Arieff is Awesome

Allison Arieff writes,
If you live in a subdivision, condominium or co-op, it’s more than likely you’re part of a homeowners association (HOA). Used to be HOA focused on rather straightforward issues, like maintenance and repairs or landscaping of common areas. But they’ve expanded significantly since the mid-’60s and not necessarily for the good. … Some 54 percent [of homeowners surveyed] said they’d rather live with a “sloppy neighbor” than deal with an HOA.
Count me among the majority. I once suggested in a social setting to Ryan, then just an aspirant to the esteemed title of condo association president that he now holds, that I and most people probably thought this way. I cited some of the absurd restrictions of Scott’s parents’ so-called community. Ryan seemed to view the association as a purely benign entity – countering that most if not all restrictions were “necessary” for “property values.” The problem is that people like him dominate the boards and people like me can’t tolerate the meetings they chair without wanting to blurt out (without Recognition from the Chair, of course), “you've got to be fucking kidding.”

VeryGoodTaste Omnivore’s Hundred

Seems like fun. Via Josh. The linked page has wikipedia links to many of the items.
  • Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
  • Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
  • Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
  • Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
  1. Venison
  2. Nettle tea
  3. Huevos rancheros
  4. Steak tartare
  5. Crocodile
  6. Black pudding
  7. Cheese fondue
  8. Carp
  9. Borscht
  10. Baba ghanoush
  11. Calamari
  12. Pho
  13. PB&J sandwich
  14. Aloo gobi
  15. Hot dog from a street cart
  16. Epoisses (cheese)
  17. Black truffle
  18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
  19. Steamed pork buns
  20. Pistachio ice cream
  21. Heirloom tomatoes
  22. Fresh wild berries
  23. Foie gras
  24. Rice and beans
  25. Brawn, or head cheese
  26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
  27. Dulce de leche
  28. Oysters
  29. Baklava
  30. Bagna cauda
  31. Wasabi peas
  32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
  33. Salted lassi
  34. Sauerkraut
  35. Root beer float
  36. Cognac with a fat cigar
  37. Clotted cream tea
  38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
  39. Gumbo
  40. Oxtail
  41. Curried goat
  42. Whole insects
  43. Phaal (next time in nyc?)
  44. Goat’s milk
  45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
  46. Fugu
  47. Chicken tikka masala
  48. Eel
  49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
  50. Sea urchin
  51. Prickly pear
  52. Umeboshi
  53. Abalone
  54. Paneer
  55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
  56. Spaetzle
  57. Dirty gin martini
  58. Beer above 8% ABV
  59. Poutine
  60. Carob chips
  61. S’mores
  62. Sweetbreads
  63. Kaolin (probably in toothpaste)
  64. Currywurst
  65. Durian (only the frozen kind in the US)
  66. Frogs’ legs
  67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
  68. Haggis
  69. Fried plantain
  70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
  71. Gazpacho
  72. Caviar and blini
  73. Louche absinthe
  74. Gjetost, or brunost
  75. Roadkill
  76. Baijiu
  77. Hostess Fruit Pie
  78. Snail
  79. Lapsang souchong
  80. Bellini
  81. Tom yum
  82. Eggs Benedict
  83. Pocky
  84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
  85. Kobe beef
  86. Hare
  87. Goulash
  88. Flowers
  89. Horse
  90. Criollo chocolate
  91. Spam
  92. Soft shell crab
  93. Rose harissa
  94. Catfish
  95. Mole poblano
  96. Bagel and lox
  97. Lobster Thermidor
  98. Polenta
  99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
  100. Snake


new prints

new slides

avant de partir

Objective: to use up 100% of last week's box and start in on this week’s on Wednesday before going to Boston Thurs–Sun.
  • challah
  • collards and bacon
  • salad
  • cantaloupe basil sorbet
  • jalapeño → tequila
  • eat the rest of the peaches (bake / mini cobbler?)


Veneration: August Lunch

In general, I am bad a ranking things, especially in the upper tail of their distributions. This is an exception. It is the essence of summer, made with strictly fresh ingredients at the peak of their seasons, and deeply, deeply satisfying. I submit that there could not possibly be any better midday meal than this tuscan-style bean and tomato stew served with red wine and good crusty bread.

