Archive for December 2008
Got a call from the blood center, which had an urgent need for O Negative blood, which I happen to have. So a quart’s worth of red blood cells (i.e., red blood cells equal in number to those in a quart of blood: 2 units) were removed, and all the needlework was totally painless—thanks, Melissa! In fact, I didn’t even feel the lidocaine needle, and then of course the other needle was no problem.
Then to the store to buy black-eyed peas, andouille sausage, and a smoked pork hock. The Eldest wrote to suggest that I make Hoppin’ John:
You could use your home-made hot sauce (the DIY kind)!
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 large smoked ham hock, scrubbed
- 1 c. onion, chopped
- 1/2 c. celery, chopped
- 1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
- 2 TBSP chopped garlic
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed, or fresh black-eyed peas
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 c. scallions, finely chopped
- cooked rice
- Tabasco sauce
- cooked greens (collard, kale, or mustard), seasoned with vinegar
Heat oil in a large soup pot, add the ham hock and sear on all sides for 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook for 4 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the peas are creamy and tender, stirring occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock. Add salt and pepper, then stir in the scallions. Serve over rice with Tabasco sauce to adjust seasoning, with cooked greens on the side.
Interesting post at Slashfood on mise en place. As I recall, this technique was introduced by Escoffier in a commercial kitchen that had to prepare quickly dishes from an extensive menu: no time to prepare ingredients once the dish was ordered—it had to be cooked quickly and back out to the customer.
Or, as Mark Bittman writes, “Welsh rarebit,” which I think is missing the joke. (See comments for more on the “rarebit” error, including H.W. Fowler’s succinct dictum.) At any rate, a wonderful late breakfast for New Year’s Day, although I like the tradition out here of chasing the hangover blues with spicy menudo (recipe at the link), for which supermarkets out here stock tripe at this time of year. Still haven’t found a good source of cow’s foot, though.
Welsh Rarebit [sic]
Yield 4 or more servings
Time About 20 minutes, plus cooling
Though the idea of eating savory food after a full meal makes sense only when evening stretches into night and, usually, when overindulgence in alcohol has taken place, rarebit is also good in the afternoon, and can be made in advance save for the final toasting. To get that just right, toast the bread on a baking sheet until each piece is evenly browned on top. Then turn the pieces over and toast them about half as much on the second side before adding the cheese.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 3/4 cup strong dark beer, like Guinness
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
- 1 pound Cheddar, Double Gloucester or other English cheese (or other good semi-hard cheese, like Comté or Gruyère, or a mixture), grated
- 4 to 8 pieces lightly toasted bread
1. Put butter in a saucepan over medium heat and, as it melts, stir in flour. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard and cayenne, then whisk in beer and Worcestershire sauce.
2. When mixture is uniform, turn heat to low and stir in cheese, again stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a broad container to set (you can refrigerate for up to a day at this point).
3. Spread mixture thickly on toast and put under broiler until bubbly and edges of toast are crisp. Serve immediately.
New Year’s Day would not be complete without black-eyed peas. Our supermarkets here stock fresh black-eyed peas at this time of year, which cook much more quickly than the dried. Both are great.
I think the idea is that they bring luck, and indeed I ate them last New Year’s Day and the year for me has been pretty lucky, with a few exceptions. (Thumb now almost healed.) But I like them for the memories they bring—of the old days, of my grandmother, of my mother’s family, and so on.
Start eating black-eyed peas for New Year’s now so that in decades to come the taste will revive old memories. Think what Proust could have done with a good pot of black-eyed peas with a smoked ham hock instead of that little madeleine.
This crockpot recipe for a black-eyed pea soup sounds extremely good.
Glenn Greenwald has the story, which begins:
While fiercely loyal establishment spokespeople such as The Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus continue to insist that prosecutions are only appropriate for common criminals (“someone breaking into your house”) but not our glorious political leaders when they break the law (by, say, systematically torturing people), the Bush administration has righteously decided that torture is such a grotesque and intolerable crime that political leaders who order it simply must be punished in American courts to the fullest extent of the law . . . . if they’re from Liberia:
MIAMI (AP) — U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father’s reign.
Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles “Chuckie” Taylor Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. His conviction was the first use of a 1994 law allowing prosecution in the U.S. for acts of torture committed overseas.
Even in the U.S., it’s hard to believe that federal prosecutors who work for the Bush DOJ were able to convey the following words with a straight face:
Good update at Open Mind. It begins:
2008 will be over at midnight, and it’s bound to end up as one of the ten hottest years on record. In fact it’s a rather stark sign of global warming that every year this century is on the top-10 hottest list. But the global average temperature for 2008 will not be as warm as it was for 2007. This is only natural, because global temperature shows both a man-made warming trend and natural fluctuations — noise — inherent in the climate system. While the temperature trend climbs inexorably higher and higher, each year’s average jitters up and down.
Despite random fluctuations telling us nothing about underlying trends, denialists have already started heralding this year’s fluctuation as some sort of death-knell for global warming. As wrong as they are, it’s sure to be persuasive for those who don’t know about the presence of noise in physical systems or the proper application of statistical analysis. Duping people — taking advantage of their statistical naivete — is a regular tactic of those who deny the reality of global warming. I already posted about one of the ways they “spin” the temperature record…
Continue reading, and do click through because of the excellent and illuminating graphs.
This recipe was the only one of the LA Times 15 best of 2008 that appealed to me:
Chipotle-orange pulled pork on brioche rolls
Total time: 5 hours (includes 4 1/2 hours braising time)
Servings: Makes 24 sandwiches
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (5-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 cloves garlic
4 chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded
1 large red onion, roughly chopped (2 cups)
4 dried or fresh bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
2 dozen small brioche rolls, split and toasted
2 cups grated pepper jack cheese, optional
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Season the pork with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper, place it in the skillet and sear, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown all over, about 15 minutes total.
2. Meanwhile, put the broth, juice, vinegar, zest, adobo sauce, cumin, garlic, chiles, onions, one-half teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper into a blender; purée until smooth.
3. Transfer the pork to a large, deep casserole dish and set aside. Pour the excess fat out of the skillet. Carefully pour about 1 cup of the chipotle-orange purée into the skillet and cook briefly, scraping up any browned bits. Pour the contents of the skillet over the pork along with remaining chipotle-orange purée. Scatter the bay leaves and thyme in the casserole; cover tightly with foil. Top with a tight- fitting lid; bake for 2 1/2 hours.
4. Carefully uncover the pork and flip over the roast. Baste it with the juices, then re-cover with the foil and lid and return to the oven. Continue cooking until very tender, about 2 hours more. Set aside, covered, for about 30 minutes, then uncover and pour the contents of the casserole into a colander set over a large bowl; discard bay leaves and thyme.
5. When cool enough to handle, tear the pork into shreds, discarding any fat, and transfer to a large bowl. Skim off and discard fat from the juices, then add the juices to the shredded meat and toss well. Pile the pork onto brioche rolls and top with grated cheese, if desired.
Each serving: 358 calories; 21 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 22 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 131 mg. cholesterol; 437 mg. sodium.