sausage sandwich

sausage sandwich

 This is good.

My bread, my sausage, my mayonnaise, my egg squeezed out of my egg hole.

Okay maybe not that last part. Some egg from somewhere, to be honest, I don't know. I didn't have anything to do with it.

huevos, chile, tortilla

huevos  y chile

tortillas

Huevos rancheros.

Tortillas:

1/2 cup very hot water (some recipes use milk, pero la madre del Roberto usada aqua caliente)
1 tablespoon lard
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 Cup A/P flour

Mix, knead, rest. Divide into four segments. Roll the segments into balls. Heat a cast-iron pan or a griddle to medium hot.

Roll out tortillas

I fried them one at a time. They cook within one minute.

Pork chili:

* 2 LBs or so of pork shoulder, pork butt, pork roast, cut into reasonable chunks.

Pork chunks are browned in a stewing pot in batches to cover the bottom. Cooked pieces of meat are reserved in a separate bowl until the all the batches are done. The onion and garlic are browned in the same pot, then the pork is added back.

* 1 large white onion, diced
* 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon coriander
* 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
* 2 teaspoons thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon S/P
* 1 frozen package Hatch green chiles
* 1 small can diced jalapeños
* 1 small can diced chipotle in adobo

The Hatch chiles were purchased last year from a roadside vendor that roasted them in one of those gigantic rotating roasting cages while we waited underneath a tent. I chatted it up with the people there in the shade of the tent.

The chiles have been sitting at the bottom of the freezer since then. They're not in the best shape.

Eggs:

The eggs are scrambled gently as if making an omelette. Very low heat, the curd pushed toward the center of the pan. The liquid egg flows to the area of the pan vacated by the curd pushed away. A pile of gently cooked egg curd is built up in the center of the pan. Removed from heat well before the surface is set so that a thin layer of liquid egg remains on the surface like a sauce. Tap out of the pan onto a plate without folding. Or, go ahead and fold for double thickness of piled up eggy goodness.  

Cheese, cilantro.


omelette

omelette

Thank you, France.

fried rice

fried rice

almond brittle

almond brittle

almond brittle poured

The only reason this is brittle is because it's frozen. Used too much honey. Well, I guess that taught me a lesson, eh?


I didn't want to use corn syrup so I used honey instead. The honey wouldn't come out of the little plastic bear fast enough so I heated it in the microwave, then it all poured out at once. I dumped the whole bear's worth, about one cup. That was too much. Half the bear would have done.

When I added the vanilla at the very end, POW! It nearly boiled right out of the pot. It was spattering like lava alarmingly. Quite dramatic.

But before all of that I roughly chopped the almonds and heated them in a separate pan. They were reserved in a bowl for the very end.

* 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup honey (I used 1 cup and that was too much)

Boil. Do not stir. Swirl if you must, but do not stir. If you over stir, everybody dies. No really, the sugar re-crystalizes and you end up with a mess and must start over.

* heat to 300℉ / 150℃ Here's where a thermometer is handy. Otherwise, candy makers use the soft-ball water test. They stick their finger a knife in the mixture then into a glass of water and test to see if the ball of sugar stays soft or turns hard. The color of the sugar is also a clue to doneness. Brown is nutty flavor, and very dark brown is a horrible disgusting burnt flavor. Plus, burning sugar makes the kitchen stink. So you have those clues working for you.

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 teaspoon baking powder

It foams when you add the baking powder. If you add a liquid, like I did with the vanilla, then it boils violently and immediately and threatens to overtake even a four quart or four liter pot.

Turned out onto a buttered pan or one covered with buttered aluminum foil. I used a Silpat. The foamy mixture is stretched using two forks as it cools. This gives a last chance to arrange the nuts on the tray as the mixture hardens.

catfish,hushpuppies

catfish,hushpuppies

These catfish pieces were in the freezer for-eh-ver. They had ice crystals stuck all over 'em. They looked bad, real bad, real real bad, I'm tellin'n ya, they were so bad even my cat looked at me with a  clear expression of  disgust. I don't even own a cat, it showed up just to show disgust.

So I can't believe how good they turned out. This gives me hope for the future of ice-frosty fish.

* A/P flour into a bowl
* equal amount of corn meal into the same bowl
* S/P/cayenne into the bowl

* 1 egg into another bowl
* equal amount of milk with the egg.
* mix

* dredge
* drench
* re-dredge

Hot oil 350℉ / 175℃ until a light golden brown. More of a dark golden rod brown. No wait, a sienna brown. No, wait, wait, wait, a saddle brown, that's it, a saddle brown. Definitely a saddle brown. Maybe a cocoa brown. Okay, forget about the color, just cook 'em 'til they're done.

crackers and blue cheese

crackers and cheese plated

crackers pile


This was dinner.

