white on white.

To further illustrate how far blogging has fallen on my list of priorities: I've been waiting to accept a certain dinner invitation for two years or so, and yet on Tuesday when it finally happened I somehow managed to not bring my camera. Luckily, the cook is an excellent photographer herself. As well as being an excellent cook.

And me? I'm reduced to posting pictures of my cat. This is a current look at the reclusive Jo3n Kitty.



downtime: fried.

The title of this post just keeps getting more relevant. Last night's 40th birthday party (not mine) has left this duck with a case of the Sleepies. Luckily my plans today can all be accomplished while laying down.

In other news: I just found out that I'm an INFP, which according to Wikipedia is something that only 1% of people are (or maybe as high as 4.5%...less notable). Regardless, I'm special. I'm...so very special.


Made a great piece of salmon for the first time in forever last night, coated liberally with Mara's homemade saag paneer curry powder from yesteryear, pan-fried in walnut oil, and topped with a salad/relish/salsa of cucumbers, tomato, raw onion, and lime with optional fresh basil (the photo above is from a subsequent version with different accoutrements).

UPDATE: I've made it twice thrice now and it's Thoroughly Repeatable, recipe to come as soon as we can remember how we made the curry powder.

There's not really a recipe for the salmon: pan-fry it for 3-4 minutes per side. After liberally coating it with this here homemade curry powder and a bit of salt:

coriander-centric curry rub for steak and salmon

2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cardamom seeds
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp turmeric

Toast everything but the turmeric, grind, then add turmeric. Store covered for a month or two.



steak break.

Yes. As we know, not much cooking going on, but tonight I treated my lonely-ass hermit-like self to a steak, and I did something to it I've wanted to do for a while, which is experiment with Mark Miller's Beef + Smoked Oysters thing.

It was perfect for what I wanted, supergood and in fact also perfect for the next truly manly dinner I want to cook. The gist of my simplified version is: take a steak or two, crust them with cumin seed and black pepper (no salt was necessary in my case, but it could be in yours), pan-fry for 4 minutes a side, then throw 6-8 smoked oysters (yes, from a tin) in the pan for 30 seconds or so, spill the whole thing out on a plate and scatter minced chives or scallions across the top and serve with cilantro-rich pico de gallo.

Really good. Mr. Miller adds thyme and wraps his steaks in bacon and does several other time-consuming fancy things in the process, but really this quick and dirty version was plenty good enough for this mufka.



all natural.

It's official: I'm having some kind of food apathy crisis, nothing sounds good except pizza.

Although I'm not actually eating any pizza. I wisely stocked the fridge full of vegetables earlier this week and am now forced to make my way through them: yesterday I roasted this fennel in a Sicilian way with olive oil, orange, lemon, saffron, almonds, and raisins and threw it on toasted bread for Mara with fresh basil and mayo, that was pretty good.

Maybe I'm just busy. But what's my excuse for somehow not noticing that Wendy and Lisa were gay?



in the cradle.

I am currently working on Double Headphones Project II,  a side effect of which is that I have a fully-functioning recording studio in my bed (a very small portion of which is pictured here), complete with an easily-startled, computer-fan-blocking calico sister. 

Actually the nicest thing so far about DHP II is that it only involves one set of headphones, thanks to the device in the foreground. Yay technology! And yay me for finally buying some that increases my efficiency instead of vicey versy. 



summer breeze.



Summer is here, or at least spring is here, or at least the 6-month block of non-winter weather from April to September has begun. Or, to sum: I'm wearing shorts and everybody in Amsterdam is in a much much better mood all of the sudden, though probably not because of the shorts.

Every year, the transformation of the city at the beginning of April is sudden, dramatic, and somehow always exceeds my expectations. Is it the mythical Hollands licht that's responsible? Could be. Or is it just the regular-ol' sun, finally nudging temperatures over the 60°F/15°C mark, thus allowing me to bare my calves without appearing thoroughly insane (Dutch people still think this is relatively insane, or at least in poor taste, but their scorn is delivered in a generally non-hostile "Oh, look at the silly American" kind of way).

I will readily admit that I am on the bleeding edge of short pant technology adoption. The first day of my own personal shorts-wearing season finds me generally alone in this regard unless I go into the center of town and see a couple of brave/foolish tourists. And yes, sometimes it feels a bit early: it was just Sunday night on the roof of the OT301 that found me shivering a tiny bit after the sun went down.

What I don't understand is why no one else seems to understand my eagerness to dress for summer. Shorts mean sun, sand, terraces, extended vacations, road trips, white beaches, cactus-y deserts, refreshing breezes, azure skies and azure swimming pools, tiki bars, tan lines, late sunsets, crashing waves, all-day barbecues, fancy cocktails with lime and/or mint, ice-cold (or not) six-packs of unfancy beer, scantily-clad womens, coconut-scented suntan lotion, frisbee chasing, pigskin chucking, and 75 other Good Things that signify festivity (a loaded word these days but yes that's what I mean), renewal, and/or relaxation. You cannot blame a brother for trying to make this part of the year last as long as possible.