Friday, February 16, 2007

Fucshia Snapper with Dinosaur Kale

Welcome to another installment of Friday night fish recipes for the single girl. Tonight I bring you a gorgeous, girlie-pink, deliciously spicy-sweet recipe fit for a queen. And yes, yes it is snapper. Again. What? It just works. Plus, it's like... my favorite. Aside from grouper, which seems to be difficult to get your hands on around here. Well, really I'd just have to get into the car and drive uptown but I'm a lazy biotch, okay? I, uh... like to... support my local... uhm... giant chain organic grocery... which, uh... may or may not drive out my favorite locally owned joint.... uhm... just... uh... shut up.

Seriously, I had sole last week... it wasn't exciting enough to post so I decided not to bore you with the details. It was very tasty... it involved potatoes, shallots, and wood ear mushrooms.

But this! This is going to come out the MOST gorgeous color AND be tasty AND be eeeeeaaaasssssy as a $2 hooker.

You will need:

1 handful still-firm thusly slightly tart and fairly acidic kumquats
1 blood orange
1 lemon
2 tbsps garlic & chili infused olive oil
1 small bunch dinosaur (lacinato) kale
1 small onion
1 healthy snapper fillet

Same cooking drill as before, 400° oven, yada yada - I put mine together by putting all the liquids in a bowl so, the juice of 1/2 blood orange, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and your infused oil (with some chili flakes for added punch).

Then, slice your kumquats into 1/4" slices (very thin), slice your onions very thin and make a chiffonade of your kale - being careful not to take any of the bulky stems).

Make up your packet and slap in your fillet. Pour your liquid over the top making sure to coat the whole piece. Lay your sliced onions over the top (look, I'm the daughter of a girl of norweigan decent... onion goes on absolutely everything - I even make an onion pie when I feel so moved), then your kumquats, then your kale chiffonade.

Close up your packet, toss it in the oven and wait for the aromas to start overtaking the kitchen. Ultimately, probably a whole half hour depending on the size of your fillet.

Truly delicious. And so damnably pretty, such color in such a grey and white and crunchy world. Even the blue sky felt hard as a marble today. Anyway, I enoyed this with a nice Luzon Jumilla.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Atomic Snark-Beasts

This little gem showed up at the bottom of my weekly email from the record shop near my house that I adore.

Heheheh... it amused me so greatly that I felt I had to share.

As the news from Boston keeps trickling in, what with the state insisting upon referring to the ads as "hoax devices". And the arrest of the installers. I wonder how long before a bunch of people end up at Gitmo. So I have to laugh while I can. Before it makes me want to cry.

Woo Hoo! I'm a Hack!

... And suddenly, I feel slightly vindicated for this post. Thank you, Stefan Beck for making me feel wholly righteous (and hip!) in slamming a book I haven't finished reading yet.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


One of my absolute favorite workday distractions is a little blog called Go Fug Yourself. I only just started reading it this (well, budget) year, so this is new to me but I guess they've done it before. Anyhoo, those crazy ass bitches is coverin' the Fall NY Fashion week for New York Magazine's Fashion Blog.

In the oft-mourned absence of Ab Fab, I find these girls refreshingly hilarious, unfailingly evil, and truly creative in their critique. So when I stumbled across their work during some pre-dawn perusals, I just felt I HAD to share it with you.

I read one of their posts this morning, The Collection for Prostitutes We've All Been Waiting For and laughed my damned ass off watching the Rock & Republic Slideshow. Seriously. Here are some examples of some severe tresspasses against good taste:

Can you not see Cate Blanchett donning this tragedy on some red carpet somewhere?


And look at this poor bastard - he knows

It's written all over his face, "Yes, yes I am wearing a metallic sweater and a yuppie knotted scarf. It's not my fault. I was dead at the time."

This poor guy also had the misfortune of being selected to walk for the Lacoste show. And holy crap, WTF is going on over at Lacoste? First of all, the guys are in these Jungle/Hiking boot nightmares - tucked in to their pants. And half of the women's collection appears to be stolen from the Spiegel Together® catalog. But where are Rachel Hunter and Elaine Irwin and that weird-looking girl from the Victoria's Secret catalog (from like, 5 years ago) with the really short neck? Laughing and pointing. And wondering if Demi Moore knows they raided her closet circa 1985.


Fergie and Sienna Miller had a baby and they named it Rosemary.

Model: So they're lace. And they're pants?

Michael Ball: Yeah! See, Sienna rocked this last week but she did it with a fuzzy sweater and panties, you have a tiny leather bomber jacket so it's FIERCE.

Model: Shut the fuck up.


Is it me, or does it look like an unseen Wookie is hugging this guy?


Hehehehehe... and lastly,

Somebody get this guy a fluffy white cat and a big chair, STAT!


