The Altadena Urban Farmer's Market

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by Jeanne Kelley

ImageLast weekend, I ventured up to the Altadena Urban Farmers’ Market at the Zane Grey Estate. There, all sorts turned out on the glorious, sunny JanuarySunday. Men and ladies with long grey hair, red-lentil eating bralesschicks, beautiful couples in crumpled clothes with feral angel babiesin tow and Pasadena ladies in crisp, cropped pants all ambled about thefading estate.

Curious to see the property, eager to pet one of the resident goats and hopingto find some amazing back-yard yuzu and artisan goat cheese, Martin andI signed the legal release at the entrance and perused the booths setup all over the lawn and asphalt driveway. For sale were leather belts,fabric bags, handmade soaps, honey, prepared foods, jams galore,multiple varieties of granola, home-baked breads and many kinds ofbaked goods. I didn’t get near any of the baked items. I didn’t want toget too close and have that awkward moment when I decline to purchasethe proffered sweet. I got the distinct impression that the cookiesetc. were vegan, and while I’ll eat vegan vegetable and grain disheshappily any day, I see butter and eggs as necessary additives tocookies.

I've Been Sheened

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by Carolyn Foster Segal

ImageThe “Sunday Styles” Section of The New York Times recently ran a front page story on the evolution of the noun Charlie Sheen into a verb, as in sheened and sheening, meaning, among other things, partying or making bad decisions (Laura M. Holson, “When Your Life Becomes a Verb,” March 6, 2011). Apparently the first cited/sited reference appeared in Urban Dictionary, and more recently posters on Twitter have offered their definitions.

In the meantime, we’ve all been sheened: to be exposed to far too many stories and interviews involving Sheen. A dangerous side effect of this phenomenon may be an uncontrollable desire to turn all names into verbs, as in

To franco is to multitask, then fall asleep in all the wrong places, like classrooms and award-show stages.

To juliachild is to whip up a French dinner for 8, while laughing.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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by Joseph Erdos

ImageI love pasta and seafood together, especially shrimp and pasta. This dish is dressed fra diavolo, like a devilish friar. Supposedly named after a Neapolitan guerrilla fighter, this recipe is a rathertraditional take on the southern Italian specialty. A little heat withpeperoncino (red pepper flakes) along with the red color of the tomatosauce give the meal a hellish flair. Pair with wine and no one canresist.

Make sure you start cooking the linguine in time so thatit is ready to go once the sauce has finished cooking. You don't needto drain or rinse the pasta. Simply use tongs to transfer the cookedlinguine directly to the sauce, which will better adhere to the starchypasta.

Blood, Bones, and Mildred Pierce

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by Carolyn Foster Segal

bloodbonescover.jpgI’ve been simultaneously watching the HBO version of Mildred Pierce, directed and co-written by Todd Haynes, and reading Gabrielle Hamilton’s culinary memoir, "Blood, Bones & Butter", which probably isn’t a fair (food) fight. Hamilton’s prose is as “luminous” (her word) as the parties she describes, even when she takes on the blood, bones, and hard knocks that brought her to where she is today: chef/owner of the Manhattan restaurant Prune.

mildred11.jpgMildred Pierce (Kate Winslet) has her own restaurant, too. It’s called Mildred’s, and the menu consists of fried chicken, biscuits and a side of waffles or vegetables. There’s also pie, lots of it, and once Prohibition ends, as it did in Part III, there’s plenty of hard liquor as well, to wash down all that pie. Monte, Mildred’s playboy lover, calls the restaurant the pie wagon—just one example of his disdain for Mildred. Audiences may not mind, however, that Monte is a loathsome cad; after all, he’s played by Guy Pearce, a luminous presence here. The only other luminous presence in Part 3, besides Pearce’s Monte, was the dress Mildred wore to break up with him—it shimmered the way Joan Crawford’s anger and obsession shimmered in the 1945 film version directed by Michael Curtiz.

I Am Pro-Tina Fey's "Bossypants"

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by E.A. Hanks

tina-fey-bossypants.jpgThere’s a certain sort of woman for whom Tina Fey is their spirit animal. In the words of Jack Donaghy of “30 Rock,”: “New York. Third wave feminist. College educated. Single and pretending to be happy about it. Over-scheduled, under-sexed. You buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover. And… Every two years you take up knitting for… a week.” Of course this is Alec Baldwin describing Liz Lemon, Tina Fey’s television alter-ego, but it could describe any number of women (that I know).

To say “Bossypants,” the new memoir out now from Little, Brown, by the former head writer of SNL and creator of the criminally under-watched “30 Rock” is funny seems like a given – you don’t become the top writer at the most renowned institution of American comedy by being merely chuckle-worthy. But it is surprising to find Fey funny when she’s talking about her hopes for her daughter, (“O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers, and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed,”) and what she describes as when her “face was slashed.” (“My whole life, people who ask about my scar within one week of knowing me have invariably turned out be egomaniacs of average intelligence or less. And egomaniacs of average intelligence or less often end up in the field of TV journalism.”)


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darya painting sm
In Persian, Darya means sea
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I wish my comfort food was as simple as mac and cheese or ice cream with chocolate sauce and gobs of whipped cream.  But I grew up with a...