Wednesday, December 16, 2009

trash: places

These are some of the things we can do here now. What about then? When these buildings weren't going to hell? What about when when these buildings become new buildings? What about if these buildings don't become too new don't become plastic but stay with the wood and tile stay a little holy?

trash: places

This is in Jennings, LA. 

All the beautiful buildings going to trash by the wayside. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

sweet: ish: applesauce

A few days of fall in the land of summer. It looks like fall - the light is different, everything sharper, the sky bluer. My apartment is freezing. Scarves! And they have Macintosh apples at the farmstand. We have terrible apples down here in summer. Nothing but Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji. Bleck. Macintosh are only the beginning of the apples I used to eat in the north, but they were enough to inspire applesauce. 

This is a total comfort food for me. My mother used to make it when I was a kid - she still does, actually, although she tells me she's moved on to some pear apple ginger variety - and I thought it was magic. Homemade applesauce is seven zillion times better than what you buy in the store and it's really easy. 

Well. For most people. I have complicated it for myself, which I will explain, but that doesn't mean you have to follow me there. 

Spiced Applesauce

6 apples (5 Macintosh and 1 Granny Smith in this case), cut into eighths
2 c. apple cider or water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 tsp salt

one: clean and cut the apples. i leave the peels on, which is also step one of the complicating part. the easiest thing to do is to peel the apples beforehand. 

two: put the pieces of apple in a large, heavy saucepan with the 2 c. cider or water and place over medium heat. cover and bring to a solid slow boil. add the salt. turn the heat down to low, open the lid a crack and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. or so. keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn at the bottom, but it needn't be a too watchful eye. when it appears to be the right consistency, your idea of applesauce, remove from heat.

three: also known as step three of the complicating. here is where i remove the peels, so if you peeled, move ahead to step four. the easiest way to do this would be to strain the applesauce - and you can find devices specifically made to do such a thing - but i like my applesauce a little chunky so i refuse to push it through any sort of sieve. instead, i use a fork to fish out the apple skins, which all of the apple has more or less cooked off of by this point. this is kind of a pain in the ass, but i think it's worth it.

four: add the sugar and garam masala and stir well. taste and adjust. 

Here's the deal with the peels: you don't need them, and like I said, it's easier to just get rid of them before you even start, but there are vitamins and good things in the skins, and they can also add a nice pink tone to your sauce. I like to use as many parts of everything as possible, so I cook the sauce with the skins to get at their good stuff. But in the end, I want them out because I don't like the texture they have, even chopped up small. Like the husks on corn kernels. Things that stick between your teeth. No.

As for the Garam Masala, to be honest, I've just been putting it in everything because I have a ridiculous surplus. It's not a spice mix one would normally use on a daily basis - outside of Indian cooking  - but I hate to let things go to waste. Among other spices, such as cardamom, which is one of my favorite sweet-appropriate spices, it contains cinammon, so I thought it would be reasonable to sub it in for cinnamon when that's the standard, and so far so good. It adds a more complicated 'spiced' flavor to the sauce, but feel free to go back to good old cinnamon. Or plain. If you like that sort of thing. 

I think this applesauce is best hot, so I often heat it up before eating. Also good mixed with plain yogurt and honey or on bread with a nice sharp cheese - cheddar (real cheddar), asiago, mahon, or the chef's choice. 

Happy New York fall. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

trash: food: quiche

Quiche is infinite possibility and infinitely forgiving. I'm putting it under trash cause it's super handy for using up veggies that are on their way out, and in my typical hedonist mode of over-indulgence always, the more your toss into the quiche-heap, the better. 

I actually decided to make quiche in the first place because my neighbor gave me a dozen eggs from her boyfriend's farm, on top of the 8 or so I had in the fridge. So this one is made with farm fresh eggs, local buttermilk, and mostly farmer's market veg - although the shallots are not. Neither is the cheese, which is also not a veg. I used buttermilk because it's the only true liquid dairy I keep on hand; I also had soymilk but that seemed silly, although not something I'm above. Most quiche recipes call for milkmilk and/or cream. As for the crust, I used a quiche dough recipe from a baking book I have which involved flour, butter and an egg + the littlies (salt, baking powder, water). I'm not including it because crusts are standard and you can find your own. 

