Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Leftovers + Cucina Nicolina = Mmmmmmm

20081116 Brunch with Friends 0016Image by Brian Vallelunga via Flickr

Never have leftovers been so ... appealing.

Nicole has come up with some new ideas for used food in an article in the Washington Post which argues that leftovers are not a recipe for disaster. No, food love doesn't mean having to say you're sorry (for having to eat the same thing, day after day, until you are sick of it and next time I'm going to cut that recipe in half or even quarters I am so tired of this).

No, the creative force behind Cuccina Nicolina believes that leftovers are an opportunity to innovate, that they are -- wait for it -- ingredients for the Next Great Meal.

"I couldn't bring myself to throw anything away anyway," Nicole told peepsNet in an entirely made-up interview. "But the chance to use the remnants of one meal to create an equally-compelling second meal is just the sort of challenge I like."

No, we are not talking Stone Soup (or even Noodle Soup). We're talking Quinoa Stew and Banana-Chocolate Bread.

Sorry, I must have passed out there for a moment. Where were we?

Oh yes. I remember. Nicole was invited to guest blog at "A Mighty Appetite" on the subject of "Eating down the fridge." I know what you're thinking. This isn't about eating a pickle of questionable provenance and washing it down with the brine. This is about taking a pickle of questionable provenance and very nearly turning it into a chocolate soufflé.

How many of you have eaten this well on what could have been landfill?
The first night I made a fine dinner of chickpeas and the spinach I'd picked up at my neighborhood farmer’s market. I sauteed a few cloves of garlic in olive oil, added the chickpeas, spinach and a splash of water. I poured the whole mess over a pot of couscous. The next night, I tumbled in from my run, chilly and starving, and went immediately for the protein punch of quinoa, to which I added a mushroom, asparagus, and white bean stir fry. The next after that, I roasted half a head of cauliflower and heated up the leftover couscous and chickpeas, freeing up even more space in the fridge. I found a box of long-neglected ravioli I'd never gotten around to finishing, and so happily lapped them up with a from-canned-tomatoes sauce. The shelves were clearing up just a little bit. Toward the end of the week I finished off the cauli, some baked tofu that'd been lingering for a while and the rest of the quinoa. I was sated and my fridge was bare of leftovers.
Ordinarly, I'd end a post like this with, "And she cooks, too." But somehow I think you got that already.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

America, Plus 1

This line is nuts! originally uploaded by bfgreen.

When Uncle Sam said, "I Want You!', was this the person he meant?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

No High Heels, Please

Nicole's article about noisy neighbors finally saw the light of day at the SF Chronicle, and it's better than even we remember it, whenever the heck that was. Our fact-checkers and librarians are off for the holiday so we can't be sure, but careful readers will find a clue that it has been at least 5 months since this baby was submitted.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be) this particular problem is timeless, so the Chron could have waited until next New Year's Eve to print it. Even as the lives which play out in apartments change the apartments themselves remain unaltered windows -- make that sound tunnels -- to other people's worlds.

I once lived in a tiny SoHo apartment, an illegal sublet, which made me even more self-conscious about rousting neighbors who may have been in a position to scotch my sweet deal. And in a perverse reversal of the power dynamic Nicole beautifully describes, it was my downstairs neighbor who held sway.

I was religious in my aversion to making noise. I listened to no music. I watched TV from about 2 feet away (it was a small apartmet, anyway). I never wore shoes indoors and, unlike Nicole, didn't have to make any compromises about not even wearing high heels. I had no pets. For a long time, it was me and only me who lived there.

All was well, for months. But I worked late often and often stayed out even later and one night I came home to find in the stairwell (it was a 6-storey walkup) the daughter of the apartment below making out with a guy from the hood. It was about 3 a.m. Days later I ran into mom, who excoriated me for making noise all the time. I was dumbfounded (more than usual), inviting her by default to elaborate. Her daughter couldn't sleep and was missing school (or work, I forget) because of all of my damn noise keeping her up.

Still dumbfounded, we parted with me mumbling something about being sorry and not making noise anymore (remember, I was there on borrowed time). Then it dawned on me: daughter was staying out late, making out with guys, and mom knew nothing about it. When cornered about not being able to wake up in the morning, lack of sleep from the noisy upstairs neighbor became a convenient and believable explanation, assuming (as I did) mom was a heavy sleeper or hard of hearing (remember, she complained on behalf of her daughter, never herself).

