LET’S EAT NOW AND KILL EACH OTHER LATER?
What has this world come to? Or, all along, this is how we always have been?
I know. This is a food blog, rainbows and marshmallows and summer noodle salads. Politics, world affairs… are not palatable, instead, I should be talking about pumpkin pies. But you see, this is the thing. Talking about foods, in a time like this. How can we, so at ease, not taste the irony between the bettering tolerance for flavours on our dining tables, and the boiling hostility on just about everything beyond? Food-wise, in the history of mankind, the world has never come so open-minded, so intimately close to sharing and tasting the very same beliefs that are being enjoyed from the other side of the map. We can all agree on the cold silkiness of a piece of raw fish on a small nub of tangy rice. The cool creaminess of hummus meandering around the sizzling spiced kebabs. The good funk of cheese melting into the chewiness of a hand-torn crusty baguette. A sip of wine. It registers the same. The contentment in common. The smile radiating from our torsos. Ah, yes, that wonder you’re tasting over there, I’m feeling it right here too, understanding, happy-ing, at the same time, over the same things. How is it that we could relate so much in happiness, and yet, empathise so little in suffering. Can we really talk about foods, without thinking about politics? Or is it, let’s eat now and kill each other later?
Really bad things happened in Paris. Here we all mourned, in shock, in disbelief, compassionate. Meanwhile, the exact same really bad things, just as bad, sometimes worse, happens not that far away almost every week on that side, perhaps your side, stacking up silently like morning pancakes. Beirut 3 days ago, Ankara last month, other cities of dwindling lights. But… that was just inks on newspapers, no hashtags in its grief. Has even my sympathy, where I decide to spare it, become part of the problems? Why is it only you and I, yours and mine, and nothing in between? We’re all micros teeming on a speck of dust in this universe, but somehow, we still manage to divide beyond our means, to sever what is better as one, to split the atoms. I don’t. Wanna. Exist like this.
I came home from a trip last Thursday, before all this, with an idea of making quick tortillas out of pullman-toasts, just a friendly and benign weekday-meal inspiration that I thought you, wherever and whoever you are, might like too. It was meant to be convenient, utilising our pantry items that nowadays without us even noticing, have probably evolved to be much more worldly and exciting ahead of our prejudice. I had two stacks of pullman toasts made in Beijing, but most likely not far apart from what you’ll get from your grocery stores around the world. I had some halal ground beef (most beefs and lambs in Beijing are actually halal) which I then browned with a paste made of Japanese miso paste, Mexican chili powders, Spanish smoked paprika, American sriracha and other good stuffs. Then I made a cool and tangy salsa from diced avocados and Korean kimchi, plus a scallion slaw mixed with mayonnaise from France and gochujang chili paste. It was a true melting pot of edible opinions where, most times, the best things come from.
The flattened and toasted pullman-tortillas were soft, chewy and exceedingly more tortilla-like than I had previously hoped. In fact, I don’t think I would ever go back to buying the “real” but lifeless flour tortillas from the supermarkets that taste like paperboards, over this fake but delicious cheat that are tender and blanket-like. And however unseemly, confused, and chaotic the list of ingredients may sound, each and every tiny little tacos just tasted… well, delicious. It all works, together. Really, try it, because it’s not that difficult. The meaty savouriness that benefits from a hint of soy and chili. The sharpness of the scallions softened by mayonnaise then gets kicked up again with gochujang. The tangy kimchi with the coolness of the avocados. You could even swap it with Israeli hummus, and season the halal beef with curry pastes from Thailand. It will all, be good. Then everything together, hot and cold, high and low… hmmm, I know what you mean.
Then the spiciness, the burning sensation that my brain registers as a sense of pain that comes from the heat of all this… well, I suspect you can feel that, too.
YAP controls retinal stem cell DNA replication timing and genomic stability.
Authors: Cabochette P, Vega-Lopez G, Bitard J, Parain K, Chemouny R, Masson C, Borday C, Hedderich M, Henningfeld KA, Locker M, Bronchain O, Perron M
The adult frog retina retains a reservoir of active neural stem cells that contribute to continuous eye growth throughout life. We found that Yap, a downstream effector of the Hippo pathway, is specifically expressed in these stem cells. Yap knock-down leads to an accelerated S-phase and an abnormal progression of DNA replication, a phenotype likely mediated by upregulation of c-Myc. This is associated with an increased occurrence of DNA damage and eventually p53-p21 pathway-mediated cell death. Finally, we identified PKNOX1, a transcription factor involved in the maintenance of genomic stability, as a functional and physical interactant of YAP. Altogether, we propose that YAP is required in adult retinal stem cells to regulate the temporal firing of replication origins and quality control of replicated DNA. Our data reinforce the view that specific mechanisms dedicated to S-phase control are at work in stem cells to protect them from genomic instability.
