Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Having it your way

In Let's eat on November 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Remember when everyone ate everything?

Like Velveeta and crackers, and Jello with celery and mayonnaise, and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Was it that we had been raised by Depression era parents and to pass on any food, however exotic, seemed like passing up wealth?

Okay, maybe the peanut butter and banana thing doesn’t always turn out so good. And as I look back at the list, maybe there’s a bit of rational response to my dilemma barely hidden in it. Wait. I’ll get there.

At the Paella event (you can read about it here), Leslie stirred up an incredible appetizer of Aurelia’s chorizo, mushrooms, cream, shallots and Sherry to be spooned lavishly over bread rounds. It was lovely. Okay, heart-stoppingly lovely but lovely none the less. I helped serve. About 1 in 10 people had a particular request.

I don’t eat mushrooms. Can I have just the sausage?

I don’t eat meat. Can I have just the mushrooms?

I don’t eat bread. Can I have just the sauce?

Oh, I don’t eat dairy. These folks were out of luck.

The shallots were invisible or there would have been someone who didn’t eat those too.

You’re wondering right now why I care so much. I wondered too and then I realized that one of my great loves is feeding people wonderful food. It’s my form of nurture, made physical — that Italian grandmother stuff, I guess. (Don’t tell either of my German grandmothers that I said that, but the German’s are known for other things, like making you do what’s good for you.)

I now keep gluten-free noodles and crackers in the pantry. I often buy organic, not because I am organically directed so much (poison is poison and nature has plenty of them) but because I have friends who are. I do however like local and I do that for myself when possible.

I keep cheese in the fridge  and fish in the freezer for the friends of mine who don’t eat red meat (and don’t eat chicken either sometimes). I don’t add pepper for friends who are super-tasters (yeah, who knew?).

I also try to keep up with changing diets as friends’ bodies needs change. Yes, those diets change and just when you think you know how to cook for a dear friend, you find that you’ve made the wrong selections and none of those dishes will work for them.

I know that health is behind a lot of this and I understand that. I wouldn’t want to eat things that made me feel bad either.I don’t eat oatmeal mush so don’t fix me any. It feels too much like someone else has already eaten it once. Other than that, I’m good.

The big dilemma — when the preferred format for this feeding is the dinner party, do I have to be careful about who I invite beyond encouraging a wonderful conversation? Or should I find another hobby? Or are we all becoming short order, have it your way cooks?

And is this a physical backlash from too much Velveeta and Jello?

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Shoendelier, the final episode

In Make something on November 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Well, maybe not ’cause I’m sure I will photograph it hanging in the front hall as well. But, this is the final development image.

Just received its last round of bling. You have to come see it. It’s much better in person!

What are you making? And no, a mess is not an answer.

Friday I’m attending a class on perishable jewelry, from fruits and vegetables. Can’t wait but I’m not sure what it means either.

It’s more than nostalgia

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I watched Across the Universe last night. If you haven’t seen it and you lived through a part of this amazing time, it’s a bittersweet visit. It captures the essence of the 60s if not the actuality of that decade, backed by Beatles music all very well done. Thanks to T Bone Burnett for the classic, classy interpretations along with several dynamic performances by Joe Cocker, Bono and of course, Eddie Izzard. I think even John would approve.

But that’s not my point. After we watched, we wondered what had happened to all that we learned then. Where did all those good intentions go, all that learning, all that energy for change? Have I stepped out of the change stream? Is it still going on with new voices, hands and energy?

If so, how did my generation become so complacent? Why did we stop? Did careers and family get in the way? Or was it the case of a few very loud voices sounding like a massive crowd?

Okay, I must stop now. My car needs an oil change. Oh. That’s how.

Wild about wild mushroom paella

In Big Fun!, Friend's doing cool stuff that you can share, Let's eat, Make something on November 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm

So, there’s a whole paella sub-culture developing. Saturday we went to a private Paella-off with some generous friends (and 400 others), the makers of Aurelia’s Chorizo, clearly the best Spanish chorizo in the whole world. These folks are serious about their paella as you can tell by the photo of the pan. We call this the four gaucho model.

Eric made the cherry paella paddle ’cause a paella this big needs the appropriate shovel. And when an event starts this way you know it’ll only get better. Around 4 o’clock James Canter, the executive chef of Alhambra in McAllen, showed up with these:

And black trumpet mushrooms and hen of the woods. . .

And these

And then these.

And they all went into the paella, along with lots of semi-boneless quail and of course, Aurelia’s Chorizo, which James says is the best he has ever found. James is one of the new breed of chef, the non-yelling, non-cussing, inclusive, generous breed who relies on solid cooking knowledge and wonderful ingredients. Gordon Ramsey, it’ll be good to forget you and your ilk.

I learned a lot! A lot! Like, this is the way Spaniards measure the rice into the pan:

The stock gets added to each rice sector to the top of the rice dam, again a measure. This is gaucho food after all and they probably don’t have Pyrex on the trail.

And the final dish in its glorious assembly. . .

I feel so privileged to have been there, and to have been able to stir up these lovely mushrooms. Yes, he let me handle the pan! I told you he was generous. In fact, throughout the event a spirit of generosity prevailed.

Until, of course, we had to get a taste of this world class paella. We fought our way through the crowd to a plate, almost giving up once or twice, but Eric persevered. This was hands down the best paella ever! Ever!

A great way to spend 10 minutes

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Watch this!  http://www.ted.com/talks/miwa_matreyek_s_glorious_visions.html

“seamlessly combines the would-be-separate mediums of performance art, animation, sculpture and music to create a simultaneously whimsical and intricate experience.” FineArtsLA.com

This is a wonderful application of multi-media. It tested my patience but each time I was about to drop off, something new started. See what you think. It’s lovely. And it makes me want to do this too. You?

Stretch pants

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

First there were the stirrup pants, which first appeared on the slopes, n’ont-ils pas? Ski-bunnies

Then the stretch pants of the eighties with huge long tunic sweaters. Suburban housewives.

Then leggings from Structures or Units or something like that. Moderately pricey so that I wanted but waited. Urban urbane.

And then leggings everywhere.

And now, finally. . . yoga pants, even yoga dress pants from J. Jill. These look and wear like a million bucks. Talk about airplane wear!

Girls gotta love double knit!