The cheese is some kind of Swiss blue. The tone of the cheese guy's voice was not recommending by his answer to my questions, "Well, if you like it strong ... then okay." I do like it strong. I mean, come on, what's the point of blue cheese otherwise? I was actually looking for Stilton, the creamy kind that comes in a crock. Not to be found in the places I've looked here in town. But I haven't given up. I must broaden my search. Oh, I can find plenty of the hard kind, but that's not what I want. Maytag matches any of those. Including this. I'm not complaining, mind you, it's just that I know what I want for my crackers, and it is dinner.

* 2 cups A/P flour
*1/2 cup WW flour
*1/2 cup olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 to 1 cup water
processed
rested
rolled out thickly this time
seasoned on top
scored but not cut
docked with the tines of a fork
baked at 375℉ / 190℃ for 11 minutes (mine needed a few extra minutes to dehydrate completely)
yield: two standard half baking trays plus a little extra that made about 1/3 of a tray.

flatiron steak

flatiron plated

flatiron food saver

flatiron cooked




Flatiron, Butler's steak, Oyster blade. Shoulder top steak cut from the chuck. The area has a serious flaw -- tough connective tissue, fascia, running through the center, that must be cleverly removed before anything can be done with this. It benefits greatly from marination.

Well then, marination it is. In amounts to suit you. The surplus can be reserved to form the basis for a sauce.

* Olive oil
* wine
* parsley (I used cilantro because I'm all, eh, with the parsley)
* chive ( I used onion because I wanted something stronger)
* pepper
* sea salt
* dry mustard

That's what I used for the marinade and for the sauce. If I would have thought of it I'd have included rosemary. The sauce had extra beef broth, fresh wine, and finished with butter. It made an excellent sop for the leftover bisonburger buns from yesterday which served very nicely as today's bread.

The steak is rubbed and stuffed inside a Foodsaver™ bag, the air sucked out to compress the marinade against the meat. I left it in the refrigerator overnight. It might not have needed to be that long. The bits scrapped off, patted dry, rubbed with oil, set into a very hot cast-iron pan. Seared on both sides, finished under the broiler for a few minutes. Less than you might imagine. Removed to a plate, the hot pan repurposed to put a sear on the broccoli. Water thrown into the hot pan to steam the broccoli because it wasn't going fast enough. The surplus marinade then boiled in that same pan already used twice. See? One pan!

The pan cannot be cleaned in the ordinary way with strong detergent. It gets special treatment to preserve its carefully cultivated no-stick patina. I take it down to the river and rinse it out -- the cold clear-water high-mountain river that flows through my imagination.


bison burger

Photobucket

Today I was sent a coupon for a free McDonald's hamburger.

I hold no ill-will toward an incredibly successful international corporation that meets a demand so excellently, but still, I automatically go, "Ha ha ha ha ha. You gotta be kidding. Stop it, you're killing me over here."

I wouldn't bother with those buns or those burgers or that mayonnaise unless I was in some sort of destitute situation or suffering a lapse of questionable judgement, because I pity them.


The buns are easy as throwing a package into a shopping cart.

* 3/4 cup warm water into a bowl
* 3/4 teaspoon active yeast
* 1 and 1/2 cup white flour.
* 1/3 teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 or 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour, enough to create a loose dough that's not sticky.

Combine ingredients. Allow to rise at room temperature to double. Dump from bowl onto a work surface. Divide into thirds. Shape into flattened discs. Place on parchment paper or Silpat. Cover with an inverted plastic storage bin. This acts as a proofing box.

Run errands.

Preheat oven to high.

Bake buns for about 12 minutes.

wild Pacific salmon, black-eye peas, white rice

Wild Pacific Salmon,black-eye peas,white rice

With orange and lemon sauce.

I made a real lunch that took planning and created a propper mess.

Preparation time: 12 hours.

Kidding.

Dry beans were soaked overnight. Does that count for preparation time? It only took thirty seconds. Oddly, the beans cooked more quickly than the rice.

Beans:

* Chopped bacon into a pre-heated pot.
* When the bacon bits are almost done, add chopped onion.
* When the onions and bacon are really really almost almost almost done, add chopped garlic. Heat through, remove to separate bowl or plate. The point here is to reserve as much of the bacon fat as possible. Some goes along with the bacon/onions, some stays in the pot.
* Season the oil in the pot to suit your tastes. Consider bay leaf, brown sugar, but reserve to the end molasses if you're using that. I used coriander and cumin and my own house mix chile flakes with a touch of brown sugar, S/P.

Wild Pacific salmon fried in butter flesh-side down first. Flipped before it was half way done. Removed before it was cooked through.

Sauce. Orange juice directly into the messy pan. I was going for an orange-colored sauce but my pan had so much flavor bits in it that it changed the color to not very attractive. Added lemon. Thickened with corn starch.

handmade Graham crackers

graham crackers,homemade

Graham-style crackers made at home.

