Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunny Side of Dinner

(You know me. I love a perfectly cooked egg.)


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The California Cook: Scrambled eggs: the sunny side of dinner
By Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times Food Editor
March 31, 2011

Scrambled eggs for dinner doesn't mean you have bad timing. Just add a few simple ingredients and they become a delicious and sophisticated light main course.

I've always loved Robert Frost's line about home being the place where, "when you have to go there, they have to take you in." Perhaps I'm putting an overly optimistic reading on it, but the idea that even on our coldest, darkest nights, there is always a place with a warm light in the window is reassuring. That's kind of the way I feel about having eggs in the refrigerator.

It doesn't matter how gruesome the workday has been or how late it is when I get home, give me a couple of eggs and some of this and that from the fridge and I know I can fix a meal that will not only get me through the night, it will even redeem the day.

Yet it seems like every time I mention eating eggs for dinner, I get met with a blank look — "Dude? You don't know those are for breakfast?" — or even worse, pity — "So, at long last it's come to this, has it?"

But while I'll happily acknowledge the rules-turned-upside-down pleasure of eating things like waffles and pancakes for dinner (or pizza for breakfast!), that's not at all what this is about.

These are egg dishes that make perfect sense as light main courses. Better yet, throw together a quick salad and you've got a complete, elegant meal that can probably be prepared in less time than it would take my big pasta pot to come to a boil.

Of course, there are omelets and frittatas. Those are easy answers. Eggs, cheese, a few bits of vegetables and you're there. But you don't even need to get that complicated.

You're going to have to trust me on this, but one of my favorite late-night dinners is scrambled eggs. These aren't your typical diner eggs, though. They're more like the ones you get at great restaurants, only there you usually get them elaborately piped back into their shells and garnished with caviar or truffles.

In restaurants, these are cooked long and slow, often over a double boiler, with some poor little commis standing there sweating and whisking the whole 20 or 30 minutes until the eggs are set. The result is glorious — rich and creamy eggs that are more like a slightly curdled hollandaise than what Andy brings to the counter with a couple of slices of bacon.

Several years ago I came up with a trick that makes them really easy to prepare at home. The secret is butter. Cold butter, specifically. Here's the deal: The trick to getting that creamy texture in scrambled eggs is monitoring the heat really carefully.

The proteins in eggs begin to set at a relatively low temperature, about 150 degrees (that's roughly correct — the whites and yolks set at different temperatures). And once they start to set, they get very firm very quickly.

One way to get around this is by whisking them constantly over very low heat, or you can just outsmart the proteins.

The way I fix scrambled eggs, I add just a little bit of cold butter to the raw eggs and start cooking over medium-low heat. You do need to stir constantly — a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula is perfect.

Keep the eggs well agitated and in a couple of minutes, when you can feel them getting thick and see them looking creamy (fun fact: that's the proteins unfolding and blocking the light), start beating in little cubes of cold butter, a few at a time. Adding the cold butter moderates the temperature, keeping it just below the point at which the eggs will actually set.

Oh, and the butter also emulsifies into the eggs, making them absolutely delicious. The eggs will be done when they have formed tiny, creamy curds. Some people (like my wife) don't like their eggs too runny; for them you can go just a little longer. Whatever your preference, take the eggs off the heat while they still look a little too moist. They cook so quickly they'll firm up more in the couple of minutes that you're dishing them up.

If you have caviar or truffles languishing on your counter, by all means use them for garnish. I usually use just a couple of pinches of minced fines herbes (a mix of any or all of parsley, tarragon, chervil and chives, varying according to what I have on hand). And I have to say that, in a pinch, a good grinding of cracked black pepper cuts the richness deliciously.

Another favorite dinner is based on a recipe for eggs fried in bread crumbs that I learned from my old friend Judy Rodgers. For years this was my standard order when I'd stop by her Zuni Café in San Francisco for Sunday breakfast. And they're even simpler to make than scrambled.

Put a generous handful of fresh bread crumbs in a small bowl (I've tried this with dried bread crumbs and with Japanese panko bread crumbs, and fresh works best). Stir in some chopped fresh thyme and just enough olive oil to moisten them nicely.

Cook the bread crumbs in a skillet over medium heat until they begin to toast. You'll see the color change from pale to light tan, and you'll also hear the change as the crumbs crisp and sizzle when you stir them.

Gather the crumbs into two low mounds that are as near to a single layer as you can manage, and then immediately crack an egg over each mound (this recipe can multiply out for as many eggs as you want to make, but I find four eggs is about the most that will fit in a 9-inch skillet).

Cover the pan and, if necessary, adjust the heat so the eggs cook evenly without scorching around the edges. When the yolks are as firm as you like (they really should still be runny but thickened), transfer the eggs to a plate and quickly sizzle about a tablespoon of vinegar in the pan to free up any stuck crumbs or bit of eggs and pour that over the top.

This is the epitome of subtle sophistication. Simple ingredients are cooked in a smart way to get the most out of them. The toasted bread crumbs add crispness to the eggs, and the vinegar finish keeps them from being too rich.

Serve it with just a tart salad, but at this time of year, when I seem to be eating as much asparagus as I can hold, it's even better with the egg laid languorously over a bundle of steamed spears.

