Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Days

Well, it was blustery today with a mix of clouds and sun, but other than that we are having a sparkling, crisp autumn (sounds like a description of white wine). I am on a two-day headache, possibly thanks to the new vanilla candles in the living room...or the weather change, I haven't figured out which yet.

Speaking of wine, roomie and I finished a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon last night along with our dinner. No, we don't eat together every day. Maybe once a week at the most, but this was the first home cooked meal of the season: chicken breast tenderized in buttermilk for an hour, coated with flour and egg and topped with ground pistachio and cumin; farmer's market fresh French beans sauteed in butter and salt; finally, garlic couscous (the only thing I managed to do while I waited for the Advil to ease the headache).

And...this morning before going to work this afternoon, roomie made buttermilk pancakes.
All of which only highlight the fact that I need to get back into cooking!!! I did make a few nice salads to share in the summer, but that was really it. I haven't done anything notable in over a year since my mother started living with me, taking over the kitchen domain while I went to work. My landlord in St John's Wood used to call me a foodie. Ah, the days when I used to cook for myself - and shop at Waitrose ;)

But - there is all manner of wonderful fresh markets and gourmet shops in Brooklyn, so I have no excuse!


Heritage Ships docked at Pier 17


I know you're not seeing all the new US series over in the UK, but here is my favorite viewing list this year:

Faves from previous seasons:

Pushing Daisies - I enjoy the witty dialogue and the Amelie-style narrative, as well as the vivid fairytale settings and the general air of innocence that pervades the show. However, Chuck needs to stop wearing trousers and get back into those sweet dresses. And Ned is adorable.

Ugly Betty - I am now attached to the characters and their stories, but if I hadn't watched it from day one, I probably wouldn't get into it now. Have just surprised myself by admitting this, but it has indeed lost some of its sparkle.

House - performing forensic research on living medical mysteries always holds my attention. Hugh Laurie is so good that the grumpy Dr House has completely dissociated him from the bumbling Bertie Wooster I used to love.

Criminal Minds - performing psychological forensics on current criminal cases always holds my attention. I also enjoy watching the team's camaraderie and hearing the high-minded quotes before and after each show.

Grey's Anatomy - once again, I am attached to the characters, their stories, their relationships, and can honestly say that if I hadn't watched it from day one I probably would still get into it. I envy some of their camaraderie too.

Family Guy - Stewie and Brian make me laugh :)

Popular shows I am now getting into:

Desperate Housewives - excellent dialogue, though I haven't figured everyone's story out yet. Also, the houses and the street are sooooooooo pretty!

New Hits:

Fringe - oh my gosh! Since X-Files reruns now feel dated and I miss Mulder and Scully, I needed something to fill the X-Files-shaped void in my soul ;) Absolutely riveting, it keeps me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath. Agent Olivia Dunham (nice name) is so real and natural, she has none of the "I'm too sexy for my face" vibe that oozes painfully from the women on, say, CSI - Dunham's perplexity over the mystery she is constantly surrounded by balances well with how her abilities as an investigator continually shine through. (Sort of like writing a research paper on a topic you don't understand, and getting an A for it...) And we ALL want her to fall in love with Peter Bishop (and no, I did not watch Dawson's Creek so am not biased). Oh, and Dr Bishop's lines are PRICELESS. I love that poor old brainiac.

True Blood - enjoying the southern setting (two kids in Dallas once thought my chicken, Silky, was actually called Sookie). The characters are quickly appealling so I watch to see how they develop. Plus, Bill Compton is hot and brooding, and yes, the actor is yet another British import to American TV.

The Ex List - I don't like the protagonist because I don't like her face and to me she is still th e deplorable Rebecca who went bonkers in Grey's last month while pretending to carry Karev's child. But I am watching it to see the ex in each episode, what they were like before, what they are now, and how utterly hunky they are. This is set in the sun-drenched surfing city of San Diego, you see.

