maandag 7 maart 2011

An Open Letter to My Neighbor With the Car Alarm. Plus, Tomato and Bread Soup with Rosemary.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I do not know your identity. You may be a candystriping Girl Scout, or a grandmother who volunteers 20 hours a week at the Red Cross. You may work to save endangered species, and your dedication to social equity and human rights might make Mother Theresa look like Jeffrey Dahmer on a bad hair day. You may be kind to children, fair to animals, and a patron saint to environmental causes the world over.

I do know that you have a car alarm, and that it's gone off twice in the last week, at 3am, for 30 minutes each time. And that makes me hate you.

What is it with car alarms? They seem like leftovers from the '80s, the pride of hyper-vigilant teens and twentysomethings with shiny new Iroc-Zs to protect, presumably from menacing threats like wind and rain. (I do not know what else sets off car alarms.) Yet, especially in the Tri-State area, they are as prominent as Applebees and lower back tattoos. Why they haven't been relegated to the dustbin of history, along with stonewashed jackets and Ratt posters, is beyond me.

In fact, I have it good on authority (meaning: my own delusion) that, throughout the course of automotive history, car alarms have deterred exactly two burglars. The first was Borden P. Titmouse, a hapless petty thief doomed by his particularly sensitive hearing and lack of arms below the elbow. The second was a cat who mistook a Chrysler for a hunk of steak. Cats are dumb, see.

The number of people awoken, annoyed, and otherwise driven apoplectic by car alarms, however, numbers in the millions. The billions, even. McDonald's would kill for that kind of demo.

Someday, I may be a mother. And if your car alarm wakes my child - who I presume will have spent the whole day alternately being adorable and vomiting into my open mouth, if Facebook is any indication ? I will key it into oblivion, then pound the remaining atoms into a pretty purple paperweight. I don't care if you are the Chairperson of Greenpeace, the head of Habitat for Humanity, and the potential broker of peace in the Middle East combined. You will be upset. Neighboring cars will weep. Charlie Sheen will question my destructive tendencies.

In closing, no one wants to steal your Honda. For the love of god, turn off the alarm.

The rest of Brooklyn

Oh yeah ? the food. About two years ago, we ran a Jamie Oliver recipe for Pappa al Pomodoro, or Tomato and Bread Soup. It was pretty simple, involving some roasted cherry tomatoes, a few handfuls of basil, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Well, brace yourself, Waldo, because this one is even easier, tastes just as lovely, and can be made (almost) entirely from ingredients sitting around your pantry. Except rosemary. You have to buy that. The fresh stuff is worth it.

But, mmmm. So good. Make it now! And don't buy a car alarm.


If this looks real purty, you?ll be like, ?Yeah, y?all!? to these:

Tomato and Bread Soup with Rosemary
Serves 3
Inspired by Jamie Oliver.

Without cheese
 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
28 ounces whole canned tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (veggie broth for vegetarians)
About 1/3 large loaf Italian bread, chopped or torn into chunks:
Grated Parmesan, for serving

1) In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add rosemary and garlic. Saut� 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth. Turn heat to high. While mixture is coming to a boil, break tomatoes up with a wooden spoon or good set of kitchen shears. Once it starts boiling, drop heat to a healthy, rolling simmer and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) Kill heat. Add bread. Gently stir so bread soaks, but doesn?t fall apart. Serve with Parmesan, if desired.

With cheese (avec frommage).
Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
183 calories, 5.9 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, 6.9 g protein, $1.05

2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin: 9 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, 0.4 g protein $0.10
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary: 2 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.50
1 tablespoons olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.10
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.02
28 ounces canned tomatoes: 151 calories, 0.8 g fat, 7.9 g fiber, 7.3 g protein, $1.25
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth: 25 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 4.9 g protein, $0.57
About 1/3 large loaf Italian bread, chopped or torn into chunks: 244 calories, 3.2 g fat, 2.4 g fiber, 7.9 g protein, $0.60
TOTAL: 550 calories, 17.6 g fat, 10.7 g fiber, 20.6 protein, $3.14
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 183 calories, 5.9 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, 6.9 g protein, $1.05

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