Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Into Struggle

You know how life can get away with you? My life has totally gotten away from me. I thought I was cool and keeping things together and then I realized that I haven't posted on this blog since August. AUGUST. Holy hell. August. I don't even remember August. I can barely remember August Osage County and I saw that, like, two weeks ago. What the hell happened to me?

Well, I'll tell you. I went on Birthright (that's a trip to Israel, for all my goyim in the audience). Then I came back, moved out of my parents house into my own apartment, started a new job and started directing a play. All within one week. And since then it's pretty much been "go-go-go" that gets briefly interrupted by breaks for sleeping and drinking water (i.e. booze).So the struggle, oh, it continues, does it ever continue. A highlight reel? You got it. With photos that have nothing to do with anything but are still hilarious? But of course!

Struggles have I known, Autumn Edition:

1. I almost got arrested by airport security in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, upon departure back to the mess that is JFK because I had organic date honey in my bag and apparently there is a thin line between condiments you were bullied into buying on a kibbutz (Pushy Israelis? No! Say it ain't so!) and bombs. I politely explained to the nice (horrible) woman at airport security that if I was a terrorist, wouldn't it make more sense for me to be bringing things INTO Israel rather then sneaking them out? She was not amused.

2. I moved into my new apartment and had an incident with my smoke alarm, and by this I mean that it just went off one day and would not stop beeping. Literally WOULD NOT STOP. At 10pm. On a Sunday. So then when I tried to fix the central alarm box in the common hallway, I locked myself OUT of my still-beeping apartment, in my Pajamas. I couldn't go to my parents house to get my spare key because not only was it raining, but I wasn't wearing shoes. Or appropriate undergarments. So I had to call my father to come and help me out. That's right. I called my daddy. Struggle.

3. The day before my Fringe Show opened,  my sound designer quit. And despite the vodoo dolls and fist waves at the sky, I still had to actually figure out a solution and run the damn sound myself. Just another name to add to my death-list book.

4. I went to the theater and a complete stranger told me to punch my new boss in the dick. That one was pretty funny, actually.

5. My hair still doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up.

So, sorry for the delay, anyone who might be reading this, but I promise, I'm back, and struggling more then ever. But hey, you probably called that, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Struggle Is Worth a Thousand Words: San Juan 2011 Edition

I don't even know what to say about Puerto Rico anymore, I really don't. You've heard about all the crazy there is to hear, right? Hahaa, oh, silly reader, of course you haven't, such a thing is foolish. There is ALWAYS more crazy in the Caribbean. If they can't find it locally, they import it.

A few years ago when we visited San Juan we were informed, upon arrival, that all of the water was off. As in, the water company, in what is apparently a rotine move, will periodically shut off water in various parts of the city to repair/maintain the pipes. So if you happen to visit during such times, don't worry, relax, have some rum, but don't expect to be able to shower, use the bathroom, or get some water. That's fine, though, really, I mean, who needs it?

I thought that was the worst trip ever. And really, it was. But this time when we went to Puerto Rico for your favorite Struggle's birthday, the electric company had surged our home and left us with no power. Okay, yes, we got it back eventually, but not before a week of anxiety, many broken bulbs, a fridge full of spoiled food and a broken microwave and dryer. Oh, and HOURS on the phone being passed between people who don't know what they are talking about. And if you think that's bad in English, you might want to try it in Spanish. Just saying. Sigh. I still had fun, though. It was probably the rum. And of course, I saw some strugglesome things. And I like to think that the universe works hard to make my birthday a complete struggle every year just because it can. I appreciate it, even, I think it's nice. At least is something special, right?

