sausage rub.

I said it. This is a rub designed to emulate Italian-American pepperoni, it's good on just about everything so far.


pepperoni rub.

1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp fennel seed
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp sweet (non-hot) paprika
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 or 2 tsp smoked salt, to taste
1 or 2 tsp smoked paprika, to taste
1 or 2 tsp garlic powder, to taste
1 or 2 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste

Grind. Rub.




Above: De Ceuvel. Below: America.

The recipe: good the first night, wayyyy better the second day, this would fit right in with any kind of Caribbean menu. Super good if you are fan of habanero and mustard together.


yassa (senegalese chicken in lemon, mustard, and scotch bonnet). 

3 boneless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into strips
2 red scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and veined
juice of a lemon
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp smoked salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper or black peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil

1 large or 2 small onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup coarse-grained mustard
1/4 olive oil
juice of a lemon
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
handful of cilantro, chopped


you for my mom.

If you don't like smoked fish, you're going to say eww gross, but two things: 1) grow up and 2) you might like smoked herring. I probably need to make a distinction between canned smoked herring, which I've never tried, and what I'm using, which I just spent an awful lot of time describing and then just realized that I should take a picture tomorrow when it's light out. Basically it's not canned, it's dry and sealed in plastic.

Anyway, it's less fishy than smoked mackerel, and just kind of "different" than smoked salmon, milder. I was happy to see it at the Dirk the other day since they haven't had it in forever (is it seasonal maybe? that would make sense), and it's cheap, I think I paid €2.50 for 3 fillets. But then you get it home and if the weather outside is frightful, like winter tornado weather, and you're not in the mood for a cold preparation, well what's a brother to do. 

So I set to Googlin, and turned up this from the NY Times. I was not super enthusiastic about the idea, but I did have most of the ingredients, and then I imagined a runny egg on top and that sounded good, so I did it, and really thought it was great. I would never have guessed what the slight difference in the dressing was, sorry this is such shitty writing, my blood sugar is still low, but I'm jotting this down before I forget the details.


smoked herring caesar salad.

3 tablespoons smoked herring, finely chopped
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated (plus more for finishing)
1 tsp good Dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
some amount of extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup of toasted almonds, possibly halved
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 or 2 eggs, ready to be prepared in a way of your choosing, I chose over easy.

1 head romaine lettuce, roughly cut, well rinsed and dried.

This is really the only important instruction: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine smoked herring with just enough red-wine vinegar to cover it barely; heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat immediately, scrape into a small bowl and allow to cool.

In a food processor, combine the herring and vinegar, the garlic, cheese, mustard, mayo, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Process. Once it's fine-ish, add olive oil and process til you git to yr desired consistency.  

Melt the butter in a little saucepan, add the almonds and thyme, toss to coat, and set aside. 

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce and the almonds with enough dressing to cover the romaine as a sauce would pasta. Quickly cook your egg and throw on top. Place salad in serving bowl, top with an egg, and (according to the original recipe) "grate so much Parmesan over the top that the salad looks like a heavily snowcapped mountain." Serves 2 or more. Adapted from Hugue Dufour, M. Wells, Queens.



first obpressions.

So, still trying to read the three "morbid self-attention" books I got from the library a couple weeks ago: Didion, Barnes, and the DFW biography. Didion's "Blue Lights" and the DFW bio are....maybe "light" isn't the right word, but they're easy to both start and stop reading. Didion: although she's said a few things that have really resonated so far, page 16 for example:

Time passes.
Yes, agreed, a banality, of course time passes.
Then why do I say it, why have I already said it more than once?
Have I been saying it the same way I say I have lived most of my life in California?
Have I been saying it without hearing what I say?
Could it be that I heard it more this way: Time passes, but not so aggressively that anyone notices? Or even: Time passes, but not for me? Could it be that I did not figure in either the general nature or the permanence of the slowing, the irreversible changes in mind and body, the way in which you wake one summer morning less resilient than you were and by Christmas find your ability to mobilize gone, atrophied, no longer extant?
Could it be that I never believed it?
Did I believe that the blue nights could last forever?


The "blue nights", they're not what you think they are, they're this.

