A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Black Sesame Rice Balls

All I had to do for Friday's party was contribute one appetizer. I was in the mood to make something black and white, and ended up with these rice balls. They were the first item to disappear.

The main ingredient is sushi rice, mixed with rice wine vinegar just as for sushi. To form these, you need a double thickness of plastic wrap, about a foot square. A single uncooked edamame bean is placed on the square, and about a tablespoon of rice on top of that. Twisting the plastic wrap as tightly as possible around the rice forms the ball. A hole is poked with a wet finger into the side of the ball opposite the bean, and a bit of wasabi mixed with pickled ginger inserted. Then you twist the hell out of the little ball again to re-form it. Finally, you roll the ball in black sesame seeds. The dipping sauce is a pureed red pepper thinned with more rice wine vinegar and seasoned with a little sugar and cayenne.

If you keep a little bowl of water handy to wet your fingers and the tablespoon, these are a snap to make. If you don't, this recipe will be your worst nightmare.


New Year's Promenade

One of the nice things about living downtown is the proximity of neighbors. This makes for frequent social events to which everyone can walk, a savings of time, gas, and the need for designated drivers. Tonight was one such party, a progressive dinner we called the New Year's Promenade.

We started at Bob McCarroll's house for appetizers and appletinis. After close to an hour of mingling, we crossed the "park" (that's what we call the pedestrian walkway in front of the HHRichardson church) to Jon and Sue Rice's house for dinner and champagne. Then down a couple of doors to Judy Matt's for dessert and coffee.

Of course, every sort of wine and soft drink was offered in addition to what I've mentioned. But I couldn't resist the glowing appletinis, nor the rows of flutes brimming with bubbly. And what goes better with the likes of cheesecake, truffles and pies than a good cup of coffee?

We're only four days into the new year, and I've already been to three parties. It looks like it's going to be one hell of a year.

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