not the rhino
Thursday, March 25, 2004
  Small juicy bits

I have some links that I've saved for myself that I need to just put up on this blog... I meant to write more exciting copy for them, but here they are...

If you haven't seen it yet, Move On's got a great new video where, as my housemate Kate put it, you can see Rumsfeld get a big fat bitch slap. Nice.

Also for the politically-minded, Nature magazine (which is a well-respected scientific journal) had a recent article on polling that I thought raised some good points. Some good points:

"Some say that market researchers have poisoned the well for survey research. Answering machines and caller-identification technology have made it easier to avoid unwanted calls, and those who do answer the phone are less cooperative. By one estimate, only 35% of people reached by phone during the 2000 campaign answered pollsters' questions, compared with 65% in 1985."

"Once pollsters find willing opiners, there's the matter of what to ask and how to ask it. Surveys of all kinds are vulnerable to errors introduced by question order and wording. An analysis of polls during the 2000 campaign by Monika McDermott of the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and Kathleen Frankovic, director of surveys for CBS News in New York found that it even makes a difference whether the question "Who will you vote for?" comes at the beginning or end of the interview. The percentage of undecided voters dropped sharply when it came last, leading the researchers to conclude that placement of this question accounts for at least some of the variance in poll results."

"And so the loveā€“hate relationship with political polls continues. According to Traugott, who has studied attitudes towards polling, the public is generally dismayed about the proliferation of polls. But the single most important factor in people's judgments of a poll's accuracy is whether it agrees with their own view."

The was an amazing (and sad) story about polling on This American Life... it's only the last fifteen minutes (though the first 45 are fascinating as well).

Finally, sex: Why do Sex and the City's producers hate their creations? Sums up a lot of how I felt about the conclusion of the series...

And the results of sex: babies named Granite Body Todd. No joke. The fifth one down. 
Saturday, March 06, 2004
  Morroccan Vegetable Tagine

adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

serves 8

for tagine:
6 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 large onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
1 14.5 oz can of chick peas
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes (I like Muir Glen)
3 medium waxy potatoes (red skin or yukon gold), peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspooon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ginger powder
pinch of saffron (10 threads)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 medium-large zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1" pieces

for harissa (sauce):
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup dried red hot chiles
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons (or more) olive oil

for the cous cous:
3 cups of small-sized couscous (should be in the pasta aisle)

0. First, begin the sauce.

Soak the red chiles in warm water for 30 minutes minimum, and up to 2 hours. More is better. Drain the water. You can begin step 1 while the chiles are soaking...

At some point, toast the cumin and coriander in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until they are a few shades darker and very fragrant. Grind the cumin and coriander in a coffee grinder until fine, if you can.

Cut off the chile tops and cut lengthwise to remove the seeds and membranes that the seeds are attached to. Chop the chiles finely.

You can make the harissa with a mortar and pestle if you're feeling hardcore, or you can toss the ingredients in the blender. That's your call.

In a mortar, crush the salt and garlic together, then add the chiles and spices a bit at a time.

Or, in the blender, toss in all the ingredients together. Start blending, and add more oil if necessary. You'll need to pulse the blender and scrape the sides a few times. Also! Be careful. The next
time you use the blender, especially if it's plastic, it'll be a bit spicy. :)

You'll use this sauce at the end of the recipe.

1. Place a large pan over medium-high heat. Heat the oil up until a small drop of water sizzles in the bottom, then add the onions and stir. Saute for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to brown.

2. Add the garlic, and saute one minute until it turns golden.

3. Add the chickpeas & their liquid, tomatoes & their liquid, potatoes, HALF of the parsley, HALF of the cilantro, salt, cumin, turmeric, ginger, saffron, and cayenne. If it look like there's not enough liquid, you can add a cup or two of water. Bring to a boil.

4. Once it boils, turn the heat down so that the vegetables cook at a simmer and cover the pot. cook for 20 minutes.

5. After 20 minutes are up, add the sweet potatoes and carrots, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover again and cook 10 more minutes.

6. Start 3 cups of water boiling for the cous cous. Once it boils, stir the cous cous into the water, and remove the pan from the heat. It'll be ready when the tagine is.

6. Add the zucchini, bring to a boil once again, and cook, covered, on low heat for 7 or 8 minutes, until the zucchini is tender.

7. Take out one cup of the liquid from the stew, and add the harissa to the liquid in a separate bowl.

8. Before serving, stir in the other halves of the parsley and cilantro. Let it cook one more minute.

9. Serve the tagine over cous cous and pass the bowl of sauce so that individuals can make their own dish as spicy as they like. This is great served with Almond Milk or mint tea.

Morrocan Almond Milk

6 cups milk
3/4 cup almonds
3 Tablespoons honey

0. Combine the ingredients in the blender and puree.

1. Refrigerate, covered, for 1-2 hours, or more.

2. Strain through a fine strainer when serving. 
i just don't know yet.

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