PMID: 26393999 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
A second reason to go to SPX.
Also seriously. matzo crack ice cream sandwiches. Let's do it.
This looks like a lovely cookbook, even if it's all veg. Zack?
I wrote a post a while back about writing a cookbook proposal. It explained how I typically approach the first stages of a cookbook project. I thought I'd follow that up with a post primarily (but not entirely) focused on some of the details that have taken place in the time since - between signing a contract and sending the book to the printer. I should mention, it has been incredible hearing from so many of you - each at a different stage in your own projects. Whether it's my own book, or a book someone else is working on, I find the process fascinating. The more you talk to different cookbook authors, the more you realize just how unique the process is to each individual.
- Above - This is actually one of the first things I did for Near & Far to try to get a handle on flow, structure, and how some of the images, recipes, and content might work together. I would take standard sheets of paper, fold them into (looks like) eighths, and then sketch/block out spreads and content blocks. I think I like this sort of thing in the early stages because it is small scale, flat mapped, and doing the sketches actually forces me to look at the images and the content in a way I might not otherwise. On past books I've talked about how I use a big binder throughout the entire book process to pace things out, keep track of recipe development, testing, and revisions. There are similar considerations on the photography front, so the binder helps there as well. When you continuously page past an image you aren't happy with, it's easy to get motivated to reshoot.
I should also mention here, that just because I arrange all my content in a binder very specifically as part of my process, I don't get hung up on that specific order of things once I turn everything in to Ten Speed. I work with Toni Tajima on the overall design of my books, and while I show Toni my binders and bulletin boards, and all of it, I don't at all dictate placement or anything of that sort. It's much more a ongoing conversation between me, my editor (Julie Bennett), and Toni, over time. Part of the process I love most is submitting the manuscript and photography, and then seeing how each of them approach it. They have the fresh eyes at that point in the process, and there's really no reason for me to do anything aside from let them do what they're good at. If I've done a good job of establishing the tone of the overall project from the start, this part should be smooth - which points back to the importance of establishing exactly what you want to attempt with a thoughtful, solid proposal.
- Above - This is what my binder looked like at the end of the whole process. It got a bit out of control, and I probably should have split it between two binders. The close-up of the images with pink tape is a printed index of all the color images I was submitting. If an image was ready - high resolution, saved to the hard drive I'd submit - it would get a piece of tape. Above that is the production schedule for Near & Far.
- Above - In Marrakech. Attempting some sort of "author shot"...my expression is the realization that a speeding motorbike had just rounded the corner.
- Above - A collection of images for possible inclusion in the Ten Speed Fall 2015 catalog.
- Above - This is the back cover of Near & Far, and it is a reflection of a part of the process that I'm most thankful for. I think I speak for a lot of authors when I say it is initially difficult to start putting a new book out there. You've lived with it for a long stretch, and part of the process, after the manuscript is completed and the design is established, is circulating early copies of it. The earliest copies (either in PDF or galley format) go out to a short list of people who you hope might spend some time with your book, feel good about it, and write some kind words. This is one of the hardest "asks" for me. I know how busy everyone is, and I can't help but feel like I'm adding to the workload of some of the writers I admire most. Thank you Samin, thank you Elissa, and thank you Deborah - deepest gratitude and appreciation.
- Above - I found this scrap in my Near & Far folder the other day. I tended to write out the chapter openers longhand rather than typing them on my laptop. I actually do this on occasion with posts for 101 Cookbooks. It feels good. To be writing into a notebook or piece of paper rather than a keyboard and screen. I'm probably stating the obvious, but it helps me focus, no digital distractions.
- Below - A few of you were curious about the styling and shooting of the book. I've been asked about the cameras I use, and whether I work with a team. Do you divide the shoots into intensive shoots, or chip away at it?
There are shots from at least five different cameras in this book. I shot a mix of film and digital. If I was shooting film, most of it was 6x7 or Polaroid/Fuji 3.25 x4.25 and 4x5. I used an old Polaroid Land Camera, a Speed Graphic, a Fuji folder 6x7 (great travel camera), and a Sony Nex 3 (this is the one I use now / this lens too) with an adapter so it could take my old Leica lenses (making it a great, compact travel camera). As far as the food shots go, I tend to shoot gradually over a long time period of time, on my own. That said, some of my favorite days working on this book were when I had help from two of my favorite people to cook with - Tina Dang and Emelie Griffin. We'd choose a handful of recipes to prepare, or work on, from the manuscript. We'd shoot along the way, and then enjoy a beautiful lunch together. Ironically, I don't have a shot of all three of us in the kitchen, but I do have one of us after a few drinks one night in a crazy bathroom (below).
