Monday, September 26, 2011

A week of meat

After a summer of semi-vegetarianism (which, in my household, means eating mostly veggies at home and meat at restaurants and dinner parties), and after eating a delicious stuffed pork tenderloin prepared by my friend Neville, and after learning that HEB now sells ground lamb in their regular meat section, I have declared this not-yet-autumnal last week of September, the week of meat! Allow me to share some photos.

The original inspiration for the week of meet. Neville's pork tenderloin stuffed with kale and pork sausage, wrapped in prosciutto and braised in a mixture of arak and apple cider, rosemary and fall apples. Phenomenal!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Curry saves lives

Perhaps you've read the headlines?

Scientists have begun to study the properties of turmeric and have found it has anti-inflammatory properties that may offer new treatment possibilities for tendinitis (see the article here) and, even better, turmeric activates a cancer-killing mechanism in human saliva (see the article here) and may help boost treatments for people suffering head and neck malignancies. Marilene Wang, from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the senior author of the study, explains:
"This study shows that curcumin can work in the mouths of patients with head and neck malignancies and reduce activities that promote cancer growth," Wang said. "And it not only affected the cancer by inhibiting a critical cell signaling pathway, it also affected the saliva itself by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines within the saliva."
Ok, so my headline is perhaps a bit hyperbolic. But I'll take any excuse to let the spice flow.

On the culinary side of things, I'm already wondering how I might use fresh turmeric root in a curry rather than the powder. Microplane it into a paste, same as ginger? Juice it? Dice it?

Thanks, Erin Goss, for bringing these articles to my attention. Now tell me, what other spices have curative properties? Should we start with chile peppers?

Monday, September 12, 2011

In lieu of a substantial post, photos...

I haven't posted in a few weeks; classes have started and suddenly there's no time. But I will not let this blog die. It has been a source of pleasure, consolation, and a great deal of narcissistic supplies.
I have been photographing my food, expecting to be able to find time to draft detailed posts. And my geographic inspiration has shifted a bit, from South Asia to Southeast Asia. There's lots to share. Failed and successful experiments. New and abiding spice obsessions. Reflections on budget cooking. Lots. For now, let me share some photos from the past few weeks. Don't look for narrative threads or underlying unity. And please understand that soup is difficult to photograph.

I went through a dosa making phase. Developed a taste for unfilled ghee-crisped dosas sprinkled with dosa masala powder.

I have been making Thai curries lately and serving them with Italian pastas. Here's a minted Thai green curry with chicken breast and penne.

I learned from reading a Thai food blog that you can bruise the lemongrass with a hammer and then tie it into knots so you can fish the lemongrass out of the soup more easily. Stringy mess otherwise.

Sweet potato spice muffins. Made with a pungent homemade spice mix of mace, cardamom, fenugrek, clove, cinnamon and tellicherry black pepper. Intense and a resounding success. I'll post the recipe soon.

Sweet potato spice muffins. My friend, Philip, who tried these right out of the oven said they taste like Christmas.
Shrimp tom yum soup. I learned that I prefer to make this soup with chicken or fish stock, even though most Thai people make it with water.

Strawberry rhubarb trifle. Made with leftover birthday cake, Mexican vanilla custard, Texas strawberry sauce, and rhubarb sauce made with rhubarb from my mom's yard in Seattle.