Pork braised with beer and cinnamon

April 11, 2012 § 20 Comments

Hello friends.  How are you?  I am well, but my head is quite lodged in a cloud of data.  Like the high peak of a mountain, caught in its own little weather pattern of eternal fog.  Would that I had some of the other characteristics of a mountain to compensate!  I trust that at some point it will all coalesce and I’ll be able to step out of it enough to see what shape it is – a bunny! a dragon! an armadillo! ah, the shapes clouds take on… – but right now I’m in the thick of it, hours upon hours of interview data.

(At least it’s the very best kind of data I could possibly be wanting to work with – people’s stories!  How precious!  Yet, I find this also makes it all the harder to do anything akin to analyzing.  I’d rather just listen…)

Also, along with Boston’s schoolchildren, whatever wonky muse I may be endowed with seems to be taking an April vacation.  Anyone who has seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s stellar TED talk on creativity and genius will know exactly what I mean when I say, my genius is being “kind of lame” at the moment.  (And, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  It’s fascinating and entertaining.) « Read the rest of this entry »

Mushroom Ragout with Cheddar Mashed Root Vegetables

January 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

More badly lit photography – sorry!

I find our relationship to critters like molds and fungus very interesting.  It’s so divided.  When we find mold on our bread we wrinkle up our noses and shuttle the bread right into the garbage (or compost, if we’re being virtuous).  But, if it’s in our bleu cheese, we’re thrilled by it and the strength of flavor it adds.  If we have a fungus on our foot…well that’s not even something I really want to bring up on a food blog.  And then there’s a variety of fungi, astutely given names like “death cap” and “destroying angel”, that will kill us quickly if we eat them.  But then there’s a whole subset, from shiitakes to morels to truffles, that people will easily pay almost ludicrous sums for, and that, when added to food, add incomparable flavor (though I’m still not entirely convinced that the texture can be vouched for).  If I go to a restaurant and I reach something that contains sautéed mushrooms, I have a tendency to stop right there and look no further for what I’m going to order (well, unless there’s a dish with a competing fixation of mine, ie. caramelized onions or avocado, then I go into contortions having to choose).

I love mushrooms, though I’m afraid no one will ever, ever be able to convince me that a grilled portabella burger is a substitute for a hamburger.  However, treating mushrooms as mushrooms, they make for a great star in meatless dishes (or meat-ed dishes for that matter!).  Give me a grilled portabella on some bread with goat cheese, pesto, and roasted red peppers and I’ll be one happy sandwich-eating camper.  Normally I don’t cook with mushrooms half as often as I’d like to because I don’t think to buy them if I happen to be at a grocery store.  But, this last week has been an exception, big time.  I can’t stop cooking with them!  They’re everywhere!  Poor Joel (the wonderful man in my life, who still misguidedly under appreciates pumpkin pie) works very near to a super market, and almost every night of the last week he has received an email from me at work suggesting that maybe he was secretly hoping to go to the store again and pick up some more mushrooms, and since he probably was hoping this that perhaps I might support him in doing so.  And so the mushrooms make their way into supper again and again. « Read the rest of this entry »

Cocktail Party Nutrition – Beer’s to your health!

January 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

I hear there’s some sort of big game coming up.  Now, I don’t consider the World Handball Championships a game, personally, I take it far too seriously, but if you’re going to be frivolous about it, that’s your choice I guess…Okay, yes, I’m kidding.  Even I am not quite so out of touch that I don’t know the Super Bowl is coming up (though I’ll admit that up until college, I kind of had it in my mind that the Super Bowl only happened every four years, like the Olympics.  Imagine the looks I got, when people were talking about it my sophomore year and I was like, “but didn’t that just happen last year?”)

I also realize, what with the quantity of spicy wings and nachos consumed, nutrition isn’t exactly at the top of people’s minds during the afore mentioned sporting event.  However, wouldn’t it be fun to have a couple of juicy factoids to briefly convince yourself that that beer you’re drinking is actually good for you?  And, on the many other days of the year when the Super Bowl is not happening (that would be approximately 364 of them), but you’re somewhere with a  cold hoppy beverage in your hand, you can nutritionally justify it.  Unless, that is, it’s some disgusting lite or flavorless mass produced swill, in which case no amount of argumentation can justify it. « Read the rest of this entry »

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