Well, that was fun. I certainly enjoyed being a Fugger for a morning. Wait and see if any other heinous shows tickle my funny bone - Fashion Week ain't over yet!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

File Under: Well, That Was Weird

On NYE morning I broke up with someone. It was painful, but necessary. I hated doing it, but my superstitious self couldn't get on board with the idea of giving him my NY's kiss. I had avoided him all throughout the holidays because I couldn't bear doing it so close to Christmas. I had planned to, about two weeks before, but that Friday night while I was out having a good time and he was sitting at a nearby bar waiting for me (I never called, just to add insult to injury) he got his new (to him) car sideswiped. And then he got sick - really sick. And well, I just couldn't turn his life into a country song.

The following week we'd had a mutual friend in town. I couldn't do it then either. I knew that we'd end up seeing each other under the recently-parted circumstances and I didn't want to make my friend's first visit home in a year awkward. Nor did I want him to have to explain to our friend the awkwardness. Then it was Christmas and it seemed heartless. So, I waited it out.

I know there's never any good time to break up with someone. That no matter when you do it, it sucks. For both parties. It hurt me to hurt him, immensely. I don't know if he believes that, but I guess it doesn't really matter. When the dam finally broke I was relieved by his reaction. I've had all manner of undignified breakups. My first long-term boyfriend (status achieved by on-again, off-again-ness not continuity) threatened suicide the night that I ended our relationship. He had been staying at my house because his apartment had had a fire a few weeks ago. He told me was going to sleep in an alley. Then he came back, over and over - this time for a pillow, this time for his bass, this time for his sleeping bag. When I woke up the next morning I found the ruins of a night spent on my side porch. There was a soggy sleeping bag, a six pack of Mickey's (I should know better than to date people who drink Mickey's, but I was young), and an endless amount of cigarette butts. My neighbor told me that he spent all night out there, playing his bass. It took me months to throw away that stuff.

This guy faded more quietly. He told me he loved me, that we ought to stay together even though we knew in the long run we'd never succeed as a couple. We had different goals and, in my mind, we were simply marking time together. We fought like cats and dogs over what to have for dinner - can you imagine buying a house? Ultimately though I cared for him. I respected him. Enjoyed his company. But those things are never enough when you know that your weaknesses are his weaknesses - those relationships are simply doomed.

Anyway, we'd talked a bit over email. Nothing big and nothing recent when, upon waking up from a brief nap I got a phone call from him. He had a few books of mine and knew that I had a few books of his. He suggested an exchange. He was on my side of town and if I wasn't otherwise occupied he'd stop by. I said sure.

As I walked into the lobby of my building I saw him there, leaning against the mailboxes. When we were together he never came to the front door. When he came to my building he came with all manner of acoutrements. A case of Negro Modelo, an army bag filled with clothes and toiletries, another messenger bag with books and movies and travel Scrabble. He'd park his car in the non-spot near the back door and unload. Because when he came to my house, he came to stay for the weekend. Damned close to a year together and I generally only saw him on the weekends. It was like a long-distance relationship, except he only lived across town. So I thought of that when I saw him, leaning there. We walked up the stairs to my apartment silently. When we got to my floor, unable not to speak (imagine that), I asked him how he was - we exchanged simple pleasantries... like neighbors. We walked into my apartment and I offered to take his coat. He said he wasn't planning on staying. I said, "Oh, uhm, okay." I walked over to my dining room table and grabbed his (uncracked) vegetarian cookbooks - he handed me A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Evolution Man. He turned to leave directly. Surprised, I protested, "Hey, no how are you doing what are you up to?" He looked uncomfortable but fed my question back to me. "How are you doing, what are you up to?" I told him about the job and school. He seemed impressed. "Wow, usually when people totally turn their life around they don't do it so quickly." I could tell he didn't want to be here. So I asked him, "What about you? What have you been doing?" He smiled weakly, "Oh you know, same old same old."

With that he practically turned on his heel and bruskly walked out. "Gimme a call sometime." he called out over his shoulder. It was strange. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes - maybe even less. But I was left standing there in my living room, looking around, wondering what had just happened. It was good to see him. But I guess he's still not ready to see me. I told him when we broke up that he was one of those people I didn't want to lose. You always want to keep intelligent, kind, good-hearted people in your life. Maybe next month, huh?

This History of Love: Jealousy, Prejudice, and the Holocaust

What is it about January and February that feels so conducive to reading? Is it the blanket of (finally) snow outside? The freezing temperatures? The friends that opt to stay home and rent movies because everybody blew too much $ on Christmas and New Year's? In the months leading up to the holidays, the pile of books on my coffee table and nightstand remained unmoved. Too much to do, too many places to be. However, in the last couple of weeks I've found myself drawn to the quiet comfort of reading. One glass of wine, one Soma stream and it's an evening.