For your viewing pleasure, struggle in San Juan 2011, a photo display:

There's a lot to think about here. Plantain soup in a bag. Hedgehogs as spokespeople for soda. Pulpo. Prado. Struggle. I'll leave you to it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Struggle has just one thing to say

My foot is 100% better. All clear. So today, TODAY, I win, struggle. I beat you. Enjoy the sweet taste of defeat, my friend. you've earned it. And besides, I'm totally failing again tomorrow. Maybe I will break the other foot....dream big, baby.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Struggle Waits It Out

I am not great at being patient. It is not one of my many virtues. Don't get me wrong, I'm a super virtuous person, I got em all, charity, simplicity, big hair, sturdy extremities....but patience, no, that's not really my bag, baby. Which is really a problem when you have broken a part of your body and you are waiting for it to heal. Because you kind of need patience while the bone cells regenerate and knit themselves back together. And yelling at your foot to "Heal faster, you jag!" doesn't actually work as well as one might think it would. So I present to you for your reading pleasure and deep edification my tips and tricks for fast foot healing. At the very least, they can save you. It may be too late for me, honestly, I'm thinking about just scrapping the thing and putting a wheel there. 

1. Double up on your calcium. Hell, triple up on your calcium! Shotgun milk, slurp down yogurt, or do what I do, and chew on Calcium supplements the size of horse tranquilizers. It has the added benefit of being extremely attractive to members of the opposite sex. 

2. Use your crutches as weapons, indicators, cat prods, make things fun for yourself! The nice people at the hospital gave a physically unbalanced person long pointy metal sticks. Clearly they want you to USE them. 

3. Febreze your walking boot. I don't care what time of year it is or if you think you among all the people on earth are immune to sweating. People in your life will thank you. 

4. Do not say "my boot is so smelly!" and then force friends and loved ones to smell it. Trust me, they will not appreciate being a part of your healing process in this way. 

5. Do indulge in as much Law and Order as possible. This is just a general life/sick/bored/snow day/heat wave day rule. Nothing makes you feel as good as watching Ice T fight crime. 

6. Do offer to help around the house, and then pathetically be unable to do so. This provides a constant reminder to others that you are in pain and special and need their constant devotion and care. Try whimpering gently as you fold laundry or attempt to wash a dish. People love a good whimper. 

7. Do make up interesting stories about your injury. I put my foot on the ground and it broke? So what, it's boring. I heroically rescued a baby tiger from poachers, only to have it turn on me? I'm a rock star. Other alternatives include knife fight, hooking, and falling meteor. And no, you can't use those. They are mine. 

8. Do not drink and hop. 

9.When you drink and hop, make sure no one is around to see how foolish you look. 

10.  When you finally get off of the crutches and out of the boot, don't be an idiot and break your foot again. 

Just to be clear, that last one was mostly a warning from me to me. Come on, little foot, keep it together, don't fall apart on me again! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Struggle Goes Down For The Count

It seems that I am destined to hurt myself in really mundane and uninteresting ways. When I was 16 I broke my right foot literally tripping over a shoe. I've burned myself many times grazing up against too hot stoves and too scalding pans. On time, in Arizona, I walked right into a Saguaro cactus, and my mother spent the evening with a pair of tweezers and a flashlight picking spikes out of my head. Aren't family trips the best? But what I did yesterday might be the least intelligent way I've ever damaged my body. In my defense, however, do you really expect to fracture your foot by placing the thing on the ground? No? Well, apparently you need to START, folks, because yesterday I placed my poor left foot on the ground and broke it. Like you do. When you are a huge struggle.

Picture a stoplight, and a girl on a bike, wind in her hair, stains on her shirt, just trying to get to her offices to show some apartments. The girl, in accordance with the laws of Philadelphia and, you know, gravity, stops at the light, placing her mid-sized elegantly shod left foot on the street below. And it promptly crumples, pulling her body down with it. The girl feels a gentle snap. That's interesting, she thinks, and continues biking. She then shows several apartments to an older gentleman who comments that she may more may not be limping. Limping is for losers, the girl explains, and continues on her way. However, her foot seems to be swelling at an exponential rate, which doesn't seem all that normal, and when she shows it to mother, Mama Struggs says that thing is broken. Strugglemano says her foot looks FAT, which is a very Los Angeles statement and therefore can be ignored. Padre Struggle just laughs, which is way the girl asks her MOTHER, the only supportive person in the WORLD, to take her to the emergency room.

