Thursday, January 31, 2008
I wanted to use up the rest of my dill from Tucson CSA. And I was in the mood for a fish dish. So I bought some Alaskan salmon from Trader Joe's and made this. It's very easy and quite succulent. Just be careful not to cook the salmon for too long! The marinade helps keep the salmon warm and moist while cooking.
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 salmon fillets
1 oz. fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Throw the garlic into a blender/food processor (I love using my Magic Bullet for such tasks). Then add the olive oil and dill and puree it carefully. Don't turn it into a mush. It should have some texture to it. Once you're done, place the fillets in an oiled pan and generously brush them with the blended mixture. Let sit for at least 90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375. Cook for 15 minutes. Try it with some sauteed asparagus or rapini.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
There's no way to make sense of this. No way to end an appreciation like this on an uplift when the news is so sad. If there's something positive to be said, it's that the best work Ledger left behind will last forever, and the rest is already forgotten.
South Koreans love Starcraft more than breathing. Literally! So I'm surprised that someone didn't come up with this idea sooner. Years ago, when I was studying Japanese, I wondered why someone hadn't yet put together with a language learning book pitched specifically at gamers. I especially like the helpful prefix diagrams they've drawn up. Starcraft makes learning fun!
(image courtesy of Siliconera)
Monday, January 21, 2008
The Albion Park section of Second Life is generally a quiet place, a haven of whispering fir trees and babbling brooks set aside for those who "need to be alone to think, or want to chat privately." But shortly after 5 pm Eastern time on November 16, an avatar appeared in the 3-D-graphical skies above this online sanctuary and proceeded to unleash a mass of undiluted digital jackassery. The avatar, whom witnesses would describe as an African-American male clad head to toe in gleaming red battle armor, detonated a device that instantly filled the air with 30-foot-wide tumbling blue cubes and gaping cartoon mouths. For several minutes the freakish objects rained down, immobilizing nearby players with code that forced them to either log off or watch their avatars endlessly text-shout Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Get to the choppaaaaaaa!" tagline from Predator.
Reading these stories gives me no small amount of pleasure. Some sad-faced SL nerds call this terrorism:
People laughed at those attacks, but for Prokofy Neva, another well-known Second Life real estate entrepreneur, no amount of humor or creativity can excuse what she sees as "terrorism." Prokofy (Catherine Fitzpatrick in real life, a Manhattan resident, mother of two, and Russian translator and human-rights worker by trade) earns a modest but bankable income renting out her Second Life properties, and griefing attacks aimed at her, she says, have rattled some tenants enough to make them cancel their leases. Which is why her response to those who defend her griefers as anything but glorified criminals is blunt: "Fuck, this is a denial-of-service attack ... it's anti-civilization ... it's wrong ... it costs me hundreds of US dollars."
*cue tiny violins*
I don't play games much lately, but I do enjoy an occasional game of Call of Duty 4. It's intense, it looks great on the HDTV, and the multiplayer is oodles of fun.
But the game also has a sort of primordial appeal that reaches to the dark recesses of the male brain not unlike conventional pornography. There's a level in the single player campaign where the player takes the gunner seat of an AC-130. The mission plays out in gun camera view (think of those Gulf War missile cam videos). Before the mission begins, a stylized computer graphic lovingly accentuates the AC-130's instruments of death: 40 mm Bofors cannon! 20 mm Vulcan! 7.62 mm minigun! As you dispatch the hapless ground forces, a breathy voice provides commentary: "Get those guys! Cleared to fire! Oh yeah, you got 'em! There's one for the highlight reel!" It's all quite well-done, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt queasy afterwards.
