Monthly Archives: July 2012

A New Favorite Salad

20120726-201111.jpg

Here’s another winner I had to share. It’s from Madhur Jaffrey’s “World Vegetarian.” We’ve made about 30% of the recipes in the book, and I have yet to find any real bombs. Some need a little tweaking, but that’s true for just about every cookbook.

3-4 beets with their greens

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2-4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2-4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic–mashed well
1/2- 1 tsp salt

Cut the greens off the beets, leaving a couple of inches of their stems in place. Trim the greens by just cutting off the stem where it meets the leaf. Set aside the greens. Put the beets in a pot big enough to cover with by three inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a steady slow boil and cook until tender. Once cooked, set aside to cool until you can handle them. (They should still be warm.) Peel, cut in half and slice into 1/3 inch slices. (I keep disposable gloves in my kitchen for working with beets and hot peppers. They keep me stain free.)

While the beets are cooking, bring another pot of water to boil, add the greens (whole) and cook until they are softened. Mine were fresh from the garden and only took a few minutes. Drain and squeeze gently to remove excess water. At this point, I placed them on the cutting board and sliced them into thick 1″ribbons.

Put the greens and beets–all should still be rather warm–on a serving dish. Mix the dressing ingredients and pour over veggies. I did this around 4:00 and served it at room temp. It was a hit.

Next time, I will add more horseradish or maybe make some fresh. I used the ground prepped horseradish I made at Christmas, and I suspect it had lost a lot of potency. Also, taste it for salt, as I felt it needed a little more umph. Because beets vary in size, more or less dressing might be needed.

I adapted this recipe from one in this book: Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World If you are looking for a new veg cookbook, I highly recommend it. It’s not vegan, but it has plenty of vegan options.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking

d’Orsay can you say?

20120708-154542.jpgLast week we had the chance to visit the musée D’Orsay. I’ve been musing on one of our interactions with a French family ever since. A father with three children came up to us because we were obviously visitors and asked if he could speak with us for a minute. His kids appeared to be aged about ten to 17 or so. He asked,”Where are you from?” After we told him he said, “Would you tell my son why you are here? We live in Paris, but he doesn’t have any interest in what is right here.” He turned to his son and said,”See! These people came all the way from Seattle to be here, and you don’t even want to ride the metro a few stops to get here.”

The father was clearly trying to make a point, and I didn’t have enough time to really stop and think through a response that would address the father’s obvious frustration and convey a sense of respect for the teenager. He looked friendly enough but rather embarrassed by a father who is willing to walk up to complete strangers and talk about his lack of interest in his own culture.

After Emma and I chimed in with what it was we were enjoying about the d’Orsay in particular, we added what else we had seen and why we had enjoyed it. We mentioned that it is just different, too. Let’s face it, if you put the Space Needle next to the Eiffel Tower for a side by side comparison, the Paris landmark is going to kick Seattle’s ass. Don’t get me wrong, I love Seattle, but it is not Paris. It’s hard to beat the immenseness of the ancient city on any number of levels. Just think of the quick list just about anyone can make about Paris–Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Jardin de Luxembourg, Sacre Coeur, le Louvre. Also, there is l’Orangerie–home to Monet’s famous enormous Water Lillies. Last time I was here with my mom, the Orangerie was closed for renovations, and the time before that I was only 16 and had no clue. Which sort of brings me back to this poor young man who seemed utterly bored and not at all interested in the lesson his father wanted us to teach him. I felt bad for the teen, though. Here he was being displayed in front of complete strangers in his second language. I said something to the effect thaf we don’t always appreciate what is in our own back yard. After all, we were in France not Seattle.

It’s always easier to think of an appropriate response after an interaction, and I would have preferred it if I could have engaged the teen a bit more directly and found some common ground with him rather than ending up being someone jumping on his dad’s bandwagon of cultural pontification. I am guessing that the overall interaction only embarrassed the teen without making much headway with the father’s agenda.

20120708-155606.jpgHowever, this got me to thinking about my own back yard for a bit. I am not particularly home sick because I am still enjoying my trip, but I think it is a valuable exercise to think through the things that I can appreciate about my own place in the world.

I know I just sort of dissed the space Needle, but it is certainly one of the Seattle landmarks that I take visitors to see. We often go to the Locks–especially if the salmon are running. The Zoo, aquarium, the troll, SAM, Boeing, EMP, Seattle Center, and Gasworks Park are all on my offering list. We love Pike Place Market, and we don’t always wait for visitors to get down there. After living in Seattle for almost 23 years, I finally saw the “gum wall.” I don’t think this particularly stinky globular and hideous bit of art is that old, but I hadn’t been in that alley since the days when we went to see a friend who was a regular in Theater Sports. The last time I was there, I was focusing on the disturbed naked man being escorted away by the police. I don’t think I would have even noticed the gum had it been there at the time.