Once at the emergency room the girl is asked all sorts of questions like Does She Feel Safe At Home (yes), Does She Have An Eating Disorder (no), Is She Pregnant (given her complete lack of a love life, the girl just laughs at this one. The nurse is not amused) . X-rays are taken, a nice comforting lead blanket covering her reproductive organs to ensure that if she ever gets herself a love life she might actually be able to GET pregnant, and the break is, indeed, revealed. The girl is whisked to the orthopedist where after a brisk two hour wait she is fitted with a neat little black bootie, and told she has had a perfect break. What joy! thinks the girl, a pefect break! One does so love to achieve in all directions. She is then sent home with her black bootie, a pair of crutches, and assurances that this recovery will take about four weeks until she's back on the bike that first brought her to the hospital. In the mean time she can keep her appendage elevated, "listen to her foot" for when to start putting weight upon it, and be the fascinating spectical hopping around and sliding up and down the stairs that her family and cats will marvel upon. Oh, yes, and watch her foot turn interesting colors. If you think about it, it's really a gift!

Or a huge struggle. Any guesses as to how I'm thinking about it? And so, there you have the epic saga of how I totally broke my foot by putting on the ground. Watch out for that ground, people, it's a sly minx. When those jetpacks finally happen, I'm buying twelve. Of course, knowing me, I will probably be the first person to set themselves on fire with my jetpack. Wish me luck with my foot, Strugglenation, and with daytime television. I feel like I'm going to need it, on both counts.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Struggle is the Cruelest Month

Struggledelphia is by all accounts a fantastic city. This is a fact, and anyone who wants to dispute it can come over here and FIGHT me. No, they can't, actually, please don't, I bruise like a peach, but the point is, I love this crazy strugglesome city, I think it's tops. I think it's amazing. It only has one tragic flaw, one horrible element, one bad apple spoiling the bunch. Is it our widespread obesity? No, of course not, that's crazy talk. Is it our complete lack of real public transportation? No,no, that's charming. No, it's the Wharton School of Business. And it's bringing us all down.

Let me explain something to you about business school students. They are, perhaps, the worst people with whom you may ever come into contact. Look, I don't know your life, you may be hanging out this dictators and child molesters and clowns all the time, and in that case, maybe it's time to make some better choices, but do what you must, I suppose. However, for the majority of us who actually like decent human beings, Wharton students may be as bad as it gets. Because there is no one as entitled, as argumentative, as straight up horrible as a Wharton student. And in April, they descend. They fall upon Philadelphia like Locusts, searching for apartments, evaluating West Philadelphia, generally acting like the worst possible versions of ourselves.Picture people who are more entitled then Prince William (Royal Wedding!), more aggressive then Margaret Thatcher (I'm on a roll with this British thing) and more unpleasant then, um, English cuisine. Then multiply them. Then picture them running all over the city, ruining our bars and restaurants with their stupid whining selves. It's enough to make you sick.

Look, I recognize that sometimes people need to go to business school. Maybe you aren't attractive, maybe you can't whittle worth a damn, maybe you have some sort of childhood trauma that makes you incapable of doing any other profession, again, I don't know. I just don't know. But what I do know is that if you by some chance find yourself being introduced to a Wharton student, you slap them, and you run in the other direction. To be fair, of course, my own father was at one time a Wharton student, as was my grandfather, but these nice gentleman are exceptions. The majority of them? Are just the worst.

Or at least that's what I thought until I went to a street fair on Saturday and was confronted with a collection of horrible human beings pushing, shoving, and leading their wretched little children about while screaming about the crowds. What is it about street fairs that makes otherwise normal people start acting like vicious hose beasts? I'm just trying to walk down the street here, people, you really don't need to make my life the most painful thing ever just because you prefer to stop and stare. Are you Wharton students by any chance? Yes, you are? How shocking. But at least I got to see this:
Wharton Students aside, totally worth it. Obviously.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Feast of Unleavened Struggle

It's that special time again! The time that non-Jews coo over large square crackers and Jews groan over the thought of a week without bread (I don't know how they do it in Asia, I really don't).That time we celebrate our last vacation in Egypt (it...didn't go well) and enthusiastically devour large quantities of disgusting fish. Incidentally, the woman at our favorite fish place in Redding Terminal Market charged us 4 dollars per fish head and frankly, we were robbed! Who the hell else is buying those fish heads? Passover must be the prime time for fish head price inflation, I swear. And as I celebrate this so delicious festival (I really do love gefilte fish. Honestly, being Jewish is like 75% liking weird fish and 25% everything else) I want to share with you a step by step guide to a strugglesome Seder, just in case you want to host your own. Because nothing says celebration like a holiday devoted to flat bread products and collective guilt!

