[ vegetarian improvisational peasant fusion cuisine for the 22nd century ]

Thursday, November 30, 2006

nash's farmshare box contents, friday dec 1st 2006

golden turnips
collard greens
green kale
chiogga beet

and more...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

thanksgiving blessing from ankur

Thanksgiving Day, 2006

In the swirling mi(d)st of the twin understandings that because Everything is to be honored as sacred, Nothing must be treated as such, a Thanksgiving prayer.


Dearest Amazon, divine and tangled mother of all that is and crawls, we bow our heads in awe and thanks and offering of thy colors, thy danger, thy abundance, and thy everpresence, thee who are the diversity of our jungles and the monoculture of our fields, thee who are the terror of our hurricanes and the banality of our air conditioners.

We only begin to understand the contorted depths of our ignorance.

In your honor, bowing to knowledge and to a morality more ancient than our own, we eat this apple whole. [seeds, little wooden stem, and everything]


Dearest Farmers, brothers and sisters in spirit and in toil, we bow our heads in awe and thanks and offering of thy dedication and midwifery, of the most noble and demanding of human pursuits, of the arrogance and fortitude to stand atop the Mother. Thee are the roughest and the finest of our twisted tapestry, the most important and least evolved.

In thy honor, bowing to the forgotten wisdom whose sores cover our sick societies in loving remembrance, we roast this tray of root vegetables with a little salt. [parsnips, turnips, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, rutabega, onions, garlic, carrots, burdock]


Dearest Drivers, engineers, generals, soldiers, explorers and harvesters of that black gold that shines through all our sustenance, we bow our heads in awe and thanks and offering of thy perseverance and perspiration, of thy shoulders bearing our collective sin and violence. Alchemists all of us, we transmute death to life, destruction to creation, violence to love in our every munch and morsel.

In thy honor, bowing to the forces we don't yet understand and the liberation and struggle inherent in our future, and to those whom we must trample in order to survive, we blend together this oil into mayonnaise. [1 1/2 cups of silken tofu, 3 tablespooons of lemon juice, salt, ground mustard seeds, 1/4 cup of raw sesame oil]


A beginning, mind you. Each bite is to be an offering, a present and meditative appreciation of the fragility and contigence of our survival, a celebration of the madness and diversity of existence. Stanzas remain unwritten for the helpful and slaughtered natives, the industrial reserve armies of Latin American workers without whom all of us in this nation would starve, the erstwhile salespeople who sling tons of vegetables without ever losing boots to the morning mud, the dedicated chefs whose love and toil is the spice no Columbus ever found, and, of course, to your mother.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

a thanksgiving blessing from an old friend

[ and william burroughs, 20 years ago ]

Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986
William S. Burroughs

For John Dillinger

In hope he is still alive

Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts —

thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison —

thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger —

thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot —

thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes —

thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through —

thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces —

thanks for "Kill a Queer for Christ" stickers —

thanks for laboratory AIDS —

thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs —

thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business —

thanks for a nation of finks — yes,

thanks for all the memories... all right, let's see your arms... you always were a headache and you always were a bore —

thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

cooking can be god: nash's farmshare nov 17th 2006

rolling through new york city like so many beet tops in the wind, the
eternal dance of paper and plastic and some of these lovers haven't
even seen the styrofoam memo. the best mexican food outside of
southern calfiornia on twenty birded streets and fifth avenue (in
brooklyn my friends, don't even think i have the Imaginary Capital to
take you on a culinary tour of manhattan) but you've got to speak
rudimentary spanish or at least know how to count to get your
chalupas. two boys and two loquiles and even some fermented sunshine
for the natives and don't be surprised if each bean-stuffed tortilla
comes dressed with a violent green salsa and avocado besides, each
individually packaged -- this is the dream, this is the north, this is
the future, this is the sytem -- in cavernous styrofoam containers
destined one day to build the museum walls for our forgotten
posterity. and a thin plastic bag to hold them together as if our
heroes didn't have opposable thumbs and eight other fingers besides.