Apparently Sylvester Graham didn't much care for refined white flour. He devised his own way of milling the components of wheat separately, the endosperm ground finely, the germ and bran ground coarsely then recombined to form -- wait for it -- Graham flour -- the panacea for all that ails, a cure-all for a new generation, who are now all quite dead. I'm depressed already.


This is a short dough. A lot of butter in there. A lot of brown sugar too, and I would imagine that would counteract whatever health benefits Graham attained through his specialized uniquely milled wheat. Dontchya think?

I used light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar and I must say these crackers are lacking a certain depth.

Online recipes vary greatly. Some use an abundance of molasses other mix the cinnamon in the dough.  I substituted 2 cups of my own whole wheat and that worked out fine. I think with dark brown sugar they'll be even better, and with entirely white flour you'll be well chuffed with the results although they'd be the opposite of what Sylvester Graham ever intended .

3 cups flour
7 oz (nearly one stick) frozen butter cut into cubes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. (I could have used more. Maybe 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt will do)
1 teaspoon baking soda. Do you see an acid in here anywhere? Is molasses an acid? Is brown sugar considered acidic? Why the baking soda? What's it for? 

1/2 cup honey
1/4 milk. These two liquids are combined to add to the flour as it processes.

Cinnamon and white sugar combined for the topping.

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients until a dough forms.

Refrigerate for a about an hour or so.

Divide the dough in two. Roll out 1/2 the dough.

375°F / 190°C for 11-15 minutes. Watch them like a hawk. Like a hawk that has his eyes on a rabbit in the distance. A hungry hawk. That's it, a hungry hawk with great eyesight watching a careless rabbit who is frolicking around getting lost in the wonder of its environment and has momentarily let down its guard. A hawk that is so ready to swoop and strike that it's not even funny and the whole world can feel the tension and the drama all wound up in the tension of that moment. Because nobody likes burnt Graham crackers.

miso with curry

miso with curry

Sliced onions and garlic, into a pot with olive oil. Seasoning including a small amount of green  curry powder. Dried mushroom powder, because I saw the tin sitting there and thought, "That might be nice."  Saki, about 1//2 ounce followed by commercial chicken stock. One, clump of dried Asian cellophane noodles similar to Ramen. One tablespoon pale South River miso. Basil torn on top.

Mexican breakfast

Mexican breakfast

* Chicken broth and beef broth, about 1+3/4 cups.

* Seasoned with bay leaf, oregano, thyme, and  cumin. No chile this time. 

* Pinto beans processed to powder, about 3/4 cup. The liquid was already boiling, the bean dust thickened the liquid immediately. The heat was turned back to nearly nothing.

Tortillas:

* 1 cup whole wheat flour.
* 1 cup A/P flour. I do not recommend this combination. The more A/P flour used, the softer the tortillas. The more WW flour used, the more brittle the finished tortilla.
* 2 Tablespoons lard worked into the flour
* 2 level teaspoons baking powder.
* 1 teaspoon salt.
* 1 cup hot tap water, thereabouts, enough to bring the dough together, mileage will vary, knead dough briefly, let rest for ten minutes.
* roll out, or press and patty-cake out flat like a Mexican mamasita, una mujer muy experta en la fabricación de las tortillas.
* fry in a heavy pan on medium without oil. The fat within the tortilla will prevent them from sticking.

black bean dip, cheese crackers.

black bean dip

This was dinner. The advantage of grinding dry beans in a coffee grinder is that they cook fairly instantly. Sure beats soaking and cooking for hours. Oh, does my culinary experimental nature know no bounds? I hope not.

Butter with seasoning, diced onion and garlic. Chicken broth. Slightly over double the liquid to the bean powder.

In this instance, I added a few tablespoons ground corn too because I wanted to impart a country grits flavor to the beans. That worked nicely, but it altered the texture to resemble polenta, which tends to harden as it cools. I don't care much for that. This could be improved with with a more daring dangerous fat, say, bacon, or possibly with lard. I originally intended to include chunks of uncured ham but I forgot to add it. It seems to me any herb will work. I added cayenne at the beginning with the oil, and pimento at the end, but your chiles of choice in any form will work.

Of course it doesn't have to be my delicious overly-seasoned cheese crackers either. Regular tortillas would be wonderful.

I'm going to do this again.


cheese crackers

cheese crackers

These are the best crackers in the world. No brag, just fact. If you like cheese crackers -- and who in their right mind doesn't? -- then you'll love these. (I have a friend who's not in his right mind. He once stated flatly, referring to Cheese Its, "nobody likes those." Oof. That was the day it was confirmed that I pal around with babbling idiots. The remark delivered orbiter dicta hit me with the force of a body-blow, and challenged me to reassess my entire associative life.)

chickpeas
chickpea flour
chickpea flour measured
cheese and butter for cheese cracers
* 1 cup chickpea flour
* 1 cup whole wheat flour
* 1 cup A/P flour
* 2 measured teaspoons baking powder, optional, but I wanted these crackers to be light. They are. I could have maybe even gone 3 level teaspoons.

