...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Monday, January 31, 2005

I Normally Don't Post These, But...

I have a husband who regularly posts in these veins, along with my friend the Lizard Queen: they are my two politics fix providers, along with many good links on their sites.
This, however, I had to post--courtesy of today's WSJ Best of The Web by James Taranto. The source is The New York Tinmes's coverage of the Iraqi elections:

The Times quotes 80-year-old Rashid Majid: "We have freedom now, we have human rights, we have democracy. We will invite the insurgents to take part in our system. If they do, we will welcome them. If they don't, we will kill them."

As a Hungarian who lived under the Communists (even though, I must admit, in the 'happiest barrack'of the red block) this speaks volumes to me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Catching Up To Do.

Well, okay, yes, I AM woefully late with actually watching some movies that had been in the theatres for AGES...but finally they came out on DVD, so it's SO much better to actually only pay 4 bucks and see it in your very own living room with hot tea/coffee and good friends, plus being allowed to SCREAM really loud at certain ones, while silently breathing in the beauty and truth of others or laughing hysterically about some.

In the past couple of weeks we had seen some of the so-called 'big ones'of the year 2004 that we missed in theater and re-visited some others that we watched and wanted to see again. I really enjoy watching movies with our former housemates/now neighbors, because we can geek out comfortably from our collective and respectible niches (history, literature, politics) without that uncomfortable feeling you can get sometimes when you said something that you thought was amazingly witty and spiffy and folks are just staring at you like 'Huh?', and then you start to explain and you miss half of the action on the screen. Anyway, must be our insane amount of humanist-type education three of them got at UD, and my stupid amount of graduate-level work back in Hungary (geez, I realized the other day I actually spent almost 10 years in higher education...eep!)

So: maybe not in this post, but in some subsequent ones I will hopefully be able to muse about said movies, films and flicks because more and more people (not the least my dear husband) tells me I need to write this stuff down. And maybe with not too many typos or non-native grammar errors. One can always hope.

I also owe my Dear Readers more recipes, especialy now that I cook more--we started to take our lunches to work as part of a no-starch diet thingy, so I can get REALLY creative with things like chicken thighs, walnuts and garlic plus cilantro, or carrots and olives plus second half of said cilantro bunch (and more garlic. Yumm).

Movies to be NOT reviewed but just casually spoken (or SCREAMED) about will hopefully be:
I, Robot (or Why This Was So Played Down?)
Troy (or How Did I Screamed Myself Raw, plus the Amusing Moment at Blockbusters)
King Arthur (or Well, Actually This One...)
Hero (or Yes, I Know I've Seen This One before, However...)
The Manchurian Candidate (courtesy of the Jelly-Pinched Wolf's Movie Club--I speak of the original, not the Denzel W.-Meryl S. remake thingy)
The Village (yes, This was One of Those Completely Misunderstood Ones Again)

We still need to finish watching the Bill Hicks DVD we accidentally stumbled on last night at BB (as The Husband said; "Lord, I did not know you could still BUY these...") so The Reverend will get honorable mention, and will be talked about later (besides, i fell asleep through the middle of 'Relentless', which normally does not happen with me and Hicks, except I am fighting this stomach bug and am rather exhausted).

So--I really hope i can pull this off in the coming days. It always pisses me off when supposed movie critics have ZERO clue about their topic but pose as authorities, and most of the movies listed above are actually ones for which I can recognize their backround influences (more or less). I might tuck in some other ones i've seen and remembered as we go.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Last night we went out to test Saltgrass Steakhouse. The results are in and they are very positive.

I had visited one of their restaurants in Austin during a business trip--it was a cold and rainy night then, and the place was smack next to my hotel. After that dinner,I wanted The Husband to experience this as well, since we sampled many other steak places and they all were in the 'this is a good steak, but...'category.
Well, my dear readers, if you have the choice, get to the Saltgrass. In its category (chain steakhouses in Texas) it's so far the clear winner. The center-cut fillet I had is ALMOST on par with the fillet mignon I had at Del Frisco's- which is a MUCH more upscale place in Dallas.
Steakwise, I am a purist--if I can get it, I prefer a tenderloin cut, with top sirloin as a close second. It originally started because I was educated by my papa who owns a restaurant and makes the world's best Steak Tartare which MUST be made from tenderloin or, at worst, top sirloin. Then at the majordomo school I attended for a year back in Hungary (yes, I have a rather diverse portfolio for a current admin assistant):-), we cooked a lot of good steak dishes, including the famous a'la Wellington, which also requires tenderloin. And we ate all of it after preparation. The only way to be sure, you know. Yes, I put on a LOT of weight that year--and my dad still uses my basic textbooks in his restaurant that he started that year.
So, anyway--my center cut fillet at Saltgrass was top notch. I am in the camp of those who say that beef, however good quality, requires seasoning, so I have no issues whatsoever with their seasoned salt and garlic butter on top of the fillet. It brings out the tenderness and amazingly strong flavor of the cut even better. For one of the leanest cuts, the center-cut tenderloin fillet at Saltgrass is not dry at all--which is a big deal considering I requested the type of steak that is one of the hardest to pull off: medium well. Medium well requires that the edges be cooked through but not dried out, and the center would have a THIN pink strip throughout. I always ask for this type of steak doneness because it's a good way to test the place's abilities even with (relatively) subpar cuts.
I will let The Husband talk about his steak experience on his blog--hopefully he will. One more word: their appetizer they call "Shrimp and Chicken Embrochettes" despite the fancy name, is wickedly good: chicken breast tenderloin strips and jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon and grilled with some BBQ sauce on top. The result is a smoky and flavorful little appetizer bite that packs quite a punch at the very end (smoked bacon).
And now, after talking about food to such an extent I think I go and grab a bite.

The Evil Mushrooms

Okay, new recipe, adapted from my new favorite cokbook; Clifford Wrights' Little Foods of the Mediterranean.

Mushrooms in Garlic

-1 lb. of baby bella mushrooms (I think buttons are just not that flavorful for this dish), rinsed, scrubbed, sliced thin
-5-6 cloves of garlic, minced (do not use garlic press for this one, the garlic pieces should remain fairly intact, not a mushy puree. Strong advertisement here for having a GOOD quality chopping knife in your household. At least one. Just ask Boxing Alcibiades how much more i cook since he got me the Cutco knives set for our anniversary).
-1 large red chile pepper pod/ OR 1 tbsp. dried red hot chile pepper flakes (this latter is what i use)
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-2-3 tbsp. olive oil (eyeball it if you want to, the dish should be fairly dry)
-fresh parsley 2-3 tablespoon or more (depending on your taste), minced
-salt and pepper to taste (I use freshly ground black peppercorns and mediterranean sea salt--the flavors of any dish are SO much better you would not believe!)

Slice mushrooms, toss with lemon juice.
Heat olive oil in skillet with garlic and chile. When sizzling, add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until almost all liquid has evaporated. You can add parsley about halfway through, or wait up till this point. Season with pepper and salt.
Serve steaming hot. This is originally a Spanish tapa recipe, but I used it as a standalone dinner with some salad, or as a side dish with some shrimp in olive oil and garlic (recipe for that coming soon).

Friday, January 07, 2005

Happy New Year

I know it's late, but still...

In other news, new recipes will soon follow, as I acquired a terrific new cookbook with many mouthwatering and relatively easy recipes. Okay, I actually acquired FOUR new cookbooks,, but this is the one I tried recipes from this far. Yum.