cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Salmon with preserved lemon, capers, and onion

Yesterday I was in charge of logistics for Shabbat in the park, which went swimmingly despite the cold. We boozed a bit to keep warm and commiserated gladly over food. Those with ancestors who lived in the Pale should be proud.

Preparations found me at 10am with four massive warm challot, fresh spanakopita, and a freshly baked salmon sitting on my kitchen table, filling the house with heavenly smells. I will be doing this again.

one tablespoon oil
a whole side of wild or Pacific salmon, about 1.5kg, not farmed or Atlantic
one preserved lemon, cut into 8 slices
one heaping tablespoon capers
one small yellow onion, cut into thin rings

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Place a piece of parchment on baking dish large enough to fit the fish. Pour the oil on the parchment and spread it evenly on the paper. Rinse the fish and place it on the parchment. Place preserved lemon pieces, capers, and thin slices of onion on the fish. Bake for 20 minutes.

crêpes without sugar or vanilla

1 cup (250 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons (25 ml) maple syrup
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) milk
1 dash orange blossom water (or more, but less than you think you need)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) unsalted butter, melted
Softened butter, for cooking

• In a bowl, combine flour, and salt. Add eggs, syrup, 125 ml (½ cup) of milk, orange blossom water, and stir with a whisk until smooth. Gradually add remaining milk, stirring constantly. Whisk in melted butter.
• Preheat a 23-cm (9-inch) non-stick skillet over just under medium heat (my stove goes up to 11). When the skillet is hot, brush with butter.
• For each crepe, pour about 60 ml (1/3 cup) of batter in the centre of the skillet. Tilt skillet to spread batter evenly until it covers the entire bottom of the skillet. When the edge peels off easily and begins to brown, it’s time to flip the crepe with a spatula. Continue cooking for about 15 seconds and then remove.
• Serve with dulce de leche.

Mortality in the developed world

US causes of mortality

This is why I’m interested in chronic disease.


Tonight Jérémie and I discovered the etymology of inodoro, Spanish for toilet. It’s really obvious but somehow eluded me all these twenty-five years. Inodoro: as in un-odorous. A toilet that took away excrement along with all olfactory evidence of its existence. The brilliant, neutral-smelling, cutting-edge of technology; so modern it came with a fittingly tidy, euphemistic name.

In other bathroom news, the Japanese have me wondering who is really wearing the pants in this relationship.


A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life

When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed very hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.
The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.


David Foster Wallace


In other DFW news, I finished Infinite Jest. Or rather, I finished reading it the first time, so I’m about halfway through. I am very sad to report that with a few weak exceptions in a 1000+ page book, it fails the Bechdel test and it hurts my soul a bit.

Sweet salty salmon

I made a resolution to eat fish twice a week, as recommended by the Coursera nutrition course I’m taking.

60 ml mirin
35 grams maple syrup
60 ml soy sauce
500 grams salmon
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 spring onion, halved and shredded into fine strips

Mix the mirin, maple syrup, and soy sauce in a shallow dish that will take all the salmon, and marinate the it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat.

Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn the salmon over, add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove the salmon to whatever plate you’re serving it on, add the rice vinegar to the hot pan, and warm through.

Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the spring onion strips. Serve over soba noodles.

Just do it

NYTimes on a dearth of women in science. Moral of the story, believe against all signs and reasons to the contrary that you can do it.

Nutrition notes

Basic calculation for protein needs in adults

Regular individuals need .8 g/day
i.e. 200 lbs/2.2 = 90.9 kg * .8 = 72.7 g of protein per kg/day

Power (strength or speed) athletes need 1.2 – 1.7 g/kg/day
Endurance athletes need 1.2 – 1.4 g/kg/day

White bean, mushroom soup

Two, maybe three cups white beans, soaked overnight
Two cups dried mushrooms (I used porcini, shiitake, boletes, and oyster; put in boiling water and left to steep, conserving the liquid), roughly chopped
100mL oil
Two sprigs rosemary
Two onions, chopped
Two dried Thai chilies (the common small red ones)
250mL sour cream or yogurt or light cream
About 16mL or a cubic inch of butter
Three shallots, finely chopped
Half the volume of chives, finely chopped
Cracked pepper

Heat pressure cooker over medium high heat. Add oil, rosemary, onions, chilies; fry till onions soften. Add beans and mushroom liquid to cover beans. Pressure cook 15m. Blend until smooth and salt to taste.

In separate pan, melt butter over high heat. Toss in the mushrooms, three-quarters of the shallots, and pepper to taste. Fry until fragrant and mushrooms fully cooked. Mix mushrooms into bean purée with three-quarters of the sour cream.

Mix remaining sour cream with remaining shallots and chives. Serve bean soup with dollop of sour cream.

Rakoff on cancer (and other personal disasters)

“In the end, what choice does one really have but to understand the truth, to really take it in, and then shop for groceries, get a haircut, do one’s work; get on with the business of one’s life.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers