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Eat It: Yoga + Super Bowl Party= Skinny Mac ‘N Cheese

unnamed-1My favorite bearded nephew. eating one of my new favorite foods: Gluten-free cauliflower mac ‘n cheese with low-fat sour cream. I realize it sounds disgusting but it was friggin delicious. My yoga teacher training mentor @stefhaberman from @bhaktibarnyoga gave me the recipe and I made it for the Beyoncé/Bruno Mars dance-off. Namaste, Super Bowl. (


Skinny Mac ‘n Cheese



2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup Panko* (I really wanted it gluten-free so skipped the Panko)_
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (I skipped the parsley—sometimes it scares children)
1 cup elbows gluten-free pasta
2 cups cauliflower florets
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup 2% milk, or more, to taste (I used skim plus; you could use almond milk)
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese*
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*(I changed the ratios and used 1 cup shredded cheddar and 1/2 cup gruyere)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add Panko and cook, stirring, until browned and toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley; set aside.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Within the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add cauliflower; drain well.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in pasta, cauliflower, sour cream, milk and cheeses, a handful at a time, until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Spread pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Place into oven and bake until bubbly, about 12-15 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with Panko, if desired.

*Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb and can be found in the Asian section of your local grocery store.

Read It: Gordon Lish on Raymond Carver, and a few other writers

Love for the Paris Review again: There is a great interview in the Winter 2015 issue with Gordon Lish, who edited and transformed many of Raymond Carver’s best short stories. Here he is funny, frank, self-serving and bracingly honest. My favorite lines: “I expect I’m a fearful fellow, paranoid. But when I read, when I edit, or revise, I don’t fear anything in the least. I feel at home, at peace, assured.”

You have to subscribe to the Paris Review to read the whole interview but here is an excerpt:

Outside the Esquire offices, in New York, ca. 1970. Photo by Bud Lee.

Gordon Lish, The Art of Editing No. 2
Interviewed by Christian Lorentzen
It’s the custom for editors to keep a low profile and to underplay any changes they may make to an author’s manuscript. Gordon Lish is a different animal. Not since Maxwell Perkins has an editor been so famous—or notorious—as a sculptor of other people’s prose. As fiction editor of Esquire from 1969 to 1977, then as an editor at Knopf and of The Quarterly until 1995, Lish worked closely with many of the most daring writers of the past fifty years, including Harold Brodkey, Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo, Barry Hannah, and Joy Williams. In an interview with this magazine in 2004, Hannah said, “Gordon Lish was a genius editor. A deep friend and mentor. He taught me how to write short stories. He would cross out everything so there’d be like three lines left, and he would be right.”

His collaborations have not always ended ami­cably. His editorial relationship with Carver ceased ­after three books. When Lish donated his papers to the Lilly Library at Indiana University Bloomington, they indeed showed that he had drastically cut, and often rewritten, some of Carver’s best loved stories. For the Collected Stories, published in 2009, Carver’s widow printed some of them in both edited and unedited versions. The critical reaction was divided. In the New York Times Book Review, Stephen King described the ­effect on one ­story as “a total ­rewrite . . . a cheat”; in The New York Review of Books, Giles Harvey wrote that the publication of Carver’s ­unedited stories “has not done Carver any favors. Rather, it has inadvertently pointed up the editorial genius of Gordon Lish.”

More than a dozen books have appeared under Lish’s own name—­including the novels Dear Mr. Capote (1983), Peru (1986), and Zimzum (1993). These have won Lish a small but passionate cult following as a writer of recursive and often very funny prose. For decades he taught legendary classes in fiction, both at institutions such as Yale and Columbia and in private sessions in New York and across America. Though he titled one of his books Arcade, or, How to Write a Novel (1999), he, like Socrates, never put his teachings on paper. They ­survive in his students, many of whom are now prominent writers and ­teachers of fiction, among them Christine Schutt, Sam Lipsyte, Gary Lutz, and Ben Marcus.

