Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hoo boy

Opening night was a little rough! I'm pleased to say that my scenes went well, but there were other spots in the play where lines were forgotten, ad libs galore, yikes! We'd better get things smoothed out tonight!

On the other hand, the audience probably couldn't tell it, and there were lots of laughs from the crowd. It was only we who were backstage who were standing open-mouthed and horrified. And who collapsed in hysterics once it finally was over!

No biggie.

Previous posts about the play (in reverse order):
"hell" week
more theater
reflections on acting
Come Blow Your Horn

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

wordless wednesday

Hey, dog lovers! This Sunday night, we can expect to see lots of canine hijinks over at Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnick's place. Head on over for head shots, tummy shots, jump shots and what nots!

Follow the links in the sidebar to lots more wordless wednesdays. This is #16!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"hell" week

Our first performance is Friday. Those of you who have done theater know exactly what that means. Every night this week, we rehearse for as long as it takes to get it right. It's known in theatuh parlance as "hell week," although, I must confess, I enjoy it! As long as I don't think about the things that aren't getting done elsewhere because I'm in rehearsal. I enjoy it, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to smooth out the wrinkles (figuratively, not literally, unfortunately! )

That said, one of the things that won't be getting done at home this week is just about anything in the way of posting. I've already queued up a Wordless Wednesday photo, but what's going to have to wait till next week (probably) is a post on the bear who visited yesterday (too many pictures, how to choose?), a new green bean recipe that The Huz and I really loved, and some more thoughts about and minor variations on the Barefoot Contessa's Indonesian Ginger Chicken, which I made and took to a dear friend's home this weekend and which was loved by both mom & dad AND all three kids. You know you've got a winner on your hands when adults and kids alike go back for seconds! "Mom, can I have two more pieces of chicken?" "You've already had four, Austin, try just having one and see if you still want another one." Music to my ears. I made another big batch last night for the Huz's lunches this week, but therein lies a variation that will need to be reserved for later reporting.

Have a good week, my blogging friends, and don't be surprised if I also disappear from the commenting circuit. Oooo, I can't wait to get in front of an audience! Hope to see some of you there!

Previous posts about the play:
more theater
reflections on acting
Come Blow Your Horn

Friday, September 22, 2006

reflections on acting

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my latest theater venture. Since then I haven't given many updates, in part because there are so many other things I wanted to share, and in part because I've been in rehearsals a lot, which limits the amount of time available for blogging. But now we're exactly one week from opening night. Woo hoo! And that means we're getting into "hell week," so I figure I'd better share some thoughts with you about it, before I totally disappear into the rehearsal death march that is looming.

This acting business is really, really interesting. You've got lots of different personalities trying to pull together to put on a story that stretches across a couple of hours. We all probably have different perspectives on what the production should turn out like, but of course the director is the one who gets to determine that. Even a director who is open to input, as is ours, will need to veto and guide and even hector us to get what he wants out of us. I might want to play a scene softly, and he might want me to play it pointedly and firmly. He's the boss; that's how it gets played. Let that little creative urge go, let it die somewhere quietly. It really is like a little death. Nobody ever said I wasn't strong-willed. Even when I'm willing to submit, it's not without a little "ouch."

(Let's don't talk about what happens when I'm not willing. Thank goodness it hasn't happened in this context. That would not be a pretty sight!)

What's so interesting and absorbing, though, is that the script really only gives you the bare bones of what's going to go on, up there on the stage. There are very few places where the playwright gives you a hint of what the character might be feeling or how they might say something. Most of the time, you have a lot of leeway to decide how to say a line. So, for instance, here's a line: "I don't want that."

Is it said with quiet conviction? Fury? Incredulity? Wheedlingly? Fearfully?

Is it, "I don't want that."

"I don't want that."

"I don't want that."

"I don't want that."

You get the idea.

Now add the question of what you're doing with hands, face, body, and you can see how many combinations you can come up with. Multiply by the number of other characters on stage and how you're interacting with them. I believe that probably makes the combinations exponential, but don't make me go back to my high school math book to confirm that I'm remembering the word correctly, please.

