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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soup Lovers

My more masculine carrot ginger curried soup with toasted almond has a new girlfriend... Smeerka's carrot ginger rosemary with goat cheese soup!

Hint Hint

Dear S. Claus, here you go:

The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Odyssey, Edgar Allen Poe collection and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass from Penguin Clothbound Classics

Colette or Brigitte by Tocca or Chloe by Chloe or Stella by Stella McCartney

Subscription to The Paris Review

Le Creuset Oval Wide Oven Casserole Dish, 5 qt.

Canon Power Shot G12

Wolford Fence Tights

YSL Cape Blazer

Melissa Oxford Wedge by Alexandre Herkovitch

The books on my Goodreads To-Read shelf

That'll be it for this year... Love, Annabelle

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday...

... is not for shopping. It's for everybody getting together again to eat all the leftover food from the night before- this time with spiced apple cider and rum. Below, we altered the recipes for a little variety, adding sliced apples with cinnamon instead of the toasted almonds again and let me tell you- FS made more cod which is even better this time, having marinated for three days as opposed to two. Melted right off the body and into your mouth.

Didn't realize the necessity of having cheesecloth around until last night...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving- Impromptu California Transplants Style

Thanksgiving away from my loved ones isn't optimal, but luckily my West Village queridos, Levi and Farrah, had me over, and let me collaborate with them for a Thanksgiving dinner menu. FS's cousin Jordan contributed some delicious BBQ short ribs, while Mark cooked up an amazing kale and squash side. I contributed my usual brussel sprouts with crispied bacon & shallots and dates and a warm toasted almond carrot soup with FS. This is, of course, while Levi did everything from scavenge town for extra carrot peelers to build perfectly matching table appendages. The highlight for me was FS's mouthwatering miso cod which she marinated in saké, mirin, white miso paste and brown sugar for 2 days prior. I made two different potato/fennel gratins to complement the cod and the ribs - a wasabi-crème fraiche one garnished with fresh ginger and a gruyere-crème fraiche one garnished with parsley. I made my favorite white bean dip to snack on before hand and also the avocado, sliced almond, parmesan salad with a shallot and honey mustard vinaigrette. Jordan also made a peach infused vodka tea to supplement his peach tobacco hookah. Twin Mark brought delicious apple and cherry pies which we ate with fresh, homemade whipped cream (Farrah added vanilla extract and powdered sugar to some heavy whipping cream and literally whipped it up in no time at all). The designated wines were each splendid and token Thanksgiving "Mom" bestowed a delicious assortment of chocolates and marzipan upon us. It's like she sensed my recent marzipan tooth... Levi and Farrah made a traditional pumpkin pie, but I was so full from the food I only enjoyed the cherry- pie perfection! Farrah and I got to boss everyone around in the kitchen, which is always nice... And how's this for serendipity- Mom did the Camino de Santiago I am doing next year in Spain and had an abundance of tips and advice for me! A Thanksgiving miracle... Also a Thanksgiving miracle - we made nearly everything from scratch beginning at 2 pm and sat to eat at 8 pm! A bittersweet sigh... the holidays are here.

See if you can spot your little Blogger Belle above...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Basically, we had the privilege of experiencing all three for eight years!

Marz-upon A Time...

I really need to curb my sweet tooth, it's getting a little ridiculous.

Can I tell you how much I love literary crossover? Will you let me? Well...

In The Possibility of An Island, Houellebecq writes:

It was recommended to humans, wherever possible, that they end up with a complete life story, before they died, in accordance with the belief, widespread at the time, that the last moments of life might be accompanied by some kind of revelation. The example cited most often was that of Marcel Proust, whose first reflex upon sensing death's approach was to rush to the manuscript of Remembrance of Things Past in order to note his impressions of dying... Very few, in practice, had this courage (Houellebecq, 63).