We managed an uneasy truce, me and the old lady downstairs (I usually kill with old ladies), but she exacted some evil revenge on the day I moved out. She reported it to the landlord, who then was able to confront the legitimate tenant from whom I was subletting, blowing his cover.

Wait -- this wasn't all about Nicole? My bad.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let Him Eat Cake

The #1 food blog of the moment isn't cucinanicolina (but see how I worked that in): It's Perambulare. What?

Samer's homage to single guys who want cake for one in 10 minutes or less got his blog about 6k page views when it was Stumbledupon.

We're not sure of Perambulare's demographic, but here is a sampling of the comments on this post:

Mme70 (02:03:03) :
Oh. My. God. I’m telling EVERYbody how you are my hero!
helen (15:34:17) :
I just moved to Austria from the US for a semester abroad. My dorm room doesn’t have a kitchen, only a stove and microwave, and I’ve been frustrated by the lack of familiar ingredients with which to make even non-baked desserts. I’m a compulsive baker, and the lack was killing me. Thank you! I’m going to try this tomorrow. You may have saved me.
nicole (19:00:17) :
Gorgeous photo, as always … and I must admit this looks intriguing. Now, if only I had a microwave!!

Not my call, Samer, but I would thank mom, keep up with Helen and watch my back with that Nicole chick.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Samer Keeps Underfed Supermodels in his Basement for Porn

I only scanned the POV blog at NPR entitled Outside the Frame: Food Porn, but that seems to be the sad upshot about Samer and his once promising interest in photography.
While images like this are interesting — and even beautiful — I love food too much to see it treated like an underfed supermodel, contorting for the camera.
Then there is this other obvious plea for help:
And, of course, there's chocolate. After all, says Flickr user Samer Farha: "Chocolate sells. Maybe more than sex does."
We hope blogger Amanda Hirsch decides to violate a basic tenet of journalism and reveal the secure and undisclosed location Samer is keeping his "models," like the poor, emaciated thing depicted above.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Samer Slides. At Least There Was Cake.

We complimented Samer on his rock-solid blog post about his 10-minute cake recipe experiments (featured on, mind you!)

And then he goes and writes this:

"Do do do, da da da. That is all I have to say to you."

Thanksgiving is Coming Up?

We won't be cooking this year, as our tiny kitchen this year is even tinier than Nicole's, and stocked with fewer essentials than she carries on a backpacking expedition.

But, if we were going to spend any time playing with fire indoors, we would probably make every single thing on her NPR menu, and nothing else.

Plan "A," of course, remains "just happened to be in the neighborhood." We'll bring a hearty appetite. No hurry on the dishes. Would lavender flowers help?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking Pictures While Black

It was only 12 hours after election day, Mike writes on Facebook with some irony, that he was profiled in his own neighborhood while photographing "things that remind me how blessed I am."

Somebody called the cops on Mike -- and, for good measure, emailed them (very web 2.0 racists in North Carolina) -- to report a "suspicious black man" prowling around with a camera under the cover of the noon-day sun.

Before we knew the full story PeepsNet asked if Mike if had run afoul of a Charlotte, NC law about taking out the garbage while black.

taking photos of fall foliage while black, actually. That album called I GOT A GOOD LIFE, MAN? Somebody called the police on me while I was out in my neighborhood taking them. Then sent an email to the neighborhood crime watch saying be on the lookout for SUSPICIOUS BLACK MAN.

The collection of nature photographs in his lovely neighborhood does include a house or two that I suppose he could have been casing from what I'd estimate to be about Google Earth distances. And, of course cameras have been mistaken for lethal weapons -- in Iraq!

Mike is taking it in stride -- he is not quiet Mike for nothing. But he does note the surreality of it all.

It was just very ironic, mostly. I hadn't forgotten where I was, but at the same time, I thought I'd get a little longer to 'feel the joy.' Eh....s'all good, though. The experience actually made the photos more 'subversive' as my friend John says. They have another level of meaning for me now.
We wonder why a truly subversive photographer of our acquaintance has never been wrestled to the ground by alert law enforcement officers. Oh, the injustice of it all.

Nicole and Kate

Nicole and Kate originally uploaded by Samer Farha.

Another party we weren't invited to. Fortunately iPeepsNet correspondent Samer was there to capture the action (and avoid picking up the check, we hope.)