It's a simple thing, really just fancy fried eggs, but knowing I've got this waiting for me when I get home, I don't care how my day has gone or how long my commute might be — how dark the world might seem at the moment — there is a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

The Rebellious Body

The Body Rebellious; Nonconformance and Intersecting Identities in a Movement
by Marianne Kirby

Excerpts (find complete blog by clicking on title above):

"The rebellious body is a nonconforming body, a body that does not play by the rules as established in our dominant mainstream culture. Because the narrow path to acceptability is actually an impossible path, there is no model (and I don’t know if this is true in all other cultures) of how to have a healthful relationship with one’s own body, especially if you are a woman. This is true regardless of size. It receives extra emphasis if you are living and experiencing intersections of oppression – if you are disabled, if you are queer, if you are trans, if you are a person of color, and so on. It receives extra emphasis if you are fat."

"Fat acceptance is for everyone."

"To have unique experiences is how we share knowledge and power with each other. To have unique experiences is how the boundaries of our greater world are determined. It is because our experiences are different that I talk to people – if everyone had my same experience, we wouldn’t have much to learn from each other, would we?"


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A little Alanis.



Sometimes you just need a little Alanis in your life.

Article: Fat Bias Worse for Women

I am in no way supportive of the B.M.I. and believe that the world needs to work on their use of the term "obese". With my height and weight I'm considered "morbidly obese"...what a disgusting term. Still terminology aside I think this is an interesting (introduction) article about women experiencing more weight-discrimination then men. 

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By Tara Parker-Pope

It only takes a modest weight gain for a woman to experience weight discrimination, but men can gain far more weight before experiencing similar bias, a new study shows.

The notion that society is less tolerant of weight gain in women than men is just one of the findings suggested by a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, published this month in the International Journal of Obesity.

For the study, researchers documented the prevalence of self-reported weight discrimination and compared it to experiences of discrimination based on race and gender among a nationally representative sample of adults ages 25 to 74. The data was obtained from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States.

Overall, the study showed that weight discrimination, particularly against women, is as common as racial discrimination. But the researchers also identified the amount of weight gain that triggers a discriminatory backlash. They found that women appear to be at risk for discrimination at far lower weights, relative to their body size, than men.

Based on body mass index, which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight, a normal weight is in the range of 18.5 to 24.9. The study found that women begin to experience noticeable weight bias — such as problems at work or difficulty in personal relationships — when they reach a body mass index, or B.M.I., of 27. For a 5-foot-5-inch woman, that means discrimination starts once she reaches a weight of 162 pounds — or about 13 pounds more than her highest healthy weight, based on B.M.I. charts.

But the researchers found that men can bulk up far more without experiencing discrimination. Weight bias against men becomes noticeable when a man reaches a B.M.I. of 35 or higher. A 5-foot-9-inch man has a B.M.I. of 35 if he weighs 237 pounds — or 68 pounds above his highest healthy weight.

The study also revealed that women are twice as likely as men to report weight discrimination and that weight-related workplace bias and interpersonal mistreatment due to obesity are common. The researchers found that weight discrimination is more prevalent than discrimination based on sexual orientation, nationality or ethnicity, physical disability and religious beliefs.

“However, despite its high prevalence, it continues to remain socially acceptable,” said co-author Tatiana Andreyava, in a press release.

Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size?
By Renee Michael

"The start of Lent today will offer many of us yet another opportunity to renew that resolution we made at the start of the year (and abandoned by the time February rolled in), to lose the extra poundage. But before you vow to give up your glasses of Cabernet and your plates of pasta primavera, you might want to consider H.A.E.S., or Health at Every Size, a new “peace movement” that one of its proponents, Linda Bacon, a nutritionist in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, says was designed to halt “the collateral damage” — food and body preoccupation, self-hatred and eating disorders — that has resulted from the failed war on obesity. H.A.E.S. is based on the idea that “the best way to improve health is to honor your body,” and it supports the adoption of good health habits simply for the sake of health and well-being rather than weight control.

Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, a National Health Service specialist dietitian and an honorary research fellow at the Applied Research Center in Health and Lifestyle Interventions at Coventry University in England, published a paper in Nutrition Journal earlier this year. It argues that a weight-focused approach geared toward losing weight is — surprise! — not especially effective in either reducing the weight or creating healthier bodies. In fact, they say, such an approach can unintentionally lead to weight gain and worse health.

Bacon and Aphramor analyzed nearly 200 studies for their article, which lands where many frustrated dieters have already found themselves — with the knowledge that while dieting can result in short-term weight loss, the majority of overweight people are unable to maintain that loss for very long. Contrary to popular belief, the two researchers argue, weight-focused dieters do not achieve many of the supposed benefits of weight loss. The data present no compelling evidence to support the generally accepted notion that a weight-loss approach will prolong life. Nor does it support the common belief that anyone can lose weight and keep it off through diet, exercise and willpower. Or that weight loss is the only way overweight and obese people can improve their health. Bacon and Aphramor insist that adjusting your lifestyle habits with an eye toward improving markers of well-being like reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, reduced stress, increased energy and improved self-esteem — independent of any weight loss at all — is a far more desirable goal for people of all sizes to pursue. And they suggest that the health care community should adopt an approach toward public-health nutrition that “encourages individuals to concentrate on developing healthy habits rather than on weight management.”

Of course, acceptance of such a philosophy would require a monumental change in mindset not just in the health care and weight-loss industries, but among waist-watchers themselves. As any dieter who has hopped on the scale a dozen times in one day to check whether he or she has lost any weight since the last weigh-in will tell you, as grateful as you may be for a higher count of good cholesterol or a decrease in your high blood-pressure stats, those aren’t really the numbers that you care most about when you are slipping on a dress or a suit twice the size of the one you wore five years ago. And even after some 30 years of campaigning on the part of fat-acceptance activists to get people to not automatically assume that a person carrying around a bit of extra girth is unhealthy, heavy people still suffer from discrimination and bias.

