Thursday, July 29, 2010

Digging Through My Oddball Photos, Again

Bellevue Hospital: Offering patients the most advanced medical technology available today

And the red star means spicy

This looks like the cock that was used to flavor the seasoning. Apparently he's not too happy about it, either.

I finally spotted a piano from the Play Me I'm Yours art installation in June. This one was in front of St. Mark's Church near Astor Place. Somehow I missed the other 59 pianos. I'm just now browsing their website and feeling sad that I didn't know about it earlier. My sheet music is somewhere under the bed, collecting dust.

...And discriminating against half breeds

Engrish: Good at stating the obvious...

Thanks for exterminating the red dragons. Now how about the giant rats?

Food Porn Chronicles: The Shakes

One of the few things that I get excited about during New York's stifling hot summers spent inside greenhouse apartments is making fruit smoothies. The weather the last month or two has been straight out of Do The Right Thing, without the racial violence. Every morning I get up 15 minutes earlier to spin fruit in my mini food processor. It's the best thing in the world.

Justina's Recipe for Perfect Smoothies

fresh ripe strawberries, cut into small pieces
fresh blueberries
soy milk

Freeze the cut up strawberries and blueberries the night before. I usually cut up enough fruit to last a week and keep it in a large tupperware in the freezer. In a food processor or blender, add a handful of frozen strawberries and blueberries, half a banana, and soy milk. Blend until smooth. Experiment with portions to get the right amount. Pour into a commuter coffee mug and bring on the train. Note: I freeze the fruit because my mini chopper is too small to handle ice cubes.

Variation: Watermelon, strawberries and apple juice. Don't freeze the watermelon.

Another variation: Half an avocado, 1 T condensed milk, whole milk. Don't freeze the avocado. Add ice.

Avocado shake

Another variation: Dragon fruit, blueberries, soy milk.

A word about dragon fruit: There are two kinds, the ones with white flesh and the ones with purple flesh. The purple ones are slightly more tangy, the white ones taste slightly like fresh cut grass. Neither have much of a flavor, but they are full of water, which makes them popular on hot days, especially after an overnight stint in the fridge. Last weekend I bought them for $4/lb on Canal Street. Not cheap, but I wanted to see how they would turn out in a smoothie. I'm mostly a fan of the texture created by the seeds. I prefer the purple ones but they seem less common; I only saw one stand selling them.

Purple dragon fruit
 Oh, and one more thing. THIS IS THE BLUEBERRY MOMENT OF THE YEAR. I think for the next week or so blueberries will be in peak season, so keep your eyes peeled at the bodega or sidewalk fruit stand. I bought a pint at my bodega for $2 yesterday and they were perfectly large, plump and sweet. The sidewalk stands are selling them for $1.50 a pint. Stock up!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh God I Should Be In Bed But First

So a little bit of serendipity has gotten me drawing again the last few weeks. Here are a few from the stashes. Some are actually from a year ago. All charcoal on paper.

Serendipity? I don't think I actually know what that means.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Food Porn Chronicles: Who Needs A Garburator?

But first, Laff of the Day #8, as told by the Eternal Paid Volunteer Temp. He's full of good stories lately.

"This guy went down in front of the ER today. You know those elevators to the right of the entrance to the ER? He went down there.

"There were all these doctors around him, trying to help him. All these doctors, completely surrounding him, right next to the ER.

"And then I heard someone go, 'Should we call 911?'"

This being Bellevue Hospital, the comment could be interpreted two ways:

1. As an example of American robotic stupidity, the same type that makes me devour Popeye's Fried Chicken but get weepy at the thought of the nice homestay hostess at Tiger Leaping Gorge who chased down a fat hen after she asked, "Are there any vegetarians in your group? No? Okay, I go make dinner."

2. As keen insight and a prudent warning from someone who rightfully doubts the competence of Bellevue medical staff, many of whom are on NYU payroll and therefore wear those white coats with the misleading purple NYU School of Medicine patch suggesting proficiency in providing medical care.

And now, onto the porn.

I just got back from a long weekend in Texas. The first night home always requires getting reacquainted with the contents of the fridge. Ew, I totally forgot about these mushrooms. Also excavated from forgotten corners of the pantry and crisper: a can of chickpeas, three-month old sun-dried tomatoes, a bag of pita bread. Any normal person would enlist the help of their Garburator. Not me.

Hummus has been on my to do menu for a few weeks, and tonight seemed like the perfect occasion: another greenhouse night in the apartment (but a frigid 85 outside, with a light breeze that refuses to make its way through our windows), no love for any heat-generating appliances with the possible exception of the toaster oven, and plenty of old food to test the limits of edibility.

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus with Mushrooms

old, sad-looking mushrooms
dried oregano
fresh garlic
1 16-oz can chickpeas
1 1/4 T tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
olive oil
salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
2 pitas
garnish: fresh tomato slices and watercress

Sautee mushrooms in 1 T olive oil. Season with oregano and salt. Set aside, do not drain. In a food processor, chop 2-3 cloves of garlic, chickpeas and tahini. Add olive oil and lemon juice, salt, pepper and chili. Continue processing until mixture has the consistency of mashed potatoes - or store-bought hummus. Doesn't everyone know what hummus is supposed to look like? Toast and slice pita bread, if desired. Serve hummus in a bowl, top with mushrooms and mushroom liquid from the pan. Garnish with tomatoes and watercress.

Notes: I didn't have tahini so I used 1 T peanut butter and 1/2 t sesame oil. The hummus has a slightly more Asian taste than it should, but the substitution worked in a pinch.

And of course, it was another Dark N Stormy night.

There is a background story to this meal, for those of you still reading. My mom always packs a ton of food for me to bring back to New York at the end of my visit. Yesterday, as we were leaving for the airport in Houston, she said, "How about this mochi? How about some sticky rice? How about this smoked salmon?"

"All of it," I said.

This evening I stopped at the store to pick up sandwich trimmings for the smoked salmon sandwich I was going to have for dinner. Watercress, a tomato and Laughing Cow cheese because it was on sale...sort of. The hand-written sign pointed to a stack of Laughing Cow wheels that were printed completely in Arabic, except for the part that said, "La Vache Qui Rit," the French name, and "Produced in Egypt."

For some reason, only the Arabic/French Laughing Cows were on sale, at 3 for $5. The ones printed in English with the English name were regular price.

Some interesting facts from wikipedia:

In Arabic-speaking countries (except for Egypt, apparently), it's called البقرة الضاحكة (Al-Baqara Ad-Dahika).

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is often jokingly referred to as 'La Vache qui Rit' because of his supposed resemblance to the cheese's logo.

Anyway, the point of the story is that my mom decided not to pack the smoked salmon, but I only discovered it tonight when I got home. Huge disappointment, with a lonely bunch of watercress and a tomato as collateral damage.