Ok, so this post is going to be totally inane. Please forgive me. I’m trying to get through Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, so blame Kant.

perfectly pickled red onions

my brand new succulent arrangement

the Willamonster (pronounced wee-lah-monster; rhymes with 'gila monster')

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday.

Give your pet(s) a hug for me,



I’m not one of those people with an aversion to tomato sauce on pizza. I grew up with these kids who would not eat tomato sauce on pizza. I always thought it was absurd. The vast majority of the pizzas I both eat and make are smothered in tomato sauce. However, after reading Mark Bittman’s latest piece in the Times on the slowly improving conditions of tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida, I haven’t wanted to go near the things (tomatoes).

Tonight, in part because I’m avoiding tomatoes and in part because I had a bounty of other vegetables from the local farmers’ market on hand, I improvised a basil chimichurri-like sauce for a pizza. Instead of fleshing out how to make a pizza from scratch, (which you should know how to do!) I’m going to give you the rough recipe for this tasty sauce.


1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic (more if you’re into that kinda thing)

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (this is the ingredient which ‘makes’ the sauce)

some amount** of olive oil

1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)

1 whole green leaf of scallion

1 generous pinch of salt


  1. Blend it all up.  It’ll look kind of frothy when it’s done. A food processor would likely be better suited for this job.  Sadly, I only have a blender.
  2. Spread it all over your crust.

**Add just enough olive oil so that it’s the consistency of pesto–I’m guessing a 1/4 c–then add a little more. You’ll want it easily spreadable.

My toppings included a little mozzarella and grilled onions, squash, and portabellos.

The sauce turns a lovely caramelized brown color as it bakes.

quarter-eaten pizza

here my pizza looks like an abstract expressionist painting--which painter?

Note: My intuition is that this sauce works best with hearty vegetables like mushrooms, eggplant, and spinach but certainly should be accompanied by things like sauteed or grilled leeks, squash, and peppers of all varieties. I am reluctant to say this would be good with meat. Those of you that eat it should make this sauce, and let me know.

Happy Monday.

June 6, 2011

Stravinsky: 5 Easy Pieces for Piano Four Hands – 1. Andante

I hope this cheers some of you M-F, 8-5 people up.

This is my first post.

I recently took a trip to Santa Fe with my mom, and on the long drive home I read Death Comes for the Archbishop, which is a Willa Cather novel based on the life of French Catholic Bishop Jean Baptiste L’Amy. The fictional Bishop, Jean Marie Latour, travels from Ohio to New Mexico accompanied by his dear friend, vicar Joseph Vaillant. Latour’s mission is to draw in the fractured and corrupt priests which lead the churches of the US’s newly annexed territory–his diocese.

Latour is scholarly, supportive, clear-eyed. Vaillant is energetic, adaptable, and impetuous, often times tempered by Latour. Initially, both men struggle with the unapologetic landscape of the region and the customs of its inhabitants, but they find comfort in evening conversations reminiscing about their hometown. As the story progresses and as priests are unseated, the vicar is sent away to reform the surrounding churches of the diocese. Vaillant has a particular driving energy that allows him to win over the locals, whom he becomes quite attached to. He becomes entrenched in his work.

Latour achieves his own successes but is left to continually cope with his loneliness. The place (and only place) in the novel where his alienation and doubt are explicitly addressed is so elegantly written. His affection for Vaillant is palpable. The reader grows to love Vaillant through Latour. As Latour approaches his death, or as the novel title might suggest to a new reader, as death assails him, he cannot return to his hometown in France. After living in a place so raw and earnest for 40 years, being in his hometown fills him with sadness.

Latour’s diocese is not an environment fabricated by Cather to make his narrative more compelling; it is rich and commands respect from those foreign to it, including the reader. Secondary characters are vivid but not caricatured. The landscape is severe and unforgettable. Cather’s language is sincere throughout. This, and the space in which she allows Latour to reflect honestly on his surroundings and relationships, allow a trust and intimacy to be established between she and the reader. She has nothing to conceal. I’ll certainly being reading more of her work.

Also, I’m anxious to get back to NM. Unfortunately, my vacation time is limited. Maybe I’ll end up in Albuquerque when I go back to school.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of some animals.

Made some friends in Santa Fe