Art + beer + speed = adult soap box derby

by Steve, August 22nd, 2009

Got a little tired of hipsters with bullhorns and cans of beer yelling “Clear the track! Get off the track!” but otherwise had a fine time.
fun times
Lego racer vs. ?
See the full set.

The summer feast continues

by Steve, August 17th, 2009

Chioggia beets with caramelized onions and garlic and pan-seared green beans an zucchini with crisp basil, Parmesan and lemon zest

Summer feast continuesI love beets. Despite this love, and despite having been a produce guy for 10 years, I never tried Chioggia beets until I grew them in my garden this year. They are an Italian heirloom variety, milder than your average beet, and they don’t stain. The first batch I harvested, I roasted to bring out their sweetness, but tonight I wanted to steam them to appreciate their unadulterated complexity.

I also harvested the first big batch of green beans tonight, and some baby zucchinis, and the basil’s still kicking of course, so I whipped this up for dinner tonight.


  • 5 medium-small Chioggia beets, peeled and sliced
  • 1 fistful of green beans with the ends cut off
  • 2 baby zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • zest from 1/4 lemon
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • a couple sprinkles freshly grated Parmesan or other dry cheese
  • several leaves fresh basil, sliced length-wise, plus sprigs for garnish
  • olive oil
  • steamed rice
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil over medium-high flame in a cast-iron skillet. (Use more olive oil than you think you’ll need; this will not only cook the onions, garlic, beans and zucchini, it will dress the beets and rice.) Caramelize onions. While onions are caramelizing, steam beats.

Once onions are starting to brown, add green beans, thinly-sliced zucchini, and thinly-sliced garlic; sear well. Add salt and pepper and lemon juice. Add a little olive oil if it doesn’t look like enough.

Arrange beets on a bed of rice, top with skillet mixture, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Garnish with a sprig of basil. Enjoy wth a glass of Pinot Griggio and your super-hero spouse (serves 2).

The front fell off

by Steve, August 17th, 2009

From my flickr friend OneEighteen, who drives ships in and out of the Port of Houston for a living.

Separated at birth?

by Steve, August 12th, 2009


My coworker has me on a Bollywood crash course. Evidently, you don’t know Bollywood if you don’t know the classic 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam (The Emperor of the Mughals). This film has everything: love, war, music and dance. It was shot (mostly) in black and white, with critical scenes in Technicolor, then re-released in 2004 fully colorized.

When I watch “foreign” (i.e. non-U.S.) films, sometimes the actors start to seem familiar in strange ways. It took me a while to figure out that Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor) reminded me — a lot — of Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen). Turns out they were born within a year of each other.

Then I start to think the Anarkali (the beautiful Madhubala) looks a lot like Cher (Madhubala was about ten years older than Cher).


By the time I get to the end of the film, I’m sure I’ll find a match for Salim.

A midsummer night’s feast

by Steve, August 9th, 2009

squashTonight’s garden feast: capellini with garden fresh pesto, rustic whole wheat bread, and rice salad with fresh green beans, zucchini, basil, and jalepeño. I haven’t made pesto for years, but it’s not hard to remember.


  • fresh basil
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • some kind of dry, grated cheese (Parmesan works great)
  • pine nuts
  • salt to taste

(You could use some other kind of nuts — walnuts, almonds — but then don’t call it pesto.) We’ve got some old food processor I never use, but it’s perfect for this. Go cut a bunch of basil. I used the equivalent of about four bunches at the store. Rinse the bugs and dust off them, the strip all the leaves (and the tender buds) into the food processor. Add several cloves of garlic, a couple glugs of olive oil and some grated cheese. Puree the heck out it and set it aside in the fridge. Toss with hot pasta later.

Rice Salad with Green Beans

This is a variation on something I used to do with cilantro, but I’m not growing any cilantro this year. I added garbanzo beans to make a complete protein. Make a bunch; keeps well in fridge for several days.

  • a pot of cooked rice, cooled
  • cooked garbanzos, cooled, thawed or from a can, drained (I used one can)
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 small jalepeño, minced
  • 1/4 sweet onion, minced
  • a couple fistfuls green beans, par-boiled
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • a small handful fresh basil, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prep beans like you’re going to freeze them: submerge in boiling water one or two minutes, then transfer to ice bath. While beans cool, mix rice, beans, a glug or two of olive oil and a fair amount of lemon juice. Add minced jalepeño, onion, basil, grated zuchinni, salt an pepper. Lemon zest would be great if you’re using fresh lemons. Add the beans, stir well, and set aside in the fridge to marry flavors.

My life according to Thelonious Monk

by Steve, August 6th, 2009

Via Annaliese, who did hers according to David Bowie (on Facebook). Instructions: “Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as ‘my life according to (band name)'” (I’m not doing the 15 people thing; do it if you want!)

Pick your Artist:

Thelonious Monk

Are you a male or female:

Lover Man

Describe yourself:


How do you feel:

Off Minor

Describe where you currently live:

Brilliant Corners

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

San Francisco Holiday

Your favorite form of transportation:


Your best friend is:

Just a Gigolo

You and your best friends are:


What’s the weather like:

April in Paris

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:

I Should Care

What is life to you:

Who Knows?

Your relationship:

Sweet and Lovely

Your fear:

Hackensack or Suburban Eyes

What is the best advice you have to give:


Thought for the Day:

Nice Work If You Can Get it

How I would like to die:

Meet me Tonight in Dreamland

My soul’s present condition:

In Orbit

My motto:

Straight, no Chaser

Oregon Coast Aquarium — don’t trust the shark divers

by Steve, August 2nd, 2009

keeping coolWe spent a couple days at the Oregon coast (highs of 60-65) after several days of 100+ in Portland with lows around 75. It’s still hot in Portland. We paid a visit (and a whole lot of simoleons) to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Maybe they’ll use some of that dough to send their shark divers to shark school.
around and around and around

In the window where you used to be able to watch not-Free Willy swim by, divers float amongst sharks and talk about them. They even take questions from the audience.

A kid asked, “What’s the biggest shark,” and the diver hemmed and hawed for a while before saying “Great White.”
In the shark tank, Oregon coast Aquarium

The MC in the auditorium asked the diver, “What about the Whale Shark?” The diver said “I don’t know if that’s a whale or a shark.”

At this point, 7-year-old Jr., who knows pretty much everything there is to know about sharks, walked out. (Jr.: The Whale shark is, in fact, the largest living shark.)

The diver went on to say he was pretty sure whale sharks are vegetarians (Jr.: they’re not, though they feed mainly on tiny phyto- and zooplankton).

If you go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, my kid is available for consultations.