* 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
* 2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
* 4 oz butter

So this batch is a very short dough. That means it contains a lot of fat. We like fat. We're all for it.

* 1/2 cup heavy cream (it's all I had on hand)
* 3/4 approx. milk, sufficient for the processor to bring the dough to a ball that banged around the processing bowl.

The dough was divided into three sections. The trim was reprocessed with a touch more milk and and rolled out. That amounted to four trays exactly. Except the last tray also had trims. That tiny amount remaining was also rolled out with no concern for it being in the shape of a square. It made about 1/4 to 1/3 of a tray.

400˚F / 200˚C for 10 minutes

The main thing to understand is that all these ingredients, their amounts, temperature, and time are fungible. Swap out any liquid, any fat (you can even omit fat), baking powder (omit if you wish) and grain, as I have here, swapped legume for grain, and whole wheat for A/P, cream and milk for water.

That book that I mentioned earlier down there ↓ in a previous post, the one that I can not recommend bothering with, instructs to bake everything at 350˚ / 175˚C, which is too low to suit me. On the the other hand, if I were to roll them more thickly then I'd probably want to give them more time to dehydrate. Incidentally, the book was written before Silpat silicone baking mats were available, and it doesn't mention parchment paper, either of which I would deem indispensable. It also instructs to cut each cracker then lift it to a baking tray, which is patently ridiculous. Score the entire sheet, then slide it onto the baking sheet using the parchment or the Silpat. Then break apart the baked sheet along the scores. See? A little common sense goes a long way. It's hard to believe those authors made all those crackers without discovering a few baker's techniques.

Oh, yeah, the dough. Purdy, innit?
cheese cracker dough


Cocoa puffs, banana

coco puffs with banana

I gathered all my culinary skill and poured that milk like a pro, one-handedly, no spillage, from a gallon. I brought out my brand new 8" chef's knife, sharp as knives come, and sliced that banana with the confidence of a samurai and the silent swift deftness of a ninja.

It turns the milk to chocolate! That fills my heart with joy and wonder.

cold roast, mashed potatoes, red pepper sauce

cold roast,mashed potatoes,red pepper sauce

Cold comfort. Leftover roast unheated. Leftover mashed potatoes with brown reduced wine sauce turned red by roasted red bell peppers, the kind that come in a jar.

The seasoning on the meat is Brittany sea salt, crushed tellicherry peppercorn, and cayenne pepper.

The sauce is a glorified gravy. This sauce is so good it'll make ya wanna smack yer mamma. But I don't recommend that, especially my mamma because she smacks back, and I mean hard.

* Butter melted in a pan until the foam disappears.
* 2 fresh bay leaves. This is a lot of bay for a small amount of liquid, but it's not going to be soak very long.
* 1 sprig fresh sage, a few leaves
* 1/4 diced onion, about 1/4 cup
* 1 clove garlic sliced thinly
* S/P/C
* 1 cup red wine boiled down to 1/2 cup
* 1 and 1/2 cup beef broth boiled down to 3/4 cup
1/3 teaspoon flour whisked in vigorously

Simmer all this until it's sufficiently reduced and concentrated then strain into a tall mug or mason jar. This goes faster than you might imagine.

3 commercial bell peppers from a jar buzzed into the strained mixture.


chickpea polenta, white fish with sauce vierge, poached egg

chickpea polenta,white fish,vierge sauce,poaced egg

New American Breakfast, nineteenth in a series, where unnecessary starches especially grain is foresworn and everything else is accepted.

Well, it's 5:00 PM and just about time for breakfast.

Yesterday was a late lunch and an even later dinner and more cocktails than I usually have in a month. Three.

I'm glad that my friend called me for dinner because it gave me a chance to deliver the card I made which cancelled the need to post it, and that erased the need to get up early to make it to the PO before things get busy. This is the first time I was present, no wait, the second time, I was present to gauge the reaction of the recipient which I can say was, eh.

Pois chiches polenta, poisson blanc avec sauce vierge, oeuf poché. Now that's how one would up jazz up what amounts to leftover fish.

Garbanzo beans, chickpeas, the dried kind that come in a bag or from the bulk bins. Also sold in cans all over the place. They're unavoidable. Used the world over, by friends and enemies alike. A powerhouse of a legume there. Apparently. We used to have a housekeeper who put them in everything. This turned my impressionable formative mind against them because to my thinking they had no business in my salad. But I have since matured and changed that childish opinion.

