Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Well, it has been a while hasn't it? I kept meaning to post again, but well, stuff and things happened. I come to you today though with a triumph and a memory.

The memory is rather proustian, carrying me back to a time when I breathed in the sea air and the smell of the Redwood forest, watched egrets and ravens come to roost each evening, read and thought constantly about very high minded things, and occasionally afforded myself the luxury of a golden jar of heaven. I would eat it on sandwiches of sprouts and avocado, on jalapeno bagels with lox and cream cheese, and well everything.

Larrupin Sauce

This substance, made of mustard, honey, dill, oil and magic, had previously evaded me. In my more nostalgic moments I have considered paying a dear price to have it shipped to me. More often I have attempted in vain to find copycat recipes. I wax nearly as nostalgic about this stuff as I do about Tudor's Biscuit World

Today, however, I had a triumph. While daydreaming about dinner, something I spent time on during my years in school almost as much as thinking really deep thoughts, I searched the internet for "how to serve gravlax" and come upon this. BINGO! I had been so attached to the brand name of the sauce that I never stopped to consider that it was probably a thing known outside the boundaries of my northern California paradise. With further research I found that it is traditionally called "hovmästarsås" in Sweden.

After whipping some up I served it with home cured gravlax (imagine, having  the skill and confidence to make gravlax, but considering sending away for a sauce as simple as this) and sliced green apples. This version is significantly more green and dilly, but I was in heaven and I think it may be a while before I stop putting it on everything. Dave already suggested putting it on cheeseburgers. I think I may take a sprout sandwich with me to work tomorrow for the sake of nostalgia.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An Open Letter to Baby Artichokes

Dear baby artichokes,

I have tried, I really have, three times in fact, to have you in my home successfully. Each time I treat you lovingly and with great care and each time you reward me with bitterness and sadness. I'm done. No matter how cute you are on the shelf in the store I'm never bringing you home again.

This time I thought I would braise you according to Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times. I cut you each in half, scooped out your choke with a runcible spoon, sauteed you in very good olive oil, and gave you a bath in white wine.When I tasted you I had to wash the bitter out of my mouth with black coffee. That's right, black coffee is sweet in comparison with you. But did I give up on trying to coax you out of your bitter phase, no, I did not. I treated you to a giant hot tub of pure water not once, but twice, showering you cool in between. I held my breath and tasted again imagining a sweet artichoke salad for dinner, but alas, once again you were so bitter I could not keep you in my mouth.

So I give up. We could have had a beautiful relationship, you and I, but so it goes I suppose. I like simplicity. Occham and I have something in common after all. I will not easily suffer ingredients that take multiple preparations to make for delicious food. Much like a stripper girlfriend you are lovely in small doses, but I'll leave the intimate relationships to those that want to work for it and order you from the menu from time to time.

No Love,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

False Dichotomy

Dave sent me an amusing infographic about the differences between the ways that Liberals and Conservatives approach food and while I'm sure a lively and lengthy discussion about the false dichotomy of liberals vs. conservatives could ensue any moment, what really caught my attention was this bit: 

Do you see a "significant nutritional difference" between organic and processed foods?

The problem with this question is that there is a multitude of organic processed food out there to be had, so the question itself creates a false dichotomy in the mind of the answerer. Cheese doodles are still cheese doodles, even if they're made from all organic ingredients. They're still laden with fat and empty calories. Organic and processed foods can be, and often are, the same thing. 

Doctors and public health experts agree that what is good for us is to eat less processed foods. Organic or conventional, an apple is better for you than a bag of chips. Whole grains are better for you than pasta or bread. Roast chicken is better for you than chicken nuggets. A bowl of beans is better for you than a vegetarian "hamburger." Hands down, every time. The nutritional difference between organic and conventional whole foods is still up for debate, and lets not even start the debate on which tastes better, but I think we can safely say that processed foods vs. whole foods presents a "significant nutritional difference."