Step 1. Buy the criminally expensive fish heads. (PS, the butcher gave us the lamb shank for free. Thanks, guy, like you were going to use it for ANYTHING).

Step 2. Invite over some strangers, anyone you want to torture with a long involved ceremony before a meal without rolls. Make sure they bring wine, this is important. Do NOT let them bring Manischewitz, unless you hate your mouth and WANT a vicious painful sweet wine induced headache. Hey, you might, I don't know your life!

Step 3. Rid your home of all bread products. I personally have never actually done this, but it is what you are supposed to do. Give them to people on all carb diets or toss them to the birds, whatever you like. We just hide ours and feel comfortable with this decision.

Step 4. Make a meal. This can include several things. Traditionally we make a lamb dish, something with potatoes, some vegetable, obviously Chicken Soup with Matzo balls, and some dessert that we all pretend is decent even though it's made with ground Matzo. Unless of course you have the excellent luck to be Sephardic, and then your meal is awesome, and we all hate you.

Step 5. Welcome your guests. Welcome the Prophet Elijah. Get everyone drunk, including Elijah. Trust me, drinking only improves the taste of cardboard crackers. I promise.

Step 6. Repeat the next night. Then spend the rest of the holiday gripping about Matzo and staring at bakery windows like it's pornography and you are What? Some stereotypes are true.

Happy Passover, everyone. And for those of you who celebrate Easter, you enjoy that too. I see you rabbits who lay eggs and rising from the dead and I RAISE you parting of the Red Sea and manna in the desert. What's your next move? Marshmellow birds? Weak.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Struggle Gets Dishy: Just Ducky

Every once in a while I get the urge for new foods. I mean, like, entirely new, I want a new bird or a new animal or a new vegetable or something. Not just something I haven't eaten in a while or tried before and I certainly don't intend to eat bugs and pretend that's awesome or what have you, but an amazing new type of food. Like a new thing that isn't chicken but works like chicken. That would be amazing. 

Of course, I have yet to find such a thing, and given that I'm not taking any deep space journeys any time soon (though not for lack of trying...stupid NASA), I sometimes have to fool myself with foods, I hide them or wont buy them for a long period of time to try to trick my palette into forgetting about them so that when I encounter them again I can almost believe that this is true novelty. I've read about how cats normalize themselves to toys and then lose interest, only to rediscover them with the joy of a new exploration, but I had to stop reading about it, because when you get to the point in the day with you envy your cats it's time to take a long look in the mirror and maybe pour yourself a drink.

This normalizing thing can backfire, though. Because sometimes you re-encounter a food, say, cherries, and then all you want to do for like two weeks straight is shotgun cherries and you even consider a move to Wisconsin because wouldn't that just make perfect sense? This is another point in time when you might want to take a shot of something bracing and shake it off. Just saying. So when Ben and I made duck a few weeks ago, it kind of got me going, and now all I want to do is eat duck. So as it turns out my last duck post shall be one in a series of three. Welcome to the second of three tales of marine ornithological adventures. Get excited. 

Pasta with Duck and Asparagus and white wine:
2 duck breasts
1 pound of asparagus, ends cut off, cut into 2 inch pieces on a bias
2 shallots, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of white wine
olive oil
salt, pepper
As much pasta as you and your family, guests or pets care to consume. 

I'm going to include a lot more photos then usual because A. I like photos and B. I have the photos and C. this is a visually lovely meal, so you deserve to see it frame by frame. 

