So this is happening in a few days. First Phoenix, then a brief detour to Oakland/SF/Richmond/Berkeley which I believe local residents have handily shortened to "The Bay Area", then Phoenix again, then Atlanta. And in between all that, layovers in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City, which is what happens when your primary consideration while booking flights is "cheapness".

WTF you may say to yourself, and I would counter with "Yes." The Bay Area business is about a one-time convenient moment to play in a "guitar orchestra" composed and arranged by one of the two people who kind of invented the idea back in the late 70s. And see some old friends like Wendy and Al.

Oakland will be brand new territory for me, so you know what that means:

View Bay Area Epicity in a larger map

Possible highlights near my home base in Oakland:

Champa Garden: Laotian.
Olde Depot: Beer.
Hawker Fare: Cheap and unusual southeast Asia street food, not open very late.
Box and Bells. Michelin-starred bar food, inconveniently located.
Tian Jin. Northern Chinese dumplings.



"too dangerous to go outside".

That's what city officials are saying today. We're having a windstorm, 75mph winds, two people one person killed by trees (falling trees) already this morning, etc. So we're all staying inside. It's not like we need an excuse to stay inside, but it's actually kind of nice to have one.

I did manage to dash across the street to the Dirk b/c we're out of eggs (obvs worth risking your life for), and I picked up a cute little "sale pumpkin" (€1.29 each), so I'll probably be roasting that in bit. Which reminds me, Saturday night we were changing the "couch cover", an arduous two-person job that never seems like it's going to work until it just suddenly does, and suddenly there was an obvious commotion outside involving a lot of people.

I went to the window while Moop grunted and swore at the couch. "Is it Halloween?" I asked. Mara said "maybe, why". And, all Hollywood-like, I said, "if it's not, we've got a real problem on our hands". The street was full of zombies. Hundreds of them, men, women, dripping, oozing, doing the stereotypical lurching and stumbling forward, lit from behind by some semi-massive light source. And then the house music started. Zombie parade. It went on for 15 minutes or so, frankly the most horrifying thing about it being their choice of music, totally brain dead fwwaaahahahahha.


napa cabbage and shiitake mushroom soup.

1 head napa cabbage
200g fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 2-inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
4 cloves garlic
2 cups leftover chicken broth
crushed red pepper
freshly cracked black pepper



mr. saturday night special.

Saturday? Mole rojo from my oldest cookbook, Coyote Cafe, just now finally starting to fall apart. Somehow the only ingredients we're lacking are chicken and celery.


mole rojo.

caldo de pollo (makes about 4x as much as you need, but then you've got leftover chicken broth)
1 chicken
2 celery ribs
2 carrots
1 onion
1 head garlic
1 clove
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp thyme
couple grinds black pepper

18-24 dried chiles, comprised of
mild new mexican chiles
ancho chiles
pasilla chiles
mulato chiles

I used 18 mild new mexicans, 3 pasilla, and 3 mulato b/c that's what I had

5 tomatoes, charred under the broiler for 5 minutes
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted carefully
1 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup currants, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, water discarded

1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter
20g barely sweetened chocolate
20g slightly sweeter chocolate

pinch of ghost pepper salt if anyone complains about the "lack of heat"


monday morning quarterback.

A couple things. One, that day when I took those beautiful pictures? They were too beautiful I guess, b/c they broke the camera. It can no longer focus. "System Error (Focus)" it says. So I'm back to those Olympuses that no one else wanted because they suck profound amounts of ass.

Two. I have often criticized "fake meat products" like, say, Tofurky, for tasting like the worst thing that ever happened to your tongue. How could you do that, I wondered. But lately I've been eating a little too much meat, and last night I happened to have a big block of tempeh in the fridge, and since I almost always eat tempeh the same flawless yet caloriffic way (fried), I thought I'd try something different.

An Asian tempeh "meatball" I thought. Treat it like a mushroomy kind of flavor, just sex it up with some Japanese flavors like miso, soy, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, etc. An egg for binding/moisture, etc. I made the "mince" last night and it smelled/tasted awesome.

I baked them today (for 50 minutes, so the tempeh is definitely "cooked") and...fuck if they don't taste like Tofurky. Just awful in every way. You almost literally can't swallow one without a glass of water, and they have a naaasty aftertaste that I can't trace back to any of the constituent ingredients. The only thing that I could've imagined helping at all would've been adding a considerable amount of butter to the "mince". A little sake maybe. But jesus, just a total fail...no wonder there are no recipes like this on the net.

