Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the evolution of a dish

okay, this probably isn't the most interesting thing in the world, but i have a few minutes and wanted to put this down.
so for the next dinner one of the courses will be asparagus soup. it is spring, and with spring comes asparagus. grilled, blanched, steamed, sauteed, the possibilities are endless. as a general rule i like to play with my food. take something, and twist it, make it interesting. so originally i was thinking pureed asparagus soup, with hollandaise garnish. the two are a classic combo, but not usually in soup. that's what makes it fun. i thought maybe i would whip the hollandaise. of course there are problems with temperature and so forth that could prove to be problematic with the sauce....but we would cross that bridge. anyway, my next thought was how to maximize the color of the soup. nothing wrong with a pale vermilion, but how could i get it lush and verdant, that was the goal. one quick way was to add something like spinach into the mix to get some more green, but i didn't want to take away from the uniquely grassy flavor of the asparagus. so, was there another way. i thought perhaps blanch the asparagus, then use the blanching water to make stock with. blanching heightens color. so perhaps this was my solution. the asparagus would be a darker green added to the blanching water would perhaps give me the darker color i was hoping for.
but here's a problem. blanching causes vegetables to release polyphenols in to the blanching solution, which in the long run would turn the water/stock brown, and that wouldn't be a good thing.
so, i wrote a local chef with some of my questions: can you blanch vegetables without salt (yes)(and by the way, the reason i asked this was because if i used salt in the blanching liquid i couldn't really use that liquid again...typically you use a LOT of salt when blanching, so if i were to use that liquid to make stock - which i always reduce - i would have an unpalatably salty green/brown liquor. no good), how can we improve the color (spinach). he mentioned that he had prepared an ice filtered asparagus consomme for a dinner he had done before.
hmmm. consomme. okay. new direction. what can i do with consomme? carbonate it perhaps. that could be interesting. but really kind of one trick pony. i mean, bubbles are great and all, but it wasn't really adding anything to the soup in terms of character. then i thought, what about soda...yep. asparagus soda. take the consomme, put it in a syphon and carbonate it. of course add some simple syrup of some kind, serve this is a champagne flute. but what to do with the hollandaise? ice cream. ice cream float. soda and ice cream.
so there you have it. with some more help from chef josh, the final dish. "ice cream float" asparagus soda with ginger and orange simple syrup and blood orange maltaise ice cream.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

fish redux

man, i don't know. call me crazy, but mr fish sounds like a believer. this particular column is just great...and i think, in so many ways, really right on. his point, for those of you who won't ever getting around to reading it, is simple. really. religious faith can be studied in two senses. one can be taught about religion, and one can be taught religion. fish's contention is that something fundamental is lost when one is taught about religion. one might, say, look at all possible political perspectives when learning about u.s. iranian relations, and by doing so one has only sought to expand one's knowledge of political reality. but to learn about religion in this sense is to deprive it of it's primary and sole function, namely that is makes a truth claim, and to "academize" it in order to sanitize it for secular consumption is to leave it bereft of any content. good stuff.
ok, it's 1240 a.m. and i really should be in bed. i promised to write more, and here i am become nothing more than the literary version of bob wiley, tethered to the computer with nothing better to do i proclaim: "i'm writing. i'm writing. i'm a writer!"
good night.

stanley fish

i think i read bits and pieces of "is there a text in this class" at some point in college. and if i didn't i should at least pretend that i did, being a respectable psuedo-intellectual and all. whether i did or didn't doesn't really matter, the point is i knew who stanley fish was: leading light of the post-modern blah blah blah movement. the type of dude who started out in the english department, convinced himself that texts no longer were capable of communicating anything anymore, so then he moved over to the philosophy department and of course was welcome with open arms. cuz, you know, if there's one thing better than nothingness, it's talking about it. despite the title of this blog post, this is not an entry about stanley fish. nor is it about post-modern blah blah blah, intepretive communites or other such things. what got me going was reading a column written by mr. fish in the new york times on a new work by terry eagleton. according to the column, eagleton's new book, entitled "reason, faith, and revolution" addresses the basic question, why are people suddenly talking about god? the simple answer is, religion not only asks questions that other fields/pursuits can't, but it also has answers. religion, at its core, attempts to wrestle with the great longings of the human heart. all other pursuits are only scraping the surface, and can only provide fleeting satisfaction if that. go read the article yourself -it's worth it-here.
what's interesting to me is how similar many of eagleton's arguments are. as i continued to read the piece i kept thinking, "that's lewis" "that's polyani" "that's augustine". i have no idea if fish was aware that many of eagleton's statements were so clearly based on previous arguments, i also didn't have the patience to read any of the 700 plus reader response to see if any else picked up on it either. i'm not claiming that i possess superior intellect, just noticed is all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

long time, and i promise

so, it has been a long time since i have written something here. i especially need to write on a more consistent basis. not because i think that people have to know every detail of my life, but for my own sake. and if anyone gets any pleasure from reading what i throw up on this sight, then that's great. i have less than one week left in seminary. it's been six years and i can't wait to be done. but to be honest it sort of feels like i am coming to the end of a cliff and in one week i am going to be falling off the edge, without a parachute.
on another note, check this out!! sounds pretty cool. and that guy in the picture looks familiar.