Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Stoic Flowchart


Credits: From BoingBoing via the blog Root Simple

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Have Leftovers And Am Not Afraid To Use Them (A Recipe Post)

'Tis the season:  The few weeks leading up to the holidays, consisting of hurrying here and there, parties, potlucks, late days in the office trying to get things done before vacation, etc etc etc.  The period when you don't have the time or the inclination to cook, but it's cold and you want something hot in your belly, or you committed to bringing a side dish to that potluck you really don't want to attend.

So here's a recipe for you:  ARMENIAN PILAF.  The recipe is super easy, quick, and most importantly it's delicious.  I cut the recipe out of a magazine eons ago; I can't remember which one now, but I do recall the introduction stating it was from a chef who served it at holiday parties as a side dish.  The recipe says it will serve 12, and it will indeed.  This makes a lot of rice pilaf.  Like, a lot.  I halve the recipe, serve it as a main course, and still have a lot of pilaf left over.  A lot.

But the leftovers are one of the things I love about this pilaf.  Do not fear the leftovers! This pilaf makes awesome fried rice (just saute some veggies, toss in the rice and heat through, and maybe add some chopped fried egg).  To make a light and easy soup, saute some chopped onion in olive oil.  When it starts getting translucent add some chopped or sliced zucchini (or other vegetable(s) of your choice).  When the zucchini is almost tender, add a ladleful of the pilaf and heat through.  Top with grated parmesan if you like, or to make the soup more substantial throw in some shredded rotisserie chicken.

Here's the recipe.  Enjoy!

serves 12

1/3 cup broken pieces egg vermicelli*
1.5 oz (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 cups basmati or other long-grain white rice
4.5 cups low-sodium chicken stock**
2.25 tsp coarse sale

Toast pasta in a medium saucepan over medium heat until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes***.  Add butter and let melt.  Add rice, and stir in stock and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer, covered, until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender, about 16 minutes.  Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

My comments:
*If you don't have vermicelli, broken pieces of spaghetti work just fine.
**I use vegetable stock, and for this recipe I particularly like Pacific brand.  It's a very hearty stock -- a deep orange color -- and it gives a lot of flavor to the pilaf.  But any clear chicken or vegetable stock will work.
***Keep an eye on the pasta as it browns.  It can go from golden to burnt very quickly.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fungus Among Us

Continuing with the theme from my last post of "it's amazing what you see when you take the time to look," here are some shots of mushrooms and fungus I discovered while out looking at lichen.  What strange little life forms they are.  Examined up close, the textures are fascinating.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Likin' the Lichen

The rains have finally stopped -- for a few days away -- and have left behind a landscape transformed.  What was once brown and dry and parched-looking is now rich and green and lush with the smell of loamy earth. 

Our home is surrounded by oaks of all kinds (Live and White and Blue, to mention a few) and they seem to have erupted with masses of moss and lichens of different colors and textures and sizes.  Even the rock outcroppings are covered.  Actually, anything with a even a tiny nook or cranny -- the brick retaining wall, the garden fence posts, the cement walkway -- is sporting a coat of green. 

To tell the truth, I can't tell the difference between a moss and a lichen.  Whatever they are, these little life forms are amazing.  Up close, they look like miniature seascapes. It's amazing what you see when you take the time to look.