Archive for June, 2010

another Italian film and a “borrowed” blood orange recipe

June 21, 2010

I watched another remarkable Italian film last night. The film “Il Divo” by Paolo Sorrentino was historically fascinating, visually striking and the acting was great. I am not normally a huge fan of docudramas but this story of the Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti was wonderful, dark, exciting, and disturbing. I would definitely recommend this one.

The Recipe

This is a small appetizer or snack which I have made a few times. I found it in a small Italian cookbook I found in Goodwill; the dust sleeve was missing so the title is escaping me. I will circle back and give credit where credit is due although I think this is a fairly common recipe. It is incredibly easy to make.


3 or more naval or blood oranges (I like the blood oranges for taste and visual)

Olive oil

Dry or fresh chopped oregano

Dry or fresh chopped basil

Dry red pepper flakes

A large colorful serving plate


1. I like to roll the oranges with a slight amount of pressure on a table for a few seconds to get the juices going, but this is not mandatory. It really depends on the season and the oranges.

2. Wash the oranges under cold water for a few seconds.

3. Slice the oranges into 1/4 inch rounds and arrange on your plate.

4. Sprinkle each slice with your herbs.

5. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, but don’t drown them.

6. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Do not place in fridge or the olive oil might start to congeal.

7. Serve with small forks and a nice crusty bread.

8. Enjoy.


so, Netflix in the dark

June 18, 2010

Not having much  time to watch films these days I have taken to watching old films and television shows on a tiny netbook. It reminds me of my early childhood when we only had a small black and white set in the house. It was a long while before I realized that many of the programs I loved as a kid were actually shot in color. On that note, I always have a warm feeling when watching a well made vintage black and white film.

I watched a great one last night called “Bicycle Thieves” (Ladri di biciclette) directed by Vittorio De Sica.

The film is available as an instant download on Netflix.

monday mornings are not optional

June 14, 2010

I awoke to a loud bang early this morning. It is remarkable only because it was a loud bang and not stress or an over active chain of thoughts which woke me. The last time an explosion rocked the neighborhood a neighbor down the street was having their door blown in by an ATF concussion device. No, I live in a fairly quiet neighborhood. I found it almost eerily quiet when we first moved from the Bronx. I have acclimated and sleep fairly well without the constant rattling of the elevated line, the symphony of car alarms and ridiculously wired car audio systems.

“Did you hear that?” a voice from the darkness. “Yes, did you hear that?” another voice from the darkness.

“What time is it?” dim shadow. “I don’t know; it looks like the power is out.” another dim shadow.

“Go outside and see what it was!?” sleepy wife. “It was probably a transformer; we have no power. I’ll go look.” me.

As I walk through the house there are beeps and chirps as the electronics begin to realize they are cut off from their lifelines. The clocks all blink; all of them are wrong. It is light out. I open the door. Blinding light and a caucophony of crows shrieking. As my eyes adjust I see a single black lump lying motionless on the sidewalk not far from the front door. I do not see smoke; I imagine the dead crow to be smoldering. I can only guess at what happened.

“What is it?” wide awake wife. “I think a crow short circuited the transformer on the street.” me.

“Should we call someone?” wide awake wife.

After listening to the electric companies “We are experiencing temporary outages in Northern parts of the city.” I reach a human. “I think A crow took out a transformer in my neighborhood.” I relay the address; the representative says a crew is out already; they are investigating. I relay the address again. Perhaps they do not have to investigate. Maybe they can come to where the transformer is blown. It then dawns on me…we are under attack. Crows have orchestrated a full scale attack on the neighborhood and are systematically taking out transformers all over the city. “Thank you for your concern sir, the shortage should be temporary.” I hang up.

“When will the power come back on?” wide awake. “I don’t know.” me.

“How will we wake up on time?”  We both laugh.

I try not to think about the last thoughts of the crow as I try to get back to sleep.

