Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Bay scallops, rice, and romaine and avocado salad

Bay scallops with grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, garlic, leeks and scallions, thyme, 
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

Week three of 2011 and my tree is still up.  So are the outdoor lights and all the decorations except the wreath on my door which was trashed yesterday.  I'm kinda drowning in this exciting new year.  I've got a second cookbook bestseller in less than two months that's taking up a lot of time, as well as working on several other cookbook promotions, new business proposals and planning a quick week's getaway on February 1st.  I'm off to Italy for a week. My buddy Christine is singing her first Kundry in Richard Wagner's epic opera, PARSIFAL. She'll be performing the role in Turin, an Italian city I've longed to see. I'll also get a day's trip to Genoa, another city on my must-see list.

Work on the basement has begun again.  Kyle has been filling cracks, framing out a closet, while a young laborer is helping with digging holes on the side of the house whenever it's not raining, and insulating the basement ceiling.  While the snow has been burying much of the country, we've had nothing but rain. There's hardly a day in the past three weeks that we haven't been rained on.  Beau has been missing his daily walks, and while he's always hated rain, he's learned that a quick visit to the back yard is often the only outing he'll get.  We got a walk in yesterday, and already you can see shoots coming out in the neighborhood gardens.  Crocus and daffodils will be out in a few weeks.  It's not cold.

A Pam Anderson recipe:  Italian sausages, cherry tomatoes, onions garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and cannellini beans

But it does feel gray and still wintry, and I've been cooking food that makes us feel good.  On Saturday, I made a recipe from Pam Anderson's fine new cookbook, PERFECT ONE-DISH DINNERS.  Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans is a recipe guaranteed to keep winter at bay.  Cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, thyme, salt and pepper are combined in one large roasting pan with the sausages and beans.  All it needed was a nice green salad.  The leftovers made a spectacular lunch. After all the beef and lamb of the holidays, it was a pleasure to tuck into a steaming dish of shrimp risotto.  I had some tomato sauce in the fridge and stirred a few tablespoons-full into the risotto which also had scallions, a few anchovies and lemon zest to brighten it's flavors.  Tonight I made my friend Sherri's fresh scallops with grape tomatoes, garlic, onions, white wine, vermouth and parsley.  I had some frozen artichoke hearts and a big leek, so they went in with some red pepper flakes.  You put it in a roasting pan and put it all in a very hot oven for about 12 minutes.  The recipe makes a wonderful sauce, perfect for dipping bread into. Another night of grilled salmon with a brush of Hoison sauce to glaze its surface, baked sweet potatoes, and a saute of zucchini, scallions and smoked hot paprika, made a trifecta of seafood dinners in one week.  

The news today that John Boehner had led the charge to repeal President Obama's healthcare bill which the Senate and the president supported was very dispiriting.  I don't subscribe to Washington's spineless retreat from in-yer-face politics to pious civility.  It's phony.  The whole republican congressional contingent is a disgrace.  Tea Party sympathizers, right wing nut jobs, so-called fiscal conservatives who waste money on wasteful expensive foreign wars, and legitimize their district's entitlements over healthcare for all Americans are liars and criminals. The can all shake their heads when one of their own takes a bullet from some nut job and try like hell to avoid the fact that they haven't done a think about our country porous borders. Why should they do anything?  I just don't understand why conservative republicans refuse to do anything for working Americans and worse, I don't understand why working Americans cannot see through their manipulative behavior.  Shame on Congress.  They grant themselves excellent health benefits and the hell with anyone else!  Time to hit the veto button, Mr. President.  an I hope he will continue to exercise his veto power as long as Republicans continue their insane policies while corporate America abandons pensions, and fires anyone over the age of 40 because they can, Wall Street wipes out American's 401K plans.  

I saw Condoleeza Rice say that our politicians are grappling with serious issues on TV tonight.  No they are not.  They are wasting our taxes and giving us virtually nothing in return.  Shame, shame, shame.

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