The issue that I have with duck, in fact, one a lot of people have with duck, is how fatty it is. Duck, especially duck breast, is basically a fatty no friends, which is excellent if you are an aquatic bird who lives in chilly waters and wants to stay alive and execute your biological imperative, but less useful if you are a human being who doesn't want to consume huge amounts of duck fat. And it is, of course, delicious, most things that are horrible for you are. When I was in London last year for New Years, Andrew and I (hi, Andrew!) had a discussion then went like this: Duck Fat? Love it! But my god, we will be the fattest people ever, and we will die alone. Can we take that risk? Well, maybe just this once.....

Or twice. Or 20 odd times. It's fantastic, but it's not for every day. So this recipe, we will cut off all the duck fat and keep it in reserve: 
And this would be a good time to boil it in a small saucepan with a little bit of water and then cool it to congeal. And that will look like this:
This does not look magically delicious. Don't worry, just cover it up and put it in the refrigerator. We will deal with it on another occasion. Fill up a large pot with water and make sure to salt the water generously. Cover the pot and set your burner to medium-high. This will be for the pasta, so make sure to time things out so your pasta is ready when your sauce is. 

Now take you duck, which should look something like this:
Heat two tablespoons or around that neighborhood of corn oil or any vegetable oil in a large saucepan and brown the duck:
Then remove the duck from the pan and set aside. All together, you should be looking at something like this:

Large scary knife is not required, but it is recommend. When the duck has cooled you are going to chop it up and this will look something like this: 
Meanwhile, throw the shallots and garlic into the saucepan over a medium heat:
Once the shallots have softened and are growing golden, throw in the asparagus, the wine, and some parsley. Cover and turn the heat down to low or medium low. Your water should be boiling by now, so cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. I usually use this kind of pasta:
But you should do whatever your little heart desires. I like pasta al dente, and I consider it a great crime against humanity to over cook pasta, but everyone is different. And some people are just better. Once the pasta is done, season the sauce to taste and serve it over the pasta. I like to sprinke on some parsley at this point: 
I also like cheese:
And that will look something like this:
And this is absolutely delicious. 
But you don't have to take my word for it. Go make it yourself, you lazyface. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fall Back, Struggle Forward

I don't know about you guys, but I find this time change business extremely rough. Look, I know it's only an hour, and I've certainly faced worse and greater jumps in the time space continuum (you try flying from London to Dubai to Shanghai being chased all the while by an Icelandic volcano and you just tell me how you like that), but I feel like it's different when you travel. For one thing, you are traveling. so you can justify the lack of sleep and complete confusion as to what day it is by saying, well, everything is foreign here, and time is no exception. Time hasn't actually changed, I'm just one French time,and bound by the laws of cigarettes, or English time, and bound by the laws of tea and class warfare, or Chinese time, and bound by the laws of....never mind, China has no laws, just suggestions. It's much like Italy that way, really...

But this whole hour ahead hour behind thing has really got me rattled. For one thing, I resent the syntax that tells me I'm losing or gaining time. How did I lose that hour? Is there a hole in my time-purse? I was so careful with it, too! Can I replace it? No, it just returns to me in the Fall, like a prodigal son. And I don't even have any children! See, right there, that all sounds like the crazy person who sits outside of your local 7-11 and asks you for change. But I'm not that person. I don't even know where the nearest 7-11 is! (This is a lie. It's on 22nd and Lombard. And it's creepy. Don't go in there.) Time is not a pair of socks or a debit card, you can't just let it fall out of your pocket or lose it in the dryer. But SOMETHING has happened to that hour that disappeared on Sunday morning, and I miss it. I want to put up signs, have you seen this hour? Do people put things on milk cartons anymore?

Or maybe that's just the exhaustion talking. Because why my clock says 4:40pm, my body say 3:40pm. So when my clock says 12:40 in the evening, my body says, silly brain, it's only 11:40, stay up, read, you have all the time in the world! But body, my brain says, the time, I've lost it! You can't lose time, silly brain, that's crazy talk. But, the farmers, my brain queries tentatively....Farmers? Says my body, What farmers? What is this, the feudal system? And then my body and my brain start to fight about the validity of an agricultural based time system in these modern days, and I stay up even later. And then I think about what it would take to reserve myself a spot behind the 7-11.

