Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Naming of The Animals

Having commanded Adam to bestow

Names upon all the creatures, God withdrew

To empyrean palaces of blue

That warm and windless morning long ago,

And seemed to take no notice of the vexed

Look on the young man's face as he took thought

Of all the miracles the Lord had wrought

Now to be labeled, dubbed, yclept, indexed.

Before an addled mind and puddle brow,

The feathered nation and the finny prey

Passed by; there went biped and quadruped.

Adam looked forth with bottomless dismay

Into the tragic eyes of his first cow,

And shyly ventured, "Thou shalt be called 'Fred.'"

by Anthony Hecht, from Collected Later Poems.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nopales On My Mind

Serves 4

Because everyone deserves a taste of this slimy creature food. This dish pairs nicely with other summer fare such as grilled chicken or sausages.

1 medium sized nopal leaf (be sure that it's pretty flat and firm if you are going to prepare the leaf yourself)
kosher salt
2 larger or 3 smaller ripe manila mangoes
2 large, ripe avocados
2 Tbsp of fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped, fresh mint
2 Tbsp of roasted and salted pistachios
1/8 tsp very high quality, viscous balsamic vinegar

1. Trim and wash the nopal leaf.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the whole nopal leaf for 15-18 minutes. Remove the nopal from the boiling water and transfer to an ice bath.
3. Cut the nopal into 1/2" thick strips that are about 2" long. Place the nopales in a chilled bowl - they will be a bit slimy and will become even more mucilaginous once they are in the salad - don't fear.
4. Cut the mangoes into bite sized pieces and remove the skin. Add them to the bowl of nopales.
5. Cut the avocado into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with kosher salt.
6. Add the lime juice and nearly all of the mint to the bowl of nopales and mango. Then add the avocado to the salad and stir. Top off the salad with the remaining mint, pistachios, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

***Buy prepared nopales if you can so that you needn't bother with trimming the thorns off of this cactus. If you can't buy the nopales that have already been trimmed, use a vegetable peeler instead of a knife and peel horizontally to work most efficaciously. It is much easier to trim a flat nopal than one that is bent. There are instructions on the link above.
***Manila Mangoes are originally from the Phillipines. They are less fibrous and even more delicious than your typical mango and readily available at most Whole Foods, all mexican markets, and many supermarkets
*** If you'd like to get loquissimo replace the pistachios or the nopales with radishes, queso fresco, and/or cotija cheese.

recipe by Cristina Paul

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

Did You Know?
*25% of U.S. oil is used to make plastic products like straws. If neanderthals and nineteenth century Luddites didn't need them to drink, why do we? What if EVERYONE stopped using straws today?

Other Things Everyone Should Know
Check out this amazing green porno - not exactly sure what kind of green they mean... but you'll like it.

Playing tag has recently become my favorite respite from the crippling morass (emphasis on the ASS) of my mind. Besides the fact that onlookers may think you're slightly wonky, it's surprisingly good exercise (your lungs will hurt, your legs may tremble), it's less self destructive and expensive than drowning your sorrows in alcohol, and doesn't leave the carbon foot print of a pack of cigarettes or a long, relaxing drive. Plus, you can't play tag without a smile.

However, alcohol is often an excellent companion and if you should want to enjoy its company in a thoughtful manner, try an excellent and relatively local, Napa wine; I am sadly surrendering my Pellegrino habit because of the fact that it travels such a long way to reach my local CostCo - I'm suffering from serious carbon emission guilt. However, with a wicked label and name, you've got to uncork a bottle of The Prisoner and experience this unlikely blend - Zinfandel (51%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Syrah (12%), Petite Sirah (6%), Charbono (6%) and Grenache (2%). Purchase The Prisoner online, at Akasha in Culver City, or at The Wine House in West L.A.

Not into tag? Do you think drinking red wine during the summer months is gauche? Then BYOD - or bring your own dance.