Now, most of the time you can tell from the context of the situation and conversations (and there's loads of conversations in Neil Simon, not many long, meaningful silences!) how a line should be said, and you can add whatever of your own natural expressions and movements that make sense and that hopefully add to the audience's understanding of what's going on, what sort of person your character is, etc.

But, more often than you might think, your director will ask you to change how you say the line. That's called directing. :o) So the next time you do that line, you need to override your own instincts and substitute his. It can be challenging, but it also allows you to increase your range of expression and stretches you in your skills. And for someone like myself, with very little experience, that's a huge, huge bonus. I am loving it!

I'm so totally absorbed in the process. At night, in particular, I mull over my character, and how she might do certain things. There is an interesting time when I have to sit off to the side and not say anything as others carry on a longish, contentious conversation, so I have to think about how she would act at that point. Just this moment, I had an idea and drifted away from writing this! Especially at night, as I fall asleep, if I'm awake in the night, when I wake up in the morning, my thoughts turn to the play. I consider what she would wear (pinks and purples, totally not me), how she would carry herself, what sorts of gestures she would make. I think about how the actors playing opposite me are saying and doing certain things, and how I might like to ask them to adjust that if they are in agreement with me about a certain series of lines.

Yep, absorbed is a very good word for it. I'm being absorbed, as if by a sponge. The usual me is disappearing into the theater sponge. Anyone who asks me how I'm doing hears about the play. I recently had to introduce myself to a group of women and I ended with "and I'm into theater." The Huz hears all about the rehearsals and my thinking. I'm just absorbed.

So anyway, if you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by and see the play. It's just a small community theater, so there's really no need for advance reservations, although they do like to know you're coming. It's only $8 per person. Here are show times and directions, and even a restaurant recommendation. And if you're coming, I'd love to know it ... but don't tell me when! I think I'll do better if I think everyone in the audience is a stranger.

Neil Simon's "Come Blow Your Horn"

Friday & Saturday, Sept 29 & 3o, 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 1, 4:00 pm
Friday & Saturday, Oct 6 & 7, 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 8, 4:00 pm

Old Church Community Theater
137 North Main Street
Bradford, Vermont

For reservations, just leave a message at 802.222.3322. They won't call you back, but they'll hold the tickets for you at the box office.

If you're the kind of person who likes to sit right next to the heating ducts, ask for the third or seventh row, on the left side of the center aisle. There's the most delicious warm air wafting up beneath your ankles there.

I highly recommend The Perfect Pear Cafe , if you're thinking of making a night of it. Big-city quality food with small-town cordiality.

More about the play:
more theater
reflections on acting

Thursday, September 21, 2006

the ahhh factor

A series of photos taken from the window of my room at The Fold in Lyndonville, Vermont, where I spent a weekend cooking for a group in August. My window faced east, toward New Hampshire, and I was up a lot earlier than normal for ol' night owl me.

braised green beans with soy and sesame

In the coming days, I expect I will be making --- and hopefully blogging -- a number of green bean recipes, in an effort to use up a glut of green beans from the garden. Glut as in gluttony as in yummy what a dilemma to have. The Huz and I really like green beans, as long as they're as good as the sweet variety we planted this year: Blue Lake. (For you gardeners out there, you can get Blue Lake in both bush and pole varieties, and the bush variety bears beans earlier. Right about the time the bush beans are tapering off, in kick the pole beans. Ahhhh. Heaven.)

So I turned to my trusty "Vegetables Every Day" (did yours arrive yet, Kalyn?) to see what we might see. Below is a recipe that the author rightly assures us is great for the beans that stayed on the vine a little too long. Blue Lake beans never do turn tough or stringy no matter how lazy a harvester you are, but nonetheless I used this recipe on the ones that The Huz picked last night, the ones that were too high for me and thus got a bit bigger than we normally let them do. We call them the police batons. He picked them just last night, when he got home from work , in the near-dark at 7:30 already. Yes, summer's over, folks. Sigh.

If you like gorgonzola, try sprinkling a tiny bit over your beans at the table. It's great!

