Category Archives: food

cross-reference

zoological table d'hote

More about Night and Day magazine — and a zoological table d’hôte — over on my food blog.

Here is yr green drink.

You know, for St. Patrick’s Day. I got my green drinking out of the way early so I can spend the day itself indoors with other green things of my choice, away from festive novelty hats and the fluids so vivaciously discharged by people wearing them.

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Anyhow, this drink was one of the nicest I’ve had in a long while. It’s called a Wadsworth and it’s made with gin (Beefeater), Luxardo Triplum, lemon, green chili, and coriander. It’s greener in taste than appearance and very well-balanced, and you ought to go have one. It’s at a restaurant called Gwynnett St. in Brooklyn and I had such a nice dinner there yesterday. The place isn’t new but I hadn’t heard of it before; I was just walking around after a Thing nearby and there it was. I think it’s an excellent choice if you should find yourself hungry and in or near Brooklyn.

I had whiskey bread and chicken. The bread was terrific. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to decide it had whiskey in it had I not known in advance, but it would be interesting to try it again with a whiskey-based drink for accompaniment. I’m not normally an orderer of chicken but I was drawn to this one because ash was listed as one of the ingredients. Our waiter explained that the meat is brined and then coated with a mixture of smoked hay ash, garlic, and (I think) grapeseed oil. I would order pretty much anything with hay in it. It’s lo-fi, and I am famously into that. Hay, leaves, sap, or grasses, yes please. This was very, very good. Smoky, yes, though less so than my friend’s equally-delicious striped bass with smoked oyster cream. The deep garlic savoriness reminded me of Hide-Chan’s black garlic ramen, but it wasn’t pungent such that I felt like I needed to go into hiding afterwards. (Doubtlessly the beet and brown butter vinaigrette helped there). The hay gave it bonfire qualities without the barnyard-y note dishes like this sometimes have. This was more urbane-pagan than chef-daydreaming-of-farming.

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As long as we’re on the subject, I feel compelled to admit — is this why I brought this subject up? — I’ve been thinking about reviving my food blog. There are a number of reasons why it’s sort of a perverse time for me to do so, and yet I think it may be inevitable. I have so many other things I ought to be doing right now (very much including this blog) but I tend to get more things done when I have more things to do. If I add one more to my list, I might be able to finally make some real progress with those other things, along with the new (old) thing. I’ve got a new iPad that was just delivered today, which should be a tremendous help in terms of blog-infrastructure. Things I can do from bed or beside a turtle pond are far more likely to get done than things that require me sat at a desk. I also have a healthy backlog of material to get re-started with, having continued mentally food blogging during the entire dormant period (and having snapped plenty of photos and made plenty of notes too, just in case the secret mental blogging became unsatisfactory). I hadn’t looked at the list of e-mail subscribers to that blog in many, many months until yesterday, and there are now more people on it than there were when I was writing the thing. The newest was from this Tuesday! Knowing that people are waiting around for words I’m not producing makes me feel devious.

UPDATE: If you’d like to see a well-lit, technically perfect photo of that deliciously lo-fi smoked hay chicken, there’s one in the New York Times review of Gwynnett St. that just came out today (April 4, 2012). Wells liked the food a lot but thinks that “[m]ore attention to lighting in the dining room would flatter both the food and the faces.” As ugly as my BlackBerry photos above are, I disagree. I’d much rather have a sexily dim dinner than an easily-bloggable bright one.

This and that No. 3

bio-digester

The Philips microbial kitchen, via The Guardian. Click on the images to read more about it.

I wish I were making this Thanksgiving’s pies in this lovely microbial kitchen. It is the kitchen of the future, says Philips. The heart of it is the bio-digester island, which is basically a poop- and vegetable scrap-repurposing contraption: burning methane powers the stove, and the “residue” (blessedly, magically dehydrated) can be used as fertilizer.

the larder
the larder close up

The larder.

The part of the microbial kitchen that really excites me is the larder, which has “a twin-walled terra cotta evaporative cooler” consisting of “compartments and chambers [that] vary in wall thicknesses and volumes . . . designed to keep different types of food at different optimal temperatures.” I am ready for this now. I am already mentally arranging my mushrooms and cheeses. You know what this reminds me of, this amazing styrofoam kitchen of the future from 1978:

containerization

Styrofoam kitchen by Lino Schenal, from Joan Kron and Suzanne Slesin’s High-Tech(1978).

