Sunday, August 2, 2009

What the pho? ...

Well, I managed to salvage a shitastic week with an awesome weekend in solitary confinement. I didn't talk to anyone, or see any faces that weren't Chuck's.

I made foods, wrote sentences, read books, got stuck six miles from civilization on a pair of inline skates when it started raining, but used it as an excuse to listen to the song "Hard Rain" by Shout Out Louds on repeat as I skated back. I also got upward of 9 hours of sleep a night.

I feel like I was at a deprogramming retreat in the woods.

In other news:


Beets Au Gratin: Well color my fingernails fuchsia. Here's another from the "Chuck brings home foreign substance from the Farmer's Market, I make it into something" files. Obviously I know what a beet is, but I don't think I've ever had one and the only time I ever saw them was when my parents were on some weird diet in the late 80s. (I think they ate a gelatinous version from a can, my dad doing everything but plugging his nose and croaking "Down the hatch.") These. Were. Awesome. Once I got past the part where I couldn't stop thinking they were a dessert. Basically: boil beets, peel and slice, make a roux, put them in a pan, cover with swiss cheese. Bake.

This was obviously a side dish. He brought home cabbage, too, so I made Buttered cabbage. It was fine.

Pho: Making this felt like I was concocting a witch's brew. Things chucked into a cauldron -- shallots, anise stars, garlic, basil stems, etc., then left to simmer for an hour. Discard all solids, serve over rice noodles with a few other things like green onions and bean sprouts.

This was deceptive: way more fun to make than eat. But it made the apartment smell awesome. It was just okay. I think I was hungrier when I finished eating it than before I began . I won't make this version again.

Banana and Black Bean Empanadas: Here in the Up North, this thing would be called a spicy pastey. But instead of being an easy vessel for things like meat and potatoes, this had black beans and bananas, and a spicy mix of seasonings.

This is the best thing I've made in a long time. It was so damn delicious. Why do bananas and black beans taste so good together? They are the chocolate and peanut butter of the warm climates. NOTE: Chuck thought this might be better with some sort of non-invasive tomato-based dipping something.

We, of course, paired it with a sparkling Jupina. I think Whiskey Marie recommended trying this awhile ago with the promise that it was pretty easy. I'd say it was a little trickier than most things I make, but I didn't cry like I did the time I tried to make Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage.

Sag Harbor: A Novel by Colson Whithead: Colson Whitehead’s coming-of-age novel Sag Harbor defies the conventional definition of novel in that it doesn’t have one of those pesky plots weighing it down. This is something a reader should understand before reading to avoid all sorts of failed Aha! moments: Nope. This isn’t going to be about an 80s child, fatally wounded in a BB gun fight. Nope. This isn’t going to be about coveting thy friend’s summer girlfriend.

Whitehead admits this himself in his video pitch: “There’s no dead body,” he says as he wanders the streets of Sag Harbor, linking his novel to Stand By Me, and deflating my ego. I thought I was being really clever when I thought to myself while reading “This is a lot like ‘Stand By Me’ without a dead body.” Boo. There are no original thoughts left.

Full review here.

The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder by Stephen Elliott: The only way this book could be more of a diary would be if it had a Yorkie on the cover and a glitter pen attached with a little belt-like loop. The book covers just more than a year in the life of Elliott, who is combating writer's block with Adderall -- which has him pacing his San Francisco apartment -- yet he continues to struggle to make words, coming off the success of his novel "Happy Baby," his best, according to footnotes on his "Also By Stephen Elliott" page.

I really liked this book.

Full review will appear here.

Alice: This Woody Allen movie is an insta-Top Five Woody Allen film in my book. Mia Farrow stars as a richy rich who becomes frustrated with her shopping and peddies lifestyle, which manifests as a back ache. She visits an accupuncturist who prescribes herbs that inspire her to seduce a single father. Totally charming and funny.


Sproactually said...

Beet Greens are also very good for you, there are like a kale, a bitter green, but i fry them up and eat them warm.

I just boil the beets 20-30 mins, put them in the fridge and peel them cold and slice them.

I like how they turn everything red the next day.

Whiskeymarie said...

One thing you should know about me- whenever I recommend a recipe, I'm always going to say that it's "fairly easy" or "not too hard to make" or something along those lines.

I don't know why I do it, but I totally can't stop myself.
You've been warned.

Belldoorlover said...

I just finished David Sedaris newest book... something with the words flames and engulf in the title... Would have much rather just read your blog and yes I actually thought that at the end of most chapters.

christina said...

Hah! I liked that Sedaris, but it might have been more of a nostalgia like.