Saturday, July 12, 2008


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

by William E Henley

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Do Give A Fig

Did you ever have crackers with feta and fig jam spread on top at a party? Well, get real because it's fig season. Plus, chard is infinitely tastier and healthier than a measly cracker.

Serves 4

2 lbs of red Swiss chard, stems trimmed
2 Tbsp butter
4 chopped shallots
6 large, black mission figs, cut in half
scant 1/2 cup of high quality feta cheese
fine, well-aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Chop the Swiss chard stems into 1" - 2" pieces. Place chard, shallots, and butter in a large pan over moderately low heat. Sautee until shallots are translucent and chard softens - about 6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, chop the chard leaves and place all the figs, cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Place a piece of crumbled feta on each of the fig halves. Roast the figs in the oven for about 9 minutes, until the feta begins to brown ever so slightly at the edges. Take the figs out of the oven and drizzle a drop of balsamic on each fig.
3. While the figs roast, place the chard leaves in the pan with the stems, shallots, and butter. Add the salt and cover the chard with another pan. Let cook, stirring occasionally until all the leaves wilt - about 9 minutes.
4. Spoon the chard and all of the juices onto a platter and carefully place the roasted figs on top of the bed of greens.

***Although I love this dish warm, the chard is lovely when served at room temperature. The figs will still taste nice, but look far better straight out of the oven. Extras are great spread on a grilled panino.

Recipe constructed by Cristina Paul

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

Reasons Everyone Misses L.A.

1. Rastafarian midget sightings are a healthful symptom of the location.
2. The Grand Spa's oil massage and body scrub on 6th and Virgil - it's the best of Korean Spa treatments and open 24 hours. So many bushes and nowhere to hide!
3. The Hollywood Bowl summer concert series - music to fall in love with and by - even if you're living in penury. N.B. When leaving, there is usually an older black gentleman outside of the Bowl with a ragged hand puppet and a soulful voice that will stick with you like a bad meal. I am not quite sure what his act is all about, but it's memorable - poor ventriloquism? transparent gospel puppetry? Check it out.
4. Farmer's markets everywhere, the unparalleled produce, the people who frequent the markets, and sell at them - especially a salt and peppered younger fellow who works the greens stand on Saturdays in Santa Monica. He also makes an occasional cameo at the Tuesday Culver City farmer's market.
5. Santa Monica Yoga - neither pretension nor yoga mat are required.
6. Seeing no contradiction in consuming vast quantities of probiotics while enjoying sunsets made more beautiful by my personal contribution to local smog.
7. The palm trees.