I would have liked to mill them into flour but they're too large for the slots of the Nutrimill. I thought of smashing them with a hammer and putting the broken bits into the feeder. Instead, I replaced the new coffee grinder that wore out from undisciplined abusive overuse with another new coffee grinder. They're so cheap on Amazon, we could go on like this forever. Now the New new grinder turned those hard garbanzos into dust in no time flat. No need at all to drag out the mill. This powder was intended for crackers, but there it sat, urging me, daring me, challenging me to use it like cornmeal or grits. Polenta. Behold: I have invented chickpea polenta, and for this I will be awarded the highest honors, and acknowledged as the guy who completely challenged culinary convention. Unless, of course, somebody else beat me to all that. In that case, never mind.

* 3/4 cup water
* 3/4 cup chicken broth
* [into that, the herbs that I have that seemed good to use. Fresh tarragon, bay, and sage leaves. They were added to the liquid, boiled for awhile, when they filled the kitchen with their scent, they were removed and discarded. It would have made a fine if thin soup right there. ]
* 3/4 cup chickpea flour
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon tahini
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 smashed/diced garlic clove
* 1/50th teaspoon s/p/c house mix, where c=cayenne. Possibly 1/20th, it's hard to tell.

Boil the liquid. Add everything. Stand back because it quickly becomes volcanic. Hardly no cooking required at all, actually.

It totally works. This was fun to watch come together. It's easy to imagine it flavored otherwise.

Smeared in a thin layer all over a plate.

* fish and vierge sauce held over from yesterday's lunch
* egg poached in acidified salted water, the extra giggly albumen trimmed around the edges of a slotted spoon.

But I'm not positive about this qualifying for the NAB series. Chickpeas are not grains but they are seeds and grains are seeds too. Here's how I see it.

seeds VENN


So no, chickpeas are not grain. Or are they? You know these botanical classifications are entirely arbitrary anyway -- divisions made in accordance to somebody else's thinking, and that change as the thinking changes, with no concern at all to my own thoughts and efforts about developing grain-less New American Breakfasts, so ordered to help counter the problem of overweightedness which is broadly acknowledged as a national pandemic. Pandemic. How's that for hyperbole? Obesity is not even an actual illness. Still, anyone whose been to a public pool, or a VFW picnic, or a bingo parlor, or a fourth of July BBQ, or even a gay bathhouse where one could see more fat flabby gelatinous asses than on BBW bathing suit runway and where one could reasonably expect at the very least a modicum of vanity, let's just say anywhere and everywhere, could confirm that it's a problem that needs addressing.

Okay, so I might have exaggerated there a little bit again. The point I'm getting at is maybe we should leave off the chickpeas, I don't know. I think they're actually healthy.

lemon trees from seeds

baby lemon tree

I've been making the most delicious iced tea lately that verges on lemonade.

* two random Celestial Seasonings tea bags
* three regular tea bags, Luzianne, Lipton's etc.
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 whole lemon

I heat a small pot of water nearly to boil, add the sugar to dissolve. Put in the tea bags.  

Entire lemon squeezed into the 2 quart pitcher. Cool.

Usually I drink the entire two quarts in one day. Rarely does it last longer than that.

So that's a lot of lemons.

They're purchased by the bag-full from different sources. Some have a lot of pips and iscarding them causes some vague nearly undetectable unease. I cannot quite put my finger on it and in a few moments of unfocused thought I allow free form association and I am briefly transported visually and by feel to a period between kindergarden and first grade.

I see a picture of my father, as a video, turning over to me dozens of tiny clay pots. I recall that, like it was an event. They were delightful little toys -- the way they stacked so perfectly. I was intrigued by their red clay coarse perfection. I stacked them different ways. Smashed a few, of course, com'on, I'm a boy, we must see how things break. I wondered why they each have a perfect little hole on the bottom. Wouldn't they be better without a hole? It didn't make sense.  The contents would fall out. I objected to them having holes. I filled them all with dirt, and sure enough, the dirt fell out through the holes. And sure enough they were a mess because of that. I planted every seed that I encountered. Apple seeds. Orange seeds, grapefruit seeds, watermelon seeds, peach seeds, plum seeds, grape seeds, everything good that I like except vegetables.

The house had an oriel window with a built-in bench that faced  the front street. It was akin to a greenhouse extension. My parents tolerated me lining the whole window with the little clay pots. There were dozens of them. I think, nearly fifty. Now, can you imagine having a child such as myself with such continuous childish experiments  interfering constantly with your own sense of interior design? I can not imagine that myself and that's why I adore my parents so much for that. They were true parents to me and very supportive and encouraging in every instance I can think of.

But we moved frequently, and that overturned a lot of things by fiat. I was always being undermined by the fait accompli of relocation. In this case, the plants survived one relocation but failed a second move when we transferred overseas.  I turned over to my grandmother whose neglect caused them to freeze. She wasn't into it and she didn't have the heart to tell me. It was an imposition on her and I did not know that. Fact is, she didn't know me, didn't love me, didn't care about the plant or about having a relationship with me, I understood all this from that tree-neglect, and I was never really able to regard her the same since.

Back.

Well then. I should plant the lemon seeds.

