Posts Tagged ‘ cooking ’

Cheap Thrills: Bantha Milk

2011.09.30
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Fig. 1.

GOOGLE RETURNS ABOUT 29,700 HITS for “bantha milk,” AKA “blue milk” — it’s of what Luke Skywalker poured himself a glassful in the original Star Wars, banthas being those giant horned elephants-in-costumes of the same film. Fans love banthas, and as fans also love snacks many have devised their own recipes for bantha milk. This is (so far as I know) original to me, although with 29,700 people writing about it there’s bound to be some overlap.

- 16 oz whole milk
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 egg (if the Force is strong with you)
- 1 drop blue food coloring

Put ingredients in blender. Blend at high speed for 1 minute. Pour into white plastic tumbler and serve.

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Pithyism #16

2011.09.06
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THE WORLD LOOKS A LITTLE more friendly with something fragrant bubbling on the stove.

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How To Wash The Dishes

2011.08.04
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CLEAN DISHES NOT ONLY LOOK nice, they’re more healthy to eat from. Everyone has their own special method for this daily (or twice-daily) chore, and I’ve found this one to be most efficient in terms of time and water savings:

YOU WILL NEED:
- Large or divided sink
- Drain rack
- Dirty dishes
- Dishwashing soap (I like good ol’ yellow-bottled Crystal White for its inexpensivity and universality)
- Rubber gloves
- Sponge with one soft-scrub side
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Pithyism #O

2011.08.01
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FAMILY’S WHO YOU EAT WITH. (Conclusion drawn after viewing the final scene of “Safe.” Those who know, know.)

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When The Troll Sweats, Bottle It

2011.07.28
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Fig. 1.

IN THE STARS MY DESTINATION, Alfred Bester imagines a world peopled (in part) by a cast-off group of future savages who chant scientific formulae during their religious rituals. “Quant Suff!” they chant, in abbreviated imitation of “sufficient quantity.” “Quant Suff!”

At the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, I inhabited a world peopled (in part) by a cast-off group of fannish folk who sometimes chant together after consuming a quasi-alchemic formula during their quasi-religious rituals. “Trolle Sweate!” they chant, in inebriated consequence of quant suff. “Trolle Sweate!”
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Knubel Borscht: Adapting Memory

2011.04.20
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TUCKED INTO MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER’S BIBLE is a yellowed sheet of paper containing the flavor of living tradition.

In short, it’s my mom’s recipe for knubel borscht (pronounced “k’nubble”): beef simmered in beet soup and garlic. That’s it: three ingredients, plus heat and time. Perhaps in part due to its simplicity, or that I’ve been eating it for most of my childhood Pesachs, knubel borscht is satisfying on a soul level. It fills the house with a scent at once sweet and savory, fruity and meaty, and which may in fact prove to be the smell of Gan Eden should the requisite air-sampling technology be designed and utilized.

The recipe originally comes from “the old country” (in our case, my Polish g’g'father or his Romanian wife); the original calls for a large pot, 5 quarts of borscht, 7-1/2 pounds of bone-in chuck roast with a packet of soup bones, and a large head of peeled garlic. Add everything together, simmer three hours or more, skimming off the foam; serve on plate and in bowl.

For our Seder Monday night, I created a lower-portion variant which is just as pleasing in all the essentials and doesn’t really suffer for the lack of soup bones. Four ingredients counting the pan:

9″ Pyrex baking pan
1 pound brisket
Quart of borscht
Head of garlic

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and chop garlic. Put brisket in pan fat side up (trim excess fat first). Sprinkle garlic on top, pour over borscht, seal with aluminum foil. Three hours later, you’ll need a knife to cut through the aroma and open the oven. Put the meat on a plate, the soup in a bowl, and revel in the small blessings by which G?d or the quantum membranes thereof sustain and nurture the world.

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Culinary Basic

2011.01.23
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REMEMBER: FRUIT JUICE IS SIMPLY filtered water. (I like mine run through a tangerine tree, or pear, or cherry.)

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Pithyism #12

2010.12.26
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YOU’RE BETTER OFF THAN MOST if your dinner worries concern what, rather than whether, to eat.

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One Conversation

2010.11.30
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WE WERE DISCUSSING SYNAGOGUE FUNDRAISERS, and I suggested an egg toss.

E. G., who knows who he is but may not want you to, looked at me with the sad seriousness of the ex-military and first responder. “Eggs aren’t for tossing,” he said. “They’re for eating. It debases us to play with something that half the world is starving for.”

