Discover more from Love Letter Day X
Thank krist I love food.
Crab and Shiso Linguine +quarter pound of crab meat +fistful of shiso leaves and shiso blossoms +I added chopped chard from my friends' garden because I had it +a third of a box of linguini from that blue italian brand +four or so cloves of garlic and three or four serious chili peppers (i.e. Thai) +more salt than you are thinking and olive oil of course +a little bit of wine and a lot of pasta water +i smashed about a pound and a half of giant fresh garden tomatoes Start a big pot of water to boil the pasta in. Add salt and a glug of oil once it's boiling. While you're waiting for the pot to boil, you can start smashing stuff up. I like to just smash and squish things. The key is to get the garlic and chili peppers started early on the pan. Just smash (don't need to chop! This is primarily to flavor the oil and I think it's so much more rewarding to find a bit hot chunk of garlic once in a while like it's a piece of meat) and fry on medium oil heat in a large saucepan. Add the greens. The shiso blossoms like to be fried. Don't be scared. Once stuff looks like it's rendering nicely throw in some smushed tomatoes and salt it. If it looks dry add oil and now add a little wine--the amount you'd give to top off a drunk aunt at thanksgiving dinner. Let it reduce on a higher heat. Oh I forgot I had some basil. I added that too. And you know what, I also just remembered I started this whole thing with a knuckle of chorizo frying up with the garlic. I always forget that because I feel bad for using pork, but it's what it is. Now add the crab. It needs almost no time in the sauce, don't you know. And at some point you've been cooking the pasta because the water came to a boil around the time you were done chopping shit up and the sauce was reducing when the linguini was approaching al dente. Sometimes I just pick up the pasta with tongs and transfer it to the saucepan directly. This time because the noodles were mega slippery, I saved a bowl of the pasta water and then dumped the pot into a strainer. Add noodles to sauce with some pasta water--this is totally a YOU thing. You can do a little or a lot of the pasta water and keep cooking or have something that could look more like a salad at room temp. I call it crab and shiso linguini because that's what I want to taste the most of in this dish. If I'd been a little more successful on my foraging excursions I might have done with oyster mushrooms what I did with the crab but started cooking it with the greens. Mentaiko Bucatini +One sac of mentaiko +some smashed garlic and a chili pepper +More shiso+blossoms cuz I have a ton of it here in M.O.N. Oregon +knuckle sized piece of pork fat +half cup of grated parmesan +ribbons of nori. Like one sheet's worth +a third box of Bucatini from that same blue italian brand This one's pretty straightforward. Same routine for pasta cooking. Start a pan with garlic and pepper frying in pork fat. Make shiso ribbons cuz it looks cute mixed up with the nori. When the pasta is ready add it to the pan and scrape the mentaiko out of its sac into the mix, then throw in the parmesan. Let it heat up but not fry. You can probably turn the heat off entirely now. Throw in the ribbons of shiso and then once plated, add the nori. Yachats green curry +Two or three stalks of lemongrass +A lot of green thai chilis. Like, a lot. Like, a cup. No stems. +Three or four shallots depending on if they're monster size or regular. +a head of garlic, peeeled down to the clove +a big thing of ginger +animal protein of your choice I had beef short ribs +potato and carrot +possibly homemade kombu dashi (a few cups) +a knub of tamarind paste +I'd have added mushroom if I had it and maybe replaced the meat with it +a can of coconut milk (asian kind don't you dare bring that shit you put in coffee) Smash the shit out of the first five ingredients. Cut things into smash-condusive sizes and then take a fish billy or rolling pin and just pound it into a bowl. I know this is missing a lot of parts--shrimp paste, lime leaves, galangal--but listen, I wasn't gonna go looking for that in this neck of the woods. Trust me this is still green curry. Make it look pasty. The lemongrass can be unwieldy and that's ok cuz it'll make its presence known even if you don't chew it. Just keep it in the cook and avoid eating it. (In another version you'd use a processor. I didn't have one and frankly enjoy smashing shit in a bowl.) Start frying the smashed up ingredients in a lot of oil. If you're using meat that's your fat source too at this point. Just get it to a pasty reduction. Add lots of salt. When it looks righteous add a couple cups of water. I'm annoying so I made kombu dashi. I rarely do long travel without a packet of dry kombu and katsuobushi. Just