Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Food and Jedis

A couple days ago I promised some friends I would give them a recipe that I used to cook for them the other week. This seems like a good space for that sort of thing, so I will probably use this in future to upload some of my favourite recipes, because the only thing I like more than cooking (and eating) is sharing knowledge.

Anyway, there is just one problem: I don't really measure when I cook. Measuring is really more for baking than cooking, and I think that an important part of cooking is learning how to get a feel for your ingredients, kind of like Luke Skywalker learning how to deflect laser bolts with his lightsabre with that helmet on in the first Star Wars. That's right, I cook like a goddamn Jedi.

So here is a recipe that is quick, easy, and a good way to maximize the use of a cheap cut of beef. Pomegranate juice is super fucking expensive, and I am assuming this recipe would probably work with blueberry juice (good concentration, lots of antioxidants) or maybe cranberry juice in a pinch (lots of antioxidants, similar tartness, but concentration is a little lower). If you are going for cranberry juice, I would probably recommend springing for the good stuff (read: anything but that gross, sugary Ocean Spray cran-cocktail stuff).

Without further ado...

Striploin With Pomegranate Reduction

You'll need the following:

Two medium-sized striploins
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Pomegranate juice
Brown Sugar
Black pepper (or a peppercorn melange, if you can get it)
Good salt (kosher salt or better)

1. Chop a couple sprigs of rosemary. Coat the striploins with the rosemary, salt and pepper (and when I say coat, I mean really rub that stuff in there).

2. Heat olive oil (a tablespoon or so) in a frying pan to a medium-high temperature. When the oil starts to lose its viscosity and smoke a little bit, it's talking to you: throw the steaks in. Remember, you want to sear both sides to get a nice crisp texture. For medium-rare, it will be about three minutes or so per side.

3. Remove steaks from pan, set aside. Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice, 4 cups of brown sugar and 2 and a half tablespoons of balsamic to the pan. DO NOT throw out the juices from the steaks - that stuff is like liquid gold. Bring content of pan to a boil and then simmer until reduced to desired thickness (approximately 5 minutes or so). Keep your eye on the pan - if you let it reduce for too long it basically caramelizes.

4. In a seperate bowl, toss arugala with olive oil and balsamic (a tablespoon and a half of each, perhaps, pending on how many servings you are preparing). Add salt and paper.

5. Slice steaks into strips and drizzle reduction overtop. Plate with argula mixture and a big chunk of bread.

Reccomended pairing: a good New Zealand Pinot Noir will make this one sing. An entry-level Villa Maria pinot, for example, should have the right balance of acidity, herbaceousness, tannin and fruitniness to make this dish work out.

Enjoy with two friends, depending how big your appetites are.

Indulgences: Guided By Voices - Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, Jay Reatard - Matador Singles 06-07, Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein, Aphex Twin - Hangable Auto Bulb and Windowlicker, Grand Belial's Key - Judeobeast Assassination, Thomas Pynchon - Vineland (finally finished this one!), Manuel Castells - The City and the Grassroots

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cargo Cults

There are two Tim Hortons right beside each other in Mac Hall. As in, less than 20 feet away from each other. Apparently one of them is owned by the Student's Union and one is owned by the University. These two Tim Hortons are competing with each other, and both establishments are totally lined up at all times. This is the sort of coke or pepsi "choice" that is slowly driving me insane.

I have never bought a coffee from either of these places, and I never will. For an extra 20 cents or so I can buy fair trade coffee from a locally owned business. Sure, my 20 cents isn't changing the fucking world, but if it can help me feed my caffeine addiction without completely selling myself out to the system I hate, then that should be enough.

Also, I've written a ton of songs lately. Like six or so. What the hell? I haven't been writing for months, and all of a sudden I've had a weird rush of creativity. What new thing or person in my life is causing all this creativity? Some days not only do I not know the answer, but I don't think I really know the questions either.

Support: Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights, Daughters - Hell Songs, David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, David Harvey - The Right to the City, HEALTH - Get Color, Horse the Band - Desperate Living and the 1987 Ridge Monte Bello Cab that made last night so fun for me (and is making this morning excruciating).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Question of Degree

Everything I know how to do well, I know from my experience drinking wine. That's where I learned how to deconstruct things around me and reconstruct them in way that makes sense to me. It's where I learned how to practice restraint when necessary, but also how I learned that when appropriate, to always tend towards indulgence.

Indulgences - No Age - Nouns, J Dilla - The Shining, American Music Club - The Golden Age, We Are Wolves - Total Magique, Fugazi - Repeater, and wine, good lord, wine. Villa Maria 2006 Cellar Selection Pinot Noir tickles my fancy right now.