Beef Stew Empanadas

Sometimes you will have a terrific dinner party and you'll make boeuf bourguignon (kind of Julia Child's recipe, but quicker, and because you're running low on beef broth you'll substitute something else in that you'll never, ever reveal, but it turns out amazing, way better than you expected) and you'll find yourself with leftovers at the end of the night.

When that happens you could have the stew for dinner the next day. Or you could realize that you have leftover pie crust (because that stupid snowstorm delayed the delivery of those crawfish tails you ordered, no joke, so no crawfish pie for those guests), and put the pie crust with the stew together, to make ...

BEEF STEW EMPANADAS. I am not kidding.

And you know, if you love your boyfriend a whole lot, and you have a little dough left over, you could make him feel a little special while you're at it.

As an aside, and this is wholly unrelated to culinary brilliance except that in a counterpointy kind of way it's about my tech idiocy, but can anyone tell me why the eff Blogger insists on robbing the saturation out of my photos? I do not get it. In contrast, here are the originals, on Flickr: Beef Stew Empanadas. Three of 'em. Total color. I DON'T GET IT.


The Absolute Best

Helen's all-time favorite artist, Alex Katz, paints the London National Portrait Gallery image of Helen's all-time favorite person to read about in any medium, Anna Wintour.

Could the world be any better? Not at this moment, no.


Mental Relocation

If you point your internet over to Grub Street New York and scroll down a bit until the masthead reveals itself on the right, you just might notice my name there. Yep, my head gets to live in New York alongside the rest of me now. The upsides are myriad. The downside is that I no longer have my failproof excuse for not going to events and parties.

Some Sort of Monster

By all accounts, Treat Trucks proprietor Kim Ima has a pretty perfect life. Hip and delicious mobile-bakery business? Check. Tweely adorbale, fully paid-for West Village apartment that's profiled in the New York Times? Check. Home furnishings that befit her status as a maker of sweets? Mais oui:

But dudes, New York Times, what are you smoking with that caption?

So all blue Muppets look the same to you? I'm sure some of your best friends are blue Muppets and all, guys, but that is definitely not Grover. Hint: Kim Ima bakes cookies for a living.


When Your Girl Is Gone

Almost exactly two years ago I shared in this space the fact that for my entire freaking life I have misheard the lyrics to the classic Box Tops song as "My love is a river running [pause] so deep" instead of the actual lyrics ("soul deep," which can shove it).

And now, just now, in this very moment, I have learned that for the past twenty eight goddamn years I have also misheard the first line of the second verse of "Little Bit O Soul," the 1967 hit from The Music Explosion. The line is, apparently, "When your girl is gone and you're broke in two." (Spoiler: the prescription for this situation is a little bit o soul.) For absolutely ever I have heard this line as "When your girl is gone and your boogie too," implying that, you know, the dude is ladyless and also does not got his Gershwinesque rhythm and music. And it appears that, as with a "so deep" love-river, I am the only person on the internet who has aired this mishearing in public.

I would like the record to show that I think my lyric is much better.


Mrs. Helen Downey Jr.

It's time for me to publicly acknowledge that after Mr. B, this man has pretty solidly displaced Alan Rickman, Hugh Laurie, and other cranky old Brits and is currently foremost in my affections.

Call me, RDJ. xoxo


The Destruction of the Written Word?

From Publisher's Marketplace (sub req'd):

HCI Books has announced a new line, Vows, combining romance and memoir, to launch in October 2010. They dub it "reality-based romance," producing novels "based on personal interviews with real couples whose love stories read like the best in romantic fiction."
Personally I am not super into this, because love is gross, especially in written form, but: (A) "reality-based" fiction, oh my god, is this going to destroy books the way reality television destroyed TV? (B) Cue the personal-submission clusterfuck that will probably seriously surpass the query inbox for the NYT's Modern Love column. (C) VOWS. Vows! What a barfy imprint title. SPOILER: ALL OF THESE BOOKS PROBABLY END IN MARRIAGE.


In the Red

Redheads have all the luck. Not only do they have a monopoly on those rare and coveted hair color hues from auburn to ginger ...
That's Style.com, the web presence of respected fashion mags like Vogue and W, noting in a brilliant fit of tautology that a set of individuals defined by possessing a certain characteristic ... are the only people possessing that characteristic. Helpful!


Separated at Birth: Christoph Waltz and The Sartorialist

I loved Inglorious Basterds and all (omfg the Bear Jew, take me now), but most of the time I was sitting in that dark room watching the blood spurt all over Diane Kruger's pretty, pretty wartime clothes I was unable to shake the mental picture of The Sartorialist as a chillingly terrifying Nazi overlord. Having finally pulled my act together a full many months after having this thought, I present proof: Doesn't Christoph Waltz so totally look like Scott Schuman?

Ironically, the one who played the Nazi to wild acclaim is not the one with eyes as blue as a German sky. (Helpful hint: Waltz is on the left in both of the above images.)

Tangy Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup, originally uploaded by helenlikesyou.

Last Thursday I was, as a delightfully supportive friend pointed out to me, the least-illustrious of ten cooks contributing soup to the Brooklyn iteration of Soup & Bread, the awesome Chicago event that's every Wednesday night at the Hideout. The deal is you go to the bar and the soup (and bread) is free, but the bar benefits because you buy drinks, and then also you put some cash in the hat to support anti-hunger efforts. Yay! If I do say so myself, my soup was quite lovely, and stood its own against the more pedigreed contributions on hand from folks from places like Roberta's and Jimmy's No. 43.

It's an ugly picture (tortilla soup is never pretty, guys) but it's super delish, basically a kluged-together Mexican iteration of Tom Yum soup. Mr. B christened it "tangy tortilla soup," thanks probably to the vast quantities of lime juice, and so be it.

Marvelously, it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare (30 if you haven't pre-shredded the chicken) and only dirties one pot. It's very easily scalable.

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Daddy, I Want a Pony

I'm oddly compelled by the Jessica Simpson fake ponytail. I might want this in my life. It might change everything. Everything.

If I get it, you'll still love me, right?