newton and trapp conspired to hammer the action and reaction principle
deep as a landfill so today's recipes are from the spellbook of the
Edible Plate Academy. or, to employ the biblical gravitas -- "thou
shalt not waste, for there is no garbage". first on deck is an edible
appetizer tray swung around the room asian tea party style on a large
dry collard leaf. at this point in the season you can fit enough
vegetable chips for the whole family. the crease in the middle you
pipe swirl-full of a spicy carrot aioli from the corner of a plastic
bag (thank you alton brown). dice the carrots to a finger nail and
roast them in the oven, crowding around the acorn squash halves that
will later (patience, dear prudence) give form to your main course.
when roasted soft you can blend them with the smokiest most authentic
chiles you can find, a healthy squeeze of limes' juice (not local, so
make sure it's organic), and a head of garlic (in the oven as well, to
economize). when the robot walks the picket line for lack of liquid
start drizzling in the olive oil you've been infusing with green
chiles since the late summer. drizzle until the blending is smooth and
the living is easy: you (now and forevermore) have a faux mayonnaise
the spaniards have been dreaming about since the first days of
massacre. uninvited guests show up for dinner and you add some silken
tofu or leftover mashed potatoes for body, compensating with salt and

now to the chips. we've eschewed the packaged variety (even the
organic blue tortilla chips. don't think i don't see those.) and we've
got the oven on and the mandoline ready. yes, the dreaded mandoline. a
strange and deadly kitchen slicer whose evolution followed from the
guillotine's early-19th-century popularity crash. steelsmiths still
wanted to hurt someone so they turned, as always -- the subjugation of
women being a pancultural phenomenon, let us not forget -- to the
kitchen. most of these tools have lost their edges and ended up in
bluegrass bands but you can still go by a nice restaurant (say the
Alderwood Bistro) and check it out. with self-preservation in mind,
use a knife and chop those jerusalem artichokes and golden beets
thinner than the morning mist. a gentle massage with olive oil and
back until they crisp and curl of if you're a robust soul deep fry
those slices (oil at 400) until they puff from the inside out. gods
have been trying to tell us to eat them raw for millenia now and it's
up to you to turn an ear. i don't.

that's your first course -- an arrangement of beet and sunchoke chips
around the saffron robes of a carrot aioli, all flared on a collard
green. or two. or three. for the third take whatever beans you soaked
last night and pressure cooked this morning and make them into a soup.
use your yellow potatoes and even some cabbage but save the kale for
something more visceral. a black bean soup works well -- the acorn
squash has been cooking for some time now and when the halves are
cooked to the quick you can extradite them from their oven sanctuary
and fill them for the next course. the edible soup bowl. with grated
cheese on top to keep everybody happy. and pinenuts for the vegans.

going back to a salad course, the buzzword is "cabbage taco". as in,
look online for pictures of the piles of paper plates (or tires, or
barbed wire) we're wrapping up for our children and mix your salad
ingredients -- spinach, walnuts, strawberries, grated carrots, tahini,
soy sauce, ginger, dulse, dried cranberries -- into the cabbage leaf.
fold and enjoy.

and forward to the main course. anything you like, i'm focusing on the
plate this time around. the key takeaway is that the soft sweet squash
has been baked and then marinated in soup and is now the sumptuous
vehicle for consuming with your mediterranean rice pilaf (with
shredded kale thrown in to saute at the last...). yes? eat the soup
out of the bowl. eat the bowl with the rice. take the rind to the
compost. ashes to ashes. vegetables to vegetables. and the cleaning
ritual is faster than a new york minute.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

nash's farmshare box contents, friday nov 17th 2006

yellow potatoes
redbor kale
acorn squash
green cabbage
brussel sprouts
Jerusalem artichokes
golden bunch beets

Thursday, November 09, 2006

cooking can be god: nash's farmshare nov 10rd 2006

Once upon a time a famous bedtime story liked to proclaim, “from each according to her ability, to each according her need”. Let us evolve and adapt, concede to the political reality (so long Donald, it's been grand!), and in full understanding of the postmodern dietary spectrum, let us sing together, “to each according to her culinary ideology, from each according to the farmer”.

