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Open Thread

August 10, 2007

tamala_2010.jpg

Mmm!  Tasty mouse!

Is that raspberry sauce – or blood??

(Tamala: Punk Cat in Space)

* * *

As Marisacat is scaling back her blog activities in order to rest a bit, I’m opening this site for comments in case it will be helpful to the other denizens of her lovely cattery.

Get better soon, MCat – your contributions are brilliant and your presence on the web is a treasure.

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Strawberry Fields Forever

July 7, 2007

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photo by Harold Davis, a photographer and author who has a marvelous blog on digital photography and other subjects.

I’ve just returned from Florida (about which, more later) and I’ve had a very busy week, so after all that, I’m finally getting back to blogging.

In my perambulations around town this week, I stopped by a local strawberry farm to do the “pick your own” thing.  It was fun.  As in the rest of life, the best and sweetest ones are found hiding away under the leaves.

Returning home with four quarts of achingly ripe, pungently aromatic strawberries on a hot and humid day, I thought that frozen strawberry daiquiris would be an excellent project to undertake.  I hadn’t made them in many years. 

So I dragged out the blender, looked around on the web for some recipes, found a few that sounded good, and came up with this adaptation: 

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiris, the Supervixen Way

6 oz. frozen limeade mix, preferably Minute Maid (not diluted)

3 cups ripe fresh strawberries, washed and hulled

1 cup white Bacardi rum

2 cups crushed ice

2 heaping teaspoons sugar (I use raw “demerara” sugar because it tastes best and it’s what we use around the house – but powdered “confectioners” sugar, used in many daiquiri recipes, will dissolve faster and the cornstarch in it will help to make the drink smoother and more frothy)

Pulse-blend just until ice and strawberries are smoothly commingled and the color is even.  Don’t overblend.  Serve in a stemmed glass, garnished with a thin wedge of lime.  Fills four good-sized Margarita glasses.

The audience for these drinks said that they hit the spot.  The mix brought out perfectly the flavor of fresh, ripe strawberries.  I was requested to make more.  We put a big dent into the four quarts of strawberries.  As it should be.

In previous daiquiri experiments I’d used Rose’s Lime Juice, but that has an unpleasant taste when the proportions are not quite right.  The limeade works very well.

Another note from previous experiments: if you don’t have perfectly ripe, fresh-picked strawberries to work with, it’s best to go with frozen.  We have a problem in this country with fruits and vegetables that LOOK ripe but have no flavor or scent.  It’s like they’re made of wax.  That really pisses me off.  I suppose it would be OK for those poor Dutch painters in the 18th century who wanted a long-lasting model for a still life.

Strawberries are among the worst offenders in this way.  Though they’re more sinned against than sinning.  Anyway, be warned.

That evening we dined on grilled meats and my version of a Greek salad: greens, tomato wedges, kalamata olives, chunks of feta (the best you can find – the run-of-the-mill supermarket stuff is too salty), quartered and sliced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, slivered yellow or orange bell pepper, copious amounts of chopped-up fresh oregano, and – drumroll for the Secret Ingredient! – big pieces of ripe avocado.  I have found that Farmer Boy Greek Dressing is exquisite over avocado.

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Lentils

June 25, 2007

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This one is for ms xeno.

The first few times I went to Paris, it was on business.  I would go out to eat, late at night, in a group with my co-workers, who went where our local contacts told us to go: the well-known old-fashioned brasseries with Art Nouveau glasswork and boyish waiters dashing to and fro with huge platters of seafood.  The whole experience was superb, and I was entranced, ravished.  There are few things better than a couple of dozen French oysters (fines de claire for my taste) accompanied by sauce mignonette, thin slices of buttered bread, and a bottle of Sancerre.

(My husband calls me “Diamond Jim” because of my profligate enjoyment of oysters.)

