above my laptop bag and crap into the pockets. She lived, and I discovered this little surprise before sliding my lunch and laptop into a bag filled to the brim with cat pee and crap. We patiently showed her the new box. She pissed on our jackets. We showed her the box again. She made a pee pond in a corner behind the front door. I considered having her live in the basement with a few hours a day of house time, but then imagined having a small sea of cat piss just below us and showed her the box again. We decided to reinstall her litter box in the study and lock her in the study at night. A light sentence really. She cried piteously over her loss of new found freedom. We did this for about a week then removed her box again.

Two days later in the wee hours of the night I ventured into the kitchen and looked into the pantry (a closet off the kitchen with our washer dryer) only to see her gently dangling her butt over the hamper and finishing taking a crap. She spotted me and launched into the air and made a beeline for her safety spot in the study. I shut the door to the study and went to bed listening to her scratching at the door and meowing pitifully. I addressed the crap in the hamper in the morning and we washed the clothes three times in vinegar and detergent.

Letting Amy out of the study in the morning she rubbed lovingly against my leg and ran to the kitchen for her breakfast. She has not repeated her offense since “the hovering mystery shitter” episode; I believe that with whatever thinking capacity she has we have come to an agreement. I say I believe she gets it, or I have normalized the smell of cat pee and crap, and she is stealthily building her empire.

broccoli baked

March 10, 2010

I went to a work function at a fancy little restaurant in town and had a great appetizer which I felt I must immediately reverse engineer it for home use. So here is my closest approximation without the use of a monster production level stove. I did this in an electric so you may have to tailor it a bit if you are lucky enough to have a gas stove in your kitchen.


As many heads of broccoli well cleaned and chopped into medium florets (save the stalks for a cream of soup)

A baking sheet and a mixing bowl

Sea salt (enough that each floret gets a bit)

Pepper same as above


Teaspoon or more of red pepper flakes (discretion is advised, allow for some spicy surprise pieces)

1/4 cup of lemon juice

Romano cheese grated


Preheat oven to 375

In a large mixing bowl toss the broccoli in the olive oil and lemon juice until well coated.

Spread Florets on the cooking sheet and sprinkle with the salt and spices.

Sprinkle with Romano cheese.

Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the broccoli is browned, tender, but not mush.

Remove from oven and serve hot with a little more lemon juice and sea salt.

This recipe works well as a side, an appetizer, snack, or as an addition to a salad.


March 8, 2010

There are millions of recipes for dressing out there but, with a renewed focus on trying to eat better I have been living with an increased awareness of the salad. I am not a salad hater; bacon bits are not the benchmark of a good bowl of the greens, and croutons are not necessary (although they are a great way to get use the last vestiges of a high priced loaf). Dressing however, is a mandatory on salad for me. I must admit without a good dressing I find salad to be less justifiable. I know the purists out there will argue that good greens can stand on their own, but “De gustibus non est disputandum” (there is no disputing about tastes).

The herbs are variable based on taste for the dressing I am promoting, but the cost savings and overall particulars should result in a pleasurable and tasty green eating session.


1/2 cup of decent olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (I like the sweetened stuff)

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1 clove of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of dijon mustard (I cheat and sometimes use whatever I have)

big pinch of dried basil (use fresh if you want to)

half a big pinch of oregano (see above)

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper


Place ingredients in a non metal mixing bowl and mix vigorously with a whisk or fork.

Pour into a serving container, or serve in the mixing bowl with a spoon.

Put leftovers in a recycled, clean, store bought salad dressing bottle and refrigerate. Remember to take it out of the fridge a little while before using (the olive oil becomes a bit cloudy in the fridge).

Create your own custom label, and steal some market share from the big guys and gals of dressing, or buy one super expensive bottle and impress your friends with your conspicuous consumption during the down turn.