Braised Green Beans with Soy and Sesame

From the book: "This recipe is a good use for thicker, older, out-of-season beans. The long cooking time may shock those used to eating crisp (i.e., undercooked) green beans. However, braising makes the beans especially tender and gives them a chance to absorb the flavors from the braising liquid. The result is highly seasoned, very tender (but not mushy) beans. Serve these beans as a side for something plain, such as sauteed chicken breasts, and accompany with plenty of white rice to absorb the potent sauce the braising liquid forms when reduced."

2/3 c chicken or vegetable stock (I used only ½ cup)
2 T soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T roasted peanut oil (I used olive)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh gingerroot, minced
2 medium scallions, sliced thin (I used minced onion)
1 pound green beans, ends snapped off
1 T minced fresh cilantro or basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper
  • Combine the stock, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the peanut oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and saute over medium heat until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute.
  • Add the beans and stir to coat them well with the oil and aromatics.
  • Add the stock mixture to the pan and bring the liquid to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring two or three times, until the beans are tender but still offer some resistance to the bit, about 20 minutes.
  • Uncover and cook to reduce the remaining liquid to just a tablespoon or two, two to three minutes.
  • Stir in the cilantro or basil and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
P.S. I normally am not a big cilantro fan, but I had gotten some to try with the cucumber, mango and black bean salad (I usually stick pretty closely to a recipe the first time I try it), so I cautiously used it here. It was very good! Something about that fresh, odd flavor set off this strong, dark-flavored dish quite nicely. But I'm sure basil would also have been an asset to the dish.

P.P.S. This is my entry in Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging event. She'll be posting the roundup sometime Sunday evening, so be sure to stop by and say "Hey!"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

cucumber, mango, and black bean salad

We planted cucumbers for the first time this year, and they turned out to be really delicious. I've had cukes from home gardens before that tasted bitter, which is probably why we haven't planted them till now. I'm a definite cuke fan, though, and we tried planting just two vines of them. As a result, we've gotten only a few cukes, which is a darn shame, because these babies are crisp and juicy with just a hint of sweetness. Next year, we will definitely plant more of this cultivar! (If you want to know what kind they are, leave a comment and I'll rummage around in our seed drawer for you.)

I found this recipe on the Cooking Light website. The flavors and textures are wonderful. I used a little less cilantro and jalepe├▒o than the recipe calls for, and for us, it was perfect. Next time, I'm thinking of adding some good black olives to it.

It's been a while since I've submitted anything to Sweetnicks' ARF 5-a-day event; this recipe is a clear candidate, with its variety of fruits and veggies. Be-bop on over to her site tonight to get a recap of all the other great anti-oxidant rich recipes.

1 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalape├▒o pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring gently. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

CALORIES 39(3% from fat); FAT 0.1g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g); PROTEIN 1.6g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 18mg; SODIUM 422mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 0.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 9.7g

Sunday, September 17, 2006

the "5 things to eat" thang

Cyndi over at Cookin' With Cyndi has tagged me for the "5 things to eat before you die" meme. Woohoo! I feel like a high school kid who's been noticed by the popular crowd! Thanks, Cyndi!

Today the Huz and I drove to an apple orchard and picked up a bag of Ginger Gold apples. They are incredibly crisp, tart and juicy, and I would be sad if I thought I could never have another one, but since I know I can, and will often, it doesn't make the list of 5 things I want to eat (again) before I die. The items below are special because they're either really, really hard to get (France isn't on the way home from work, you know) or because I can't afford to have them often, whether calorically or budget-wise.

So, enough with the introduction! Here's the list:
  1. I'm in the sushi-lover camp. I especially love unagi, flying fish roe, salmon, and fluke, so I'd ask for a plate of that with some sort of roll and a side order of seaweed salad made with sesame oil, and a really good bowl of miso soup. (Is it OK to compose an entire meal and call it one of my items?)
  2. A bowl of seafood chowder from the Seaside Shanty in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia. Absolute heaven, made with lots of cream and butter and absolutely no thickener other than chunks of potatoes, which are small and in far less quantity than the scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, haddock, & lobster that fill the bowl and poke up out of the broth.
  3. Paella from Sevilla in Greenwich Village, NYC.
  4. Bread eaten plain with just about any cheese, in France.
  5. Haagen Daaz strawberry ice cream. Look it up, nothing in it but cream, sugar, eggs, and strawberries. I absolutely adore this stuff!