Oh, three things. Third: I had raw broccoli for dinner last night and it absolutely decimated my digestive system. Like from 2am to 4am in the fetal position wishing for death. Apparently this can happen if you're not used to eating raw broccoli. But why in fuck would anyone want to get used to eating raw broccoli is my question. A mistake I shan't make again in this lifetime.



enter the scimulator.

The Brown One has returned, and though she sleeps I bet her ears or some other part(s) of her is/are burning, because...well, it's a loooong boring story, but basically I was trying to continue to bludgeon my way through a very necessary "warehouse" inventory while she slept. And I found, among, literally, quagillions of old CD-Rs, a backup of this machine of ours that died very suddenly back in 2003. Or was stolen when our shop was broken into. Something happened to it.

But anyway, on this CD-R are lots of files. Some of them are just morbidly funny in retrospect: an HTML document entitled "Can You Afford Music Distribution?" (I hope I don't have to explain the pitch-black hilarity there). The first Dutch review of our record shop when it first opened ("Vooral de bakken tweedehands bieden een verrassend allegaartje. Van Beach Boys tot John Zorn en wat daar zoal tussen zit."). But of course the secondhand CDs were great: they were our years-in-the-making combined personal CD collections from America.

And lots of letters we wrote. To each other, to friends back home, to landlords, customers, universities, etc. All of which are being documented on another top-secret blog and have been being so (?) for some time now whenever I happen across them, BUT I SAY ALL THAT TO SAY THIS: one of the documents on this particular CD was a go-to recipe for a simple chocolate cake that the Mara used to make quite often. The recipe itself is quite fucked-up looking, but I put it here so that when I lose this CD-R it continues to live on.

(moments later)

Or: no. It has been redacted just now b/c apparently the results got worse and worse every time she made it which is why she doesn't make it any more. Some recipes are best lost to the sands of time after all, he said in an attempt at general consolation. She said she'd try and rewrite it soon, now that she knows something about baking in Yurp. It was a good cake.

Until such time, now, so I don't have to fking rewrite this gvd post, we'll talk about my surprisingly pleasant lunchtime invention today. Nori is something I don't often love or even especially like, but I'm trying to add more seaweed to my diet. I'm sure there's a Japanese name for something like this which I'd love to be enlightened about. Today's version used beef, but I'm pretty sure canned tuna would work too. Or a tamago-style egg. Maybe you (or "one") could figure out a way to do "mock unagi" with very thinly-sliced tempeh or tofu. I'm going to Gooooogle that now to confirm that my thoughts, impulses, etc are not unique. Voilà.


nori rollup.

1 sheet nori
100g roast beef
couple tbsp smashed avocado
1 good tbsp prepared horseradish and/or significantly less wasabi
1 or 2 tbsp pickled ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 pinch togarashi


play nice.

Substantial breakfast salads continue since yesterday's worked so well in the energy dept. Beets, lardons, egg, trout roe, mixed greenery, olive oil, apple vinegar.




Looks like a beautiful day, no? Sure does. A perfect day for a nice, relaxing stroll on the deserted urban playground of Java-eiland. To visit our accountant's office. For which I have an incorrect street number lodged in my memory. Very incorrect.

Just before I left the house I'd "brilliantly" remembered that our accountant had recently relocated out of the center and onto Java-eiland. I mentally high-fived myself, quickly glanced at their website for the new address and "committed it to memory".

Took the tram to Java-eiland, and started my carefree stroll. What a beautiful day. Hmm. Accountant not at "the address". In fact, there are no businesses at that address. Hmm. Actually, heyyyyy...there are no people around at all really.

In fact, not owning a smartphone and not even having my dumb old clamshell cellphone with me (I don't use it much, cause, well...it's not good for much), there is absolutely zero way for a person like myself to figure out the exact address of something that he only knows the name and approximate location of. Phone booths/books don't exist anymore, do they. I walked the length of the island twice, peering intently at every nest of doorbells on every building.

Grrr. Would I reaaaallllly have to travel back to the mainland (OK, ten minutes tops, but), find an internet cafe (ten more minutes, best case), look up the address (etc), and come back? Pbbblleh. I was back in 1995. Sighing deeply, I decided that rather than "giving up" and trying to find a computer, I would instead circle the island repeatedly, flitting from building to building in an increasing panic/frustration, while mentally calling myself many many bad names. I'm afraid that sometimes my lips even moved in a very homeless/psychotic looking way. Good thing there were no people around.