Lish was born in 1934 in Hewlett, New York, the son of a hat manu­facturer and a housewife. In early childhood he was afflicted with acute ­psoriasis, a condition that has persisted all his life. After being kicked out of Andover, he spent the rest of his teens and twenties working in radio and at odd jobs in New York; Pampa, Texas; and Tucson, where he eventually ­received a B.A. from the University of Arizona. Even now he has retained the smooth baritone and cultured vowels of a 1950s disc jockey. After his first marriage, to Frances Fokes, ended in divorce, he married Barbara Works; he lives in the Upper East Side apartment that he shared with his second wife until her death from ALS in 1994. The interview was conducted in his living room, over several long sessions that began in the spring of 2010 and ended last September. Often we would be interrupted by phone calls from Lish’s friends and former students, some of them seeking advice on the finishing stages of their books. He was a convivial host, offering his interviewer bottles of beer and a large brass pot for use as an ashtray.

—Christian Lorentzen


How did you first start editing Raymond Carver?


I was under contract to revise The Perrin-Smith Handbook of Current English for Scott, Foresman. My editor, Curt Johnson, came out to Palo Alto to see his people on Scott, Foresman contracts, and also his contributors to his lit mag, December. I was both. Carver had been a contributor and, I guess, a good buddy of his. I was at Educational Development Corporation at the time, working on A Man’s Work. So we were supposed to meet, and Johnson phoned to say, I can’t keep my appointment with you, I’m stuck here on California Street with a guy who’s too drunk to get home and his car won’t start. I rode my bicycle over there. That was how I met Carver. Then it was revealed that Carver worked across the street from my office. He was a textbook editor at Science Research Associates. When I got the idea to start up a new lit mag, I thought, Well, here’s somebody who will give himself to the endeavor. On one or two occasions, he came to my apartment and I fed him lunch and we talked about starting something called The American Journal of Fiction. There’s a photograph of Carver sitting at Barbara’s and my dining table, sky-high candle-sticks on it, with Ray wearing a shirt of mine. Took the picture for some book he was bringing out. By that time, Frances and I had divorced, and I was readying myself to leave town because Frances had threatened Barbara, and Barbara felt that she had nearly been run down in the street by Frances. Barbara was scared. So was I. We arrive in New York, I get the Esquire job, and had asked Carver if he would collect my mail for me and keep an eye on Frances and the kids—which he never, he in time confessed, did. In exchange for this, I was happy to look at his stuff. I was eager to read anybody’s work who wasn’t an Esquire regular. I read all the slush, for instance—and was less given to reacting to agented material. I wanted newcomers and was faced with the problem of satisfying Hayes and Gingrich’s notion that I was going to turn up something hitherto unseen—the New Fiction. I saw in Carver’s pieces something I could fuck around with. There was a prospect there, certainly. The germ of the thing, in Ray’s stuff, was revealed in the catalogue of his experience. It had that promise in it, something I could fool with and make something new seeming. “Fat” was the first one I revised, but Gingrich nixed it. I got it into Harper’s Bazaar.

Carver wasn’t the only one, you understand. I probably expended rather more assiduity in his case, yes. The degree of my industry was to revise a piece three, four, five times in a day. I did that on weekends, too. Not just with Ray’s work. I was keeping myself alive by doctoring books as well, because the Esquire salary was woefully inadequate. I would get work from McGraw-Hill or Harcourt Brace—one of those outfits that was inclined to arrange for a largish advance for a book they could not then publish without its enjoying a good deal of fixing. It never worked out well, however. There was always bad feeling in the end, always lunacy, particularly with ghost jobs. I can’t think of very many times I did such work and it didn’t end badly.

To read the rest of this piece, purchase the issue.


Eat It/Read It: Jane and Michael Stern in The Paris Review

I love the Paris Review. In the Winter 2015 issue, there was a really funny Q&A with the great, divorced-but-still-friendly-and-working-together food writers, Jane and Michael Stern. You have to subscribe to read the whole piece but here are a few of my favorite lines:
“The thing you eat is just part of the big picture. This is why, while we’ve done cookbooks, the cookbooks always have something else—they’re not just recipes.”
— Michael Stern
“Cultural anthropology.”
— Jane Stern
“Luckily, I love writing! For me, it is the one surefire tranquilizer. If I’m really stressed with tons of stuff to do, the one thing that makes me relax is if I can sit down and write something.”
— Michael SternStern-1975_cut

Here’s an excerpt:

Inside your white cardboard box, inscribed with a Sally Bell silhouette, you will find a single sandwich on thinly sliced bread; a cup of tomato aspic or potato salad; a half a deviled egg, wrapped in wax paper; a crisp cheese ­wafer (no bigger than a quarter) with a pecan exactly in its center; and a cupcake or fruit tart . . . We love the potato salad with its cucumber and onion crunch, and the sweet deviled egg that ineluctably conjures images of picnics long ago, but the cheese wafer makes us cry. So delicate, sadly out of fashion, with no place in the world outside this outré bakery, two little bites and it is gone; and you get only one in a box—a souvenir token of your visit to another era.

