Saturday, July 28, 2001
wow! the power of the internet, even this silly little blog . . .already i am hearing from yoga teachers about my dilemma of ashtanga at work! and i want to thank them for writing! and for reading!
i answer everyone's email to me asap, whether you're a yoga teacher or not! so don't hesitate to write! heaven knows, i welcome your input and for those yoga teachers writing, your interest and advice is invaluable to me.
a jivamukti teacher talked to me about this and suggested that i send my eager-beaver colleagues to eddie stern's patanjali yoga shala. i don't know if you've been to that class - -i sure wouldn't dare. but it's said that if you can't keep up and are huffing and puffing, he sends you home. he doesn't want anyone to hurt themselves, and this harsh tactic makes it clear to people that they need to come back only when they are ready and serious -- prepared to devote themselves to ashtanga 6 days a week, ripe to let the core teachings of jois transform their life.
they say they want the first series, the yoga chikitsa! yet they cannot even do supta vajrasana. i don't know how to explain to them that the "real ashtanga" is probably still a bit beyond their "fitness level," or however you'd say that. i don't think i'm not a good candidate for ashtanga, myself. i'm definitely not yet ready for it.
of course i want to encourage everyone's interest in whatever yoga calls to them. but at the same time, i want to offer "real yoga" as much as i can, even if we only do it in the conference room. so it seems like a pickle to me! if you've got a nice piece of advice on this, please -- i need it!
Friday, July 27, 2001
today i took a break from the gita and perused shirley corriher's excellent book cookwise.
you may recognize shirley as the adorable food scientist often seen on alton brown's charming and light-hearted foodtv show, good eats. (part of what's charming is alton's dedicated fan network, best found at good eats fan page.)
i have to recommend this book to you. it explains the chemistry of many common foods and techniques, such as bread and of course, chocolate. she then offers her own recipes that illustrate these scientific principles. i've only read 10 pages in the bread section and already my world's in a spin!
for example, she suggests adding small part of the water in a bread recipe in the form of crushed ice! this is because a lower temperature creates stronger gluten bonds, resulting in lighter, more springy bread. i can't wait for the next cool rainy day -- otherwise it's too hot to bake bread now -- to try this out.
Thursday, July 26, 2001
some of you may remember that we have this little yoga program at my job. . .
and sometimes people ask my help finding a new teacher. our regular wed. teacher has resigned, and several of the people here came to me to ask if the wed. class could be an ashtanga class. naturally i want to help, but i worry that the people may be thinking more the popular power yoga than the real ashtanga.
i do fear they have ideas about ashtanga from less-than-knowledgeable sources, or are interested in it simply because they've heard that's what the supermodels do. and i fear that they might not be in shape for it, and will hurt themselves. because ashtanga is a rigorous & demanding practice.
still, i've contacted one teacher and am actively looking for others. . . will ashtanga yoga come to my workplace? we'll see!
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
already today several people are emailing me with the salon article on the sai baba horror story.
of course, i have nothing to do with him, nor do any of the yoga teachers or yoga studios i know. this kind of behavior is monstrous, and the excesses of self-proclaimed gurus have sadly become associated with indian cultural systems in this country. i know many people shy away from trying the simple exercises and stretches of yoga because they believe something like this evil lurks behind it.
for those concerned, i'd like to offer a link to the renowned and highly respected cardiologist, dr. dean ornish. he's been using yoga for years as part of his healthy heart lifestyle therapy. for those of you who may be interested in trying yoga, please be aware that the sai babas of this world are anomalies, while dr. dean ornish or erich schiffmann is more representative of american yoga today.
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
let's not neglect coffee this week, ok? unlike last. . .
my attention is turning to the wood-roasted espresso created by max orsini in eugene, oregon. like m. cipolla of caffe d'arte, orsini came to the us from italy with antique italian roasting equipment to provide an authentic artisanal roasted coffee.
caffe d'arte uses alderwood; orsini uses maple. i've written here before that both my self and john, the owner of zagat's favorite coffee store 2 for the pot, found the caffe d'arte delicious. i made it in my rancilio silvia, while john made it in his 30-year-old pavoni, the "chrome peacock".
therefore, next on my list: the wood-roasted orsini espresso it took third place this year at the specialty coffee association of america's "world barista competition." i'll order it next week and let you know, post-haste. . .
