Last week I had some time to start working on the table. While Robert from Dikhout was preparing the stock for the posts and the stretcher, I went to work preparing the stock for the three cleats. First, I suppose, it would be good to get the terminology clear so we all know what we’re talking about. In the sketch on the right, the piece marked ‘a’ is the stretcher, the two pieces marked ‘b’ are the feet, the three pieces marked ‘c’ are the cleats, and finally the two pieces marked ‘d’ are the posts.
Well, there’s no hiding from the fact: 2012 is already here! The end of the world, if you’re into Mesoamerican calendars, the beginning of new and wonderful things, if you’re a “glass half-full” kind of person. For me, it’s the beginning of a project I have been cooking up for years.
A good risotto is an exercise in balanced simplicity. A few simple ingredients are transformed into an unctuous dish; creaminess countered by a hint of acidity, richness balanced with clean flavours. The key player in this symphony is, of course, the rice. Two varieties are typically used in risotti, Arborio and Carnaroli. Both can be found at Basarz, the Italian deli on the Vismarkt. The short, starchy grains absorb liquid readily and become creamy as they are stirred frequently over the 20-25 minutes of cooking time.
Fish curry was on my mind yesterday. I’ve had a cold for the past few days and I was craving for something spicy, but light and refreshing. I was reminded of a dish I used to order at my favourite Indian restaurant in Berkeley. The dish was called methi machi and its sauce is based on fenugreek leaves, methi in Hindi. I did not have any fenugreek leaves, so I adapted the recipe a bit, but if you find some (perhaps at Toko Melati on Gedempte Zuiderdiep, or the Amazing Oriental on Korreweg), add 4 tablespoons in the sauce, with the tomatoes.
Thanksgiving was never my favourite holiday when I lived in the United States, but it turns out it’s the one I miss the most. Every Thanksgiving, around noon, my wife and I would cruise to our adopted family’s house, knowing to expect a memorable day. The house, crowded with people of all ages (not to mention a few dogs), would have this buzzing atmosphere as everyone was merrily finishing bottle after bottle of wine, while preparing a vast amount of food; more food than really necessary, but absolutely essential to the day. Yes, it’s true, gluttony did not die with the Roman empire, it merely changed clothes.
Wild mushrooms are a wonderful treat, when you can find them. Since foraging for them is not an option for most of us, we are lucky to be able to buy them at the market throughout the year. Autumn is traditionally the main mushroom season, but there are also spring varieties (like morels), varieties that grow year-round, as well as cultivated varieties, so there is always the opportunity to cook with them.