I've been having an unprecedented run of bad luck with regard to computing, probably beginning with tiny_a's cracked screen back in April, then our business hard drive crashing in May, then tiny_b's screen breaking, the printer/scanner dying, tiny_a's webcam going AWOL, etc etc etc etc etc. Not to mention the continuing problems with our building's network, for which I am very informally the administrator.
Etc. So it was with a sort of not-especially-surprised resignation that I logged into Gmail yesterday to find 7 months of email gone, all the way back to January 2011, which for me means thousands of messages are missing. My first thought was that it was some sort of Gmail glitch that would eventually be fixed, but then I saw a new unread email from my dear mother that said "Did you get my email about your Gmail coming to my computer, 6000 of them?"
Ehh. I'm not the pointiest knife in the drawer, but my Correlation Detector was sharp enough to notice that these two events might be related. I called my mother. She was, as usual, doing some serious multi-tasking with the twins when I called, and then her other line rang, but before she switched over to take the call, she said something like "Oh yeah, these duplicate mails...I'm so proud of myself for deleting everything without reading it...what a good mother I'm being. It's taking forever, though, I'm still only at January or something (clicks over to other line)."
Yes. Correlation Detector blinks frantically. So does this mean that my mother has accidentally logged into my Gmail (b/c I guess I logged in on that machine the last time I was there) and is proudly, sweetly, cutely deleting all of my actual mail off the server because she thinks they're duplicates that have been accidentally downloaded to her machine? Yes. And she's deleting everything so that she won't be tempted to read them at some later date...
Sigh. Of course everything turned out OK, the thousands of deleted emails were in my Trash on the server. But for a moment there, I was all "come on now technology karma, nigga please, WTF."
Lots of cooking coming up this week, some fun new things in the hopper (?), etc. Tonight though was about using up some about-to-expire produce, and so we get Thai beef with nuoc cham and green beans with peanut sauce. I normally do a more elaborate peanut sauce but this quick one was almost as good with zero effort.
peanut sauce, the easy version.
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp hot water
juice of a lime
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp raw sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 balls of bakgember (yeah, sorry non-Amsterdammers)
2 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp red chile flakes
1 tbsp fish sauce
For the next week I am headed back up north every day (Amsterdam-Noord), to the studio, and after that I am headed seriously up north, on a bus from Stockholm to to Umeå (above, photo by Anna) and its environs for 10 days, and after that to Berlin for 9 days. We shall have much to talk about, you and I. But for the next week or so...not so much.
Above: less computer-centric days at Restaurant Stork last month.
Good god. I probably mentioned our big computer crash from May, wherein we lost approximately two months' worth of accounting data for our bidness. You can imagine how one might procrastinate for as long as possible around the rebuilding of this data, until finally there comes a time when one can procrastinate no longer, and that time is unfortunately.....last night.
So that's what we're doing, staring at our laptops, shouting out invoice and PO numbers and payment amounts while clutching calculators and reams of paper to our chests and alternately swearing and cheering as the worm turns.
We're also making lentil thingies tonight, with all of the accoutrements, plus a new version of the red cabbage slaw, slightly tweaked so that it doesn't overlap with other flavors.
red cabbage slaw with buttermilk, harissa, scallions, and cumin.
half a red cabbage, chopped in a food processor
1/2 cup or more apple cider vinegar, to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp harissa
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
almost a cup of chopped scallions
Did I mention that our oven broke? I normally enjoy a cooking challenge. Like the time Steve's oven broke and we had to cook everything on a gas grill for a week. But this is less fun so far. Probably due to the lack of burgers.
Much great chomping has happened in these parts recently, but I have no food-pr0n-style photodocumentation of it: instead we have pictures of the people who cooked and ate the food.