And then there's the structure of the multiplayer itself. More kills earn you more experience, which in turn gets you more weapons. This relentless urge to unlock weaponry -- to progressively build oneself into the ultimate badass -- is hard to resist, and its appeal defies easy explanation. Apart from the glib statement that CoD4 is, well, war porn.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Pancetta and Garlic-Encrusted Pork Loin
1 pork loin, about a couple of pounds worth (Costco sells a "two-pack" of loins, each about a foot long; you can use just one of those)
8-9 slices of pancetta
1 garlic bulb, minced
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grab the pork loin and cover it in olive oil. Use a brush if you have it; otherwise just pour it over the loin with a spoon and coat it evenly with your hands. Spread the minced garlic all over the loin. Rub it, knead it, spread it, whatever, so long as the whole thing is covered in garlic. Spread the thyme and rosemary evenly on both sides of the loin. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Coat a cooking pan in a layer of oil, and place the loin in a cooking pan. Dip each slice of pancetta in olive oil, then lay it on top of the loin. Do this from front to back until you've covered the entire top of the loin in delicious bacon. Cover the pan and put it in the oven for 30-60 minutes, depending on the heat of the oven. Check on the loin periodically with a meat thermometer. When the temp reaches 155 degrees, you're done.
You can serve this straight or with a nice dijon mustard wine sauce.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I discovered this show thanks to my sister. It's such an odd beast of a show: hour-long episodes, uneven pacing, and a pervasive sense of awkwardness (is it a comedy or a drama? A serio-comedy? Is that a word?). I love the show but find it difficult to watch sometimes. Like the episode where Linda Cardellini's boyfriend tries out for that local band and fails miserably. Others I can watch repeatedly with glee (i.e. any episode involving Thomas F. Wilson).
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Zinburger opened last month in the spot formerly occupied by Bistro Zin, on River Road west of St. Phillips Plaza. Like its predecessor, Zinburger is owned by Tucson-based restaurant powerhouse Fox Restaurant Concepts. Unlike its predecessor -- a ritzy contemporary cuisine joint -- Zinburger focuses on burgers and shakes. Or to put it more accurately, burgers and shakes with that gilded, upscale, au courant gloss that Fox RC is so famous for.
Zinburger is essentially a more focused version of Fox's late Metro Grill, which was also heavily burger-oriented. Pastoral pictures of cows line the walls, and a stylized cow logo sits perched over the entrance. Small flat-screen TVs tuned to various sporting contests are spread across the dining area, concentrated near the bar. The place was packed when we arrived at 6 pm. The hostess ushered us to a common booth area that was slightly cramped. Our server was friendly and attentive, although service in general was quite slow; I suspect the staff is still working out the kinks of their floor service.
The menu is simple and uncomplicated. Burgers and shakes are the keystone, supported by an array of sides. I chose the Kobe burger with wild mushrooms and cheddar cheese, and omitted the mayo in favor of maple bacon from the extra topping menu (extra toppings are $1 each and include jalapenos, bacon, mushrooms, and BBQ sauce). My companion chose the Samburger with American cheese, maple bacon, and thousand island dressing, and added mushrooms. As a side I selected the double truffle fries (truffle aioli and truffle oil). I chose to forgo the shakes (which looked imposing and delicious) and ordered a beer instead.
The burger was marvelous: a perfectly-prepared, half-pound patty of Kobe beef, cooked medium rare, and bursting with flavory, meaty juices. But at $13 (plus $1 for the excellent maple bacon), it damn well better be. (The Samburger is priced at a more reasonable $10.) The truffle fries were equally marvelous, deeply fragrant and rich. Once again though, at $5 a basket, there's little margin for error. Each hamburger is presented well, with a heaping of pickles and container of ketchup.
Overall I was quite pleased with the food, less so with the prices and slightly sluggish service. I am anxious to try those shakes, however. Perhaps alongside a second helping of truffle fries.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
...for having the highest BAC I've ever seen: 0.72!
JANUARY 10--In what may be the most extreme drunk driving case ever, an Oregon woman was arrested last month with a .72 blood alcohol level--nine times the state's legal limit. Terri Comer, 42, was arrested after she was discovered unconscious in her car, which sheriff's deputies found running and in a snow bank on a highway in Klamath County at 11:30 AM on December 28. After breaking a car window, rescuers removed the comatose Comer from her Toyota and transported her to a local hospital, where a blood draw revealed the .72 BAC. She was reportedly hospitalized for a day before being released.