Still, for those among us who want to at least try a different approach to our health care efforts this Lenten season and make peace with the bodies we have, Linda Bacon invites you to pledge your commitment to the H.A.E.S. movement.

At the time that I wrote this post, fewer than 1,800 people had signed on."

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My first official introduction to HAES was a few weeks ago when a speaker came to talk to our students. She was a counselor at a local clinic in Portland that focuses and teaches the HAES program to their patients and clients.While she wasn't the best speaker it was nice to see/hear that there is movement to stop focusing on the (scale/weight) numbers and start looking more at the whole person.

I've always been on the plus side of life....and let's be honest you can only claim it's "Baby Fat" for so long.

I've been lucky, and I know it, I've never had an eating disorder, I never had my parents or boyfriends tell me I'm fat....that didn't stop me though from having insecurities about my weight. Growing up and having my school crushes see me as someone to partner up with during group work but then "date" the skinnier girls who could fit into this week's latest fashion trend. It made adolescence hard (but then really mother nature plays awful tricks on you when you're younger).





(Sorry. I just love this bit of Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill and when I saw it animated with stick figures I had to add it in. It just worked)

So, where was I? Oh yea....It was frustrating (and still is) to not dress like an 80-year old grandma in elastic pants and muumuus. But I trudged through and did what I could. I had only really been in (what I would consider) one major relationship. There had been a few minor ones here and there - but somewhere inside of me I didn't feel I was worth or attractive enough or desirable enough to have someone want me. To be in another relationship again.

At some point, some morning, I woke up and realized I was what was stopping me from having the relationships I was lacking. I decided I needed to work on my (internal) self-image. I went out and purchased a number of "Fat-Friendly" books: Fat!So?, The Fat Girl's Guide, Body Outlaws and Fat Chicks Rule!

Whether it was the books or just the intentionality behind my attitude and self-views or a combination - I'll never know. What I do know is I've started to love my curves. 

Started to appreciated that people come in all shapes and sizes and to not hate my body or myself for the curves I've been given. And once I opened myself up to loving myself I allowed myself to be loved. I know have a man who loves that I'm curvy. Loves my stomach - one of my least favorite body parts. 

I'm glad there are doctors and counselors out in the world trying to help people of all sizes embrace their bodies and know that your dress size does not equal how healthy (or happy) you are (or can be).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cohabitation?

I stumbled across a USA Today article (below) about cohabitation and I was a little perplexed... although I suppose that's what I get for reading an article in USA Today (News-Lite). Read the article first and I'll have my thoughts at the bottom. 

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Report: Cohabiting has little effect on marriage success
By Sharon Jayson
USA TODAY 10/14/2010


Couples who live together before marriage and those who don't both have about the same chances of a successful union, according to a federal report out Tuesday that turns earlier cohabitation research on its head.

The report, by the National Center for Health Statistics, is based on the National Survey of Family Growth, a sample of almost 13,000. It provides the most detailed data on cohabitation of men and women to date.

Past research — using decades-old data — found significantly higher divorce rates for cohabitors, defined as "not married but living together with a partner of the opposite sex." But now, in an era when about two-thirds of couples who marry live together first, a different picture is emerging in which there are few differences between those who cohabit and those who don't.

Of those married 10 or more years, 60% of women and 62% of men had ever cohabited; 61% of women and 63% of men had cohabited only with the one they married. Meanwhile, 66% of women and 69% of men married 10 years had never cohabited.

Differences "are there, but they are not huge," says statistician Bill Mosher, the report's co-author.

Sociologist Pamela Smock of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor considers the data definitive. "On the basis of these numbers, there is not a negative effect of cohabitation on marriages, plain and simple," she says.

Paul Amato, a sociologist at Pennsylvania State University, says the new data suggest that "maybe the effect of premarital cohabitation is becoming less of a problem than it was in the past. If it becomes normative now, maybe it's not such a big deal."

The report takes a closer look at those who live together before marriage, including race and ethnicity, education level, upbringing and whether couples were engaged when they moved in.

"There's a real difference in the types of cohabitations out there," Mosher says. "We can show that now with these national data."

The data show that those who live together after making plans to marry or getting engaged have about the same chances of divorcing as couples who never cohabited before marriage. But those who move in together before making any clear decision to marry appear to have an increased risk of divorce.

Men who were engaged when they moved in with their future spouse had about the same odds that their marriage would last at least 10 years as those who didn't live together before the wedding: 71% for engaged men and 69% for non-cohabiting men. Among engaged women, the probability the marriage would survive for 10 years was similar (65%) to the probability for women who didn't cohabit (66%).

That's a finding Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, sees in smaller samples. For Stanley, the "nature of commitment at the time of cohabitation is what's important."

"There is a lot of interesting work being done on differences among different groups of cohabitors as to why, when and how they cohabit," he says.

But others who are firmly against cohabitation, such as Mike McManus, co-founder of Marriage Savers, a "ministry" that aims to reduce the divorce rate, calls the findings worrisome

"I think it's going to lull some people into thinking there's no problem with living together," says McManus, co-author of Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers. "It appears to say you can cohabit and it doesn't matter, but it doesn't look at all the couples who begin cohabiting and how many of them are able to make a marriage last. It doesn't say how many marriages broke up" before 10 years.

Although the new federal data were from a 2002 survey, it's the most recent nationally representative sample of 12,571 people ages 15 to 44, including 7,643 women and 4,928 men.

Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, says the report may quell fears of cohabitation "as a long-term substitute for marriage," as in some European countries.

