While I was licking my plate at breakfast this morning, I realized that chutney and crème fraîche should really end up in my mouth together more often.

Why was I licking my plate. A better question might be: why was I even using a plate. This is not standard breakfast procedure around here. Well, this protocol breach occurred because I made those smoked sweet potato pancakes (actually much more like latkes than pancakes) I mentioned a few weeks ago, and the platelicking occurred b/c, all respect to the Hilly, I think mine were even better. Like crazily good.

I didn't really change the recipe, just some quantity adjustments, so it must've been the ingredients. It did not hurt one bit that these were served with not only crème fraîche but a spicy plum chutney from De Avondmarkt that added some complex cumin-related support. Both condiments were essential to the awesomeness, but, wow, yes: these are Thoroughly Repeatable, and should probably definitely be deployed at your or my next vegetarian meal, and also as soon as possible.

UPDATE: One time, in the absence of creme fraiche and pimenton, I used lime-spiked Greek yogurt and smoky Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, respectively...worked pretty fine.


sweet potato latkes with pimentón.

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp smoked paprika (I used pimentón agridulce, moderately hot)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup peanut oil, for frying


Basically fry for 2 minutes per side. This probably serves 4.


easy prey.

Snails with chorizo and serrano ham, from Penelope Casas. Even better than the Wolfert recipe if you double the garlic and the chili pepper, and again, this sauce would make anything you placed it on taste good or better.



Not an English word, but it should be, describing the process of beginning to feel strange. More on this later.

For now, somehow I forgot to document the best pho recipe I've ever made. It's right here, and I'll post my modifications to it eventually. But it was perfect.



and taketh away.

A knowledgeable and open-hearted friend just told me that they missed my blog, and when they said that I realized I hadn't even thought about "my blog" in a while. But then I also thought, yeah, I miss it a little too.

Time management issues aside, the biggest current obstacle to really blogging the way we used to is that a few months ago shit got even more complicated and, yes, well, please refer to this discussion for my position on publicly casting our feelings into words, and then add another whole dimension of necessary restraint having to do with being considerate to people you care about, and ect ect ect.

There's no ignoring the...unusual unprecedented time constraints of the last two months, and the resulting fact that often there was not one free second in which to blog, seriously. But I guess right now there is some time, and yet I seem to be mostly not blogging because: yyiisssssss, I thought this blog was about one unspoken but obvious thing, and the prospect of, ehh....expanding the scope is just too much of a shift in the original design. My own scope is a painfully overexpanded as it is. Like I said, shit is complex. But I'd like to try to find a way to write about things a little more...I guess we'll see won't we.


At the top of the post: dinner on a swiftly-becoming-cloudy evening at Mano a Mano on Hugo de Grootplein. Left to right: San Miguel; pan tomate; grilled sardines; octopus salad; chorizo in red wine; paella; aioli; Swedish person; agreeable white wine. All good stuff.

Mostly decent food (chorizo and sardines best by far, octopus good with bread and aioli), elevated by very pleasant service, kind of just like every other Spanish or Turkish place I've been to recently in my hood. Admittedly, the food was better at, say, Orontes West right next door (mussel salad good) or even Pasodoble, surprisingly. But I'd go back here for the chorizo and the terrace for sure.

Below: one of the best things I've done in the kitchen lately, recipe in progress. The sauce would be a weener on any kind of shellfish I think.


snails with country ham and garlic (via Paula Wolfert).

"1 can (7½ ounces) snails (24 large snails)"

is what the original recipe called for. I used two cans from De Avondmarkt, have to check quantities. I may have ended up doubling everything.

2 tsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped prosciutto or serrano ham
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup well-reduced (thick) meat or poultry stock
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large plum tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 tsp Pernod
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper



the moleman cometh.

A recent new reader pointed out that I maybe shouldn't begin every post with an apology about not posting. That maybe the monotony of my apologies is as boring as not posting at all.

I'm inclined to agree, which is why I just haven't been posting. Also, I have been eating zero interesting things. Unlike some people.

That's not totally true, actually: these sweet potato pancakes were deeeeelicious, made by Hilly from a recipe by the Neely's.