Napa cabbage, mushrooms, shrimp

This is my new favorite thing. 

It's my top secret discovery that I'm keeping to myself so don't tell anyone. Making it causes me to feel like a genuine chef when I'm actually just a regular guy. But now the things that chefs do, things that even Japanese chefs do are much less a mystery. I'm all, I know what you're doing back there, Mr. Japanese chef guy. I know what's in all those bottles. I know what they do, how they combine. I know what those Japanese words mean. 

I served this only once and the guy that was here for lunch will eat anything. The weird thing about it is each individual ingredient is so uninspiring, actually not that great tasting alone, but when combined the result is extraordinary and it's so fast. It comes together nearly instantly.The guy that I showed it to went, "Wow." And then when we ate it, "Wow! Wow! Wow!"

"Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow." 

That't a pretty good reaction, I'd say.

I've never given cabbage its due. 

That's because I didn't know about Napa cabbage. I only knew about the green kind and the purple, and frankly, those are not inspiring. They have the advantage of lasting f-o-r-e-v-e-r in the refrigerator, nearly indestructible. And the thick white part of Napa is delicious. It's watery. Not at all what you expect. This half Napa was in the refrigerator so long it started to turn. I pulled off the outer leaves that were deteriorated and trimmed off the inner side, and the whole of the remainder was good as new. Those clever Chinese hit this one out of the park. I wonder why it's not an American gardiner's favorite. Because it should be right up there with tomatoes and jalapeños. 

Speaking of gardens, I planted a white eggplant to put with the flowers and it's turned out to be one of my favorite plants. It's tall, like a Christmas tree, works very well in a pot with other plants, and has a single white fruit in its center. If there were bees around here then there'd be more eggplants because it flowered but they went un-pollinated.  Maybe I could do that myself with a brush. I've never cooked one of these white eggplants. It looks like an actual egg. 

Can you see it? It's like an egg inside a fiddle-leaf fig.

I imagine it'd do better in full sun. This is shaded by a larger planter. And the whole thing is in shade half the day. Then when the sun hits BLAM full on. 

You should see the whole thing. It's spectacular, for a simple terrace garden. People around here regard me as Mr. Horticulturist but I actually don't know what I'm doing. 

These were a month ago. It's even more dense now. The vines have crawled up and entangled the baskets on the railing, unifying the four baskets into one composition. Now they're all blooming. I'll have to take updated pictures. These don't do it today's justice, but the whole thing is fun all along. It's exciting to watch it fill out and come together. And each time I think what I'll do differently next time.

Tomato on sourdough, tenderloin slices on sourdough

New sourdough. This loaf is to demonstrate bread from frozen starter inside of 2 days. One day and overnight to activate the sourdough starter from frozen powder to fully bubbling levain across three feedings, then BAM! Sourdough bread on the second day. This is testament to the power of virile starter that was collected over a period of two weeks and that endured Herculean challenges and adversity; it dried out, it was rained in, it was windblown, it was visited by insects, stormed on, it was heated and its components were frozen at extreme altitude, and all of the organisms it contains are the ones that can handle all that, so it is fast, and hearty, and extremely flavorful.

At a party last night I sampled commercial sourdough bread. Two different people bought the same brand, both from the same type of store. They both had the appearance of artisan loaves.

Pish tosh.

It is nothing, and I mean nothing compared to authentic sourdough where sourdough starter is the leaven.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. And I mean it. That bread is a hoax.

Commercial sourdough distinguishes itself by being effete. By being limp-wristed, weak handshake having, loafer-wearing, bouffant stylized, earring having, perfume spritzed girly-bread that's hardly any different from Wonder bread with mayonnaise and pre-sliced Velveeta cheese. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not sourdough just because it's been named that by frauds.

But how is the unwary bread buyer supposed to know what they are missing?

This bread is superior to that bread by full magnitudes of order. It's a w-h-o-o-o-o-o-l-e 'nuther ballgame.

And that's why these small sandwiches are so outstanding. These thin smallish slices pack a powerful punch. POW! Right in the kisser.

Likewise, the tenderloin is the most tender beef available but it lacks flavor because the muscles on the living animal are not worked. Then cooked briefly in a Komodo-style smoker-grill imparts outstanding deep smoke flavor that the soft meat absorbs readily as fish does.

Those two things combined, smoky tenderloin slices and deeply rich sourdough bread, make an outstanding sandwich unparalleled.

You will not find anything like this anywhere. You must make it yourself. From scratch.

Pineapple pizza

Top ham and salami. Red bell pepper and jalapeño. Light on sauce and cheese.

This was made with 1/3 whole wheat and that's just gross. 

Once again, whole wheat doesn't work well for pizza. 

ham and tomato on whole wheat Denver Power sourdough bread

Ham cut thickly at the deli.

"This thick?"


"This thick?"


"This thick?"


"This thick?"


"This thick?

"What are you CRAZY? THAT'S TOO THICK!" 

cured pork and egg sandwich

The porks was sold as bacon but not in strips. It comes in thick slabs. 

The bacon and egg are less significant than the bread. We tend to think of bread as neutral material holding the sandwich filling together, it could be pita or tortilla, or anything, but not so with this impressive sourdough. Soon as I'm done I want more. My mind goes to alternate toppings. 

Why do sourdough aficionados insist that sourdough is better for you?

It has to do with the rapidity by which the carbohydrates in grains are converted to sugars and readily stored in the body as fat, survival mechanism deposits resistant to withdrawal. White bread is like eating sugar. Whole grains a little bit slower.

The living organisms in sourdough actually consume the dough. Like all fermented foods, the digestion is given a head-start. The organisms have already broken down a lot of the starches and consumed the sugar themselves. Like miso, it's more easily digested and with less simple sugar converted to fat. 

Tomato on whole wheat Denver Power sourdough bread

This right here is award winning flavor and I mean it. 

massive fruit salad

Conclusion: Needs lime and salt.

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