I started just after the holidays with My Heart Laid Bare by Joyce Carol Oates. I have only recently discovered how much I like Ms. Oates. Before I started reading her I admired her. Romance-novelist turned literary heavyweight. Now, that's something to aspire to. Like Margaret Atwood (who probably holds the place closest to my heart) Oates has developed this very unique, spare, detached, and serene voice. Both of them break the mold of the "female writer" by allowing themselves to look at their characters with an objective eye while still allowing their warmth and love for their creations to seep through the page. My introduction to her was with The Falls in December and adored it. What begins as a blood and thunder romance novel- passionate, erotic, moving turns... ever so slowly, such that you barely even notice... into a treatise on the criminally careless environmental blunders of Northeastern chemical companies and it's effect on the poor populace that lived and worked in their shadow. I borrowed Heart from my sister immediately after. It's a HUGE book. Honestly, I love huge books because when books are too short I tend to go through a mourning period as I grow closer to the final pages. I don't want to let them go.

But as I was drawn closer into the macabre philosphy of the grifting Licht family, Oates' cool aloofness and heart-rending keening began to wear me down. By the half-way point I needed a break. And, for a couple of weeks now, two books have been staring at me from my coffee table begging me to open them and find out what's inside.

The first I read about while rummaging for information on an author upon whom I entertained a brief crush after reading Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and falling in love with both Jonathan Safran Foer's style and adorable pic, I was disappointed to discover that he was married to a fellow writer, Nicole Krauss, who wrote a well-hailed novel by the name of The History of Love.

Now, with a title like that it better be a really, really, really good book. I mean life-altering. Because seriously, that is the most pretentious title I've heard for a critically acclaimed book since A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. And I hate Dave Eggers. I wanted to hurl that self-indulgent piece of crap against the wall and have it break like an egg. There have only been two other books that evoked such strong reactions from me - one is Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, which I wanted to put down the garbage disposal and the other is The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq for both it's impact on my life before I read the book and the anger it evoked while I was reading the book. But I digress.

History of Love - pretentious title with pretentious insides or pretentious title with deeply meaningful insides? Answer: Both - maybe. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely certain that I'm not hating it because I want so badly to hate but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that as spouses begin to resemble each other physically over time, apparently so too do the writing of spouses. I see many echoes of Foer. In the style, the humor, and the whimsy. It's a bit boring thus far and while I like my female writers austere a la Margaret Atwood and the aforementioned Oates, I do not like them cold. Krauss is like yesterday's pizza. I'm not too far into the book and I complained a lot to no one in particular but I really don't see why it's been so well received. Although...

I read a blog called Jewcy and a little over a month ago The Daily Schvitz posted an article by Hal Niedzviecki called Nothing is Illuminated: Jewish fiction writers must let go of the Holocaust. And honestly, Foer (as you can glean from the title) is their top offender. Is the Holocaust critic gold? Is it like a black writer writing about slavery or a WASP writing about their fucked up families, or women writing about rape? The Lovely Bones was a huge hit and I admit I loved it. The writing was absolutely fantastic. So was The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing and I loved that too. Is my crush on Foer and jealousy over the fact that she wrote a book and I haven't blinding me to a genuinely good work or is she riding a wave? Because Krauss' book does feature the Holocaust. It's there in the main character's background running like a sub-routine. Intermittently becoming the story. Updating the character. And I gotta say, I'm not pulled in this time. Everything is Illuminated stunned me. Truly. Foer is an amazing writer. I was transported. So far, Krauss does not live up to her New Yorker pedigree, in my mind. But we'll see.

The second book I picked up because of article I read on Gawker about two weeks ago. Entirely unrelated to literature it was an article about West Village wannabes from an article in the Real Estate section in the Times. They introduce Lauren Daitch and Jules Spehar, a yuppie roomie combo forking over so much in rent to live in the Village that they can't afford their own groceries and still consider themselves financially independent. I got a good snicker out of it, realized I could so be that girl (and have been in the past - without the Village apartment or the ability to afford half of $3,800 rent) given the same circumstances and when they posted an update (as they are wont to do) with Jules Spehar's Friendster page (she's soooo coooool), I noted with interest that one of her favorite authors is one that I've heard mentioned before. I can't remember where or when but the source was remembered as reliable and positive.

So I picked up Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The recommendation from the Schwartz's people was Kafka on the Shore but after a bad experience with My Misspent Youth by Meghan Daum, which was a really frustrating experience for me, I flatly refuse to buy it if it's been recommended by a staff member. I simply don't trust them anymore. Because while Daum seems to have all of the potential in the world, somebody let her publish a book with some serious story-wrapping problems, thematic problems, her amazing arrogance, and above all her very obvious immaturity. On the back of the book someone compared her to Joan Didion and seriously, I spat out my coffee with indignance.

Anyway, if I get too annoyed with History of Love, I may well take a run at Bird Chronicle. Hopefully I'll fare better with that, I hate having too many books going at one time. While it's not unusual for me to have between 3-4 books going at one time I still find it vaguely dismaying. It's like my annoying habit of pausing films when I don't like what's going on. I know I should re-train myself in that area. At some point I'll have a guest over for a viewing of something or another and it will annoy the crap out whichever poor soul agrees to subject themselves to watching a movie with me. But for now... really... who gives a crap. For now, "pause away, dear girl, pause away."