Eleventh Hour - Rufus Sewell makes good on this side of the Atlantic, I hope. His character is so brainy and absent minded, and his voice is very calming. I saw the British original with Patrick Stewart (who, if not in Shakespeare belongs only on the bridge of the USS Enterprise). His police companion (Christine from Ugly Betty) has no protective skills whatsoever - until she introduced herself as such, I thought she was just some blonde woman who hung around behind him screaming every time someone threatened her! On the other hand, Sewell's FBI bodyguard goes over the top waving her gun around - yet, this show's characters are more clearly developed/defined.

Life on Mars (US) - I did see the UK version and it was well done. The US version is even better. I love the 70s music, and Tyler's frustration with the "old ways" is palpable. Every time he throws up his hands or rolls his eyes, I want to giggle. Plus, he's pretty fit. I like how Annie is not just the token female auxiliary officer who believes his story but here she holds a Psych degree from Fordham and today would have made an excellent partner for Tyler. I like that he tries to highlight how relevant her education is to their cases, to the disdain of the chauvinistic guidos in Homicide.


Even though I sound like a TV Guide review, I do still watch programming on Discovery, TLC, Science Channel, etc. For instance, on Sunday I watched a good one listing the Top Ten Warplanes. What do you think was on the list? Guess which was number one?


Selba said...

Grey's anatomy, House and Criminal minds are also my favourite tv shows.

I don't watch Ugly Betty anymore these days (only the first season). Then, I've been hooked back with Desperate Housewives :)

The new version of BH 90210 will be playing next month, I wonder whether it can be as good as the old one.

meimei said...

I have to say I am into True Blood right now and Ugly Betty

Anonymous said...

Goodness! It's amazing you have time to cook with all the TV to keep up with ;-) Well, it's nice to have at least one person in the household who likes to cook. Yes, I wished you'd photographed that lovely chicken dinner as well!

The Moody Minstrel said...

(Shakes head and sighs...)

I won't even bother talking about Japanese TV...

Um Naief said...

war planes?? oh gosh, i'd never know that one. i'm sure something american or no?

most of these new series i haven't seen, but would love to. i really loved the x-files as well. it was a true favorite and probably always will be... but you know, now that david ducouvney (sp?) went into rehab for sex addiction and it has been discovered that he is having an affair w/ his 20 yr younger tennis instruction on his wife, tia, well... my mind has changed on him. funny how stuff like this will sour me on an actor... not sure if anyone else gets like this, but i do! :)

the chicken sounds sooo good. i will definitely have to try this. did you put the nuts all over it, roll it in it or just top it off? the bottle of wine w/ dinner sounds good. it's nice to sit down and enjoy dinner w/ friends and relax.

Olivia said...

Selba - glad you like some of the same shows.

I saw a little bit of BH 90210 back in the 90s, but it wasn't something that captured me, so I'm not getting into it now. I watched WAY too much PBS, which aired programs like National Geographic documentaries and BBC historical dramas.

Olivia said...

Mich - which one of the two do you prefer? Do you think Ugly Betty has slipped a little?


Nikki - we have TIVO :)
And I do feel slightly scolded... :o

Another reason I am not cooking much is I don't like her pots - they're shiny inside and I want to make cheesy sauces which might stick to the bottom...plus there's nowhere for me to put my own if I do get them...I will think about this some more though.


Minstrel - dire, is it? Oh dear.


Um Naief - you're brave to consider a guess, and you are right about it being American. I think we all know who could properly answer this question...

I heard about David Duchovny's sex addiction. It's too bad he cheated on his wife Tea. Isn't it ironic that he stars in Californication (a show I don't like) as a modern day casanova? I wonder if that's what triggered it, because formerly we never heard news about them, and when you don't hear about a Hollywood star it means they're more normal than the others.

About the chicken - the nuts were rolled on top. As a side note, I never thought buttermilk was so effective. It made the pancakes fluffy too.

Flighty said...

If it's the list I think it is then it's something silly such as a UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle) and the stealth bomber at number two! xx

Olivia said...

Flighty - oops, I should have added "Of All Time".

So I thought the stealth would be number one also. The UCAV wasn't on the list, it's not a warplane.

