May 26, 2008

Banana Raita Ice Cream

I have a love-hate relationship with this piece of graffiti. I like how the author has placed it, and appreciate his use of a serif font. Is this wrong? Hate the blight.

Today I'm taking another crack at frozen desserts, turning Saturday's separated banana raita and making it into ice cream. Genius? I think so. I've wanted to do this for years. It's currently the consistency of sticky gelato and tasty as all get out. But it has some heat on it.

The inspiration is the banana raita recipe from Vegetarian Epicure II. Goes something like this: heat a small amount of butter in a pan. Add equal amounts of cumin, coriander, cayenne and cardamom powders. Remove from heat. Add mashed banana. Add spiced bananas to an equal amount of yogurt. Stir. Chill. Serve with hot food.

Tonight that'll be Everett & Jones.

May 24, 2008

The Fava Bean Torture

Fearless Leader's philosophy is that success is determined not by lack of failure, but how well you recover from failure. I had ample opportunity to consider this today while dispatching fava beans that came in our veggie box.

Fava beans are a colossal pain in the patoot. First you shell them.

Then you boil them, in order to loosen the skins.

Then you take off the skins and do something else with the rest of the bean, at which point fava beans are edible. I couldn't find the field notes that divulged that last step, so I looked at my cookbooks for guidance.

They weren't much help. Field of Greens recipes take the Julia Child approach, in which some kind person off camera has already prepared the beans. My vintage Joy of Cooking reveals that fava beans must have been unknown to American cooks in 1965. I decided to wing it.

While slipping them out of their skins, 10 went airborne, most gave up without a fight and some disintegrated on contact. They weren't going to be pretty, so I decided to make a minted fava puree. Tasted delicious but my brew was too liquid so I poured it back into the pan to reduce a bit.

I had the heat on low, but my puree became a browned omelet in its pan as I simultaneously also carmelized onions, sauteeed greens, cooked beets and made dip.

It's brown but it's still very tasty (nutty, minty, like snacks from the Indian grocery).
I'm setting my project aside and will serve it with eggs tomorrow morning.

Oh, and I found the field notes. These are the last favas of the season.

Shoot :)

May 18, 2008

Cantaloupe Sorbet

This morning I asked mrguy if he would prefer vanilla ice cream or cantaloupe sorbet. He voted for sorbet so I headed down to Jewel of Ceren to procure melons.

In a new market I always end up in a blissful shopping trance, so I bought hibiscus puree and date vinegar along the way. Good to see that the new store still has some stock left from the Middle Eastern market that was there before it.

What can I cook with lemon powder and turmeric water?

My three lbs of melon did not yield the six cups of juice that I needed, so I improvised with a little yogurt and some of the magic flavor pouches (cacao and Brazilian plum) from the freezer section of my regular stomping grounds, Los New Friends Market.

Tasty! Easy! And completely unrepeatable due to my vamping mid-recipe.

mrguy is very happy.

Straightening the Bent

Yesterday we celebrated the bar mitzvah of a young friend who we saw hatched from a chick. He has grown into a poised, confident and thoughtful young person. Smooth dancer, too.

The ceremony was long and interesting, with the lapsed Catholics among us recognizing a few familiar passages from the old testament, now appearing with different translations and melody in the Jewish tradition. Very cool. Then we ate in the park, where young ladies climbed trees in their party dresses. Adults ate bagels and recapped the event thusfar.

In between events, we went to my singing lesson. This is necessary because I have lost an A and an E that are essential to the alto part in the musical entertainment for the yearly forklift debut party.

Then mrguy and I visited ms scandiwaiian and mr finn, and walked up the hill from their house to the Greek Festival. We ate haloumi, drank beer and looked at the gorgeous view. Some people were in costume. Greek costume. Except for the guy who seemed to have looked at the thermometer and decided that hot pants were in order. Traditional Greek costume? Or 5 months early for Oktoberfest? I'm not enough of an expert to know.

Back at the post-bar mitzvah celebration we reconnected with old friends, ate yummy food and saw our celebrant hoisted aloft on a folding chair to the tune of "I Got You (I Feel Good)".

