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The Meatrix I'm not a vegetarian but I dislike factory farming and I support small, family farms.


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Friday, August 29, 2003

Now that Summer's 100 degree days are just about over, I am going to try to return to a project the girls keep pushing on me - the ramen noodle cookbook. How to use the ubiquitous and cheap noodle in every which way. I'll try to throw in the better recipes here from time to time.

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Food issues have been off for a little while. I'm working hard, there's a lot to do at home and so my mind hasn't been properly engaged when I've cooked. Nothing worth writing up, anyway. Let's see...I made the kids a halfway decent stir-fry the other night. Used up some left-over roast chicken, left-over ground beef, peas, onion and, of course, left over rice. Make it taste decent with soy sauce, garlic, touch of vinegar and the secret ingredient that I just got at Trader Joe's - pureed crystallized ginger.

We had a freezer issue the other day as well. One of the girls left the freezer door open by acident and we lost some meat and a LOT of seafood. Other things made it through but wioth cosmetic issues. I cooked one of these - wild mushroom ravioli - with a nice caramelized onion, basil and tomato sauce and peas and a fresh tomato and red and yellow pepper salad on the side. The sald was really good - those fresh from the farm organic vegetables really make a difference!
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Faster, faster, kill, kill, kill! That's the way I think about how the world is going nowadays. No different at home than at work. Apparently anything that can be done should have already been done. And you should always add on two more projects before completing any one project. Then you should double your workrate so that you can keep up. And repeat as needed - which seems to be every single day. It's better to rush headlong into a project without thinking out the ramifications than to think about it at all. Thinking is just a lack of activity after all....and I'm not in a dour, black, cynical mood or anything.
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Monday, August 25, 2003

Almost slipped through the whole weekend without any cooking - possibly a record. Of course, this dubious record was spoiled at the outset since the cooking I did was Saturday morning. I made some very nice orange cardamom buttermilk scones. No measurements - sorry - scones are an organic thing for me, made by feel.

Cardamom-Orange Scone Recipe

Standard plain flour, salt, sugar, baking powder. Combine carefully. Dump in shortening of some kind - in this case palm oil - the new non-trans fat vegetable shortening. Proposed motto - so bad it's good for you! Anyway, cut in / rub in the fat to the flour mixture until it is sort of breadcrumby. sprinkle in ground coriander, pour on a little orange oil, add buttermilk slowly and mix until forms a thick batter. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or really until browned. They were good if I say so myself.
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Friday, August 22, 2003

Food has mostly been junk and my body knows it. Well, that and the long hours. Best meal of the day was by far when I got home. Jan had a wonderful salad full of tiny cherry tomatoes, diced carrots and nicoise olives. Plus an italian chicken saudage, fried summer squash and some simple mac and cheese. It's nice to be looked after.
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Working too long hours, working too hard, really crushes energy and creativity. What an original thought. But since I am not allowing myself to retract or edit (except typos), I must go on with this thought and transmute it into something good. At the moment the best I can think of is looking forward to when this $#@%# project is done. Kayaking in Vancouver, Costa Rican rivers, Hawaiian beaches or French countryside - all those thoughts can keep me going easily...even though I know I'll never go, it's the same as the reason you buy a lottery ticket. You don't buy it to win, you buy it for the dollar worth of dreams it buys you about what you would do if you did win.

Haven't been cooking, so no report on food. Maybe scones tomorrow. I now use palm oil (solid) for shortening since it has no trans fats. So, flour, palm oil, sugar, ground cardamom and cinnamon, maybe orange peel, some yoghurt and milk to bind it. Bake at 400 for ten minutes. That should be good...
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Thursday, August 21, 2003

What is it that makes people refuse to take responsibility for themselves and what they need to do? Maybe more importantly, accept responsibility for what they fail to do? Why is it always someone else's fault that you forgot to check a detail that completely affects what you are going to do? Is it really important enough to destroy trust and fragile relationships over?

Usually not...

I'm going to try to do better. I hope everyone else does too...
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Walking by moonlight across the silent downs. Dodging artificial light and voices. Smelling the heavy, moist mist carrying the smells of shrub and gorse. Heavy woolen overcoat rough on my wrists and neck. Comforting in the way it drags at my shoulders. Comforting in its quiet heaviness, like the night, like the dark. Listening and thankfully, hearing nothing. Slow steps, for hours, brooding while the world sleeps, letting go of all the shit and pettiness.

