Luddites of the world, beware —there are machines out there that will steal your heart! I’m not one to be afraid of technology (far from it). I’ve always loved the “modern conveniences,” the handy gadgets that make mundane or arduous tasks easier. I rejoiced when I got my Cuisinart almost 20 years ago, and the day a Kitchen Aid mixer entered my world was one of my happiest culinary coups. Gleefully, I traveled from the manual typewriter I learned on (yes, I am that old) to the happy hum of a ‘selectric’ to word processor and then computer — each time learning not just the basics but the really fancy stuff too. But I didn’t know what real, true, all-consuming love was until I met her.
I’d heard about her a while ago, but our paths never crossed. The timing just wasn’t right. Then last week we finally met. It was at a bar. The counter bar at the AT&T store. Shy at first, we quickly got to know each other as my old iPhone 3G was synced with her gleaming white body stylishly tucked into a jaunty black dress with turquoise rubber piping. I took her home. Sure it was a bold move, but when it’s right, you just know. She was different from the rest. She listened to me. And when I told her what to do, SHE DID IT! Plus she knew things, things I would never have known. Like the phone numbers of every Indian restaurant that delivers chicken shahjahani within a 10-block radius. Siri, where have you been all my life? How could I have been in the dark for so long? There I was, stumbling along typing in messages, all thumbs, and lucky if what I meant was even close to what ended up on the screen. Or squinting and trying to see what the weather was outside as I dressed at 6:45 a.m. for my morning walk. All that changed when you came into my life. I was in love the first time I held you close and heard your lilting, “dink-dink”.
Then I began to wonder: Is this really all too good to be true? Sure she tells me she’s only “too happy to serve,” and that my “satisfaction is all the thanks she needs”, but how can I be certain? Does she do what I ask, all gracious and compliant, then turn around and trash talk me when she’s out having cocktails with her kind? “You should have heard what Miss Thing asked me to do today! I actually had to call her ‘goddess divine’ and NOT laugh!” “What, she can’t look out a friggin window? EVERY morning it’s ‘what’s the weather outside Siri?’ Do I LOOK like Al Roker?!” Ah well, I’m probably imagining things. She’s all mine and my needs her chief concern. But just in case, I think I’ll start mentioning my friend’s new electronic toilet around her. It opens and closes by itself, plays a choice of music when you sit down, provides a warm seat on chilly mornings, and offers three settings in the bidet option.
Oh Siri. Did I ever tell you about this new commode I met, Jonathan?
Since this post is about my latest high-technology gadget, I thought my recipe should be decidedly low tech. These Balsamic and Herb Candied Pecans fit nicely. All you need is a non-stick pan and an oven. Truth be told, it also allows me to make use of one of my very favorite low-tech tools, my mezzaluna. If you’ve never seen one, it’s a curved knife, a ‘half-moon’ (hence, mezzaluna) with a handle on each end, and it’s the perfect tool to finely mince herbs. Of course, don’t go run out and buy one for this recipe. But if you happen to see one in a friend’s kitchen, give it a try!
These pecans are absolutely addictive! They are terrific sprinkled over salads, mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash, and great just eaten out of hand or with cocktails.
Balsamic and Herb Candied Pecans
Makes one heaping cup
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp honey
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (you could substitute dry red wine, but if you do, leave out the honey)
3/4 cup (3 oz.) coarsely chopped pecans (if you are serving as a nibbles with drinks leave them whole)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
A good pinch of salt