That was ten years ago. To this day, the sight of someone playing with or otherwise wasting their food still makes me itchy inside.

One conversation was all it took to change my mind about something I had never seriously thought through. What will it take to change yours?

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Things Missed (80s)

2010.10.27
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GENERIC FOOD. FOND MEMORIES OF shopping the Lucky’s store in Concord c. 1981 wherein a vast wall of white and yellow cans, boxes and bottles severally proclaimed “COLA.” “CIGARETTES.” “CHILI.” “DOG FOOD.” “BREAKFAST CEREAL.” “ART.” (That last is ironic, but if they’d only let in Andy Warhol and a big Sharpie we could’a had us a time.)

(For that matter, I also miss “Repo Man.”)

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Eats: Leisurely Eggs

2010.08.29
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IN ANOTHER LIFE, THIS DISH is what saved Prosatio Silban from being the main ingredient in someone else’s meal(1); in this life, it’s what ballasts me at table long enough to read the Sunday morning papers. Random Eggs assumes that the cook knows how to simultaneously brown a variety of different ingredients in a single pan; i.e., the denser the longer. (If you don’t know how, this is a good way to learn.)

Leisurely Eggs (Serves at least two, or one who won’t eat again until dinner)

First, arrange some nice background audio (Django Reinhart, say, or NPR’s “Weekend Edition”). Then add to a large medium-hot pan in the following order, and as art and experience dictates to balance facility with substance:

- Olive oil and/or butter (one keeps the other from smoking)
- Potato (diced)
- Onion (likewise)
- Sausage (sliced. I like chicken-apple and chicken-artichoke. Add this first to forego the olive oil/butter)
- Mushrooms (sliced or quartered)
- Capers
- Olives (kalamata or pimentoed, sliced or quartered. Stuffed with garlic is also good)
- Artichoke hearts
- Spinach
- Green onions (chopped)
- Garlic
- Black pepper
- Anything else as palate and physics suggests.

Meanwhile, scramble at least two eggs with a complementary cheese or cheeses (I prefer either sharp cheddar or the “Italian blend” of fontina, asiago, mozzarella and Parmesan).

When everything smells and looks right, pour in the egg/cheese scramble and lower the heat. Stir briskly for less than a minute (to coat; you don’t want a frittata, although those are also tasty); just before the eggs are cooked to your liking, turn all onto a plate and garnish with rye toast (or sourdough or whole-wheat or English muffins) and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee(2) — tea or milk won’t stand up to the flavors — and don’t forget the newspaper!

- = – = -
(1) From the yet-unpublished “Light Breakfast”:

The dish could be thrown together in any fashion, and indeed looked that way on the plate no matter how talented its maker, but was also a time-honored test of skill. A bad cook would toss everything into the pan and hope for the best (including a forgiving palate); a good cook could use as many ingredients as obtainable in such order as to bring out the purest and most complementary flavor of each. So well-known was this principle and so beloved its application that Uulians frequently cited it as suitorial standard (“She’s beautiful, son, but how Leisurely are her Eggs?”).

(20 Actually, seltzer will clear the palate and aerate the esophagus. I like to have both, with sometimes maybe a glass tomato juice to honor the practice of the grandparents who taught me the importance of a leisurely Sunday breakfast. (But I have no idea why they were into the tomato juice.)

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Eats: Unbelievable Smoothie

2010.07.29
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SMOOTHIES ARE A DAILY FEATURE of life at Beit Attinson, not least as a reliable way to keep calories and nutrients flowing despite a lack of appetite. I also like them on a philosophical level: a mystical soup of primordial elements, each ingredient partaking of the other’s essence, all ego-distinctions and identities lost amid the mad swirling chaos at the center; and though I’ve developed something of a basic repertoire over the past two years (bouncing among bananas, orange juice, yogurt, egg, peanut butter, mango, spirulina tablets, milk) I like to alternate with whatever’s in reach. Here’s what that was today:

Unbelievable Smoothie

Banana-and-a-half[1], chunked
1-1/2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
Six or seven frozen cherries, defrosted (nuke for 30 seconds)

Blend for about a minute or so. Sit down before drinking, lest thy knees buckle and chin divot. (I like to use a straw.)

[1] The wife eats the other half with her cereal. We’re a team.
[2] We unsolicitedly endorse the Magic Bullet blender; it’s inexpensive, durable, versatile and clean up really is a breeze.

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