I remember the renewal of my soul. I remember the calming. I remember the quiet, lonely, comfortable sadness that taught me what was wrong and what was right with my day.

Where now are the downs, the mist, the night, the woollen overcoat?
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Goddamn fucking corporate yes-men!
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Last night on the way home, speeding along under the darkening skies over the bay, I was listening to a bunch of woman singers and got to Charlotte Church and a Welsh male choir singing 'Men of Harlech' and it made me start to think about national identity and sports and in particular the way that sports in Europe and South America are more fun to watch just because of the singing. Americans don't understand this, but I still get a little chill from remembering going to see England v Wales at Twickenham and hearing tens of thousands of Welsh fans singing 'Men of Harlech' before the game. I'd go to a Wales game anytime just to repeat that. And in England and Europe, being a soccer fan is half about the singing. It is hard to understand the words, but songs and chants come and go as players come and go and you taunt the opposing team and fans by singing at them. This morning, on the drive in, the continuation of this thought led to the realization that I am coaching the kids' soccer team again starting in a week. I'd better get ready...
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

So now I do feel a little less like ripping someone's head off - a little. Nothing like running right back to the same old problems to spoil a good workout.

Time to think about food again I think. Dessert this time. A recent creation proved pretty successful.

Peach-Cherry Triflettes

For four you need four very small bowls - like sauce dipping cups. You need two peaches, a tub of mascarpone cream, some sugar, some cherry syruo, some chocolate syrup and some graham crackers. First whip about two tablespoons of sugar in the mascarpone. Halve the peaches and put one half in each cup. Drizzle with cherry syrup (to be honest raspberry or apricot would work better probably). Spoon out a quarter of the mascarpone and smooth it out over the peach until all you have is a flat mascarpone surface. Sprinkle on carefully crushed graham cracker crumbs and then drizzle on a little chocolate syrup. Refrigerate for an hour or so. One BIG warning - it is only really as good as the peaches. If you can't get soft, ripe fresh ones, I'd use canned over hard fresh ones...
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It seems to me like there are two kinds of people in any work setting - the people who do stuff and the people who talk about doing stuff. [[and if you are one of the people who thinks stuff is a nebulous, meaningless word with no value then you belong in group 2 and can leave now]] Today has been a day where I have been firmly in camp one and have been constantly nagged by people in camp 2 about why I am not doing everything (even though, in fact, I actually AM doing everything). Loud growl. I am now going to go and DO something else - work out - so that I hopefully feel a little better and less like ripping somebody's head off.

And the day started so well...
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Monday, August 18, 2003

I've been mostly cooking a LOT of lamb - and mostly I've been grilling it....

Lamb Omar Khayyam (because of the pomegranates) with grilled flatbread

The current favorite technique is to use a butterflied leg. Marinate it for at least four hours in a blend of red wine, balsamic vinegar, garlic, pepper, salt, pomegranite molasses, herbs de provence (crushed) and some liquid smoke.

Brush grill with oil. Direct grill, turning frequently so outside just starts to char and inside is just cooked perfectly (it is OK to cut into it to check - and safer, too.)

While you are grilling, grill some bread too. Any kind of bread dough that has risen once will do, but I have been very busy and getting lazy, so I have been using Trader Joe's ready made pizza dough ($1 per bag) and brushing it with olive oil and sprinkling on sea salt.

You also want a salad with this and maybe some rice if you don't want to do the bread. Red wine or beer go equally well.

Then, yesterday, I dug out a Maddhur Jaffrey cookbook and made a quick-and-dirty version of cardamon lamb curry with the leftovers from one of these feasts.

Quick-and-Dirty Lamb Curry

I browned onion ( a large one) and then ground up about 15 cardamon pods (all of it - outside as well) and tossed that in. Also about 2 inches of fresh ginger minced, then the lamb (about a pound, diced), let it fry with the lid on stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, then a large can of tomatoes and simmer for 20 mins with the lid off - add salt to taste. Serve with basmati rice, spinach and raita. Pretty darn good...
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Work is a monster
Giant concrete blocks piled high
And grinding as they stomp down
On all the workers

Dry, choking dust
Clogs the air
Rumbles and crunches
Drown out the sweet music

The taste of sand and oil
fills your mouth
The weight of ten thousand thousand tons
Pulls you down

No time for a rest
Finish late today
So you can start early tomorrow
Day after day after day

Stomp, stomp, stomp it goes
On your heart
On your mind
On the rest of your life
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