Stop! Sandwich Time! II

It’s sandwich time again.  This is another of my favorites, and it’s extremely simple.  I call it the ultimate tuna melt.

The Ultimate Tuna Melt

(2 sandwiches)

Ingredients

4 slices of bread (I prefer rye for this one)
Jarlsberg cheese
1 can light tuna
1 tbsp light mayo
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter or butter substitute (I use promise)

Directions

1. Mix in a small bowl: tuna, mayo, mustard, celery, onion, and peppers.
2. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
3. Place the bread butter side down on a skillet over medium low heat.
4. Spoon the tuna mixture on top and top with cheese.
5. After the bread is golden brown on the bottom, place the second slice on top and flip, again butter side down.
6. Remove when the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is gooey.

Eat.

An Interesting Dinner with Shirley Chisholm

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Shirley Anita St. Hill was born on November 20, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class immigrants from Guyana and Barbados. She spend much of her childhood in Barbados with her sisters and grandmother, and acquired a slight British accent that lasted the rest of her life. She attended school in Barbados as a girl and moved back to Brooklyn to excel in her studies.  She graduated from Brooklyn’s Girls’ High in 1942, and from Brooklyn College in 1946 with honors.  In 1949, she married her first husband, Conrad Q. Chisholm.  Three years later, Shirley Chisholm earned an M.A. in early childhood education from Columbia University. She was an educational consultant for New York City’s Division of Day Care from 1959 to 1964, when she was elected to the New York state legislature, the second African–American woman to serve in Albany.

Barbara Winslow wrote in her biography of Chisholm: “Albany at that time was not particularly welcoming to African Americans, and in the mid 1960s, respectable women did not go out to restaurants or bars on their own…Once the day’s legislative session ended, the male legislators would go off to bars, movies, restaurants and clubs. Not a single one of Chisholm’s colleagues ever invited her to their social gatherings.”

In 1968, Chisholm was the first African-American women to run for Congress. Chisholm faced Republican–Liberal James Farmer, one of the principal figures of the civil rights movement, a cofounder of the Congress for Racial Equality, and an organizer of the Freedom Riders in the early 1960s. Although they had similar position on most of the issues, Farmer maintained that “women have been in the driver’s seat” in black communities for too long and that the district needed “a man’s voice in Washington,” not that of a “little schoolteacher.” Chisholm won the general election by 67 percent.

Not bad for a little schoolteacher.

On March 26, 1969, she gave her first floor speech, and spoke vehemently against the war in Vietnam. From 1971 to 1977 she served on the Committee on Education and Labor during which time she became a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Women’s Caucus.  In 1977, she became the first black woman to serve on the Rules Committee, and from 1977 to 1981, Chisholm served as Secretary of the Democratic Caucus.

In 1972, she became the first black woman to run for the Democratic nomination for president. At the Democratic National Convention she received 152 delegate votes, or 10 percent of the total, a respectable showing given her modest funding.  She did not have the full backing of the CBC due to opposition from male members, and noted: “Black male politicians are no different from white male politicians. This ‘woman thing’ is so deep. I’ve found it out in this campaign if I never knew it before.”

Shirley Chisholm said of her bid for the presidency, “I ran because somebody had to do it first. … I ran because most people think the country is not ready for a Black candidate, not ready for a woman candidate.”

In 1977 she divorced her first husband and married Arthur Hardwick, Jr., a New York state legislator.  Chisholm left Congress in 1982 and accepted a teaching position at the women’s college Mount Holyoke. “Shirley Chisholm would like to have a little life of her own,” she told the Christian Science Monitor.  Still, after leaving Congress, she cofounded the National Political Congress of Black Women, campaigned for Jesse Jackson’s presidential bids in 1984 and 1988. She declined president Bill Clinton’s nomination for U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica due to health issues, and eventually retired to Florida in 1991, where she died on January 1, 2005.

