Thursday, July 23, 2009


And these are my vices:
impatience, bad temper, wine,
the more than occasional cigarette,
an almost unquenchable thirst to be kissed,
a hunger that isn't hunger
but something like fear, a staunching of dread
and a taste for bitter gossip
of those who've wronged me—for bitterness—
and flirting with strangers and saying sweetheart
to children whose names I don't even know
and driving too fast and not being Buddhist
enough to let insects live in my house
or those cute little toylike mice
whose soft grey bodies in sticky traps
I carry, lifeless, out to the trash
and that I sometimes prefer the company of a book
to a human being, and humming
and living inside my head
and how as a girl I trailed a slow-hipped aunt
at twilight across the lawn
and learned to catch fireflies in my hands,
to smear their sticky, still-pulsing flickering
onto my fingers and earlobes like jewels.

by Cecilia Woloch from Carpathia

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asian Supper Salad

Serves 4


For Dressing/Marinade:
1 tiny Thai chile or 1 fresh Serrano chile (seed chilies to reduce their heat, if desired)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water

For Noodles and Meat or Tofu:
1 ounce dried mushrooms (preferably shiitakes)
1/2 pound thin soba noodles
1/2 pound cooked chicken, lean pork, or lean beef, cut into thin strips, or extra firm or baked tofu cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 quarts water

For Salad:
1/2 small sweet onion (Vidalia, Maui, Walla-Walla, etc., sliced thinly)
1/2 head napa cabbage, outer leaves removed, washed, dried and sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, torn
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
1/2 cup roasted and salted, chopped cashews


1. Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Boil enough water to cover the mushrooms. Let mushrooms sit in water for at least 10 minutes. Then drain, squeeze out excess liquid from mushrooms, and set aside. Meanwhile, place onions in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside. Mix dressing ingredients in a medium bowl.

2. Add the meat or tofu and mushrooms to the bowl of dressing.

3. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven and add salt to the water. Add noodles and cook according to directions on package until tender, but not mushy. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, let drain completely and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, herbs and onion. Divide this mixture between 4 large soup bowls or dinner plates. Pile noodles atop each mound of cabbage. Top each serving with the marinated meat or tofu, being careful not to pour too much dressing onto each serving. Leave the extra dressing on the table and invite friends to spoon extra the dressing over their salads, if desired. Top it all off with chopped cashews.

**This dressing is also excellent over thinly sliced, barely ripe peaches, pluots or nectarines.
*Napa cabbage is a type of Chinese cabbage. In Korean cuisine, it's used in making the most common type of kimchi.

Recipe by Cristina Paul

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

You'll need 2 parts curiosity and 1 part time for this little do it yourself project. Vanilla's flavor is soluble in water or alcohol. So all you'll require is 1 vanilla bean (make sure that it doesn't look old or dry like Keith Richards face) and 3/4 cup of bourbon or vodka. Heat the alcohol and pour it into a clean 1-cup container that can be sealed. Now split your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the warm alcohol. Toss in the vanilla bean. Once the alcohol has cooled, seal the container and store it at room temperature for at least a week. Gently shake (like a Polaroid picture, if you wish) everyday for that week. Now you may strain the extract and it will keep indefinitely!
Bonus: This extract tastes better than the store-bought stuff and it costs less as well.