I just didn't believe I was so wrong. I thought the address was 264. I was willing to be as wrong as 642, but nothing over 1000, that's a whole extra digit. I was ready to give up. As an absolute last resort, I rummaged around in the thick sheaf of papers I had with me, which normally would have zero reason to contain our accountant's address.

Except: my wonderful business partner had amazingly updated our standard cover letter with the new address (wtf): 1537. Which, in addition to containing exactly none of the numbers I'd "remembered", was now all the way at the opposite end of the island, the absolute last, final building on the waterfront street, the building about which you'd say to yourself, as I had: well I looked at all the other 1536 addresses, it CAN'T possibly be that one.

I knowwwwwwwwwwwwww, at least I had good weather. And I got a solid two-hour walk out of it, some of it at impressive speeds once the panic set in. Nonetheless, small consolations were necessary once back in the city proper.

here's looking at you.

This was designed to be a big healthy breakfast for a busy day of physical and mental activity, or at least what passes for those two things in my life, and it was so tasty and satisfying AND healthy-seeming that I would love to do it on a more frequent basis. Look at how excited I sound.

It does however have a couple semi-luxury items, smoked salmon (€2.99/100g) and watercress (€1.89/100g). Obviously those prices aren't breaking the bank, but breakfast-wise it's more of a budget hit than say an egg and toast. I should start looking into how much cheaper smoked salmon snippets are (these are the non-beautiful offcuts that are a by-product of slicing smoked salmon beautifully). Calorically speaking this was 410 calories as written below minus the shallot.


soft-boiled eggs with smoked salmon and watercress. 

2 eggs

100g watercress, washed, spin-dried, and chopped rather fine so you don't have to discard the thickest stems. If you were serving this to someone you could separate the leaves from the stems and just finely chop the stems...I didn't care how it looked really, I was just trying to not waste any of my 100g of watercress.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp potent coarse-grain mustard
1 small shallot, minced, if you don't really have to worry about your breath

100g smoked salmon
2 tbsp chives, minced, if you don't really have to worry about your breath

no salt necessary
cracked pepper possibly, I didn't use any.

I've decided that I like my watercress slightly wilted, so I dressed my salad quite early in the process. Basically, put your eggs in a pot with cold water to cover and bring to a boil. While this is happening, make your dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and shallot. Once the eggs are boiling, set a timer for 3 minutes and put a bowl of cold or icy water in the sink. Dress the watercress with the vinaigrette. When the timer goes off, gently remove the eggs from the pan and put them in the bowl of cold water. Plate the salmon on top of the dressed cress, then peel your eggs, add them to the bowl and do the green scatter on top with the chives.



roasted cardamom applesauce.

What is it about the pleasure of watching a medium-crappy movie on TV, with extended commercial breaks and subtitles you're mostly not reading, etc. Why is this often more attractive to me than selecting a DVD I actually own and enjoy watching. Ironic distance? No chance of being diappointed? No requirement for paying total attention?

Case in point: watching the textbook Hollywood beginning of the John Grisham "classic" The Firm, whose mind-bogglingly simpleminded 1980s-ness is lent a piquantly stupid counterpoint via an often mindlessly inappropriate Dave Grusin piano score. I have yet to tire of the overall badness.


So I'm still not eating sugar. Or I'm back to not eating sugar, but yesterday's wonderful dessert moment is haunting me a bit. It's a cold, dark, unpleasant day out. I'm just puttering around trying to recognize new messes I made and then got used to over the past three weeks so I can re-eliminate them.

Why not fill the house with a supportive, comfortable scent whose eventual physical manifestation will not fuck up my nutrition goals for the day I thought to myself. Thus we have this on its way.


roasted cardamom and cinnamon applesauce.

750g apples (I used 4 or 5), quartered
8 cardamom pods, split, black seeds inside removed and crushed in a mortar/pestle
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup water
3 stevia tablets, wasn't even noticeable as stevia
a handful of crushed, toasted almonds for texture

obviously a pat of browned butter or creme fraiche or ice cream or dulce de leche or all of the above would be ideal if you were someone else

The whole thing ends up being about 400 calories as written.


restaurant bak.