Mutants and Avengers at the Fillmo in July.

May 16, 2008

Guitar Center Has Gone Soft

I have to say...I had not been to Guitar Center in many years. I would rather chew my arm off than repeat most of the experiences I have had there. Today, necessity took us there and it was actually pleasant. PLEASANT, I tell you!! Real dudes working there who seem like someone you'd have coffee with in another life. People who seem genuinely interested in what you're getting and why. Wow. What happened to you people?

I hate to say it, but I may go back.

In the day, Guitar Center is the place you'd go to if you really had to. You knew you were going to get a terrible deal, especially if you were a chick. Almost nothing was priced. Whatever the salesdude could get you to pay was what things cost. If you were very annoying and persistent you could get a fair price.

The only time I came out on top was when I went to exchange a 12' guitar cable for a 24' cable once, on a Friday evening. The place was packed, and it was pandemonium. The salesdudes were harried. I found a one and told him I wanted to exchange my cord. Without even really looking at me, he gave me the 24' cable (thrust it at me, really) and didn't charge me the difference. He probably knew I was overcharged in the first place. Eventually I didn't need Guitar Center any longer and I was spared the experience. Whew.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I liked you today, Guitar Center.

Time has mellowed us both.

Thelma D.

Thelma was my first car. Originally my sister's, Thelma was a 1958 Chevy, sea blue over sky blue, with a brand new paint job that my sister had done herself. She was gorgeous.

She'd already had a rich life in the state capital with sis. Survived a t-boning by a man named Wacker (I'm not kidding), and then came to rest again in the suburbs with me.

Like my sis, I took Thelma to college. She was not only fun to drive, but there was only one other '58 in town and it was on blocks, so she was a stand-out. She had her own fan base, and I would get in her to find love notes under the wipers "Dear Thelma..." I was never anonymous in that car. If I stayed out late, people would know where I'd been.

I had her for two happy years. One day while driving to my summer job as a security guard, I smelled gas. Then a lot of gas. Then I heard the carburetor ignite the whole mess. Long story, but I met some nice firemen.

So ends the tale of Thelma D.

May 10, 2008

Welcome Chin Ho Guy

A new ride has entered the family. I didn't want to announce it until he had a name.

He is Chin Ho Guy, named in tribute to the character Chin Ho Kelly, who was himself a tribute to Chinn Ho, developer of the Ilikai.

He's a bit of a scrapper, having already successfully defended himself against another car that took the word "intersection" too literally. Before he even got his plates! S'o.k. though.

In closing, I offer the list of cars past. Each is deserving of its own story in these pages:

6) Ivar (1996 Toyota Corolla) a decommissioned Hertz. Uncool cars rock!
5) Antwan (1983 Toyota Tercel) we never had a problem, despite taking it to 183,000 miles
4) Stinky (1966 Plymouth Barracuda) suave but was possessed with electrical and clutch issues
3) Roy (1968 VW Super Beetle) named after the original owner's father
2) Maceo (1968 Oldsmobile DelMont 88), named after JB's horn player
1) Thelma D. (1958 Chevy BelAir), named after grandmamoo guy

What's in the Pantry? King Kelly

Ode To King Kelly.

Your curvy bottle, your jaunty name, your recipe suggestions under the lid, your logo and your sparkly flavor make you my pantry mainstay.

When I want to add a little sweetness to salad dressing, you are the man.

Yogurt and King Kelly and a banana combine to make my favorite weekend treat.

And then there's Banana Sunshine Pie, my riff on that weekend treat. The Pillsbury Bakeoff folks own that recipe now, but it is basically a sour cream pie with a layer of sliced bananas on the top, and a glaze of King Kelly to top it all off. Mmmm.

Moving on from the ode...should I make that tonight?

In the other room, mrguy and BananaChas are disassembling snippets of Japanese nursery rhymes and doing God knows what with them, under the watchful gaze of Tarako. The last work they did together involved manipulating twenty year old recordings of refrigerator noise. It sounds so good I can barely leave the house.

You go, funny dudes.
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