add the kombu to a pot of water and let it marinate on its own for like a day. Speed it up by cooking it on low heat for a minute. Bring up the temp and then add katsuobushi. Get it as pungent as you want and then drain, obviously keeping the liquor you've just created and also don't toss the kombu-katsuo jam. You can slice that up and add shoyu and mirin to make a dope tsukemono. Anyway, that's some water for the curry. Add the tamarind paste. Let that dissolve. Add chunks of potato and carrot now. Then add the coconut milk and let it simmer for as long as you want. This keeps getting better with time. If you needed to be told be cooking a pot of rice in the meantime, I don't even know you. Japanese Onion Soup Ramen +Two giant onions (more if you're making more. This was just for me so...) +a few cloves of garlic +some white wine +kombu dashi (a quart) +shoyu soy sauce +seasoning +whatever you want to top your ramen with +whatever noodle you got Start cooking sliced onions. Cut in the orientation of the onion that will make them look like giant nail clippings not circles or hot dog dressing. Keep the pieces pretty. But then cook them. Cook them nice and high heat hot with the garlic, with oil, and then after they're looking dark yellow, reduce the heat to low-ish and keep em cooking still. This is gonna be like an hour. I read about the Beatles during this cook time. Maybe you wanna read about people less talked about. Add a little wine if you want. You probably want to add a touch more oil at some point. Keep the saucepan covered so the melt doesn't evaporate. After about an hour of this it should look like jam. Don't stop cooking till it looks like jam! You should see no semblance of an onion. You're making soup, don't forget! Now that it's jam, you can add kombu dashi and a long pour of shoyu. That's all your salt so be generous. Then let that simmer for a bit to incorporate all the flavors. You'll have been prepping the noodles and toppings in the meantime. Remember that ramen noodles need to cook separately and get rinsed to stop cooking before entering their bath. I baked soy marinated tofu to mimic charsiu but I'd have had marinated mushrooms if, again, foraging was more productive. Various salads The end of summer means gardeners are now annoyed with the surfeit of tomatoes cucumbers and other cucurbitace in their midst. Take what you can! I was offered a lot of chili peppers to boot. I was also lucky they had a ton of potatoes, green beans and corn. It's all delicious. Minus the potatoes, I'd simply throw things together and focus on a dressing. Ginger and garlic made into a paste and sitting in tahini and salt before adding a dazzling vinegar before showtime is always nice. I also worship pickles. An easy pickle brine is a portion of vinegar with a .75 portion of sugar and .15 portion of salt. Cook it together and let it cool slightly before submerging any sliced summer veggie in it. My homesteader friends who gave me all this surplus produce prefer to focus on the vinegars but I'm an oil person. Flavored oil is infinitely more profound to me than a flavored vinegar. Both are good but in my humble opinion, a flavored oil can make even housecleaning vinegar sing. The opposite is not true in my opinion mostly because I don't think house cleaning oil should be consumed as food. Rice This is the most important staple of my diet and could be the most important staple of yours. I know I gave several pasta recipes but every day I ate a little rice with the leftovers and the pickles and the salads. I think the key is not just that it's organic or whatever breed of rice you want. Remember that rice is a PLANT and you want the freshest crop. If something looks like it's been sitting on a grocery store shelf for a long time, you should drive four hours to the nearest Asian suburb and get a better rice with more frequent turnover. I won't get into the politics of rinsing the rice but I will say you need to steam all rices. I actually know people to boil and drain it, which is a capital crime in my opinion. Rice can fit into any meal as a vehicle for the richer flavors, but I personally try not to flavor it during its own cook. If you are a bread person you might understand this as a preference for a baguette over a jalapeno cheese craisin baked seven grain bread. Just add that shit later, bro. Rice is also a lovely "dessert." I don't mean rice pudding or mochi, the latter being something I love but prefer in store bought versions cuz I could never dare to use the volume of sugar required to make it really yummy. Rice is a dessert to me because I can eat it at the end of any meal, plain. Plain rice, sometimes the burnt parts, sometimes the watered down version, but always plain, is a kiss on the forehead before you settle in for the night.