January Day

Walking home from picking up my groceries, I saw a golden retriever attempting to carry four or five large sticks in his mouth at once. He would meticulously stack them, manage to cram them in, walk a few steps, and drop one. Wash, rinse, repeat. (I know there’ s a metaphor in there, somewhere…)

Every Sunday, a group of East Indian 20-somethings get together on the college tennis courts to play pick-up games of cricket. They race around, score wickets, and generally have a good time. I don’t think I’ll ever understand cricket.

For the past week there has been a flattened and dehydrated pink condom lying in the gutter in front of my building. It was gone today.

Stephen Fry explains, in the most simple of terms, how to be as gorgeous as he is. If that is possible. Which it isn’t.

Still Life with Shark and Ramen

(The shark is Delilah. I got her for Christmas.)

Ramen: the ubiquitous college food, a mass of dehydrated noodles served with a little packet of super-salty seasoning powder in such amazing flavors as “Yellow Meat”, “Pink Meat”, and “MSG Delight”. Instant ramen noodles rank alongside deep-fried tennis sneakers on the nutritional scale, and the mere mention of them causes cardiologists nationwide to reach compulsively for their perscription pads. Sure, the “fancier” ramen (read: served in styrofoam cup or bowl, easily microwavable) comes with little freeze-dried orange and green things, questionably referred to as carrots and peas.However, in all honesty, these do little other than imparting a vaguely compost-y note to the otherwise salt-flavored broth.

Now Morgan, I’m sure you’re all saying, where are you planning to go with this? Is there a point to this seemingly pointless rant? A method to your madness?

Uncaring readership! Says I, You fail to comprehend, even after all I have written?! Ramen sucks! And yet we continue to shovel it down our throats!

Yes, and? comes the derisive reply.

The point I’m trying to make is, ramen doesn’t have to suck! And no, before there’s a huge uprising, I’m not suggesting that you spend more than five minutes or sixty-five cents on your bowl of noodles.  Just a little bit of consideration.

Base Ingredient:

  • One (1)  packet instant ramen noodles, your choice of flavor

Additions (in any combination):

  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Sesame oil
  • Bell pepper
  • Tomato
  • Garlic
  • Egg
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms (dried are fine, as long as you let them sit in the broth to re-hydrate)
  • Dried shrimp
  • Steamed carrots
  • Chili powder
  • Lime juice
  • Etc. etc. etc

The list could go on forever, but I don’t have the attention span for that kind of thing. The fact is, instant ramen doesn’t have to be boring, bland, and void of anything resembling nutritional content.  We don’t just eat to fill our stomachs;  we eat to exercise our senses! STOP TAKING A BACKSEAT POSITION ON WHAT YOU SHOVE DOWN YOUR CAKE HOLE!!!

*pantpantpant* Sorry, got a little carried away there. But I think I’ve made my point. Got it? Now go out and practise it!

(Image from One Big Kitchen)

That’s right. Three exclamation points. What is the reason for such exuberance, you may rightly ask?

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations: The Pacific Northwest episode.

I found it while poking around on YouTube, land of all things bizarre and viral, and it really epitomizes why I moved up here, and why you’ll have to pry my cold, dead fingers from the streetcar railings when I’m gone. It explores the amazing variety of fresh ingredients, the passion that chefs up here exhibit for their art, the crazy and friendly atmosphere, and the grungy, anything-goes attitude.

He visits Portland, Seattle, and the Puget Sound, and finds amazing food everywhere he goes. Unsurprising to those of us who live here; we know that good food is only a few doors down, a few blocks away. There’s really no need to go to Pizza Hut when you’ve got Apizza Scholls, or even Hot Lips, just a streetcar ride away. I’ve been to NYC twice, and I can honestly say that I’ve found more good food, more affordably here in Portland, than anywhere in the big Apple. (I’m sure there’re places I haven’t seen. Want to prove me wrong? I’ll gladly fly over there to be gastronomically escorted around the city.)

Check out the episode. It’s definitely worth the look!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

I feel so inspired! Maybe I’ll actually get around to submitting a recipe this week!

I find myself back here at my blog, in the wave of the realization that I haven’t posted here since the 15th of December.

