recipe

Would You Wear Berries In Your Hair, For This Battalion of Lovers?

winter salad

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because the onset of winter (however fitful) tends to get me excited about everything again, i’m going to get back to now and again just posting food i make for myself that i’m happy with, or think i learned something from. you know, like some kind of a”food blog” or something.

today: chicory salad with smoked turkey, fennel, cranberries, avocado, and madagascar green peppercorns,

i had never tried smoked turkey (we’re talking a whole smoked bird, not some deli meat shit), but a friend came over the other night with FOUR smoked turkey carcasses that still had a load of scrap meat on them, so we scavenged what we could* then hucked some potatoes and celery and onions in there, and had ourselves a stew.

this morning, i sautéed some turkey scraps and skin bits in bacon fat, because i figured smoked turkey + smokey bacon = duh, along with some halved cranberries and some of those  fresh green madagascar peppercorns, which are not too expensive and really just liven the shit out of things (i’m thinking there’s got to be a good use for the cloudy brine they come in, too. pepper martinis? hit me back on this). they have an almost ginny quality, i find, which is probably much more of a gin-having-a-green-peppercorn quality sort of thing, but they go tremendously well with bacon and like cured meat fats.** the cranberries were good, although i might have quartered, rather than halved them, because when you hit a whole half it was a little aggressively on the tart side. dried cranberries might actually be preferable, but that could also turn out too sweet. i originally did this with just olive oil and lemon juice, but decided to add some white wine vinegar for depth.

the avocado was just there because it was on sale, and i have a soft spot for combining fats. a soft spot called my gut.

* in the process i was struck by how useful it would be to have a cool “meat scraping glove” with metal claws that one could use for just such carcass work.

** i knew i had talked about these somewhere before; it turns out it was FOUR YEARS AGO, in a post almost almost identical to this one. plus ça change, plus de chicory and green peppercorns, apparently.

listening: At the Gates – “Terminal Spirit Disease”, Rome – “The Accidents of Gesture”

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As Big A Fan As I Am of Fuss and Muss . . .

combines my love of bread with my hatred of doing anything that has more than two steps!

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lord knows by what dereliction of duty on my part i have kept this from you for the past two years, but it seems high time, when the shutters are flung wide and unnecessary doors are unscrewed from their hinges and consigned to the alleyways, to share with y’all the simpler pleasures of the simplest of beer breads (summer is baking season, right? well, my oven works for the first time in months, so it is now). now there are lots of kinds of beer bread out there, and for some time i was all hesitant, with qualifications at the ready whenever i spoke of this beer bread – “Oh, it’s not so much bread as something between bread and a biscuit” (the above, an old photo, actually portrays it as more biscuity than the product i have been achieving of late) – but nuts to all that, right?staff of life, fools, i don’t have all day.

i have no idea how or where we came upon this recipe, only that it occurred back in December of 2009, when we were recently returned from France, and i imagine were feeling dearly the absence of the freshly baked bread with which we had grown accustomed to daily girding ourselves. in any case, it stormed into our lives, winning a permanent seat in our affection with its brash simplicity and convenient exploitation of the fact that if there were more than 3 of us in a room somewhere (any of us, really), then there was likely also to be beer afoot.

the particulars:

3 cups of all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 bottle of beer

mix the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredient, dump the (still sticky, somewhat more so than you would expect from bread dough) lot into a lightly greased baking dish, bake at something like 375° for around 40 minutes. there is no kneading. there is no rising. there is only beer, and then bread.

what emerges is not quite sandwich-ready, but for all other purposes (butter, jam, soup, hangovers) is heartily adequate. i’ve tried various styles of beer, and have found that i prefer a cheap lager; while when one would expect that something with a little more character, such as a stout or a rousse, could lend a dash of excitement, most such experimentation has yielded an overly pronounced yeasty taste. save it for the drinking, i say.

speaking thereof, leafing through Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land, i came across this recipe, originaly from Kenneth Roberts’ Trending Into Maine (1938), for hot buttered rum:

Pour one fair-sized drink (or jigger) of rum into an ordinary table tumbler: add one lump of sugar, a pat of butter the size of a single hotel helping, half a teaspoonful of cinnamon, fill up the tumbler with boiling water, stir well and sip thoughtfully. If too sweet, use less sugar in the next attempt. If not sweet enough, add more. If the cinnamon isn’t wholly satisfactory, try cloves. If more butter seems desirable, use more.

it is for my fondness for recipes in this spirit, and the vague and slippery culinary exploits they encourage, that i shall never be a baker. 

or a skateboarder/guitarist/astronaut. no discipline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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recipe

Bold Is Love.