Yesterday, while doing my obligatory evening workday wrap-up putz on the Internet I found this supplemental reading blog (to In Search of Lost Time) titled The Cork-Lined Room. How felicitous it was to discover the blog as the group was discussing, in its most current posts, Proust's thoughts on growing old! Dennis Abrams quotes the following passage:

And now I began to understand what old age was — old age, which perhaps of all the realities is the one of which we preserve for longest in our life a purely abstract conception, looking at calendars, dating our letters, seeing our friends marry and then in their turn the children of our friends, and yet, either from fear or from sloth, not understanding what all this means, until the day when we behold an unknown silhouette, like that of M. d’Argencourt, which teaches us that we are living in a new world; until the day when a grandson of a woman we once knew, a young man whom instinctively we treat as a contemporary of ours, smiles as though we were making fun of him because to him it seems that we are old enough to be his grandfather — and I began to understand too what death meant and love and the joys of the spiritual life, the usefulness of suffering, a vocation, etc. For if names had lost most of their individuality for me, words on the other hand now began to reveal their full significance. The beauty of images is situated in front of things, that of ideas behind them. So that the first sort of beauty ceases to astonish us as soon as we have reached the things themselves, but the second is something that we understand only when we have passed beyond them (Proust, Time Regained).

This blog is really great. Abrams provides such insight and links to very interesting sources like this article I read yesterday on consciousness as explained by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.

To wrap the whole crossover thing up... I happened to read (and then re-read!) The Paris Review's interview with Jean Cocteau in 1963 about two days ago, which was conducted just months before Cocteau's passing. Here, he briefly reminisces on his acquaintance with Marcel, as he calls him, as well as Picasso... But it's moving to read his reflections; they're a mini journey of a man's life which "bridged two epochs (Proust and Rostand to Picasso and Stravinsky)". William Fifield really steered this interview toward a compendious outcome. Much like Cocteau quotes Madame Colette for saying poets don't have to read each other, rather they can just feel each other, I very much perceived the deep level of sensitivity and perspicacity that accompanied his responses and observations.

All Brown Everything

Brown bag, brown pants, brown food*, everything...

*Brown food: multigrain bagel with light walnut & raisin cream cheese

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hot Air Balloons

Shrimpoe really wants to ride in one. While considering the adventure I realized I'm kind of a scaredy cat. My terms are as follows: must ride with a trained hot air balloonist, must wear parachute, can't be higher than 1 mile from land, although if that's not enough distance to activate parachute I will reconsider... Although, now I've gotten to thinking... If it's not so timid to throw oneself onto the ground with basically the risk of activating what could be the top of a hot air balloon overhead to save your life, why not drift comfortably in a basket dragged along by fully developed parachute? I'm in.

Photos courtesty of Shrimpoe's instant message musings

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nobody Walks In LA

... but they do in NY! I walked around the city for about three hours on Saturday before ending up at Bryant Park. It was there that it dawned on me that the holidays are upon us, and then I remembered how magical the season will be here. I had a thick, cozying Italian hot chocolate at the Max Brenner pop up store, and resumed my trek. On my way homeward bound, I got two new reads, Michel Houellebecq's The Possibility of an Island, which I started on the subway right away, and Milan Kundera's Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

The walking continued on Sunday as Joya Eme and I strolled 30 + blocks of Central Park, observing the fall foliage before it leaves us! After I scoured every perfumerie in the West Village for a new scent later that evening, Miss Sabado invented mint hot chocolate by putting a peppermint tea bag in homemade hot chocolate as we planned our Thanksiving menu... Genial! Much needed R & R before the madness resumes.

Beet, Avocado & Goat Cheese Sandwich

At Rabbithole you can enjoy this beet, avocado, red onion, goat cheese sandwich, which is served on very delicious rye bread. If you feel like copying them, as I intend to do, there was also dijon, red onion and another cheese I thought was swiss or something melted on the beet, but I think the goat cheese was sufficient. I bet some alfalfa sprouts would be great on this, too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Obligatory Final Word on Freedom

Call me clueless, but I wasn't aware of the huge Franzenoid rift in the literary world. I've just been schooled on the divide over Freedom spurred in part by "controversy" over Mr. Franzen's persona... out of the loop much? In any case, below I provide my official final word on the book as I listen to T.I.'s "All She Wrote" and Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow". Be advised, potential spoilers ahead:

In the workplace, intense relationship analysis and exposing little bits of a character's psychology while making a bigger statement is something I've delved into hard this year. This could be why the technicalities of Franzen weaving the Berglunds' moral crises and employment of free will with parallel political/environmental perspectives was maybe the most entertaining aspect of the journey for me. While some of the environmental stuff did get a little tedious for about 20 pages (20 out of 550ish isn't that bad now), I didn't mind the 9/11-Republican-Middle East detour Joey Berglund takes us onto. I told Bluebs it reminded me of a Forest Gump about all the stuff we talk about, namely happiness (an umbrella tree for other fun topics like settling, contentment, egoism, etc.), purpose and feeling overwhelmed by the combination of both.