So I haven't really caught up yet with this whole Spring forward business. But as it grows miraculously lighter, and ever so slightly warmer (never trust a groundhog, people, they get you every time), I start to believe that maybe, just maybe, someday I will finally grow accustomed to this hour forward thing. Though, knowing me, that will be just in time for fall.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Please, Sir, I Want Some Struggle

What do you do when your are home alone? Do you run around naked? Do you dance around to loud music? Do you throw wild parties? Do you re-paint? Or do you, in fact, cook large meals for yourself and a good friend? Can you guess into which category I fall? 

Yeah. I make large meals with my friend Ben. Obviously. Ben and I got together this past Saturday night and prepared ourselves a simple meal of spice rubbed duck breast (Ben) brocolini blanched and sauted with garlic(myself) and curried saffron rice (more of myself). 
And wine. And cheese. And gossip. And maybe I'm crazy, okay, I'm definitely crazy, but it was a really lovely evening! No clubs, cabs or critical hook up moments, no embarrassing statements or stranger danger, just a nice evening with a friend. Because here's the thing, most people I know? Are struggling. At least, most young people I know are struggling. I mean, obviously, I'm struggling, it's right there in the name, but I mean in terms of the nightlife. Between the job situation and the social stuff and the constant fear that you are missing something on TV, things can get a little rough out there. So while my peers may feel the need to fill every evening with a constant stream of activities and location changes (BEN), I really enjoy nights that have one, maybe two main attractions. Honestly, much more then that gives me sensory overload and the extreme need for a snack. I know we have the fountain of youth pouring through our veins and whatever Romantic era metaphor you prefer, but doesn't anyone want to save some of that up for middle age? Every night isn't New Years, guys, you can take an evening off and wear sweatpants. No one will know but me, I promise, and I wont tell. (Yes, I will. Do it anyway.)  I mean, good lord, people, don't you get tired? It's all well and good to say you will sleep when you are dead but....I REALLY like sleeping. 

See? Don't I look happy? All well rested and happy? And with a nice glass of wine instead of a horrible but calorically conscious vodka and soda water? Ben brought, in addition to duck breast, his usual heavy snark, which pairs excellently with my own generous helping of sarcasm, and together we gorged ourselves on olives and political commentary (read, pop culture references) until Ben had to bail to go out for the evening. And me? I nestled my way into my pajamas, curled up with some USA network shows (as one does) and enjoyed my evening off of being 23 years old. 

This is how is all looks before my expert plating. The brocolini is the easiest thing in the world, blanch it, saute it with chopped garlic, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and salt and pepper over that sucker and you are DONE. Ben used a combo of spices and brown sugar with the duck breast, which we pan seared and then finished in the oven. The brown sugar gives it that deliciously crispy crust of caramelized goodness, so whatever combination of things you rub on the duck, make sure it includes brown sugar. In this case, it's like foodie crack, I swear. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Struggle Hill Mall

Thought it pains me to admit it, sometimes I can't get everything I need in one place. I wish I never had to leave the warm comforting arms of Struggledelphia for any reason at all. I wish I could have unlimited wealth and access to a never ending store of cupcakes as well.But given that I work in the arts and I don't want to end up on one of those horrible weight loss shows, neither of those things look like they are going to happen any time soon. And neither can I stay in Struggledelphia forever. Sometimes the winds of fate and sands of destiny (why....would destiny want sand? It gets in everything. Just saying.) compel me to to seek my fortune elsewhere, and so I must venture forth and explore the wilds of civilization beyond the reach of our fair city. And so it was, with a heavy heart and a warm coat, that I ventured, last weekend, to the Cherry Hill Mall.

The Cherry Hill mall is located, surprisingly enough, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the sight of many white collar crimes, 50's style diners, and single level shopping centers. Plus they also have a Wegmans not too far away. Basically, it's everything you could ever want without anything you actually need. As an urbanite, I'm fascinated with malls, and I always have been. Plants! Mall walkers! Hot Topic! (Have you ever seen a Hot Topic outside of a mall? Think it through.) Malls seem to have a plethora of stores and businesses that do not exist outside of their air conditioned climate controlled food courted halls. I certainly have never thought about the Mall as a social activity. I thought people only "hung out" in malls in movies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High springs to mind. Oh, gentle readers, I could not have been more wrong....