The seeds went directly into the dirt. So too the seed of the next lemon. And the next lemon. And the next lemon. And the next lemon. And so on until no more seeds fit in the pot. Covered with plastic.

Weeks elapse. Nothing happens.

what's going on here?

The seeds do not germinate and I do not understand that. ?

Turns out, the seeds are somewhat protected apparently to delay germination.

I peel the seed, carefully with an X-acto knife, like a banana, and get to the seed which is really underneath the denser outside coating.

peeled lemon seeds

This discovery motivated a second round of lemon seed planting. 

baby lemon trees


The seeds shorn of their outer coating and planted showed me that I probably wasn't going far enough. By accident I ripped off the brownish outer shell of the already shorn pip to reveal  innermost seed. It is very easily broken and I believe this is the portion to aim for.

Photobucket

This is a little trickier to get at. I learned that by making careful slash through the length of the seed then using my fingernail to strip off the shell, like a banana, except how a monkey peels a banana, not how a human peels a banana, that is, straight through a center break like the alien bursting through a victims chest. This is where fingernails take over, and ah got no fingernails, see?

Photobucket

So if I can do it with these short things then you should be able to do it with whatever fingernails you've got.


white fish, sauce vierge

fish red bell pepper,sauce vierge

My heart is filled with joy and warmth toward all of humanity.

Today at the fish counter I go, "That white fish next to the wild salmon looks muy delicioso."

Guy behind the counter, a handsome chap, looked a little out of place there, "It does look muy delicioso," in pitch-perfect gringo-accented Spanish. I love it when people echo my mixed language. It connects us instantly.

"What is it anyway?"

"Dunno. Just got here and it wasn't marked." He shuffled fish-tags as one would examine a deck of cards. "I have no idea what it is."

"Whatever. I'd like to take the one nearest you."

Still looking for a tag, becoming distressed because other people were waiting. He paged for help. Another guy arrived but by then the other customers dispersed so now it was me and those two workers. One of them goes to the back to look for a similar package, comes back empty. They concurred to give me the fish for free.

FREE, I said.

But I have no idea exactly what type of fish it is. It doesn't matter. It's tender, flaky white.

First, the rest of the red bell pepper, cut into strips, burnt briefly in a trace of oil, and removed to a plate. The pan is now ready to toast the crushed peppercorns and coriander seeds.

Sauce vierge, literally, virgin sauce. So-called because it's pure, no mucking about. Chosen for this fish because I, myself, am so goddamn pure and simple.

screen shot

Uh oh.

You're supposed to use a couple plum tomatoes, I used one heirloom tomato. Nice substitution there. Nearly zero seeds.

* black peppercorns + coriander seeds crushed in a stone smasher. Mortar and pestle, that's it, except I don't know which is which. At any rate, there's more control over granular size than there is with the coffee grinder. Plus dragging it out builds up one's arm muscles. Extra plus you get to pound and make a bit of noise. Heat this in the pan the bell pepper strips were singed .

coriander,pepper

coriander pepper crushed

* 1/4 cup olive oil, to kill the smoke from the heating seeds. Give it a minute to flavor before adding the allium members, whatever you've chosen.

* Shallot segment + garlic clove, finely diced. Just to heat through. No point in sweating them to death. Sufficient to flavor the oil and to take the edge off the garlic, about a minute.

shallot

garlic

* tomato, finely diced. Heat cut off, warmed through, not cooked. See? It's a virgin and it stays that way, diced yes, heated yes, but not cooked.

Man, I'm tellin' ya, French people sure have strange ideas about virginity. Anyway.

* lemon. It must be lemon. It cannot be lime, It cannot be citron. It cannot be rice vinegar, or champaign vinegar, or cider vinegar, or wine vinegar, or raspberry vinegar, it MUST be lemon. It must be a perfect lemon, or just forget about the whole thing.

Kidding.

lemon

* basil + flat-leaf parsley, at the very very very end. I used cilantro because that's what I have, and I'm not that big on parsley anyway, so disinclined to have it on hand. I know, I know, it's fundamental, but so?

I love the way this coats my lips like melted lip-balm. I like it so much I'm reticent to wipe it off, and so sit there with a milk-mustache except it's flavored olive oil. It's unctuousness coats the entire mouth on contact and the delicate fish slides right through, but that unction is cut with lemon and it carries the flavors of spice and herb, the aromatic herbs having prepared the way. It is wonderfully simple, it is simply wonderful. I resist the impulse to lick the empty plate -- because what you think I am over here, unmannered?

Fish pan-fried in olive oil. It tightened up and was it taking too long to suit me so I brought out the lid, dumped 1/2 cup water into the pan, and covered it. Let it steam for a minute, then removed it. It was cooked perfectly, if I may say so. But only about half the people I know would accept that determination. The half that wouldn't agree, frankly, do not know whereof they opine. Inlanders, I say, without the first clue how seafood is to be treated.