But then, on another such business trip, I escaped and went to meet one of my husband’s friends, an academic wastrel fluent in French and several other languages.  He was taking a kind of sabbatical in which he lived in a tiny room on the Ile St-Louis and brooded and smoked while deciding what to do with his life. 

He took me out to lunch.  We went to an undistinguished-looking place that felt like a sandwich joint.  He ordered for us in mellifluous French.  It was mesmerizing to see this person I knew very well speaking in a language that I had never heard coming out of his mouth before.  The first course was a lentil salad topped with a few slices of smoked duck breast.  The red wine he ordered was the first “house wine” I ever had in France, and I discovered that “house wines” in France are REALLY GOOD, not what they are here in the US (Inglenook et al.) 

The combination of the earthy lentils with the unctuous duck breast and the robust red wine was heavenly.  We had a main dish, as well, but I don’t recall what it was.  We didn’t really need it.

Looking to recreate the lentil salad recipe, I came across the one below, which is a good approximation.  Since smoked duck breast is hard to find where we are, I substituted slices of just-ripe avocado drizzled with a bit of the lentil dressing.  Not bad!

Adapted from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells:

1 lb lentils

1 medium onion, halved and stuck with several whole cloves

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the lentils and pick over carefully for pebbles.  Put the lentils, onion, garlic, and bay leaf in a heavy saucepan; cover with 1 inch of cold water.  Cover and bring just to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender but just intact, 25-35 minutes.  Check the lentils during cooking; during most of the cooking water should be visible when you tilt the pan slightly.  Add water as needed, but not more than 1/4 cup.  By the end of the cooking time, the liquid should be absorbed.

 When the lentils are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and discard the onion, garlic and bay leaf.  Whisk together the vinegar, oil and salt to taste in a small bowl.  Pour over the warm lentils and toss to coat.  Just before serving, season to taste with pepper and additional salt if necessary.

6-8 servings.

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Protest

June 19, 2007

 

This was my Memorial Day protest – still flying outside my NH home.  Note the Betsy Ross flag.

I’m reading Paul Revere’s Ride, by David Hackett Fischer – a pretty good summary of the events of the outbreak of the Am. Rev.

A quote from his description of the battle at the North Bridge at Concord, April 19, 1775:

Below them [the New England militia], the British soldiers were ordered to fall back across the bridge.  Several began to pull up the wooden planking.  Major John Buttrick shouted a warning to leave the bridge alone.  This was their bridge!  Buttrick’s home was just behind him.  Standing on his own land that had belonged to his family since 1638, he turned to his minutemen and said, “if we were all of his mind he would drive them away from the bridge, they should not tear that up,” Amos Barrett remembered, “We all said we would go.”  The New England men were thus consulted – not commanded – on the great question before them.

[…]

The Regulars by the bridge turned and looked up the hill in amazement at the men coming toward them.  They never imagined that these “country people” would dare to march against the King’s troops in formation, and were astonished by their order and discipline.  One British soldier wrote that the Yankee militia “advanced with the greatest regularity”…. Slowly the British Regulars began to understand that this was no rural rabble confronting them.

Caught in a trap between two long files of militiamen who were relentlessly firing their muskets,

[T]he Regulars suddenly turned and ran for their lives.  It was a rare spectacle in military history.  A picked force of British infantry, famed for its indomitable courage on many a field of battle, was broken by a band of American militia.  British Ensign Lister wrote candidly, “The weight of their fire was such that we was obliged to give way, then run with the greatest precipitance.”

The British light infantry fled pell-mell back toward Concord center, defying their officers and abandoning their wounded, who were left to drag themselves painfully away.

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Back Again

June 18, 2007

I decided to open up the place again, since Marisacat is taking care of other stuff.

Must air the sheets and dust a little bit.

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See You Later

March 11, 2007

I’m taking a break from Supervixens and from blog commentary for a while in order to focus on my other creative work. I have two big projects to finish and one to get rolling on, and time’s getting short.  When they’re ready for public consumption, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Until then, I’m still accessible via email, (feministsupervixens AT yahoo) so stay in touch – and keep fighting the good fight!

