Despite the rain I’ve been enjoying long rambles in my neighborhood. I even pulled out my electric bike the other day. I’ve been a looky-loo, saying hi to all the blossoms that have decided to show up. Gosh, I hope things are lovely in your neck of the woods.
Here’s a quick round-up of some things I’ve been enjoying.
We were lucky to be included in a Portland premiere for the new Hulu show, TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS. What a treat to be in a theater full of friends and friendly acquaintances who make you feel part of a larger community (otherwise known as loose connections–relationships that are essential to our well being). Everyone attended with best intentions to celebrate Cheryl Strayed and her big beautiful new show, based upon her eponymous book. Sign me up for any show that follows a well meaning, smart woman with poor judgment, doing her best in her messy life! (anyone watched BETTER THINGS? also on Hulu.) Kathryn Hahn, plays Clare, a floundering writer who takes on the mantle of Dear Sugar, an advice columnist. Through helping others she comes to be kinder and more tender to herself and those she loves. Hahn’s performance had me laughing and crying. The writing is fantastic and funny. I can’t wait to watch more. Thanks to Cheryl Strayed for sharing her big beautiful heart!
Okay, I know, I know… I’ve already recommended the show, GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, which is so good, about women at Newsweek Magazine in the late 60s who never got bylines and how they came to claim their power. Well, now I’ve found a podcast (thanks Oldster Magazine for alerting me), that seems a good companion piece to the show. STIFFED tells the story of the time Bob Guccioni (yes, that Guccioni of Penthouse infamy) hired a bunch of feminist journalists to create a “crotch centric” magazine for women called VIVA. The podcast is funny, smart, a little scandalous (pubic topiary anyone?), and insightful. How do a group of upcoming, intellectual women, the likes of Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovani, and Betty Friedan, get to make the magazine they want, despite the agenda of porn king Guccioni? If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out this article.
A song I have on repeat: HAPPIER THAN THE MORNING SUN, from Stevie Wonder. It completely enlivens my morning. Delay in the arrival of blue skies? Not my favorite thing, but survivable with a good spring listen. What’s yours? Just one song. Send it to me and I’ll make a play list for us all to share. xo!
This week was a busy cooking week. For Passover my son and I made a brisket from Alison Roman whom I adore, as well as her terrific celery salad. Then we made this delightful kugel which would make a perfect weeknight meal any time. Add a nice salad. Maybe this one from the NYTs. There’s a paywall, but all you need to know is it’s baby kale, dried cranberries, pecans, blue cheese, croutons, and a lemony-mustardy-vinaigrette.
The snack I want for dinner the next couple of nights? This Brussel sprout toast. I made it once and completely screwed up, more on that below. Here’s the recipe:
Charred Brussel Sprout Toast w/Ricotta
- Olive oil
- 4 slices (½-inch-thick, medium-sized) sourdough or country bread, make certain it is super hearty, I used focaccia because that’s all I had on hand and it was too soft… too insubstantial to bear the burden of the veggies, a total fail! 🙁
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- Kosher salt
- 1-2 shallots, peeled and diced
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved lengthwise
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1 c whole-milk ricotta, I screwed up here as well, accidentally opened the sour cream and used a bit before I realized, then thought, why not? I’ll tell you why not, the ricotta was runny and everything fell apart.. wah, wah, sad trombone.
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- ½ c hazelnuts, toasted, loose skins removed, coarsely chopped
- Drizzle a large frying pan lightly with olive oil, add as many bread slices as fit in one layer. Turn heat to medium, cook until golden brown and toasted underneath, about 4 minutes. Flip, and toast the second side, about 1 minute more, then set toast aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining bread, adding more oil as needed. Remove from heat and rub toasts with the halves of the garlic clove, and sprinkle with salt.
- Increase heat to med, add oil to recoat the pan. Heat the oil and add shallots and saute for about 3 mins, then add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Season w/salt and freshly ground black pepper, and let them cook undisturbed until well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip, and let the second side brown well underneath, 2 to 4 minutes more. Repeat this browning-and-flipping process until the Brussels have charred spots all over. Remove from the heat. Stir in balsamic. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Mix ricotta with juice from half the lemon. Spread each slice of bread thickly with ricotta. Heap ricotta with charred brussels sprouts. Finish with another drizzle of oil, more lemon juice, salt, and red-pepper flakes, to taste.
It’s finally spring and I imagine next week there will be rhubarb, and asparagus and all kinds of wonderful things in the produce section. Do you have a fav rhubarb recipe? Please do send my way! I never know what to do with it.
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