"American cohabitors either marry or break up in a few years," he says.

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What an odd way to end the article. A quote by a sociologist who is only mentioned the last two sentences of the article. And what a defeatist statement!?

Sure the one time I "cohabitated" we broke up somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 years of being together. That was also far from a traditional living-together situation (I was 16/17 living at home with my family and he was a freshman in college who lived with us on the weekends and holidays).

But then there's my cousin and her husband. They were high school sweethearts and dated/lived together for over 20 years before they finally got married. 

Obviously every relationship is different...
There are exceptions to every rule...
Etc...
Etc...
Etc...

Personally I've always liked the idea of cohabitation before marriage. You can learn so many new quirks about your partner that you wouldn't by just dating. You learn he never puts his socks in the hamper but leaves them balled up in his sneakers. He learns you never rinse the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink. When you're dating these are the little things we don't realize (or try to hide from our partners). 

What do you think?
Have you lived with a partner?
Did you live together before you got married
or did you wait?

Article: Rejection Really Hurts

Rejection Really Hurts, Brain Scans Show
Christine Dell'Amore
National Geographic News
Published March 28, 2011

Maybe words can hurt you as much as sticks and stones: Romantic rejection, at least, causes physical pain, according to a new study of brain activity.

Past studies have shown that simulated social rejection may be connected to a network of brain regions that processes the meaning of pain but not the sensory experience itself.

Now MRI brain scans of people jilted in real life show "activation in brain areas that are actually tied to the feeling of pain," said study co-author Edward Smith, a psychologist at Columbia University in New York City.

Smith and colleagues recruited 40 participants via flyers posted around Manhattan and through Facebook and Craigslist advertisements.

All the volunteers reported going through an "unwanted romantic relationship breakup" within the past six months.

While in an MRI machine, the subjects were asked to look at photographs of their ex-partners and think about being rejected.

When they did so, the parts of their brains that manage physical pain—the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula, to be exact—lighted up, according to the study.

The study isn't a "true perfect experiment—we couldn't control who had the rejection experience and who didn't," Smith noted.

"This is true of any study that takes advantage of an activity that happened outside of the laboratory," he said.

"There's always the possibility that there's [some unknown element] about these people who were rejected that was causing the special pattern of what we're seeing."

Yet the results are striking, Smith said, especially because the team analyzed 150 other brain-scan experiments on negative emotions—fear, anxiety, anger, sadness—and found that none of these emotionally painful experiences activate the brain's physical sensory areas in the same way as an undesired breakup.

"There may be something special about rejection."

The painful-rejection study appeared this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Attention Sushi Lovers!

Radiation in Your Food: Is It Worth Worrying About?
Caroline Russock
Mar 28, 2011 (ivillage.com)


The nuclear crisis in Japan has many concerned about the safety of imported foods. Although Japanese imports only make up about 4 percent of the foods brought into this country, the question of contaminated foods still lingers, especially when it comes to sushi. Higher-end establishments have been known to import top quality fish from Japan, but for the most part the fish served at the majority of sushi counters is not Japanese in origin.

Experts say that Japanese seafood is at a far lower risk of contamination due to the fact that any possible radiation is diluted to trace amounts in large bodies of water. But even with the dilution, nearly all sushi restaurants have eliminated Japanese seafood from their menus. Long story short? Feel free to enjoy all the sushi you'd like. This style of eating might have been created in Japan, but the fish is coming from other waters.

Other import worries come from evidence of extremely high levels of radiation found in spinach, milk and canola grown near the Fukushima plant. To counter any possibility of contaminated foods entering the U.S., last week the F.D.A. put a temporary ban on the importing of food coming from the areas surrounding the plant. The F.D.A. is also screening all foods imported from Japan before being sold to the public. If that's not enough to put your mind at ease, consider also that since 9/11, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S.D.A. has been screening virtually all imports to this country, including all food items. All of these precautions make the chances of contaminated foods making their way into our shores pretty slim.

Still concerned with the possibility of coming in contact with contaminated food? To put all of this worry into perspective, one expert says that you'd have to consume a gallon of contaminated milk each day for one year to absorb as much radiation as you do during a CAT scan, making radiation contamination through food highly unlikely.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1 box Butter Golden Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 C butter, room temperature
2/3 C water
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag chocolate chips

Make cake according to box. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Preheat over to 375 degrees and bake cupcakes 20 minutes. Once cooled cut cones out of the tops (see pictures) for fillings.







Center Filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Fill holes made in cupcakes immediately and top with cone (filling will be sticky but easier to manage).








Frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.


Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips or topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Becoming a Portlander

So I've lived in Portland for over a year (17-18 months) and when people ask "How do you like Portland?" I always seem to give a "It's nice" level answer. It's pretty, it's got so much, it's nice to be near family, blah blah blah. But nothing committal. 

I just haven't found my groove as it were. I always have "blamed" it on where in town I live. I'm a 30-45 minute car ride away from the City Center (which is a 45-60 minute ride via public transportation). And the neighborhood I currently live in isn't conducive to walking out the front door and experiencing Portland. 

Adjusting to any new town or city isn't easy. There are things that set you apart from "locals'. Things here and there that people consider initiation into being a Fill-in-the-Blank-er. So here I am 18 months into living in Portland and looking to become a Portlander (without being eligible as a cast member on Portlandia). 

A few months back the Willamette Week (an alternative newspaper in town) published their Finder magazine which includes "100 things you must do to be a Portlander" (by Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, Aaron Mesh, Becky Ohlsen and Chris Stamm).....Warning to readers. The Willamette Weekly can and is not PC, it is sarcastic, crude and airs on the side of asshole-ish. So if you are easily offended you might want to stop reading here.

