Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Monday's Quick Hits: Sandy, a new way to enjoy peanut butter, and instant polenta

My sister in New York called me Sunday night and, without so much as a "Hello," said something along the lines of, "Yes, in case you were wondering, I am okay."

She was referring to Sandy, the discombobulating hurricane that bypassed Florida but is bearing down on our friends and family up North — the ones who usually call down here to see how we're holding up during storms.

Maybe we roll our eyes at their confused sense of Florida geography. To them, it's just a peninsula full of nut jobs with too much say in national elections. Frequent hurricanes are one of many factors that make it a barely habitable backwater, which is why they never bother to learn even its basic layout and why they call us even for storms hitting Pensacola or Key West.

Still, it's touching. They show they care. And I suggest you do likewise if you want to avoid bruised feelings when you all get together for the holidays.

But also, without making light of what could be a dangerous and destructive storm, I want to point out this, from the New York Times website:

"Forecasters said Hurricane Sandy could deliver something besides wind and rain: snow. Several feet of heavy, wet snow was expected in West Virginia and lighter amounts in Pennsylvania and Ohio that could bring down trees and power lines."

Looking out of my office window and seeing nothing but blue sky, I have to wonder how people can actually live up there.

•••

Speaking of the New York Times website, it exploded with a story about a completely different idea for peanut butter: combining it with pickles in sandwiches.

It struck a cord, I believe, because so many people love peanut butter but are deathly sick of every one of its standard accompaniments.

This author, Dwight Garner, suggested a replacement that not only breaks the mold — one that is crisp and vinegary rather than sweet and soft — but is incredibly common. He presented the possibility of vastly expanding the range of a good old peanut butter sandwich with an item found in every grocery and most convenience stores.

I figured that, as someone who snacks virtually around the clock, I was the perfect person to take this revolutionary recipe out for a spin. So, this morning in the break room, I laid out a grid of Mt. Olive kosher dills on one of those supposedly whole grain breads that are almost as soft as Wonder and smeared on a thick layer of Smucker's natural peanut butter.

I took a bite, waited for a moment to get used to the new sensation of garlicky brine mixing with peanuts, and found it ... darn good, definitely worth a place in the rotation of mid-morning, post-workout eats.

Just one warning: You might want to consider the source of this recommendation, seeing as one of the items already in this rotation is a sardine-and-jalapeno sandwich.

•••

Another food note:

Heard a radio show last week with people talking about how to speed up the cooking of polenta, the Italian version of grits that usually takes a half-hour of constant stirring. Just add a pinch of baking soda, which breaks down the corn meal's resistance to being saturated with water.

Works like a champ, I'm here to tell you. All polenta is suddenly instant polenta, and one my kids' absolute favorite breakfasts — polenta with olive oil and grated Parmesan as a side to a couple of over-easy fried eggs — can be feasibly served even on weekday mornings.

•••

One political note:

In case you haven't read this story, tinyurl.com/8jj5vde, by my co-workers Barbara Behrendt and Tony Marrero, and this editorial, tinyurl.com/9bzttev, please do.

I don't know it they will necessarily keep you from voting for the subject of both pieces, Republican County Commission candidate Jason Sager. But at least now you know for whom you're voting.

Monday's Quick Hits: Sandy, a new way to enjoy peanut butter, and instant polenta 10/29/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 29, 2012 12:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986

    College

    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  2. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings

    Bucs

    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  3. Review: More than 20 years later, 'RENT' still matters

    Stage

    TAMPA — Two decades after Rent shook up Broadway with a starkly joyous musical that demanded to be recognized, a nostalgic tour is taking audiences back.

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  4. Dennis Miller, headed to Tampa with Bill O'Reilly: 'We don't know each other that well'

    Events

    Dennis Miller often gets cast as the odd comic out these days.

    Dennis Miller will perform with Bill O'Reilly at the Spin Stops Here Tour at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [Spuffy Productions]
  5. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
[SCOTT KEELER | Times]