let it snow.

I'm only writing instead of working because I got 8 minutes of sleep last night (see previous entry), and because it's actually snowing outside, only hours after I idly wished it would. That almost never happens. These are hardly conditions under which a man can be expected to get anything done.

Except maybe cook (and clean, fuck!). I have suddenly contracted a fi-yuuurious craving for Chinese food, specifically something from the Szechwan side of da house--my head needs blown off, badly. I want my lips to fly around the room screaming (assuming that's still possible when they're not connected to the rest of me).

But I ain't gwine to do takeout, you know...see, all my homies (New King, Nam Kee) live on the other side of town now, so I gots to do it my own self.

One of the better resources I've seen for making this stuff at home is on eGullet, innocently titled Chinese Food Pictorials. They're done by a guy called hzrt8w (uh, real name W.K. Leung), and they're thorough as all get-out.

If you're not already familiar with the degree of obsessiveness with which eGulleters can track a topic, the Szechuan Peppercorn thread is a good place to get a taste. Lots of additional photodocumentation of homestyle Chinese cooking can be found on the Chinese Cooking at Home thread.

There's also another thread that has piqued my interest these days: Korean Home Cooking. One of the ringleaders here, ChryZ, has a blog where most of the pictorials also show up. Here are the front runners on my to-cook list:
  1. Dwenjang Jjiigae (pork stew)
  2. Haemul Pajeon (seafood/scallion pancake with spicy dip)
  3. Buldak (korean fire chicken with mozzarella)
  4. Soondooboo Jjigae (shrimp/kimchi stew with tofu)
  5. Jajang Myung (noodles with black bean sauce)
Jajang Myung is last because it's the only one of these I've actually tasted before. It looks like a can of motor oil poured over a bowl of linguini, but it's good eatin'. There was a good bulgogi restaurant in Atlanta whose bulgogi was so good that it kept me from branching out too much. I don't think it was My Dong. The restaurant.

Actually My Dong might have been Vietnamese. The restaurant. Here's eGullet's Vietnamese Home Cooking thread as well.

And....I also found Andrea Nguyen's Vietworldkitchen to be a valuable storehouse of great writing and recipes from the Vietnamese kitchen. The question is: will I get around to cooking any of these recipes, or will I get distracted by some other piece of exotic fluff that will generate yet another pointless post and no actual food?


Unfortunately I find myself awake and sleepless after a very disturbing dream about an ex-girlfriend. And there wasn't even any sex.

I was sitting at a table in a modern Italian restaurant (a la...Babbo, let's say, but not Babbo) before it had opened for dinner, say 4pm, in a tuxedo, waiting for something, all the lights were off inside but there was still enough light outside so that you could see everything fine. A menu was on the table. A wedding party noisily exited of one of the back rooms, just having done some post-wedding thing, post-wedding because the bride was in white, and...lo, the bride was my ex.

We were surprised to run into each other there, but not like, "Wow, haven't seen you in forever," more like people who see each other regularly and are just surprised to run into each other somewhere unusual. I said something like hey, that's three years in a row we've seen each other here at this place. She sits down next to me but facing me, it was one of those banquette thingies, and starts talking about something. When she turned to her right, toward the rest of the restaurant, to look around, I could see that she was wearing a lot of makeup, as brides tend to do...but there was something really garishly wrong about the part around the temple side of her left eye.

Not wrong like, this is the part where she's actually dead or anything...it was just unfinished, strangely white and shiny. So while she was talking, I blended it in with my thumb and it looked better.

And, sadly....that's all i remember. The bad part was Lynchian in it's level of scary evilness but the specifics elude me. Well, a little girl's body was pulled limp from an ocean harbor by a crane, but then the sun shone on it and it was alive and waved to the crowd; also, I'd hidden a Christmas present for someone (R. Scott Hanson I believe) somewhere and couldn't find it. I knew it was in a high place, somewhere that I had to stand on tiptoe to reach. But while I was looking for it, I was also embarrassed about the gift because it seemed cheap and lame, it was some kind of old "classic" piece of literature in it's original paperback version, with notes scribbled on the cover. I think Scott's parents were getting dressed to go out during this.

None of this was scary, just menacing...the bad part was happening simultaneously, though, and it had something vaguely to do with my ex, and with me being part of a group of 6 very bad people who received instructions about what specific bad things to do via an intricate system of cubicles and P.O. boxes. There were toilets involved as well. Ominous, no?

