2nd Annual Dolly Awards: Summer Edition!

July 19th, 2012 · 35 Comments · Uncategorized

Heirloom tomatoes, fireflies, juicy peaches, baseball, blackberries bursting at the seams…this can only mean one thing: It’s time for the Second Annual Dolly Awards! Last year, we went strictly by the rule book, adhering to a rigorous awarding process that involved votes, taste tests, many many minutes of research at the local library, as well as a suited-and-tied representative from Coopers & Lybrand overseeing the balloting. This year, we are doing it a little bit differently. We are handing out awards to our favorite drinks, snacks, songs, books, TV series, sanity-savers, etc, so long as the nominee in question meets one qualification: We can’t seem to shut up about it to anyone who will listen. With no further ado, the Second Annual DALS Awards…or as kids these days like to call them….the Dollys!

Most Unncessary Essential: Q Tonic
You know something’s gone seriously wrong when you find yourself paying as much for a bottle of tonic as you do for a bottle of decent wine or two gallons of gasoline. It’s shameful, really. And yet: We keep buying this stuff. Problem is, once you know what real tonic tastes like, you also know that Schweppes and Canada Dry are not real tonic. All you taste is the sugar — or, more accurately, the glucose and fructose. Q Tonic is almost like club soda in its lightness, with just a hint of that weird, herbal, tonic-y taste. It is completely unnecessary and absolutely essential. Damn you, Q Tonic, for costing so much! — Andy

Best Thank-You Gift that’s Not Flowers: Good Steaks
When someone does something nice for you — like, for instance, hosts a party to celebrate a book you have just written –  you could send them a nice little arrangement of roses and peonies. But then, the peonies will wither and die and there will be nothing but the little dots of pollen on the counter to remember your generosity by. You could also send the do-gooders a few pounds of the best steak money can buy — say, a few porterhouses or ribeyes from NY’s Lobel’s – which will pretty much guarantee a thank-you email in all caps saying “OMG! SO MUCH COOLER THAN FLOWERS!” Not to mention the high likelihood that the receiver will feel obligated to share the bounty of happiness with…the giver. –Jenny

Best Album to Cook to: Heartless Bastards, “Arrow”
There are soundtracks to every phase of my life. Because I have (possibly pathological) obsessive tendencies, this means that I listen to one album – or even one song – for months at a time, while I work, when I run, in the car, in my head, and when I cook. It’s not normal. Anway, the soundtrack of this summer is ”Arrow” by the Heartless Bastards.  The only thing worse than bad food writing is bad music writing, so I will refrain from going too deep on why I am in love with lead singer Erika Wennerstrom’s voice or why I think ”Skin and Bone” is pretty much the perfect song or why music like this is like reading a really beautifully written book: it’s a much-needed reminder of how super-talented people can be, which in turn, gives me hope. Instead, I’ll just say: Put this on, outside, the next time you have people over for a cookout, and you will not be sorry. – Andy

Best Tiger Mother Accessory: Size One Soccer Ball
Our girls like to play soccer. They spend at least an hour a day outside, kicking a ball against the low wall that surrounds our patio. It must drive our neighbors crazy — thumpthump, thumpthump, thumpthump – often starting at 8:00 am. This is undoubtedly good for developing ball skills, but if you want to take things to another level, buy a size one ball, which is about the size of a large grapefruit. Every move with one of these bad boys is a little more difficult and requires just a little more concentration, which in turn makes them a little more confident with a regulation-size ball. Which makes them more likely to crush the competition, win the game, win the tournament, get named tournament MVP, get into Harvard, become a concert violinist, speak seven languages, start an NGO in Guatemala, become a CEO, and live happily ever after. Or else! – Andy

Best TV Series Since The Wire: Breaking Bad
I once wrote here about Jenny’s refusal to watch what I consider to be the greatest television show ever made, The Wire. Years later, I have a hard time finding room in my heart to forgive this. This summer, however, she took a crucial first step on the road to redemption by joining me as we – five years late, of course – finally tore through the first four seasons of Breaking Bad. This season’s premiere was just last Sunday, so it’s not too late if you’re not on board already. I know we’re all busy and we don’t exactly have the time to add a new show to our lives – let alone a show about a terminally ill high school chemistry teacher turned possibly sociopathic meth cook. I won’t lie: watching this is like getting punched in the face every night. I sleep less because of it. It’s not light fare, but neither was The Wire – or any seriously worthwhile art for that matter. It drives me crazy when people complain about movies/books/shows/etc. being “too dark.” Remember Crime and Punishment, my bros? –Andy

Best Starter: Fried Pickles with Spicy Mayo
I know I said these were things we couldn’t shut up about, but do I really need to say more than…fried pickles with spicy mayo? Well, if you must know, we ordered them at the Ashby Inn in lovely Paris, Virginia last week and have not (more…)

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It is So On

July 14th, 2010 · 19 Comments · Dinner, Posts by Andy, Quick, Vegetarian

The best thing we eat this summer will take us three minutes to minutes to make. It will involve only five ingredients, a serrated knife, and not a single charcoal briquette. I’m talking about the tomato sandwich. Not the bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich; not the grilled-cheese-and-tomato sandwich; not the tomato-mozzarella-and-basil sandwich: the tomato sandwich. Period. It is a thing of simple, summery, kid-friendly beauty: After enduring ten depressing months of the color-enhanced Styrofoam junk that passes for tomatoes at the Stop ‘N Shop, it’s like, from out of nowhere, the wind suddenly kicks up and the dark clouds part…and thank you Jesus, blue sky punches through. Tomatoes! Real tomatoes! Flavor! Texture! Sweetness! Over the course of the next eight weeks or so — between now and, say, mid-September, when tomatoes are at their meaty, juicy peak and the heirloom bin at the farmers’ market is positively en fuego – we’ll inhale as many of these as we can. Last weekend, we ate them  for lunch on Friday and Saturday, then as a quick dinner after a long day of driving on Sunday. And we ate them greedily, too, as though the supply was finite and they were about to run out—which, actually, they are. So we scarf what we can (always stopping to ask the kids as we devour them, “How good is this?”) and then suffer through the gray, mealy, tasteless months ahead…until we can do it all again. -- Andy

The Tomato Sandwich

-Country white bread
-Hellmann’s mayonnaise (yes, Hellmann’s; no other mayo will do)
-Tomatoes of various colors and varieties, sliced
-Sea salt and pepper

Take a few slices of a hearty white bread. (We like something with a little gravitas to it. We use something called, appropriately enough, Canadian White, which is available at T. Joe’s.) Toast them. Lightly coat each slice with mayo, but—this is crucial—be sure to do this while the toast is still warm. You want the mayo to get melty, you want to get the oil going, but you don’t want to mess with the awesomeness of the fruit. Now: arrange two or three slices of tomato on top of the toast. Let the kids pick the colors, mixing red, yellow and green, heirloom and non, Jersey and beefsteak, whatever. Sprinkle generously with salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Some people also add some fresh basil here, but why risk destabilizing the atom? Why mess with perfection?

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