Many of the reviews I read touched on Franzen's depiction of women as constantly holding down the men, psychologically crumbling with proclivities to inevitable depression. I didn't focus too much on the fact that the deeper melancholia was happening to the females. In fact, I thought it strongly supported the case he makes about the generational gap, on how depression and a sense of being overwhelmed with what lies ahead strikes my generation a lot sooner than it did to Patty's. I also thought it supported his explanation of that same generation's sense of entitlement and their being more easily prone to discontent. Connie's depression echoed Patty's in a way that leaves ample space for comparing and contrasting strictly on a generational level (although the social class and mother vs. son's partner aspects are fun, too). Similarly, many of the brotherly ties in the story mirror each other.

In that regard, the exploration of the archetypal bonds, for example between parents and children, was very symmetrical, organized a little too neatly but with intriguing intention (however, archetypes are inherently "symmetrical" or recurrent anyway, sooo... I'm not sure if that's saying much). In most other ways- the diversity of characters, chronology and pacing of events, plot- it's a page turner with a wealth of springboards for discussion, and a harmonious reflection of the individualistic and sociopolitical dilemmas that are the exact cruces in understanding America's multi-faceted identity as it faces the future. Bottom line, yes, I'd recommend this book.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Thought I'd Let You Know

... That Farrah made some amazing macaroni & cheese (with string beans, broccoli and mushrooms) and I made a salad that hit the spot (red leaf type lettuce with very round, silk leaves, parmesan cheese, almond slivers, avocado with a honey mustard vinaigrette). They went great together (and so did our party of four)! Afterward, we baked sea salt chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mushroom Crunch

Check out this "mushroom crunch" dish Farrah and I ordered from Pinto, along with the five nut/seed chicken and citrus chicken lettuce wraps. Anything with the words crunch, as a rule of thumb- I'm down to order. As if sesame breaded mushrooms aren't tantalizing enough, it comes with a jalapeno tartar sauce!

Funny enough, as much as I love mushrooms now, there was a time that I didn't, and I can pinpoint the exact date that brought this aversion to fungii into fruition.

September 22, 1993. My fourth grade birthday. I had a pizza party with some schoolmates at home. Mami ordered three pizzas from my favorite spot, Jino's, one was cheese, one was pepperoni, and one was a combination of pepperoni and mushroom. Any of the three pizzas would have been amazing because Jino's knows what they're doing (to the point that I still know their number by heart (310) 674-8000 - ha!)... Alas, I reached over for the pepperoni and mushroom variety. I don't know if it was Yvette or Nastassia or Amanda or Megan, but somebody squealed words that have been made immortal in my mind, "Ewwwwwwwwwww.... I hate mushrooms," after which the other uniformed brats in their over-sized or overly small grey and blue plaid jumpers chimed in, "Yeah, mushrooms are gross!" or "Blegh!"

At that exact moment my fondness for mushrooms was no more. I'm not sure why I felt shame, but I did! I agreed with them, insisting I didn't normally like mushrooms, and quickly my mother blew my cover, "Ani, that's not true, you love mushrooms!" I gave her a stern look and I don't think I ate mushrooms again until late high school when I came to terms with the harrowing event. Eventually, I started eating mushrooms again consistently. This was around the time that the Buns and I would have biweekly dinners at Cobras & Matadors; I couldn't get enough of the nutmeg or cumin covered mushroom dish with the nuts, garlic and parsley. But there was a while there... Roughly speaking 1993-2000 A.D... Where fourth graders' peer pressure sunk deep into my brain and managed to manifest itself as a reified, physical disgust.

Photo by Meng H. on Yelp!

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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