cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Pad thai

I seem to have misplaced my most recent favourite pad thai recipe, so I found one from the NYTimes that is pretty good. I like how much fish sauce it uses but disagree that the noodles should be checked every 5 minutes — every minute is more accurate if using boiling water. Can use hot tap water instead and check less often. I also rolled up fresh kaffir lime leaves and sliced them into long thin strips, then added them at the same time as the bean sprouts and cabbage to give it that exciting citrus kaffir flavour. I used carrots instead of cabbage last night to good effect.

• 115 g rice noodles (between 6mm and 1mm wide)
• ¼ cup peanut oil
• 2 to 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
• ¼ cup fish sauce (nam pla)
• ⅓ cup honey
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
• 1/3 cup chopped scallions
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 eggs
• 1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
• 1 cup mung bean sprouts
• 300 g peeled shrimp, 400 g pressed tofu, or a combination
• 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 limes, quartered

1. Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside. Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
2. Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).
3. When shrimp begin to turn pink or tofu begins to cook, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.

Things learned in 2016

Logic symbols

Un mate está lavado cuando ya no hace burbujas (porque se quedó sin polvito, me imagino).

Corn chowder with salt cod

This is surprisingly good, as A would say. I made the corn chowder and added the flaked cod in at the last minute. Delicious without being heavy, and I think the salting of the cod rids it of any unpleasant fishiness.

Corn chowder by Jamie Oliver


  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 840 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 medium potato , peeled and cut into little cubes
  • 3 spring onions
  • 175 g frozen corn
  • ¼ cup fresh chives , chopped, or parsley


Pull the leaves from the celery stalks and set them aside. Chop your celery and onion. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the celery (not the leaves), onion, and thyme. Stir until the vegetables start to brown.

Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir for a few more minutes. Pour in the milk, add the potato and bring to a boil, stirring the whole time so the soup doesn’t stick to the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy – this will take around 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the celery leaves, trim the ends off the spring onions and slice them thinly. When the potatoes are tender, stir in the corn, spring onion and celery leaves. Bring the soup back to the boil, then serve.

Salt cod prep

Soak cod in plenty of cold water (cover by 5cm). Change the water at least 3 times a day. Repeat until cod is tasty and not too salty, up to 3 days. When cod is ready, place in a pot with plenty of fresh water (cover by 5cm), then bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Drain the fish and flake it to your heart’s content.


Go Tell It on the Mountain

Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live.

She knew that the big house, the house of pride where the white folks lives, would come down: it was written in the Word of God. They, who walked so proudly now, had not fashioned for themselves or their children so sure a foundation as was hers.

How to be present

fish cakes

I made little fish cakes for the first time and they were ridiculously easy to make. The only problem is they were so good I ate the whole filet.

1 filet of white fish, coarsely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
half cup bread crumbs

Mix thoroughly. Fry in a nonstick pan with a tiny bit of oil until browned on both sides. Serve with lemon on a bed of greens, with tomato stew, or whatever.

Music from last summer

Repollo rojo, ensalada

repollo cortado finito
zanahoria rayada
cebollita de verdeo cortada finito
sésamo a gusto

un diente de ajo picado finito
2 cucharadas de salsa de soja
2 cucharadas de jugo de naranja
1 cucharada de vinagre de arroz
1/3 taza de aceite de oliva
1 cucharada de aceite de sésamo
sal, pimienta


Yerba mala nunca muere (Coca)

La necesidad tiene cara de hereje (Piera)


Recipe by Eyal Shani and Miri Hanoch, from Haaretz.

1 whole medium-size, fresh, white cauliflower, florets tightly packed and covered in bright green leaves
3 tbsp. olive oil
mineral water
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Place the cauliflower in a metal pot and fill until 3/4 full with mineral water. Add about 10 grams of salt per liter of water. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, lower to a moderate boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cauliflower. Drain.

Brush the cauliflower with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place in a baking dish, place the dish in the center of the oven, and bake until the top turns golden brown.

Serve to the table in the baking dish. The outside of the cauliflower should be crisp and the inside as soft as butter. Separate the florets with a spoon and serve.


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