UPDATE: OK, here's what everything really looked like.


Last night some kind person bought me dinner. OK it was in exchange for some services rendered, but still in no way was it obligatory and after a couple postponements the fact that it actually happened and that it was very enjoyable was a pleasant affirmation of some goodness in the universe (though certainly fleeting, Mr. Schopenhauer, I haven't forgotten about you).

We ate at Bak, housed in Het Veem just northeast of Westerpark. As you know, we don't do restaurant reviews around here, but since I found my meal peppered with things I wouldn't ordinarily do in the kitchen, I'll briefly run it down for you so you could also go enjoy something like my meal if you wanted.

We all four of us decided to go for the 4-course menu for €33.50, and basically they have a laundry list of ingredients that they're going to use each week but you have no idea in what configuration they're going to end up on your plate. They ask you at the beginning if there's anything you don't like, one of us was anti-mushroom for example, so she got something a little different for that course.

The first thing set in front of us was an amuse of baby beet in some kind of buttermilk reduction with an uncommon herb whose name escapes me at the moment. I liked it and will be trying this in my kitchen.

Next was my favorite thing of the night, an array of carrots. There's a lemon creme fraiche underneath. There are little al dente bits of either spelt grains or wheat berries scattered everywhere, there's some tarragon in there, and as it was served our waitron grated a roasted coffee bean over the plate. Sounds pretentious as hell, I know, but it really worked.

That surprise was followed by the least-successful dish of the night, and you can almost tell by looking at it in comparison to everything else that it just seems a bit...unfinished. Maybe they ran out of something. What you're looking at is too-lightly pickled cauliflower; pleasant enough halved potatoes, a green I should know but don't; a gigantic poached duck egg, and the tastiest thing on the plate is that white smear under the egg, it's some kind of thickened cauliflower puree.

We all agreed that something was missing, my personal fix would have been a healthy shave of parmigiano and a crack of black pepper, and maybe a tiny sprinkle of smoked salt. Or my old standby pangrattato. Anyway, we couldn't fix it, no salt and pepper on the table. Swing and a miss, this one (though I cleaned my plate).

Vegetarians avert your eyes. Our "main" was pheasant with sauerkraut, potato (?) puree (possibly another root vegetetable), and a super-nice saute of fancy mushrooms. Maybe this was my favorite thing of the night. I felt bad for the non-mushroom eater at our table b/c the mushrooms and sauerkraut together were dreamy. Yes that is a foot at the end of that leg. My war on birds continues unabated.

And then dessert, sweet sweet dessert. I really have no idea if this was any good or not objectively speaking because as of last night I hadn't had any sugar in about a week. And my first bite of this was like setting the controls for the heart of Serotoninland. My eyes may have spun in their sockets. I think it's some kind of very-carefully spiced fennel seed ice cream with a flourless chocolate cake and a swirl of unrememberable berry. And a few wonderful nuggets of caramel popcorn tucked here and there. I could easily have had another plate or two of this.

And that was it. Thoughtful, well-executed food in a gezellig room (lit more dimly than my pics suggest) that was only marred by the two giant tables of reuniting ex-fraternity boys (literally, like singing their fraternity song at one point) who were seated behind us halfway through the meal. But then moments later, in the most aggressively proactive customer service moment I've ever experienced in Amsterdam, our waiter asked us if we would like to move to a table farther away. I almost said to him "Get the fuck out of here" in disbelief. We didn't up and move, but yeah, mind: blown. Maybe things are changing, service was great all around, unobtrusive and likeable.

So, yes, go to Bak.



personal consumption.

This is the foyer of our building. Coming downstairs a couple days ago I passed this frankly rather impressive marijuana plant, no owner in sight. Supposedly you're allowed to keep up to five plants for personal use, but I really can't imagine needing more than one of these.



eggs v. eggs.

I had a very unusual day with my fellow American sufferer Phil yesterday. At 11am I was sitting at his breakfast table eating the best omelette I've had in a long time. This in itself is awesomely unusual, that I would be at someone's house for a non-work-related event before noon. Then we talked about Schopenhauer for about 45 minutes and I finally read some of On The Sufferings of The World, about 30 years later than I should've read it (it feels very wrong to get such comfort out of something called "Studies in Pessimism"). A taste for you:
The pleasure in this world, it has been said, outweighs the pain; or, at any rate, there is an even balance between the two. If the reader wishes to see shortly whether this statement is true, let him compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is engaged in eating the other.
Then we went to the Stedelijk Museum via our Museumcards and looked at art for a while, my favorite things I saw being Willink, Calder and Breitner. Then we went and played pool for a couple hours at Sound Garden. Then off to see the Ellington band in the evening. I say off to see, but yes I mean downstairs. In other words, kind of what you'd think would be a perfect Tuesday, the kind that should happen way more often.

