Current Aromas

  • Flame Roasted Poblanos Steaming in a Bowl
  • Garlic Roasting in the Oven
  • Corn muffins baking
  • Chicken stock fortified with lemons
  • Purple hominy simmering on a back burner
  • Chuck strips roastng in their dry rub
  • Tortillas baking next to the beef.
  • What’s left of my brains frying along too.

Weekend Morning

You put your feet on the floor and try not to feel how cold it is. This house is quiet and cold in the morning and you’re the first one up. Sure, San Francisco isn’t nearly as cold as elsewhere today, but that doesn’t mean a hell of a lot before you’ve had your coffee. A stumble towards the kitchen and a scratch of the testicles gets the blood flowing.

The blinders still are wrapped firmly around your skull as you snag the coffee from the freezer… both bags. One is the flavored blend left over from Christmas and the other is the French Roast you really want. One scoop of the former and three scoops of the latter. It’s a process of not wasting the flavored abomination and still not having to taste it’s sin against nature.. A swirl and rinse of the pot and then filling it with one hand while leaning against the wall with the other while you listen to the rain beat on the kitchen window.

You set the coffee maker going while you pivot around and head towards the bathroom. The kitchen floor is cold too so you walk on the balls of your feet in an effort to touch as little of it as possible. It could use of a mopping too from the other night when you spilled garlic oil when you were making popcorn.

You shower. The hot water strikes the back of your neck and sparks some sort of cosmic convergence in your cerebellum. The smell of the sandal wood soap combines with the warmth and you can almost feel the two lobes of your brain getting reacquainted. You stand there longer than you would any other day, letting the water warm your entire body. It’s your time to enjoy the hot steam and the slight burn as it cascades in swirling streams down your legs.

After you’ve dried off and dressed, you walk back to the kitchen. The coffee has finished and you snag the largest cup that you can. The brown sugar lands in the bottom of the cup and clumps together almost anticipating the dissolving it’s about to be subjected to. The coffee inundates it and it disappears beneath the swirling blackness.

A first sip. Too hot. It burns as it goes down. You clutch the cup in both hands anyway, willing the radiant heat into you as you remind yourself “It’s really not that cold in here.” The wind and rain at the window tell you otherwise.

A quick survey of the email and the blogs. Joyful news from one person. A tragedy from another. Questions and suggestions form others in their days. Soon the cup is empty, the blinders have withdrawn and the rain doesn’t seem that bad.

More coffee. The first sip this time is tolerable and sparks hunger. A sauce pan. Water. Vinegar. Salt. Heat. Eggs.

You pour the egg into the swirling water and watch as the white tendrils form like a ghost you saw in some movie. Is this where they got the idea, standing like you are now, over the stove, watching an egg’s shape and form be transformed? The yolk sits there, moving slightly in the convection. The steam rises up, warming your face as the coffee slides down and warms you from inside. Gently you nudge the egg free from the bottom and allow it to move around in the simmering water. The yolk stays whole and the ghost becomes the protecting layer. Extricated from the water to a towel lined plate, it lies there, glistening in the morning, waiting.

You repeat this four times. You make toast from the bread you made a few days before. The smell swirls up at you like the swirling poaching water. Toast. Crumbs. Butter. Salt. Pepper.

You stand at the sink eating, leaning on the counter while some cooking show prattles on about a technique you disagree with. Rough crusty bread is softened by warm runny yolk and an internal dialog that says “I can do better than she can.” The yolk is sweet even as it joins the crumbs from the sourdough in taking up temporary residence in your beard where they become sticky and binding. Yet you stand there longer, swabbing with the toast, getting every last savory and satisfying yellow molecule off that plate. You wash it back with coffee and feel the warmth of a full belly and the energy of a day with no plans but the New York Times.

Crunch. Chew. Swallow. Sigh. Begin.

Experimental KitchenBeard

Sometimes ideas come to me at the most inopportune moments.

This evening at the gym at was in the middle of military dumbell presses when I remembered the following in a space of about 3 seconds:

  1. I had bought some frozen peas to have at lunch.
  2. I only ate 2/3 of the package and the results were in my gym bag.
  3. They were probably defrosting in there and turning to mush.
  4. Didn’t I used to make something with peas before in went to culinary?
  5. You bet I did.
  6. I also remembered something to do with Lisa Welchel being a Fundamentalist nut case, but that’s just a non sequitor and often it’s how my brain works.

I finished my work and walked home returning phone calls. (More on why returning one of these phone calls was excruciatingly painful and why the other one makes me happy.) When I got home I started throwing a few things together based on an idea…..

Two cups of defrosted or fresh peas
1 egg
Two cups flour
1 T asian chili saice
2 cloves garlic pureed
1 t milk
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 T butter
4 T olive oil

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, puree the peas with the egg.
  2. Add 1/2 the flour and continue mixing.
  3. Add the chili sauce and garlic. Continue blending
  4. Add the remaining flour, the milk, the baking powder and the salt. Blend until a thick paste forms.
  5. Allow batter to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Melt half the butter with half the oil. When the butter stops foaming, add the batter to form 3 inch rounds.
  7. Allow to cook over medium high heat until the edges are dry and beginging to brown (2-3 minutes). Turn gently and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  8. Eat immediately.
  9. Use remaining butter and oil to refresh skillet as you go through the rest of ther batter

I ate mine with a horseradish and butter sauce which looked great with the golden brown exterior and the bright vibrant spring green interior. As I ate them, I reaized that the pea flavor wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but the flavor and the consistency were really pleasing. Next time I make them, I think I’ll try to find a way to up the pea flavor without sacrificing the texture.

While they cooked, I researched the idea and it seems to be a fairly normal application that is used with peas and other beans. The recipes vary but the idea is the same.

As for mine, I was pretty tickled with the bright green crusty cakes I made.

Blair Warner would have inhaled them.