- Below - If you see a shot of me in the book (or elsewhere), it was likely taken by Wayne :).
Right now the files are all at the printer, and we have finalized the design, color, and texture of the cover. You can see the examples of versions of the cases below. We get samples and compare different versions to try to get the right feel, look, etc.
As far as what is next, one of the aspects of the book making process that has been a bit of a mystery to me is the printing, binding, and assembly of the physical object. The book itself. But, I think that is about to change. I'm going to make a quick trip to Hong Kong, and then on to the printer, to see part of the process with my own eyes. Looking forward to sharing that part of the process with you in the coming weeks. -hContinue reading Making A Cookbook...
And this. Zack. Make this for me.
XI’AN-STYLE SMUSHED LAMB MEATBALLS BRAISED IN JOY-JUICE, STUFFED IN CH-ENGLISH MUFFINS… MORE THAN WORDS
I can’t even… I won’t even… I’m not even gonna… Look, my friends, this is my Xi’an-style smushed lamb meatballs braised in joy-juice, slobbering in between a layer of sesame/peanut sauce and cilantro/red onion slaw, my signature chili oil and Xi’an burger buns (call it Ch-english muffins). If you are looking at them and doesn’t have the urge to tell me to shut the fuck up now, and get to it, then I don’t know nothin’ about foods. This is where that song – More Than Words – was written for, a song that I suffered through 20 years of karaoke with and couldn’t figure out the appeal, until now.
And you wouldn’t have to saaayeh~ that you love me. Cuz I’d already knowoah~
Makes: 8 buns
In a stand-mixer bowl with dough-hook/or with hand-held mixer with dough-hooks/or by hand, mix 1/2 of the flour, honey, salt and water for 1 min until it comes into a thick batter. Add the remaining flour and instant dry yeast, and knead on medium speed (or by hand) for 5 min until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the vegetable oil, then knead again for 6~7 min on medium-high speed (or 10 min by hand) until the dough is shiny, smooth, and tacky. The dough should be warm and soft, but shouldn’t try to stick to your hands or the working surface too much. If it does, knead in 2 extra tbsp of flour at a time, until it doesn’t. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let proof until doubled, approx 1 hour (the dough is warm so it will proof very fast!).
Dust the working surface lightly with flour then transfer the dough on top, and divide into 8 equal portions. Roll 1 portion out into a very thin, round sheet, then rub a little vegetable oil over the top surface evenly with your hand, and sprinkle lightly with ground white pepper. Roll the sheet into a log, then twirl it into a snail-shaped dough. Pinch the end tightly underneath the dough and press it down slightly, then set aside on a lightly floured surface. Repeat with the rest, and arrange them in the order they are made. Cover them with plastic-wrap and let rest for another 20 min, during which they should slightly expand again.
Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with a little vegetable oil, then heat over medium heat. Starting with the first dough you made, arrange 2~3 in the skillet with 2″ (4 cm) of space in between, then cover with a sheet of parchment paper and place another pot that’s approx the same size over the top. The parchment will keep the steam inside and help cook the buns, while pot keeps them in disk-shape. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 5~6 min, until the first side is golden browned. Remove the pot and the parchment (the buns should have expanded considerably in diameter), and flip the buns (NO need to put the parchment or pot back on) and cook for another 5 min until the other side is browned as well. The thickness of the buns should be about the width of your toe. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with the rest. Can be made the day before.
*I’ve tried baking them in the oven, sandwiched between two baking-sheets, but the result just wasn’t the same. The oven-method gave them a tougher crust, and a drier interior.
I'd hit it.
THE RICE AND SAUCE QUICKLY COOKED INTO SOMETHING LIKE A DOPPELGANGER OF RISOTTO, BOUND BY THE STRINGENT GOOEYNESS OF MELTED CHEESE,
OF WHICH HE THEN GOBBLED DOWN BY EACH OVERSIZED WOODEN-SPOONFUL
I hardly think that it’s unreasonable, sometimes even understandable, for people to bundle their perceptions for different cultures around a region, as a whole. As one of the Asians, Taiwanese to be exact, I am certainly far more accustomed to many of the familiarly bizarre lifestyles or values from our neighboring cultures, than say someone who are born and raised in the Midwest of America. Regardless of agreements, I can generally find an answer for much of the “Asian weirdness” that are otherwise lost in translation, even just by association. But a few days ago, prompted by a segment from Tony’s Parts Unknown, I sank into a recent uprise of Korean phenomenon so baffling, that the regional cultural gap… has never felt so wide.