Barbara Winslow wrote of Chisholm’s childhood in Barbados: “Grandmother’s large house sat on a plot that provided the family’s food: Sweet potatoes, yams, corn, tomatoes and root vegetables.  The waters around the island provided abundant seafood, including the Barbadian staple flying fish.”

The recipe I’ve chosen is for that staple that Shirley Chisholm likely ate many times as a young girl, with her impressive future lying ahead of her.  Flying fish with cou-cou is “the national dish of Barbados.”

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An Interesting Dinner With Nora Ephron

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Nora Ephron and I have a few things in common.  We both graduated from Wellesley College.  We both love New York, which she called, ““the most magical, fraught-with-possibility place.” We are both enamored with food and epicurious.com. We’re ardent fans of each others work. (Half true.  I am an ardent fan of her work). I once dreamed of following in her screenplay writing and film directing footsteps, but alas, it was not to be.  Once thing I can do, though, is cook her favorite recipe.

Nora Ephron was born to two screenwriters on May 19, 1941 in New York City, and grew up in Beverly Hills in a house “full of apples and peaches and milk.”  She graduated from Wellesley in 1962, and worked as an intern in the White House under John F. Kennedy, then began her career as a magazine journalist who wrote about culture and celebrities. She married Carl Bernstein  (her second husband after Dan Greenburg) in 1976 (of Woodward and Bernstein, the Washington Post reporters who exposed the Watergate scandal.  When she discovered he was cheating on her while she was seven months pregnant, she wrote a novel about it (“Heartburn”) and soon thereafter earned her first Oscar nomination for Silkwood.  She said of the star, “I highly recommend Meryl Streep play you. If your husband is cheating on you with a carhop, get Meryl to play you. You will feel much better. If you get rear-ended in a parking lot, have Meryl Streep play you. If the dingo eats your baby, call Meryl.”

In return, Ms. Streep had this to say about Ms. Ephron, “She always wears black and she’s so cool and she always has the perfect bon mot to toss off just effortlessly. I mean, who can be like that? Anyway, I was intimidated.” (Streep also starred in the film version of Heartburn).  Ephron was nominated for her second Oscar, for “When Harry Met Sally” (arguably her best film), in 1990. In the early nineties, Ephron began directing as well as writing.  She turned out such classics as “Sleepless in Seattle” (third Oscar nod) and “Julie and Julia.”

She married her third husband, the one that stuck, Nick Pileggi (author of “Wiseguys,” the book “Goodfellas” is based on. In 2006, Ephron published the collection “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” a No. 1 best-seller.  Nora Ephron died from pneumonia, caused by acute myeloid leukemia, on June 26, 2012, at the age of 71.

Nora Ephron left behind a legacy of legendary romantic comedies, inspiration to young women aspiring to success in her field, and an example of what a brilliant mind can do, even in the most dominated professions.  And she left behind delicious traces of what went on in her kitchen.

Her recipe for Chilli:

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An Interesting Dinner with Steve Wozniak

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I asked my husband to give me a challenge- name an interesting person, and I would find their favorite dinner.  Steve Wozniak was only too easy.

In 2012, Business Insider did a feature on Steve Wozniak’s favorite restaurants, based on his Foursquare check-ins.  At the top of the list was Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.  Mr. Wozniak was quoted as saying, “When in the city, we love this place.  I have a few Ruth’s Chris butter mints in my pocket already, as usual!”

But first, a bit about Woz.

Steve Wozniak is best known for cofounding Apple, Inc. with his partner, Steve Jobs.  Steve Wozniak was born in San Jose, California, on August 11, 1950.  As a child, he was fascinated by electronics.  He met Steve Jobs while studying at UC Berkeley, and the two formed Apple Computer on April 1, 1976.  The early days of Apple famously took place in  a garage, where the Steves worked on creating the first use-friendly personal computer.  Wozniak was responsible for inventing products, and Jobs for marketing.  Wozniak built the Apple I while working out of this garage, and later designed Apple II.