So here we go. What they think I need to do to become a Portlander (and my thoughts on their suggestions)

*     *     *

100 Things You Must Do to be a Portlander

1. Throw away your umbrella - I don't think so. First I've heard this from people about Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. I've seen locals using umbrellas in all these places. And truth be told - a hat messes up my hair, a hoodie is not appropriate for my job and I don't want to look like a drowned rat to or from work. So I carry an umbrella with me at all times. Guess I'm just destended to not be a Portlander from the start.

2. Apply for a job at Powell's - I don't remember if I applied at Powells or not when I was seeking employment upon arrival. The cool thing I heard recently though is Powells prefers to higher people with higher education degrees. So if the gig I have fails at least I know I'm not over qualified for them. :)

3. Sell books at Powells - Haven't done this yet either. 0-3 so far. I tend to either not get rid of books, give them to friends and/or donate them to the Goodwill. 

4. Get a Multnomah County Library card (it's free) - Everyone in Portland reads! That's not a gross over generalization or blanket statement. Men, women, upperclass, homeless....they all have books and they'r always reading. I love that about Portland. Unfortunately I haven't gotten my butt up and around to getting a library card. I have plenty of books at home for now.

5. Get thrown off the MAX - No thank you. I have no desire to cause such a disturbance that I am thrown off the MAX! I have a trimet pass anyway. 

6. Thank your bus driver - Politeness for the win!! I do this every time whether I get off through the front or back doors. Nothing wrong with being grateful. 

7. Call a Radio Cab because TriMet doesn't run early enough to get you to the airport in time for a cross-country flight you booked before thinking about how you would get to the airport - Um.....? No? Yes I've called a cab (although not Radio Cab). Not to or from the airport.  And even if my flight was that early I know there are friends/family who would help me out. 

8. Learn how to pronounce Couch - For those of you who don't know...it's pronounced Kooch. *pause* Okay. Done giggling? Couch was a Portland founding father, blah blah blah. Yes I know the proper pronunciation and no I don't giggle over it. 

9. Cancel your social plans because it's raining too hard. - I don't think I've canceled on anyone because of the rain. There are days when it's raining so hard I decide not to venture out doors but I wouldn't cancel on friends due to the weather. 

10. Get a Netflix account, then get a Movie Madness account because you feel guilty.  - I have no idea what Movie Madness is. I'm assuming a more local version of Netflix (?) So another "no".

11. Join a food co-op or produce delivery service - Nope.

12. Eat meat surreptitiously. - Not going to happen.

13. Realize too late that city parking tickets double after 30 days - and keeps going. - Nope. Don't drive so I don't have to worry. 

14. Stand with a gaggle of misdemeanor offenders in the obscenely long metal-detector line at hte Multnomah County Courthouse. - Not yet.

15. Go to a strip club to play pool - Not that I don't have plenty to pick from but it hasn't happened.

16. Grow a half-beard. - I think that even though this hasn't happened to me, it's not going to count against me either. 

17. Get a haircut drunk - Never! No matter where I live!

18. Attend a themed pub crawl, like Santacon in December or the Urban Iditarod in March. Never do it again. - I had someone suggest I do this next year....Doubt it will happen.

19. Work off a hangover with an afternoon of Skee-Ball at Avalon Theatre and Wunderland Nickel Arcade  - Not yet and I'm not really a big fan of arcades....

20. Flirt at the Doug Fir fire pit. - Nope.

21. Watch the sunset from Mount Tabor - No objections to this, just hasn't happened

22. Forward a Portland-related story from the New York Times website - Of course I have! Forwarded them to folks living here as well as soon-to-be visiting friends. 

23. Deplore the Mexican food, until you discover a burrito cart - So I haven't discovered a burrito cart but we have found a few restaurants that satisfy us enough....for now (Don Pedro, Por Que No, La Isla Bonita)

24. Apply to grad school and don't go - Haven't applied. Thought about it but didn't even get to the application process part

25. Endure seasonal affective disorder (aka November) - Or you know...September through June...but whatever.....

26. Explain how you're still feeling bad about what happened to Elliott Smith. - Not so much

27. Use Craigslist to befriend somebody with a medical marijuana card. - Not going to happen...ever

28. Discover sliding-scale therapy. - Know it exists but haven't used it.

29. Walk the Eastbank Esplanade. - I've walked along the west side of river but never the east

30. Develop a passive-aggressive method to deter people asking for change and/or your signature. - I probably have but being passive aggressive just haven't realized I've developed it....denial stage still. :)

31. Take a bag of empty bottles to the grocery store return station for that precious $3 - We give them to my sister who does.

32. Sleep with somebody who works at New Seasons. - Haha. No. Haven't done this either. 

33. Experience Starbucks shame - This is not a Portland only concept. But since Starbucks not only gave my younger sister her first job ever, has treated her well and has given her insurance...Starbucks haters can kiss my ass.

34. Hate California - Never going to happen. Sorry folks. I still have my California ID

35. Quit a yoga class - Haven't joined one (yet)

36. Pick a side of the Willamette River (you're either a westsider or an eastsider. You can't be both). - This is soooo true! I was talking to a co-worker (who lives on the eastside) about how I was thinking of moving to the westside to be closer to work...the look she gave me!! You would have thought I just told her I decided to become a cannibal!