So folks, I would like you to share where you take your visitors–and why if you are so inclined. It’s not necessary to keep it Seattle bound–might as well enjoy the larger discussion of what is not to be missed wherever you live.

3 Comments

Filed under Parenting, Traveling

Indecent in Paris

20120702-231620.jpgIt’s sort of strange that a family comprised of all atheists finds its way to places like Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur Basilica. We made it to Notre Dame the first day we were in Paris. The line to get in extended out across the plaza in front of the cathedral but moved quickly. The signs at the door all said to be quiet, but there was a steady buzz of whispering throughout. The only reason we went was to see the famed Rosetta stained glass. Eli recently read “The King in the Window”–no doubt inspired by Adam Gopnik’s year living in Paris–and there was some glass jumping going on in that. The cathedral is about to celebrate its 850th anniversary and they are renovating and collecting money throughout the cathedral. The experience was anything but peaceful or awe inspiring with the large crowds. I almost feel sorry for anyone who lives in the vicinity and calls the cathedral their home church. It would be impossible to find any sort of contemplative solitude. Maybe they have special hours for local congregants.

On Monday, we headed up to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur Basillica. The view heading uphill, with the glowing white dome against the clear blue sky, was a classic Paris moment. The climb up the steps was easy enough and the line into the basilica was much shorter than that of Notre Dame. We made it to the front only to be told my daughter was “indecent.” I took a picture of her in her shorts and tank top, you can see it at the upper left of this post. We were told to cover her up as women in shorter skirts than her shorts and sun dresses filed on in. Emma was not quite foaming at the mouth at the injustice of it. Fortunately, she always has a scarf and sweater in her bag so she wrapped the scarf around to make a makeshift skirt and put on her sweater. Her “skirt” barely covered her shorts and her shoulders were now hidden from view. The door monitor was rather subjective in the way she turned people away or let them in. The younger they were, the more likely, it seemed to me, that they were told to cover up. Emma in her “decent” attire is shown below. (if the WP app cooperates)

20120703-212735.jpg

The actual Basillica is quite different than Notre Dame. The harsher entry requirements and the guy just inside saying “shhhhh” while holding up a finger to his lips as you enter make it crystal clear they want you to be quiet inside. There was a service going on when we visited, so we got to witness real live Parisian Catholics getting up and down on their knees while singing. There was a nice bit of soprano solo by a nun for a while, and we got to experience the acoustics of a single voice in the huge space. They are getting ready to renovate their pipe organ, and I can just imagine how awesome it will sound in there. I have always appreciated liturgical music–especially when they are in Latin and I don’t understand the words.

One of the busiest little chapels had many supplicants, including one who climbed through the barricade to kneel at the base of a statuette, prayer beads in hand. I made a note of the name to look up when we had Internet access again. I couldn’t help but wonder who this “St. Vierge” might be. I can already hear some of my multi-lingual and Catholic friends laughing. Go ahead and laugh, because I know I did a palm to forehead slap once I’d looked up the translation. This was only made a little more hilarious when Bill pointed out the one of the French astrological signs we saw on a table was also Vierge. Go, cognates!

Leave a comment

Filed under Traveling

Soldes!

20120701-092049.jpgAs soon as we got off the plane, we hit the tourisme office to purchase Metro passes. The lady who helped us seemed very excited that we had arrived in time for “The Sales.” This was pronounced with a capital sounding name, and, when we asked what she meant, she seemed amused we didn’t know. It just so happens that the French only have two sales during their calendar year. This year it is June 27-July 31. These sales periods are set by the government and announced with pomp and ceremony. This isn’t anything like your average 10% off teaser you see any given day in the US. This is serious business.

There are entire pages on the Internet devoted to the various strategies French people use to get the greatest deals. From what I can gather, early on means greater choice but lower discounts. Later in the sales period gets you better savings but only on what is left. We pause often to look inside some of the fashionable boutiques as we do the meandering tourist thing. This is the fashion capital of the world, after all. With signs saying 70% off it is hard to not be tempted even when the visible tags say 600EU. With prices like that, I can see why people look forward to the sale.

I think most American store owners would freak at the notion of the government setting sale dates. Actually, I can’t even imagine that happening in the US. I bet most Americans wouldn’t care for it, either.

One of my favorite shops we passed yesterday was a tea-pot shop. No surprise there. Even so, I didn’t buy any teapots yesterday. I decided a picture would have to do.

20120701-103611.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Traveling