Ahem. One less polite than yourselves might feel compelled to point out that there are no fruits or vegetables on my list to speak of; the potatoes in the chowder don't count, although perhaps the seaweed does. But, this isn't the short list of which I will now proceed to make my sole diet for the rest of my life, so I'm not going to sweat it!

So now, who to tag? This meme has been making the rounds for a while, so a lot of people have already written it up, but I think the following folk have not:
  1. Lynne of From Lynne to Lean, who is changing her eating habits even as we speak;
  2. Ed of Is It Edible?, whose selections will no doubt amaze and inspire us all;
  3. Barbara from You Gonna Eat All That?, in hopes of enticing her out of semi-retirement;
  4. emlingren from Unloading Here!!, ditto, times two; and
  5. Eva from Running Home, because I know she can come up with choices that, if not universal, will still appeal because of the winsome way she presents them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

little things mean a lot

Do you notice anything interesting about this picture?

No, you're saying, we've seen so doggone many shots of your kitchen by now, PatL, that there's absolutely nothing interesting left. It's all old hat. Puh-lease, let's move on.

Ok, sorry, but here's the thing. This whole process of putting together this "new" kitchen has been full of surprises. I'm a techie. Sometimes I manage techies. So, I'm the type of person who usually thinks things through pretty carefully before she does them. And believe you me, this kitchen was so lovingly thought through, so yearned for, so .. ahem .. obsessed over, that if I weren't familiar with how projects go in other spheres of my life, I'd have said there were no surprises left.

But here was one that happened right when the granite installer was creating the template for the countertops. He began to draw the template so that the sinks were centered under the window. That's how our old sinks were, that's kind of the standard thing to do, that's what he was going to do. But as he was doing it, I realized I could fix something that's always been an annoyance.

You see, we have bird feeders hanging to the left of these windows, strung between the house and a tree. Our precise method of doing that might be of interest to some of you, if I tell you that we have absolutely no squirrel problems with our feeders. Ever. But I digress.

When standing at the sink I would almost always lean forward so I could see the birds on the feeders. And this is where the surprise comes in ... I suddenly realized that I could have the sinks positioned to the right, so that I could see the birds without having to lean forward! Which meant that I could watch them more or less constantly, while doing the dishes or whatever. Yahoo!

So, what you'll notice in the first picture now, if you didn't already, is that the sinks are off-center. My wonderful installer realized he could place them so that the center wall between the two sinks is lined up with the center of the windows, so it doesn't look totally haphazard. And now, when I stand at my sink, I just have to turn my head to see this view.

Little things mean a lot. I love my birds. I love to see who's out there, what flashes of color there are, who's making that sound, who ferociously defends their perch and who scatters easily. In the spring it's always fun to see the birds who've come back, or who pass through on their way further north. I love knowing that because of our feeders we have more birds than we would have otherwise, and the birds will survive the winter and come back to make this their dining room next spring. I love hearing all the birdsong in the spring as they figure out who they're going to mate with and who will get the best nest position. I just love it all. Isn't it FABULOUS?

And the little things are not always obvious in the beginning, as this one wasn't. We have to stay flexible, involved, even, yes, analytical -- even when we think we've got something all figured out.

Or someone.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' with it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

minor details

As with most household projects, at least in my household, the work on the kitchen is down to the small details, and it's taking a while to get around to doing them. Which explains why you haven't had so many breathless reports of Every. Inch. Of progress lately.

We still need to replace the flooring (a not-so-small detail). We've decided what we want to do, it's just a question of prioritizing it and getting it done. Getting this far seems to have taken some of the steam out of my remodel engine; I'm still really enjoying looking at my "new" kitchen so I'm not feeling pressure to take care of the floor, which, frankly, looks even uglier with all the bright newness around. But in a way, I want to take this in stages so I can let all the excitement of one new thing begin to dim a little, and then introduce another new thing and get the buzz all over again!

