February 2013

Mousse 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.14.13 Whip It Good

This is a quickie. It's for those of you still casting about for the ideal, luscious Valentine's Day dessert. (Not that it wouldn't be just as irresistible any other day of the year.) I made it yesterday and it was an astonishing sight to behold, considering that it's a chocolate mousse made only of chocolate and a bit of water. No eggs, no cream, no fuss. Melissa Clark of the Times got the recipe from molecular gastronomist Hervé This. (Not to be confused with his colleague Henri That.) It's intense and ridiculously simple, sort of like falling in love. But with more whipping.

Lao Tzu —
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Curry1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.13.13 Love Apple Curry

When tomatoes were first introduced to Europe, they were known as love apples. The Aztecs called them xitomatl, meaning "plump thing with a navel," and from there we got our word. One gushing sweet-savory bite of this astoundingly red fruit and you know it's good for you, packed with powerful antioxidants, including cancer-fighting lycopene. Red is the color of blood, of passion, of ravishing ripeness. What better way to honor your sweetheart than with a health-promoting, swoon-inducing tomato curry? If tomato is the food of love, read on.

Frank Tyger —
There is no evidence that the tongue is connected to the brain.
Taco in hand 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.11.13 Lingua Franca

A lingua franca is a language that makes communication possible between those who don't share a mother tongue—as when an African and a Swede find common ground in English. Food can also serve as a lingua franca, uniting people in ways that words sometimes cannot. The international expression of delicious is a recognizable closing of the eyes, nodding of the head and slowly-spreading smile. However, one man's delight can sometimes be another's disgust. Just because you can't imagine eating deep-fried water bugs or guinea pig stew doesn't mean they aren't worthy. It can be good to get out of your comfort zone and discover something new. But if you aren't ready to learn a foreign tongue today, you may not want to read on.
Leonard Cohen —
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Chicken parts 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.8.13 No Guts, No Glory

by Ellen Bass


What did I love about killing the chickens? Let me start
with the drive to the farm as darkness

was sinking back into the earth.

The road damp and shining like the snail’s silver

ribbon and the orchard

with its bony branches. I loved the yellow rubber

aprons and the way Janet knotted my broken strap.

And the stainless-steel altars

we bleached, Brian sharpening

the knives, testing the edge on his thumbnail. All eighty-eight Cornish

hens huddled in their crates. Wrapping my palms around

their white wings, lowering them into the tapered urn.

Some seemed unwitting as the world narrowed;

some cackled and fluttered; some struggled.

I gathered each one, tucked her bright feet,

drew her head through the kill cone’s sharp collar,

her keratin beak and the rumpled red vascular comb

that once kept her cool as she pecked in her mansion of grass.

I didn’t look into those stone eyes. I didn’t ask forgiveness.

I slid the blade between the feathers

and made quick crescent cuts, severing

the arteries just under the jaw. Blood like liquor

pouring out of the bottle. When I see the nub of heart later,

it’s hard to believe such a small star could flare

like that. I lifted each body, bathing it in heated water

until the scaly membrane of the shanks

sloughed off under my thumb.

And after they were tossed in the large plucking drum

I love the newly naked birds. Sundering

the heads and feet neatly at the joints, a poor

man’s riches for golden stock. Slitting a fissure

reaching into the chamber,

freeing the organs, the spill of intestine, blue-tinged gizzard,

the small purses of lungs, the royal hearts,

easing the floppy liver, carefully, from the green gall bladder,

its bitter bile. And the fascia unfurling

like a transparent fan. When I tug the esophagus

down through the neck, I love the suck and release

as it lets go. Then slicing off the anus with its gray pearl

of shit. Over and over, my hands explore

each cave, learning to see with my fingertips. Like a traveller

in a foreign country, entering church after church.

In every one the same figures of the Madonna, Christ on the Cross,

which I’d always thought was gore

until Marie said to her it was tender,

the most tender image, every saint and political prisoner,

every jailed poet and burning monk.

But though I have all the time in the world

to think thoughts like this, I don’t.

I’m empty as I rinse each carcass,

and this is what I love most.

It’s like when the refrigerator turns off and you hear

the silence. As the sun rose higher

we shed our sweatshirts and moved the coolers into the shade,

but, other than that, no time passed.

I didn’t get hungry. I didn’t want to stop.

I was breathing from some right reserve.

We twisted each pullet into plastic, iced and loaded them in the cars.

I loved the truth. Even in just this one thing:

looking straight at the terrible,

one-sided accord we make with the living of this world.

At the end, we scoured the tables, hosed the dried blood,

the stain blossoming through the water.

William Shakespeare —
My salad days—when I was green in judgment...
Green 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.4.13 Chop Chop

My weekday lunch is never something planned. It's inspired by my mood and defined by whatever is available in the fridge and pantry. Occasionally I will do leftovers, but not very often. Whereas G will often eat for breakfast what we dined on the previous night, I like to eat something different every day and generally keep it light. Soups can be quick, easy and satisfying, and especially appealing when it's cold out, but I also find myself craving salads with bright, bold flavors. I like easy tosses of greens, nuts and cheese; jumbles of quickly blanched vegetables dressed with vinaigrette; combinations of chopped things like fennel, pecorino and hot chile; even mayonnaise-glossed seafood stuffed into avocado halves or piled on top of crisp lettuce. Perhaps my favorite, in the classic tradition of the salade composée, are distinct but complementary elements arranged together in a wide shallow bowl. The composed salad needs an artful balance of textures, flavors and colors, so it demands consideration and creativity, which I'm always willing to exercise when it comes to lunch.
Julia Child —
It's hard to imagine civilization without onions.