Unfortunately we don't have any pictures of any of it b/c my SD card picked yesterday to officially finish falling apart, and the only other ones I can find are like 16mb. Here's the omelette as described by to me by Phil. It doesn't look like much on paper, but it was really quite something.


eggs with eggs. 

1 strip of bacon, diced fine
1 large cremini mushroom, diced fine
1 pinch thyme
2 tbsp butter

1 egg
2 tbsp medium-age cheese, shredded, Phil used a belegen Gouda or maybe a mild cheddar would work too

2 tbsp caviar, he used this suuuuper great herring caviar from Marqt (where his girlfriend works, so they basically have discounted access to everything), I must procure some for myself. But said he'd used other caviars with just about equal success.

freshly cracked black pepper

Saute your bacon and mushroom and thyme rather slowly in the butter, maybe 10 minutes. Throw the egg in the pan, cook for 30 seconds, flip it, add the cheese, close, and plate with the caviar and black pepper on top.



men at work.

Today on the treadmill, after dragging myself swiftly uphill for 45 minutes, I looked down through my tears and sweat at the Accuradar or whatever thingie that demands your age and weight and then tries to make you feel a little better throughout your ordeal by telling you that you're actually burning calories, and it blinkingly announced: 740 calories burned.

Hmm, I thought to myself, gracefully skipping off the treadmill and crashing woozily into the stationary bike adjacent, that's pretty much (pausing to run some calculations) 740 extra calories to play with. I mean, this put me well into negative calories for the day so far. I high-fived myself, and then juuuust before I lost consciouness, I decided I would roast a couple of duck legs, something I haven't ever done before I don't think.

What, you say. And I say yes, that's right: I only really ever buy confit because I'm lazy and it's barely more expensive, or very very occasionally I buy a €9.99 whole frozen duck from the toko, because I don't know how to prepare duck any other way than roasting the whole thing.

Tonight's hands-off adventure involves a very simple Nigel Slater recipe, whom I've never cooked before either as far as I know. Thrilling Adventures.


roast duck and citrus salad. 

I really thought this was a total disappointment at first. I mean I was doing the as-healthy-as-possible version which didn't involve using any juices from the roasting pan in the salad dressing for example, but it was just unexpectedly...tart yet flat. So I made some brief raspberry noise with my mouth and turned away from it, letting it sit there not being eaten while I did something else, but every time I kept going back to give it one more chance to redeem itself, it got better.

What was happening: most crucially, the watercress was wilting in the citrus juices. But also the two citruses were blending into each other, the duck was soaking up the citrus, the saltiness of the duck was meandering its way through everything else, etc.

So just by letting this sit for 10 or 15 minutes it went from bleh to me eventually pouring the last remnants of the bowl into my mouth (I'm home alone). I'm still not totally sure I'd make it again as written, but it had something going on. I think it probably needed a little sweetness and a little chile. Anyway, it was my first time ever using watercress, I liked it a lot after it wilted.

2 duck legs
more five-spice than you think you should use

1 orange
1 grapefruit
1 bunch watercress, washed, large stems trimmed


ghost gift.

Someone brought us some really excellent exotic spice blends from the American southwest, just east of where I'll be in a few weeks. Three spice blends to be exact, but we will be waiting to talk about and cook with them until the fair mooperbird returneth.

Someone else finally gave in to their sugar craving yesterday, it had been a whole week, come on cut him some slack. He made something that he has now hidden very far away in the back of the refrigerator in hopes that he will forget about it for another week or so.

Actually, it's not so bad health-wise. I do wonder if you could eliminate the honey altogether or if that's what's giving it its viscosity. I say this because it's almost too sweet the way it is right now, and plus if you were just using coconut milk and coconut sugar then damn this would be the healthiest caramel of all time.

And lastly, it's not really "caramel", in terms of consistency, it's "caramel sauce". It won't harden into a non-pourable state. It would still probably be an excellent healthier sub for something like sticky toffee pudding. I got the idea here.

