Sunday, August 14, 2011

Novelties X

Well, you know what I'm reading, so what else is new?


The farm where we get our vegetables has given us fresh beets several weeks in a row. I used to be afraid of them because they stained everything red - my pots, the sink, the sponge, the cutting board, my hands. Now I've found a super-easy way to prepare them. Take a pound of beets and cut off the ends. Scrub them with a brush under running water. Don't peel them, just stick them in a steamer over boiling water and steam them - 15 - 20 minutes for little ones, 40-50 minutes for big ones. They are done when it's easy to pierce them with a paring knife. While they're cooking, combine 1 finely chopped onion a bowl with several tablespoons white wine or sherry vinegar, a little salt, black pepper, and a tablespoon or so of pistachio oil (it's worth the trouble you may have finding it) maybe a sprig or two of fresh marjoram. Let this sit for an hour or more at room temp (covered). When the beets are done, let them cool enough to touch them. The peel will easily come off. Chop them into small wedges or matchsticks and combine them with your onion dressing. Voila. Serve with toast and a nice feta. (Adapted from Patricia Wells's The Provence Cookbook).

Drinking: Super cold tomato juice (one with as little salt as you can find, I've found a Bulgarian brand with only a pinch),some fresh lime juice squeezed in. Mmm.

Looking: Season 2 of In Treatment (the American version - it was created in Israel). This is an HBO series about a psychotherapist and his patients. Monday through Thursday are sessions with the patients and Fridays he goes to his own therapist. The therapist is played by the marvelous Gabriel Byrne and his therapist by Dianne Wiest. The patients are equally good - Allison Pill, Hope Davis and John Mahoney were in this season. It's a strongly made series from both a therapeutic and an aesthetic point of view and other people's problem look so much easier to solve than one's own!

Listening: If you haven't yet listened to Radio Lab they combine well-produced dramatic story-telling with science to create some very interesting pieces. I found this one on how the brain helps us navigate in space interesting, and this one was really touching.

Surfing: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Learning: I finally got around to reading an article by Jerome Groopman in a February issue of The New Yorker about what might contribute to the apparent prevalence of food allergies.

This piece by Phillip Gourevitch about cyclers in Rawanda is also particularly good.

Jonah Lehrer teaches us that there is really no such thing as a spoiler. (Hat tip: Not Exactly Rocket Science)

And in the No... really department: Carl Zimmer's riff on Greenfieldism.


Unknown said...

While fresh beets are excellent on their own, my favorite thing to do with them is make Red Flannel Hash. Have you tried cooking their greens? Also excellent.

Ted said...

Hi CB - What is Red Flannel Hash - recipe, please! I do like the greens too. I'm a big greens fan.