I got High-Tech after seeing this outdoor hangout room from it over at Wary Meyers. There are loads of good ideas in the book and the styrofoam kitchen has stuck with me. I often bring home new kitchen equipment that I don’t have just the right spot for, and with a kitchen like this I could scoop out a compartment for, say, my new ice cream machine. It isn’t as high-tech as the microbial kitchen, but how great would it be to combine the two, with terra cotta inserts for the scooped-out wall, like the larder? Such that one could open a little door to a personal-size cheese cave? Or a mushroom-growing cabinet. I have been trying to grow mushrooms inside my componibili and this would be an improvement. One could have a mushroom-growing cabinet right next to a pipe carrying cool, clean water and have one’s mushrooms misted automatically. Or via phone.

The more mysterious biological and transformative aspects of the future kitchen remind me of this fallen tree that Mr. Lunar Camel Co. and I recently encountered at Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Are these the ghosts of insects struck by lightening? Whatever happened here happened to the entire length of the tree.

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This and That No. 1 is here.

This and That No. 2 is here.

hunger and its objects

In college I took a philosophy class called Art and Its Objects. We read a lot of Wollheim, but what I really remember is going to my professor’s office, him propping up a Modigliani print on his desk and talking to me with it sat there. So I am going to prop up some things on my blog for you.

Hungry Russian cats in stereo. Haunted by thoughts of having to slog through these to get to the coffee in the morning. Necessity of cat-tending intern and cat-free bedroom with coffee apparatus in it. Potential necessity of rules for intern prohibiting them wearing only tightie whities, socks and plastic sandals.

Tarako Japanese Kewpie pasta sauce.

Walker Brothers Japanese commercial for Look chocolate.

Year Round lion

Lion soup by Milton Glaser, scanned by me from The Year-Round Holiday Cookbook.

Solo Covtina

Women eating hamburgers, from RossoPiceno’s Flickr.

Yuzu, Calamondin, Finger Lime

Yuzu, finger limes, calamondin from ktepi’s Flickr.

the ramen, the ramen, the ramen is on fire

Here’s a rare bit of Lunar Camel Co. news-gathering for you, last night I was having dinner at Chuko in Prospect Heights and it caught fire.

Chuko ramen fire

Not flaming fire, but it got very smoky and everyone had to go outside. I think everyone else had finished their dinner but not us! We’d inhaled an order of grilled shishito peppers (so good with lime and flaky salt) and an eggplant bun (crazy thing, tasted like a McDonald’s burger; I have not eaten one of those in at least twenty years but the taste is unmistakable) and our ramen had just arrived.

Chuko ramen fire

Chuko ramen fire

Our waiter half-jokingly suggested that we take our ramen outside but the bowls were hot so we left them behind. A difficult thing to do. It was kind of late (we’d arrived just in time to order before the kitchen closed at 10) and it was cold outside, and we got there late because we’d just smoked a bowl, and here was steaming hot, seemingly-lovely ramen. Fuck!

Chuko ramen fire

What an interesting picture we would’ve made, resolutely slurping our noodles on the sidewalk while the second, third, and fourth firetrucks arrived. Alas, we tipped our waiter and took off for Chavela’s, where we had a second round of appetizers, a couple of margaritas, and, at last, dinner (chilaquiles x 2).

Chuko ramen fire

I took a sleep-break because I’m an old woman now but I awoke still in serious eating mode. Breakfast did not require planning because Party Lights played Montreal and brought back bagels from St-Viateur (délicieux!), but what am I going to eat for lunch and for tonight’s first and second dinner?

a Montreal bagel in Harlem

north fork

When I said I was going to the beach last week my destination was Orient Point, at the end of the north fork of Long Island. I’d never been there before and was surprised and thrilled that it’s relatively easy to find a deserted or nearly-deserted beach there. I feel like I can tell you people — you lot are mostly continental or English and you’ve got your own lovable beaches much closer to home — but don’t tell anyone else.

let's go down there

Sometimes the nicest thing is to not have anyone else around.

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It’s all the more exciting to find a deserted beach with interesting structures on it, like this driftwood teepee-cabana.

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Or to find a beach where a sailboat with flashy silver sails appears on the horizon. My friend thought this was very Matthew Barney-ish but it remained too far away to see whether the mast was made of vaseline.

silver sailboat in the distance

Driftwood legs, agreed?

driftwood legs

Our favorite beach find was this oceanographic sofa, where beachcombers can sit comfortably and think about special rocks or driftwood wants and needs.

