Sunday, December 16th, 2012
And on every one of these occasions, plus many others as well, the Christ of Elqui's response was simply to recite this verse, as boring already as the menu of a pulpería: "I'm very sorry, dear brother, my dear sister, very sorry; but the sublime art of resurrection belongs exclusively to Our Divine Master."
And that is what he said to the miners who arrived caked with dirt, carrying the cadaver of their workmate, just at the moment when he was most full of grace, preaching before the people on what diabolical influence the modern world could wreak on the spirit of even a devout Catholic, a believer in God and the Blessed Virgin Mother. The gang of calicheros broke through the midst of the crowd of worshippers carrying on their shoulders the body of the deceased; clearly dead of a heart attack, they were telling him as they laid the body with care at his feet, stretched out on the burning sand.
Upset, embarrassed, everyone talking at the same time, the rednecks were explaining to him how after they had eaten their lunch, the Thursday plate of porotos burros, the group of them had been on their way down for a drop to drink, to "wet the whistle," and that's when tragedy struck -- their fellow worker, all of a sudden he grabbed at his chest with both hands, he fell to the ground as if hit by lightning -- not even a chance to say so much as help!
The art of resurrection
: Chapter 1
I have been wondering about porotos
-- it seems to be a Chilean word for "beans" or maybe just for food. Still not sure what preparation porotos burros
is (or is it just "stupid beans"/ "just plain beans again"?); but in the course of looking around the net today I found a couple of recipes for porotos granados
, a dish which appears to consist of whatever vegetables are around plus beans and winter squash, cooked up together into a stew. I'm game, and so were Ellen and Sylvia; so I made up my own version of porotos granados
for dinner tonight. It was tasty! Herewith the recipe I followed, a rough compromise between the different ones I found online and what ingredients were to hand:
- Cook beans until tender. I used ¾ pound dry of cranberry beans. Cook with dried oregano and bay leaves. Add some salt when they get soft-but-not-tender.
- Peel and chop squash and veggies. I used 1 medium butternut squash and a couple of carrots as well. Fresh corn is a recommended component but is not available to me this time of year; canned or frozen corn probably would have added a lot to the dish as well.
- In a stock pot, saute 9 cloves of garlic, minced, and two chopped onions in a good amount of oil. Season with a tbsp. ground cumin and more oregano. Add squash, veggies, and beans. Add a little water, not enough to cover the vegetables, and cover the pot.
- Let simmer for about 45 minutes, adding water if it gets too dry. When everthing is falling apart, mash it together with a wooden spoon -- it should be about the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.
- Serve with a salad of bell peppers and minced cilantro; sour cream and hot sauce make good condiments.
Sunday, November 20th, 2011
Herewith a recipe.
The inspiration is Robyn Hitchcock's Cooking with Rockstars post from a couple years ago. It seems like a nice dish to bring to the potluck supper which will follow this afternoon's concert.
Ingredients: lots of vegetables, two pie crusts.
- Roast some whole button mushroom caps and some sliced red bell peppers.
- While the vegetables are roasting, fry one zucchini (sliced thin) with some salt. When the slices get brown, take them out of the pan and
- Start sautéing two red onions, chopped roughly, and as much thinly sliced red cabbage as will fit in your pan. I used about a quarter of a cabbage.
- The roasted vegetables will be ready about now, so take them out of the oven. Leave the oven on to 450° so it will be hot for cooking the pie.
- When the cabbage starts to soften, fill the pie crusts. Cabbage and onions, then zucchini slices and mushrooms, then red peppers. Cook at 450° until crust is nice and brown, approximately 20 min.
Saturday, November 5th, 2011
(Made up on the spur of the moment this evening and worth remembering. It takes about 15 minutes including prep time.) A vegetarian pasta dish (vegan even, if you omit the grated cheese at serving time); for those who prefer it with meat, lamb or veal would probably go nicely in place of the beans.
Rigatoni and yellow and red
- Heat salted water for the pasta.
- Prep: chop a small yellow onion, a yellow bell pepper, some carrots and a yellow summer squash into bite-size pieces. (The carrot pieces should be smaller.)
- When the water is nearly at a boil, heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add about a Tbsp of olive oil. When hot enough that the onions will sizzle a bit, add the onions and some salt and stir around.
- Add the pasta, preferably penne or rigatoni (or wagon wheels or shells would be good, too), and a little bit of olive oil to the boiling water. Return to a boil and lower heat.
- As the onions start to cook, add the carrots and some turmeric and some oregano. Keep stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and the squash and a little more salt.