In other news, I am officially sick of butternut squash. I went from "man I love butternut squash" two weeks ago to "please make it stop" this morning. That was only two squashes. Or squash probably. Two squash.

Tonight back to fish, which reminds me that the ol' Cheap Dirk Fish is not really so so cheap any more. The "Wild Alaskan Salmon" that used to be €2.99 for 700g is now €3.99 for 500g. And they've done it so slowly and just so damn sneakily that if I bought it more often I might not have noticed. The bags are still the same physical size, there's just less in them. And Dirk's price markers are so, mmm, what's the word, haphazard that it really takes some moderate effort to figure out what things in the freezer cost.

Anyway, yes, white people problems. Hey how about you be a white person that makes some heathier caramel sauce while I be a white person that goes to the gym.*


salted coconut caramel cream.

1 can coconut milk (400ml)
1/4 cup really good honey or pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (I used one 60g disk/tablet) palm sugar or coconut sugar, apparently not always the same thing, coconut sugar is better if you can find it
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Put the first three ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a good simmer and then reduce it for a good amount of time, whisking often but not too often. The original recipe says to do this for 15 minutes, I did 45 in an attempt to achieve extra brownness. When maximum brownness has been achieved, turn off heat, add vanilla and salt. Let cool, put in the fridge, should last 3 weeks or so.


* For the record I mean that as "white person" as in "white people problems", a distinction of class not color. Fight the power (?).



orange you glad i didn't say asian again.

Turmeric Quest 2013 still in progress, but even I as a true lovvver of most things Asian am needing the occasional break from the normal Indonesian-Thai-Vietnamese-Japanese-Burmese-Cambodian-Sri Lankan-etc stuff we cook over here.

And yet. Trying to eat orange stuff like turmeric but also squash and sweet potatoes, I'm sure you know why. And kale, you know why, everybody does. And prunes, you probably think you know why, but it's just because I've had this bag of them sitting around forever and it's time to start fresh and begin ignoring a brand-new bag of prunes.  

Thus, if not Asian, toward what cuisine do we steer our mighty kitchen spatula. Have you noticed I'm not using question marks anymore. It's more blasé that way, like I don't even care if "you" answer. More rhetorical. I've also put sarcastic exclamation marks "on pause". Quotation marks, unfortunately not (yet), and parentheses are still going pretty strong. And I'm still really likely to use more than one colon in a sentence, probably all of them incorrectly. Progress (implied question mark). 

The answer to my extremely rhetorical and questionably punctuated moronic question turned out to be: Moroccan, ish. In the end though, by the time I got around to turning on the stove I just really didn't have it in me anymore so I just scorched/steamed a chicken breast, threw some cilantro at it and dipped it in harissa, almost the same thing. The squash is still roasting, it's 9:45pm. A recipe for tomorrow's usage of tonight's detritus will eventually emerge from the shambles below. 


calico tagine

100-200g leftover chicken
1 or 2 fried or hard-boiled egg(s)
2 or 3 cups kale, chopped pretty fine
1 or 2 cups butternut squash, roasted with smoked salt, cinnamon, and cumin seed
7 or 14 prunes, soaked, keep the water
handful almonds, toasted, chopped
pinch powdered ginger or ras el hanout
teaspoon cumin seed
a good bit of cinnamon
an assload of harissa, ok i used 2 tbsp 
extra-virgin olive oil if there's not already some from the squash or chicken
salt or feta if you're eating dairy
freshly cracked pepper to taste
a sprinkle of smoked paprika if you're in the mood
toasted sesame seeds


endless sunrise.

After a challenging transitional period suddenly we're at that figuratively fresh-faced "new" place (again) where, ok, if at this jaded old age we can't stupidly optimistically declare that "anything is possible", we can at least say that "some things seem possible". And that, my dear tiny and not-so-tiny friends, is, well, as we say around here, a vas deferens.

It basically adds up to a comparative and self-aware split-second yay (a la Cage/Kaufman's split-second yay in Adaptation, which is impossible get a purely joyful-looking screencap of), and so if we were to think to ourselves how best to represent that yayness via a diet-compliant breakfast full of the nutrition necessary to power us through today's task list without weighing us down too much, we might turn to the much-ballyhooed Sriracha Oatmeal, which I also found very difficult to get a joyful-looking screencap of as you can see above.

