If you have been listening to the popular podcast, Serial, you probably know that tomorrow is a big day. They will release the last episode of the season at 7 in the morning. Even though I feel as though we’ll never know (or, will we?) who did it, I certainly hope that Sarah Koenig (the producer of the show) will come up with some sort of a closure to the story. I am not going to lie; I so badly want to talk about all the “whys” and the “hows” with you here, but I will not continue with it, as I do not want to spoil it for anyone.
I started listening podcasts regularly 4 years ago. Up until a friend told me about This American Life, I didn’t even know what a podcast was. It was a life changing experience for me. Shortly after listening to a couple of episodes of the show, I realized that I just couldn’t get enough of it. I was hooked. I went so crazy to a level that after downloading This American Life’s app on my I-pad, I listened to all episodes aired since 1995 in less than 3 months. You may not believe it, but we are talking about 500 + episodes here.
In time, I found out about other podcasts like Stuff You Should Know, American Test Kitchen Radio, TED Radio Hour, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and Start Up, to name a few. And of course, my new favorite Serial…
Sometimes people ask me about how I find time to listen to all these radio shows. It is simple; I download them on my Ipod and listen while I am washing the dishes, cleaning the house, cooking, and even sometimes when I am working out. I love it, because just like a good book, the stories told in these shows either teach me something or take me to another place through other people’s experiences.
What makes Serial such a good story for me is that, like all This American Life episodes, the story is so deeply researched and told without having the concern of “How can we make it so popular?” They know that if you tell a good story, it is (most likely) going to be popular. And, even if it does not, that is okay because the goal is to tell a good story. I think that is the definition of good journalism. As you listen to Serial, Sarah’s desire to find the truth making sure that no stone is left unturned makes you realize how hard legal cases can be and how unfortunate life is for some people. It really makes you think. For instance, up until I listened to Serial, I had never thought in depth about the feelings of a prisoner, or what it could be like to be the defender of such a crime with very limited evidence.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to listening to the final episode, and later talk about it with my friend Chrissann over coffee in the morning. We will both take the day off and spend it talking about the details of Serial. Do you listen to any podcasts? If so, which one is your favorite? I would love to know.
Since tomorrow will be a day of no cooking, I made this Spaghetti Bolognese today for tomorrow’s dinner. It was one of my mother’s signature dishes that I learned to make at a very young age. However, over the years I made minor changes to her original recipe, which happens to be the classic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe that you would find in an Italian cookbook. Two of those changes were (1) I omitted the bacon because I do not have access to the kind of bacon I like on the island, and (2) I added mushrooms because I like the umami flavor that they give to the final dish. Also, I love how nutritious and hearty they are. However, if you are a stickler for the traditional Spaghetti Bolognese, you are more than welcome to add bacon and take out the mushrooms out of this recipe.
On a final note, do yourself a favor, and open a bottle of Italian red wine (such as Chianti) to serve with this classic. I think, it truly completes the dish and adds an additional depth of flavor.Print
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large (or 2 small) onion, chopped
- 1 green chili, chopped
- 1 (14 ounces) can of diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-pound ground beef, 90-10%
- 8 ounces white button (or baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound (16 oz.) dried spaghetti or linguini
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or any other heavy bottom pot) in medium heat. Add onion and chili pepper. Cook until wilted, 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
- Add in the ground beef. Using a wooden spoon break it into smaller chunks. Cook, stirring frequently, until it is browned, 7-8 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the garlic, bundle thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaf, red wine, and chicken stock. Give everything a stir. Bring it to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, put the lid on, and let it to cook for 20-25 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on its package.
- Once the spaghetti is ready, drain it in a colander.
- Discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaf from the Bolognese sauce.
- Add drained pasta into the sauce. Stir it all together making sure that the pasta is generously coated with the sauce.
- Stir in the fresh basil and top it off with grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4.[br]Prep time: 15 minutes[br]Cook time: 45 minutes
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