-- A typical Quiche Lorraine meets Vegan Radio --

one cup of flour mixed with half a tsp of salt | one third a cup of butter | two or three tablespoons of cold, cold water

For the omnivore, or frenchman, or both. We make the crust in the traditional fashion, singing ballads to lost love (the modern devotional chanting) and cutting the butter and flour together with knives. When the granules are small and even enough to bother the most proletarian princess, add your cold water and massage into a softball and flatten noncommittally. Let the dough chill and introspect as you prepare the filling.

A good half-hour later you can roll or flatten the crust into a lightly greased pie pan, taking care the dough goes up and over the edges of the dish, trimming, and fluting forkwise into a delicate pattern. Every minute you spend fully focused on this task will enhance the taste and appreciation of the final oeuvre.

Get a sense of where the oven is (350 F) and bake the crust blindly. That is, cover it with aluminum and place some weight atop the foil (dried beans work well) to keep the puffing to a minimum. In ten minutes it should be set and ready to fill.

To fill, the old-timers might use half a cup of finely chopped onion, half a cup of crisp bacon, a full cup of grated swiss cheese, four large eggs, two cups of creme fraiche, and some salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to indulge the tastebuds and induce the digestion.

That's the omnivorous, animal-dependent version at least. If you're interested in reducing your ecological footprint, sparing a few lives or calories, or using what came in that earthly smelling box last night, try the following:

Use the same onion alongside a chopped arms of celery and sauté easily on low heat. Halve and eviscerate (it's all love, it's all violence) the delicata squash, halve again, and chop into bite-able, cook-able chunks. Slide the chunks in with some minced garlic when the onion has shined away its water and threatens to brown. Stir the mixture occasionally as you wash, drain, and chop your greens -- I'd recommend the collards (save the others for a salad). Grate a large carrot and place the pile next to your strips of collard. When the squash is tender, add whatever herbs you still have (rosemary, a little lavender, and a touch of purple dried sage?) along with salt, pepper, and the infamous cayenne pepper. Let the forward accents of flavor get acquainted with their deep and durable carriers and when the introductions subside, add green and orange to the mix. The carrots and collards will give off a lot of a water over the next five minutes, and when the steam clears and filling roars back to dry (listen carefully; the volume on the stove will literally increase), you're ready to go.

Note that making a casual sautée of five different vegetables, cooking slightly enough to preserve their fragile egos and flavors, is a lot more work than frying half a cup of bacon. It's not that less work (suffering?) is occurs in a holistic sense, but rather, you are taking responsibility for a larger portion of it. Something to be proud of, perhaps.

At this point, we can inject our filling into the above quiche recipe, mixing with the egg and cream custard (once the sautée has cooled) and pouring into the pre-baked crust.

For either filling, sprinkle more cheese on top and bake until the filling sets (Remember that knife that cut the butter and flour together? Make sure it comes out clean). It should take about forty-minutes and coincide perfectly with your simple side salad (arugula, bok choi, mustard greens, dressed with an emulsion of tahini, red miso, rice wine vinegar, and apple cider) and the kitchen cleaning procedures (with, ahem, a little help from your friends).

To go the extra-mile towards kindness to self, animal-kingdom, and world, we'll need a vegan variation. For those of us stuck in the twentieth century, “vegan” is a diet-lifestyle-philosophy that eschews the use of all animal products due to moral and political concerns over animal cruelty, industrial methods of animal production, and global resource use. I was recently interviewed on Vegan Radio () and learned all about it.