—“Sally Bell,” Roadfood (1980 edition)
Jane Stern—neé Grossman—and Michael Stern were born, respectively, in New York City and Winnetka, Illinois. They met and married while doing graduate work at Yale, having had their first date at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana; soon after, they published the first edition of their landmark American travel guide, Roadfood. The book was among the first to treat ­regional American cuisine as worthy of serious study and serious writing. And yet the Sterns were never remote or overly pedagogical; writing in her introduction to their 1984 cookbook, Square Meals, M. F. K. Fisher described their attitude as one of “love and respect” for homegrown food and tradition.

Although they have received several James Beard Foundation Awards and publish a new edition of Roadfood every three years (there is also a popular Web site), their thirty-plus joint titles cover all facets of what they like to call cultural anthropology: truckers, Elvis worship, “sixties people,” Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Hummel figurines. Their Encyclopedia of Bad Taste (1990) manages to combine several of the above, along with fuzzy dice, Russ Meyer, and leopard print. For The New Yorker, the couple has written about bull riding, novelty toys, and Iowa radio homemakers. Michael has also written on Douglas Sirk, and Jane has published accounts of her life as an EMT and tarot reader. In 2007, they released the memoir Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food. There’s also the 1979 novel, Friendly Relations; both groan when it is mentioned.

Although the Sterns divorced in 2008, they continue to work ­together and publish under their joint byline. Until two months ago, they lived in neighboring towns in Connecticut. (Michael has since moved to South Carolina.) For this interview, I met with them individually, at each one’s home, then together, at Jane’s house in Ridgefield. We enjoyed white-clam pizza, ice cream, and a cruller they had recently discovered at a nearby doughnut shop. Both are animal lovers—they have written on bird ­owners, dog shows, and horses—and on each occasion we were joined by several pets, including Jane’s French bulldogs and Michael’s parrot.

—Sadie Stein


I imagine you’ve wandered into some dicey situations.


Oh, yes. Let me tell you one story. It was early on, and Michael and I were on the road, going from one bizarre situation to another, and our hobby was visiting prison gift shops. We used to collect a lot of folk art and outsider art, and back in the day, some of the prisons would actually give prisoners free rein to craft their own things. They would make lamps and sculptures and all kinds of things, and some of them were brilliant. They were absolutely fabulous! Although, we lost some friends giving them prisoner art as a wedding gift. And prisons terrify me—but again there’s that attraction-repulsion, and something voyeuristic, too. Whenever we would pass a prison, we’d say, Let’s go to the gift shop, and back then, there literally were gift shops.

So one day we were driving through Kansas, and there’s a sign for Leavenworth penitentiary. Michael says, Oh my God, it’s the mother ship! It’s going to be the gift shop of all gift shops. So we follow the signs, and we drive up to a huge complex with those barbed-wire loops—a very-unpleasant looking place. We pull up to a gatehouse and sit there for a while until we realize nobody’s there. So we drive around and there’s another gatehouse, and this time the arm is up, but again there’s nobody there! Finally, we come upon a parking lot where we see a couple of cars, so we assume the gift shop must be nearby, and park, and there is a metal door in a big brick wall. We walk up to it, and we open the door … and it’s the yard—filled with prisoners! Staring at us. Michael kind of hangs back at the door, but I say, Excuse me, but could you tell me where the gift shop is? There’s dead silence, and finally this prisoner says, There ain’t no fucking gift shop, lady! And I say, Oh, thank you. And we leave, and we close the door, and we drive away, and to this day, it’s like, What? And I still have no explanation for it. I know it’s like saying aliens stuck an anal probe in my ass and took me up to the spaceship. But, I swear to you, that happened.

