Birds Who Can Mimic Just About Anything

I’ve written before about how much I love the filmmaking of nature documentarian David Attenborough.

If you need convincing, just watch this clip from his show on Australian lyre birds, who can mimic the sound of just about anything, from other birds’ calls to car alarms to chainsaws. Then, rent the whole show on Netflix.

The clip is a classic Attenborough shot — him hiding behind the animal he’s discussing, whispering in reverent tones, as the camera subtly highlights the physical beauty of the animal.

(link thanks to Stumbler AnotherCuteKitty.)

It’s Hard to Be Bored in NYC

Lately, life has been good, almost to the point that I’m feeling a bit spoiled. Blogging about it would seem superficial.

Not like that’s going to stop me.

Friday night: After leaving work early, I spent it at New York’s only beer garden with my closest friends, sipping Staropramen beer and catching up with everyone. Saturday, I went to a Yankees game. Although it was steamy weather, and they lost the game, we had great seats over third base. There’s something I love about Yankee Stadium, although I have no special affinity for the team itself. Sunday: Walked across Chinatown, admiring the weird assortments of dried fish, and I had a delectable foamy pink drink called a Metropolitan Top Shelf at the fabulous Toad Hall bar in SoHo, before having even more fabulous Mexican food at the chic Papatzul. Monday: Visited the Broadway Street Fair in Astoria — avoiding the tempting Greek desserts in lieu of iced tea — before heading to BB King’s Blues bar in Times Square to watch (and shimmy to) a very convincing Bob Dylan tribute band while snarfing down the most creamy Mac and Cheese known to man.

Tonight? More of the same, as we have plans to dine at a Tuscan restaurant in the West Village. I’m also happy to have found a book I really, really like.

And now, friends, a random pretty photo:

pelicano

Brown pelican in flight near Rincon, Puerto Rico.

God’s Museum

The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, opens this weekend.

The museum says its “brings the pages of the Bible to life” by using the “7 C’s of History“: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. Here’s a handy visual guide.

After reading about the museum in today’s Times, I’ve been at a loss for words.

Random Recipe: Aloo Phujia, or Potatoes, Tomatoes and Peas w/ Hot Curry

Aloo Phujia

Inspired by our recent success at making a fun couscous dish, I decided to get even more experimental and try an Indian vegetarian dish. Of all the incredible vegetarian cuisine in the world, Indian is my favorite. Always flavorful and filling.

So, I found this recipe, which was highly rated by users. Again, I pretty much used the recipe as inspiration only, and took the dish in my own direction. Let me say, quite humbly, it was totally delicious.

Aloo Phujia

Ingredients:

– 3-4 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes

– 3 large tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

– 1 bag frozen peas

– 1 small red onion, chopped and diced

– 1/4 cup or so vegetable oil

– Hot curry spice

– Cumin, cayenne pepper and salt, to taste

– Cooked white rice, and pita bread, to serve with dish

Directions: Cook onion over medium heat, with some vegetable oil, in a large, coverable dish. Once glossy, add potatoes, curry and more oil, stir well, cover. Let simmer 1o to 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Add other spices and salt to desired taste. Also, test potatoes — when about half-way done, add tomatoes. Stir well, leaving lid on uninterrupted for a good 5 minutes. Then, test — are potatoes done? They probably will be, but if not, just keep simmering over medium-low heat until potatoes are done, stirring occasionally. When potatoes are done, stir in about 1/2 of the bag of frozen peas. Stir well. Can add vegetable oil at any point if dish is too dry. Serve over rice and with warmed or roasted pita bread. (Can roast pita bread directly on stove, if desired. Makes it crispy.)

NYC Wildlife: Big, Fat, Smart Squirrels

squirrely1.jpg

This is our neighbor, Ashley. All day she runs up and down the giant green ash tree outside of our apartment. Lately, she’s been hoarding leaves, presumably for a nest she’s building. I know Ashley is a girl because her stomach is very “I’ve been nursing” right now.

As you can tell, gray squirrels in NYC don’t suffer from malnutrition, what with the discarded White Castle fries and other assorted trash left on the sidewalk, and the occasional handout from crazy people.

Although Ashley is quite entertaining, she’s not nearly as pretty as the other type of squirrels prevalent in the northeast, the black squirrels. They are the same breed/species as Ashley, just a genetic fluke made them prettier. Here’s a black squirrel. And here’s one in the snow.

And, finally, I don’t know what this is about, but it’s funny.

(P.S., the Latin name for the green ash tree just totally rocks. It’s: Fraxinus pennsylvanica. Perhaps I’ll name Ashley’s boyfriend Fraxinus.)

Random Recipe: Halloumi and Couscous with Roasted Red Peppers

HalloumiCousCous

When I saw this recipe, well, I knew I had to take a stab at making it. So we whipped it up this weekend, and omg, it was delicious.

As usual, we didn’t exactly follow the recipe. We made ours look and taste less like a salad, and more like a main entree. This recipe easily serves 4-5 people.

Halloumi and Couscous with Roasted Red Peppers

– 2 cups couscous

– 2 cups vegetable broth

– 1 can artichoke hearts

– 1 jar roasted red peppers (the fancier, the better). Chop ’em up into 1/4-inch-wide slices if peppers are jarred whole.

– 1 can chickpeas, drained

– 6 ounces plain yogurt, mixed with your preferred amount of cayenne pepper and chili powder

– 2 packages of halloumi cheese

– juice of one or two lemons

Directions: Boil veggie broth, and pour over couscous. Stir gently, then cover couscous and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice halloumi into 1/4-inch thick slices, and grill on skillet, with a little olive oil. Let brown on both sides. Set aside.

When couscous is done, stir in chickpeas, red peppers (add broth of red peppers, too), artichokes (we also like to chop these up into smaller bits). Pour into large flat serving platter. Drizzle yogurt mix over couscous, and squeeze some lemon juice over yogurt. Then, add slices of halloumi. Serve, giving everyone more yogurt mix to add more if they prefer. (Couscous is a dry dish, so the yogurt really helps keep it moist.)