Photo courtesy of The Smoking Gun. And no, that's not a photo from the night of the incident. That's from a prior DUI arrest.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups whole milk (2% works fine, it's what I used)
1/2 vegetable broth
1 15-oz. can of pumpkin (butternut squash works great, too)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 black pepper
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and stir for 6-8 minutes, stirring periodically. Stir in turmeric, coriander, cayenne, mustard seed, and 1/2 tsp salt; cook another 2 minutes or so. Add milk, broth, and pumpkin, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins.
Place soup in a blender and puree until smooth, a little at a time and with the lid ajar, otherwise the blender will explode and soup will go everywhere. Return soup to the pan and add cilantro and remaining salt and pepper.
The Bacon Cookbook
" In this exuberant parade of pork fat, there is no doubting the flap copy when it states that Villas, former food editor for Town & Country, has been beguiled by bacon since he was a boy. However, Villas's statement in his preface that staunch vegetarians and non-pork-eating religious traditionalists are haunted instinctively by the sensuous, irresistible enticement is about as nutty as his Bacon-Almond Cheese Spread (made with cottage cheese and chives). Nonetheless, there's plenty good to be had in these pages. An introductory chapter explains the difference between Salt Pork and Pancetta, Paprikaspeck and Bauchspeck, and provides a thorough list of mail-order sources. Breakfast choices range from a nifty ole Bacon Scrapple to a rich French Cheese and Bacon soufflé. There's a BLT, of course, but most of his other sandwiches go to extremes with ingredients like Jamaican smoked fish. For those who sometimes eat vegetables, there is Lima Bean and Bacon Casserole, and several amalgams mix a menagerie of meats, as in the Spanish Chicken, Bacon, Meatball and Chickpea Stew. Of the six dessert recipes, bacon-wrapped figs work, but Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles would be hard-pressed to create irresistible enticement in even the heartiest of carnivores."
My favorite part, though, is the comments section, where there's a heated debate about the proper name for our current decade (the "00's"). My favorite? "The Ooze."
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
I picked up Maus off my bookshelf this weekend. It's just as wonderful and heartbreaking as I remember; parts of it still make me cry. A Google search revealed this interesting lecture from a Canadian professor. He argues that the story is less about the Holocaust than it is about the desire to use history -- family history -- to define and understand oneself.
In fact, the issue of Artie as an artist striving to give symbolic shape and narrative form to his family's experiences in order to cope with his own pain is such a persistent feature of the books that the matter of central concern at times moves beyond Vladek and Artie and becomes the text itself: can the artistic result—Artie's attempt to "catch" his family's past—provide whatever it is that Artie needs or wants, that is, satisfy him as an artist and a human being?
This is true. Now that I'm at a point in my life where family is more important to me than ever before, Maus resonates on a much more personal level.
I don't have any Holocaust survivors in my immediate family. I don't know if my relatives from Poland died in the Holocaust or not. But I want to find out more about their history. And I want to go to Poland.
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small carrot, chopped
1 Yukon Gold potato, chopped
1/4-1/2 pound chicken, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 apple, cut into slices
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tbsp. peanut butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 tbsp. oil and 1/2 tbsp. butter over medium high heat in saute pan. Add onion and cook until yellowed, stirring occasionally with spatula, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add curry powder and stir with spatula; reduce heat to medium. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes or so, less if you're using leftover or precooked chicken.
Meanwhile, you should be preparing the stock, heating to a boil. At the same time, peel the apple and cut into slices. Drop it into a blender, add a small amount of water, and puree for a few seconds. Once the stock has begun to boil, add a tbsp. of flour, a little at a time, and beat with a whisk to avoid clumping. Add 1/2 tbsp peanut butter and beat into mixture. Add apple slurry to mixture, and stir together.
Add stock-slurry mixture to saute pan; add vegetables. Begin heating water and beating in additional flour; add as much flour as desired to achieve desired thickness. Cover pan and cook for approximately 30-45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over rice, and with fresh chopped cilantro (optional). Serves 2-3.