[When I was questioning the fish at the counter, the guy goes, "Dya wanna try some?" I honestly thought he intended me to sample it raw. So braced for spontaneous raw fish, I go, "Really? Raw?" He goes, "No. No. No. I meant, would you like to take some home to try." And I'm all, what's the fun in that?]

This is so easy to eat, honestly, I could consume ten times this amount and not be full or tire of it.

Is it worth the trouble of making the sauce? Yes. No trouble at all. I tasted the fish by itself, and I must say that it's nothing special, but this sauce alters everything amazingly.



green salad, Asian dressing

salad,salad,Asian dressing,Asian dressing


Where sauce = dressing.


I've been making this dressing, or some version of it, ever since I was a little bitty bouncing boy … twenty-one years of age. Hey, I was a waif, ah-ite?


I couldn't be arsked to measure anything because, numbers, eh, they're not my bag, Man. But if I would break down and measure sometime, say in my dotage carefully reading along scripted instruction, it would turn out like this:


screen shot


There was about half the dressing remaining in the bowl after I tossed the salad. So this makes an excess for one decent sized salad, and by decent I mean huge, and by huge I mean huge for one person not huge for ten people.


I LOVE those red peppers burnt in a pan. Done in strips with a little oil, it's no problem at all. Takes only a minute. Do not peel, leave the black on for FLAVAH!


As a kid I would have rejected that idea. Burnt, ick. But now as a Western chile-eat'n guy I'm totally cool with it. You have to hand it to those Central Americans and Southwestern EE.UU. Americans, they sure do know how to handle chile peppers and not just the hot ones. This is best done on an open fire but that technique is discouraged by city ordinance and the apartment lease agreement where I live downtown.


The same pan and oil can be used to put a singe on the courgette, zucchini if you like. I prefer to roll it while I'm cutting so the discs come out at irregular angles and with areas of uneven thicknesses on each disc. That is so cool! The result is a tossed and tumbled carefree cut that is thoughtfully achieved.


Speaking of cuts, I lost a chef's knife. Now I ask you, how does one lose an 8" chef's knife? This confounds me completely. Today Melody and I looked e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e for it, even in illogical places. Finally Melody concluded it was accidentally thrown away, and I must say, it's beginning to seem like that must have been what happened. So I bought another one. A much better one.


Oh, I forgot to mention. Cilantro and mint again. That is one great combination there, so great I enhanced it further with double the amount of basil. So the greens in this salad are bib lettuce, I think it's bib, kind of thick for bib, and all those herbs. It's so aromatic you get high just smelling it. Okay, that's a lie, you don't get high, but you do get a lot sweeter. I feel so perfumy with minty-fresh breath. That's my one super power -- minty fresh breath.


mung bean crackers, mango salsa

mung bean crackers,mango salsa

As stated, I'm all about sauces now. Crackers without sauce? Inconceivable!

Salsa = sauce, gravy, dressing, relish.

Incidentally, "mole" mo-lay, also means sauce, mole being the generic name for several different sauces, the most famous containing chocolate. It's Mexican Spanish from a Nahautl word for concoction. It could just as easily be called "brown sludge" because that's what I always see, no matter how delicious.

Mango salsa:

Mango chopped finely
diced onion also chopped finely
grated fresh ginger
lime, but I got no lime, so I used lemon
cilantro
mint
scant 1/4 teaspoon sugar
scant 1/8 teaspoon cumin
my house mix of Brittany sea-salt/tellicherry peppercorn, and cayenne pepper.

Now how 'bout that? Mint and cilantro. Wow! Is that stuff ever good. I want MOAR!

I went to the bulk bins at Whole Foods and rummaged around for odd grains. I love those bins but I must admit to being a little bit disappointed with my local Whole Foods. They seem big on rices. I was looking specifically for triticale, a cross between rye and two types of wheat. Blasphemy! Frankenfoods! Genetically manipulated! Oh wait. We've been doing that in slow motion for millennia. Never mind then, all is well. I see Triticale on Amazon in grain form, flour and flakes. But all that makes me wonder, as far as crackers go, how different could it be from just mixing rye with wheat?

I was also looking for teff but the neighborhood WF is also teff-less.

I bought Quinoa flour (keen-wah). After I bagged the flour I then noticed the grain. I'd prefer the grain and mill it myself. Flax flour, azuki beans (red, Japanese) and mung beans (green Chinese) and something else. Oh yeah, kemet wheat grain.

The kemet surprised me. The grains are huge. I figured they'd be tiny considering it's an earlier version of wheat. Egyptian wheat. Not like spelt or anything, actual genetic wheat. The size of the grain makes me think it's a modern hybrid version of the earlier grain. You know how they do, to make each grain stalk more productive.

Did you know Kemet is the Egyptian word for Egypt? Well it is. Trust me, I know these things. Imagine, naming Egyptian wheat grain "Egypt." Why, the audacity!