Quiche Filling 

3 shallots or 1 onion (or 2 shallots and half an onion in this case), chopped and caramelized
4 sweet anaheim peppers, chopped large and sauteed in olive oil to soften
1-2 medium red potatoes, boiled and then cubed and browned in olive oil
To taste: basil leaves (maybe about 15), sliced/shredded

1 c. buttermilk
4 eggs
1/4-1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Bragg's 
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 scant c. cheddar, shredded
1/2 scant c. smoked mozzarella, shredded
pre-heat oven: 375

Here is exactly how I did this, because I like to layer, but the details, while God is always in them, are still up to you:

one: whisk together buttermilk, eggs, paprika, Bragg's and salt in a medium bowl. 

two: layer smoked mozzarella over bottom of your choice crust in pie pan. spread potatoes on top and cover with a portion of your milkegg mixture.

three: mix shallots, peppers, basil and remaining cheese into remaining milkeggs.  

four: pour this remaining mixture into crust. transfer to oven and bake for about 1 hour or until jiggle free and toothpick clean. 

allow to cool.

I'm eating this for lunch with a light white: Seignuers de Bergerac, 2006 Bergerac Sec - a Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon-Muscadelle mix, which is totally drinkable and completely in my under $12 price range. 

The best thing about quiche is, like I labeled, its trash factor. You can swap any other thing in for any of the choices I've made here. Good swaps: mushrooms, chard, spinach, zucchini or summer squash, okra. All sauteed. And whatall else you're trying to make use of, including different cheese choices. 

The smoked moz is my vegetarian pick, because it has that nice ham-y taste of smoked cheese without being over-powering and without being ham. I'm also not a big fan of peppers, and it happens to be pepper season here in the BR, so the farmer's market is packed with them. I always think I'm going to like stuffed peppers, and don't get me wrong, they're totally palatable, but after the one orzo-stuffed batch and then the one cornmeal-stuffed batch, I'm pretty much over it. The sweetness of the peppers, combined with the caramelized shallots, balances the smoked cheese. Sticking them in here also adds a nice texture and allows me to feel like I'm helping to save the world.  

sweet: pb cookie ice cream sandwiches

Homemade peanut butter cookies and homemade Candied-Orange Peel Ricotta Ice Cream. It sounds a little weird, but the citrus flavor goes really nicely with the peanut butter - think peanut sauces, which generally have a vinegar component - and the vanilla/ricotta base holds it all together. Yes, literally. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

sweet: candied orange and ricotta ice cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
5 egg yolks!
1 tsp. vanilla
up to 1 cup ricotta 
1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel (see recipe below!)

one: heat 1 c. cream + milk + sugar + salt until small bubbles appear around the edges. bout 3-4 min. stir as you like!

two: in the meantime, separate your eggs, beat yolks and get a metal bowl set up in an ice bath. last c. cream goes here! 

three: pour half of your warm milkcreamsugar mixture into the egg yolks to bring up to temp. stir! pour egg yolk mixture back into remaining milkecreamsugar! continue to heat, stirring constantly, scraping bottom, until the mixture thickens slightly! bout 4-8 min. 175-180 degrees.

four: pour into cream in ice bath and stir until cooled to 70 degrees-ish. now stir in vanilla + ricotta. a whisk works wonders. 

five: put in fridge to cool thoroughly - maybe 4 hrs.

and six: pour into ice cream maker! add candied orange peel to ice cream maker! just before removing ice cream to a container to freeze! to proper ice cream consistency! 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

sweet: candied orange peel

This recipe is from my 1960s edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. Candied orange peel is a pain in the ass to find if you live in the BR, and I'm sure that if one did find it, they would also find it to be prohibitively expensive. The recipe is easy and requires little hands-on time, aside from the cooking peels in sugar part. It's tried and true, although I cut the recipe down by a third since I only had two oranges. Also recommended - don't use the cast iron skillet that you usually use for fried noodles and such, because it will give your orange peel a little bit of a something else flavor.  

Here is the recipe in it's entirety - further comments below:

3 oranges
1 tbsp salt
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Cut peel of each orange in sixths: loosen from pulp with bowl of  spoon. (Save orange sections for breakfast.) Add salt to 4 cups water; add peel. Weight with a plate to keep peel under water; let stand overnight.

