the real thing.


This is not the real thing, this is our first ever gluten-free pasta (corn meal, store-bought). Not bad at all, it's a Romanian brand called Sam Mills (The Corn Master), I think it was €1.89/500g at the Dirk (interestingly, beating AH to the gluten-free punch). The texture was extremely pasta-like, the taste was a tiny bit on the sweet side but in an OK way. This is their penne with more home-dried tomatoes (2.5 hours @ 100C), arugula, gorgonzola, butter, and a little pecorino, an idea worth doing again I thought.


penne with oven-dried cherry tomatoes, arugula, and gorgonzola. 

250g dried gluten-free penne
2 tbsp butter
two big handfuls arugula, chopped roughly
16 oven-dried cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp gorgonzola
grated pecorino for serving

Serves 2.




Went to Ikea today, which I shamefully continue to love because it's so cheap exploitative of cheap third-world labor and because it all seems so smartly designed.

Home improvement goes hand in hand with sustenance, or some other better segue, and one of the things I like about Ottolenghi's Plenty is that it's full of things you've never tasted before. I've probably mentioned this before, but whenever there's a "home improvement day" around Apartment 100M, I typically end up shopping and cooking because I have very few other practical skills unless (joke to be inserted here).

So today while El Carote Negro assembled budget-friendly Ikea shelving, I assembled Ottolenghi's reasonably budget-friendly du puy lentil salad (with gorgonzola and oven-dried tomatoes). It was budget-friendly because the lentils were already here and plus there was a pile of tomatoes sitting around that was about to head south. All I really needed was a sliver of gorgonzola (€1.79/100gr at De Avondmarkt).

As idiosyncratic and interesting as Plenty is, you still have to keep an eye on it sometimes: this recipe called for a bunch of herbs, including lots of dill, and frankly I think Mr. Lenghi sometimes tries to push dill into a couple of places it doesn't really need to be (with equally assertive flavors like gorgonzola for example). So we added the chives the recipe called for and withheld the dill to be served on the side so we could taste it just to make sure we were right in omitting it, and why yes, yes we were.



some velvet morning.

Last night's dream: I'm stranded on a desert island, and I spend every day trying to (re)arrange grains of sand to represent all of the individual notes on Tangerine Dream's Phaedra album.  I go to sleep, and in the morning the wind has erased the score and I start again.

Today's appetizer experiment: letftover polenta tots with homemade BBQ sauce from the freezer. I still don't think they need a condiment, or if they do this isn't it. It's probably this.



southwestern polenta tots.

Mara dyed the curtains today, HBF brought over some serious homemade blueberry/lavender pie, and later I tried to make a fancy salad. Of the salad's three elements, the tastiest was something the recipe called "jalapeno-polenta croutons", but which as prepared by me were nothing like croutons at all but rather much more like polenta tots and thus totally delicious if not so so healthy. I ate a flattened one that Mara stepped on, that's how good they were. Jesus look at this pie:


southwestern polenta tots

2 and 3/4 cup half-skim milk
1 tsp salt
1 jalapeno or 2 green Holland chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 and 1/2 cups cornmeal
a good frying oil
salt and pepper

Make polenta by bringing the milk, chiles and any spices to a full boil and then adding 1 cup of the cornmeal, whisking constantly. Stirring the whole time, cook for three to five minutes, or until the polenta begins to stay pulled away from the sides when you stir it. Pour into some non-stick or lined flattish baking dish and chill for 1 to 4 hours. Remove from fridge, cut into cubes, dredge cubes in the remaining 1/2 cup cornmeal and pan-fry til brown on all sides. Drain, season to taste and serve warm in a context other than a fancy salad, probably with a dipping sauce of some kind. You might look at this recipe and say oooh cheese would be nice here and yeah it probably would but also I really think they don't necessarily need it.



indian, summer.

After spending the afternoon being clobbered by 130bpm and summery heat, I returnethed home to pretty perfect homemade Indian: updated and awesome paneer jalfrezi; super raita; peshwari naan (not pictured); cardamom rice (underneath); green scatter (of course). Oh yeh and I threw yesterday's curry-roasted cauliflower in there too after warming it up in our newish hand-me-down microwave (newly handed-down, pretty far from new age-wise) for 40 seconds, something I've done in Amsterdam maybe twice in the last twelve years. We haven't owned a microwave since the 1990s, it's still a confounding technology.



mirtazapine/remeron day 130.

So it's been a while since there's been a medication update, and that's because 1) things have been pretty stable and 2) I've decided I don't want to be on this medication for the rest of my life. The sleeping is still mostly great, pretty much the best I've ever slept in my life, although last night I in fact had a horrible night of sleep, I just felt physically "weird" and my hands kept falling asleep no matter where I put them.