Number one was the P-51 Mustang :) which pleased me because as the countdown continued and I'd stopped shouting "P-51!" at the TV I gave up... :P

Twas a respectable list, including the MiG 15, the Harrier, the F-15, the Sopwith Camel, Spitfire, the Fokker on which the propeller turns on the axis, the Messerschmidt 262, F-4 Phantom (no. 2), ummmmmmm....none of the latest generation since they're as yet unproven in comparison. They're rated on fear factor, innovation, speed, kill rate, and production length.

Flighty said...

There is one that has the UCAV top of the list! They're always very variable as over here the Spitfire would probably be top. However I have to say that it's not surprising that it was the Mustang, which is is a superb aeroplane. The others you mention all usually feature as top warplanes. xx

Anonymous said...

'Twasn't intended to be a scold - just an observation. Perhaps it's because I leave the house at 6:45 and come home nearly 12 hours later that evenings seem much too short to keep up with that amount of TV watching. But maybe you can survive on much less sleep!

Olivia said...

Hey Flighty - Discussion on the Military Channel program on this page.


Nikki - sometimes, but honestly most of the catching up is done on weekends when we can stay up. Roomie is a night owl too.

by Glo said...

Hi Liv ~ hope the headache's gone ~ I know scented candles can affect people...and red wine, and even pistachio nuts!

Interesting to read your take on the TV shows ~ perhaps you'll be working in a criminal forensic place next??

Buttermilk makes a huge difference to pancakes, doesn't it! I was surprised myself! Apparently, buttermilk powder exists so that you don't have to keep buying buttermilk, but I haven't found any in our shops.

When did you say you were heading to Ontario??

Guyana-Gyal said...

Big gusty sigh, I looooove tv...but tv here is crap, no proper schedule...now and then I catch Desperate Housewives, if I'm lucky. Oh, we do get House, grumpy Dr. H. is hilarious but when they start talking medical things I change the channel.

Haha, even your landlord back in England knows about your foodie ways :-D

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oh, the BIG thing here are the Indian tv dramas, no, not Bollywood, the soaps, my oh my. I'm hooked too.

Palm Springs Savant said...

OK, I'm FINALLY catching up again and reading through everything. I've been so swamped since I returned from Europe that I've not had time to enjoy the Blogosphere. Thanks for your patience while I've been invisible of late...

ps- pancakes? how delish

The Moody Minstrel said...

As big an aviation buff as I've been since my school days, I'm surprised I haven't commented on the list yet.

Did they say anything about that military exercise not so long ago in which American F-15s competed against Indian Su-27 Flankers and got their butts handed to them? It turned out that the Russian-designed planes had these really cool, helmet-mounted fire-control systems that allowed them to lock on their missiles even if the target plane wasn't in the forward arc. In other words, the Flankers didn't even have to outfly the F-15s (which they were actually quite capable of doing...they're nasty planes!) to paint and plaster them. The USAF collectively browned their drawers, and the Pentagon immediately started tearing its hair trying to equip itself with something similar.

Yes, those amazing Russians can be full of surprises. But so can we when we really want to.

Olivia said...

No, this list was compiled back in 2005 - but it would be interesting to see a documentary about that exercise!

If the Pentagon is working on a solution, then stand by for more UFO sightings over the desert!

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'm not sure when the exercise in question happened, but it was definitely before 2005.

Actually, I've heard that the U.S. is now deploying helmet-mounted fire-control systems similar to the Russian-designed ones. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornets started getting them last year, as did the F-15E. I'm sure other types are getting them, too. The new F-22 and F-35 certainly have them!

Jo said...

So, about TV: I've been kinda ill lately, so I've been in front of the tube a lot. I watched a True Blood marathon on Halloween. It was awesome! Can't wait to see more!

Totally agree with you on Fringe. I'm addicted.

Pushing Daisies is awesome, too. Love all of the cute, whimsical details. And the color is fantastic.

Life on Mars is OK, but I don't think it's going to be a regular watch for me.

Now, go to the market and make some good food! :D