Saturday we went to a housewarming BBQ (pictured atmospherically above and blasphemously below) in the BoLo which featured a lot of grilled lamb and seafood, all good, but best of all, HBF brought this monster: Stilton Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote. I believe the poestweaks included a tiny bit of rosemary somewhere and some walnuts in the crust? Whatever happened, the end result was even better than it sounds. Chef HBF tonguing the pope:
Then last night was a very hungover dinner at Fenan Klein Afrika, which continues to be one of my favorite affordable Amsterdam restaurants, hungover or not. But I have to warn you: if you go there in anything resembling the condition I was in, you've got about 30 minutes to get home after you've finished eating before you fall unstoppably into a sleep-like coma. Injera a serious sleeping pill: don't linger.
'Nduja is an addictive thing. And as far as I know, there's only one dealer in town. As you can imagine, sometimes you can't always make it there when the craving hits, and you find yourself scavenging desperately around the house looking for something to ease the pain.
Tonight we decided to try and make a 'nduja substitute out of chorizo and red chiles. Basically you take some nice not-too-generic chorizo (I got ours at De Avondmarkt), puree it in a food processor, and saute it in some neutral oil over low heat with processed dried red chiles for 10 minutes or so. Drain excess oil if you like, and salt to taste if you can do so without blowing your head off. You might end up with something that looks like the above, and tastes probably nothing like 'nduja, more research necessary. But whatever chorizo/chile condiment you've ended up with is very good.
This psuedo'nduja business happened b/c we were trying to reverse engineer the calabrese di spilinga from La Perla. So once we'd made the psuedo'nduja, we were all ready to do the damn thing, and..........
...the oven wouldn't turn on. Gnash gnash. Oven broken. Pizza craving in progress, ingredients assembled, etc. OK, OK. Plan B is stovetop pizza: roll your crust out super-thin and brush a heated iron skillet lightly with oil. Throw pizza in skillet and cook one side a few minutes until it's nice and brown, this will actually be the top of the pizza because you're going to flip it over right now. While the uncooked side is browning, add a little tomato sauce, sliced mozzarella, and some forkfuls of ghetto'nduja to the side that is now facing up. Make sure you don't burn the bottom.
When the bottom is as cooked as you can stand it, then, uh...you've got a problem. The cheese on top isn't melted or bubbly or brown. So get out your blowtorch:
And then celebrate your ability to triumph in the face of hardware failure.
So, it's over for a while. And in the adrenaline-free vacuum created in its wake, we have moments of potential relaxation and "summertime".
We had to bike a bunch of borrowed stuff back to the studios yesterday, one of which is across the IJ in Amsterdam North, so we decided to reward ourselves with a late lunch at Restaurant Stork which is literally around the corner from said studio.
We'd been going to Stork every day for one thing or another: coffee, beer, a sandwich, wine, but we hadn't yet had a proper meal. Tucked away in a traffic-less corner of the harbor, it's a relaxed, pretty location, even on an overcast afternoon like yesterday's. The service is pretty typical Amsterdam, but our one waitress did actually recognize us and engaged us in a bit of conversation, so that was noteworthy.
The food? Well-prepared and unpretentious if a tiny bit boring (I feel like I write this sentence all the time), but pretty reasonably priced for what and where it is, and very fresh: below is a seafood plate (€27.50 for two people) featuring: Holtkamp shrimp croquettes (yum!); eggs with anchovies; smoked eel from Firma de Kort; smoked trout, salmon, and halibut from Frank's Smoke House; and a pile of tiny pink Hollandse garnalen I think. Combined with a seared tuna Nicoise and a few oysters, the three of us barely finished everything. But yes, eventually, we did.
Note to self: if you've just had a day where you got three hours of sleep and then went to work and got seriously but non-fatally electrocuted and then regardless had an eight-hour rehearsal: it's OK to cook like this.
one bami vegetable mix packet from the Dirk (onions, leeks, carrots, cabbage, maybe more)
coconut oil for sauteeing
one block of tofu, cubed
a knob of ginger, grated
a little beer
2 or 3 tbsp ketjap manis
1 or 2 tbsp sambal oelek
a bunch of actual grated coconut, to taste
a little peanut butter, to taste
as much cilantro as makes sense
This is an occasionally 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).