Eat It: OMG, this is good: Chicken Mafe, aka Senegalese Chicken

OMG, this is ridiculously good: Chicken mafe, a Senegalese chicken dish, straight out of the 1/31/16 issue of the NY Times magazine. This is also known as chicken with peanut butter, tomato paste, fish sauce, garlic, onion, carrots, green cabbage, sweet potato and white potatoes. I used two pounds of boneless chicken thighs, instead of bone-in chicken, and used four cups chicken broth and two cups of water, instead of the six cups of water the recipe recommended. I skipped the rice, figuring the potatoes were enough starch, and also skipped the Scotch Bonnet chile slices, because the men in my life have tender mouths. I think this might be the richest and most delicious chicken I have ever made, or eaten. Get a spoon. The sauce is awesome. 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled


2 pounds bone-in chicken, skin removed (I used two pounds, boneless thighs)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter (I used Skippy)
½ pound green cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths (I used baby carrots)

Kosher salt and black pepper
Crushed red-pepper flakes

1 medium sweet potato
12 ounces waxy potatoes, like Yukon Gold (I used seven potatoes and this was enough)
Scotch Bonnet chile slices, to taste (optional, I skipped))
White rice, cooked, for serving (I skipped, there was enough starch with the potatoes)

Finely mince 6 cloves garlic and the ginger with a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and crushed red-pepper flakes to taste. Season chicken all over with salt, and rub with the garlic mixture. Marinate for three hours or overnight, refrigerated.
Finely chop the remaining 6 cloves of garlic. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion, chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the onion is starting to become translucent. Stir in the fish sauce, then the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the paste and onions have combined and are a shade darker. Stir in 6 cups water, scraping up any browned bits. (I used four cups chicken broth, two cups water.)
Add the chicken, bring to a boil and turn heat down to a moderate simmer. In a mixing bowl, stir a cup of the cooking liquid into the peanut butter, a splash at a time, to loosen it. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots, and simmer 10 minutes. Peel and cut the sweet potato and waxy potatoes into 11/2-inch chunks, add them and simmer 30 minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are tender and the sauce is like a very thick gravy. (The oil will be separating in the sauce.) If the chicken and vegetables are tender but the sauce is still a little loose, remove them, and let the sauce cook down. Add the chile if using. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and serve over white rice

Eat It: Mississippi Roast, for Mom and Maria

I hauled out our slow cooker and made this “Mississippi Roast” from the front page of 1/25/16 issue of NY Times Food section a few nights ago. My neighbor Laura Paul Kessler made it last week and gave us her leftover pepperoncini peppers. I sliced them up, included the buttermilk and skipped the flour before browning. This was absolutely delicious but too vinegary for the men in my life so I shared with my mom and our housekeeper Maria and kept a nice heap for myself. I made it with egg noodles but probably should have served it with rolls to absorb more of the heat. It was even better cold the next day. Five days later, it’s still delish. If you make this and don’t want it too vinegary, DON’T SLICE UP THE PEPPERONCINI PEPPERS. Leave them whole.


1 boneless chuck roast or top or bottom round roast, 3 to 4 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
¼ cup all-purpose flour (I skipped the flour and it browned fine with out it)
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 12 pepperoncini (If you won’t dish too vinegary, don’t slice up pepperconcinia and use 8, not 12)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon buttermilk, optional*
Chopped parsley, for garnish

  • Note on buttermilk: (I made the buttermilk but added way too much vinegar. If you make buttermilk from scratch, use a light hand with the vinegar here. Recipe for buttermilk: 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, 1 cup milk. Mix. Let stand five minutes before using.)

Place roast on a cutting board and rub the salt and pepper all over it. Sprinkle the flour all over the seasoned meat and massage it into the flesh.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan set over high heat until it is shimmering and about to smoke. Place the roast in the pan and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes a side, to create a crust. Remove roast from pan and place it in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add the butter and the pepperoncini to the meat. Put the lid on the slow cooker, and set the machine to low.
As the roast heats, make a ranch dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, dill and paprika in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Add the buttermilk if using, then whisk again. Remove the lid from the slow cooker and add the dressing. Replace the top and allow to continue cooking, undisturbed, for 6 to 8 hours, or until you can shred the meat easily using 2 forks. Mix the meat with the gravy surrounding it. Garnish with parsley, and serve with egg noodles or roast potatoes, or pile on sandwich rolls, however you like.

