Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Recipe: Beef Brisket Fit for Your Bubbe

I'm not a steak eater. I'm not that much of a meat eater, really. I like it, but it's hardly my favorite thing and when I crave beef, it's usually a good burger I'm after. But every year at Passover, Geargirl makes beef brisket or, as I think of it, Jewish pot roast. And I love it, even though I usually only eat it once, maybe twice a year. With the sudden dead of winter like conditions, brisket seemed like the perfect meal today.

Warning -- this recipe is very, very easy, but it is better if you can cook it one day, refrigerate it and then heat it and serve it the next day. Give yourself two days, is what I'm saying.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mighty Macs, a Rumination

[The real Cathy Rush and Carla Gugino as Cathy Rush in 'The Mighty Macs']

I've written a ton about women's sports over the years in this space, most predominantly football and basketball. As I reported on local women's basketball programs (Seton Hill, Pitt, Duquesne), I kept running across links and ties to Immaculata College, the little women's college that could. No matter where I went, there was another connection to Immaculata -- from my excoriating of Rene Portland, to Suzie McConnell-Serio lighting up at the memories of being coached by Theresa Grentz, to spending an entire day with the dynamo, Ferne Labati.

So I started educating myself about the real Mighty Macs, the players and the coaches. I started to read about the first women's championships. I learned about the old game that girls used to play.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jim Harbaugh, Manners and Free License to Be a Jerkwad

It’s pretty easy to get cynical about sports. It’s pretty natural to see somebody like NFL coach Jim Harbaugh act like an entitled jerk and then come to the conclusion that everybody is like that -- assume that he is simply doing what all professional athletes and coaches do. It’d be easy to think that behavior like Harbaugh’s is not merely tolerated, but actually celebrated.

I heard some of the talking head din after the handshake bruhaha, some of which framed football as war (stop me if you've heard this one before). The thrust being that it's okay for Harbaugh to be a jerk because (wait for it) -- the Lions and their coach Jim Schwartz are “the enemy.” Puh-leeze.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Curse of the Winter Classic Sweaters: A Call to Action!

Baseball's fall classic is nearly upon us and my thoughts can't help but run to the sport full of mysticism and metaphysics, faith and the occult. After all, seamheads love the romance of baseball. But what they love even more than all that treacly sentimentality are their curses -- the Curse of the Billy Goat, the Curse of the Bambino, the Curse of the Black Sox, the Curse of Rocky Colavito and the Curse of the Cowboy (how were those for obscure curses for yinz?)

Personally, I don't cotton to curses or karma. I don't subscribe to the belief that mystical forces are afoot in the real world, with fairies and trolls wreaking havoc in our daily lives. I don't believe in god and if I did believe in god, I'm pretty sure he or she would be far too busy with other things than to worry about torturing the fanbase of this or that particular sports franchise.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is the NHL Really Serious About Head Injuries? Only Time Will Tell

On Saturday night in Calgary, notorious head-hunter Matt Cooke took a flagrant elbow to the head courtesy of Flames defenseman Cory Sarich. After the hit, Cooke was very shaky and missed the remainder of the 2nd period, though he did return in the 3rd period.

Who cares if Matt Cooke gets hurt? After all, he's hurt enough guys in his time, right?

I care if Cooke is victim of head-hunting and not just because I'm a Penguins fan. I care because I think this is exactly the sort of hit the NHL can use to send a message.

Sunday Recipe: Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce

I love fall veggies, perhaps none more than all the varieties of squash available at this time of year. Last week, I posted a roasted cauliflower recipe (which I have made three times in the past two weeks and I intend to make again before this week is out.) Last fall, I posted a roasted butternut squash soup recipe that is one of my favorite soups of all time. Squash and pumpkin are used with pasta all over Italy, but particularly in the north, in places like Verona and Mantua, you find pumpkin or squash ravioli on every menu of every little trattoria you stumble into. I love pumpkin ravioli, but this is a much less labor-intensive way to pair pumpkin with pasta. It's a very simple recipe, but you need to start your prep about an hour before you want to eat, because you have to cook down the veg for a long time, so, be warned.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Recipe: Perfect Roasted Cauliflower

I love fall and winter vegetables. I love the idea of roasting cauliflower, but it's often either overcooked mush, or too crunchy for any use other than crudite. The idea of a cauliflower gratin is appealing, but most takes are just too cheesy, more like melted cheese with just a hint of cauliflower.

Last week, I hit the farmer's market and returned home with several heads of cauliflower, determined to make the perfect roasted cauliflower.

I think I succeeded. This dish is the perfect fall or winter accompaniment to a roasted chicken, pork roast, pot roast and it would make a terrific Thanksgiving side.