food


It’s probably a testament to how busy things have been at work and at home of late that I found the time to actually cook something and take a few snapshots, then sit on it for six weeks without processing the photos and writing it up.  Talk about your grade A fail.

That said, anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I’m still here and still have a lot to say.  Everyone’s welcome!  Even if Twitter seems somewhat self-indulgent, the realm of celebs and news sources and people who like to hear themselves talk…I still think it’s a good thing.  It helps me think.

sour grapes? not quite.

sour grapes? not quite. definitely a must for chicken tikka marsala.

But yes, I have been knitting and cooking, and as I said, six weeks ago, inspiration struck via my absolute favorite foodblog, Thursday Night Smackdown.  (Can I have two seconds to rave about TNS?  Michelle’s straightforward, frank about everything–food, celebrity chegs, television, her struggles with mental illness, lousy shots from her camera–and just a really enjoyable smartass, period.)  Cooking something new, from the book, isn’t something I do on a regular basis, either from energy or trouble, but a weeknight and the house to myself meant it was time to buckle down.  I just didn’t put it up in time to be on TNS, but that’s cool.  She’s doing Hobo Mondays now, and one of these days I may just have to duck out of my SNB and give it a try.

Inspiration strikes and sometimes you just can’t duck it, and truth was, I wasn’t just inspired by visions of blog roundups–I missed curry.  Not real curry, mind, just chicken tikka marsala, in the form of the 99p frozen dinner I got in Glasgow when I was studying there in 2005.  Milwaukee has a few good Indian restaurants, but they’re not exactly takeaway caliber, more sit-down and spend $15 on your entree caliber.  Which is good in itself, but not when you’re trying to save money for graduate school and don’t feel like going out on a Thursday because CSI is on (and I keep trying to quit CSI and just can’t).

actionshot

the infamous action shot. Mom would like credit for the stove.

Matt had sent Mom Jamie Oliver’s latest, only out in Britain, for Christmas, as Jamie is the patron saint of adorable cookery in this house, never to be overthrown.  And since I knew anything with chicken and curry wouldn’t be tops on her list, I commandeered Jamie’s Ministry of Food, marketed as a cookbook for people new to cooking.  Fairly simple, a little complex if you make the curry paste from scratch as I did, but not hard to do.

And it’s good.  Surprisingly good.  Everyone always talks about Jamie Oliver and ‘big flavors’, and it’s pretty true.  My only complaint is that the meat and veg doesn’t really taste like much–the sauce is the real flavor source.  I might consider browning them a little more before continuing with the process and adding the cream and tomatoes.

and the final product, with tumeric flavored rice.

and the final product, with tumeric flavored rice.

Admittedly, I played a little fast and loose with the recipe–right, way to go, forgetting to buy fresh coriander even if it’s available all year round, and subbing in cream for coconut milk.  The latter turned out to be a good plan, as it’s pretty close to too sweet otherwise.  In making it again a second time (but with pork), I did get the fresh coriander and fresh chilies and that improved the sweetness factor, cutting through it nicely.

Once you get down the process and cut through the British cooking terminology (which…I guess wouldn’t be an issue if you were British), Jamie’s chicken tikka doesn’t take too much time, isn’t too costly save in herb/spice investment, and, I suppose most importantly, is wicked tasty.  It fixes my cravings, at least, and what better rec can I give?

There are several other curry recipes in Jamie’s Ministry of Food, all of which appear to be similarly workable.  The book might not make it over in this form, though–all of the concepts, testing families, etc. are very British and wouldn’t translate well.  Even so, it’s a gorgeous cookbook, and I highly recommend it if you can get a hold of a copy.

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In blog-surfing recently and going through those 100 foods lists, I came across one that I really liked (namely because it didn’t seem snobby): 100 Canadian Foods to Consume. Those of you who aren’t casual readers know full well that I’m not Canadian, so it’s sort of a moot point for me to fill that one out, but it did bring up a few thoughts about what the heck I’d put on a Milwaukee foods list, and why.

