Saturday, May 21, 2011


Pork and pear, love affair

It’s been a week of chilly rain but there won’t be too many more cool nights this Spring. I love the way a bubbling potroast warms my loft and fills it with aromas as rich as the meal itself.  Pears are plentiful at the moment so let’s make one last pork/fruit masterpiece before hot weather drives us to iced tea and salads.

This is a loin, the porkchops not yet cut apart, but a shoulder is less expensive and works just as well. Start some bacon in your heavy bottom pot while you peel and core the pears. They can be very ripe, even bruised a bit and they will work just fine.

Remove the crisp bacon, keep the fat on a high flame, pepper the pork roast well and sear it in the hot bacon fat. Keep turning it until it is brown and crisp on all sides.

Along with four or five pears you’ll need a big, cut up onion, some fresh sage leaves and a good sauerkraut. Save that bacon, too.

Is the roast seared on all sides? Good. Take it out with tongs so you don’t pierce it, and set it aside on a plate.

It’s time to soften the onions.

Add the onions and a good handful of fresh garlic over medium heat and “sweat” the vegetables in the remaining fat, stirring now and then until they release their moisture and you can scrape up all those tasty little bits on the bottom of the pot.

When the onions are soft and gently turning golden on the edges, return the roast and any juice it may have rendered, dump in the pears and add the bacon, too.

Sprinkle the sauerkraut over the whole thing and add the fresh sage. We’re ready to add some stock.

You do have stock in the freezer, don’t you? Almost any kind will do, this was chicken/vegetable. See it melting in the saucepan at the top? Add about a liter to your roast.

Now add about a liter of a good cranberry juice. I like the Langers because it’s sweetened with real sugar instead of corn syrup. That’s why Coke tastes so great in Europe, by the way. Euro food laws are more strict so Coke is sweetened in the EU with real cane sugar.

Top it up with more stock until it’s right to the edge, then cover and bubble slowly for hours. Add more liquid as it cooks down but do not add more cranberry, add stock so it doesn’t get any sweeter.

An hour before serving, throw in a big handful of dried apricots. They’ll get rich and plump and soft after drawing in that delicious liquid.

You can take the lid off for the last 30 minutes or so if you want to reduce the volume a bit and further concentrate the flavors. Pork and fruit just love each other.
The soft, braised fruit takes on the flavors of the meat and sage, deliciously aromatic and so very fine. And you know what else I’m thinking, too.

But soon? The GRILL.

Friday, May 20, 2011

41st Precinct unveils new anti-graffiti initiative

Cardboard cops are next.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

in light of all this rain

Quando para mucho mi amoré de felice cara thon.

Mundo paparazzi mi amore chicka ferdy parasol.

Presto abrigado tanta mucho que canité pare son.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

what goes around, comes

News hounds are no doubt aware of the unfolding drama around Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest on sex assault charges and the court’s denial of bail. It’s a big deal when a global leader is held on Riker’s Island in solitary and on suicide watch for his own protection. Head of the IMF, the worlds most financially powerful man is now no longer permitted laces in his shoes.
“Barbaric!” the French media has erupted. 

“He remains innocent until proven guilty” they remind us, and that’s correct. “It’s an outrage”, they sniff, “that the American’s do not respect his right of innocence and allow him the courtesy of a return to his home country.” 
And to that I offer a name: Roman Polanski
A brilliant motion picture director and French citizen, Polanski was arrested in the United States in 1977 on sex assault charges of a 13 year old American girl. According to her testimony and supporting forensic evidence, Polanski drugged her during a photo shoot to perform “oral, vaginal and anal” sex acts upon her. 
Soon after the grand jury investigation Polanski was indicted on another six counts of criminal behavior including rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. And just like DSK, Polanski also alleged his assault was “consensual.”
He was allowed freedom on bail pending trial during a series of psychiatric exams and court related maneuverings. Roman Polanski agreed to his conviction by pleading guilty to lessor charges but while awaiting formal sentencing he fled the United States, taking up refuge in his native France. 
U.S. officials were outraged and petitioned for his extradition but to America’s astonishment, the French denied that request and gave permanent sanctuary to a man who had pleaded guilty to drugging a child for sex. That was in February 1978. More than 33 years later and Polanski remains a free man, protected by the French government.
Strauss-Kahn remains innocent until his trial determines verdict, but our history with France indicates prudence in his detention. The French have no one to blame but themselves.

needs engine work

4-Sale motorcycle fixer-upper, black with chrome and red accents, tail-lights, spoke wheels, drum brakes, instrumentation, good tires, needs engine work.

under the 3rdAveBridge
I’m guessing a 1972 Yamaha rd350

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

turn it up

Side One, cut one: Funk #49, July 1970

The James Gang, lead guitar and vocal by Joe Walsh


One thing can be said about our digital revolution, it sure has diminished the classic record industry. 

Once there were gatekeepers with radio for promotion and a physical product they could control. Today any kid with a laptop and a YouTube account has a chance at international stardom. Fantastic.

And if quality is a percentage of sheer quantity, then more music being made should expand quality in proportion, shouldn’t it?
But is that what’s really happening?

The bottom-up pyramid of the old recording industry acted like a quality filter. You had to get through to be heard. Artist & Repertoire execs known for their “ears” would go out searching the clubs each night for new talent to enter at the bottom. By the time we liked a band on the radio they had been polished to a professional gleam and the world, by and large, made a purchase which refunded A&R.
Today with no filter, good and bad is all mixed together for free on the internet and has an equal chance of breaking out. No more hierarchy and that seems a good thing.

But with so much mediocrity now being equally accessed, our ears are becoming less critical and I think that’s beginning to reflect in popular work.

Consider Arcade Fire, a good band and arguably the very best of the year. They were 2011’s Grammy Award winner for Album of the Year, also the 2011 BRIT for Best International Album and the 2011 JUNO for Album of the Year. “The Suburbs” is a good record, no question. I’ve listened to it to death.

But would it compare in the 1970’s? I wonder.

Or consider a more modest achievement. 

As of May 17, 2011, Rebecca Black has amassed almost 142 million YOUTube views and hit #9 on the Billboard Social 50 chart and #6 on the UK Indie chart with her smash viral hit, “Friday”.

When baby-boomers were Rebecca Black’s age, songs like “Hey Jude” (Beatles) “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding) “Born to be Wild” (Steppenwolf), “Scarborough Fair” (Simon & Garfunkel) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (Rolling Stones) were on the Billboard chart all in the same year.

I mean no disrespect but I just don’t think Miss Black is in the same league despite having the modern day numbers to evidence she is.
So I’m beginning to think we’re trading purchased, industry-filtered quality away to gain free access to limitless quantity, with overall quality in accordable decline. What do YOU think? I’m interested.
“Hey Jude” is still around and will likely continue. Where will “The Suburbs” and Miss Black’s “Friday” be in 40 years?

trademarks reproduced without permission

Monday, May 16, 2011


See the big white fender in the lower right of the photo above?
It was ripped from this white truck just minutes ago... high speed by a vehicle driven by someone in this ambulance.

The collision was so powerful the 125 year old floor beneath me jumped at the moment of impact. I felt it as I heard it.

I ran to the window and watched this scene gather in about six minutes. Good response time. 

I hope everyone is okay.