Thursday, October 18, 2007

Balsamic Vegetables

Something I Did Today, originally uploaded by St. Blaize.

By request, here is the recipe, from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's book, The Splendid Table.

I made about a batch-and-a-half. Looking at the recipe, I realize now that I forgot the olive oil. Crap.

1 quart white wine vinegar (I buy white wine vinegar in gallon jugs, for canning.)
2 2/3 cups water
1/2 cup olive oil (It specifies extra-virgin, but do people actually use any other kind in the U.S.A?)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1/4 cup sugar (I cut this back, as I do the sugar in most recipes. I also used raw sugar, for the extra taste.)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 medium red bell peppers,
3 medium yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips (I used 4 red bell peppers, because that's what I had, cut into half-inch wide and 1 1/2-inch long chunks, because I like the pieces smaller.)
1/2 medium-sized cauliflower, cut into bite-size flowerettes (I used 2 heads of organic cauliflower, which was a beautiful golden color that is unfortunately obscured by the balsamic vinegar in the finished product here.)
8-10 pearl onions (I just used a regular onion, chunked, because pearl onions are hard to peel, and I didn't have any on hand. I also put whole peeled garlic cloves, because that's the kind of gal I am: garlicky.)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

It says these need to be made at least 3 days ahead (so the vegetables actually marinate). It also says they last 3 weeks in the fridge, but they last much much longer if you put them into hot, clean jars. By "much much longer" I mean "months."

Combine ingredients other than vegetables and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 or three minutes.

Drop the peppers and cauliflower into the marinade, bring back to a boil, cook (uncovered) 2 to 3 minutes (I cooked it a bit longer, because my cauliflower pieces were maybe more than "bite-sized" and I wanted them to get tender). Remove with slotted spoon and set aside (or, as I did, put them into an enormous jar). Add the onions (and in my case, the garlic) to the marinade and cook 5 minutes or until barely tender. Remove with slotted spoon and add to vegetables. Boil the marinade uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add balsamic vinegar, and pour over the vegetables, adding more white wine vinegar if you need to in order to cover the vegetables.


Monday, October 15, 2007


So, the boyfriend's mother is visiting from the Netherlands, and a friend of his is also visiting from the Netherlands, and we are all slated to go in a rented R.V. on a trip. For reasons best known to himself, the boyfriend wants to take us to Eastern Oregon, to Lake Malheur. It looks pretty.

But I think it will be cold. Given my own druthers, I would probably head for more southern climes, such as Arizona. I understand that, for people from a small and crowded country, the basin-and-range areas of Eastern Oregon and Nevada can hold a certain magic. But I would argue that the desert Southwest could be just as magical, and certainly warmer and drier.

I just hope I make it. My unseasonal depression seems--perhaps because unseasonable-- unshakable. What to do, what to do? What to do when nothing helps?

I sort of just want to stay home and hide. I sort of just want to stay home and hide and drink tea and work in the garden a bit. But I hold the romantic hope that travel can change me (I know; I know). I am supposed to leave on Friday, and be gone for nine days or so.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Honor to those who in the life they lead
keep and guard their own Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion;
generous when they're rich, and when they're poor,
still generous in small ways,
still helping as much as they can;
always speaking the truth,
yet without hating those who lie.

And even more honor is due to them
when they foresee (as many do foresee)
that Ephialtis will turn up in the end,
that the Medes will break through after all.

--Constantine P. Cavafy

Translated by
Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard