sound check = 4pm + we hit the stage = 2am + free beer + piping-hot vodka and lemon shots blowtorched by a feisty Russian lass = 3.50 euro + roughly 6,000 random joints being passed around + general Rube Goldberg carnival atmosphere (an example: the second-to-last picture below is actually a combination motorcycle/espresso machine)
I have never been that fucked up onstage before. The upside: the concentration that our altered states required from us resulted in a tremendously focused hour of music. The downside: today.
1 kilo pomtajer/malanga, grated
1/3 cup celery leaves, chopped fine
the juice of 2 oranges
the juice of 1 lemon
freshly grated nutmeg
Soak the zoutvlees in cold water for 30 minutes or so, then rinse and dice the meat.
Rub the chicken pieces thoroughly in a mix of equal parts salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Here's my cute little nutmeg grater:
Brown the chicken pieces in a sautepan, using a little of the butter to facilitate if necessary. Add the zoutvlees and saute for 5 minutes or so, then add the rest of the butter and the onions, tomatoes, chicken broth and palm sugar, and simmer until the palm sugar melts.
Turn off the heat.
Grab your defrosted, grated pomtajer.
Add the orange and lemon juices and the celery leaves to the pomtajer, then add all of the liquid from the chicken mixture, and stir to integrate everything.
Spread half of the pomtajer mixture along the bottom of a buttered baking dish, and then place a layer of the chicken mixture on top. Top with a layer of the pomtajer mixture. Dot the top with butter if you feel like it.
Bake for 60 minutes at 175C, and then 30 minutes at 150C. After about the first 45 minutes check to see if the top is drying out. If it is, either dot some more butter on top, or if you think you've already added plenty of butter, you can mix things around in the baking pan to moisten. But when I used the full 180-200 grams of butter, everything was perfectly moist.
Serve with birambie (or similar homemade spicy pickles) either by itself or on a baguette for a broodje pom.
I did skimp on the butter a little, about 50g less than I probably should've used...but my conscience was peering rudely over my shoulder in the kitchen and I just couldn't do it. I'll think I'll stick with my proportions so that my guilt is just ever so slightly less crushing.
You know, someone once said that I never post any nice-looking pictures of Mara up here. Out here. Wherever we are. In my defense, here's what I have to work with:
"I got nowhere else to go....."
I've just crossed some sort of Geek Threshold. My first meme. This is The Omnivore's Hundred, which I filled out b/c I had 10 minutes to kill while my bulgur cooked and because it's a pretty good list...I have fond memories of most of the 75 78 items I've tried. There are some that I feel like I've tried but have no recollection of the details, like borscht and gjetost. And there are only a few things on here that I don't feel like I ever need to try again, like sea urchin and andouillette.
1. Venison 2. Nettle tea 3. Huevos rancheros 4. Steak tartare 5. Crocodile (well, alligator) 6. Black pudding 7. Cheese fondue 8. Carp 9. Borscht 10. Baba ghanoush 11. Calamari 12. Pho 13. PB&J sandwich 14. Aloo gobi 15. Hot dog from a street cart 16. Epoisses 17. Black truffle 18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes 19. Steamed pork buns 20. Pistachio ice cream 21. Heirloom tomatoes 22. Fresh wild berries 23. Foie gras 24. Rice and beans 25. Brawn, or head cheese 26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper 27. Dulce de leche 28. Oysters 29. Baklava 30. Bagna cauda 31. Wasabi peas 32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl 33. Salted lassi 34. Sauerkraut 35. Root beer float 36. Cognac with a fat cigar 37. Clotted cream tea 38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O 39. Gumbo 40. Oxtail 41. Curried goat 42. Whole insects (it's not for a lack of source material, but I don't see this one happening) 43. Phaal (should get on this one) 44. Goat’s milk 45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more 46. Fugu 47. Chicken tikka masala 48. Eel 49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut 50. Sea urchin 51. Prickly pear 52. Umeboshi 53. Abalone 54. Paneer 55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Big Macs, yes, but never the Meal) 56. Spaetzle 57. Dirty gin martini 58. Beer above 8% ABV 59. Poutine 60. Carob chips 61. S’mores 62. Sweetbreads 63. Kaolin (no desire to try this one) 64. Currywurst 65. Durian 66. Frogs’ legs 67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake 68. Haggis 69. Fried plantain 70. Chitterlings, or andouillette 71. Gazpacho 72. Caviar and blini 73. Louche absinthe 74. Gjetost 75. Roadkill Not as far as I know, and let's keep it that way. 76. Baijiu I think I pretty much understand how pure alcohol works at this point, this isn't a priority. 77. Hostess Fruit Pie 78. Snail 79. Lapsang souchong 80. Bellini 81. Tom yum 82. Eggs Benedict 83. Pocky 84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant 85. Kobe beef 86. Hare 87. Goulash 88. Flowers 89. Horse 90. Criollo chocolate 91. Spam 92. Soft shell crab 93. Rose harissa 94. Catfish 95. Mole poblano 96. Bagel and lox 97. Lobster Thermidor 98. Polenta 99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee 100. Snake
Did something today I haven't done in a long time: cooked a complicated dinner because it felt like the only pleasant thing I was capable of doing.
