Monday, January 29, 2007

    Nasty Bits

    This is what's going on outside my apartment right now.

    Gallop away and RIP, Barbaro...
    "Even in a short seven-race career, Barbaro’s statistics are impressive, with six-victories and earnings of more than $1.5 million. But they do not tell the whole story of the colt, who dazzled the racing world when healthy and then garnered its compassion in his fight to recover from injury and what was ultimately an insurmountable disease."
    (The New York Times, 01-29-07)

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Offal Puddin'

    'Tis only appropriate that this weekend, which is the anniversary of poet Robert Burns' birthday, I share two passages from his poem, "Address to a Haggis," which the Times calls "the most passionate dialect poem ever composed by a man to a meat product."

    "Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
    Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
    Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
    Painch, tripe, or thairm:
    Weel are ye wordy of a grace
    As lang's my arm.

    His knife see rustic Labour dight,
    An cut you up wi ready slight,
    Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
    Like onie ditch;
    And then, O what a glorious sight,
    Warm-reekin, rich!"

    Sunday, January 21, 2007


    As part of my AOL blogging, I needed to cook a healthy meal this weekend, so Jon and I made Turkey Chili With White Beans. It was on the healthier side since it calls for turkey instead of beef, and we used non-fat sour cream. The Whole Foods cornbread that we ate along with it probably defeated the purpose of that though!

    I would have liked more kick, and in hindsight wish we'd used more cocoa to increase the mole sauce element, but I'd definitely make it again. The chili was flavorful and chock-filled enough that we barely noticed we were using non-fat sour cream.

    Here's the recipe:

    Turkey Chili With White Beans

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    2 medium onions, chopped
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
    1/4 cup chili powder
    2 bay leaves
    1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (we added extra)
    3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth (we used just one 8 oz. can)
    1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
    3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained
    Also, we added a can of unsweetened corn at the end with the beans.

    Chili Toppings (if you like)
    Chopped red onion
    Chopped fresh cilantro
    Plain low-fat yogurt or non-fat or light sour cream

    Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

    Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro and yogurt separately.

    Serves 8.
    Bon Appétit
    February 1997

    Monday, January 15, 2007


    A sprinkling of cala cooking pics.


    Get it while it's hot! Read about my recent favorite meals on my AOL blog (weekdays through January 31).

    *** *** ***
    If you don't know by now, I love animals, namely my Sky kitty, who lived in a tiny cage for over a year before I adopted her. I consume a lot of Animal Planet and daydream about working with donkeys one day. Until then, supporting the ASPCA's Mission Orange campaign will have to do! I haven't been yet, but the new ASPCA facilities in Manhattan are supposed to be superb.

    *** *** ***
    The Southern New Year's Eve meal that I cooked for Jon and me, Hoppin' John and collards, turned out deliciously. Both dishes were pretty easy to prepare, once I got comfortable with the idea of opening the plastic casing around the ham hock (this former vegetarian has very little experience cooking meat). It would have been even easier if we had more than one pot!

    But, cooking one dish at a time gave me the opportunity to concentrate on what I was doing, without getting stressed or having to worry about timing. The apartment smelled amazing when Jon walked in the door from his week-long trip. He eagerly ate almost the whole carton of sorbet before we moved on to the meal, which he said was better than anything he's ever cooked for me.

    We filled our bowls with long-grain rice then piled everything else on top. The Hoppin' John had been simmered into a thick, slightly mushy consistency, and was smoky from the ham. The collards had just the right amount of heat from the red pepper flakes and acidity from the white vinegar. The ham, which was so tender it was falling off the hocks, served as the cherry on top of our Southern sundaes.

    We ran out of time on NYE to make the calas, so we made them last night. They were simple to prepare and were like a rice-filled version of hushpuppies. The generous sprinkling of powdered sugar was the best part!

    Sunday, January 07, 2007

    In the Pink

    On the flip side of Slices, I'm blogging for AOl's Diet & Fitness channel each weekday this month.

    *** *** ***
    I know it's January, I know it's (supposed to be) cold outside, but all I wanna do is eat fro-yo at Pinkberry. The L.A.-launched chain has a location on 32nd St. near 5th Ave., with Chelsea and NoHo next on the list, and not a moment too soon. The yogurt comes in two flavors, plain or green tea. I prefer the plain, which tastes fresh, clean, and a little like sour cream. It supposedly has little to no fat or calories and no preservatives, and that lack of chemically-enhanced flavor really pleases my palate. The toppings are also superb. The fruit, from mango to blueberry, is perfectly diced, just the right temperature, and also very fresh. The other toppings include cereals, dried coconut, nuts, and chocolate or carob chips. Sadly they no longer carry the graham cracker topping. Travel & Leisure calls Pinkberry "The frozen-yogurt taste for caviar stands and Cavalli waistlines."

    *** *** ***
    I recently started volunteering at the Union Square Petco, which is home to Kitty Kind, a no-kill group that takes in, cares for, and adopts out kittens and cats. It's rewarding, fun, and makes me want to adopt 20 more cats!

    *** *** ***
    Also new for 2007, my new gal pal about town Niteesha and I have decided to make a list of restaurants to try together in the new year, some old, some new. Here are (a few of) mine:

    -Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar
    -The Little Owl
    -Lonesome Dove
    -Sushi of Gari
    -Fatty Crab

    *** *** ***
    Today I took some out-of-town guests to brunch at the Hudson Cafeteria in the Hudson Hotel. It's tasty, but even more reason to eat there is to see the beautiful lobby and courtyard, and to do have a celeb-sighting or two. Who knows, maybe one of the hotel's many bars will start carrying Celery Straws!