Thursday, February 08, 2018

Arthur Jones says, "Don't be an emotionalist.
Just because I'm not found on a Kosher list
Of GOP players
I denounce the nay-sayers:
I'm no longer a National Socialist."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Simplest roast chicken

There's a Wegman's not ten miles from where we now live. I've been there twice. Last weekend we bought a chicken and tonight we decided to cook it at last.

Mark Bittman has an amazingly easy roast chicken recipe at the New York Times website. Here it is. Warning: Some people find this sets off the smoke detector. We didn't have any  problem despite having the oven halfway across the kitchen from the hood.
Yield: 4 servings 
Time: 50 to 60 minutes 
1  whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat 
3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1.   Put a cast-iron skillet on a low rack in the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Rub the chicken all over with the oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. 
2.   When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 155 to 165 degrees. 
3.   Tip the pan to let the juices flow from the chicken’s cavity into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Carve and serve.
It was delicious. I deglazed the pan with a little red wine to make a basic gravy, and that was it. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Humpty Trump says, "The Wall is the Wall.
My stance hasn't varied at all.
This guy from the Army
Begins to alarm me:
Is he setting me up for a fall?"
We moved from DC to Falls Church, Virginia on December 18. What followed was the Fortnight from Hell, because on the morning of the 20th Marcia felt so short of breath that she made an emergency appointment with her cardiologist, who sent her to MedStar Washington Medical Center's emergency room.

Turns out she has pulmonary fibrosis as a side-effect of a drug she was taking for atrial fibrillation.

So. At home, she's on a 30-foot tube to an oxygen concentrator. When she's out, she's on bottled oxygen, more or less limited in range by how long a bottle will last (three to four hours) until she can get to see a pulmonologist who can prescribe a portable, battery-operated, rechargeable concentrator.

Meanwhile, our new apartment is not yet fully set up, because we need help in hanging pictures, installing bookcases, and so on.

BUT a friend gave us an Instant Pot as a housewarming present, and we made this recipe for him as a thank-you:

Pressure Cooker Beef Short Ribs With Red Wine and Chile
Melissa Clark, New York Times

Yield: 6 servings Time: 1 hour


2  teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
1  teaspoon coriander powder
1  teaspoon ground black pepper
3 to 4  pounds bone-in beef short ribs
1  tablespoon olive oil or other fat (like bacon fat or duck fat), more as needed
3  leeks, whites only, chopped
2  large fennel bulbs, diced
4  garlic cloves, minced
1  tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1  tablespoon tomato paste
1  cup dry red wine
½ cup pitted prunes, diced
Fennel fronds or sliced scallions, or both, for serving


1. If time permits, rub salt, coriander and pepper all over beef and let marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, or, ideally, overnight.

2. Set electric pressure cooker to sauté function and add oil (or use a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat). Sear beef until evenly browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. You’ll probably have to do this in batches. Transfer to a plate as the pieces brown. Or if using a skillet, transfer them to pressure cooker.

3. Add leeks, fennel and pinch of salt to hot pan and cook until soft, about 8 minutes, then add garlic, chile powder and tomato paste; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in wine. Add prunes and beef (or add prunes and fennel-wine mixture to the meat in the pot).

4. Cover, then cook for 35 minutes on high pressure. Manually release pressure. If sauce seems thin, pull out beef pieces and reduce sauce using sauté function. Serve with fennel fronds or scallions, or both, for garnish.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Dysfunctional families

In Untold Stories, Alan Bennett quotes a Christmas card he received from Eric Korn:

This is the one about Jesus 
And his father who constantly sees us 
Like CCTV from above 
But they call it heavenly love; 
And the other a spook or a bird 
Or possible merely a Word. 
Rejoice! We are ruled thru’ infinity 
By this highly dysfunctional Trinity!

Bennett, Alan. Untold Stories (p. 321). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition. 

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Not the folk; the sandwich. Which we had tonight. A lot of leftover roast pork, so Marcia baked Cuban bread (a James Beard recipe) and we made the sandwiches (scaling down for two eaters):

YIELD: Serves 8 


1 loaf Cuban bread, sliced lengthwise
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons yellow mustard, or to taste (we used Dijon, because)
1 1/2 pounds boiled ham, sliced
1 1/2 pounds roasted pork , sliced
1 pound Swiss cheese, sliced
1 cup dill pickle chips, or to taste


Assemble the sandwich: Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter on one half of the bread loaf and a thin layer of mustard on the other. Place 1 to 2 layers of ham, pork, cheese, and, finally, pickles on the buttered bread and top with the mustard-spread bread. 

Wrap the sandwich in foil: Smear the remaining butter all over the outside of the sandwich and wrap it completely in aluminum foil. 

Press and grill the sandwich: Heat your grill to high (550°F) and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes before lowering the heat to medium-high (450°F) and continuing. 

Before grilling the sandwich, press down on it with your hands to flatten it. Place the wrapped, flattened sandwich on the grill and top with a brick, grill press, or any other heavy, heat-resistant object. Close the lid and grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side. 

Remove the wrapped sandwich from the grill and take off the foil. Return the sandwich to the grill and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until both pieces of bread are crispy and golden brown. 

Slice and serve. Remove the sandwich from the grill and cut at an angle into small sandwich wedges (triangles). Place on a large platter and serve while still hot.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Sean Hannity
Is unencumbered by vanity:
"Hey, on Fox News's internal list
I'm not even down as a journalist."

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Immemorious

Did I say that? I don't believe I said that.