Saturday, January 3, 2009

Denmark, Kangaroo, Orange

Pick a number from one to ten. Okay, now multiply that number
by nine. You will have a two-digit number. Add those two digits.
Now subtract five from that number. Take that number and find
its corresponding letter in the alphabet (1=A, 2=B, etc.). Now
think of a country that begins with that letter. Now name an
animal that begins with the last letter of the country. Finally, name
a fruit that begins with the last letter of that animal.

by Kevin Griffith from Denmark, Kangaroo, Orange

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things (thank you Julie Andrews) From '08:

*Spicy Daikon Radish and homemade Spicy Tofu from Dave's Gourmet Korean Food. He's a tiny man with a big smile and he sells at the Hollywood, Mar Vista, and Culver City Farmer's Markets in L.A.

*The Know It All: One Man's Humble Quest To Become The Smartest Person In The World, a book by A.J. Jacobs - you'lll feel vicariously foolish and giddily well-informed as you read the author's hilarious account of reading the Encyclopedia Britannica

*Free archery at Rancho Park

*O Ya Restaurant the most amazing sushi on the planet - you may just feel the need to kiss the sake sommelier (who by the way is kind of sultry in the I'm-the-wife-of-the-head-chef-and-far-more-learned-than-you-shall-ever-be-in-the ways- of-rice-polishing-and-approachable-aloofness

*Watching episodes or clips of Summer Heights High on the boob tube or YouTube - a meditation on Aussie insanity

*A board game called Wise and Otherwise

*Listening to Elton John's Greatest Hits, the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, and The Zombies on repeat - don't knock it until you try it

*Films (but I will admit that some of them are just great MOVIES): The Curious Tale of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Enchanted, Hamlet 2, Happy Go Lucky, Kung Fu Panda, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, The Visitor, Wall-E, Young At Heart

*Lillet blanc on the rocks before a nice meal

*Reading D'aulaires' Book of Greek Myths until you've memorized the illustrations and the saucy stories in this book intended for children but too good to be just for the kids

*The incredible singing Christmas card that both my best friend and brother purchased for me playing one of my favorite songs of all time: I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
Warning: the timbre of the singer's voice may cause nausea or an inexplicable need to urinate

*My new feather headband - which I've worn for the past week with total disregard for the color of my outfit and whether or not people have seen me with this same accessory in the very recent past. The headband may be causing some severe soreness in the area behind my ears, which I will continue to pass off as a symptom of too many holiday drinks and wearing my eyeglasses which I have NOT worn in the past week because that's just way too much stuff being perched upon the ole cranium

*The word lollygag - saying it over and over is kind of hypnotic and ridiculous (this is probably something you may want to chant in the shower when no one else is home - Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is sooooooooo 1253 AD). If you are into history you may be interested in the fact that "lollygagging" was slang for "fooling around" (sexually) in the beginning of the 20th century. Presently, "lollygag" doesn't have that naughty connotation, but back in the 40's, one Navy captain issued this warning: "Lovemaking and lollygagging are hereby strictly forbidden.... The holding of hands, osculation and constant embracing of [women], is a violation of naval discipline...."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spaghetti Squash with Pomegranate Jewels

Makes 8 servings

1 3 to 3 ½ pound spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried jumbo raisins or tart cherries (I like a mix of jumbo raisin varieties)
1/3 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons minced, fresh sage
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small pomegranate, seeded (about 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds)
1/3 cup hard sheep’s cheese such as Manchego or Iberico, crumbled or chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375. Halve squash lengthwise; discard seeds. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place squash halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 75 to 80 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in saucepan bring orange juice, broth, cinnamon stick, and garlic to boiling. Lower heat and let simmer for 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and add cherries; let stand 10 minutes
3. Using a fork, scrape squash pulp from shells into a large serving bowl – the cooked squash can be cooled first, otherwise use oven mitts.
4. Add raisins or cherries with juice, toasted walnuts, sage, and salt, and pepper to squash pulp. Toss to coat and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve warm. Makes 8 (about 2/3-cup) servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Up to a day ahead, cook spaghetti squash; scrape cooked spaghetti squash into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate squash. Thirty minutes ahead, warm cooked squash in microwave, covered and vented, 3 to 4 minutes, gently stirring twice. Finish recipe as directed in Step 2.

***True spaghetti squash is actually pale ivory to pale yellow in color. However, in the early 1990's, an orange spaghetti squash, known as "Orangetti" was developed and this is what is commonly found in today's supermarkets. Higher in beta carotene, the orange variety is also bit sweeter than its paler counterpart. Both have a mild flavor that is complemented and enhanced by the food served with or on it. This squash is a dieter's dream; a four-ounce serving of spaghetti squash only has 37 calories!

Recipe by Cristina Paul