Monday, April 06, 2015

Time got away from me


sampita
Rather than try to catch up on all the stuff I’ve cooked for the last 10 days, I'm going to pretend none of it ever happened and start fresh. But there are a few recipes and thoughts I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention:

-Although I stand by my contention that Sean Brock’s Heritage is impractical for home cooks, I read enough about his recipe for hoppin john to decide I had to try it for myself. So I ordered Carolina gold rice and heirloom Sea Island red peas from the revered Anson Mills and made the dish. It was spectacular, damn it. Very aggravating because if I want to eat this hoppin john again and again and again, which I do, I will have to keep ordering expensive rice and peas from Anson Mills.  

I recommend the recipe anyway.

-A new cookie in my life: Dorie Greenspan’s croquets from Baking Chez Moi. Nutty, super-crunchy, delicious, easy. If you need to use up egg whites, look no further. 
Hot Pot Island, 5512 Geary. It may not be the best hot pot place in San Francisco, but it's our hot pot place. 
-This review made me want to check out Steven Satterfield’s Root to Leaf, but it’s not yet available at the library. Has anyone seen a copy?

-Inspired by this story (and using the accompanying recipe) I made a gorgeous Montenegrin sampita for family dinner last night. Author Francis Lam describes sampita as “a plank of yolk-rich cake piled with glossy meringue, a kind of open faced marshmallow sandwich.”  I can't do any better than that. Another layer of cake would make this dessert more delicious, but then it wouldn’t look quite so magnificently absurd. How magnificently absurd? Some pictures. Really fun, tasty, sticky, ridiculous, beautiful dessert.

-Yesterday I took Mark outside and asked if he thinks we should replace our front walk. I’ve been asking him about this at intervals for the last six years, ever since the roots of the oak started to push up the concrete blocks in earnest.
I worry someone is going to trip and sue us. 
He said, “It’s good enough. We don’t have that many visitors. I think we should wait and fix the path just before we sell the house so it will look as new as possible.” 
I worry someone will slip on the slimy piece of plywood covering the mud hole and sue us.
We came inside and he said, “But if you want to fix it sooner, go ahead. Don’t worry about me. You know what I’m like.”
I worry that the condition of the front walk is liberating out our inner slobs. 
I said, “Thanks. I hired someone last week. He's starting on the 21st. I was just asking for your thoughts so I could quote you on the blog.”

I’m not sure if you think that’s funny, but he did. I’m not sure if you think our front walk needs a little facelift, but I do. 
Mostly, I just really, really hate how it looks. 

42 comments:

  1. Our library has Roots to Leaves. Yay! (I'm the book buyer and I'm always happy when I perceive that I'm ahead of the game.) You should make a request at your library for a copy of the book. Most libraries have a request procedure and will actually hold the book for you when it comes in. Depending on the age of the book and how quickly your library processes items, it could get there pretty quickly.

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    1. I was wondering how that worked. The other one I'm curious about is Milk Bar Life. I'll investigate.

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    2. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to get them for you!

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  2. I have Roots to Leaves. It's a lovely book. Haven't cooked anything yet, as I've only had it for a few days. It should be great for CSA-box-cooking. Not a ton of recipes for each vegetable. Some are pretty basic (sautéed chard and chard stems), while others are more interesting (chard stem relish).

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    1. I was more impressed by the reviewer's enthusiasm than any of the actual dishes he cooked, which sounded a bit plain. Sauteed chard and chard stems sounds VERY plain.

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  3. Thank you for reporting back on Heritage. I got a promotional copy that I loved reading / looking at, but was waiting for another home cook to go first before I made the investment in ingredients to actually try cooking from it. . . (yet I did not hesitate to go straight from the cookbook to searching for plane tickets for a vacation in Charleston)

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    1. I think a vacation in Charleston is a better investment.

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  4. You know that once you replace the sidewalk it's only a matter of time before you'll want to rehab the whole darn exterior. (I raise my hand.)

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    1. I would already like to upgrade the side of the house. Baby steps.

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  5. You know that once you replace the sidewalk it's only a matter of time before you'll want to rehab the whole darn exterior. (I raise my hand.)

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  6. Sampita, I have been enjoying this all my life, but I didn't know it by that name. I grew up in Kansas and there is a strong influence from various groups from Europe that settled there in the 1880's homestead land act, so maybe that's how it came to be . My favorite variation is a dark chocolate cake with the frosting, and my favorite trick of the trade is to make it and let it sit open to air for a day or two, making the top crust of the frosting just a little crunchy, the gooey and then you hit the chocolate, wonderful. I became totally addicted to this the last two months of my first pregnancy. I almost couldn't eat enough, and no I didn't gain too much weight.

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  7. Hmm that looks like the same sidewalk, path that was there when we bought the house in 1980! Go for it girl!!!

