Consumption Assumption

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by Lynne Rosenberg

no-alcohol.jpgNo one ever assumes you eat Brussels sprouts. No one brings you to their living room, presents two plates of Brussels sprouts, and sits grinning, waiting for you to go to town. No one orders a round of Brussels sprouts for the table. No one asks you out with, “let’s get Brussels sprouts.” And no one nods knowingly when you’re a shambles Sunday morning from Brussels sprouts gas.

Now, it happens, I do, in fact, love Brussels sprouts. It also happens that I do not drink alcohol. And yet, everyone I meet makes the assumption that I do, until told otherwise. Drinker until proven abstinent. This bothers me.

I quit drinking in April 2009, because I didn’t like how entwined my dating and drinking lives had become. I decided the only way to fully render them apart would be to quit drinking completely, until I found myself in a relationship, procured sans-drink, at which point I would re-evaluate.

The bad news is I’m still waiting on that relationship.

Summer: A Preview

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by Ann Nichols

summerveg.jpgSummer is my least favorite season. I am a ghostly pale person, I sweat easily, and I do not garden successfully. I am allergic to chlorine and can’t spend days by the pool without breaking out in hives, and I am not generally given to hiking, camping, kayaking or doing any of those other things that involve being outside, sweating, and getting burned. I complain a lot about the heat, which may explain why I often find myself alone in my air conditioned house drinking iced tea and reading.

Today, though, today it was 80 degrees after an interminable and bitterly cold winter. Stepping outside tentatively in my cotton skirt and flip flops, I was overwhelmed by sense memories, good ones, the kind that made me sit down on the peeling porch steps and savor them. As the hair at the back of my neck coiled inexorably into ringlets, and the warm air extended its seductive fingers to touch parts of me that have not been unwrapped in public for five months, it seemed that maybe I didn’t hate summer any more.

I remembered all of the Only Summer things, the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning, bags full of vegetable love in the form of tiny Patty Pan squash, gritty zucchini, scallions with shining white bulbs, garlic scapes, baby eggplants, tiny and fiery Hmong peppers, and the tomatoes, oh Lord the tomatoes in their juicy, flashy glory.

A Pizza of Another Kind

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by Sue Doeden

arugula_pizza_009.jpgI grew up eating my fair share of great Chicago pizza. My family made the drive from St. Paul to Chicago a few times each year to visit all the relatives living there. Laden with spicy Italian sausage and creamy cheese that stretched in long strings as I pulled the slice away from my mouth, I thought Chicago pizza was the best food in the world.

With that in mind, I feel a little silly calling this concoction of mine a pizza. It’s nothing like the Chicago pizza I grew up on. But it is on a flat piece of dough with several ingredients piled on top along with mozzarella cheese.

Arugula on my pizza was only a thought after I’d prepared an Arugula Salad for this week’s newspaper column. I had a small amount of the green ingredients left from the salad — arugula, spinach and tiny fresh green peas. Along with a few other little odds and ends from my refrigerator, I decided to create a pizza.

Eat Like You're Dying

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by Libby Segal

endworld.jpgIt’s officially less than one week until a global earthquake causes the entire world to shatter into pieces. I thought we had another year and a half, but subway signs—and sign holders have informed me that the true end of the world is not in December of 2012, but is creeping up on us quickly. According to subway posters and people raising awareness outside of City Hall earlier this week, the end of the world is really May 21, 2011! So now it’s time to grab your parachute and your bungee chords and try something you’ve never done before! Or, in my case, eat all types of food that I’d like to smother my taste buds with before this global earthquake officially hits. Because while some people like to live like they will be dying—I’d much rather eat like I am dying.

So let’s say this hypothetical earthquake does hit. What’s on the final week’s menu? In any ordinary situation where life didn’t have an expiration date shorter than the one printed on my recently purchased gallon of skim milk, I would be exchanging out my sweets and diving into a vegetables, taking out the juices and drowning myself in water – but this week—this hypothetical last week of life – no way.

Pan-Seared Tilefish with Sautéed Provencal Vegetables

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by Joseph Erdos

provencalfish.jpgOne of the best techniques for cooking firm white-fleshed fish is pan-searing. Cooked for exactly the right amount of time, searing locks in moisture and flavor. As the flesh turns opaque and starts to flake, it is complete. Tilefish is a wonderful fish for searing since it's extra-lean. But it doesn't fall apart like some other white fish, and stays exceptionally moist with a mild flavor. But what an unusual name for a fish? I guess it's their vivid blue-green iridescence and gold spots that make them look like painted tile.

For a complementary side that doesn't overpower the subtly flavored tilefish, I chose to prepare a combination of vegetables with the flavors of Provençe. Sweet onion, fennel, red pepper, and tomatoes along with briny capers are all combined to form a saucy accompaniment.



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