Waah. My back has been hurting for a couple weeks now, but last night's sleep was foiled by not only that but a plague of additional hostile entities: silent, thirsty mosquitoes; unsilent, mysteriously motivated cats; and this wicked, throbbing shin injury that I must have picked up during Rotterdam's post-gig shenanigans.
So today I was just barely functional, but there were some projects in store for us. One positive, constructive project, and one destructive project. The positive one is pictured above in an unfinished state: new shelves in the kitchen (hopefully the first of several planned kitchen modifications). They're really more integrated than they look. If you know Mara's work, you'll agree that none of the following facts are surprising: 1) the materials used are scraps from the backyard, costing zero; 2) the entire project was finished in two hours; 3) I had nothing at all to do with it.
My contribution to the team's achievements came in the form of Complicated and Sloppy-Looking Southwestern Cooking.
In 20th-century menuspeak this would be something like Red Chile-Pesto Shrimp with Fresh-Roasted Red Peppers, Guacamole and Black Bean-Goat Cheese Huarache Quesadilla (Which You Can Almost See Underneath Everything Else) Plus Chive Oil. Etc. Today it is called Ancho Shrimp with Goat Cheese Huarache.
Really just a lot of sub-recipes: an ancho chile sauce with (subtle) cinnamon and marjoram, a basil-pine nut pesto (which was already lurking in the fridge), a black bean and roasted garlic puree, and a chive oil. And a guacamole, which I bought, and which (though expensive) is real guacamole, from De Avondmarkt.
Pesto sounds like a fusion-y bit of overkill in a Southwestern context, but it's really not: basil and pine nuts are perfect complements to the main players here...but they do work best when they don't dominate the proceedings, and when combined with the earthy notes of the darker dried chiles like ancho (not pasilla as described here earlier...in my weakened condition I'd forgotten about the West Coast predilection for calling things pasilla that ain't).
With that in mind, I would call this successful because it tasted simple...if I'd been served this in a restaurant I would've said "Hmmm, darn tasty, but I could cook that." And in fact I'd be totally correct, which is rare for me. Today's recipe was based on several things out of a new cookbook sent to me by my lovely parents, Richard Sandoval's Modern Mexican Cooking.
The first of these several things was a huarache, which I somehow hadn't realized had become a easily findable edible in America these days (more info here and here, still looking for a postable recipe). But: when I went to make some masa for my possible huarache, I discovered that (cue foreboding music that introduces our destructive project for the day)...
...our pantry moth problem is out of control. You can read about other unfortunate victims' tales of woe on the eGullet Pantry Moths thread, but it suffices to say that we threw out just about every dry good we had at home, with the exception of the newest shipment of chiles and Mexican herbs from Phoenix. These went into the freezer. This process of retaliation and, yes, destruction made it look like we were just moving in instead of moving someone else out...
This was my way-too-early lunch in Rotterdam on Friday, at Bazar. Yes, it looks like enough food for three people, but it was mostly lettuce, honest. Those are falafel in the back, and chicken wings in front. Everything was good, I'd go back if there was one of these in Amsterdam. Oh, wait: there is.
Here's our version of "Song 3" from the other night, with extra reverb added by me. It's certainly probably not awesome, but it's also just about the first time we ever played it like this all the way through. Is it really 10 minutes long? We were quite worried that our entire set was going to clock in at around 8 minutes.
Pretty sure this is a Vegetarian Duck first: live foodblogging from a DJ gig. Don't even ask.
Below, we have some sort of vegetarian wrap; an artichoke tapenade topped with a blueberry (!); and some roe with a lemon creme fraiche and a sprig of lavender? And prosecco. Lots and lots of prosecco. More up-to-the-minute action as it occurs. UPDATE: I missed the vitello tonnato, manicotti (maybe?), and something else warm that looked delicious. I did snag some lovely cured ham, maybe Parma? All thanks to Casa Catering.
The actual content of the event that I'm being lighthearted about here is substantial: the social politics of water governance. I've watched a couple of very compelling speakers talk about the difficulties and unexpected conflicts in areas of true water scarcity. It's (as you might imagine) a situation whose complexity is entirely outside the scope of this site, but I'll try to put some links up here that concisely outline the story.
To sum: we take clean, useful drinking water for granted....and (duh) we should maybe not do that. I heard many interesting things this evening, the latest of which rang true: that our own disconnection from our local water systems (not understanding how our own water becomes useful and gets into our homes) impedes us from truly understanding and empathizing with cultures who aren't as fortunately situated as we are.
All this said? This is no environment for a DJ. I am having serious Corporate America flashbacks.