Jobs and Wozniak became billionaires when the company went public in 1980, with Wozniak receiving four million stocks, worth 116 million dollars.  In 1981, Wozniak was injured in a private plane crash in Santa Cruz, and he suffered memory loss so severe that he did not remember the crash or his hospital stay. He eventually recovered from the amnesia.  Wozniak left Apple in 1987.

Post-Apple, Woz founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that provides legal aid for computer hackers facing criminal prosecution, with Mitchell Kapor in 1990.  He has also founded CL 9, the company known for creating the first programmable universal remote control, and Wheels of Zeus (WoZ), with the mission of developing wireless GPS technology.  In 2006 he published his autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. Two years later, he joined Fusion-io, a Salt Lake City start-up.

What else is interesting about Woz?  He has been awarded a total of 11 Honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees. He pulled a hamstring and broke his foot while competing in Dancing with the Stars. He’s been married four times, he is a member of a Segway polo team, and in the 1990s, he submitted so many high scores in Tetris to Nintendo Power magazine that they eventually refused to print them.

And, as we’ve learned, he’s a big fan of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is kind enough to share some of their recipes on their website.  After looking them over, I chose the recipe for the crab cakes- one of my own favorites.

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Stop! Sandwich Time: the Dana

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I happen to believe that the sandwich is the most perfect food in existence.  From panini to gyros to pb+h (I don’t much care for j) to s’mores (this is technically a sandwich), I am smitten.  I would go so far as to call myself a sandwich enthusiast.  Therefore, from time to time I will feature a sandwich.

Tory Avey, a food historian on PBS.com explains, “the earliest recognizable form of a sandwich may be the Korech or “Hillel sandwich” that is eaten during Jewish Passover. Hillel the Elder, a Jewish leader and rabbi who lived in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod (circa 110 BC), first suggested eating bitter herbs inside unleavened matzo bread. The herbs symbolized the bitterness of slavery, and the bread resembled the flatbreads made in haste by the ancient Israelites as they fled Egypt. Hillel’s simple recommendation of sandwiching the two foods together may indicate that this was already a popular way of serving food in the Middle East.” So it’s uncertain where they first originated, but this may be where today’s sandwich originates from.

My favorite sandwich has the distinction of being created by my husband and named after me.  The Dana.  It is so named because it is the most delicious thing in the world, and I am not shy about singing its praises.

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An Interesting Dinner With Ms. Bronte

Emilybronte_retouche

There is a legend (I can’t find a verifiable source) that Emily Brontë had a thing for pie.  Meat pie.  Supposedly, Ms. Brontë  wrote to her sister from Belgium that she would rather be in Haworth House making this pie than be abroad.  I’m not sure what that says about the pie- that she loves it so much she would forgo her trip just to make the pie, or that she hates traveling so much she would rather be home making gross meat pies.  However, the legend holds she favored the pie, so here is the recipe.  But first a bit about Ms. Brontë.

Emily Brontë was born on July 30, 1818 in Yorkshire, the fifth of six children, including fellow writers Charlotte and Anne. Her mother died when she was young, and her aunt moved in to the Brontë household to help raise the children.  Emily Brontë’s childhood play with her siblings significantly influenced her writing. In1824, the Brontë sisters (except for Anne) went away to Cowan Bridge School, where Emily was a favorite; she was called “quite the pet nursling of the school.” Unfortunately, conditions at the school were poor, and Maria and Elizabeth Brontë  both caught consumption and died in 1825.

Emily and Charlotte were brought home from school and the Brontë children began to write plays set in the imaginary lands of Angria and Gondal.  In 1831, Charlotte left for Roe Head School, and Emily and Anne continued the Gondal play. Emily Bronte’s diary entry on November 24, 1834 contains the earliest piece surviving piece of the Brontë’s writing. It began, “Taby said just now Come Anne pilloputate (i.e. pill a potato) Aunt has come into the kitchen just now and said where are you feet Anne Anne answered On the floor Aunt papa opened the parlour door and gave Branwell a letter saying here Branwell read this and show it to your Aunt and Charlotte–The Gondals are discovering the interior of Gaaldine Sally Mosley is washing in the back kitchen.” The Gondal stories were adventures of royals and soldiers, tragic love and political intrigue, murder and war. The main character was the passionate queen Augusta G. Almeda. Critic Teddi Lynn Chichester suggested that “through Augusta, Brontë could explore, in private, her need to create a powerful, even indestructible” woman, due to the loss of significant women in her life.