Except I don’t think I could come up with 100 unique things. I haven’t tried nearly enough of the different things you can get here in town (like pączki), or really want to recommend (like braunschweiger). So I decided to come up with a few of my favorites that are, in my mind anyway, worth your time. Possibly worth eating/drinking before you die. Dunno, that’s up to you…

– bratwurst, grilled, on a bun
– Leinenkugel’s craft beer
– cheesecake from Suzy’s or dessert from Simma’s
– vegetarian chili from Outpost
– Door County cherries
– venison sausage
– Sprecher root beer
– fresh cheese curds
brandy old fashioned
– State Fair cream puff
– battered fried smelt or perch
– beer cheese soup
– frozen custard
– burek
– chimichangas with cheese
– sauerkraut
crullers

Any other suggestions?

A couple of links to keep you entertained while I try to come up with some content, because the only knitting I really did in the last several days was A Sekrit.  For the person who came here via Google looking for info on why the Delhi Cafe on Bluemound closed–I have no idea, sadly.  A darn shame, is all I can say.

Gild the Voodoolily is my fav foodblog of late, alongside thursday night smackdown.  Attitude is everything.

I broke my lurking on Cakespy to suggest a few places for them to stop here in the MKE.  Not sure if they took my word for it on Simma’s or if the Cupcake Queen and the folks at Reiman Publications were the impetus, but boy howdy, they found some good places here that I didn’t even know about, and I’ve lived here (save college) for about twenty years.  Glad to see they got pączki at National Bakery!

Knitty’s fall issue is as good as you’ve heard.  Go forth, admire.  Just don’t ask me to make anything for you, I’m on a spending diet this month after replacing my rear brakes last week.

My secret love of parentblogs is now revealed in me telling you how much I enjoy the Bloggess.  Her surreality is just that darn funny.  Her posts and Bossy’s posts seriously improve my Google Reader blues when the political and feminist news threaten to overwhelm me.

Over on Rav, we’re blaming everything that’s gone wrong lately on the Large Hadron Collider, by the way.  Personally, I’m thinking it’s the cause of the Decline and Fall of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The bikers are gone, the geese are here, and ugh, the frantic pace of the Ravelympics and the summer weather put me off blogging for a while.  And after it was over, detox was necessary.  That said, the sox I made are truly gorgeous, and the WendyKnits pattern was very easy to adapt to larger feets.

If you can get your hands on any STR Knitters Without Borders, I highly recommend it, because it works up gorgeously.  The skein seemed a bit questionable, then it became lovely when I put it into a ball, and knitted…well.  Take a look at one sock as a WIP:

a Ravelympics project!

Sans Frontieres: a Ravelympics project!

I’m considering one of two options–either donating the completed socks, or selling them and donating the proceeds.  If you’re interested, let me know.

Did I mention I winned some yarn from tuabella‘s raffle for the arthritis walk?   If any of my readers donated, thanks so much.  We had a great time walking, and then I had some Reuben Rolls–that’s fried Reuben sandwich egg rolls–which were pretty darn good for something that sounds so problematic.  You can get some of your own at Slim McGinn’s here in Milwaukee.  Bring your own cholesterol reduction pills.

What’s your favorite weird fusion dish?  Or, for that matter, fried dish?  And should I try to go to WI Sheep and Wool this weekend?  We here at Not Be Televised occasionally have a hard time with weekend plans.

For some reason, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has been more successful at getting me into foodie consciousness than Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser combined.  This is probably because of the guilt.  It’s pervasive, partially because it’s somewhat prescient of the current downward spiral of American ag and food production, and partially in a ‘we did this project and before that ate free-range grass-finished meat for years, you could at least make a vague effort towards not causing our inherent destruction’ way.

Unfortunately, I live at home and my mother does the food shopping, in the old school coupon and sale flyer way, so I’m afraid, Barbara, this is a little more difficult than you anticipated.  The farmer’s market’s on the other side of town, we’ve had a crap season, and I can’t even talk Mom into buying fair trade coffee.

P: Do you think we could maybe cut down coffee consumption a little and buy fair trade coffee?
M: [looks at P like she has suddenly grown a second head, possibly a hippie] No.
P: What?  Why not?
M: I need my coffee.  And we don’t drink that much anyway and we go through it fast.
P: But…

Implied in the above conversation, but not actually stated, is ‘expensive’ and ‘pain in the butt’.  I’d really like to be a child of the revolution, but as long as I get fed on a discounted basis from House Of Mom, it’s not worth the effort.  Besides, while the idea of supporting local businesses is a very good one, there’s some evidence to show that pound-per-pound, the carbon footprint of a Wisconsin tomato at a farmer’s market here in the urban world is similar to the carbon footprint of one that’s been flown from California en masse…

Okay, okay, the truth is, I don’t have the willpower to give up eating nearly everything we have at home, or to fight the good fight with my mother over why we should start a whole new spending and consumption plan in a time of economic turmoil.  I fail at locavore and activism in my own lifestyle.