Did you know… that there are a swarming number of YouTube channels with millions of views and followers… broadcasting hours after hours of young, slim Koreans doing nothing but sitting in front of their HD webcam-equipped computer, and just… eating themselves to a pulp?!! Just eating! Just nothing else, absolutely nothing else, but them eating… and eating.. and eating what appears to be an obscene and non-human amount of foods that defies the very laws of physics! Perhaps I should point out that the nature of these shows are not competitive, as the broadcaster, almost always, are the sole living subjects in front of the cameras inside his/her own bedrooms (except maybe this living sea-creature wiggling before its imminent death). What seems to be just a random somebody filming him/herself leisurely ingesting takeouts after school or work, sometimes for hours, will only slowly begin to stun your consciousness when you realize… how freaking much foods have already gone inside their average-sized human torsos. Then the shows end almost as bizarrely as they begin, when the broadcasters, however long it takes, finally decide that he/she is sufficiently fed, then goes offline… The purposes of these shows, if there was one, don’t make any fucking sense! It could even be argued as being hazardous to social health, but, oh God knows I tried, I just couldn’t stop watching! On top of the fact that I couldn’t understand a single Korean-word buzzing through my ears like white noise, I still couldn’t stop watching for the same human-condition that disables us to walk away from a car-crash!
Well, today’s recipe, is a ruinous aftermath from such a show. This dude… this fit-by-any-definition Korean dude, after ingesting what was a legitimate tub of spicy Korean stew, he then mashed 3 more Japanese rice balls into the leftover sauce, and further blanketed it with more shredded cheese that he grabbed from an enormous bag that seemed to be kept by his desk as importantly as back-up staplers. The rice and the sauce quickly cooked into something like a doppelganger of risotto, bound by the stringent gooeyness of melted cheese, of which he then gobbled down by each oversized wooden-spoonful. I think it rendered me mindless. In retrospect, I believe the only sound hovering above the paralyzing astonishment was the voice of my own murmurs… That shit looks good. I’d totally eat that shit. So here, aside from a tip-of-the-hat, if I didn’t channel this episode into another post of (as coincidentally fitting and attributing as it is) The Shit I Eat When By Myself, what kind of a recipe-sharer would I be?
Servings: 1/10 serving for its inspirer, but 1 serving for a normal humanoid
When I made this the first time and took these photos, I forgot to add the nori/Japanese seaweed. So don’t scratch your head wondering where they are, and just be assured that the recipe is better with than without.
Give it to me now.
YOUR ULTIMATE REVENGE TOWARDS THE COMING ASS-BINDING HEATWAVES
A REFRESHINGLY PLEASURABLE PAIN, BEST SERVED COLD
It might say something about me, perhaps not in the most positive light, whenever I fell for a Chinese dish-inspiration from half way around the world while living right inside the epicenter of it all, where the “real things” are or so they say. What kind of a food-blogger, who eats and breathes right off of the ground-zero of a very old, very diverse and rapidly morphing food-culture often generalized as “Chinese foods”, would cook you a Chinese dish that comes from an Instagram of a New Yorker who took it at a restaurant that are, out of all places, in Brooklyn. Lazy? Perhaps. Utter dumb luck? That’s for sure. Because you see, without this inconvenient loop around the globe it has traveled, the inspiration for this down-home Shanghainese summer snack, in one form or another, would have otherwise never found its way to melt in my warm embrace. And this is, I guess especially for those who have experienced living abroad, a perfectly explainable social phenomenon.
Thing is, I believe across all cultures, that the restaurants indigenous to where they are located, often times with great effort, focus on serving what they perceive as “restaurant-style/worthy” dishes only. It is a limiting but reasonable box that excludes the slightly less glamorous, homemade gems that are more commonly celebrated within the contentment of one’s own home. It really isn’t hard to understand why. Just imagine, that it would also seem odd, if not lazy, to see PB&J on the menu of a respectable American restaurant sitting in the heart of Manhattan, no? However, when the citizens of such comfort are residing in a foreign land, say, a Shanghainese in Brooklyn, and decided to open a restaurant to selfishly serve his/her personal home-sickness, then guess what, dishes like these start to pop up. And my friends, dishes like these, are always my favourite kind to eat. Take this for example, M Shanghai’s wontons in spicy peanut sauce. Something that I would have taken gladly from its bare and natural implications – burning hot pork wontons slurped cautiously from an even more inflammable pool of peanut sauce and chili oil – let alone after the discovery of its true, counterintuitive ingenuity over a much needed research. It turns out (whether or not this is how it’s served in Brooklyn) that this fabulous summer-snack regrettably overlooked in most-if-not-all Shanghai restaurants in Beijing, is actually… eaten cold.