- Heat a little bit of water in a saucepan over a low flame. Drain and rinse a can of canellini or kidney beans and add to the saucepan with a splash of soy sauce. (I used kidney beans, which were the "red" -- the dish would perhaps not be as visually interesting with cannellini but I expect it would taste very nice. Broccoli would also add some nice visual/textural diversity.)
- Everything should basically be ready at about the same time, 10 minutes or so after you returned the noodles to a boil. I served the noodles and vegetables in one bowl and the beans on the side because of certain family members who are not partial to beans; or they could all be mixed together. Tasty with grated asiago cheese and red wine.
Sunday, September 11th, 2011
Ellen is going out for dinner tonight with Lisa; Sylvia and I are going to cook a nice dinner for ourselves.
Rigatoni with sausage and spinach
Simplest dinner around. Saute some onions and garlic with fennel seeds, cook the sausage in the same pan, add some spinach leaves and wilt them. Toss with pasta, serve with some grated cheese. (We have some asiago on hand that will be very nice with this.) Sylvia and I are going over to the grocery store in a little while to pick up some spinach and some artichokes to serve on the side. (I asked if she wanted artichoke hearts and she said, "I want the outside part of the artichoke, the kind you scrape off with your teeth.")
(recipe based on one found in this week's NY Times Magazine)
Toss sliced apples and blackberries with 1 teaspoon each of sugar and cornstarch. Sauté in 1 Tablespoon of butter for 10 minutes. Spread in a 9-by-13-inch pan with some walnuts.
- 3 sliced apples (unpeeled)
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup milk
Whisk together sour cream, milk, vanilla extract and honey to taste, and 1 tsp cornstarch. Sprinkle over apples.
Broil 4 to 6 inches from the flame until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Sunday, September 4th, 2011
So ever since I tried A Softer World's delicious Black Mischief, I have been playing around with putting coffee in my cocktails; I like the taste and caffeine content alters the intoxication in a pleasant way. Today I think I found a winner, though I'm sorry not to be able to come up with a clever name for it à la Emily Horne. (If you've got any ideas, please suggest them in comments!)
The idea is simple enough; it is essentially a margarita with coffee in place of lime juice, and with a smaller proportion of Triple Sec than you would put in a lime juice margarita (because coffee is not sour). So you fill your glass halfway with iced coffee, add some ice, then a (generous) shot of tequila and a few drops of Triple Sec. A slice of lime is optional; I tried it with and without and it tasted good either way, but somehow the lime seems appropriate. This is a good drink to linger over; the first time I tried it I drank it too fast, because the flavor was so nice, and got inappropriately soused.
Saturday, July second, 2011
Thanks to young urban bicycle enthusiast Dorothy Gambrell, today I found out about Saveur's Recipe Comix -- right now I am drinking (courtesy of A Softer World's Emily Horne) a Black Mischief -- this is Horne's take on a Kingsley Amis cocktail recipe, and boy oh boy is it smooth.
In general I am all in favor of mixing comix with other forms. Gambrell's recipe for Chocolate Ice-Cream is a good one, and the peripheral cartoony stuff adds to it, gives it resonance. I will remember this cocktail recipe because of how good it tastes, and also because of the A Softer World tie-in.
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
I cooked dinner tonight from my very favorite cookbook, one that I've been going back to for more than 20 years now. It was an excellent dinner; and finding that I've never written about this cookbook on this blog, I feel I should remedy that oversight -- if you're interested in learning to cook this style of food, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
The book is The Spice Box: Vegetarian Indian Cookbook, by Manju Singh. It is a thin book, about 200 pages, filled with terse recipes generally a half-page long or so. The first few pages describe cooking techniques and spice mixtures and repay endless re-reading; with this information in mind the brief recipes are easy to follow and delicious.
Singh's genius lies in not over-specifying ingredients and cooking directions. All instructions are simple and to the point; and it is easy to vary the recipes to your own tastes and to use what ingredients you have on hand. Dinner tonight (which was inspired by the need for something to complement the delicious mango pickles Huzefa gave us) was a vegetable curry with cauliflower and potatoes, pink lentil curry, coriander chutney, and an improvised raita; the four dishes took a total of about 40 minutes preparation time.
Sunday, December 20th, 2009
Off for the winter break -- I'll be visiting the Painter of Blue in a far warmer clime than my own, for a week. So no blog activity for a few days -- I'm trying to stay off the computer while down there and work on writing a piece about Museum of Innocence and Snow. I haven't been particularly active on weekdays anyway for a while, so there won't be that much difference; but this gives me an opportunity to share a soup recipe that I cooked for Ellen and myself tonight.