Feel free to substitute vegetables and meat with whatever is on hand. Beets are especially fun, because they turn the entire mixture red and then you have BLOOD CURRY.
Why hasn't Britney been charged with child abuse?
I'm glad I don't practice in California, where celebrities are clearly held to a different set of laws than us common folk. Last week, Spears instigated a standoff with police when she refused to turn over her children, doubtlessly while under the influence of alcohol and other illicit substances. Such conduct in Arizona could be considered child abuse, and I've seen people charged under our statute under far less flagrant circumstances.
EDIT: People reports that she tested negative for drugs and alcohol during her stay at Cedars Sinai. Looks like you win this round, Britney. Just hope they don't test the kids' hair for drugs.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I loved this movie! I finally saw it on Thursday. Going in, I was highly skeptical. I'm no Wes Anderson fanboy. His movies leave me either completely disappointed (Rushmore) or nonplussed (The Life Aquatic), or casually amused (Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums). None of them have changed my life or connected with me in some deep way. But in Darjeeling, Anderson seemed more restrained then usual.
Like the twisted ensemble in The Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling's three central protagonists harbor layers of deep resentment for one another buried under layers of personality quirks. Here, though, Anderson has a much smaller volume of characters in his stable, so he can focus more intensely on them. And it's a short movie, too (not counting Hotel Chevalier), which I always appreciate.
Also, I have a major case of travel envy right now. That may explain why I liked it so much.
I know it's late for pumpkin recipes, but I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. I thought I'd record it for posterity. You can substitute other types of squash if you want.
The First Thing You Got To Do
Cut a hole in the top and pull out all the seeds. You can do this however you want. Get a bunch of kids together and rip out the guts, if that's fun for you. Once you've done that you can save the seeds and toast them, but again, that's your business. Cut the pumpkin into halves or quarters and stick it in the oven for, like, 30 minutes at 375 degrees, flipping once or twice. Don't take it out until it's mushy.
Once it's done, take it out and scoop out the soft stuff with a fork, spoon, or ice cream scoop. Set aside about two cups worth. Save the rest for a pie, maybe.
The Next Thing
Next up, you've got to get your mise en place set up. Get out some butter, rice, dried sage, onion, white wine, grated Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Mince up the onions nice and fine. Make sure to get all your ingredients together before you start cooking, 'cause that's real important.
Heat up about 4 cups of broth to a boil. Keep it at a slow boil until ready.
Get out a decent sized stock pot and turn the heat up to medium. Heat a couple of tablespoons of butter or oil. Throw in the onions and watch them carefully, sauteeing them until they turn yellow and fragrant, it should take a couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and about a cup of rice. If you want more risotto you'll need to adjust your broth and pumpkin proportions accordingly. Stir everything together, then add 2 teaspoons of sage and a good size splash of white wine. Use your discretion on this one.
Here comes the fun part. Start adding broth, about two cups at a time. Watch the mix carefully as the rice absorbs the liquid. You may need to dilute your broth with water if it's a salty mixture, or if you're planning on making a lot of risotto. Stir the mixture as you go, adding more and more broth as it gets absorbed. All told you'll be adding anywhere from 6-10 cups of water/broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook till al dente. Add cheese once finished (if desired).
This recipe should be vegan friendly, so long as you use vegetable broth, oil, and omit the cheese. I used vegetable broth last year and it worked great.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Former Beauty Queen and UA Law Student Suspected of Torturing Ex-Boyfriend
When I first learned of this story and heard that Larry Hammond was involved, I was flabbergasted. But then it turned out to be another Larry Hammond, not the esteemed civil rights lawyer and leader of the Arizona Justice Project. I don't think there's any relation.
This has been a really strange year for the law school. First the suicide earlier in the year, and now this. I know the pressure at law school is pretty intense, but I don't remember it being this bad. Maybe it's because of the construction forcing people into those temporary buildings? I can confirm that whenever I use the temporary law library for more than a few hours, I feel ready to snap.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
A thousand curses upon YouTube for not having the Buck Henry "Lord and Lady Doooochebag" sketch from SNL (though I suspect NBC may be to blame).