Yes! Cold wontons. I mean, come’on, that’s fucking
cold, I mean, cool! What kind of a food-sharer would I be, in particular at this timely juncture of late May, if I didn’t immediately pounce on this brilliance like Scarlett on Hulk, and send you an exhilarating cool wave of M(y) Shanghai’s cold wontons in spicy peanut sauce?
Designed specifically to lower your smoldering summer body-temperature by the cold firmness of ice-shocked pork wontons seasoned with pickled jalepeno, with a savoury and mildly apple-juice-sweetened peanut sauce in the perfect consistency of chilled gazpacho, then last but not least, plus the sweat gland-stimulating burns of my best, nuclear-active chili oil. The velvety coolness of the wonton wrappers brushes through your tongue as pleasantly as a cold sheet against your warm skin, then blazing through the first impact, is the creamy and nutty burn that broadcasts its summer-beating intention right through your skulls. It’s not food-myth. It’s biology. Highlighted with the sweet tang from aged balsamic vinegar, and tingling numbs from ground sichuan peppercorn, it’s scientifically sound to say that this dish will be your ultimate revenge towards the coming ass-binding heatwaves – a refreshingly pleasurable pain, best served cold.
UPDATE 2015/06/15: You can also make the sauce with Skippy smooth peanut butter. Whisk about 200 grams of smooth peanut butter with 2~3 tbsp of soy sauce, grated garlic, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, and enough water to blend into a loose mayonnaise consistency.
Makes: 30~35 wontons
Shanghai wontons, relatively to other varieties, are extra plump and over-stuffed almost like a dumpling, with fillings that are generally 1/2 pork and 1/2 minced bok choy. I’m not a huge fan of bok choy, so I used a more pungent replacement, Asian chives. If you like your wontons less garlicky, and more vegetable-y, then switch the finely chopped Asian chives with chopped blanched-then-squeed-dry bok choy. The Parmigiano cheese in the filling may seem odd, but trust me, you won’t be able to identify it except for the MSG-equivalent profile that it bring. Then why aged balsamic vinegar instead of Asian black vinegar? Well, I just find that balsamic vinegar brings a more well-rounded, less intrusive but sufficient acidity in this particular case.
Using cold ground pork will prevents its fat from melting during mixing, which will result in a grainy and unpleasant texture.
Security is the greatest enemy.
Two of my favorite foods... but together? I'm intrigued.
MY MOJO (COULD HAVE) SANK INTO A MENTAL ABYSS SO DEEP, IT WOULD TAKE A KRISPY KREME-SUBMARINE TO RETRIEVE
Hello. Sorry. I think it’s been awhile. I don’t know if there was a guideline on the Successful Food Blogging Manual specifically on post-frequencies, but I’m sure an entire week of blankness and neglect would on the other hand, dominate the entire Troubleshoots Section (As well as questions like this: What to do when you accidentally publish an unfinished post?)(Answer: Call 911.)(And: What is a writer’s block?)(Answer: Eat a donut.). Well, the truth is… that I wish there was a more socially excusable answer for my absence, you know, dog theft, broken hips, dead grandparents… house fire? Because really, anything is better than what I’m about to confess, which is the silent gasps among food-bloggers, the leading Do-Not’s under the manual’s flashing red, Skull-headed Section that you should probably read before Getting Started (Side by side with: Bad-mouthing Jesus.)(And also: Cursing out children). But the truth is that, in the past week, as honestly as I can put it… I simply got tired of foods.
Yes, if you were a food-blogger, along with the acute urge to weep after a deflated cake (Answer: Ingest alcohol and blog about that instead) and recipe-deficit (Answer: Put down the donut and make that a sandwich), this complication too can happen. But different from how I’d imagine it, which should’ve been a natural and peaceful death following a long and beautiful journey, this temporary episode came prematurely due to a self-inflicted and unforeseeable cause. In short, I simply got tired of foods because there had been simply, too much fooding. Can there be such a thing? Yes. As briefly mentioned before, I partook in an annual Beijing’s restaurants review for a city magazine, thinking it was going to be the best blogging-perk ever, but after cramming almost twenty restaurants into the past mere four weeks (that’s 3~5 restaurants per week!), things started to get a little… overcooked. Like a bridezilla on her third wedding, I had managed to turn the single, most appreciated aspect of my otherwise ungrateful life, into just another demeaning chore. To say the least, it backfired.