One thing that we did take care of right away ... oh, I guess I really should stop saying "we." It leaves you under the impression that The Huz has had one single thing to do with any of this. I'll tell you what his role has been: The Veto King. I've presented my ideas to him in case he wanted to veto any of them. To date, I'm happy to report, there's only one thing he's vetoed: painting the cabinetry. He just couldn't bear the idea of covering up all that flame spruce with paint. And while I happen to not think that flame spruce is anything special, I can kind of understand where he's coming from. So, the cabinets stay spruce-d. I can live with that.

Other than that, he's been good with all my choices, and other than one trip to look at the granite before we purchased it, he's just been sitting back and saying, "Uh-huh" and "that looks real nice, honey." Which illustrates why we get along so well. I'm one of those "Isn't this FABULOUS??" types, and he's one of the "It's real nice" types. So we even each other out.

Anyway, one choice that I did make early on was to replace the cabinet knobs. If you look back at this post you'll see our previous knobs matched the wood of the cabinets. I wanted something that would echo the color of the countertops. So I went to Blodgett's Sash & Door in Lebanon, New Hampshire, a little store that has the most incredible selection of knobs, among other things. I thought I had raved about them in a previous post, but I can't find it to point you to it.

I had in mind to get black ceramic knobs, so I looked through a whole roomful of knobs and didn't find the exact thing, but I did find lots of knobs that would do, including some that are made from the same granite as our countertops (Amazon Uba Tuba). So I took a list to the counter and asked for pricing.

The pricing process took a while as the guy had to look them up in paper manufacturer's catalogs --- didn't know people did that any more! --- so I wandered around some. There's lots of fun stuff to look at in this store. And lo and behold, I came across a few more spots where they had tucked in some knob displays and voila! There they were! So I took the product numbers back to the counter and added them to the list. They were just what I wanted.

And friends, are you ready for this?

They were the cheapest option.

No way. When's the last time you ever picked the cheapest option for anything?

I have about 40 knobs in my kitchen. The Uba Tuba knobs were about $40 each. Do the math. No, never mind, allow me. $1600 for cabinet knobs.

My ceramic ones were $1.95, no shipping charge. Less than $80. Wa-HOO!! And don't they look nice? If you don't think so, this is the time to practice what your mother taught you about not saying anything if you can't say anything nice. In case you were wondering.

The other thing we did that I haven't shown you is get new lights installed over the kitchen sink. These are actually track lights, with the track installed in the ceiling of the cabinet above the sink, which is largely unusable anyway unless you're 6 feet tall. On my tip-toes I can get stuff out of there, but it's a stretch. So the cords hang down from the track right through the cabinet. Works really well, actually. Clever, clever contractors.

Wait! No! It was The Huz who thought of that trick! How quickly we forget. Good thing he never reads my blog. :o)

So, on the list of to-do's: pick out a paint color for the walls (they're only primed), finish installing all those knobs, perhaps paint a black strip along the very top of the upper cabinets, and do the flooring. Oh, and I need to have my handyman install a thin strip of wood in front of the undercabinet lights, which show a little bit too much when they're on. And oh! Big one that I really have to get to soon ... we want to put a full-height piece of granite under the window behind the sink. How quickly we forget, indeed! Sheesh!

Anyone want to offer any suggestions for the color of the walls? Recalling that this little kitchen is a little bit cave-like, so I don't want to do deep colors like brick red or hunter green ... anyone feeling inspired? I have a couple of ideas, but they're preliminary and I won't tip my hand just yet.

wordless wednesday

This Sunday night, we can expect to see lots of canine hijinks over at Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnick's place. Head on over for head shots, tummy shots, jump shots and what nots!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

how to store basil

Last night The Huz came home from work really late. Like bedtime late. He was tired and very hungry, and I scurried around to make him a nice toasted BLT, green beans, and summer squash, all dishes straight from our garden. Mind you, it's not a requirement in our house that I do the dinner preparation, especially when I've eaten some hours earlier than him, but when your honey comes home that pooped, you just do. Right?

So, long about 10:30, as he was reading the paper (his favorite form of unwinding), he called out to me that the weather section was predicting a rapid drop of temperature last night, perhaps even as low as the high 20's.

