Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crete, shimmering isle...

For the first time in several years, I will not be going to Greece. I will have to find ways to console myself.
Here are a few shots of our best day in Crete, last fall. Lunch with Adonis, Vicky and cousins, at A and V's house, above the town of Paleochora.

Adonis, the quintessential Cretan. Vicky, who makes it all look easy.
Maria, Sifi, Peggy, Katerina, Georgia.
The luminous grapes of Chez Adonis.

A view to town.
The trapeza.
Adonis with his home-grown and -cured olives.
Ah, why do I feel sad and wonderful at once? I miss my island and its people.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Thinner Me

Have you simpsonized yourself yet? By now it's old hat. When I did this last year I made myself thinner. Now I am this size, which says a lot for visualization...LOL!
I joined Weightwatchers at an at-work meeting early in November and have lost about 20 lbs. I am pretty close to where I want to be. There are so many benefits. My cholesterol has dropped, for one. And I look a lot like the person that I picture myself to be in my mind. (They say that men tend to "upgrade" themselves, whereas women tend to have a more negative view of how they appear.)
I'll write a future post about maintaining the weight loss, which has always been tough for me. For now, I am very happy about how it's going. Go to: www.weightwatchers.com.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fox Oakland Theater



[Photo from Wikimedia Commons]


This grand old movie house is being restored as part of a true renaissance on this section of Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.


(There is a great restaurant across the street, the newly opened Flora. I will write about it in a future post.)


I walked by here today at lunch and was impressed again at the sheer audacity and gaudy extravagance of this building.


The Oakland School for the Arts will be housed here starting this fall. For more info go to: http://www.foxoakland.org/.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lentils, Joys of

Did you know that millions of people around the world get their daily protein from lentils? This is true mostly in India, but lentils are grown and eaten in a wide swath, beginning in the Mediterranean and moving eastward. To get all the needed amino acids for a complete protein, they must be eaten with a grain. In Greece, that is typically pasta or sometimes rice. Here is my own slight twist on Rosemary Barron's recipe. This is a great dish for a winter day. (Note: all the ingredients used are organic, when available.)

LENTIL PILAFI

2 cu. medium gr. calrose rice (I use Massa Organic California Calrose)
1 cu French green lentils, cleaned and rinsed (see Lentils, Hazards of)
1 med. red onion--sliced
1 carrot, shaved with a peeler into strips and chopped
1 tb. good Cretan olive oil
4 cu. broth, chicken or veggie
2 tb. ground coriander
1 ts. ground allspice
3 bay leaves
pinch of Greek dried oregano (rigani)
1/2 cu. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oil, bay leaves, and ground spices, in an 8 qt. soup pot or dutch oven.
Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft.
Throw in the rice and stir for a few minutes, till it whitens a bit
Add broth and lentils, then stir once.
Bring to a medium boil and stay close by. When holes form and the water is almost gone, take off the heat, put on a tight lid and leave on the back of the stove for half an hour.
Remove bay leaves, and add oregano and parsley.

Serve with salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and plain Greek yogurt.
Makes a nice meal followed by a salad and fruit. On special occasions I have served it with roast chicken or lamb.

Rosemary Barron: http://www.rosemarybarron.com/RosemaryBarron/RosemaryBarron.htm
Massa Organics: http://www.massaorganics.com/index.html

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lentils, Hazards of

The other night I was at home enjoying one of my standard dishes. I like to call them menu items, because they appear so regularly on my table. This one is called "lentil pilafi" and is based on a recipe by Rosemary Barron.

Oh, yes, the title of this post. There I was, chewing away with contentment, and I felt--and heard--a frightening crunch, and was sure I had a broken tooth. Gratefully, that was not the case, but I did spit out some thing that looks like a tiny wedge of blue cheese, but made of marble.

And there you have what might be the only hazard associated with lentils. They sometime have rocks in them. Why? I dunno. Seems like any dried beans have that possible problem. So you must clean them very carefully. This means devising a system where you actually handle each lentil. I used to put them in a pie plate in one layer and inspect before washing. This is not good enough. You must take then into your fingers or with a small spoon and look at them before you put them in the strainer/colander/sieve for washing.

OK. I have lectured you enough. But teeth are too precious to be broken by a humble lentil.

I will post the recipe tomorrow. I promise.