We've been in a pattern lately of cooking a large pot of soup on the weekends and then keeping it in the fridge for a couple of days and warming up leftovers for lunches and dinners... Clearly that is no good today, when we're going away. So here is a soup that serves two people without being too little or too much -- I'm pretty happy about having reckoned the quantities accurately. It is a lovely cold-weather soup, and vegetarian if you do not use chicken stock; adapted pretty freely from a larger recipe in Barbara Kafka's Soup: a Way of Life.
Pasta Fajul for 2
In a medium skillet, sauté onion and celery for a few minutes with a sprinkle of salt. Add tomatoes and tomato paste; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 min.
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- ½ cup canned tomato purée
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 c. vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 small carrots, cut into chunks
- a handful of pasta -- penne or ziti is good, or whatever you like.
- ¼ c. parsley chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic chopped fine
In a saucepan, bring stock, beans, carrots and tomato mixture to a slow boil. Mix in pasta and cook until noodles are soft, about 10 minutes. You need to stir it every minute or two, so the bottom does not scorch. Add parsley and garlic, cook a minute longer and serve.
See you after Christmas! I am planning out my reading list post for the end of 2009.
Saturday, October 17th, 2009
I made a vegetarian sauté last night that reminded me of how good vegetables can taste by themselves -- no meat, no seasoning besides a little salt, just vegetables and a little olive oil and wine. Here is the recipe (to serve 1 -- I was eating alone last night -- increase as necessary):
Combine all ingredients in sauté pan and cook for about 15 min. stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender and onion is starting to burn. Deglaze with a few ounces of red wine, stir scraping the bottom of the pan, and allow the liquid to boil away completely. Serve with bread and apples and red wine.
- one smallish yellow onion, diced
- two cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ apple, diced
- 1/8 head of red cabbage, sliced thin
You don't cut everything up and then sauté it all at once -- the timing is best if you cut up each ingredient after adding the previous one to the pan. So everything has been cooking for a few minutes by the time the cabbage goes in. The thinner you slice the cabbage, the better it will taste.
Last night I dreamed about cooking -- I was making a stewed chicken and rice dish and bizarrely using my espresso pot to cook it in. It came out beautifully -- the grains of rice were soft and puffed up so they looked like orzo -- and they overflowed the pot like popcorn, spilling out onto the stovetop, which was already covered in some kind of red sauce that I had been cooking before that. It looked really tasty and lots of people were there hungry and wanting to be served...
As long as I am thinking about recipes, here are a couple of links: The NY Times Magazine reprints a recipe for Worcestershire sauce originally published in 1876 (although it contains the direction "refrigerate", which surprises me -- were refrigerators standard kitchen appliances in 19th Century NYC?*), and an updated version from Boston chef Barbara Lynch. The updated version is made with Vietnamese fish paste so does not require any fermentation time, it's ready to serve right away; the old recipe takes a month to mature. Worcestershire sauce traces its ancestry to the Malay condiment kecap, as does Ketchup; at The Language of Food, Dan Jurafsky looks at the history of this condiment. And here is an old piece by Malcolm Gladwell on The Ketchup Conundrum.
* Wikipædia reports that "At the start of the 20th century, about half of households in the United States relied on melting ice (in an icebox) to keep food cold, while the remaining half had no cooled storage at all, possibly excepting a 'root cellar'." So I'm thinking "refrigerate" is a modern edit of an 1876 recipe.
Sunday, August 16th, 2009
I had some friends over last night for jamming and a cookout. It was a great time; the combination of chicken thighs and franks from Piast is a keeper, a crowd-pleaser. I overstocked meat for the occasion; the kielbasa did not get used at all -- I'm trying to think of some kind of stew I could make with it this evening that will serve me as lunch for the week... Here is a recipe for pork and beans which went very nicely with the cookout (and with my salsa cruda) -- it is adapted loosely from this recipe which ran in the Times magazine a few weeks ago.
Pork and beans
- 1/4 lb. or more slab bacon, diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- minced garlic to taste
- flavorings: use your judgement. I used about a tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of mustard, a head of cilantro and 3 moderately spicy dried chile peppers*.
- a can of beer -- I used Budweiser, which is cheap and does not have a lot of flavor; a darker beer would probably be good too.
- 4 cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
Sauté bacon, onion, garlic and spices until onion begins to caramelize. Deglaze with beer. Add beans, bring to a boil while stirring; cover and reduce heat to a simmer. You can let it simmer for a few hours prior to serving; occasionally you should give it a stir scraping the bottom, and adding more beer if it looks too dry.
* Here is how to used dried chiles in case you do not know: Boil some water and turn the flame off. Cut the tops off of the chiles and throw them into the pot to soak for a minute or so. Take them out, cut them open the long way, spread them out on a board, and scrape the red paste off the inside using a butter knife or similar. You can keep or discard the seeds according to how much heat you are looking for. Mash this red paste up with your garlic or spices.
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