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My friends were directed to the beach with the oceanographic sofa earlier in the week, when they arrived and discovered that the rental kitchen lacked a cutting board — people at the Orient Country Store knew it would be a good place to forage for a driftwood cutting board. Two designers in our party were inspired by the tremendous driftwood selection and made a chair too. It wasn’t quite complete when I took this photo but you get the idea.

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If you want to commission a driftwood chair or set of chairs I could probably hook you up. It would take a week or so to make, so there’s the cost of lodging to factor in, plus me to document the process, plus an assistant for me, but think of how amazing your new chairs would be. Seriously, think about it.

You can see one of our driftwood cutting boards in the photo below of some farmstand herbs I made focaccia with. The focaccia was initially a disaster (it took three women wielding spatulas and knives to dislodge it from the pan it clung to, then was successfully resuscitated in breadcrumb form and used to stuff tiny peppers) but the driftwood cutting board was an unqualified success and we brought it to the Country Store to show it off to Miriam, one of the proprietors. Manhattan desperately needs small, friendly Urban Stores where people can exchange useful information and buy whatever little things they have a pressing need for, some candles or seltzer or a slice of peach-brown butter tart still warm from the oven. We have bodegas of course but I don’t think I’ve ever obtained any truly useful information under fluorescent lights because no one wants to chat when everyone looks hideous. Plus there is never a front porch and they are not run by bakers. There are some people who built a porch on their roof in the West Village and there’s been at least one gallery porch I recall, so I don’t see why this couldn’t happen.

farmstand herbs

Also nice to have around: farms and farmstands and wineries. Here is a lavender farm where bees live in lavender beehives.

lavender farm

I didn’t see any lavender honey for sale but we did come home with a good-looking melon. Russians pickle the rind and other people make things with the seeds, but who has ideas about how to make curly watermelon tails into something?

our melon

We didn’t eat the melon tail but we did have a terrific salad with flowers and pickled beets in it, and afterwards I thought about starting a new food blog that has only remnants of food on it. There’s probably already a Tumblr called Fuck Yeah Plate Study. Hmm.

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pink remnants after beets

We didn’t spend the entire time eating salads; there was also a fair amount of bicycling around and looking at things like ospreys in their nests.

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There was a sandy beach much easier on the feet than the rocky ones we visited but it has umbrella rules.

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Do you prefer to read serious or fluffy books on the beach? I don’t think I have ever had a preference. It’s easy to get distracted by people-watching / -listening but sometimes little distractions are the perfect punctuation for serious sentences.

reading at the beach

We stayed near a marina where children sometimes practice sailing in tiny white sailboats. A fine thing to watch from a porch, but I would not want to be responsible for keeping them from heading out to sea. If someone had sat seven-years-old me in a boat just my size I probably would not be here writing this blog; I’d be on a small, grubby island wearing a seaweed turban and blogging about that instead.

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new oceanographic snack

I’m back and I have a lot of photos to sift through and a lot of insect bites to scratch and curse. In the meantime here is a new oceanographic snack, by which I mean it is just the thing to eat when you are near the ocean. It is vegetarian yet briny and requires little effort.

new oceanographic vegetarian snack

The snack from top to bottom is: farm stand tomato, cheese of your choice, one layer of Korean seaweed snack (the sheets of roasted seaweed that come in a little packet), toast. I have a strong feeling that a perfected version of this snack would be made with sourdough toast, extremely fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil on top, but the snack in the photo was made with brie on multigrain toast and it was delicious.

a little something for my pagan readers

My friend Thaddeus recently sent me a Wicker Man comic book starring the Muppets. Kermit is Sergeant Howie, Gonzo is Lord Summerisle, and of course Miss Piggy takes up the role of the ass-shaking innkeeper’s daughter played by Britt Ekland (and her ass-double) in the 1973 film.

Muppet Wicker Man p. 17

Muppet Wicker Man p. 21

Muppet Wicker Man p. 23

It’s clever and funny and well-executed but naturally the creators of it couldn’t include every scene from the movie, and my favorite one of all is missing: May Morrison’s sweet shop. It’s such a brief scene but it made a big impression on me. Ever since I first saw the film I’ve longed to walk into a sweet shop stocked with chocolate hares and turtles and creepy baby-shaped cakes.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s in the shop, starting with the big chocobaby in the window:

creepy baby choco

more after the jump, along with the beginnings of an inquiry as to how to recreate these goodies . . .

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