Weekend Cooking

The weekend was a parade of rain clouds and sometimes just clouds.  Maybe that was why it was hard to do anything that required too much fussing, as well as fussing over.  

About every six to eight days, I need to make our dog, Miette, a batch of homemade meatballs. It started when she was about 5 months old and discovering she had a bit of a sensitive stomach.  We started to keep her meals to dry food supplemented with meatballs of ground chicken, brown rice, sweet potato and occasionally chopped spinach to keep her regular. It has been working so I whip up a batch almost every week.

Miette’s Meatballs

A hearty and comforting lunch of chili was up next. Over the years, I have tried a bunch of recipes, from regional ones like Cincinnati chili, to trying different peppers like chipotle but I think I like the straight-up ground beef chili with green peppers, beans and the usual suspect spice list like chili powder and cumin the best. Maybe it’s because I like the toppings of chopped red onion, sharp cheddar cheese and the occasional dollop of sour cream, so having the chili be flavorful but overly powerful is ideal.

Two-Bean Chili with Ground Beef and Peppers

Cookies were calling our name and the original plan was to make oatmeal raisin. I busily browsed for thin crispy but slightly chewy versions. On Serious Eats, I saw a recipe mimicking Tates cookies which I thought would be worth trying. I started measuring out ingredients and was actually more than halfway through before I realized this recipe was actually for chocolate chip cookies (bad tagging it seems).  So I rolled with it as I had some Valrohna chocolate chips in the pantry. The recipe called for using cane sugar and using a food processor to mix chopped cold butter chunks into the flour mixture, which is different from room temperature butter sticks and creaming it with sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Like I said, I was not up to fussing too much so using  a spoon (versus an ice cream scoop) and putting one row too many on a sheet, resulted in a batch of ‘rustic/artisan’ cookies.  They were indeed chewy and a little crisp around the edges. Glad I made only half a batch which still yielded almost two dozen cookies.  They tasted very similar to Toll House cookies but maybe more flat.

Now despite using butter and eggs in this recipe, I had actually been trying to minimize dairy use as allergy season gets going. I made some almond milk to put in coffee.

Almond Milk

Using leftovers from chorizo patatas and roast broccoli, I decided to make empanadas.  I searched high and low for a dough recipe that would not yield a tough exterior. I also did not want to use puff pastry.  I found a recipe with rave reviews with words like ‘flaky’, ‘ best,’ and ‘delicious.’ It called for vinegar which I found interesting and a few reviewers who had tried several empanada dough recipes called this specific ingredient out as being the game-changer.  

Chorizo-Potato and Broccoli Cheese Empanadas

I only had biscuit cutter rings which were too small so just hand-rolled out the dough and used fork tines to crimp them closed.  I also used an egg wash (some recipes called for melted butter but I worried that it would burn).

The results was a dozen of haphazardly shaped empanadas that were a tad too dry. The dough was not flaky but relatively tender.  I made up a mustard dipping sauce as well as a BBQ sauce to have something to moisten the empanadas. My husband pointed out that most of the empanadas he has had were dry so my batch fell in line with his expectations.  I was a bit bummed out as it was a lot of work, and that maybe just eating the leftovers would have been tastier than making them into fillings and making empanada dough. Lesson learned. Empanadas are not my thing.

Project Feels

Food & Dining section.


Brussels poised to probe Apple over Spotify’s fees complaint [ft] The EU will launch a formal antitrust investigation into Apple in the next few weeks after Spotify accused the iPhone maker of “tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors”.

Music Superstars Are the New One Percenters [wsj] Sixty percent of all concert-ticket revenue world-wide went to the top 1% of performers ranked by revenue in 2017;   The average ticket price in the U.S. jumped from $12 in 1981 to $69 in 2017. Three tours alone — Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce with Jay-Z — hauled in around $1 billion in concert-ticket revenue in 2018..

Publicis big bet on data critical, says Lévy [ft] Maurice Lévy, the chairman of the supervisory board and former longtime chief of Publicis, defended the company’s recent $4.4bn purchase of Epsilon, arguing that the advertising industry was undergoing a “metamorphosis” that required big bets.

How ethical is it for advertisers to target your mood? [theguradian] Last year the New York Times launched something called Project Feels, a departure for a media brand that prides itself on its emotional detachment, where the ads you are shown correspond to the emotion you feel (I clearly missed this NYT announcement on Halloween about this)

Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Selling Customers’ Location Data [motherboard] The complaints against T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint are largely identical, and all also mention how each carrier ultimately provided data to a company called Securus, which allowed low level law enforcement to locate phones without a warrant, as The New York Times first reported in 2018. The complaint against Verizon focuses just on the Securus case. However, Motherboard previously reported how Verizon sold data that ended up in the hands of another company, called Captira, which then sold it to the bail bondsman industry.

We are all just cam girls for the surveillance state [twitter]


A Modest Proposal: Break the Art Fair [vulture] except maybe for Art Basel Miami Beach, which many hope will eventually be supplanted by something, anything. (Almost every gallerist I spoke voiced animus for Art Basel Miami Beach, one calling it “the seventh circle of hell.”) But all this is triumph-of-the-system talk. I conclude that since the system now benefits those at the top so well, let them pay for it!

Garry Winogrand and Jeff Wall: Photography in Two Phases [newyorker] Ravishing shows, at the Brooklyn Museum and the Gagosian Gallery, contrast a master of spontaneous street photography with one of plotted theatricality.

Lee Friedlander’s Intimate Portraits of His Wife, Through Sixty Years of Marriage [newyorker] The pictures are an odd fit in Friedlander’s oeuvre. Elsewhere, his style is cool, winking, gamesman-like. His pictures of Maria, by contrast, thrum with gentle affection. Despite Friedlander’s photographic compulsion, there is no hint of obsession here, as there is, for instance, in the pictures of his Japanese contemporary Masahisa Fukase, whose wife, Yoko, left him, in part, in an effort to escape his camera’s gaze.