If any of you are looking for a good way to make green beans — and who isn’t? I ask you, who isn’t? — you can’t do much better than Mark Bittman’s spicy-sweet take on this most mundane vegetable. I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but I just made them for the third time, and was reminded again how good they are. They do depend on you being the sort of person who has almonds on hand, and dried chilies, but if you’re not, it’s worth adding both to your shopping list. They’re that good.
(And if you don’t have almonds around but you do have pine nuts, try the garlicky variation using pine nuts. I plan to, next time, now that I’ve used up the last of the almonds.)
And that is today’s installment of What Did You Have For Dinner, which I was reminded last week is perhaps a too-common topic around here. Well, hell. I can’t sparkle every day, and sometimes that’s the most interesting thing to happen in my rather sedate life. I’m writing this Sunday night to get a jump on Monday’s grind, and for now, at least, all is right with the world, which is a trite way to say I got the laundry done, Sunday dinner made/served/cleaned up after, and I more or less know what the week to come will bring. Plus, the full moon is rising in a clear sky, and I can see it from where I sit. Little things.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I made that French pork stew BobNG suggested last weekend, and it was great. I liked the prunes, Alan didn’t, but we both agreed it was the fresh tarragon that put it over the top. Again, not something most people keep on hand, but worth a trip to the fresh herbs section of your grocery. It’s a very good recipe.
Which then reminds me that the poobahs at Cook’s Illustrated — where the French pork stew came from — were on “Fresh Air” last week, and gave a delightful interview about what it’s like to run a test kitchen. They said the biggest challenge is people who don’t follow the recipe, substituting this for that and then complaining it didn’t work. There was an anecdote about a man who whined about a chicken recipe that had required about half an hour of heat — the worst chicken he’d ever had, he said, before adding that he hadn’t had any chicken, and had substituted shrimp. Oh. Well. Cook’s is known for testing recipes dozens of times to get the very best one, and I’m indebted to them for solving my au gratin potatoes problem once and for all. Mine always turned out runny, but not anymore. The secret: Half-and-half, and start them on the stovetop before they go into the oven. Yum.
Have I bored you senseless yet? Good. Then let’s go to the bloggage:
I listened to Hank regarding “All-American Muslim,” and haven’t been watching:
Though there will be occasional arguments and mini-crises that come along whenever you put any human beings on TV and then tell them to pretend the camera crew is invisible, “All-American Muslim” is mainly an act of public relations, going out of its way to avoid becoming “The Real Housewives of Dearborn.”
What I said up there about having a rather sedate life applies to most people, and you don’t have to live here, or in any metro area where Muslims reach critical mass, very long before they start to blend into the scenery. But that wasn’t enough for the Florida Family Association, which started an email campaign to lean on its biggest advertiser, Lowe’s, which folded like a cheap tent, although now that there’s been some loud pushback, they’re doing the dither, in a Facebook statement:
“Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”
How special. How respectful. In my winding path through the web many days, I’m amazed at how the Islam-exists-to-destroy-us meme flourishes on right-wing sites, and there’s simply no doubt in my mind that a North Carolina-based corporation is a particularly ripe target for the various “family associations” out there stirring the pot. Too bad, as they led the way with bilingual signage, and seem to at least acknowledge a rapidly diversifying nation, although maybe they think it only exists among contractors.
Oh, and speaking of bigotry, the case of the gay-hatin’ Troy mayor seems to be finding another gear. She’s already showing signs of fatigue — she’s tired, and she doesn’t feel well — and the Chamber of Commerce, generally the squarest, dullest people in any town, does not like this woman, especially now that gay groups are calling for shopping boycotts. (Troy is home to the area’s swankiest mall, which may be too big to dent, but maybe not restaurants and smaller stores.) One of their leaders was on a local radio show this week telling listeners the voters were victims of their own apathy, and elected a tea party ignoramus because they didn’t do their homework. The one quoted in the linked story is similarly dismissive. This woman may crumple yet.
And as always, when I read stories like this, I reflect that I never thought I’d live long enough to see gay people throw weight around like this, but whaddaya know? Progress is possible after all.
Among the many things I feel no obligation to pay the first bit of attention to, I’d put pro football in the top five. However, I understand that there’s this quarterback out there named Tim Tebow, and he’s doing something newsworthy? In matters like this, I rely on the guys at LGM, and of course TBogg.
OK, time to get out of here. The week lies ahead of us. Let’s embrace it.