Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dream Holiday

The Guardian's Gemma Bowes writes about her recent cheese-themed trip to Normandy - as I drool with envy.

I do sometimes wish we lived in Europe, although closer to home you can take a wonderfully cheesy trip in Vermont or, slightly farther afield, in Quebec.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Go Go Grammar

A new fast food craze has hit New York, thanks to our friends in Japan. It's called Go Go Curry and it's more popular than a cupcake at a weight watchers meeting.

As with most Japanese imports, the franchise has a great design ethic with bright colors and bold patterns. It also, curiously, sports a gorilla for a mascot and an obtuse baseball theme. Curry plates come in four sizes - Walk, Single, Double and Triple. For about $7 or $8, you'll get a plate of rice covered in Japanese curry sauce and your choice of topping: fukuzinzuke anyone? Or some natto maybe?

My favorite thing about their website (never mind the food for now) is that it is short on words, but every one of them packs a punch. Where emphasis is needed, all caps and exclamation marks come to the rescue. "Menu!" "To GO EVERYDAY! OK!" "5th, 15th, 25th - GO GO DAY!"

At the bottom of the homepage is a link to a site that looks too good to pass up: "pecopeco! Delicious Website for Hungry Japanese!" One click and I am greeted with a site fully in Japanese. The only English words on the page are "Let's Drink Beer!".

Why not, my friends? Why not?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How To Survive a Tiny Kitchen

Cooking in a small kitchen is a bitch. There's no two ways about it... It sucks!

But there are lots of ways to be smart about your space, to maximize efficiency and minimize suicidal tendencies.

One of the tactics we've mobilized in our tiny kitchen is the hanging pot rack, which has been a total life saver. We also bought a butcher block table that doubles as counter space and kitchen/dining table. Four folding bar stools stow away until guests come to call!

Aside from furniture, there are a number of tools built specifically for tight fits. These include folding silicone colanders and measuring cups, but also a number of magnetic tools that can either be slapped on the front of the fridge or to a sheet of metal attached to the wall. Check out online stores like for ideas and inspiration and be sure to use your imagination!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

NY Times Editorial: In Praise of Tap Water

I would like to share this editorial, for those of you who haven't seen it, on the colossal waste and pollutive power of the bottled water industry. For those who have seen it, it's worth reading again. And again.

Published: August 1, 2007

On the streets of New York or Denver or San Mateo this summer, it seems the telltale cap of a water bottle is sticking out of every other satchel. Americans are increasingly thirsty for what is billed as the healthiest, and often most expensive, water on the grocery shelf. But this country has some of the best public water supplies in the world. Instead of consuming four billion gallons of water a year in individual-sized bottles, we need to start thinking about what all those bottles are doing to the planet’s health.

Here are the hard, dry facts: Yes, drinking water is a good thing, far better than buying soft drinks, or liquid candy, as nutritionists like to call it. And almost all municipal water in America is so good that nobody needs to import a single bottle from Italy or France or the Fiji Islands. Meanwhile, if you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.

Next, there’s the environment. Water bottles, like other containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington has estimated that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That could fuel 100,000 cars a year instead. And, only about 23 percent of those bottles are recycled, in part because water bottles are often not included in local redemption plans that accept beer and soda cans. Add in the substantial amount of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment is anything but refreshing.

Tap water may now be the equal of bottled water, but that could change. The more the wealthy opt out of drinking tap water, the less political support there will be for investing in maintaining America’s public water supply. That would be a serious loss. Access to cheap, clean water is basic to the nation’s health.

Some local governments have begun to fight back. Earlier this summer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom prohibited his city’s departments and agencies from buying bottled water, noting that San Francisco water is “some of the most pristine on the planet.” Salt Lake City has issued a similar decree, and New York City recently began an advertising campaign that touted its water as “clean,” “zero sugar” and even “stain free.”

The real change, though, will come when millions of ordinary consumers realize that they can save money, and save the planet, by turning in their water bottles and turning on the tap.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Black Bean Dip

Beans, Beans, They're Good For Your... Soul

The other day I made a really delicious Black Bean Dip (if I may say so myself). It was simple and quick and makes a great snack.

1 can black beans, water reserved
cumin, 2 tsps. ground and 1 tsp. seeded
coriander, 1 tsp. ground and 1/2 cup fresh, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lime

Heat the oil in a shallow pan. Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder and salt. Fry the spices for a minute or two, then add the beans. Add the cumin seeds. Continue to sautee the beans for about 5 minutes, adding the reserved water if the mixture becomes too dry and begins to stick.

Add the vinegar and chopped tomatoes. Sautee for another two minutes. With a potato masher, gently crush the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency. Use an immersion blender if you like your dip very smooth. If it is still too loose, continue to cook some of the liquid off. Remove from heat, add the lime juice and chopped coriander. Serve with tortilla chips.