Thursday, May 30, 2013

Be Not Afraid
What's cooking? A couple of sorbets and Almond Phyllo Crisps

In my stroll through the Sunday New York Times last week, I came across a piece about the migration of “Lean In” from book title (by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg) to cultural virus – in effect, the phrase of the week, or maybe even the month if Sandberg is lucky.

Columnists and editorial writers have seized on the phrase to talk about women in math and science classes, women in the executive suite, women in the boardroom. A lot of talk about pushing harder, seizing opportunities, taking risks. Excuse me, ladies, but to echo the 1970s, “Been there, done that.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

Foodie Faves:
What's cooking? Skirt Steak with Cilantro-Garlic Sauce

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve discovered a great new website for home cooks: The tag line for this site is “Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide.” You may recall that I recently conducted a purge of my pantry (The Alaskans Are Coming!); since that week, I’ve had “Sell By” and “Best if Used By” on the brain. So I was understandably thrilled to find this site with answers on all kinds of questions about food storage, shelf life, and tips on freezing foods I hadn’t thought to freeze. They even have an app!

I’ve now spent a really ridiculous amount of time just cruising around the site. Here are the sort of fun factoids you, too, can unearth there.

■ Store avocados at room temperature until ripe. After that, they’ll keep another 3-5 days in the fridge if you put them (whole) into a plastic bag.

■ Apples give off ethylene, a gaseous hormone that can cause vegetables like lettuce to spoil faster. So you should store apples in a separate refrigerator compartment, or in a sealed plastic bag.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Love Affair with Newsprint
What's cooking? Spicy Avocado-Cucumber Soup

In the early days of my career, when I was a Wall Street researcher, there was a lot of talk among the analysts about the coming of the paperless office.  How no one would keep files in file cabinets, and everyone’s desk would be clean, clean, because there’d be no need for paper. So maybe I’m still stuck in the dark ages, but even with much of my work now in digital files and on the cloud (where God knows I hope it’s more organized than on earth), I still find myself surrounded by file cabinets and paper.

I also still read magazines on paper, as well as our local Austin newspaper and my all-time fave, The New York Times. And as much as I enjoy the ability to find past articles on the digital versions of these publications, I hope I hope I hope the physical versions hang around at least until I’m too ancient to read or care.

There’s something wonderful about spreading the newspaper out on my kitchen island, where the Sunday edition of The Times often remains for days, until I’ve perused the sections I most enjoy. And as newspapers now qualify more as commentary and sources of information than hot news, it doesn’t really matter how long that takes.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Memorabilia
What's Cooking? Six Great Breakfast Ideas

We’d sold the house in New Jersey and I was packing up the boatload of stuff we’d been collecting in our basement, winnowing the collection down to what had to go to Texas and what really could be thrown out.

I’d been through both boys’ rooms, tossing soccer trophies and ancient video games, the bowling ball that never got finger holes drilled, some ratty comic books, and several Gameboy cartridges that no longer had a player to run them. In the basement, I’d saved the arsenal of Nerf guns and the box of Lincoln Logs, but was determined that all other toys and child-related paraphernalia would be either trashed or sent to the Salvation Army.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Party’s Over
What's cooking? Sweet Pea and Mint Pesto

The extra chairs on the porch are put away. The leftover paper plates and cups have been stored in the closet, and after two days of concentrated skimming, I’ve worked my way through the four issues of the New York Times that I haven’t gotten to read. The guests are gone – all 19 of them, gathered at our house for a long weekend as the latest in a series of biennial reunions among college friends and their wives.

Walking through the empty house, I am revisited by a sensation I remember feeling when our sons went off to college – happy for the peace and quiet and the need to do less for fewer people, but within the silence missing the hum of conversation, the frequent laughter, and the spirit of camaraderie so thick it changes the texture of the air around us.