In 1835, Emily accompanied Charlotte, now a teacher, to Roe Head, but Charlotte sent her home, believing Emily would die without “sources purely imaginary.”  Emily left home only two other times, to teach at Law Hill and to study in Brussels. Back home, Emily continued to write in her spare time. Her poems centered around the themes of nature and death. Emily wondered in her diary on June 26, 1837 where she and her siblings would be in four years and hoped they would be in “this drawing room comfortable” or “gone somewhere together comfortable.” Brontë continued to write poetry in 1838, along with a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. During this year, she accepted a teaching position at Law Hill, a girls’ school, where she found spare time to write a little, but she only lasted a year.

On her July 30, 1841 birthday, Ms. Brontë wrote that she hoped in four years she and her sisters would have set up a school of their own. In pursuit of this goal, Emily and Charlotte studied at a boarding school in Brussels in 1842. Brontë completed no poems in Brussels, and both sisters left for Haworth again when their aunt died.  Emily Brontë never left home again. In 1844, the Brontë sisters sent their poetry to publishers, using the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell and agreed to publish Poems at their own expense with the publishing company of Aylott and Jones in 1846.  In December, 1847 Emily’s most famous work, Wuthering Heights, was published. Sadly, Ms. Brontë caught consumption in October 1848.  She refused all medical help, and died on December 19, 1848, at age thirty.

Had she lived another year, perhaps her next work would have been a cookbook.  Certainly it would include the following meat pie recipe, reputed to be her favorite:

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An Interesting Dinner with Ruth Bader Ginsburg

ginsburg_vert-4e99c4db46e472e5da5edc041caea913d5ca2a8d-s400-c85“Neither federal nor state government acts compatibly with equal protection when a law or official policy denies to women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature – equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities.” -Justice Ginsburg, United States v. Virginia.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s birthday was this past Sunday, March 15th.  She was born in Brooklyn in 1933.  She graduated first in her class at Cornell in 1954, and shortly after having her first child, she enrolled in Harvard Law School.  She was one of only eight women in a class of 500, and she became the first female member of the Harvard Law Review.  She later transferred to Columbia, where she again graduated first in her class in 1959.

Justice Ginsburg taught at Rutgers University Law School from 1963-1972 and at Columbia from 1972-1980, where she became the school’s first female, tenured professor. She also served as director of the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU, arguing six cases on gender equality before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980, and to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. In 1999, she won the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights.  Among her most famous opinions are the majority in United States v. Virginia, which held that Virginia acted unconstitutionally in refusing to admit women to the Virginia Military Institute (VMI); M.L.B. V. S.L.J., holding that a state may not deny a parent, because of her poverty, appellate review of the sufficiency of the evidence of a parental termination decree; Ring v. Arizona, holding that the Sixth Amendment prohibits a sentencing judge, without a jury, to find an aggravating circumstance necessary for imposition of the death penalty.  She authored notable dissents in cases involving affirmative action, racial gerrymandering, and in Bush v. Gore, which effectively decided the presidential race between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

Justice Ginsburg was never much for cooking.  Her husband, Martin, an avid amateur chef, said of their relationship’s success, “My wife doesn’t give me any advice about cooking and I don’t give her any advice about the law.”  They were married for 56 years until his death in 2010.  Shortly after he died, the spouses of the Court justices compiled his recipes into a cookbook, Chef Supreme: Martin Ginsburg.  Among the recipes Justice and Marty Ginsburg dined on is a delicious salmon with a grapefruit and coriander sauce.

May it please the Court.

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