Here lemme break it down for ya, it goes like this:

kmt kemet hieroglyphic

I drew that myself. The zig-zaggy thing is a piece of crocodile skin. It stands for the consonant sounds "k-m." The owl means a lot of things but here it stands for the consonant "m." This type of redundancy is characteristic of hieroglyphic writing. It's reaffirming the m in k-m, not repeating the sound. You just have to know when the letter is repeated and when it's not. The little half circle stands for the sound "t." It is supposed to represent a loaf of bread, in fact, it's first in category X, loaves and cakes, in Gardiner's list of Egyptian signs. Just to show you how fundamentally it's thought to be bread. But I dispute that categorization. That's right, I said it. I dispute the sainted Gardiner whom every English-speaking Egyptologists who followed has studied and at whose feet they worshiped. Here's why I am so bold. The sound t is indeed used for the word bread, in fact, that is the word, t, probably with some unknown vowel either in front of or behind it, and so it's used quite often because bread figures so broadly in offerings, and offerings figure so importantly in Egyptian life, but the sign itself never does represent bread pictorially in art. All the other bread signs that follow in Gardiner's category X, also pronounced t, do appear pictographically in art, not just in words. As hieroglyphics blend into art painted on walls and on papyrus, and chiseled in stone, you could expect the sign to at least be stacked up with all the other breads on the offering tables, but it never is.

Moreover, color is also a symbol. Egyptians had three types of black and all three types mean different things. One type blending into blue, means something entirely different from the shiny jet black of the universe void. And those two mean something different still from the soft flat matt black of the Egyptian mud. In Egyptian painting, when all the colors are used, which isn't always, that sign is inevitably painted black. Not a toasty bread-brown, but black. And not just any ol' black either, the dull flat black of mud. The color that tends to fall off the walls and leave a blank spot that sometimes appears unpainted. This group of signs for Egypt, k-m-t, means "the Black Land" and that t is colored the black of Egypt itself. The Red Land refers to the desert. So. that little half circle, I believe, does not represent bread at all, rather, it represents a mud mound. The type of mound one can reasonably expect to appear as the annual flooding recedes, a welcome sight indeed. The primordial mound.

Nobody knows what the vowels are that go in-between the consonants so it's anybody's guess. Generally guessers guess "e" except in those cases where a better guess is available through some other cross reference.

The full circle with the cross in it that looks like a wagon wheel means "town," or "city," or "state." It's a determinative sign meaning "a named place." It is not pronounced.

So there you have it. Kemet means Egypt in the ancient Egyptian language.


I milled all those grains and beans including the kemet one at a time in the Nutrimill. I'm a little self-conscious using that thing when people are around because it sounds like a gigantic vacuum cleaner. Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. It takes a long time to wind down and then sounds like a jet aircraft when the milling chamber is empty. Now I have bags of all kinds of off-the-wall grains to experiment with making crackers.

mung bean crackers

These are mostly mung bean crackers and they're, er, a little bit different.

I love them. Not everybody will.

2 cups mung bean flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup white A/P flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
pile of cilantro
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Sriacha sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
2 level tablespoons wasabi powder (the harsh fake kind)
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water.

This produced a sticky dark green mess that bogged down the processor and required adjustment. I added another handful of A/P flour and 1/3 cup more water on the work table. Abandoned the processor and kneaded the mass there on the work surface.

cilantro

mung bean cracker dough

mung bean cracker dough roll

mung bean crackers,scored and docked

The first tray was a little bland for my taste. Insufficiently salty, insufficiently hot. The following trays I sprinkled liberally my house S/P/C mixture. and pressed it in with the rolling pin. That fixed it nicely.

The crackers forfeit their lovely green color through baking.

The aromatic quality of cilantro, so outstanding fresh, all but disappears when baked.

I thought maybe last time the wasabi was undetectable in the crackers because it was added to the surface of the crackers without being moistened first. So this time I doubled the amount and mixed it in with the dough. Two full even tablespoons full for four cups of flour and it is still barely detectable. I did catch faint glimpses of it, and I'm sort of glad it wasn't much stronger because it doesn't add much that is pleasant to the finished cracker. It tends to dominate the profile of anything it flavors or otherwise warp it unpleasantly. I'm glad the bulk of the flour held it in check by deadening it. I don't think I'll use it again. (Except maybe if I fell like it.)

I over baked the first tray. Threw out about 1/3 the tray. Took me by surprise there how fast they cooked. Boy, you gotta watch those things because they go: Not cooked. Not cooked. Not cooked. Cookedburnt. Just like that.

The first cracker was disappointing. But then the flavor developed in my mouth after it was gone and I was soon craving another one. Then another, and another. They don't hit you as super duper right off but they sure do grow on you. This became my dinner -- mung bean crackers and mango salsa. I abandoned my original idea for dinner and settled for this. I couldn't be more satisfied.


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