Even though this miscalculated experiment, for my wellness sake, timely ended last Thursday, it has left me in a prolonged state of mental paralysis where I just wanted to suck my thumbs in peace and not having to come up with another word to describe a meal other than cursing it out. I wanted to just exist… on soda crackers for a month. Or so at least, fortunately, it only felt that way. To my surprise as well, thanks to a book here and there, it only took a few days for the cravings to cook again to slowly creep back in, and literally, exploded over this weekend. In hindsight, if the two dishes I made over the weekend had flopped, my mojo would’ve sank into a mental abyss so deep it would take a krispy krem-submarine to retrieve. But no, they didn’t flop. In fact, they were both smashing success, and one of them being what I’m about to tell you – the three cheese oyster gratin.
This recipe was inspired by what we didn’t have at Vin Vi, one of the better restaurants/izakaya we’ve dined at during this entire process, which was on their menu but unavailable the day we visited. I’ve always loved izakaya-style cheesy grilled oysters/kaki mayo, where shucked in-shell oysters are topped with a mixture of Kewpie-mayonnaise and cheese, then go under high heat to be melted into the gloriously broken, greasy, and unapologetic beauties that they are. Its absence from that meal (perhaps thankfully to that) had left a vacuum in my oyster-deprived heart that, even after the most vicious eating-fatigue, must be filled. But if there was one thing I didn’t like about kaki mayo, it’d be the pool of oil they often sit on, being the aftermath of post-high heat mayonnaise that had inevitably separated.
So I substituted the mayonnaise with a thick béchamel sauce infused with dry white wine and loaded it with shredded white cheddar, gruyere, and a daring pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Then after blanketing the shucked oysters from all directions with this stringy goo, it was then covered again with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, more freshly grated nutmegs (the key, people, the key), and a few/or many little nubs of unsalted butter. Baked under the top-broiler for 13~15 minutes, the sweet oysters had released their juices to be blended as part of the cheesy pool of joy, slightly shrivelled and firmed up but still supple to the bite, smoldering under a crust of golden and bubbly surface. I’d warn you that it was hot, but again it might had been too late. After all, even I, who have been subjected to an entire month of human-foie gras feeding regimen and was already at the stage of over-ripened-for-harvest, couldn’t resist to (huff~ huff~ huff~) tuck one into my mouth right out of the oven and part the burning white sea with a torn piece of crusty sourdough.
And guess what, it was worth the burn, worth the paralyzing month of restaurant-hammering that ultimately led to it, worth every dragging agony to crawl back to the kitchen to make it, and now the what’s-one-more bulge of fat sticking out from places I don’t even know exist on my body. Hey, my friends, if you ever feel tired of foods, going in or churning out. Take a couple days off, eat some soda crackers. Then come back, and make this. And I promise you, all shall be good again.
But I do love LPQ
Well, since the possibility of the Rotunda opening sometime in the next couple years has resulted in a handful of residents panicking about possible parking difficulties and screwing over the rest of the neighborhood, let's take a look at what they are so freaked about about.
Below is a leaked, tentative lease plan for the Rotunda - including businesses who've signed leases, those who have leases outstanding, those with Letters of Intent, and lots of available commercial space.
Yeah. Totally looks like it's gonna be another Harbor East.
Hey Maru, do you have crisis management capability?
No one surpasses me in the nose mustache!
This is why we can't have nice things.
One thing I've most enjoyed experimenting with over the past year is broth. I suppose the style of broth I'm interested in would technically be considered vegetable broth. That said, this isn't what one tends to think of as a typical vegetable broth - I rarely kick things off with the holy trinity of onion, carrots, and celery. Instead, I might focus one around a favorite chile pepper, or varietal of dried mushroom, or, in this case, lemongrass. It might be more helpful to think of this as thin, flavor-forward soup, where I attempt to build on a short list of intense flavors. I like broths to be compelling on their own, but also like them to function as a dynamic base for other preparations. Now, I know summer tends to be the time of year people rally around grilling and outdoor cooking, but I have to tell you, it's also the time of year I like a light, clean brothy soup. So the broth experiments continue. This one, in particular, was a standout - as a pot of water is on the stove, coming to a simmer, you add a host of ingredients like chopped lemongrass, shallots, ginger, tomatoes, and coriander. Simmer, season with miso, and you have a beautiful, unique component beautiful served straight, but also wonderful and surprising as a base for noodles, poached eggs, or rice soup.
Are many of you making broths from scratch? To enjoy on their own, or to use as a component?...As you can imagine, I'd love to hear any favorites. I feel like a lot of cooks, home cooks in particular, make the occasional vegetable broth. Or, if you're not vegetarian/vegan, chicken broth/stock seems like it is still a quite common endeavor. But, I'm curious about any favorites or a level of enthusiasm for this sort of thing beyond that. I always love hearing what you're doing in your kitchens surrounding various themes, and I'm particularly excited about this one - I suspect you might have great ideas. xo -hContinue reading Lemongrass Miso Soup...
by Benn Ray
Here are a collection of excerpts from one-star reviews from John Waters New York Times bestseller, Carsick.
