Archive | July, 2011

I should really study this

18 Jul

How to take amazing food pictures.

This one tip would probably make a huge difference:

Stabilize your camera. Use a tripod, or prop your camera on a high-back chair to help reduce the photo’s blurriness. This will eliminate the camera shake, you can also use a timer on the camera to be sure.

So, THAT’s what the timer is for.


Pan-seared lamb shoulder chops, arugula and blue cheese salad | Recipe(s) of the week

18 Jul

Pan-grilled lamb shoulder chop (without the pan grilling or marinating)
Arugula and blue cheese salad. HTCE p. 95

I really need to learn how to take photos.

No-knead bread

4 Jul

Bittman's no-knead bread

No-knead bread

Flash-cooked hominy with kale, broiled chicken cutlets

4 Jul

Flash-cooked hominy with kale, broiled chicken cutlets with cracked pepper

Flash-cooked hominy with kale. HTCE, p. 193

Broiled chicken cutlets with cracked pepper (variation of Basic grilled or broiled chicken cutlets). HTCE p. 381

Bodum’s Chambord French press

4 Jul

If you buy Bodum’s Chambord French Press at Macy’s, it is made in China. If you buy it in Crate & Barrel, it is made in Portugal. It’s named after a Portuguese factory that the Bodum corporation bought.

Humming Beck | Stories of Things

4 Jul

New bedframe

After I bought this bed, the lady at Harrington Gallery told me I could decide later if I wanted to have it delivered. “Just call this number,” she said. “I’m Gio. No matter what, I’ll be the one who answers.” She had slightly wild Gypsy-like black hair and wore red, as women with that kind of hair do (and should).

I thought about it for a day. I didn’t call any of my friends with trucks. I ordered the delivery.

On Tuesday, Adam from Harrington called. “We’re out in the Avenues so we should be by soon,” he said. “What’s your address again?”

”#### ##th St.,” I said.

“Riiiight. Street not avenue,” he said. “OK, we have a stop in Cayuga first, so it’ll be 20 minutes.” I had no idea where Cayuga was.

He came in carrying the footboard, humming a song that sounded familiar. When he came in with the rails, humming the same tune, I asked, “What’s that you’re humming? Is it Sinatra?”

“No, Beck,” he said. “He had some album out of goofy guitar songs, years ago. This is one of them. I probably haven’t listened to that album in like 15 years, but this song gets stuck in my head every single day.”

His hair stuck up on top, just above an indentation around his head. Hipster hat head. His maroon printed boxers poufed slightly above his dark blue jeans (sorry, there’s no manly verb that describes it as well as poufed), and his voice was gentle and friendly.

“Do you want help putting this together?” he asked. I didn’t think that was an option. I told him I was afraid I’d have to figure it out after I got home tonight. He chatted as he attached the metal rails to the wooden headboard and footboard, turning down my offers to help until we had to move the box spring onto the frame. It slipped right through to the floor.

“These old beds,” he said, “They’re not made to modern sizes. Sometimes someone was making a bed, and they just made it whatever size they wanted.” He told me that they could give me slats for the frame. He didn’t have them in the truck, but I could stop by the store. He’d have them ready. He measured the size: 55 inches.

“We can set up the bed for you, anyway, though,” he offered. “You don’t want to have to set this up tonight. When you get home from work, sometimes you just want to sleep.” We laid the mattress on top of the boxspring, inside the frame. After they left, I vaguely assembled the bedclothes on my new bed, then dashed out to work.

When I came home from a work dinner, after work, I just wanted to sleep. Thanks for your help, Adam.

My old bed frame goes to a new home | Stories of Things

4 Jul

Old bedframe

The nice couple who bought this bed from me had just moved into a new home up in a forested little enclave in the San Bruno hills. “We don’t need curtains,” the wife said. “This is the first place I’ve ever lived where you don’t need them,” the husband said, as he worked to disassemble the frame.

They were buying the bed for their daughter — well, his daughter, “But I think of her as my daughter,” the wife said, and you could tell it was genuine. “We just got her 50 percent of the time,” she said proudly.

They were an attractive couple. She had long, thick, dark brown hair and an authentic permanent smile. His salt-and-pepper hair was cut short, and his grey t-shirt fit him like someone who worked out regularly. They met at a gym, and joked “Not that you can tell, now” for a little too long. It must have been a sore spot, and it only stuck out because otherwise they were so comfortably sweet with each other. He put his arm around her. She gazed at him admiringly.

She was a born conversationalist: great at small talk while we watched him take the frame apart for a solid 30 minutes (I only had one screwdriver and it had to be broken down enough to fit in their Suburu). She was genuinely interested in people.

As I helped them load the pieces into their car, I was thrilled that my little bed frame was going to be part of this new beginning for them and their family.