Daily Archives: March 13, 2010

Why you want to make this: Spare Ribs With Olives, Lemon and Rosemary from Mark Bittman at the NYTimes.com

This: Featured Recipe: Spare Ribs With Olives, Lemon and Rosemary – Bitten Blog – NYTimes.com, is delicious. It seems quintessentially Mediterranean to me, with lemons, olives, and garlic. It’s simple to make, but the result is sophisticated. It’s the kind of recipe that you make over and over again.

I agree with Mark Bittman: you want to use good olives, as well as good olive oil. When I made it, I used a combination of the black oil-cured olives and the big and fat calamata olives.  Use your favourite, as long as they are fresh and tasty. I used dried rosemary — rosemary dries well — and I went with a teaspoon of chili flakes (use more if you like more heat). I also used water instead of wine: the flavour from the lemon is quite strong and most wines may be overpowered. That said, a wine that would compliment the lemon could provide a very rich sauce. I drank a richer, golden chardonnay with this dish to counterbalance the acid from the lemon. A good reisling or a Soave or even a fuller rose might go well with it. For that matter, a really good cold glass of water would be a perfect accompaniment.

Another thing I did was substitute some of the ribs with smaller pieces of chicken. I am glad I did this. The combination of chicken and ribs on my plate made the dish even better. I had chicken legs, but I think the next time I would go with chicken thighs (because they are smaller and richer in flavour). The chicken is thoroughly infused with the flavour of the sauce: the left over chicken would make a superb sandwich or a great addition to a salad with a lemon or creamy dressing. Plus I think the chicken adds to the wonderful sauce that results. If you wanted a real stew, you could poach some fish or shellfish towards the end of cooking and end up with a paella-like dish. But part of the charm of this dish is its simplicity, so less may be more.

I also took some of the liquid, added some water, and used it as the base for some couscous that I had along side the meat. I would recommend you make the couscous on the dry side: there was lots of sauce at the end of cooking the ribs and chicken, and a drier couscous could soak that up. That said, I think a nice bowl of rice or even bread would be a great way to use up all that lemony good sauce.

Needless to say, I recommend you make this. Another great thing about this recipe is that come spring or fall, or anytime in between, this will be a good dish to prepare and enjoy.

(Great shot of olives from jurvetson’s photostream on flickr.com).

The Vatican tries to spin the scandal in Germany

Regardless of who the leading official is and what the scandal is, one way of a leader spinning it in their favour is to take a number of approaches at the same time. One approach is to aggressive attack the accusers, to go on the offensive, rather than be on the defensive. Another approach is to dilute your accusers attack by attempting to minimize it with big numbers and a broader perspective. (As in,  “it is terrible that that incident occurred, but we dealt with thousands of other incidents successfully”).

That was what I thought when I read this: Vatican Sees Campaign Against the Pope in the NYTimes.com

I also thought this: parties that engage in such activities are usually in bigger trouble than we know (yet).

Now, that does not mean the Pope is in trouble. But it is starting to look like it.

You Really Got a Hold on Me – the remake & the original

She & Him give “You Really Got a Hold on Me” a soft indie/C&W spin on the classic, “You Really Got a Hold on Me” here:

And I must say I like this version. That said, I like this version best. 🙂

Smokey can do no wrong.

How to create scarcity and the 12 hour play “The Demons”

As media becomes increasingly digital, it’s becomes very difficult to have scarcity when it comes to artistic creations. And without that scarcity, the amount creators and producers can charge for their work is limited. Which leads me to the story of this play in the NYTimes.com: ‘The Demons’ – 12-Hour Play, and Endless Bragging Rights. Notice how the play is discribed:

“Every theater season has its must-must-must-see show, the snob hit that separates the true sophisticates (at least in their own minds) from the cultural chaff. New York will have a doozy of a contender this July: a 12-hour production of a grim Dostoyevsky novel that will be performed only twice, in Italian (with English supertitles), in a warehouse on Governors Island, reachable only after a ferry trip and a 20-minute walk.”

The lack of shows, the length of the play, the location of the play, the language of the play: all of it points to a degree of scarcity. This is not the Metropolitan Opera, broadcasting to the world and over big screens in public places. This is a play that will be very difficult to get to and get through. That is part of it’s charm, at least for a certain audience. And for that, they will be able to charge top dollar, I believe.