January 08, 2007

the world is bad

and Helen Hill would hate the very fact of my saying so.

I went to college with a lot of really cool, interesting, smart, crazy people, and being a part of that community was one of the best experiences of my life. Helen was one of them, and so was her husband Paul. I have always thought of the two of them as the most genuinely good, kind, loving and creative people I have ever met, and it pleased me immensely that they fell in love and got married.

Someone broke into their house and killed her last week. They shot Paul too, but he lived through it, protecting their son. How Paul will make his way after this I don't have any idea, but if anyone can it is him. I don't know what else to say, but I will try to come up with something so that he knows my thoughts and love are with him.

Any world where this is possible is bad. Worth living in, and filled with good and wonderful things, but at its foundation bad. Please find your loved ones, right now, even the ones you haven't seen or talked to in many years, and tell them you love them. Those people you think of fondly every so often but never see any more, look them up and write them a letter. Do something good for someone you've never met. Make contact. Fight the badness.

What happened: http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/16386330.htm

Helen's family & friends & how to donate to Doctors Without Borders in her name: http://www.helenhill.org/

Posted by foodnerd at 03:42 PM | Comments (3)

January 02, 2007

kebab kubideh recipe

Kebab Kubideh

large yellow onion, peeled and grated (i run it through my immersion blender's chopping attachment, which purees it perfectly)
1/2 lb ground lamb + 1/2 lb ground beef (or 1 lb beef)
1 clove garlic peeled and finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
1 pinch saffron threads
1 tbsp butter, melted
ground sumac & lemon wedges (optional garnish)

Drain the grated onions in a sieve over a bowl for 2 hours. Press onions to release more juice. (Onion juice is good to use in soups -- I use mine to cook some carrots, then whizz them with yogurt & milk to make a soup, flavored with fresh dill or middle-eastern spices.) Add onion pulp to large bowl, then add meat, garlic, egg, crumbs, salt, pepper, turmeric and paprika; mix well. Divide into eighths and make each into a 5" cylinder, and slide it onto a large flat wide metal skewer, forming and flattening around the skewer -- if you don't have this type of flat skewer, just do as I do and make 8-10 rectangles about 8"x1.5" and 1/4" thick. Melt the butter and crumble in the saffron (or crush it in a mortar, then add). (Technically, this step is supposed to be toast saffron 30 seconds in dry pan, crush, add 1 tbsp boiling water, then add butter to melt. I've done the shortcut with no ill effect.) Brush kebabs with saffron butter and grill over medium hot coals or in a grill pan or cast iron skillet, brushing each side with more butter as you go. This brushing with saffron butter is the key to the deliciousness, so don't skip. Serve with buttered basmati rice and grilled tomato halves, and sprinkle with sumac and/or offer lemon wedges if you like. I also make a yogurt/dried mint/chopped cucumber salad to go with this.

Posted by foodnerd at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

RIP Manka's

MissLudmillla & I had a fantastic dinner at Manka's Inverness Lodge in early December, during our much-needed Marin weekend escape, and now I am very glad indeed that we had the chance, as it has burned to the ground in what seems to be a freak wind accident.

It was very beautiful inside, all old dark wood, battered pewter and old California money -- it was too dark for us to see much outside -- and the food, very nearly all extremely local, was amazing and delicious.

I am sad. I hope they reopen... it won't be the same, but perhaps it can still be lovely.

For the news story on the fire: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/12/28/MNGQ8N95T91.DTL

Posted by foodnerd at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)