Oui, Ahhnold…

I don’t usually link to things that are easily found at the top of the blogdex or popdex lists, but this item from the SmokingGun.com is just too rich to pass up. It’s an interview with California Governor-hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger that was published in the naughty magazine Oui back in 1977. In it, Ahhnold talks about smoking pot and hash, and about how easy and fun it was to get laid — which he seemed to do at will. He also talks about having participated in a “gang bang” at the gym:

Asked by Manso if he was talking about a “gang bang,” Schwarzenegger answered, “Yes, but not everybody, just the guys who can fuck in front of other guys. Not everybody can do that. Some think that they don’t have a big-enough cock, so they can’t get a hard-on. Having chicks around is the kind of thing that breaks up the intense training. It gives you relief, and then afterward you go back to the serious stuff.”

Don’t get me wrong — I have nothing against pot-smoking, free-loving narcissists running for office. In fact I encourage it. What gets me about this revelation is the underlying hypocrisy of having lived like that — and spoken freely about it — and then running as a tight-assed, “family values” Republican.

Couche-Tard is Re-tard…

Remember my rant about Dunkin’ Donuts back in May? The latest development is that the depanneur chain Couche-Tard has bought up all the Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in Quebec. They plan to revamp them and to change the menu so it appeals more to local tastes. Hopefully they also plan to mop the floor occasionally.

Couche-Tard has an ambitious plan to open 100 new Dunkin’ Donuts stores over the next five years. Given the tsunami of Tim Hortons restaurants that we’ve seen over the past couple of years here (joke: I went into a Starbucks in Montreal and there was a Tim Hortons inside), plus the thin edge of the Krispy Kreme wedge having been planted at Marché Central last spring, is it really wise to invest so much in a dud donut chain?

Let the sun shine!

Last weekend, after reaping the bounty of the Jean-Talon market, M and I decided to make my version of a tasty little pasta dish that we had seen someone prepare on television a few days earlier. It uses fresh cherry tomatoes and heaps of fresh herbs for a delicious sun-soaked late summer delight.

For the fresh herbs we used basil, Italian parsley, and chives, straight from the market. Arugula would also go very nicely in this dish, as would a small amount of fresh oregano. The idea is to use the herbs in abundance — show no restraint — but choose carefully because too much of the wrong herb can throw this dish right off the rails. Basil and parsley are always safe and can make up the bulk of the greenery, but oregano and thyme can be lovely when used sparingly. Most Italian/Mediterranean herbs would work well.

Prepare the herbs by washing gently and then chopping roughly. When you think you have enough, double it. Remember that the herbs are an ingredient, not just a garnish. You should have at least a cup (loosely packed) of herbs, but two cups is better.

This dish prepares quickly — the tomatoes are roasted for five or six minutes, then simmered in a skillet for another five or six minutes. Plan accordingly!

Ingredients:

• About 200 grams of spaghetti or spaghettini (enough for two)
• About 500 g. of red and yellow cherry tomatoes (whole)
• Half a teaspoon of dried crushed chiles
• Three large cloves of garlic, smashed and sliced
• A dozen kalamata olives
• A splash of balsamic vinegar
• A mountain of fresh chopped herbs (basil, Italian parsley, and chives)
• Shavings of Parmesano Reggiano for garnish
• Salt and fresh pepper to taste

Method:

» Roll the tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and roast in a hot oven (450° F) for five or six minutes. They should be just starting to burst. (You can do this in a toaster oven if you have one of good quality that gets hot enough.)

» In the meantime, drop the pasta in a large pot of salted water.

» Glug a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the dried chiles and swish it around for a few seconds. Add the garlic and continue to stir. Do not let the garlic brown, although it will take on a golden color from the chiles.

» After the garlic has been in the pan for about a minute, reduce the heat a bit and tip in the roasted tomatoes, juices and all. Stir gently.

» (By now the pasta should be almost finished.) Add a pinch of salt and the olives to the tomatoes. Add the vinegar and the herbs. Continue stirring gently (it should be at a medium simmer).

» Drain the pasta and add to the tomato mixture. Toss, and tip into a big Italian Mamma pasta bowl. Scratch on some fresh pepper and garnish with shaved cheese.

» Serve and enjoy!

Harvest time!

Berries!

It’s almost labour day, which means the markets are bursting with fresh produce. This is my favorite time of year for eating, even if I think about the mountains of locally grown and harvested corn, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, leeks, peppers, berries, and other fruits and vegetables that cram the stalls at the Atwater and Jean-Talon markets more than I actually eat them. Every year at this time I get all giggly and want to buy fresh produce by the bushel. I usually end up lugging bags and bags of the stuff home, but I can’t possibly eat it all fast enough, so some of it always spoils.

Everyone loves tomatoes!

Every year I say “this is the year I will make a sea of fresh tomato sauce from market ingredients and preserve it in jars.” Unfortunately, the whole preserving thing just seems like so much work that I have never actually gone through with it. Perhaps this year. On the other hand, I can avoid a lot of the hassle by simply freezing it in jars instead of doing a proper sterilization technique. That really fills up the ol’ freezer though. I might have to give some away…

Cornography!

M and I have already had a one gut-buster meal of fresh-picked corn (boiled, buttered, salted and peppered). I suspect we’ll have a few more before the season is out. In case you don’t know, the sugars in corn degrade rapidly, so if you want that heavenly burst of fresh-picked flavor you need to eat it within about 24 hours of picking.

The best bet is to motor out to the countryside and get it straight from the farm. Second best is to get it from a the Atwater or Jean-Talon (or similar) market, preferably early in the day. Try to avoid the big grocery stores like Provigo or Metro, because they usally take a few days for picking, processing, and merchandising before they hit the stores.

Eat! EAT!