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standing in front of the stove unintentionally but sincerely embodying the infomercial subject’s “There’s Got To Be A Better Way,” while trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich with a fried egg in it.

this reminds me that, cf: IF YOU LIKE IT YOU SHOULDA PUT A EGG IN IT, putting a egg in it need not be exclusively a celebratory act. i think it can also fulfil a motivating function, like where you’ve been muddling around (say, on the internet) all morning* not really doing much of anything, and are just like “Okay, I gotta get down to business,” and so you put a egg in it, whatever it is. it’s a little hitch up your pants, boot in the ass kind of thing, like a promise you make your self. like you’re the Mayor and you’re like “I don’t want to do this, but shit I am the Mayor, and the Mayor’s gotta get shit done” (NB: i have no idea what mayors do), out of sheer respect for the office.

putting a egg in it is like throwing your cap over the wall.

anyway, after considerably brainstorming, it seems like the best avenue of attack is to butter one’s bread, place the two slices independently upon a griddle, gird them with cheese, so you get the browning going and the cheese melting. that’s step one. then crack an egg in a separate pan (or separate area of the same pan, should it be spacious enough), and fry it just enough on each side that it sets and the yolk is held in place. when the egg is ready, and the cheese beginning to melt a little, you transfer the egg to one of the slices, top it with the other (carefully) and crank up the heat, being careful as well when you flip it, because you don’t want that yolk to break until you bite into the sandwich. or at least until the sandwich is on your plate, then you can give it a good press down and get the egg disseminating (that is exactly the kind of gender-blending that the English language tries to hard to prohibit, but hey, words can’t be everywhere all the time, right?) through the cheese, still viscous and ready for consumption.

this is not going to work.

in other news, i’m considering putting a piece of colourful string around my finger to remind myself every time i’m like “what am i supposed to be doing right now?” to just put on some Hendrix. because at least then, confusion notwithstanding, i’ll be feelin’ it.

* it is conventionally at 2pm when you realize this.

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recipe

Soul On Ice

if you live in montréal right now, you may have noticed that it’s SUMMER AGAIN. after a brief but disheartening cold snap, wherein everyone was running around long-faced and harriedly trying to readjust to such inhumane-seeming practices as sock-wearing and buttoning their shirts up beyond their solar plexus, it is back to an even 36°w/humidity, which means it is also iced-coffee climate again.

to which i say: prosit!

and i say it like so:

2 or 3 giant ice cubes
2 shots espresso, or the strongest coffee you can conjure
1 shot coffee liqueur (i’ve been using Mona Lisa, which is sort of like a thinner, more straightforward Kahlua, to which it can’t hold a candle, but it’s ideal for this kind of thing.)
milk/soy milk/cream, to taste
a sprinkling each of good quality coarse sea salt and demerara or turbinado sugar

that last bit is essential, as the salt adds provides the sweet/savoury interplay that pushes it over the top into Total Deliciousness. i wouldn’t stir it in too vigorously, because that can get weird.

what i -am- toying with, however, is the idea of maybe crushing the salt and sugar up a little finer and giving the glass a salt/sugar/liqueur rim. how about that?

that’s the kind of shit you bust out when company’s coming.

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Brassica Uber Alles, Part Two: Roman Fever Revisited.

IT IS THAT TIME OF THE YEAR.

which is, i have noticed, variably the last two weeks of august or july. alternately,

RAPINI TIME.

yes, that hotly anticipated time when – for those of us who don’t live in Italian-dominated neighbourhoods, where that shit runs like water – rapini descends from its 3$ Throne On High and  suddenly becomes attainable for a buck or two, which is Awesome, and then i end up eating it every day until i have honestly pretty much ruined it for myself, but whatever dude, this path is stupid, it goes in spirals, perhaps in circles, but whichever way it goes, i will follow it.

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Ce n’est pas de la tarte

behold! another guest post from my buddy-in-arms, Hannah Mae, who now and then will be and has been posting here. keep an ear out.

j. “crooked mouth” campbell

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You know what word I like?  “Galette.”  You know why I like it?  Because when you get to that point of making a pie where you’re all I made the filling I made the crust I just wanted to eat some pie I don’t care what it looks like why in the damn hell would I want to sit here crimping edges forever etc. etc., and you just want to throw it all in the oven like it is – you can just throw it in the oven like it is, more or less, and then instead of apologizing for your funny-looking pie, you can present it proudly to whatever ungrateful dinner guest would object to something called a “funny-looking pie” (seriously, dude, you need some new friends, that guy sucks), and say “voici la galette!”  It’s French, so you know it’s good cooking, right?

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miscellany/etymology, recipe

Who Is Farinata?

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as opposed to “What is farinata?” which is what usually confronts me when i say things like “man, i’ve been really into farinata lately,” or “have you ever had farinata?” or “hey, you want to come over for some farinata?” because no one seems to know what it is, and for that matter, nor did i, until i ran across a recipe for it one day and was like “hey, that seems just like socca.”

the plot thickens, i know.

so to clarify, after the orgy of comma-spattered obfuscation that is customary around here, we must go to Nice, of all places.

the fall of 2008 quite improbably found me aboard a cruise ship in the Mediterranean sea, and one of our ports of call being Villefranche-Sur-Mer, where as there is little to do besides see Cocteau’s chapel (which was closed) and you know, enjoy the French fucking riviera, we decided to hop the train over to Nice, which we heard was okay. and i’m happy we did; happier still that my travelling companion had the wherewithal to learn a little about the place beforehand, because as a result we spent much of our day wending our way down charming winding streets in search of what the 4 pages i had torn out of some past-due Lonely Planet assured us was a must-try of Niçoise cuisine – socca.

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