The high 20's? That is just so wrong on so many levels. Not least of which is that I'm not ready for the summer to come that abruptly to an end. But more immediately, because I have an absolute forest of basil out in the garden, awaiting its metamorphosis into glorious pesto. Even though I just harvested quite a bit for a friend who stopped by today, and have had other friends come by to take what they wanted, I've only made a couple of batches of pesto for myself so far, and this is the stuff that needs to last us through the winter.

Thus ensued a veritable Keystone Cops thing of running around getting scissors, bag, shoes, etc, with Simba barking excitedly. I turned on the big overhead halogen light that shines from the peak of our roof, and dashed out the door with Simba on my heels. Ten minutes later, in I came with a LOT of basil. Thank goodness our refrigerator was relatively empty.

I've found that the best way to refrigerate basil is on the stem, wrapped in a damp towel, all encased in a plastic bag. I've heard that you can stick it in a vase of water just like a flower, and I've tried that, but I didn't like dealing with the slimy stems when I finally did get to using it, and I did find there was some attrition if I didn't get to it right away. I find if I store it in the fridge, it will last for up to a week. The leaves will turn brown, but they won't dry out, and it still makes perfectly good pesto.

By the way, I make a concentrated form of pesto for freezing, omitting the cheese and most of the olive oil. You can find my recipehere.

P.S. It didn't get anywhere near freezing last night. Still lots of basil out there! Whew!

P.P.S. Cyndi over at Cookin' With Cyndi has tagged me for the "Five Things To Eat Before You Die" meme. Thank you, Cyndi! I promise I'll blog it as soon as I can. I'm having a surprisingly hard time coming up with the list, but it's gradually coming together.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

That dish is named ...

Braised Red Radishes!

Recently I invited you all to guess what this was a picture of. You all came up with some very good guesses, and at least one very funny one. I can't believe it, but I think my almost-never-cooks sister was the closest, with her guess of jicama. Char! I think you have an inner cook in there somewhere!

Maybe you've heard me rave about Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. It's one of the cookbooks that sits on top of my microwave because I use it so often. It's organized by vegetable, with between 5 and 10 recipes per vegetable, and there are lots of veggies in there that I've never cooked before. The way it's organized, it really helps you to figure out how you're going to use some vegetable that you bought on impulse at the farmer's market and have no clue to how to cook. And, of course, it's a great aid for those of us who are trying to get more vegetables into our diets.

Most of the recipes, maybe all of them, are for side dishes, although of course you can turn any of them into a main dish meal. I have so many pages turned down in this book, it really qualifies to be called dog-eared.

So there I was one day with a bunch of radishes and no desire to eat them raw. I went to the book and found:
  • Braised Red Radishes
  • Roasted Radishes with Soy and Sesame Seeds
  • Radishes, Fennel, and Olives with Creamy Feta Cheese Spread
  • Sweet-and-Sour Radishes
  • Radish and Orange Salad with Paprika
  • Braised Daikon with Ginger and Soy
  • Shredded Daikon Salad with Sesame Seeds
I mean, who knew you could cook radishes in the first place, and then ... eight recipes???

The first one sounded good, with shallots and honey in the mix, so I gave it a try, and wow! It's amazing how much the pepperiness of the radishes is tamed by cooking them. Bishop expresses it best:
The flavor of cooked radishes is delicious. When braised, the white flesh turns light pink and the sharpness fades. What's left is pure radish flavor. This recipe is unexpectedly good.
Since then, the only other style I've tried is roasting them. I threw them in a pan with potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, rosemary, and olive oil, and they turned out great. Nobody ever guesses what they are, even when you leave them whole, because they lose their color and because it's just so unexpected.

Other favorite recipes from the book are braised red cabbage with onions, and broccoli with spicy balsamic dressing and black olives. Note to self: blog these recipes too!

There are 350 recipes in this book, and I haven't hit one yet that I didn't care for. Of course, as a confirmed bell pepper hater (Jack Bishop: "They are bitter and have a strong vegetal flavor." and please don't bother trying to persuade me the brighter colors are better!), I've tended to stay away from those recipes or I wouldn't be able to say that!

Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe. Comments in italics are my suggestions or modifications of the original recipe.