Eat It: Veal Chops and Rosemary Butter

I have been on a rosemary tear lately. I’ve also been using my cast iron skillet like crazy. It’s suddenly a very cold winter and the cast iron skillet cozies things up. My mother gave me a rosemary tree a few weeks ago and even though it died, it reminded me of how delicious rosemary smells, of happiness and love. Over the weekend, I bought fresh rosemary and thyme, made this marvelous rosemary chicken, then forgot about those fresh herbs. Yesterday afternoon—cold, grey, middle of the week, teenage boys bouncing around the house in their boxer shorts, heads bobbing over iPhones and laptops, losing their retainers, asking for math tutors and toothpaste—-I decided to clean out the freezer and cook down the chicken carcasses I’d been saving into broth. I threw baby carrots, a white onion and the leftover rosemary chicken into a pot with the old bones and made a pot of egg noodles to go with it. That was enough was dinner. I was tired of taking care of everyone. Then, I went back to the freezer to see what else I could unload. There were veal chops! My friend Terri, who introduces me to everything beautiful and delicious, had organized a delivery of meat from Florence Meat Market the week before Christmas. I had ordered veal chops, and forgotten about them. Now white butcher’s paper was sticking to them and they were frozen solid, but I had made an easy and delicious version of them with rosemary and thyme back in November. If I made them tonight, I would have reason to open a bottle of wine, chop up some rosemary and make everyone in the house happy. My younger son, who at first didn’t want any, asked for seconds. My older son grinned when he saw what we were having for dinner and said, “Mom, this is good.” Sometimes I’m a writer looking for solitude, sometimes I’m a mom, relieved that feeding my sons gives me such pleasure. Happy January.

Veal Chops With Rosemary Butter

(original recipe by Dorie Greenspan, adapted from Bon Appetit)



1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
Pinch of salt
4 12-ounce veal rib chops, each about 1 inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 4-inch-long fresh rosemary sprig
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth


Set oven to 375 degrees.

Make the rosemary butter: Whisk butter, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, and pinch of salt in small bowl to blend. Wrap rosemary butter in plastic wrap, forming 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Chill. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Get chops ready: Arrange chops in single layer in large baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary and 3/4 teaspoon thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub oil and seasonings into chops. (Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)  Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.

Cook the chops: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add rosemary sprig and garlic. Sauté until garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Discard rosemary sprig and garlic. (I did not discard them, since I like their flavors so much.) Increase heat to high. Add chops; cook until chops are browned and meat thermometer inserted horizontally into center reads 130°F, about 2 minutes per side (4 minutes altogether on stovetop).

Transfer chops to plate. Pour off drippings from pan. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add wine to skillet and cook until reduced to about 2 teaspoons, scraping up browned bits, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth; cook until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 30 seconds.

Now, put chops back into skillet and transfer chops to oven—careful, skillet handle is hot and heavy!

Keep chops in oven for 5 minutes, then take chops out, flip and cook for 7 minutes more (12 minutes altogether in oven.)

Drizzle sauce over chops.

Cut rosemary butter into 4 slices.* Place 1 slice atop each chop and serve.

  • Note: This is a lot of rosemary butter. I used about half of it and put the rest of it back in the fridge. The nice thing is that you now have rosemary butter in the fridge and will use it for something else.

Florence Meat Market  
Sawdust covers the floor of this area go-to specializing in custom-cut aged meats since 1936.
Address: 5 Jones St # 1, New York, NY 10014
Phone:(212) 242-6531
Hours: 8:30 AM – 6:30 PM

Eat It: Sweet Potato Candy

I made these because I really wanted to eat chocolate. For a year, I did something called the Whole Life Challenge. On this challenge, you can have as much butter as you want but you can’t have processed sugar.  I developed high cholesterol, which was bad, but I mostly gave up sugar, which was good, and surprising, because I was a serious sugar junkie. I don’t really miss it. Except when I do. Tonight I did. Tonight, I wanted to eat the dozens of chocolate covered almonds that were hiding in the freezer, some old brownies, and the milk chocolate covered marshmallow that my mother had given my kids a year ago. There were also boxes of Scharffen Berger and Russell Stover chocolates and a macaron from Ladurée sitting on the counter, a pile of goodies that various sadistic, well-meaning people had given us in December. Afraid of what I was capable of, I sliced up two sweet potatoes, poured a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on them, doused them with salt and pepper and roasted them at high heat. That sweet potato party killed my candy craving.Unknown-9

Sweet Potato Candy


Two sweet potatoes

2-3 tablespoons olive oil*

Salt and pepper to taste.

Set oven to 450 degrees.

