Laura Rennie

two dinners, a book review and a political debate

Laura R.Comment
Last night I made linguine with spicy Italian sausage in a cream sauce. I cooked the sausage in one pot, the pasta in another, and in a final pot I sauteed peppers and onions in olive oil until done and then stirred in heavy cream, garlic, salt and pepper and a few pinches of cheese from a "fine Italian blend" bag. When the pasta and sausage were done I added them to the veggies and cream sauce and stirred until coated, then served. Rich, creamy, delicious.
Tonight I made what I'll call a southwestern chicken salad. I rubbed taco seasoning on three chicken breasts  and while they baked I heated black beans and corn. After the chicken was cooked I diced it and tossed it with more taco seasoning. To the lettuce I added the chicken, corn, beans, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a few crushed tortilla chips. We tried the salad without dressing but decided the lettuce tasted "dry" so we both added a small amount of dressing- he used parmesan peppercorn and I used three cheese ranch. I had intended to buy a chipotle dressing but forgot. It was delicious anyway, and we have plenty of leftovers! Note: if you are making a salad and know you'll have plenty leftover, store each ingredient separately so the lettuce won't get soggy. We had plenty of chicken, beans and corn left over.


Today I finished "The Poet of Baghdad" by Jo Tatchell. It's the true story of a famous Iraqi poet named Nabeel Yasin who became an Enemy of the State under Saddam and fled the country in 1979 with his wife and small son. I love books about the Middle East but had never read one that discussed Iraq during the rise of Saddam. It's a fascinating, shocking story that left me breathless. I absolutely recommend it, especially to those who fully believe in the importance of art and literature. "The Bookseller of Kabul" by Asne Seierstad is another powerful story about a man who is determined to keep culture alive in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. 


I never have the news on (oops), but I read about plans for a mosque to be built near Ground Zero in Newsweek. Apparently this issue has been in the news a lot lately, but today was the first I had heard about it. I've looked around online at more discussion on the topic and thought these opinion pieces from the Washington Post were interesting: Krauthammer and an opposing piece by Sargent. Read the comments left by readers. Also check out this pro-mosque piece written by two mothers who lost sons in 9/11.