"Seeing as I'm 75 and have never been into what I consider porn, straight or homosexual, I found what little I have read to be disgusting. I can't see why it was recommended by the people on Morning Joe." -Ann
You take book recommendations from Morning Joe? Wait! Morning Joe recommended Carsick?!!
"...This was awful! I brought it on a plane, and even though it was the only book I had with me, after a few chapters, I could not take it anymore...." -readerrunnermom
I know what you mean. I've been on long flights next to people like you where I felt exactly the same way.
"Absolute trash from beginning to end. ..." -Holan
You know one of John's nicknames is "The Pope Of Trash", right? That being said, you should upgrade your review to 5 stars.
"Couldn't get by the sex crap - wish I hadn't purchased it." -Paul Ashworth
"Sex crap?" Sounds like you have some hangups to work out.
"...It took me a while to figure out that the first chapters are fiction. I thought the author was simply on acid. ..." -Larry E. Naylor
John pretty much spells it all out right up front.
"This book is sick. It's set up in three sections. The 'bad' rides turned my stomach. ..." -Michael Barcelona
That was kind of the point.
"KILL ALL PEOPLE NOW LEGALISE CANIBALISM NO MORE OF YOU HAVE BEen found guilty OF ASSHOLism." -GDC
"This is a truly terrible book. I bought it thinking that it would be the story of John Waters hitchhiking across America. A reasonable assumption, no? Instead, it's a collection of his fantasies, most of them without any redeeming merit. (At least that's the reality of what I read, before giving up a quarter of the way through in disgust.) ..." -David E. Arnold
If you wouldn't have given up, you would have eventually gotten to the point of the book you're looking for. A little patience goes a long way.
"... There are certain things that I do not understand: Kim Kardashian's fame, rap music, horror pictures, Jello, blood sausages, and comb-overs. Now, I have to add John Waters. ...After I read the first eight chapters that covered his imaginary best hitchhiking trips, I was happy that I did not continue on to read his imaginary worst trips. While his material is high on imagination, it's low on content. In my opinion, the product is over-the-top, weird, perverted, and most important, not funny. ..." -bobbyr
Coming from someone who claims to not understand rap, Jello, blood sausages or horror pictures, you pretty much invalidate your own review.
"... Am sorry I ever wasted my money on this total waste of time and money. Will never buy another book by this author again." -David Goulhart
Are there other "total wastes of time and money" you aren't sorry for wasting your money on? Can you give examples?
"This was a waste of my money. Mr. Waters, you are full of yourself.... " -Corredor
Right - how dare an author make themselves the subject of their own book. The nerve!
"I stopped reading about halfway through. Waters mentions the recent discovery that Travels With Charlie was totally fabricated in the prologue, then tells a pulp hitchhiking story that’s so racy and short on detail as to seem even more fictional. There’s far too much luck and coincidence, and too little character development or discussion of the challenges of hitchhiking for this story to seem remotely plausible." -rs695
You do get the first 2/3s of the book was fiction right? As an astute reader, you did pick up on that?
"I don't believe a word of it. I want my money back. Fiction is fine, but if I wanted that I would have bought it." -Shoehorse
Actually, that's what you did buy. Fictitious fantasy stories. Nightmare stories. Then real stories. It's right in the front of the book.
"John Waters' writing, like his movies, are clearly an acquired taste....one which I, apparently, have not acquired. An unending saga of sexual escapades, real or not, this book is certainly NOT Travels with Charlie...." -Dohn D. Boyd
At least this "critic" acknowledges the problem is they have no taste.
"I called BS before his first ride was over-- when a stranger gives him $5 million cash to make a movie, explaining that he got rich selling pot and the money was chump change to him. I gave up on the book after 6 rides. That first ride was actually the most believable. ... I assumed this thing was supposed to be some parody of Fear and Loathing meets Alice in Wonderland, but when I poked around the Internet, apparently the author is claiming this to a a true story. Alice in Wonderland is more believe-able. This man tells stories like an 8 year old, not a 68 year old. I'm going to call Amazon and ask for a refund. This is the most ridiculous book I've ever downloaded." - Lindalealphamale
Can't get one by you. You figured it out. The first section was fantasy rides, the seconde section was nightmare rides, and the third was what really happened. It's not really rocket science here people.
This cat is such a jerk. I love him.
Zack - let's make some fancy noodles.
The container of bones, a more or less permanent denizen of the fridge, was particularly full recently; I had grilled a couple of chickens on a lovely afternoon when some friends came over and there were also two beef bones from a decadent ribeye dinner a few evenings prior. There aren’t a lot of bones that make better stock than grilled chicken, and the addition of some deep beefiness to that flavor was too tempting to resist. I needed to make ramen.