Jace had a nice post about The Ex today, and that led me to this: this video is four years old, and it's a quite really rough version of a Mahmoud Ahmed song I think, but you have to see the dancing that starts at the 2:30 mark and continues to the end. I'm so doing this at the next show I go to.
If you're wondering what the crowd is cheering about every 10 seconds or so, it's the lyrics.
Another good one, maybe this is a Tlahoun Gessesse song:
Actually we already done went to the chapel. And we played the Louvin Brothers, rather raucously. Don't know what Ira and Charlie would've thought of it, but from my point of view it wasn't a disaster. Most people that I talked to afterwards said "I really liked the third song", and that makes sense because I think it's our favorite too.
I'm not mentioning the name of it because it's weirdly unGooglable, as in there must be legal reasons why more versions of it aren't online, if you catch my drift. Regardless, here's the Louvin Brothers' version of "Song 3" if you're curious.
Now, onto another music project for a couple of days (thankfully not requiring any guitar playing...I easily played more guitar last month than I've played in the last 5 years...my hands hate me at the moment), off to Rotterdam to "perform" it, and then...then, we might see some real blogging here and there. Well, at least here.
One thing I wish I'd had time to post about was a week or two of excellent food gifts from friends. Don't know what was going on, but everyone we knew seemed to be cooking up a storm and sending some of the results our way. Cream scones, eggplant parm, banana bread, blackberry pie, pasta alla puttanesca, a real boterkoek from a Dutch mamma....all of these made their way into our kitchen (and stomachs) over the last couple weeks, and it was nice nice nice. Thanks for the grub, everyone (sorry, I'm so tired at the moment that this upcoming exclamation point is 100% feigned enthusiasm)!
You may already know this, but...there are a bunch of boring-ass blogs out there. I just clicked around for like 30 minutes wearing an unbudgeable "impress me" scowl.
This experience leads me to believe that this blog is also probably quite boring-ass as well. In fact, I know it is. Look, what's that above, just there? Cubed tilapia and kaffir lime leaves. Big whoop. What's just below us? Andy and Valentina wrapping an unappetizing-looking (but totally delicious) squid, coconut, lemongrass, etc. mixture in banana leaves for steaming.
Bah....whatever. This is the Internet, baby. I done seen that shit already. Then there's the completed version of Mara's always-chompable saté lilit, the only food-on-a-stick in town with no stick. But this too is deja vu, no?
Finally, we have four or five lovely bitches (I mean this in the non-misogynist, appreciative sense...as in, "them there's some fine-ass lovely-headed bitches.") shakin' all manner of thing on the dance floor to the sounds of Gal Costa while fluorescent blue dragonflies hover over their heads. Bah. "Seen it," you say. I know, I know.
You can't see the shrimp or ancho-ness in this photo, but they're both there. Recipe to come. Wellll, it's not much of a recipe: puree some softened ancho peppers with a little more than 1 tbsp of walnut oil per pepper. Saute this puree on low for about 10-15 minutes until the uncooked flavor goes away.
Then you take one-a them 250 gram packages of those tiny pink shrimp from a few posts ago, and add to them 2 or 3 tbsp of the aforementioned ancho paste, 1 pressed garlic clove, and a squirt of lime. Marinate for a few hours, and then chuck those suckers into a quesadilla or two.
I have been skating on the proverbial thin ice for most of this summer, healthwise. Everything's OK, but yeah, there is a fine line being walked. Or skated, whatever... metaphor, shmetaphor. As the last couple of Augusts have been yawning black chasms of anti-health, our current status can still be considered "significant progress", but I'm going to have to go ahead and predict that my only hope for ending this summer with an overall smiley face on my report card is to have the Healthiest August Ever.
But: the Starship Healthy August needs fuel. And it ain't no m*therf**$kin' dilithium crystals neither. Naw. See, this here Spaceship of Sparkling Inner Cleanliness runs on....pork!
Dass right. In order to have a Healthy August, we gots to have us one last Poke Fish Celebrayshun. Or: chicken in the shape of a poke fish. Celebration.
Don't worry, I'm not talking about anything gluttonous. Just a little sausage tasting. A couple bites. Two. Three, tops.
The surprising thing was that this bloedworst was just about as good as what I had at Kwakoe. Maybe they all come from Milan. Cooking instructions are simple: heat a pot of water with a couple of cloves, 10 or so allspice berries, and a couple of bay leaves. Add the sausage and simmer on low for an hour or so. Don't let it boil. Then you're done.
The fa tjeong is for tomorrow night, some kind of stir-fry/sauté with green beans. Also with some kind of ancho shrimp quesadilla based on this idea.
This is an often-NSFW, mostly gluten-free kitchen notebook that also occasionally threatens to turn into something else and fails, thus remaining its same old cryptic and superficial self. These posts begin to fail to explain (start at the bottom).
Reboot the Blog, Recalibrate the Palate
A period of neglect. Dormancy. Slackness. Call it what you will. This miniscule corner of the web still has some life. I'd like to make it sputter again from...