The crust substitution is easy enough – use oil instead of butter (try coconut or palm oil for the closest in consistency) and be prepared to pat down the crust instead of rolling it. For the filling, I would recommend roasting a mixed pound of potatoes and parnsips (diced to speed the cooking) and mashing/blending them together with a stock (or water, or soymilk) until you get a thick but pourable custard to substitute for the eggs-and-cream. Then bake until it firms up, as before. Much easier would be to buy a pound package of silken tofu (soybean cheese!) and blend that up to the right consistency. The tofu is going to need some more spices (a hint of mustard, vinegar, chile, or garlic) to carry it through, and for the love of farmland, try to get an organic non-GMO variety or we'll just be spinning our sustainable wheels, now won't we?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

nash's farmshare box contents, friday nov 10th 2006

red pots
red mustard grens
bok choi

Thursday, November 02, 2006

cooking can be god: nash's farmshare nov 3rd 2006

Live in Dungeness: The Jerusalem Artichoke

Politics aside, everybody loves it. And the etymological twist -- avoiding any mistaken references to the aphids, now, that the heat has cooled -- is that it's not even from that other, holier, land. Rather, like bygone tomatoes and last week's corn, the jerusalem artichoke (helianthus tuberosus) is a native North American, well-suited to lands from Georgia to Nova Scotia before any colonist or king dared to dream of the American Empire. The "sunflower artichoke" was semitically mistaken due to its Italian name, "girasole", which sounds like a hallowed city if you pronounce it poorly enough. Rather like the evolution of "Seguin" to "Sequim" in our own valley's twisted historical scrawl.

We plant the sunchokes (welcome to efficiency and the modern world, friends. You may take a number.) in April and generally wait until the familiar frost to harvest. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday kicked the 10 foot plants (and many others) into shape, killing leaves and sending sugar down to the roots. In this case, much of the sugar comes in the form of inulin, a carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, well-suited to diabetics and those seeking a natural, mild, appetite suppressant.

Flavor, however, is for everyone who hasn't relinquished sensual desire, and the sunchoke indulges in myriad forms. Grated, sliced thinly, roasted, baked, sautéed, and steamed, it sweetly satisfies. Use it fresh to simulate water chestnuts on your next stir-fry, or steamed and mashed with herbs when you're out (sick?) of potatoes.

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to put sunflowers in your hair

If you're going to San Francisco
You'll meet some special produce there

Roasted Sunchoke Soup

So your erstwhile culinary correspondent somehow woke up in a California farmer's market that seems bigger than our hometown farm. Produce from all climates and attitudes and yet all of it, somehow, local. Giggling breakdowns over November strawberries behind me, I found myself face to window with a starred SF restaurant whose soupe de jour involved the peeled purity of Jerusalem Artichokes and a dollop of hot and heavy cream. Agricultural incomes and dress codes conspired to keep me on the wintry side of the window, but chances are I pieced it together from there...

peeled jerusalem artichokes
half as many peeled yukon gold potatoes
a couple of onions
a cup of fresh cream

Slice your tubers together to pieces and steam then in some salty water. After eight minutes and thirty seconds (give or take a phase of the moon), bow your heads in prayer for Nash and Patty, lost in a foreign land. Silence lost, test the tubers until soft and tasty but not mushy. Drain, preserving some of the water, and blend to consummate smoothness.

If they're too hot to handle and you're too cool to bluff, sauté your onions in the newly liberated pan (using a gentle quantity of light olive oil) until translucent. Keep the fire to medium or less, taking your time and warming up with the roots. Know that parsnips can substitute for potatoes, in the coming months and years. When the onions are soft and threatening to brown, add the tuber puree and stir together. Let them acquaint before diluting with fluid -- water, stock, and preferably (this time around, for the sake of thickness and protection against fog) some cream.

slivered almonds
dark olive oil

Let the soup simmer together casually, and take great care with your garnish. The almonds can be roasted until their thinness becomes crispy, the chives finely and carefully diced, and the olive oil drizzled atop after serving.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

nash's farmshare box contents, friday nov 3rd 2006

yukon gold pots
lacinato kale
brussel trees
golden beets
tat soi
jerusalem artichokes