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  8. I wasn't sure about the sidewalk until I saw the shot of the board with the asphalt patch. Not having to look at that any more makes the project worth doing. I've been doing some baby-stepping around my house, and it is amazing how taking care of stuff like this cheers you up every time you go by them finished product.

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  9. Aww, Anson Mills. I put a bag of Anson Mills grits in the welcome baskets for all of our Yankee friends and family when we got married in Charleston. I think probably 80% of them got tossed in the trash. Silly people not knowing what they were missing.

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  10. Alphabet Soup4/21/15, 1:08 PM

    Jennifer, it appears that your heart's not into this blog any more. It has truly been wonderful but you post so infrequently it seems like a grind for you to do so. It is painful to your devoted fans to be treated this way. Maybe you should take a big chunk of time off and re-evaluate whether this is really want you want to do.

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    1. Sheesh. I miss your posts, as well, but I certainly don't think you need to take time off and re-evaluate.

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    2. Me neither. Do whatever floats your boat. "Painful" seems a pretty extreme way to describe one's reaction to spotty posting, and I sure hope it's just tongue-in-cheek hyperbole gone a little awry.

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    3. Yes, I agree that Alphabet Soup is jumping to a lot of conclusions and find it a bit presumptuous that s/he feels they speak for Tipsy's readers. I certainly don't feel it's "painful" to have less frequent posts! I always welcome a new one but fail to see how Jennifer is letting down her readers when she has other things in life to attend to. Other blogs I follow post far less frequently than Jennifer does (with months between posts) so maybe I have a different perspective.

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    4. I compulsively check this blog for updates and am delighted when Jennifer posts, but I don't feel like I'm being treated poorly or that she owes me or any of her readers blog posts on a certain schedule. This is not something that readers are paying for, and I imagine Jennifer isn't getting much, if any, income from it (although if she decided to monetize the blog through ads or whatever, I think that would be great because she deserves to be paid for this great writing). So perhaps, Alphabet Soup, you should refrain from telling bloggers how to run their own blogs and realize that Jennifer is a human person with probably a lot going on and if you find it so disappointing, move on and read something else!

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  11. Alright, I guess I'll chime in. This is such a fascinating 21st century phenomenon! I don't actually know Jennifer. But because she shares so candidly about her life and opinions, I feel like I do. I found her blog several years ago, attracted by the title "The Tipsy Baker". The number of blogs out there is becoming mind numbing (I posted to one of my own for a couple of years before I set it down). But guess what? Jennifer's is the only one I really want to read. So that is saying a lot. Sometimes I hunt for blogs that I might like to follow and nothing else sticks. Me: cook, same age as Jennifer, formative years spent living in Mill Valley, love her writing. For me "The Tipsy Baker" is the crème de la crème. So, yes I check daily to see if there is a new post. If there is a new post, I smile a huge smile and run to the kitchen for a cup of chai before I sit down and savor the experience. If there is no new post I go back to bed and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Kidding. I try to manage my disappointment in more productive ways. But then, when a couple weeks goes by without a post I actually start to WORRY about Jennifer. Is everything alright with her? The family? Should I call her? Send a card? Exaggerating. So my point is, it is a strange thing to be actually affecting all these strangers' lives in subtle and not so subtle (ie. Alphabet Soup's pain {frustration?}) ways! In closing: I appreciate you, Jennifer. I hope the blog will continue to have a place in your life for a long time. But, if and when you ever do end up deciding to set the blog down, you may consider setting up a grief counseling hot line for your readers:-)

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  12. It seems Alphabet Soup is alone in her "pain" from infrequent blog posts. Jennifer, please do not take advice on what you should do with your life from one who clearly has no life.

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  13. Oh, no, no, no. Be nice.

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  14. This is another "Anonymous", I mean a different one. I love your writing. I hope you continue posting on this blog. Whenever. Thank you.

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  15. I actually agree with Alphabet Soup in some regards. I love this blog and I love Jennifer's book! However, her heart really doesn't seem to be in it anymore. I am well aware that I am not owed anything, but I am very disappointed in the increasingly infrequent posts. Am I not allowed to be?

    I'm actually glad Alphabet Soup spoke up, because I've felt this way for awhile. I'm not even comparing this blog to the others I read, I'm comparing it to itself. The posts, historically speaking, have been much more frequent and I guess that is the framework for my expectations.

    Again, I love this blog! Content-wise, it really is my favorite. However, the infrequency of posts feel a bit like an inconsiderate friend breezing in and out of my life at her leisure with little regard for the person (people) on the other side of the friendship.

    I agree with Alphabet Soup that there is no shame in telling everyone you need a break*, that way we can align our expectations with what's really happening here. And when you come back, refreshed and recharged, I'll be clapping with excitement!!

    *If you have been busy writing another book, then all is forgiven and where can I pre-order?

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