Cheese.

12/08/2009

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Right now I'm in the middle of writing a post for the Formaggio Kitchen blog about these three pieces of cheese, can anyone tell what the difference is between them?
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delicous cheese.
I've also been writing recipes for Create A Cook where I'm currently teaching.  I was surprised at how much I enjoy writing recipes.  It makes me want to see if there are more opportunities out there for me in that field. 

Dinner tonight is going to be a simple fish stew - we'll see if that recipe makes it up here.
 
 
Sticking with tradition I made my dear friend Hans his birthday present today, which is large amount of spaetzle, with emmanthal cheese, caramelized onion and bacon.  Lots of bacon.  I felt I needed to share a quick photo of what I spent a chunk of my day doing.
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Also, the oven is totally the way to go when cooking a large amount of bacon.  Trust me. 
 
 
My time for the past few weeks has been occupied with finding a job, which I think I've done.  I'm really excited because it's the job I was really coveting.  I'll put a link up here when all the details get straightened out.

I've also been up to my eyeballs with bureaucratic crap.  Both immigration-wise and life in general.  Balls. 

Not much else to report.  Excited to spend this American Thanksgiving in Anguilla (seeing both my partner's family and my Mum and Uncle).  Haven't been able to visit down there in awhile, and the last time I was there was for more solemn circumstances.

Life's moving on in general.  Looking forward to getting on with it.
 
 
Even though I just got back from Canada, I will be heading back to Toronto for surgery in a few weeks.  I have to get my wisdom teeth out, and apparently I wont be able to have solid foods for a few days.  In order to make these few days livable I'm compiling a list of things that are yummy and mushy.

-Pudding
-Congee
-Polenta
-Creamed spinach
-Creme caramel
-Mashed potatoes and gravy
-Schneenockeln (aka floating island)
-Chicken soup with griesnockle (cream of wheat dumpling)
-Cream of mushroom soup
-Chopped liver on fresh challah bread
-Ice cream
-Poached eggs

Savory mushy things were harder to think of than sweet mushy things.  Any suggestions are welcome.
 
 
This past weekend I went camping for the first time in many years.  It was really great, I got to make a few new friends and get to know a few other friends better.  I am not a natural camper, so the night before we left I did not sleep at all.  This made me unpleasant the next morning.  Once we arrived in Maine I settled in pretty nicely and had a truly good time even through the massive down pour that happened thankfully just after we set up our tent.  Although my hangover Saturday morning did prompt a few thoughts of going home to my shower I'm really glad I stuck it out, triumphant does not begin to describe how I felt at the end of the weekend.  I plan on going back to Beltek next year, hopefully with the same awesome group of people.

Here's a picture of my feet (on the left), this is just before we left the camp site on Sunday morning.  Look really closely, they are totally covered in mud.
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Dirty, dirty feet.
I was happy to see vendors selling things (necklaces, t-shirts, various glass and wood creations) in one area of the festival.  At the Official Beltek booth there was a man cooking crab rangoons, egg rolls and pad thai.  The pad thai was awesome!  Such a great surprise! This man made every order fresh in a small single family sized wok.  Really fresh, really good.

Anyway, had a great time despite the mud.  Saw some awesome sets spun by some very talented DJ's.  The great music combined with some unexpectedly good pad thai made the whole weekend really memorable.
 
 

Easter brunch was a fresh ham, although Bunny (my Uncle) was very close to making both a leg of lamb and a cured ham.  And my Mum had to be physically restrained when she saw whole suckling pigs at her pig farmer's stall at the St. Lawrence Market.  Easter brunch was lovely, saw two of my siblings, two nephews and a niece.  I made my youngest nephew cry, I was assured he was just tired.

My Canadian friends made sure that we were all tender Easter morning by hosting a birthday party (Becky!) the evening before.  Complete with my dear friend Adam, aka DJ Opkode, spinning a great set in drag.  We were all very quiet while Mum was pouring us our Bloody Caesar's Sunday morning.

I've been back in Boston since Monday afternoon, when I met with my thesis adviser who thinks I'm making good progress with my research.  Right now I am working on historic newspaper coverage of the oyster wars, as well as looking at the laws that were created surrounding the oyster industry in late 1800's.  Judging by the newspapers and some other texts I've read, oyster farmers (or oystermen) were considered a fairly rough group of people.  This was a reputation that held true for both legal oyster farmers and illegal oyster dredgers.  The media actually dubed the illegal oyster dredgers "oyster pirates" making them menacing but also romanticizing oysters and oyster culture.

Oysters as a food are sexy and a little dangerous.  There is very little intent in the life of an oyster, therefore humanity has projected these traits onto this bivalve.  Oysters are not like the apple (Christianity's favorite vaginal place holder) brightly coloured with a sweet taste and pleasing curves.  Oysters are more menacing, even sinister.  They are hard and nubbly gray, vaguely rock-like.  In order to eat them you must pry them open with a dull knife.  After opening them you must possess the character to place this half alive creature into your mouth, chew and swallow it.  The reward?  Mild salty, briny flavour. A little sweetness.  And  undeniable ocean wateriness.  The conquest associated with prying open an oyster shell with the hard exterior and quivering slimy interior have undeniable associations.  But unlike the apple, which seems initially more appealing, the more challenging oyster yields a greater  overall satisfaction. 

Why is it then that oyster farmers are associated with danger, romance and a certain machismo, while apple farmers enjoy no such reputation?  Is it as simple a matter of water versus land?  Crab fishermen get big TV deals while tomato farmers get mentioned in news only when an outbreak of salmonella brings them to the forefront. 

There is nothing sexy about salmonella.

 
 

It's almost Easter, and I'll be going back up to Canada to spend it with my Mum, Uncle and Grannie.  Not to mention my wonderful Canadian friends.  Speaking to a friend here  in MA last night the topic of what we were going to eat came up.  I answered that I wasn't sure but either ham or lamb.

I was struck by how different those two meats are.  Considering Easter seems intrinsically linked to Passover  it's funny that one of the traditional meats consumed during this holiday is not kosher.  It's almost as if there is an intent behind eating ham, "it's our holiday, and you can't participate", defining the Easter feast by isolating it from
Passover by making the traditional meal very NOT kosher.   Conversely the eating of lamb at either Easter or Passover is linked directly to the Old Testament, killing the lamb and spreading it's blood over your door so that the first born son is spared.   Seems that the more correct meal would be lamb.  But I'm still haunted by where the ham came from.   My first thought was that it's a British tradition, why I feel that way I'm not sure.  The Brits do like their lamb as well.

There are many food scholars that look specifically at religious eating habits, and how they've evolved.  It would be interesting to see what they say about the Easter Ham, is it a way to separate the Christians from the Jews?  Or is it just that ham is delicious and any excuse to break out a lovely moist ham is a good one.