And so you see, I am awake, with only a couple of hours of sleep under my belt. Leaving me to ponder things like "what will I do with the thawed salmon in the fridge?" I also have some merguez I bought yesterday, mm-hmm, yes...now watch as I attempt to deploy some maple syrup as the bridge ingredient here, and a dab of orange marmalade as well, for a kind of Seattle brunch vibe:


marmalade-glazed salmon with merguez sausage and maple sweet potatoes?

1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, pressed
250gr salmon filet

4 merguez sausages

2 sweet potatoes
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
grated nutmeg

toasted pine nuts, minced chives and minced cilantro for garnish


We'll see...

party time, part 6127.

As so often happens 'round these parts, we've decided that it's "time for a party".

At our last apartment, well...we used to have a lot of parties. Or more accurately: we had a good number of small "dinner parties", several medium-sized "get-togethers", and a few rather large and memorable bashes, including that rare bird (pictured above), the Successful New Year's Party. You know the one where, although alarming things happen: someone you don't know does a serious swandive off a kitchen counter, faceplanting into the corner of the stovetop; someone else is allegedly "pushed" down during Nieuwmarkt midnight fireworks and returns with an ugly bloody gash on her calf; the cats disappear and the party has to be "paused" for 10 minutes to make sure they're inside because they've never been outside before in their lives...

Although all of that happens, the oven diver is carried upstairs and put to bed (asked if she needed anything, she replied "vodka" and then fell asleep), the leg gash is swabbed and gauzed, the cats are found...

...and the food is exotic and excellent because you are fortunate enough to have friends that can really cook; just a few too many people bring unexpected numbers of people so that it seems ever-so-slightly overcrowded for an hour or two; random and not-so-random DJs step up to the task masterfully and everybody dances, you manage to properly gauge your own alcohol intake, and you go to bed at 9am feeling good about the world and your place in it.


We've lived in our current apartment almost exactly 1 year, and we have not yet had a party party. Yes, there are good reasons: my primary co-partier was away in the Arctic north for almost 5 months. Upon her return, I was absolutely mired in work goop, nose to the grindstone like the proverbial paperhanger until the holiday parties set upon us like a pack of hungry Duran Duran wolves. And then her parents came to party visit, and then we went on vacation, etc. etc. etc.

So, sure. There are reasons. But what I'm saying is...in the words of King Geedorah and Mr. Fantastik:

it's on nigga
on and crackin'
like Dig'em
lips be smackin'.


Obviously, after the guest list (unfortunately, the supercomputer-like calculations required to properly calibrate the ideal mix of people who will be interested in each other or can at least all have fun together are beyond the scope of this page), the first consideration is the food. Actually, for me that comes before the guest list.

This highlights one of the very few things that my co-partier and I disagree on. One of them is dub music, which is not very relevant in terms of food. The other is (sniff) cilantro. She is a "cilantro/soap" gene person (I realize that this enzyme/gene thing is still under debate, but I'm hoping that that's the explanation), and I am currently in the mood for something cilantro-heavy. I'm aware that cilantro can be served in a bowl on the side. In fact, one might say that that's a better way to do it for a party anyway since apparently something like 25% of people might have this soap gene (Source: Wikipedia).

I'm just saying: we don't disagree about much: but this "party food" thing brings up the one thing we may never see eye to eye on (there's still a chance for dub, I think), this cilantro issue, and it's just not fair...because, dammit...OK, Andy puts a bunch of cilantro in his party food and it's great. And I should be able to, too. Because otherwise he has an unfair advantage. There, I said it. It's out.


Up next: More procrastination in the guise of Menu Planning!


P.S. I wish it would snow.

UPDATE: Six hours later, it is snowing.


team trivia and hot wings.

Well, after a buttload of traveling, Team Duck is now back in Amsterdam battling jet lag and a weird, Affliction-like toothache. So if you ask me something and I bark "It's my goddamned TOOTH, I can't take it anymore!" and then throw you over a lunch counter, or douse you with gasoline and set you aflame....that's what's up.

In other "towering achievements" news, we thoroughly spanked the rest of Churchill's Pub in East Cobb during an evening of Team Trivia...actually, it was an upset win, down to the last question, which had something to do with Fargo and the AFI's list of 100 Greatest American Movies Of All Time. I can't quite remember the details...what was I even drinking? Oh right, Jaegermeister.

Before the freezing brown liquid gunked up my circuitry, though, I somehow correctly identified some lines of poetry as being Robert Browning's. Actually "brown" was a bit of a theme that evening (oh, isn't it always when you hang out with MT). We chose "Brown" as our team name (we're usually sporting the witty moniker The Libya Miners); there was a question about a Browning automatic, and, um....well, I think that's it. The only other question I can remember had something to do with the Arctic Ocean.

Whatever. Ever wonder about the whole deer/crucifix thing?