Monday, July 23, 2001
that chicago deep-dish stuffed spinach pizza is delicious, addictive stuff, isn't it? and yet, it's as light as a feather. mr. right told me this morning he was still thinking about it, which to my mind is the very definition of culinary success.
on a chocolate note: run over to international chocolate's trivia quiz for a little fun on your lunch hour. since it's still too hot to ship chocolate, maybe you could get one of their amusing "carpe chocolatem" mugs for the chocoholic who seems to have everything.
this very hot weather means that i'm living on iced coffee. but i'm wondering if maybe it wouldn't behoove me for a day to switch to iced cocoa. imagine a rich, thick, creamy cocoa smoothie -- made with your favorite cocoa, skim milk, ice, and sugar. maybe even better -- iced mexican ibarra chocolate, for that great cinnamon and almond flavor. . .
the food police will decry, because the cocoa content in ibarra is shamefully low. you can hardly call it chocolate, really. but sometimes it tastes great anyway. . .i'd make the ibarra hot as usual, and then pop it in the blender with plenty of ice. as for their chocolate powder product -- well, i've never tried it, as it's not commonly seen for sale here in brooklyn. maybe i should check out the hispanic stores in the growing mexican section of that brooklyn neighborhood known as sunset park? (official site here.) but its ingredient list doesn't seem promising. . .
Sunday, July 22, 2001
yesterday evening found me sitting on the living room floor surrounded by news- and sandpaper and i strove to take the rust off the 12 in. black steel deep dish pizza pan i acquired for a song at bridge kitchenware. while exchanging the 10 in. one my husband had bought, i had a lovely conversation about chocolate with the owner.
after sanding, scrubbing, and seasoning the pan, i had a cup of iced coffee and plotted my moves for today: the actual spinach filling, assembling, and baking of the chicago pie. while you normally see this made with spinach -- and that's what i'm using today -- actually i find most spinach really nasty bitter stuff. (not everyone has the luxury of rushing up to agata & valentina to get real tuscan spinach flown in from italy, which is a delicate, sweet tasting vegetable; hard to believe it's related to the horrid common stuff we live with.)
in the future, i'd probably make it with swiss chard, which has such a better flavor and is so much easier to deal with. frozen spinach just won't have the right texture for this dish, so we have to wrestle with fresh. or you can use finely chopped broccoli, or a mixture of artichoke hearts and eggplant. but in the end, after you've mixed the veggies with the cheese, you'll need about 4 cups filling. ok, here we go:
2 lbs. fresh spinach, double-washed, finely shredded
5 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
heat the oil in a large pot with a tight lid & saute the garlic in it for a minute so the flavor permeates the oil. then toss in the huge mound of spinach. cook for about 1 min. the spinach will have wilted into a couple of handfuls. drain the spinach well in a colander. you want as little moisture as possible here. let dry.
8-10 oz. fresh mozzarella
2 oz. fresh provolone
mix these into the spinach and flavor with fresh ground black pepper, or crushed spicy red pepper, and salt to taste.
now for the light tomato sauce that goes on the top crust:
1 28 oz can of crushed italian tomatoes
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons red wine
cook the wine and tomatoes together for 15-20 mins. over medium heat to concentrate the flavors and reduce the tomatoes somewhat. add the herbs and cook for another 5 mins. let cool.
now to assemble the pie. preheat the oven to 475 degrees. take one of the pie crust "balls" from yesterday and roll it out as thinly as possible to 14". carefully fit into the seasoned deep-dish pizza pan. the crust should come all the way up the sides. brush this bottom crust lightly with olive oil. roll out the remaining crust ball to 12".
fill the shell with the spinach and mozzarella mixture. it should fill the pan. carefully place the top crust over the pizza and seal the edges tightly. cut a 1 in. slash in the top crust to allow the steam to escape.
back on the bottom rack for 10 mins. then move to the top rack and back another 10. remove from the oven, brush lightly with olive oil, and spread the tomato sauce on top. garnish with 1/3 cup. fresh grated parmesan cheese. return to the top rack of the oven and bake another 15 mins. or until the crust is golden brown.
this should serve 4-6, more like 4, i think in all honesty.