Blog Archives

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A great list of interchangeable ingredients to turn to when you are cooking, from Mark Bittman

Is this list.

Print it off, leave it in the kitchen, add your own items.

I often use sriracha for dried chilies, or even any hot sauce, for when you just need some heat. Likewise, if you don’t have jalapenos, you could also replace them with some of other heat source. (If it is a lot of jalapenos, you might use regular peppers with some chilies or other hot things to add the appropriate level of hotness.)

Finally, I’ve seen people suggest replacing creme fraiche with full fat greek yogurt.

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If you want to make a podcast

Then consider this: A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Into Podcasts – The New York Times.

It doesn’t appeal to me, but podcasts are hot now, and if you want to give it a go, a good guide such as this one can help.

Good luck!

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C’mon, It’s Just 7 Days – a good challenge for next week

You either are keeping your New Year’s Resolutions (yay!) or you have shelved them. If the latter, cheer up. You don’t need to wait a year to resolve to be better. And you don’t need to necessarily make a big commitment either. Maybe just a week of doing something for the better is enough to make an improvement in yourself. A week may be just the thing to kick start you and send you off in a better direction.

Sound good? Great. And if you are stuck for ideas, check out this:  C’mon, It’s Just 7 Days recipes and how-tos from Food52. 

It’s not just about food. If you are looking for a week of challenges to try out, read the articles there.

The articles are fun even if you aren’t looking to change. A lot can happen in a week.

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Friday night cocktails: a few simple ingredients = 3 Campari Cocktails

So sez this:  3 Campari Cocktails You Don’t Need a Gazillion Ingredients to Make | Bon Appetit. For anyone wanting to get started making cocktails, this is a good guide for this. Next thing you know you’re well on your way to being a bartender! At least for your friends. Enjoy.

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My new favorite dish: Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs from Mark Bittman

I made this last week and I’m thinking of making it again this weekend, it’s that good: Andrea’s Pasta with Pork Ribs, via Mark Bittman.

It has all the benefits of a good marinara dish, but the ribs really take it to a whole different and higher level. It is especially good with cheap pork ribs that might not make sense grilled due to being an odd shape. Those ribs are perfect here.

If you want, add more garlic…I added twice this amount. I also threw in sprigs of fresh herbs too. I went with basil, but I am sure rosemary or thyme or marjoram would be great.

I also doubled the ribs and I took  half, deboned them, then chopped them into bite sized pieces and added them to the sauce. The other ribs I garnished the pasta with.

Finally, since you have so few ingredients, try to use really good tomatoes and cheese. You can skimp on the ribs and get gnarly ones because they will still taste great, but the tomatoes especially make a huge difference here. Same with the cheese.

Superb.

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The law of supply and demand strikes again, this time with truckers for Walmart

It seems to me that the law of supply and demand stops working from time to time. But I think that is wrong, and pieces like this remind me that I am wrong: How Walmart has successfully recruited truck drivers amid a labor shortage crisis.

The reason I think it stops working is because I see wage growth stagnating in many places. But I also see productivity stagnating too, and I think there is a relationship between that. There is some elasticity there that allows wage growth to stagnate but in return productivity growth stagnates too.

In Walmart’s case, the elasticity is gone: if they can’t get truckers, they lose business. It’s simple.  But for businesses without such hard and fast metrics, you might just continue to see slack productivity and slack wage growth.

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A few thoughts on Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning up are very hot now, likely due to her TV show. This hotness sparked a number of discussions about her, such as this: “Tokimeku” Means So Much More Than “Spark Joy” in Japanese | Apartment Therapy. It also sparked other, more extreme discussions, such as how it is racist to not account for the deeper Shinto meaning in her works.

I read her book when it first came out and I admired it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I liked her approach to life and the things we own. I got the Shinto aspect of the book, but I don’t recall that  it was emphasized, so criticizing people of missing that who are unaware of Shintoism is a ridiculous criticism.

There have been shows like Marie Kondo on before. It makes sense. We are driven in North American culture to accumulate, and shows like hers provide us with an antidote to this. When Marie Kondo is forgotten, another home organizer will come along.

I have read more extreme versions of Marie Kondo, like “Goodbye, Things”, which promotes a very minimal life style. I bought it the way I buy other books that have subjects to aspire to but will never achieve. I guess others have too.

There is something to be said for a minimalist lifestyle, a maximalist life style, and something in between. In the end, what counts is that you have positive feelings towards the place you inhabit, however much you have.

One thing Marie Kondo misses is the notion of a room as a workshop. If you have a hobby, be it cooking or woodworking or gardening or reading, you likely have a room where all your tools and supplies are. If you are good at your hobby, you likely have alot of them. That makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of them just because you want to have less things. Have what you need to do the job when you want to. You could still trim back: do you really need 10 cutting boards or 3 screwdrivers that are exactly the same? But otherwise keep the tools you need or may need.

I think Marie Kondo is great because she encourages us to live better with some simple guidelines. Even if you don’t follow them all, you will live better if you consider her message and try to apply it. In the end you’ll have a better home, and you will have a better idea of what you consider a better home.

Image from the NYTimes article on her, here.