I think they went like this…

Warm. Food. Warm. Breeze. Warm. Buddies. Family. Warm. Shiny. Nice Click. Click. Click. POP.

wicked fast cucumber salad

June 11, 2010

I often hear about eating from frozen packaged nuclear toaster dinners as being the norm and not the exception. I have considered the wisdom in this practice; shopping for fresh ingredients, gardening, preparing and cleaning up eats so much time. I imagine tallying the members of the family, counting the number of meals we might potentially eat together and filling the cart.

This recipe is not as easy as the aforementioned dream, nor does it pack the number of fat calories and mountains of fat and sugar (although it does have some). I fashioned this as a hybrid pickle slash Japanese inspired salad. I think the first time I made this salad I was out of pickles and  was grilling piles of meat in the back yard on a practice survivalist fire pit (one never knows when the zombies will take over).


Cucumbers (as many as you like) peeled and sliced thin

Rice wine vinegar (not to be mistaken with rice wine)

Sesame oil

Black pepper

Salt or Soy sauce (I use salt because it doesn’t turn the cucumbers tan)

A large non reactive bowl (non metal)


1. Toss the peeled and thin sliced cucumbers into the bowl.

2. Add about 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar per cucumber.

3. Add 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil per cucumber.

4. Add a little salt or soy sauce to taste.

5. Mix well and place covered in the fridge for about an hour.

6. Remove from the fridge and toss lightly before serving.

I like to serve this alongside other salads and piles of heavy charred grilled products (veggie or carnivore).

baked marinated tofu

June 1, 2010

This is a great addition to a vegetarian lunch; it makes a great sandwich with vinaigrette, lettuce, and tomatoes. It works in a bento style lunch as well (as seen above) thick sliced on a bed of vegetable fried rice with baked sweet potato rounds. Hot or cold this is filling and delicious.

My recipe has been an experimental process based on various versions from local markets. I can’t stand paying an arm and a leg for a healthy alternative which can so easily be done at home.


1 or more blocks of extra firm Tofu.

cheese cloth or unbleached paper towel

1 tablespoon of light soy sauce

1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce (you can double up on the light if you do not have dark soy sauce)

2 cloves of minced garlic

small handful of minced onion

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar (or lemon juice and 2 tsp of sugar)

1 tablespoon good ketchup

1/3 cup water


1. Drain and wrap tofu in cheese cloth or wrap in paper towels between some plates (for weight).

2. Set aside for about an hour.

3. Add all other ingredients to a gallon ziploc or other container and place tofu gently into container.

4. Make sure block(s) are well coated with marinade.

5. Place marinating tofu in fridge and proceed with your day (leave it in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours),

6. Turn tofu in marinade a few times if you remember.

7. Heat stove to 350 degrees and place tofu and sauce  in a lightly oiled and foiled baking pan (at least 2″ deep).

8. Place tofu in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until nice and brown. Remember to  turn the tofu in sauce to get a nice glaze.

9. Enjoy, and remember to experiment with whatever you can think of for a marinade.

The bento style lunch box reminds me of some amazing drawings my friend used to draw called KRUNK. Perhaps we will get lucky and he will read this and send me one from the archive to post.

dal recipe revealed

June 1, 2010

I received this recipe from my sister a while back and left it in one of the comments as an easter egg, but it’s really good. I felt obligated to repost. Belly up to the table rice, Naan, a big spoon and enjoy.


1 c yellow lentils (yellow split peas works as a substitute)
4 c water
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (I use powder)
1 med onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I don’t do hot so I add curry at this point instead)
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c fresh cilantro

Place lentils in a colander and rinse until water runs clear. Combine lentils, water, 1/2 tsp salt and turmeric in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occassionally, for 15 mins.
Meanwhile heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med heat. Add cumin, cook about 30 seconds. Add onion, cook until soft about 4-6 mins. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cayenne and remaining salt and cook for 1 more min. Stir the garlic mixture nad mangoes into the lentils. Return to a simmerr, stirring occassionally until the lentils are soft and falling apart about 10-15 mins. Stir in cilantro and serv over rice or whatever.

Wow how do you have the time to do this?

This recipe appears here without the express consent of Eating Well Magazine where it appears in the Feb 2010 edition so don’t sell it or profit from it!