Braised Red Radishes
From Vegetables Every Day
Serves 4 as a side dish

20 medium radishes, with leaves, stems and rootlets removed (about 1 pound when trimmed)
1 T unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced (substitute minced onion if you don't have shallots on hand)
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 T honey
1 T minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, in my mind!)
  1. Unless very small, halve the radishes lengthwise from stem to root end (as you can see from my picture, I julienned mine).
  2. Reduce the stock by one half by simmering in a saucepan or the microwave.
  3. Melt the butter in a large lidded saute pan. Add the shallot and saute over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the radishes and stir-cook until well coated with butter, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the stock and honey, cover, and cook until the radishes are tender but not soft, about 10 minutes (a bit less, in my experience. Keep an eye on them). Remove the cover, season with salt to taste, and simmer to allow any juices in the pan to reduce to a glaze, about 1 minute. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.

Well, being as this is Friday and Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging is coming up, I think I'll submit this recipe to her event. If you'd like to see more veggie and herb based recipes, hop on over to her website to see the recap of all the recipes submitted to her. And if you try this recipe, please leave a comment letting me know what you thought of it!

more theater!

Those of you who know me only through my blog haven't heard this yet. Those of you who know me in person are probably tired of hearing about it. "This" and "it" refer to the fact that I'm involved in another theatrical production! Yeah! This time with a real part! YEAH! With lines to memorize ... oh yeah ... :o)

It's with a small community theater in a town about half an hour away. Small is good ... I'll try this out without a large crowd and lots of expectations on me, not to mention without having the financial success of a show riding on my shoulders. Half an hour away is not so good at first blush, but it actually works out pretty well, as I've taped my scenes with big blanks where my lines go, so I'm a bit ahead of the curve in memorizing my lines.

So what's the show, you ask? It's the first play of Neil Simon's that ever made it to Broadway, and it was a smash hit. It's called "Come Blow Your Horn." The movie starred Frank Sinatra, Jill St. John, Lee J. Cobb, and Barbara Rush. It's a fun story about a swingin' bachelor (guess who) who deals with a demanding dad, a fledgling younger brother just leaving the nest, a bevy of sexy ladies who keep him hopping socially, and the one woman who's different and who's out to win his heart --- c'est moi. The girl who's different. Yup, that fits!

I'm having an absolute blast with rehearsals. My, oh my, am I ever a ham. And I'm enjoying playing a show from the days when the whole dynamic between men and women was "He chases her till she catches him." Guys were "after one thing and one thing only" and there was a double standard about sex and it was all a big game to try to figure out how a "girl" could get a "man" to commit to marriage. It makes for some very entertaining theater! Layer on top of that Neil Simon's wit, and a nice group of actors and director, and this is really a lot of fun. Even with nightly rehearsals a half an hour away from here.

Of course, it COULD mean I'll be posting a bit less frequently ... but I already know you guys, you're a patient lot! :o)

But I do know I owe you a post about the mystery dish, and I promise it will be up by tomorrow! Till then ...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

wordless wednesday

This Sunday night, we can expect to see lots of canine hijinks over at Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnick's place. Head on over for head shots, tummy shots, jump shots and what nots!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

mystery solved!

In my previous post, I wondered aloud about why my hit counters were suddenly showing dozens of hits on my February post about the Barefoot Contessa's Indonesian Ginger Chicken recipe. It turns out that on August 31 the Barefoot Contessa show on Food TV featured this recipe, but their website didn't have the recipe online. No wonder my hits pretty much exploded! It's already one of the most popular posts I've done (the other one is this one on London Broil, go figure), so when you google the recipe my post comes up on the first page. Bingo! Many thanks to "Anonymous," who responded to my puzzlement with the answer. I figured TV had to be in the answer somehow.

Friday, September 01, 2006

indonesian ginger chicken

In the past day, my hit counter has exploded with people searching for the recipe for Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Indonesian Ginger Chicken. I blogged about it back in February. If you came here looking for that recipe, will you leave me a note and tell me what's sparking the sudden interest? Was it featured on TV recently?

See my blog post, which includes the recipe and my comments on adjustments I chose to make, here.