Lacking kansui, the alkaline salts used to impart a yellow color and characteristic chew to the noodles, I used Harold McGee’s nifty trick: if you bake baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for an hour or so at around 300˚F, you end up with sodium carbonate, one of the two components of kansui and a stronger alkali than bicarb. I used a teaspoon in two cups of AP flour, plus a handful of gluten, with about a cup of water, and let it knead in the mixer for about ten minutes. Then I wrapped and rested it in the fridge.
The extra gluten and alkali make for a seriously springy dough, much more rubbery than regular pasta dough with or without eggs. It required many more trips than usual through the pasta roller on the thickest setting before it was supple enough to begin cranking the rollers closer together. If you try this, remember that it will look like a shit show for the first few minutes. I stopped at the second-narrowest setting, then rested the sheets for a bit before running them through the spaghetti cutter. I made the noodles into little nests and tossed them in plenty of flour until it was time to cook them.
About 45 seconds is enough at a rolling boil. I had skimmed, strained, and seasoned the stock, soft-boiled some eggs, and chopped some wild chives and mustard greens. The last of the homemade sambal added the perfect punctuation. It’s deeply satisfying to make food this compelling with a minimum of effort. Once the garden really gets going, I’ll revisit this with different greens, fresh peas, and kimchi.
The UAW's messaging around the works council idea. (UAW.org)
This week at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., 1,570 workers will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. It's a big deal: While the big three American carmakers are all unionized, so far the foreign companies have avoided it by locating in Southern states with strong Right to Work laws. From their perspective, unions usually just mean work stoppages, expensive benefit plans, and the inability to fire people at will.
That's what's weird about the VW vote: The German company is campaigning for the UAW, not against it, in a kind of employer-union partnership America has seldom seen. What gives?
Well, VW is kind of different, as automakers go. It understands how having a union can boost productivity and allow it greater flexibility in adjusting to downturns. It should know: The rest of its plants are unionized too.
This would also be something new for the United Auto Workers. They wouldn't have the same relationship with VW as they do with Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford. Rather, the idea is to create something called a "works council," which are widespread across Europe and enjoy tremendous influence over how plants are run. In America, that kind of body can't be established without a union vote -- but crucially, the works council would be independent of the union, meaning the UAW would give up some control as soon as it gained it.
While the details of the arrangement would be ironed out after the election, works councils -- which are elected by all workers in a factory, both blue and white collar, whether or not they belong to the union -- usually help decide things like staffing schedules and working conditions, while the union bargains on wages and benefits. They have the right to review certain types of information about how the company is doing financially, which often means that they're more sympathetic towards management's desire to make cutbacks when times are tough. During the recession, for example, German works councils helped the company reduce hours across the board rather than laying people off, containing unemployment until the economy recovered.
There are three major advantages of councils. You're forced to consider in your decision making process the effect on the employees in advance…this avoids costly mistakes. Second, works councils will in the final run support the company. They will take into account the pressing needs of the company more than a trade union can, on the outside. And third, works councils explain and defend certain decisions of the company towards the employees. Once decisions are made, they are easier to implement.
In that way, works councils can be an ally of management in keeping the business strong for the sake of keeping workers employed over the long term. Weiler was given this example:
[The parent company made] an agreement with the works council to introduce a flexible work-time system, around-the-clock operation through Saturday, starting again Sunday night. They were under tremendous pressure from the union not to do this, but let us go ahead. We couldn't have gotten that out of the union.… Our works council people are not hostile to rationalization of automation. On the contrary, they ask us to automate, to modernize our machinery so that our operations can be competitive. They say, 'We know that we lose jobs by this, but we agree that this is a good thing.'
Works councils are also typically not allowed to call strikes, but they also don't usually need to, because their authority is baked into their agreements with the company (and, in Europe, usually enforced by law). If the UAW wants to strike over wages and benefits, it's still able to do so, but the likelihood of arriving at a mutually agreeable solution without one is much higher.
That's why VW wants its plant to go union. According to VW's global works council leader, Bernard Osterloh, the company even sees its culture of worker codetermination as a "competitive advantage."
That doesn't mean, however, that the vote is unopposed. National anti-union groups and the state's Republican leaders are campaigning against the UAW, saying unionization will spread like a contagion through Tennessee's other auto plants. “Then it’s BMW, then it’s Mercedes, then it’s Nissan, hurting the entire Southeast if they get the momentum," said Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.).
BMW likes its works councils too, though. Apparently, some politicians think they know what's good for auto makers better than the companies do themselves.