Drain; wash thoroughly. Cover with cold water; heat to boiling. Drain. Repeat three times. This helps remove bitter taste.

With kitchen scissors, cut peel in strips. In saucepan, combine 2 cups peel, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. heat and stir till sugar dissolves. Cook slowly till peel is translucent. Drain; roll in granulated sugar. Dry on rack. 

the end.

First off, that spoon part is not a lie. This kind of thing is the reason people still have a need for Hints from Heloise. Other things? My peel still seems a bit bitter, so be sure you bring it to a full boil each of those three times. Then, prepare to stand over the stove for a while stirring. I'd say I let the peel simmer in the syrup for at least half an hour. 

And you get an orange flavored syrup out of it too!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

trash: manifesto: I

"A phenomenologist who wants to experience the images of the function of inhabiting must not be subject to the charms of external beauty. For generally, beauty exteriorizes and disturbs intimate meditation." Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space 

For so many years we said "But it's pretty!" when we meant "How awful! How awful these things in life can be!" At least they were pretty. That was the one thing they still had going for them. They mocked us with their pretty. We mocked their pretty right back. We knew, without the words for it, that the pretty was the awful thing itself. They were pretty. They had nothing going for them, and yet everyone else was drawn to them like bees . . . well, you know bees. 

Down here there's no beauty that isn't part insides coming out. Part torn up, busted, watch your hands. 

We never trusted pretty. We stuck with trash.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

trash: sexy

mysteriously appeared in a bush outside of my apartment yesterday. 

no pun intended. 

both the dildo and the chuck.

my landlord had landscape folks here again today to finish up the mulching around this area. they had a sprinkler set up just past the cat there this morning. the dildo and the shoe remain, thank god. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

summer: reading list

1. the moviegoer . walker percy .  for malaise

2. a spy in the house of love . anais nin .  for sex

3. the awakening . kate chopin .  for serious

4. summer crossing . truman capote .  for city heat

5. dream state . moira crone .  for humid

6. dandelion wine . ray bradbury .  for forest

7. frank o'hara collected . frank o'hara . for everythingeverythingeverything

8. things are happening . joshua beckman .  for watermelon

9. in watermelon sugar . richard brautigan .  for watermelon sugar

10. gunshy . sarah ruth jacobs .  for hiccuping disco

11. scott pilgram vol. 4 . bryan lee o'malley . for evil ex-girlfriend and the new hot

12 . jenn marie nunes .  for honey bees 

Friday, July 3, 2009

sweet: approx. cinnamon basil coconut ice cream

2 c. heavy cream (Smith Creamery, the BR)
1 c. milk (Smith Creamery, the BR)
3/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
5 egg yolks
(shout-out to Fine Cooking, who supplied the basic custard recipe. but if you're not a member of their site, you can't access it on the web. too bad for you.)

2 cinnamon sticks (broken in smaller pieces or whatever)
3 stalks worth of leaves + flowers cinnamon-basil. maybe 15 leaves regular basil? the big leaves? maybe to taste. smell it. you'll know.
3/4 c. coconut milk
between 0 and 1 c. shredded coconut

one: heat 1 c. cream + milk + sugar + salt until small bubbles appear around the edges. stir as you like it.

two: dump cinnamon sticks and basil leaves in pot, remove from heat, let sit 1 hr.

three: in the mean time (but prolly the tail end of it), separate your eggs and get a metal bowl set up in an ice-bath. last cup of heavy cream goes here.

four: reheat steeping liquid to same point. pour half into the egg yolks and mix - to bring up to temp so they don't curdle. which is gross. pour back into pot. continue to heat until liquid thickens slightly and begins to steam (between 175 and 180 degrees). no boiling.

five: pour thru strainer into cold cream. bring down to about 70 and then transfer to the fridge. or at least the fridge if you have a while. the thing is, if you don't get the custard down cool, your ice cream maker will struggle.

six: about four hrs later, when the custard is fully cool, pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker and kick back. 

seven: if you don't freeze the fresh churned ice cream for a few hours, it will be about two seconds from ice cream soup. fair warning. 

also i'm not personally into a whole cup of shredded coconut - it makes the ice cream kind of dry and hairy, a little bit like eating a delicious sock, but you may be into that. this is good with hot fudge.