I’ll leave you with two of my favorite poems by Marianne Moore:

Baseball and Writing

(Suggested by post-game broadcasts)

Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either
how it will go
or what you will do;
generating excitement–
a fever in the victim–
pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
Victim in what category?
Owlman watching from the press box?
To whom does it apply?
Who is excited? Might it be I?

It’s a pitcher’s battle all the way–a duel–
a catcher’s, as, with cruel
puma paw, Elston Howard lumbers lightly
back to plate. (His spring
de-winged a bat swing.)
They have that killer instinct;
yet Elston–whose catching
arm has hurt them all with the bat–
when questioned, says, unenviously,
“I’m very satisfied. We won.”
Shorn of the batting crown, says, “We”;
robbed by a technicality.

When three players on a side play three positions
and modify conditions,
the massive run need not be everything.
“Going, going . . . ” Is
it? Roger Maris
has it, running fast. You will
never see a finer catch. Well . . .
“Mickey, leaping like the devil”–why
gild it, although deer sounds better–
snares what was speeding towards its treetop nest,
one-handing the souvenir-to-be
meant to be caught by you or me.

Assign Yogi Berra to Cape Canaveral;
he could handle any missile.
He is no feather. “Strike! . . . Strike two!”
Fouled back. A blur.
It’s gone. You would infer
that the bat had eyes.
He put the wood to that one.
Praised, Skowron says, “Thanks, Mel.
I think I helped a little bit.”
All business, each, and modesty.
Blanchard, Richardson, Kubek, Boyer.
In that galaxy of nine, say which
won the pennant? Each. It was he.

Those two magnificent saves from the knee-throws
by Boyer, finesses in twos–
like Whitey’s three kinds of pitch and pre-
diagnosis
with pick-off psychosis.
Pitching is a large subject.
Your arm, too true at first, can learn to
catch your corners–even trouble
Mickey Mantle. (“Grazed a Yankee!
My baby pitcher, Montejo!”
With some pedagogy,
you’ll be tough, premature prodigy.)

They crowd him and curve him and aim for the knees. Trying
indeed! The secret implying:
“I can stand here, bat held steady.”
One may suit him;
none has hit him.
Imponderables smite him.
Muscle kinks, infections, spike wounds
require food, rest, respite from ruffians. (Drat it!
Celebrity costs privacy!)
Cow’s milk, “tiger’s milk,” soy milk, carrot juice,
brewer’s yeast (high-potency–
concentrates presage victory

sped by Luis Arroyo, Hector Lopez–
deadly in a pinch. And “Yes,
it’s work; I want you to bear down,
but enjoy it
while you’re doing it.”
Mr. Houk and Mr. Sain,
if you have a rummage sale,
don’t sell Roland Sheldon or Tom Tresh.
Studded with stars in belt and crown,
the Stadium is an adastrium.
O flashing Orion,
your stars are muscled like the lion.

The Paper Nautilus

For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters’ comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.

Giving her perishable
souvenir of hope, a dull
white outside and smooth-
edged inner surface
glossy as the sea, the watchful
maker of it guards it
day and night; she scarcely

eats until the eggs are hatched.
Buried eight-fold in her eight
arms, for she is in
a sense a devil-
fish, her glass ram’shorn-cradled freight
is hid but is not crushed;
as Hercules, bitten

by a crab loyal to the hydra,
was hindered to succeed,
the intensively
watched eggs coming from
the shell free it when they are freed,–
leaving its wasp-nest flaws
of white on white, and close-

laid Ionic chiton-folds
like the lines in the mane of
a Parthenon horse,
round which the arms had
wound themselves as if they knew love
is the only fortress
strong enough to trust to.

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Postcard

February 17, 2007

In beachy paradise wallowing in aquamarine surf and margaritas with Mr. Supervixen.  Will be back in little over a week.  Until then, keep the home fires burning!!