Monthly Archives: April 2010

Philly Cheesesteak Night

I apologize in advance that there are no pictures of the sandwiches themselves. No shutter speed on earth could have captured the infinitesimal amount of time between sandwich creation and sandwich consumption. However, there are a few ingredient and prep photos…

Surprisingly good bread from C-Town.

In the pan, over high heat: onions, green bell pepper, and steak (with a little bit of cooking oil, and salt and pepper).

This is serious business. They don’t have time for any of that smile-for-the-camera nonsense.

While the steak (or chicken, in my case), peppers, and onions were cooking, the rest of the crew sliced the bread and toasted it in the oven. A few slices of cheese (American or provolone) went inside the toasted bread, then the steak, peppers, and onions on top of that. (The chicken one is also delicious with a little marinara sauce…is that sacrilegious? If it is, I don’t care, it was tasty sacrilege.)

In other news, this is my LAST DAY OF WORK!

What I’m reading: Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
What I’m listening to: Songs Without Words, Mendelssohn

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Welcome to Pennsylvania

As a prelude to tonight’s Philly Cheese Steak night, a few pictures from last weekend’s trip to Pennsylvania:

A great road sign, and not only because it means you’ve just left New Jersey.

Wide-open sky…

Backyards…

Tiny wildflowers.

Saw a lot of dandelions in addition to the violets, but no buttercups yet. I love buttercups (though I’ve just found out that they’re acidic, and poisonous to cows and horses), and when I was younger I remember holding a flower under my chin to determine whether I liked butter. Apparently, if there’s a yellow reflection, that means you like butter (more sound science from the Department of Moms Who Make Stuff Up).

Another way to find out is just to ask. Oh, sure, it can create awkward situations (“Do you like butter?” “I beg your pardon!”), but it’s a hell of a lot less awkward than, “C’mere, I have to hold this miniature meadow flower under your chin.” “What? Why?” “Hmm…either you like butter, or you’ve developed a sudden case of jaundice.” “What? Who ARE you?!”

See? The imaginary situation involving the buttercup is WAY MORE AWKWARD.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich

There are six definitions for the word “perfection (n.)” on Dictionary.com, and a good grilled cheese sandwich fits four out of six.

I think if you add tomato soup, that bumps it up to all six. It might not make sense, but at that point, you’ll be too happy to be nitpicky.

What I’m reading: Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
What I’m listening to: XO, Elliott Smith

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Warning: Contains Nuts

During Passover, my mom sent me a recipe for “Spicy Nut Cookies.” Here it is:

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
2 ½ cups ground almonds

And her instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.

In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.  Mix in ground nuts to make a dough that is easy to work with.  Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheets.  (Recipe says roll them into balls, but why?)

Bake  10-12 minutes or until bottoms turn golden brown.  Cool on sheets for 10 minutes.  Remove carefully and cool on rack.  Seal tightly.

Makes about 4 dozen.

*

I love the commentary (“but why?”). We both belong to that set of people who needs to know the reason for doing something before they do it. And in this case, spooning the dough onto the sheet without rolling it into balls did not seem to have a detrimental effect.

As it happened, I ended up altering the recipe slightly to fit with what I had on hand, thus:

1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups walnuts
about 1/2 cup cashews
about 1 cup pecans

I ground all of the nuts into nut flour in my food processor; this recipe is ridiculously easy if you have a food processor, but I’d think twice if I had to chop all those nuts by hand.


I also added a pinch of cardamom, in addition to the cinnamon and cloves. The recipe says “spice cookies” after all.


The recipe made 28, if I recall correctly (and if I counted correctly in the first place…two sheets of 12 each plus one sheet of just 4), so closer to 2 dozen than 4 dozen, and they aren’t very big! Initial reviews are positive, though. (Smaller cookies = less guilt when you eat three of them. Or six.)

What I’m reading: Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
What I’m listening to: The Kinks, that indie mix, and “Fuck ‘Em” by Shel Silverstein


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MTA: Miraculous Transaction Accomplished!

Here’s a little choose-your-own-adventure story:

Less than a month after I sent my bent Metrocard and a form asking for replacement or reimbursement to the MTA headquarters, I…

…was still waiting, beginning to lose hope. (Turn to page 36)

…received a response to my customer service request, in the form of a letter and a check for reimbursement! (Turn to page 47)

From page 36:
While you’re waiting, you might also like to read The Time Warner Saga (parts 1-7)!

From page 47:
You win! The end.

What I’m reading: Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
What I’m listening to: The Ultimate Collection, The Kinks; Moon Safari, Air

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Cataloging Comma Compulsive

In a fit of future-librarian-ness, I decided to catalog my books as I packed them. I started last week, with the hardcovers. I have fewer hardcovers, for a number of reasons: (1) they are more expensive (if you buy them at list price, instead of acquiring them used or for free); (2) they are inconvenient to carry around and heavy to move; (3) after my last move, I made a rule for myself that I would not get any more hardcovers (see (2)). In general, I prefer paperbacks for their inexpensiveness and convenience; I’ve even traded in hardcovers for the same book in paperback.

However, I still have some hardcovers that I want to keep, so I started with those. My roommate and I had shelved our books together, so we separated them out (sad), and I alphabetized mine and began:

I noticed that the first nine book titles (alphabetical by author) start with “The.” Lauren Groff broke the pattern with Delicate Edible Birds. Also, there is a pattern to the ISBN numbers, but I think you need one of those code-breaker rings from a cereal box to crack it.

It took a while to enter all this info, so in the interest of expediting the packing process I will probably stick to author and title only for the paperbacks. Then, if I’m bored in May, I can always fill in the rest. Doesn’t that sound like FUN?

What I’m reading: The Woman Who Can’t Forget, Jill Price; The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, Thaddeus Carhart; Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Pablo Neruda
What I’m listening to: an indie mix from a friend; The Replacements; The Cure; The Kinks; From Here to Infirmary, Alkaline Trio; George Harrison Live in Japan, George Harrison

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In Honor of Tax Day

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

“He loved Big Brother.”
-George Orwell, 1984

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