Anyway, though I'm mostly "with her", there's a little something about her tone (and all these one-sentence paragraphs) that's rubbing me slightly wrong. I know it seems churlish and insubordinate to complain about someone's technique when they're writing a book about their prematurely dead daughter and that death's effect on one's own view of mortality....but this is why I don't finish many books. I can't just "read past" someone's delivery or vocabulary or any of the things that go into writing. This is also why I don't seriously "write": I'd have to get past myself as a reader first.

The DFW bio is, well, something that I imagine would have driven him to suicide were he not already dead, and I say this knowing him just as well as his biographer knew him, that is to say not at all. I would love to see Mr. Wallace's annotations/footnotes on this book. It's, yes, stuff that rings 7,000 bells for me (auto)biographically: problems being comfortable socially; a brain whose unstoppableness becomes more and more of a liability whenever it's not channeled towards creating something; etc etc etc. I'll quote some of that here as well when I have it in front of me....

The Barnes book is a horse of a different etc: very dense and descriptive, and very British, not that there's anything wrong with that; it's just not something I'm able to dabble in yet. REMIND ME TO RENEW THESE. I'm leaving that sentence there until I do it.

to be continued....



in medias res .

OK, everything is pointed in the right direction, motor is running, gentlemen start your etc, "it's 8:05 it's time to rock," said one of the stupidest songs ever.

First, some shots from around town: I see the below store every time I go to my job in the Pijp, and finally I had to take a picture of it. This is from a couple of weeks ago.

Then yesterday I happened to be walking down that side of the street and they had this heartwarming sign in their window:

Apropos, or not.

Last night I took poor Jo3n kitty to the vet because we've been playing an awful lot of "Poop or Hairball" lately. Always an adventure to try and get a deadly, deadly fanged and clawed creature into a small box where it does not want to go. On the way to the vet I had to put her down (not "put her down", but, you know, stop carrying her) for a moment and take this picture of "normal" urban Amsterdam wildlife:

This was 8 herons (couldn't fit all of them in the shot) waiting outside of the Westerpark frites/shoarma stand for what must have become an expected nightly snack, you never seem to see more than one or two herons together unless people are feeding them. Those beaks must be perfect for stabbing fries.


The last few days have been full of, what? Work, exercise, kitty maintenance, mostly good things. I binge-watched/listened to two amazing stories of possibly wrongly-imprisoned men, one influenced by the other (the stories/serieseses, not the men): first I listened to Serial while working, which I can only recommend doing if you have time to listen to all four episodes in a row, cause you'll want to desperately; and then I watched/listened to the thing that the people who recommended Serial mentioned during their recommendation, The Staircase.

This does all tie into The Year I Got Old and the very recent preoccupation with memoirs, at least for sure in The Staircase (we still don't know how Serial "ends"): talk about having your life turn out differently than you hoped or expected. The main character is not especially likable at all in the beginning, or indeed through much of The Staircase, but in Episode 10 he says something surprisingly quotable about time and acceptance and regret that I'll mention eventually out of context because if I were to mention it now you'd know too much about what happens, and what ultimately happens (ultimately meaning episodes 9 and 10) is, well, [redacted].



hat trick.

And you may ask yourself, "My God: what have I done?" I went to the library last night on my way to the Bimhuis. Remember that not-so-positive Paul Auster review from the New York Times? Well, therein the reviewer happened to offhandedly mention three or four recent examples of successfully-written aging-related memoirs, and so I picked up two of them: Joan Didion's "Blue Nights" and Julian Barnes' "Nothing To Be Frightened Of", the titles of which make me think that maybe one of them's figured it out and the other one hasn't, but maybe one shouldn't "read" too much into a title so to speak etc etc etc...

But seriously, I've been meaning to read Didion for a long time, so I'm "looking forward" to this. And then while I was in the small English-language biography section I happened to see the David Foster Wallace biography "Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story" and thought why the fuck not, go for the Existential Gloom Jackpot.

After the library, on the way to the BIM, I saw two unexpected things. This, as I went underneath the bridge leading to Piet Heinkade:

Which I still don't really understand what it was, hopefully a piece of art and not the new HQ of Satan's army. Wait, no, that would be totally fine.

And then this disorienting sight:

Which is the pretty darn sizable building I was headed to (slightly in the foreground), dwarfed by an enormous cruise ship parked right up next to it. That hotel with the red neon sign next to it is, I dunno, 20 stories high. It didn't make any visual sense at all. Nor logical: why would you put two mammoth billion-dollar structures next to each other in the water if you didn't have to?