Friday, August 17, 2012

a line was drawn

Baby did a bad bad thing, Baby did a bad bad thing
     Baby did a bad bad thing, Baby did a bad bad thing

It was an argument I still remember, Spoke and I firmly on opposite sides. 

As avid patrons, we tend to like the same films and we enjoy after the show, critiquing each element and dissecting all the juicy parts.  This was true for Eyes Wide Shut, the Stanley Kubrick film which I suspect if you watched, you either loved or hated. 

There are many early scenes with beautiful and handsome people in lush and gorgeous settings, the most stunning to me and the focal point of our bitter division takes place in the couple's bedroom; an intimate scene back lit in mesmerizing, blue light. 

Spoke and I had agreed on much about the film before our battle of the sexes slowly emerged, then escalated, each of us defending our gender fiercely, accusing the other of having watched with their own eyes shut.  We were dug in, truly unable to understand the other. 

I believe this to be the first and only time we were so vehemently opposed and agreeing to disagree was laughable.  As marriages do though, and not unlike the film's characters ultimately did, we let it go. 

I still listen to the soundtrack, a chivalrous, surprise gift from Spoke some year long after and I sometimes watch the film if it shows up on cable. 

I watch it late at night, by myself.  It's just better that way.  

Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick, 1999
"Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" Chris Isaak, 1995 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the other bitter half

"Beans, beans, good for your heart,
     The more you eat, the more you..."

If you're a FROM 3906 reader with children, and for some sadly, this includes a few husbands, you've heard these lines sung whenever you've served up bean soup. 

Let's be frank; there is some truth to the song so despite how delicious the last recipe, you may find yourself wanting Escarole Soup but not always with beans.  Here's a nice alternative version which I cooked with the remaining half head of escarole. 

It's a light soup though rich with corn and served over a mound of cooked rice.  With a hint of lingering heat, this one might just have your family singing a different tune.

Escarole Soup II

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large, sweet yellow onion, peeled and diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
salt and white pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
8 cups vegetable stock, divided
12 cups water
2 ears of fresh corn cut off the cob or
1 fifteen-ounce can of shoepeg corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 head of escarole, leaves and stalk shredded
salt and black pepper
cooked rice

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil and add the onions,
seasoning them with a little salt and white pepper. 
Cook until the onions are soft and golden. 
Stir in the garlic and the dried red-pepper flakes,
cooking a minute longer. 

Add 4 cups of vegetable stock and 12 cups of water. 
Bring to a boil and cook until the soup has reduced.

Add the other 4 cups of stock, the corn, and the escarole,
seasoning with salt and black pepper. 
Simmer until the soup has cooked down and is a bit denser. 
Serve in a bowl over a large spoonful of cooked rice.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

this little piggy

A most unusual gift is this piglet, given to me by a good friend.  He's not like the pot-bellied pig Elizabeth raised which she eventually gave to a good home because his rooting required constant repainting of her home's walls.  

No, this pig is to be eaten! 

He lives at Corley's, a small, commercial farm which raises, butchers, and stores the pork product for clients.  Here's how they operate...  Piglets are purchased by individuals, their ears tagged for proof of ownership.  They're raised on the farm where buyers can visit six days a week.  Like other owners, I will watch my pig grow fatter and fatter until he is deemed ready for the slaughterhouse.

Corley's has warehouse-size freezers and your meat is stored for you, included in the purchase price since a home freezer cannot hold an entire pig.  Your section, tagged to match your pig, remains locked, much like a safe deposit box. 

There's a small portion of the meat locker open to the public, sales similar to retail markets.  It is stocked with cuts which have been forfeited; a requirement if one moves or has to leave the farm program for any reason although ownership of live pigs already purchased, may be transferred to another person. 


I tried to wrap my mind around the concept and recall details as I entered the kitchen for that first cup of coffee.  I needed caffine!   I needed to clear the fog from my dream! 

"Morning," I said to our cement pig and gave his chin a rub.  Pig sits in a corner to the left of the cooktop, ears alert and a happy smile always on his face. 

It was that smile that caught my eye on the warm and sunny day I spotted him at the nursery sitting among the annuals.  I felt an urge to purchase him, to claim ownership and keep him safe in our meatless kitchen.  

Pig's been smiling ever since.