Notes towards a universal stew

Winter is coming, and this is an excellent time to be experimenting with stew. I’ve been experimenting with it a good deal lately, and figured that a public platform such as a blog is the obvious place to share my working notes: Towards a Universal Stew Recipe.

Unfortunately, this is not (yet) a stew which contains the entire universe. It’s more of a template stew recipe, from which one can easily improvise something yummy. Apparently most stews can be reduced to a few common things. The recipe below takes about two hours from start to eating, and makes six servings. I’ll give the universal template along with two successful instantiations of it, a beef stew (a more informal cousin of Boeuf Bourguignon) and a chili.


Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 09:00  Comments (5)  
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Fscking excellent dinner.

Bread, Parrano cheese, a variety of good olives, and a damned fine Trappist ale. All eaten while listening to good musing and rereading Doug Hofstadter’s explanation of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, which I have to say is remarkably well-written.

Said Trappist ale is also rather strong, which just makes this all the better. This has been a very relaxing evening.

Published in: on October 3, 2004 at 00:27  Comments (10)  

Experimental roulade, tests #1 and 2

Experimental cake attempt today. This is a roulade, so it’s going to be 24h of refrigeration before I know how it turned out, but I suspect that the production version is somewhat better.

Grr. The problem with this cake is having to wait to find out what happened. But one bite tomorrow should tell me what I need to know to make the next version really damned good.

Published in: on October 2, 2004 at 22:41  Comments (8)  

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Published in: on May 2, 2004 at 17:00  Enter your password to view comments.  

Experimental results

Test #1. Partial success. The idea of maple ice cream has been vindicated strongly, as has the overall functionality of the ice-cream making machine. (Cuisinart, btw, and quite recommended based on this limited test)

The recipe in question, derived from reading through a lot of other recipes and trying to merge them, is a complete failure. For reference, the basic idea was to make a creme anglaise – boil the milk, cream and flavor mixture, whisk it in to eggs, hold it at 170F for a few moments, strain and chill – and then freeze it. The resulting flavor is hard to describe, and best not thought about too closely, especially this close to lunch.

Test #2 will use a lighter recipe, perhaps one omitting the eggs altogether. If anyone has a favored category of ice cream recipes that they think may be worth using in future tests, please let me know.

Published in: on November 3, 2003 at 12:35  Comments (2)  


I am now the owner of an ice cream maker.

I also now have a list of experiments planned. Maple, several flowers (esp. Jasmine), fresh spearmint and peppermint (to be served together, sitting in chocolate shells), port wine, smoked salmon (to be served sitting inside half an avocado, together with very thin toasted slices of baguette), cucumber sorbet (to be served in the middle of a bowl of gazpacho), sundry fruits (maybe apple sorbet floating in some real apple cider? i.e. the good very dry Bretagne variety, not the artificially flavored shite they’ve been selling in the supermarkets lately…), nuts and spices (Hazelnut, nutmeg, clove & allspice, and so on) and so on…

This will be fun.

Those of you in the area may be unexpectedly dragooned into acting as guinea pigs for various of these, at various times in the near future.

Also, on a completely different note: the band ‘Paris Combo’ is excellent. French jazz with lots of Spanish and Gypsy influences. Highly recommended to anyone who likes any of those categories.

Published in: on October 26, 2003 at 18:41  Comments (8)  

A wee bit political?

From this week’s NY Times food column in the magazine:

“I’ve never subscribed to the marketers’ description of monkfish as the “poor man’s lobster”… If you see a whole monkfish at the market, you’ll find its massive mouth scarier than a shark’s. Apparently it sits on the bottom of the ocean, opens its Godzilla jaws and waits for poor unsuspecting fishies to swim right into it, not unlike the latest recepients of W’s capital-gains cuts. So it has in common with lobster only reprehensibility of character.”

Sometimes the food column gets kinda weird.

In fact, so long as we’re on the subject of odd news quotes, this one’s from Nerve’s Carrie Hill Wilner:

[I]t was reported this week that a company called Real Men Outdoor Productions Inc. has begun offering “Bambi Hunts,” in which Las Vegas-area men pay $10,000/hour to shoot naked women with paintballs. I suppose this should provoke some sort of feminist rage in me, but in all honesty, this is too weird to be sexist. It’s just apocalyptic.

Yeah, that’s about right…

Published in: on July 27, 2003 at 12:42  Comments (1)  
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Successes for the day

Spent the morning in the coffee shop, getting work done; then spent an excellent day with gaaneden, walking, eating, watching the Kenshin OVA, and generally spending some quality time together.

Now the evening has been spent eating bread, cheese and olives, working on a computation to show why the current project isn’t likely to work, and looking back at some of the moral issues I was thinking about at the cafe earlier. I think I’m closer to an explaination of some of the key ideas I’m looking for about the nature of divine benevolence and the existence of evil. Need to clean this up, then enter it into the main philosophy log book.

I think some coherent picture is starting to emerge in that logbook, about the moral philosophy of good and evil. It’s funny how putting down ideas over a period of time can lead to some sense spontaneously arising. At some point I may have to restructure it into something human-readable. Right now I pity anyone who tries to parse it.

Also have some preliminary ideas on how to translate (in my copious free time, of course) verse 28 of Cohen’s “Book of Mercy” (the one that begins “You who pour mercy into hell”), especially after a conversation with Monte on words for “hell” in Aramaic. It’s very cool to have the sorts of friends one can discuss things like this with.

Published in: on March 10, 2003 at 00:03  Comments Off on Successes for the day  
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Further culinary discoveries

When I ask my mother for a recipe, she always responds “What, you want to make a foo? Are you crazy? Do you know how much work that is? Here, let me give you the recipe for a bar, it’s much simpler.” Then after a great deal of coaxing I convince her to give me the foo recipe anyway, and it never fails to be substantially easier than I had been led to believe.

Well, this rolada was no exception. Having just made the second (production) version, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually not a very hard cake to make at all, it just got an unnecessarily bad reputation. In fact it’s kinda fun to make, and fairly straightforward.

And very good. :9

Rolada 2.0, now with certain of the bugs fixed, is presently beginning its two-day refrigeration. Woohoo!

Published in: on November 27, 2002 at 11:11  Comments (3)  

Things I learned today

Be more forceful when mixing melted chocolate into the beaten yolks. Similarly don’t be afraid to fold the yolks into the whites more thoroughly. Roll the souffle so it comes out short and fat, not long and thin, since it’s easier that way, and the expansion joints in the cream do a hell of a lot more good.

And damn, it’s a good thing I decided to try a practice cake before the one for Thanksgiving.

To those of you at Buffy night this week: Yes, the experimental cake will be there. I think it turned out tasting reasonably well, but since it’s not going to be tasteable for another day or two, it’s kinda hard to tell. It will probably be very ugly, however.

Published in: on November 24, 2002 at 15:16  Comments (5)  
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