I’ll try to have a recipe for you pretty soon…. And hopefully a restaurant review as well!

 I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

((It snowed today. The world is clean.))

(At the “Repeal Prop 8” protest on the Park Blocks, Portland OR, 11/15/08)

[Gay Man to his partner, standing right behind me]: Oh God, they really need to bring “What Not to Wear” to these events.  Seriously, this is painful.

Turkey Pancakes

Last time I posted a pancake recipe, it was served with a heavy side of moral indignation. Since then I’ve left my entirely gluten-free household and am now free to use wheat flour– and so, I have a whole new recipe to give you guys.

On Monday I had a whole bunch of left-over turkey from Thanksgiving, as well as a nice pile of veggies calling “eat me, Morgan, eeeeeaaaaat meeeee….” I also had a craving for pancakes. Combine the two and you get… Turkey pancakes? Well, I was crazy (and hungry) enough to try it.

I know your skeptical eyebrow is getting a wee workout here. Everyone altogether, “Turkey pancakes?” (Insert the sound of many eyebrows being hefted simultaneously towards the upper regions of the stratosphere) “Isn’t that a little… Nineteen sixties?” Yes my friends, it does sound like something you’d find in Ladie’s Home Journal, or the ’65 re-printing of the Joy of Cooking, right next to the steps for skinning squirrels, but lets take a step back. Turkey: good; Veggies (in this case celery):good; Pancakes: double plus good.

So here we have the exquisite pancakes, which, despite anything your logic or inner rebellious child of the eighties tells you, are darn Good Ea– (interrupted but severe looking man in black suit, who hands over a paper) My legal team informs me that it would be copyright infringement to finish that phrase. They also tell me to stop watching cooking shows and go jogging every once in a while. (Crumples up paper) Well, I’ll just say that these pancakes are damn tasty. Weird but good, just like so many wonderful things in life.

(For those who want it, I’ll post my Gluten-Free recipe at the end of this, so you don’t have to sift through my moralistic mumbo-jumbo to find it in my other post.)

:Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups AP flour
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp of melted butter

:Toppings:

  • 1 cup cold turkey, shredded
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced

Combine the dry goods, then dig a little well in the center of them and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine, but try not to over-mix. Gluten strands make for tough pancakes.

Heat a frying pan or griddle, lightly greased, over medium-high heat. Scoop on batter, .25 cup for a smaller pancake, .33 cup for a larger one. When bubbles towards the edges of the pancake burst and stay open, add a large pinch each of the turkey and the celery, to cover the bottoms of the cakes. Wait about a minute longer, then flip. Cook that side until golden brown and serve.

Serve with gravy, or mustard, or cranberry sauce, or raspberry jam, or syrup, or honey or…. (On and on and on)

If you want a slightly more orthodox pancake, replace the turkey and celery with grated cheddar cheese. Cook and serve as you would with the turkey.

GLUTEN FREE RECIPE:

:Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups gluten-free baking mix (1.5 cups AP flour + .5 tsp baking powder)
  • .5 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • .5 tsp salt

Combine dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Add wet to dry, stirring only as much as is necessary to fully integrate the two. Cook quarter cup portions of the batter on a hot griddle until bubbles pop and stay open towards the center of the pancake. Flip and cook for another minute on the reversed side.

Serve with jam, syrup, kumquats, cherry pie filling, lizards, or pickled herring.

The post with the #1 most hits on my blog is still my one about the sharks. Remember that one?

So, in honor of this wierd occurance, I give you a new weekly phenomenon. Sharkless Sundays.

Can you not spot the shark in this photo?

No Sharks Waterfront

Good for you!

(I took pie pictures, but I took them with my phone. I assure you, they were quite gorgeous. And tasty. *Urp.*)

This Thanksgiving, several items have come to my attention. I deem them important/snarky enough to share with the interweb as a whole.

The Three Axioms of Thanksgiving:

1.) Pie is proof that god loves us and gives us good things.

2.) If you can still see the pie, there’s not enough whipped cream on it.

3.) The mirror adds ten pounds.

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Now I’m off. I’ve got a date with some cranberry sauce. Cold turkey might attend.