Sunday, March 13, 2005

In hot pursuit of arugula

Food is on my mind again. It’s the season for it. The pace of restaurant kitchens seems cool right now. Why did I completely let go of that world? When you’re prepping, nothing, nothing is as important as getting the flatleaf parsley exactly to the consistency you’re after. How many of us have the luxury of worrying about the size and texture of shredded parsley for a solid block of time each day?

I read in the news about L’Etoile (our infamous eating place that pays homage to the small, organic farmer), and about Charlie Trotter opening a place in New York and my mind wanders to plates piled high with artistically presented food. I’m inspired. I want to cook again.

The starting point: what should be the dish that draws you in so that you can’t wait for the next one and the next? Something zesty and totally spring-focused. Something that’ll bite at your tongue but wont quite leave you in pain. Arugula! How about creating an arugula frappuccino? Seems perfect, no? A frothy little mixture, warm, served in a cappuccino cup. Add a few other green vegetables to the base to tone down the pepperiness of arugula (onion? sweet spinach? zucchini?) and you’ve got yourself a hot start to a dreamy meal.


...there’s no arugula to be had in Madison. Whole Foods tells me they’ve been begging their California suppliers, with no luck. Copps doesn’t have it. [You might say that these days Copps is losing its produce advantage. Where are those bins of fresh baby lettuce (and arugula)? What happened to the organic fruit section? There is, according to me, currently no good reason at all to set foot in that store.] Magic Mill? So laid back, so sweet, so barren -- at least in terms of arugula.

At this point I am ready to call friends in far away places. I am possessed by an arugula craving. Nothing, no other green soup will do. Arugula or bust!

But reality forces me to acknowledge the shortcomings of living in a state with weather that is in a symbiotic relationship with the Siberian tundra. Or so it seems.

I’m tired of winter.

I drive to Brennan’s to pick up some fruit for the morning – I am not a Brennan’s fan especially, but minute for minute, it is the closest grocery store to my house and so once or twice a year I go there.

I get out, am reminded by the clerk that the place closes in five minutes, I throw him a dirty look -- as in, how dare you hurry me just so you can go home to your wife and kids on a Sunday evening!?? I look listlessly at the berries, walk around to the cashier and pass a stack of beautiful, fresh arugula.
arugula on my mind... Posted by Hello

You could almost feel the collective Republican breath held in anticipation of the final definitive answer to the question of will she or wont she?

Rice supporters I am sure were listening carefully this morning as the Sec of State faced off with Russert (on "Meet the Press") on the Q of whether or not she would run for the office of president in 2008.

Ann outlines the full exchange here. I, too, watched. I am not a Rice fan for any number of reasons, though I must say that I enjoy listening to her respond to pointed questions, since she understands subtlety and does not stumble when pressed for answers. For instance, her responses this morning to questions on how on earth anyone could possibly believe that Bolton is a wise choice for the position of Ambassador to the UN (really, if you can defend that one, you can defend anything, including a flat earth and a cheese moon) were nothing short of brilliant. You could almost think that she believed them herself, even though her subsequent comment perhaps signaled some degree of apprehension. “I look forward to having him come to Washington and communicate with me on a regular basis” I took to mean “I am going to watch this dude closely; it’s undignified to remind everyone of the obvious – that indeed, we are the only important member state in that butchered and beleaguered organization.”

But back to the presidential quandary. I have to admit that my short-term self-interest does cause me to favor a Rice run for office. If she is on the presidential ticket, I win a challenge and earn myself a dinner at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago.

It became clear to me that my chances of cashing in on the dinner plummeted today. But what also became abundantly clear was that she was side-stepping the issue of the presidency by focusing on the act of running for that office. Nothing that she said precluded her being on the ticket as the VP candidate. This, then, is her potential assent to power: through the VP doors, those same ones that have lead others straight into White House in the past. Russert was wrong to show her photos of past Secs of State who became presidents. He should have shown her photos of VPs who then made the leap into the Oval Office. It is not inconceivable that she sees herself as being one of them.

Could it be that within the next month the dollar will be worth 0.1 Euros?

Do you want to track my travel to Europe? Easy. Look at the table below and find the lowest points in the value of the dollar against the Euro (December, for example). Is the dollar sliding again? Must be time to plan another trip!

I am getting used to coming home and finding that a charge for a café au lait rang up $45 on my card. It has great amusement value, really it does.

source: Federal Reserve Bank of NY