37. Gentrify a neighborhood. - Nope.

38. Pick berries on Sauvie Island- Nope.

39. Pretend to listen to OPB- Nope.

40. Embrace soccer. It's inevitable. - Nope.

41. Be outraged that Brandon Roy is dissed by NBA All-Star voters- Who?.That's soccer right? Oh! Basketball...got it!

42. Complain about mild traffic. - Get over it Portlanders. You don't like the traffic go try commuting home in LA

43. Shop for a station wagon - Volvo or Subaru - Haven't.

44. Buy a backyard chicken - No...and I honestly can't see this ever happening. Please if it does commit me!

45. Have an opinion on Oregon pinot - Why?

46. Vote! It's by mail, so you have no excuses. - Of course!!! A few times at this point!

47. Dance at the Fez, the Goodfoot or Ararat- Haven't.

48. Pull a phone number at a dog park.- Haven't.

49. Buy some outdoor gear (You don't have to use it).- Haven't.

50. Accidentally fuck up the compost bin at a Burgerville - I don't know! :S

51. Develop a deep-seated scorn for those tax dodgers in Vancouver - Whatever! I can't blame them for wanting to not pay Sales Tax either! If I lived in WA I'd try to get away with it too!!

52. Pretend you don't recognize somebody is a Suicide Girl- Haven't.

53. Be proud of your black friend. - Oh WW

54. If you've read Chuck Palaniuk, pretend you haven't, or vice versa - Again a town of liars?

55. Get laid off, join the creative class- Haven't.

56. Buy clothes from Red Light and try to sell them at Buffalo Exchange- Haven't.

57. Find a dress at the Red White & Blue Thrift Store.- Haven't.

58. Wear it to the Red Dress Party- Haven't.

59. Get lost in outer east Portland - I live in the OUTER east Portland so getting lost doesn't really happen. Now the west? That's a different story. 

60. Float down the Little Sandy River with liquored-up rednecks.- Not yet

61. Wait in line for brunch - There's no way around this. Portland is OBSESSED with breakfast/brunch. No matter where you go - if it's a weekend brunch you're going to wait. 

62. Crash your bicycle on the streetcar tracks while distracted by the sign warning you not to crash you bike on the streetcar tracks. - LMAO! I want to meet someone who has just to shake their hand. I wish I could say I've done this!

63. Drive over the Cascades at night. - Not at night.

64. Don't buy tire chains, then complain when Les Schwabe runs out during the annual snowstorm. - Snowstorms? Please. Yes, I bitch and moan every winter (I've been through two) but snowstorm? Unless you're commuting outside of Portland you don't need tire chains. And at this point everyone is so panicked from a few winters ago (when it did snow so hard the town of Portland shut down) that they all own snow tires or tire chains at this point.  

65. Be forced to disembark public transit because it's stuck in snow. - See above.

66. Hug a stranger at the Oregon Brewers Festival - Haven't gone to a Brew Fest yet so no stranger hugs.

67. Learn how hard it is to be pregnant and vegan - Well. Let's see. I haven't been pregnant and don't plan on being vegan...so I don't think this one is going to happen either. 

68. Take a filmmaking class at the NW Film Center - Haven't.

69. Watch The Big Lebowski with beer at a theatre- Haven't.

70. Mistake Gus Van Sant for a homeless person - I have to admit. I had to look him up. No clue who he was. So I may have....haha. 

71. Adopt a favorite homeless person, the only one you'll give money - I do have a  favorite in the sense of the most creative sign I've seen. I gave him the hot leftovers from my breakfast the one (and only) morning I saw him....but I would never just give one person money only. (Oh the guys sign said something along the lines of "Allergic to Jail. Too Ugly to Prostitute. Too old o work.")

72. Watch your favorite shitty bar get replaced by a condo - My favorite bars are far from shitty and none have been replaced by condos. 

73. Give your house a stupid name, as if it's a real music venue - Never going to happen.

74. Complain about a free concert - Bitch bitch bitch.

75. Britt Daniel - Um? Who?

76. Ride the 14-line Bus of Shame - Now I have ridden the 14-line but it was after a pot-luck and in the early evening. There was no Ride-of-Shame involved.

77. Distrust the police, even though all your interactions with them have been without incident - I've met a number of police offers and they've all been super polite and kind. However, I am an educated white woman. They (the police) have been a little trigger-happy lately if you ask some people. Doesn't mean I'm going to develop a distrust for them. 

78. Visit the Paul Bunyan statue in Kenton - No, but I WANT TO!!

79. Stop thinking the pronunciation of Couch is funny. - Already have. 

80. Get an Oregon drivers license (it's $60) - I was just talking about this with someone. My Cali ID is good until 2015...we'll see what happens then. 

81. Wait patiently in Camas for someone to pump your gas - Okay. So it wasn't Camas. But it was in Washington. We'd only been living in Oregon two months. We were on our way home from Thanksgiving dinner in WA and stopped for gas in the little town before we headed home. We didn't wait long luckily but it was that "Oh yea!" moment when we realized no one was going to come and pump our gas for us. 

82. Join an ironic/drunk sport - Probably not going to happen.

83. Fall asleep in a public place and have nothing bad happen to you. - Haha. I think I can say yes to this one. :) I wasn't feeling well and was on my way home from work. I closed my eyes on the bus and didn't realize when we pulled into the transit center (last stop - where I was to get off and transfer). A nice gentleman came and touched my shoulder letting me know it was time to get off. 

84. Become an Internet reverend. - Whatever. We did this in college. 

85. Take out-of-town relatives for an exciting "sway and dip" ride on the Aerial Tram. Realize there's nothing to do at OHSU unless you're sick. Ride back down. - Yea. You're not getting me on that Aerial Tram. Not going to happen. 