Maybe driving my car less makes up for some of it?

Anyway, the book’s good, but it’s preachy, and it’s stuff I’ve heard before.  Even so, I’ll be over here in the flagellator corner.

After a week or more of delightfully dry weather, the Humid is back, and with it the ridiculous sinus pain, ick ick ick.  Also, the flood brought, as expected, a bumper crop of Aedes vexans, commonly known as the Northern Floodwater Mosquito, more commonly known as DARN FRIGGIN MOSQUITOES AUGH.  While I’m a magnet for bugs (because I’m so sweet…or something), I at least don’t have the reaction a lot of my other family members have.

I am Paige’s long, put-upon sigh.

The knitting is going well, for summertime handiwork, and the cooking isn’t going much of anywhere at all.  Does anyone else have the problem where one’s hands just feel gross after a while when knitting in warm weather?  Generally sticky and unpleasant and dirty, even though all you’ve been doing is sitting on the couch watching reruns or random documentaries?  Or do I just have weird hands?

I’ve been working with worsted lately, as I’m doing Arwen (front left panel in under a week, woot), and that makes it even worse.  Big needles, big movements, thick fabric, yes, but I needed to take a break from fiddliness.  Sometimes details are just not necessary.

Oh, on the food front, the New York Times decided that Milwaukee’s own Sprecher root beer was the best they could acquire.  Of course, that just tells us here what we knew all along–it’s just that darn good.

Right, I’ve come to the conclusion that the headache I had all last week and continuing onward into this one is not, in fact, humidity-based, but is instead the result of either a nasty allergen or a nasty bacterium wafted this way by one of the…god, I stopped counting…nine or so thunderstorms since last Saturday afernoon.  Either way, it’s lodged itself in my sinuses and will not be assuaged by ibuprofen, decongestants, or Excedrin, so my guess is less allergen and more bacterium.  I’m not even snotty, either, it’s mostly just pressure.

Oh, yeah, if you hadn’t heard, I now live in a Federal Disaster Area.  I find it interesting that FEMA decides this based on estimated damage costs.  Do they take cost of living into effect?  My guess is no–considering that damage here in Milwaukee County was, in comparison to other places, fairly low.  And so that means people in Shorewood who had a few trees fall on their half-million dollar homes could get better assistance than a whole small town in, say, Dodge County, that had every last basement flooded, or that people with a summer home washed away in Lake Delton may get more help than a farmer in Sauk County whose entire crop was flooded out, just because of overall cost.

It’s all a tragedy.  It’s just that some animals are more equal than others, I think.  If someone could prove me wrong on this, please do, as I really really wish this wasn’t the case.

In happier news, I learned how to grill bratwurst this weekend (because it did NOT rain, praise be), despite my fear of being in close proximity to Stuff That Could Burn Me.  I do a pretty darn good brat, actually.  Unfortunately there are no pictures, but you can take my mother and brother’s word for it if need be.  The fact that yours truly was the grillmeister on Father’s Day makes my feminist heart go pitter-pat.

What also makes my feminist heart go pitter-pat is Yonmei’s review of this past week’s Doctor Who episode (warning, spoilers!) at Feminist SF – The Blog.  Actually, feministsf.net as a whole is a fantastic resource; I kept running into it but didn’t really register it mentally until Liz Henry mentioned being a contributor.  I think I may fangirl.

Actually, I have a lot to say about Doctor Who, women in filmmaking, women in SFF, why the Guardian sees fit to enable Steven Wells, and so much more.  But I’ve used up my rant for the time being.

Unless Steven Wells googles himself and shows up here, in which case: unless you can clearly delineate the source of your hatred for my hobby, Steve-o, kindly stuff it.  You violated Godwin’s Law twice, and that’s pretty lame even if you’re trying to be funny and all punk rawk or summat.  I’ll try not to yawn at your Angry Young Man shtick, ’cause your beloved country got that over and done with fifty years ago, yo.

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