Also my dreams were full of 3) me running around in a videogame subdivision battling king cobras, komodo dragons and African lions, no doubt a side effect of watching Animal Planet on the treadmill at the gym, and 4) an initially very helpful pie/ice cream vendor on a bike with wonderful-looking products who talked to me for some time about exactly what I was looking for in a piece of pie/ice cream, then silently took the $20 bill I offered him and rode off without giving me any pie or ice cream. I'm pretty sure the vendor was King Krule, a pun/irony that I didn't notice until well after I typed the previous sentence.

Regarding 2) above, I feel like things have leveled out to where I understand what this drug is all about, and unfortunately I've decided I can't really deal with the physical weakness, the persistent unignorable sugar cravings and the pretty intractable emotional distance/apathy. Don't get me wrong, the emotional distance was completely necessary at the outset and all in all the past 4.5 months have been an awesome vacation from a few several years of pretty-nihilistic depression, but at the moment I have a hard time really experiencing a complete emotion, mine only seem to go up to 50% or so. And that's a bit depressing (but luckily only 50% depressing ha ha thank you we're here all week).

Thus, my short-term plan is to enlist a brain doctor to gently massage my grey matter, and then taper off of 30mg mirtazapine down to 15mg and see what happens. And for those people who are Googling "mirtazapine/Remeron" and "weight gain/loss": I managed to not gain any weight in four months, but it was a rather unfun effort. The drug definitely wanted me to double in size.



¿qué pasa?

Que?! What's happening? I can't even remember what I was just typing into the Google Search bar, but the autocomplete for it was "crab scotch egg". Has Google just gotten a whole bunch better? I'm Googling for wonderful things I didn't even know existed (for those of you who may not understand the phrase "crab Scotch egg", it's this).

Actually I do remember what I was Googling, crab and scotch bonnets, because I have some of the latter sitting around waiting to burn the shit out of me.

Above: the chicken phố I made while Mara painted the "living room", not my best effort, but in this kitchen bad phố is pretty much like bad pizza: not really all that bad at all.




Dinner over at Megasubtiel, Inc. tonight was mega indeed: cucumber gazpacho; scallops in a lime beurre blanc; Ottolenghi's sweet potato wedges with lemongrass creme fraiche, and VDuck sambal green beans prepared to perfection by the hpoes despite my recipe-writing sabotage. A great menu. Then lemon verbena creme brulee. I'm guessing we'll be stealing all of those recipes, or at least the idea that you can have a lime beurre blanc on the same plate with your sambal green beans and that that is a very good thing.

Re sabotage: tonight while hpoes was cooking the VDuck green beans she said "hey, 150 seems a little low for these," and I then realized that when on this website I say to cook something at 150°C, I really mean "150°C", because "150°C" is what you turn the dial on our oven to when you want to cook something at the highest temperature possible, which is not a precise or predictable temperature, somewhere between 200°C and 230°C. But your ovens probably do what you tell them. I'll try to be more precise moving forward.



met mate.

Mussels are on sale at the Dirk. €3 for 2kg (that's 4.5 pounds people). Bargain shellfish, you say? Mmmmmm.

Well, I mean, they are homegrown, it's not like we're in Kansas or anything, they're just coming from 100km away in Zeeland. And mussel season officially starts in a couple of weeks, right? So maybe these are just early. In any case, at that price I don't even have to get buy-in from any possible dining companion: I'm having mussels tonight.

Anyway, here's what's happening to them. Hopefully I'll still be here to report back.

AND AFTERWARDS: It's a real shame that this was such a blazingly improvised recipe, b/c these are the best mussels I've had in a long time. Let's hope they were "ok". Here's what I think went in the pot.


mosselen a la paramaribo.

3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp peanut oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1 tsp thyme
1 tsp allspice
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cups boiling water
1/3 of a chicken bouillon cube
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 habanero chile, halved
1 tbsp Surinamese mango chutney (for anyone who's never tasted this, it's very tart and peppery, more like a lime pickle than the gloppy sweet Major Grey stuff)

2 kg mussels, well scrubbed

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro




Above: Shokomonk's white chocolate with poppyseeds. Below: last night's besan-battered Moorish catfish (Spanish + Creole ideas), plus black beans, plus the last dollop of Surinamese hot sambal. It might not look like much, but for me it was a perfect plate of food, with the added bonus that finishing the last of the Surinamese sambal means it's time to try a new one.



Another 90-degree day Friday, so the wisest course of action was going down the street to the park, where we just kind of hung out and read and/or shot the shit. And ate gelato (tiramisu and mocha me, blood orange and caramel moop). And then later a medium friet from the new friet place next to the gelato place, pretty good. I like that they're actually slicing whole potatoes when you walk up to order.


guac guac.

Some things just go together. I have some examples, conveniently pictured above: avocado and shrimp; chorizo and cilantro; grits and scallions. AND, bonus: they all six go great together. This pile o' goodness was engineered by the Mara, it's basically Momofuku's shrimp and grits with: chorizo instead of bacon; no egg; yes guacamole and sour cream. That's right: four sentences, three colons.