86. Get stuck on a bridge. - Hasn't happened. Yet.

87. Refuse to attend a party ~~ on the other side of the river - No. 

88. Show up an hour late to a show, and be angry it's already started - Is it just me or do Portlanders seem to be self-entitled whinny bitches?

89. See the Vaux's swifts fly into the Chapman Elementary School's chimney on a September evening. - I didn't even know about this but now I want to!

90. Own a Richmond Fontaine record - Nope. 

91. Talk about how much you enjoy Wordstock, even if you've never been - Is Portland also a town full of liars?

92. Take the farmers market for granted - Never. I'm so excited they're opening up again soon!

93. Follow a food cart on Twitter - I do have a Twitter account but I don't think I follow a food cart.

94. Combine your love of found art and recycling at Last Thursday - Never been. 

95. Crash a Wieden+Kennedy office party- Never been.

96. Have a long conversation about Noam Chomsky - Is it bad I don't know who this is?

97. Love Bud Clark - I'm just not allowed to be a Portlander because I have no idea who any of these people are!!

98. Refer to your spouse as your "partner" - There's nothing wrong with using all inclusive language....I don't do this but still....

99. Travel to Cannon Beach or Newport for Mo's clam chowder  - Now I went to Newport this past February for my birthday. And we ate at the ORIGINAL Mo's. My sister and her boyfriend both got the clam chowder (I tried some of theirs) and really it was nothing special. I won't be going out of my way again to eat there. 

100. Get caught in the rain at Cathedral Park; take shelter under the St. John's Bridge. (Bonus points: Fall in Love).  - Haven't been to Cathedral Park, taken shelter under the bridge but wouldn't be against getting a few bonus points (at this point I need all I can get).

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So what do you think? Which numbers should I strive for to become more Portlander-like?

Deceiving Application

I came across this article about a new iPhone application that's been created. It's Called "Last Night Never Happened". The concept is that you can use this app to delete (presumably drunken) regrettable comments from Twitter and Facebook.

However, the article doesn't discuss the fact that there is no such thing as "permanent" deletion when you're talking posting online. It's there out in the wonders of interweb land for future reference (and subpoenas). Not to mention from my understand you can't delete a Tweet. It can be deleted off your home page but it still shows up in other people's feeds.

I feel sorry for people who think this is a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. 

*     *     *

Morning-after app lets you pretend last night never happened
By Rosa Golijan

Some of the things you've done during a crazy night out will haunt you for the rest of your life, but — thanks to a new iPhone app — tweets and Facebook messages posted during a moment of questionable judgment will no longer be too worrisome.
Last Night Never Happened is a morning-after iPhone app that lets you quickly and easily erase potentially embarrassing tweets, Twitter direct messages, Facebook posts or Facebook photos.

The way the app works is simple. All you have to do is securely sign in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and select the timeframe you wish to clean up — you can choose anything between the last one and 48 hours.

Once you've done that, the app will show you how many photos, comments, tweets and messages fall within your chosen timeframe and allow you to select which type of items you want to delete. After you decide on that and hit a button to continue, you'll be given the option to type a replacement message, which will be posted after your social networking posts from last night are little more than bad memories.

Enter that message and you'll be asked to confirm twice more that you're really sure that you want to erase the past few hours. Tap through those prompts and — tada! — it's like last night never happened. Unless someone managed to take some screenshots.

The Last Night Never Happened app is available through the iTunes App Store and it is currently priced at $1.99.


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Friday, March 25, 2011

Recipe: Curried Chickpeas

Culinary SOS (LA Times)
Recipe: Curried chickpeas from Joan's on Third
By Noelle Carter
October 21, 2009

The curry blend in this recipe gives an otherwise simple salad wonderful depth and robust flavor. Coriander and cumin lend fragrant earthiness, with a little cayenne pepper added for a hint of heat. The caramelized onions add richness, and the cilantro and lemon juice brighten the salad nicely, distinguishing the flavors. You can make it in advance; this is one salad that improves with an hour or two of chilling time.


Curried chickpeas
Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time
Servings: 4
Note: Adapted from Joan's on Third

1/2 cup diced onions
4 teaspoons best-quality olive oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
Salt

1. In a large sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until deep golden and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas, cilantro and lemon juice and continue to stir to develop the flavors, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt, or to taste.

4. Cool the salad, then transfer it to a container, cover and refrigerate until chilled before serving, at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and lemon juice as desired. This makes just over 3 cups salad.

Nutrition in Elementary Schools

Nutrition is elementary in No Kid Hungry campaign
(LA Times)
By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
March 24, 2011



Every morning, children at hundreds of Los Angeles schools start their day hungry, making it tough to learn much or to get through the morning without a trip to the nurse with headaches or belly pains. That doesn't happen at Rosencrans Elementary School in Compton, where breakfast is the first subject.

At the start of school, children designated from each room come to the Rosencrans cafeteria to get a rolling cooler — filled one recent Wednesday with beef sausage on English muffins, milk and apples.

"I like pulling the cart to deliver breakfast to the whole class," said Shawn Hansborough, 8. "The teacher told me I got to do it because someone else was being bad and I was being good."

And getting more students to eat breakfast at school is a major goal of a new Share Our Strength campaign called No Kid Hungry, kicked off March 17 at another school, Figueroa Street Elementary in South Los Angeles, with a program that included U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Food Network celebrity Guy Fieri, former L.A. Laker A.C. Green and Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, as well as nonprofit and community leaders.

Even with all that star power, it was a group of Figueroa students who got by far the loudest applause when they said the school's pledge, ending with a rousing "I do my BEST!"