I first heard about this via my dad, who recommended it via email, which is quite an endorsement as he's not a big emailer and when we're not together I'm pretty sure we usually don't talk about food at all. That was four months ago or something, and yeah I just haven't had the right moment to try it. I try it now, using my below adaptation, no I'm not even trying to reference the previous paragraph there's just not a more accurate word.


sriracha oatmeal.

This was totally edible as written, and got more edible as I got closer to the bottom of my bowl where the almonds and rosemary were hanging out. It was nose-runningly spicy, but in that good way.

The only thing I could immediately imagine improving it would be something a little umami-y, a word we don't like to use, in fact it's not even a word, but as we know from last paragraph sometimes there's not a more accurate etc etc etc. I do wonder if the always awesome almond pangrattato would be a smart addition (they have almonds and rosemary in common, and I think a little anchovy would not be out of place in this mix). And/or maybe a tiny pat of butter on top when serving, which brings up the only problem with this recipe as written: if you were to eat both servings that would be like 950 calories, which, if you're CRONing is more than half a day's calories. If you're me, better to make a half-recipe.

1 cup real oats (not instant IOW)
2 cups water
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1 tbsp soy sauce (seemed like a lot, but it ended up being right)
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried
1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste

chopped scallions
toasted sesame seeds or maybe pangrattato instead

Combine oats, almonds, soy sauce, sriracha, rosemary and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes. When oatmeal is just about done, fry your egg(s), I really only do mine about a minute a side if that. Plate or if "bowl" is a usable verb in this context, "bowl" your oatmeal and top with an egg and the obligatory green scatter and probably more sriracha I imagine. Serves 2.



with authority.

I should really get a real Surinamese cookbook someday. I had one, but though it was really great-looking inside, or probably because it was really great-looking inside, it fell apart almost immediately, and now I don't know where all of it is. I have two others but they're kind of non-comprehensive and/or super-casual to a fault.

Some Googling has suggested that people make some things like this (callaloo for instance), but I have a feeling it's just one of those homemade improv things that happen b/c you just want something with all these ingredients in it. I also wish I had some lime leaves but I just used them in last week's soto ayam, which is still a really good recipe, actually better than this one, you should try making it next time you want chicken soup. Still, the below was not shabby (and way better the next day, I just never used to trust a shellfish stew the second day, it's a new thing but seems to be working out ok ).


caribbean fish stew.

1 can coconut milk
1 big piece of ginger, peeled and zhoomed (not as big as pictured above, like 2 inches)
2 shallots, zhoomed
6 cloves of garlic, zhoomed
6 allspice berries
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp lemongrass powder
couple grates of nutmeg
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 scotch bonnet or more ideally 1 tbsp of some kind of habanero/shrimp sambal, or sambal trassi
some amount of water, at least 1.5 liters
salt to taste

400g or some healthy yet manageable amount of kale, chopped fine
some amount of fish or seafood, I used 250g wild salmon and 200 grams bag o' death



ees too much.

I tend to think I've heard of most things, food-wise. Today I was faced with two pieces of new information (in one conventient article) and thought I'd share them because many many other people are already knowing about them. They're both utterly ridiculous sandwiches.

One: The Francesinha.

Two: The Pambazo.

Who can eat a sandwich that size, other than probably Nouf. That is my question.


chkdsk /f.

Ah, nothing like some good old-fashioned computer problems to suck away your time and will to live. Ok, so it's not that bad, but it's been a while since anything this scary has happened to my main sceen. Sceen? Sceem (in the eight years of writing this blog I certainly must've mentioned this but can't find it: that Sceem is one of the terms of endearment that Sceem and I use to refer to each other interchangeably. It's pronounced "sheem", from the Italian, scimmie, etc, gross, I know. It's probably said a minimum of 30 or 40 times a day at my house, so for variety it can also be made into shim, sheemytone, scimmietoon, toon/tone, toeter, boots, scrim, shambone, shrimp, shrimpage, sheemp, chimp, ape, actually endless variations as it morphs interchangeably into Moop, I'm sure you all do this same sort of thing at home. It can also be sung/scat-sung).

So yes, I'll be here defragging and chkdsking and virusscanning and whatever if you need me. And also thinking about rice paper and if you can make a soup out of it.

Have I really had this blog for eight years? How do I keep coming up with new post names?