Thursday, November 24, 2011

cooking jamz

Enjoy the "redesign" aka futzing around with blogger's new settings. I was going for pre-school-chic, as always. But mostly, this. I have been listening to this song over and over since I stumbled upon The Recipe Project.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

persimmon chips

Dudes, I have had this blog for four thanksgivings. That's crazy right? That's like 100 in internet years.

Montreal was lovely-- I love that feeling when your legs get cold under your pants, I love the creative energy that crackles in the air of brickbuildinged cities, I love being alone in a crowd of people that isn't speaking a language that I know. It's exhilarating to walk for miles and stop at museums and bookstores and coffeeshops but by the end of the week, I was ready to get back to San Diego.

Driving my commute this morning, I was wearing a T shirt and the wind whipped through the car and the stereo loud and the palm trees against the sky and all of the cinematic cliches about living in Southern California are true true true. WE'RE THE KIDS IN AMERICA.

I am so thankful to be here. I'm still able to see the vision of the future I had when I started this blog, the vision where I would stay cold-nosed and in-love and on the Upper West Side forever. But, you know, I am starting to believe that you end up where you are supposed to end up. I love that my life is quiet and stable enough to buy a farm share. There have been lots of persimmons lately. I usually turn them into bread, but instead I've been amassing a hoard for the past few weeks in the fridge. Today I made persimmon chips-- they could just as easily be apple-- and man are they good. Happy thanksgiving, everyone!

Oven to 200 degrees.

Slice a cross-section of yer crisp fuyu persimmon or apple. If you have a mandoline, use it! If not, knife skills! I found that the ones that only went halfway across and slipped got stuck to the sheet and were wasted, so I would err thicker-but-all-the-way-through with a long cooking time. Place on a baking sheet or silpat, if you are fancy.

Cook until the slices are dehydrated... the edges will curl and each chip will taste carmelly and mysterious and, unsurprisingly, like fruit leather. If the thicker slices just tastes like chewy hot fruit, leave them for a bit longer. Took me about two hours.

Monday, November 14, 2011

lazy fall soup

This soup is for slackers.

+ Butcher your Halloween pumpkin that is embarrassing you in front of your neighbors. Well, except those sketchy neighbors with the pit bulls and pile of shoes on their stoop. While your unholy, uneven pumpkin chunks get toasty, google all your insecurities about food safety ("pumpkin ok to eat" "san diego night temperature" "food safety danger zone"). Forge ahead. When your pumpkin is soft, puree it. Maybe with some stock so you don't break your blender. Not that I have ever caused a blender to make that "sad robot wheezing" sound.

+Or maybe you actually had time to carve a jack-o-lantern this year, or you are more responsible in your gourd-disposal than I am, in which case used canned pumpkin, in which case this soup is reallllly for slackers. Two or maybe even three cans should approximate my black-bean to pumpkin ratio, which I thought was pretty on-point.

+OK: Chop and saute a medium onion in some olive oil and toss in some cumin and oregano and maybe coriander. Or garam masala. Spices that are warm but not too warm, you know what I mean? Probably a tablespoon of spices total. This is weeknight soup. Don't dirty your teaspoons.

+Now toss in the pumpkin and a can of black beans (rinsed!) and stock until it is a happy consistency. Heat. Boom boom pow, enjoy yer mad seasonal slacker dinner. If you crumble cotija cheese on top and maybe some green onions, you will totally not even feel like your dinner came from the pantry. Fortasse haec olim meminisse juvabit, y'all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

cream of broccoli soup

I have this in my head as a Silver Palate recipe, but now that I actually own the cookbooks (!) I don't think it is. It fits that bill though-- there is something I find really charming about the early days of American gourmandise, those crazy 80s where it was both about good fresh produce and butter.

One of my qualifying papers is about Southern food, and I am having so much fun with it. Paula Deen! The Lee Bros.! I think what's so interesting about a lot of contemporary Southern cookbooks is exactly that mix: of things that just taste good (cream, bacon fat) with things that are fresh and maybe a little complicated to procure (vegetable pickles, wild rice). Which, ironically, brings me back to how I imagine the Upper West Side in the mid-80s, when people went out and bought "Bistro Cooking" but also had eaten more than one veggie loaf in their college days. I actually spend a lot of time imagining about decadent 1980s NYC, because I wonder how baby Lily fared. I probably snuck a bowl or two of this broccoli soup at dinner parties. It's delicious.

+ 2 or 3 bunches of broccoli, or a 16 oz bag of frozen (what was I saying abut local produce? attention attention blah blah blah. Veggies in any form are better than Lunabars, so quit that ego-trippin and lay in a bag for the next time your feet are cold and you want a real meal, Lily!)
+ A medium yellow onion
+ Stock to cover
+ Mustard seeds! A lot of them! Try with a quarter cup.
+ However much cream you have-- a quarter cup? Like that? I guess you could use sour cream or yogurt.

Sautee the onion and mustard seeds in a soup pot, then add the broccoli and stock and simmer until the broccoli is tender.

Let cool, add cream, puree. It's even better once it's been in the fridge for a few days. YES!

Also, without further ado... this.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I tried to write a song about the fact that things are good and consensus says it made me sound depressed. Then a friend mentioned that this blog made me sound like maybe I wasn't doing so hot. I guess the irony is that as soon as you say "I'm OK!" it sounds like you are overcompensating and totally repressed and sad. And then wondering whether I am secretly sad makes me confused and angry and I need to get out of the house and journal that shit out. At which point I realize.....things are good.

So that's October, I suppose. I blame the fact that there's a serious lack of creative output about when things are good-- if you want totally over-the-moon or heartbroken or pissed or nostalgic, there's a power ballad for that. But if things are going well and mostly you remember to be grateful and sometimes you are annoyed and want moremoremore from life-- where is my novel for that? What poem? (no, seriously, tell me). Maybe it's why I love Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine. Or TV shows about workplaces. Still searching for a "I'm alive! It's not all great but rarely really bad!" windows-down-freeway-jam.

Anyway, here is a recipe from the summer, although horchata time is all the time in San Diego, even when it is a rainy week and you light fires in your fireplace and drink soup. I love this because a) I feel like it unalienates me from one of my favorite fastfoods (action-labor-work. Hello, obligatorily Marxist food studies qualifying papers!) and b) it means you have a pitcher of something homemade in your fridge.

Having (finally!) discovered the fuss over Mad Men (and all I wanna do is watch Mad Men), it strikes me as very kitchycool to have pitcher-drinks. This makes about a lazy week's worth of "let's swing by the fridge for a glass of something cold and sweet to make this [morning's/afternoon's/evening's] reading go by a little faster"-- you could easily halve the recipe for a few glasses.



Soak 4 cups of rice (I used brown) in 6 cups of water with a cinnamon stick (or a bunch of cinnamon, who's counting, but try to dissolve it so it doesn't clump up on the top and then do that weird spicy-choking-y thing that ground cinnamon does when you breathe it in). Some people use about a cup of almonds too, obviously not this lady. Soak overnight, if you think ahead, or just "for awhile." Whiz this mix and about 1/3 cup of agave around in a blender in batches, until it is as blended as possible.

Strain through pantyhose or paper towels or--geez! you high roller-- cheesecloth. Authentically speaking, that's it-- pour about half horchatamix and half water into a tall glass with ice. Adjust the sweetener if you want, obviously. I find, though, that if you do 1/2 a glass of the horchata and then the rest with milk, well... yes. It's like drinking rice pudding, but not at all gross.