Monday, November 10, 2003

Been awhile, folks. As if there's an audience now - the accumulated linkage surplus has more than been amortised by the year or so of steady disinterest on my part.

I'm getting married, buying a car, buying an apartment, and teaching algebra to one hundred and three New York teens in a Chelsea high school. A depiction of the trivium and quadrivium in magnificient stained-glass panels frames the front entranceway.

My students? More on them later. Because.

There's a poster store up the street, and the E runs door to door. Both of the Strands are an easy sub ride away.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

One month. All I can think of is stock and broth.

A correspondent writes:

I've got a bunch of bones and fat in the freezer because I thought I'd try boiling them to make broth. Any tips? One thing I'm wondering about is the ratio of bones to water.

Roast dem bones till they are brown, with the fat rendered out and any remaining adhering tissue is thoroughly roasted (***not*** blackened). We want crusty steak outside texture. Parboil and peel a few plum tomatoes. Save the peels, discard the tomato-seed caviare, chop the nekkid 'maters up. Don't use brainy, mealy 'maters. Roast a mirepoix (chop some onions, carrots, celery, chopped nekkid 'maters, spray on a little spray-fat) till the vegetables are browned and limp. Keep in mind that the vegetables and bones will roast at different rates.

Put dem bones in a deep stock pot with twice as much water as is needed to cover, and raise the temperature slowly until the water is at a slight simmer. Put the tomato peels in the water with the bones. Have a skimmer handy, and a kitchen towel. Over the next hour or so, skim the water constantly - we want to pick up and remove the light floaty proteinaceous particulate, and the tomato peels help us do that. Clean the skimmer between skims. With the towel, wipe down the sides of the pot where light floaty proteinaceous particulate adheres. When skimming seems pointless, add the roasted mirepoix and keep the stock at a mild simmer for six or seven hours. Add a few peppercorns and a couple bay leaves (laurel) if you like.

When everything is bien consommé (you will smell it. boy will you smell it), turn the heat off and degrease with paper towels. Wipe down the sides of the pot where the grease adheres.

Then, slowly, ladle out the stock into containers or ice cube trays (to have real stock cubes handy for cooking, not Herb-Ox atrocities) or serving bowls or whatever, leaving the bones'n'veggies as undisturbed as possible so that bone bits and veggie chunks don't break loose. Discard spent bones and veggies.

Voila. The best broth/stock you'll have had outside a good restaurant.

BTW, if you can get fresh turkey necks and chicken necks (ask your butcher), roasting them for the soup is very nearly ideal. You'll get a deeply flavored, rich broth that is the essence of turkeyness, or of chickendom. If you can't or won't buy necks, use chicken thighs and turkey wings. Beef short-ribs or shanks are perfect for beef-tea, while veal necks and shanks are what for veal stock.

And yes, I've got two pounds of turkey necks, a pound of chicken necks, and a pound of turkey wings in my frigidaire, for when I feel the need for brothy refreshment. (Also, stock cubes.)

Monday, February 17, 2003

And, yes, I'm transiting the old "Plastic Words" postings off the page.

They're from a time gone by.
When intemperate oral froth began a warm, tight feeling 'twixt beater and breast,
An age
When monkeys and pigs by force of anger did fly
And rest
In roosts of plush velour, and seat-back trays bore the burden of free booze
On domestic flights. Orange was a drink,
and Homeland was Heimat rendered.
Now ill-considered outrage makes a mucky sewer ooze,
Into which felonious bombast and civil peace together sink,
Our treasury of wealth and words is plundered.
We use curtains to hide marble tits,
Grecian Formula to camouflage true boobs.
Legalities proliferate, they merely throttle
The confidence of people, to give them fits,
Inspiring courtiers to defend the rule of rubes,
Practised at pouring patent medicine from an amber bottle.
I took refuge in a Gotham classroom
To hammer my anger into temperence
The question of curriculum: as I see it, I am a cook, and my job is to prepare a feast from which none go home hungry out of either revulsion, boredom, or want.

So, I punch things up. I''m turning my classroom into a college seminar. Writing and reading and etymology, oh my.

Ersatz epithets - suitably censored and diligently prepared for use in the classroom:
holy bajoly
munking dunkits
crazy as a Bactrian Camel
"Stiff knees, slack jaw. Please reverse."
"Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote"
"You Posadist left-deviationist!"
"Two mountains shall never meet, Miss Pena."
"Thank you, Leo!"
"Cheerily Hittite!"
"Well, Mr. Greenbaum, your difficulties are primarily in the realm of curriculum - you must realize that students today simply are not on the same level as you were when you attended school."