There are a few rules to assert from the outset. First, this dish is to be served with red wine and crusty bread. No spoons, no soggy bread, no white wine, nor any other beverage. Second, I love bean and tomato stew even when it is made in the winter with dried or canned beans and canned tomatoes; however, that is simply bean and tomato stew. This is August stew and will allow no substitutions of these ingredients: fresh beans, fresh heirloom tomatoes, fresh garlic, and fresh herbs. By heirloom tomatoes I mean you either grew them yourself, or you talked to the farmer who did. Choose a variety like these Black Cherokees or even more acidic Green Zebras. Yellow tomatoes are generally low in acid, and I think a bad choice for this dish. Some of the marbley looking yellow-red ones are beautiful on the plate or in a salad, and should be saved for those uses. The herbs can be anything you have or grow or find. I've focused on basil today, but rosemary and thyme and sage and parsley are all good. I especially like sage in the winter version of the dish. Late August is also when the first juicy heads of mature garlic are coming to market. Common rubbery grocery-store stuff is not appropriate for this dish. Good crusty bread comes from an artisan bakery or your oven, ferments and rises for many hours, and contains no fat, only yeast, flour, water, and salt.

For two lunch servings, I used about half to three-quarters of a pound of beans, a pound of tomato (two large ones), four cloves of fresh garlic, chopped as large or as small as you like, and a quarter cup of olive oil. The quantities are flexible; if you like garlic, by all means add more.

garlicStart by heating olive oil gently in a heavy pot; chop the garlic and add it. An enameled cast-iron pot heats slowly but retains heat well. I start with a cold pan over medium heat and that seems to work perfectly for the quantities and timings discussed here.

diced tomatoesWhile it continues to heat, large-dice the tomatoes.

tomatoesWhen the garlic is barely golden at the edges – that is, the same color at which you would add the shrimp in gambas al ajillo – add the tomatoes.

Shell the beans, and by the time you’re done,
beansshelled beans
the tomatoes will have broken down.

mushy tomatoesAdd the beans, adjust the heat as you see fit, cover or don't cover, stir, and then walk away. I took a shower, because I started right after having gone running. Twenty minutes or so later, the beans will be soft, and it's time to add some salt and pepper and any of the tougher herbs like sage or rosemary, stir, and stew ten minutes more.

chiffonade, this time sans fingerFinally, I added some basil cut in chiffonade (without any finger this year), though most of the basil I reserved to top the finished stew with. Finish with a sliced cherry tomato or diced fresh tomato, more basil, a drizzle of good olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
August stew

Eat. I like to start with the crustiest part of the bread. Any crumbs fall in, making it thicker; at the end, use the soft inside bread to mop up the bowl. If you run out of bread, get more. Do not use a spoon.

summer csa week 12

  • tomatoes (and cherry and sungold, hiding)
  • corn
  • cucumber
  • collards
  • cantaloupe
  • [seedling] peaches
  • potatoes
  • leeks!
  • green peppers
  • celery


apsrtable package!

So I finally wrote documentation for apsrtable() and have submitted the package to CRAN.


Watermelon Alert!

This week's box resulted in probably the heaviest and fullest my bag has ever been.
Subject: Watermelon alert
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008

For those of you who ride bikes, walk, take the bus, etc., 
please note that if all goes as planned I will be delivering 
watermlons this week in addition to your regular boxes. They
do make a heavier load so please plan accordingly.  

Thanks, Vicki 
Nice of her to warn us! But the rest was insane! In addition to the watermelon – none sold, only for CSAers – there was a massive eggplant and a cauliflower and apples. See below.

  • watermelon
  • eggplant
  • arugula
  • cauliflower
  • two things of cherry tomatoes
  • onion
  • kinnikinnick green zebra tomato and garlic
  • cucumber
  • hungarian peppers (lecsó!)
  • granny smith (or similar) tart green apples
  • giant bunch of green onions
  • and, of course, eggs.


things to make

  • thai red curry chicken [need okra]
  • cucumber salad
  • fajitas with yellow squash
  • more empanadas with greenbeans and cabbage (ack! no picture from before!)
  • cantaloupe-basil sorbet
  • white chocolate mousse with blueberries
  • braised collard & beet greens with bacon, roasted beets

I love summer

  • blueberries
  • cucumbers
  • squash
  • green peppers
  • collard greens
  • beets
  • corn
  • mesclun
  • mini onions

last week (argh! must get back on schedule!)

  • [tomato mountain] tomatoes]
  • [river valley] mushrooms
  • zucchini
  • cucumber
  • apricots
  • vicki tomatoes
  • fennel
  • [smits] basil
  • big red cabbage
  • cantaloupe
  • jalapeños
  • yellow beans


pure awesome

Bacon alarm clock