In L.A. County, more than 300,000 students who eat free or reduced-price school lunches don't eat school breakfasts, according to the California Food Policy Advocates.

Nationwide, 32 million children take part in the school lunch program, 20 million of them getting meals free or at a reduced price; only 9.5 million students eat free or reduced-price school breakfasts, said Bill Shore, founder and executive director of the anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength,

And about $1 billion in federal reimbursements is being "left on the table," Shore said. Rather than start new food programs, No Kid Hungry, with funding from the Wal-Mart Foundation, intends to help childcare centers and schools make better use of funds already available. The goal is to increase participation in school breakfast programs by 10% the first year.

Under legislation signed in December by President Obama, school meals will have less sugar, fat and salt, and more whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Vilsack noted that the law also reduces the paperwork for certifying children as eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Bridges, spokesman for the national No Kid Hungry campaign, which has a goal of eliminating childhood hunger by 2015, called the level of hunger in the U.S. "insane. It's so clear it doesn't have to be that way."

Bridges, who has been involved in anti-hunger programs since 1984, said he'd like to make a film documenting creative ways that schools all over the country are fighting hunger and serving meals. He said he'd also like to see children encircling the Capitol to issue a hunger report card to Congress.

The California Food Policy Advocates and other groups have promoted breakfast in the classroom as a way to make sure everyone eats, because students who arrive just before the bell often miss out on breakfast served outside of class.

Few California districts do it; officials say that teachers and staff are sometimes resistant, fearing a mess and a loss of instruction time.

"The biggest hump for us is a series of perceptions about the barriers, but when people try it, they don't go back" to serving breakfast before school begins, said Josh Wachs, chief strategy officer at Share Our Strength.

At present, about 200,000 LAUSD students, including preschoolers, eat school breakfast, said David Binkle, deputy food services director. For those who can pay, a school breakfast costs 60 cents for elementary school students and $1 in secondary school. About 80% of LAUSD students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

At Rosencrans, "there's almost a complete turn-around" in detractors' opinion, said Cheryl Johnson, the district's facilitator for breakfast in the classroom. "It changes students' alertness; they're more positive. The time until lunch runs smoother."

In the classrooms, students eat while they practice multiplication tables or the teacher makes announcements. Parent volunteers help younger children open milk cartons.

"I like this time, like when you are at home eating with the family. It's an informal time to connect," said Teja Fields, a kindergarten teacher. She puts problems on the board for kids who want to do them. She said the meal takes 15 or 20 minutes.

And more children are eating, Johnson said. Last October, about 110 at this school ate school breakfast; now the total is about 420, she said.

Compton plans to have all 23 elementary schools taking part by summer, said Tracie Thomas, director of nutrition services.

Vilsack said breakfast in the classroom is a good concept, but there are other strategies that work as well, such as serving breakfast between early periods or from carts with "grab-and-go" breakfasts.

Opposition sometimes comes from people who say it's parents' responsibility to feed children before they leave home. But, says Norma Johnson, program specialist for breakfast in the classroom in the San Diego schools, with economic instability and the twin problems of obesity and hunger as well as a population of homeless children, "we have a lot of obligation."

mary.macvean@latimes.com

Cooking Humor

Read that Rachael Ray headline slowly and carefully....

Tsunami Alters Sushi Markets

By Florence Fabricant
NYTimes

Seafood supplies in northern Japan were devastated by the tsunami that destroyed the region’s fishing fleets and aquaculture farms as well as the ports themselves. The Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported on Tuesday that fishermen in the area are living in shelters, transportation to the famous Tsukiji market in Tokyo is not possible, and there is no ice to keep fish fresh.

So far, this grim picture is not causing serious shortages in American sushi bars, but how the situation will evolve remains to be seen.

“It has definitely affected the market,” said Jack Lamb, an owner of Jewel Bako in the East Village, where most of the fish is imported from Japan. But he said that the restaurant had made adjustments and was now buying fish from Kyushu Island in the south, far from the affected area, and was obtaining mackerel and octopus from sources in the United States.

Nobuyoshi Kuraoka, the owner of Nippon, a restaurant in Midtown, wrote by e-mail from Tokyo, where he was on business, that the “striped jack, yellowtail, sniper fish, sea eels and others are coming from Fukuoka on Kyushu Island through Korean airlines.”

Tadashi Ono, the chef and a partner at Matsuri in Chelsea, also said he is buying from Kyushu, as well as from Australian and New York waters. “Today fish comes from all over the world, so we’re O.K.,” he said.

There have been reports that restaurants and hotels in Asia and elsewhere have canceled all shipments of fresh produce from Japan after radiation turned up in products like milk and spinach.

But restaurateurs in New York said they import almost no fresh produce from Japan. They have also said that their customers do not seem worried. At Sushi Yasuda in Midtown, Scott Rosenberg, an owner, said that just a few customers have asked where the fish was from and whether it was safe. As for produce, he said that occasionally the chefs bring in highly specialized seasonal items, but it’s not the season now.

“We have great microgreens and all those things growing here,” said Richie Notar, a partner in the Nobu chain. “We don’t need to buy from Japan. We have California.” But he is keeping an eye on the supply of imported dry goods, including rice, nori and bonito flakes. “We’re starting to develop other sources, like South Korea, for some of these,” he said. “Our wholesalers have warehouses that are stocked, but who knows what the situation will be in six months in terms of availability or even safety from radiation?”

Reika Alexander, the owner of En Japanese Brasserie in the West Village, said: “We must keep buying what we can from Japan. We need to support Japan now.”