Slice sweet potatoes thin with a sharp knife. Place on baking sheet. Douse with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes.


* You can substitute coconut oil for olive oil, and douse the sweet potatoes with sweet or smoked paprika. They are equally delicious this way.

Eat It: Steak at High Heat

It’s the beginning of the New Year and I want to just get on with it. Back to work, back to school, everyone out of the house, let’s go. My older son is home from college, which means I have two teenage boys in the house, plus my husband, an honorary teenage boy. Dinner is lasagna, rosemary roast chicken, risotto, steak, make it fast, keep it coming, reheat it whatever’s left over from last night, just put out some food, everyone is hungry and it’s cold outside. Flank steak is one of my favorite dishes to make, for them and for me. You marinate it in the morning, grill or broil it in the early evening, and it’s even better the next day, cold, with your fingers. I’ve been making the same flank steak recipe for years and a few weeks ago, decided to switch things up. I found this soy sauce-and-honey flank steak recipe on line. It is easy-as-pie. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. I’ve experimented with broiling the steak for 11-12 minutes—five or six minutes on each side—and now I’ve adopted Cal Peternell’s approach—five minutes in a hot cast-iron skillet, followed by seven minutes in an oven set to 450 degrees. If you make up the marinade in the morning, dinner is ready in under 15 minutes. Which on these short, dark days, is about all I can manage. As you can see from the picture, our dog is waiting for a piece to drop. Not tonight, love.Unknown-8
Flank Steak in Winter

Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Other ingredients:
2 pounds flank steak
1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl (I used glass.). Place steak in the bowl and turn so that it is completely coated with the marinade. (You can also place the steak and marinade in a freezer bag and place it in a bowl.) Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

2. Either turn your broiler on and plan to broil the steak for five to six minutes on each side.


Turn your oven on to 450 degrees. Wait about fifteen minutes and then put your cast iron skillet on the burner and let it get very hot. Add a little of the marinade to the skillet so that it covers the bottom. Then put steak on skillet for five minutes. Turn it over, and place skillet in oven for 7 minutes. (Be sure to use a mitt when touching the handle of your skillet since it will be very hot.)

3. Take steak out of oven and let sit for a few minutes before carving. If you are using a meat thermometer, it will be 125-130 degrees for rare, 140 degrees for medium rare and 150 degrees for medium.

4. Bring extra marinade to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

Eat It: Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken with Rosemary Butter

Unknown-6 This is the easiest roast chicken you will ever make. Ever. I found the recipe on page 204 in Cal Peternell’s wonderful book, Twelve Recipes. Peternell, a chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, relies heavily on a cast iron skillet and I decided that so should I. I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe how delicious and easy it was. Today is a grey Saturday afternoon, the first in January. I came home from yoga teacher training and my kids and husband were parked in front of their computers. My husband said he wanted to see “Star Wars” tonight. I really didn’t. My older son wanted to see two movies, back to back, and of course, neither was “Star Wars.” My younger son, who is usually totally up for a movie, wasn’t sure he wanted to see one since he had a big geometry test coming up. I decided we all needed a better attitude—it’s Saturday night, and the New Year, people!—and the house needed a better smell, at least literally. Cast iron skillet roast chicken with rosemary to the rescue. At a minimum, it would give us something to eat before we headed out for the movies.

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken with Rosemary (You will need a cast iron skillet for this recipe.)


1 3-4 pound chicken

Salt and pepper

1/2 stick of butter

Fresh rosemary, chopped up (about 1 tablespoon)


Turn oven to 475 degrees. Once it reaches 475 degrees, put cast iron skillet inside. While pan is heating, do the following:

Chop up rosemary. Put in microwavable bowl with half a stick of butter. Microwave for 30 seconds or so.

Wash chicken. Sprinkle with salt and butter. Lay chicken on back, legs up, and cover with rosemary butter, inside and out. Take cast iron skillet out of oven (be careful, it will be extremely hot) and put chicken in it, lets up. Put chicken back in the oven for 20 minutes. When timer goes off, don’t open the oven! Just leave chicken in there for 30 minutes more. (Total time in oven is 50 minutes.) As Peternell writes, “Don’t open the (oven) door and peek, have faith, and the chicken will be done 30 minutes later. This is for a 3 1/2-4 pound chicken—bigger or smaller, adjust the oven-off time by 5 minutes.) When it is done, brace yourself. This is magnificent chicken.