Sunday, July 12, 2009

Festering in the crisper drawer ...

This past week was incredibly busy. I did all of my hobbies a lot: Made dinner all but two nights; read two books; watched three Woody Allen movies; Ran a 5K; Had a role in eight different plays. And my parents came to visit.

Anyway, you know how I feel about busy-ness. Cue coma.

In other news:


Red Curry With Vegetables: Aw, man. This was so good. I never mix these particular vegetables together: green beans and sweet potatoes. Plus, sauteed tofu slabs are only like my favorite thing. It was pretty light on the curry sauce, but I think that is because I OD'd on green beans, because my other option was to have the leftover 1/4 pound of green beans festering into a soup in the crisper drawer. This reminds me: I need to make good on this commitment to more sweet potatoes.

Pasta with Golden Garlic, Tomatoes and Sage: Oh, I don't know. This was fine. I'd make it again, probably, but only if I was stuck somewhere with just pasta, garlic, tomatoes, olives, sage and chickpeas. It wasn't gross. It was sometimes weird to eat a chickpea at the same time as a noodle. But it didn't wow me, either. So there.

Maverick Grits: Here I tried to recreate something from one of my favorite restaurants, Chester Creek Cafe, and to be honest, the cook had given me full access to his methods the night I had it. [He knows Chuck, and stopped by our table]. I had to ad-lib on some things. For instance, I didn't want to wait an hour for my grits, so I went with my standard grits recipe. The Maverick Grits in the restaurant -- way better. Those tomatoes were little explosions. Mine turned into a pretty serious meat party, and my body didn't know what to make of chorizo. It was okay. Unfortunately, the one at Chester Creek will be gone with their next seasonal menu change.

Korean Sesame-Crusted Tofu: Now this was fantastic. A mix of a lot of fun veggies like Bok Choy and those mini corn cobs, etc. I had no idea what to do with bok choy, so I watched a demo on YouTube. This was fantastic. [The food. The video was a titch dull].

Once again, the Internet has provided me with a kind soul who posted the recipe so I don't have to.

Mattar Paneer: Speaking of restaurants, one of my other favs is Mattar Paneer -- cheese and peas in a curry-like sauce -- from India Palace, which I've been reluctant to make at home because of homemade paneer. Our friend V-Nick was up for the challenge, and made paneer this week. He dropped some off for us, basically doing all the heavy lifting, and I got to take the easy-peasy mattar paneer route. This was awesome. I like mine spicier than how this turned out. But with some adjustments, I think I could ramp up the temps. Also, it was weird to be like "Oh! That taste is mustard seed!" It was like looking behind the curtain.

Thanks, V-Nick!

Ablutions: Notes for a Novel by Patrick DeWitt: here are a few things that make me leery when reading a debut novel: 1) When one of the blurbs is by someone who is listed in the acknowledgments (Well that was nice of your friend/writing mentor/college roommate Dennis Cooper to say he loves this book very much); 2) When the book is, oh, say, about a bartender, and in the author’s short bio on the back flap it says, for instance ” … Oregon, where he currently resides … blah blah … has worked as … a bartender.” That makes me say, “Then write a story about a piano teacher, you fool.”

Patrick DeWitt probably could have found a stranger to say nice things about his novel Ablutions: Notes for a Novel, an alternative-format story told in vignette sized character sketches, and starring the dozen-or-so regulars this guy encounters while working at a bar in Hollywood. And by “this guy” I mean “You.” Ablutions is written in second person. The nerve.

Full review here.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister: I didn't hate Erica Bauermeister's novel "The School of Essential Ingredients" at all. I picked it up because I liked the premise of a woman teaching a cooking class, especially after reading Jincy Willett's "The Writing Class." I wanted to see how the approaches would differ, and what kind of characters would show up for a Monday evening session in the kitchen of a restaurant, versus the kind of characters who would show up for a writing workshop.

Full review will be here.


Manhattan 1978: Here Woody Allen really stretches himself to play a 40-something New York writer with a 17-year-old girlfriend, played by an actual 17-year-old, Murial Hemingway. This is ranking up there with my favorites of his so far.

Know what Woody Allen does well? Two couples dining in a restaurant. Those are some of my favorite moments in his movies. Really makes me want to travel to late 1970s Manhattan. Unfortunately, after watching this, Chuck and I both caught Woody Allen-itis and everything we said sounded like the neurotic banter of his characters. That was ... weird.
Everyone Says I Love You: God I hate musicals.* This has been my least-favorite Woody Allen of the bunch.

Mighty Aphrodite This one was cute. And the Greek Chorus didn't annoy me at all. Woody Allen's adopted son came from a prostie; Woody gets to know her; Woody plays matchmaker ... pretty standard fare.

"Natalee Holloway" This was exactly what I wanted to watch on Saturday night. Unfortunately, you know how it ends. Fortunately, it starred Alex P. Keaton's girlfriend from "Family Ties," the one who danced with him to that Billy Vera and the Beaters song. The one he married in real life. It was good to see her. I love when I can bust out some fond 80s memories.

*Buffy musical need not apply

1 comment:

Whiskeymarie said...

My Mr. pushed me into the world of Woody Allen after years of post traumatic stress disorder after watching "Zelig" in my teens. I'm glad I gave him another chance. We saw "Whatever Works" this weekend- it had mediocre/bad reviews, but I liked it. It was sweet, funny (albeit kind of ridiculous as far as believability goes), but it did what every W.A. movie does, which is make me want to pick up and move to New York immediately.

And you and I are a lot alike in that, if we have a super-packed schedule for a few days, we need a week or two to lay around the house unbathed and immobile to recover.