An aside:

Xanthan gum originates from a similar bacteria that causes greens to deteriorate and turn black and gooey in your fridge (you know this has happened to you with that bag of spinach purchased with the best intentions). It is also a key ingredient in that favorite childhood toy “Slime” as well as being an excellent laxative. Mixing salad dressing with a laxative and adding it to a salad is a neat idea, be sure to keep a look out for my prune juice and Ducolax brownies. Just putting it out there that making your own dressing is a tasty way of cutting down on your consumption of this interesting FDA approved ingredient.



March 5, 2010

The leaf fell plainly to earth sending a ripple along the surface of the landscape and traveling gently away towards the horizon. The parental tree vanished leaving only its shadow as a remembrance of where the grand old tree had stood for a century or more. This event reverberated, happening again and again until the ancient forest was reduced to a patchwork of muted shadows softening towards the distant sky.

10 Reasons I hate nature

March 4, 2010

1. Animals go extinct after a while, and it is sad.

2. Paper is much nicer to write on than trees.

3. Nature smells bad.

4. Nature tastes bitter.

5. Deer are stupid and birds get stuck in jet engines.

6. Artificial Christmas trees do not burn your house down (most of the time).

7. Flowers die eventually…plastic flowers are forever beautiful, and they smell like plastic.

8. Sharks eat people while they are swimming naked in the ocean at night.

9. Chipmunks look cute, but are actually almost as vicious as a cornered wolverine.

10. Too much oxygen can cause a normal adults lungs to explode unexpectedly.


March 4, 2010

Kale Soup

March 4, 2010

It was about the time when I left home that my parents put together a folder of recipes for me to take along on my journey out into the world. The folder was a stiff card stock folder with pockets and brass push down clips to hold the paper in place. The pages were overstock from a printer who had a shop in the same building in which my mother worked. Each of the recipes came with a story and hand drawn illustrations (some by my mother and some by my father). The stories ranged from family history to the origins of the recipes.

In the Provincetown and Welfleet the population came and went with the changing of the seasons. The narrow spit of land, jutting out into Ocean was an amazing place. It teemed with people, life, and greenery in the summers and was desolate, quiet, and three shades of grey in the winter. I found it beautiful regardless of the seasons.

In the recipe folder drawn on the kale soup recipe there is a line illustration of gallon sized wine jugs inverted with leafy vegetables growing in them. I remember as a young boy walking through the quiet town with my friends in the late fall and early winter and seeing these bottles along the picket fences. They were all steamy in the bitter cold and wind. It was only after seeing the drawing and remembering my mother and fathers own garden that I drew a correlation. I started a garden in earnest just last year, and our kale grew right through the winter. It is an amazing vegetable.

The following recipe is based on a straight forward Portuguese kale soup and is great; kale haters and children both tend to chow this one.


1 Large heavy soup pot with a lid

1 large or 2 small bunches of kale soaked for 10 minutes and washed thoroughly in cold water. Strain the kale in a colander and set aside.

4 Carrots chopped into 1/2 inch rounds

1 can of red kidney beans

1 large yellow onion coarsely chopped

3 medium sized potatoes peeled and chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces

1 Tablespoon Basil

1 Tablespoon Oregano

1 Teaspoon of Smoked paprika

1 Package (a pound of linguica sausage)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Boullion Chicken or vegetable

About 3 cups of water


1. Heat a large, heavy soup pot for a few moments and add oil.

2. Add linguica sausage (watch for the spatter) and fry for a minute or two until it starts to brown.

3. Add the onions and fry for a minute or two until they start to become translucent.

4. Add 2 cups of water, the boullion, and stir.

5. Add potatoes, carrots and beans.

6. With the broth still boiling add half of the kale and put the lid on and let it wilt from the steam. Remove the lid and stir the kale in. Add the remaining kale and replace the lid. Once the second batch of kale has wilted stir the soup well. Add the spices.

7. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour or two. I usually make this in the morning and leave it simmering most of the day. Check on it occasionally and give it a stir.

8. Serve it up with some toasted bread, cheese, or just enjoy a hearty soup.

This is a great fall and winter soup.