24-25 January 2013
* 24 *
¶ What would New York be without (a) water towers (b) Jason Kottke (c) Siberian cold? Not leaky! It even kinda looks like moi!
* 25 *
¶ A list of 100 great “books of fiction” written in the last century. This would so not be my list. Long on “significance” and Americans; short on Brits and humor. And women. (HTMLGiant)
¶ Kurt Andersen’s green room. (The Rumpus) Our foyer is painted in a similar color, which is why my blue room is blue and not green. In the country, my writing room was deep, fiery red. People said, “How can you write in here?” But the red got me going. The color that I could not bear, and would be paralyzed by, is white.
¶ Gareth Morgan hates cats. (The Atlantic)
¶ Almost everything that I cook today is something that I’ve cooked many times before: novelty has lost its appeal for an old-timer who has a lot of other things to do. So it’s not surprising that, when I do trying something new, it’s at the recommendation of Mark Bittman, whose weekly column in the Times Magazine has been a fountain of fresh ideas for months now. There are recipes, certainly, but they’re usually buried in methods — take this, add that, and roast in an x oven for y minutes. The mix-and-match art direction is a treat all of its own. But this past Sunday, as I was flying back home from Cincinnati, I was arrested by the three very specific recipes in the back of the book. One for roast beef (not the expensive rib roast, but what I would call pot roast if I had ever made it or even tasted it); one for a savory chutney sauce to put on the beef, invented by a headwaiter called Henry Bain about a century ago; and one for a sort of lettuce garnish for roast-beef sandwiches. I pointed all of this out to Kathleen and said, “I’m going to try that.” And, today, I did. You really must, too. It’s scrumptious. Since the meat is tepid when it comes out of the oven (which you turn off at a certain point, leaving the beef to cook over dying embers, as it were, for two hours afterward), and the sauce is supposed to be served at room temperature as well, this is really a warm-weather recipe. But I made it for the sandwiches — the leftovers — and we’ll see how they turn out, with good peasant bread that I have yet to buy and the chiffonade of romaine (pico de lettuce?). I forgot to mention that you rub the meat with a paste of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic (with red pepper flakes added “to taste”). A tablespoon of freshly ground pepper: that’s a lot of grinding! The apartment smelled like some sort of culinary heaven for the rest of the day, and it still does! This is the sort of thing that you ought to have in the fridge for “emergencies”: blushing beef, chewy but not tough, with a fantastic barbecue sauce that’s meant to be eaten, not cooked. Served with Yukons roasted with rosemary, it really can’t be beat.