This is a mall modeling talent search. It looks like they got some winners. 
This is not good parenting. 
This does not seem like a great deal. 
This is how New Jersey does hair. 
This is not a store I've ever seen in real life. This is a man, on the verge of the silent scream
This is another way New Jersey does hair. 
This is another imaginary store. 
This is what Betty Friedan was talking about. 
This is me. I am not amused. 

I really hope Struggledelphia gets a Forever 21 soon. Because I'm not relishing going back out to New Jersey and living through that grotesque carnival of human misery again....I'm completely kidding. I love that place. Bring it on, New Jersey, I can take it. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Struggle Gets Dishy: Side Benefits

So, good old Puxutawny Phil neglected to see his shadow, which means an early spring for all of us! Good news, right? A cause for joy and celebration? Ah, my friends, you could not be more wrong.

Why? Well, for starters, I don't care what that deceitful little rodent says, it's still dangerously cold here in Struggledelphia. And why are we trusting our fate to a small ground dwelling mammal anyway? I mean, what does he know about meteorology, he doesn't even have a weather based name or a bow tie or any of the things I expect from my local news carrier. Trusting the weather to a groundhog is like saying my cat can make prophesies about the future. And considering that my cat's favorite activities are sleeping and licking itself in it's swimsuit areas, I'm not so sure that we want to live in that future, frankly.

 And don't even get me started on Staten Island Chuck. To think, New York calls US the second class city...

Additionally, after this long and painful winter, is anyone REALLY ready to strip down to their daisy dukes and halter tops and bare all that pasty pale skin to the light of day? Of course not! It's not time for that sort of thing! It's time for snuggling up into fleece blankets and not moving until an animal of slightly more intelligence then a groundhog tells you it's time. When a dolphin let's me know about the weather, I'll be happy to listen. But not before then.

With all this in mind, my crusade for carbohydrates continues, with a potato based recipe sure to fill you with enough fat to insulate those pesky little organs without which you would expire. So, this Valentine's day, give you sweetheart and yourself the gift of starchy root vegetables. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. And what could be more romantic then that?

Roasted Red Potatoes and Leeks:

I love this side dish because its pretty, filling, and fantastically easy. There's a double entendre there somewhere, but I'm too cold to make it.

1 pound small red potatoes, rinsed, eyes removed (if they exist. The eyes of the potato are the little sprouts which may have been allowed to grow if you, like me, buy things and then forget that you own them. It happens.)
2 large leeks.
Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the potatoes into 1/4th of an inch thick rounds. Thinly slice the leeks (both white and green parts, personal issue of mine, I hate when people just use part of a leek, use the whole leek, people, pretend this is the frontier), on a diagonal, and toss the potatoes and leeks with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread potato and leek mixture on a baking sheet. Make sure that there is a single layer of potatoes and leeks, if the sheet is too crowded neither will roast properly. Treat yourself to a second baking sheet if needs be, you deserve it, I promise. Roast vegetables about 30 minutes, or until potatoes and leeks are browned and potatoes flake apart when tested with a fork or knife. Season with additional salt and pepper, if that is your desire, and serve. Enjoy!


Monday, January 31, 2011

Give Us This Day Our Daily Struggle

I walked to work this morning. I had a meeting part of the way between my job and my home and it didn't make sense to go all the way to work first, and this city is basically bereft of public transportation so I walked. I walked through mountains of snow, because even though it has been almost a week since the last storm apparently it's been decided that the sidewalks of Struggledelphia should remain as scale models of the Alps. And I walked through rivers of ice, because salt is for pansies and the city government would prefer that us Struggledelphias bravely take on the elements with nothing more then our bare hands and Quaker determination. And I fell. Right on my knees. At the corner of Struggle Garden and 11th street. Thank you, good people of City Hall, for teaching me that valuable lesson about falling down in public.

But on some level I'm glad I walked all the way in because my path took me through all kinds of struggle, and as I always carry around my camera, I can now share some of that for you. Enjoy. Happy end of January. If February has this much snow, I'm moving to Mexico. Who's in?