Reasons to be glad you are not my roommmate

In general, living with me is probably better than living with a lot of other people. I am myself clean, and keep common areas very clean. I come with lots and lots of cooking paraphernalia and would rather share it than watch someone use cheap tools or improvise with the wrong ones. But, I can be pretty demanding about things that some people think don‘t matter. At least I can laugh at myself?
(earlier in the week)
Please segregate forks correctly. Dinner forks in the front, salad/dessert forks in the back. The point of kitchen organization is never to have to dig or search for things; they should be at one's fingertips. (Related point: I don't mind the cutting boards' new home, but they can't be jammed in sideways because that makes them harder to get out. Vertical, they are accessible and I like that there's a few cm more space to the left of the sink.)
Subject: gentle reminder
Any meat garbage (trays, especially those strange pads that line them) doesn't go in the regular trash, unless it is full and you are also throwing it out. I have thrown out the foul-smelling kitchen trash.
And in order to retrain your subconscious reflexes, I have left fork- separating as an exercise :) What do you imagine *does* go in the front-left-top section of the silverware tray if not the second most frequently used item in the drawer, after their spoony neighbors?
I thought we use to put them in the back shelf. That`s what I did so far, because the don`t entirely fit into the front shelf. Sorry again.
[historical point: no, I have not changed the allocation in the top section of the drawer-organizer. dinner forks in the front, salad forks in the back. It's not random or my own reflexes, but because I've thought about usage patterns. contrast things like the hand graters and ice cream scoop: it doesn't really matter which segment they go in, as long as they're not in the same one as the most commonly used items, the silicone spatulas.]
my question remains: what would you have in the front? the small forks? Then you have to pull the drawer out more if all you want is a dinner fork. Do you use small forks more than big ones?
The problem of 'fit' doesn't prevent the drawer from closing, and doesn't cause them to spill into other compartments. It's simply a matter of their tines being elevated by leaning on the rear of the compartment.
Even so, why would you mix them?!!?! if you think that dinner forks ought to go in the back because they 'fit' better, move the salad forks and I probably would be less annoyed than now where I find them all jammed together in the back.

um, yum

Vietnamese iron pot chicken


cool model for sometime in the distant future

Hidden Topic Markov Model

paper (pdf)
It differs notably from others in that, rather than treat each document as a single “bag of words,” it imposes a temporal Markov structure on the document. In this way, it is able to account for shifting topics within a document, and in so doing, provides a topic segmentation within the document, and also seems to effectively distinguish among multiple senses that the same word may have in different contexts within the same document.


stuff to make with what i have

  • Polenta with goatsbeard blue cheese
  • matzo ball soup (rosemary schmaltz)
  • prik khing curry with chicken and green beans
  • beet risotto, salad
  • tacos: bacon-mushroom, spinach-zucchini
  • rosemary ciabatta
  • carrot roti, chicken vindaloo?
  • seared tuna with grapefruit sauce, spinach


Lamb with jeweled rice

Lamb with jeweled rice
Originally uploaded by gay.goy.gourmet
The basics of jeweled rice are here (I always include barberries / zereshk, and a tiny amount of rose water. And scott believes there is no such thing as too much cardamom). The stewed lamb is sort of a combination of this beef sukka recipe and this afghan lamb one. I included spinach, tomatoes, and coconut milk.

Meat in St. Louis

I was recently asked to enumerate the meat producers about which I frequently rave in the St Louis area, and where they can be found. In general the markets I go to are Soulard and Tower Grove, having met the couple of Tower Grove meat producers at the now-defunct Central West End greenmarket. Sadly, that market didn't seem to thrive the way Tower Grove did and I defected when they did. Finally, many of these meats may be available at a couple of small local grocers: Local Harvest (who also deliver) and the City Food co-op. Living Springs eggs and bacon are available at the Wine Merchant. I will eventually add a listing of my favorite vegetable producers (though immediate shout out to Kruse Gardens, invariably my first stop at Soulard Market).

But, you say, there is no Tower Grove market in the winter! For 2007–8 at least, there is a winter market inside a nearby church: St. Louis Community Farmers' Market will be hosting a Winter Market in the Parish Hall every SECOND Saturday in the St. John's Parish Hall continuing Saturday, January 12th, from 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon.

  • Chicken: Harr Family Farm at Soulard Market. Special orders for such as pastured heirloom turkeys, geese, guinea fowl(!): 618 538 9295. He usually makes restaurant deliveries on Thursdays. Scott Harr raises a wide variety of poultry, as well as a variety of smokehouse treats (2/$15 smoked ducks made fantastic tacos. I'll bring to an event sometime.) He’s identifiable as the one with the live poultry at the market, in the northeast wing. Whole chickens between $4-5. He has eggs (good) $2, “organic” (gathered same-day, for which actually worth the premium) $3, and recently raised the price for arucanas (the green and blue ones) to $4. Also bacon, see below.
  • Smoked Chicken: Siebert, at Soulard. Northwest wing. $6 each for “regular” or “spicy”. Ready to take off the bone and turn into amazing chicken salad, tamal filling, etc. Unbelievably easy and super delicious.
  • Lamb: Prairie Grass Farm (Dave Hillebrand). Leg of grassfed lamb around $9/lb. Ground lamb about $5. His lamb-apple bratwurst is one of my favorite things ever. They are to be found at the tower grove market and (I think) Maplewood. They also have great eggs for $3.50/dz. His meats have been featured at Schlafly Bottleworks, and Prairie Grass hosts a once-a-year $50-75/plate farm dinner.
  • Pork: (Non-bacon) Hinkebein Hills Farm. Tower Grove, also Maplewood. Karlios Hinkebein has been written up in Sauce for his sausages and hams. Needless to say, this is pork with flavor, not that dry, bland “other white meat.”
  • Beef: Dan West of Living Springs has the best around. Hinkebein also, though he has more pork; might be cheaper. At Tower Grove, probably Maplewood. I eat less beef than most things, satisfying my steak cravings once every few months with a humongous Argentine steak at Tango Sur in Chicago.
  • Bacon: There’s a lot of great bacon around St Louis. Because I go to different markets, I mix it up a lot and have found things I like about all of them. Most often, I buy Scott Harr's, which is $3.29/lb. It's nice and thick, medium-fatty, good clean nonspecific smoke flavor. This is what I grilled for the department picnic. Second would go to Hinkebein's pork butt bacon. It's a leaner cut, very meaty, more pork than smoke flavor. His regular (belly) bacon is great too. Norris Farm appeared irregularly at Tower Grove; their bacon is sliced thin and was very good. Finally, M&K meats (573 564 6117) has appeared irregularly in the winter at Soulard. They seem to make primarily canned meat products for camping purposes, but they deserve special mention for their pepper bacon. They have also been known to have lamb, goat, elk, and venison.
  • Lard (fatback): There is no substitute for fresh lard especially in Mexican food. Unfortunately, fresh lard is very difficult to come by. In Chicago, I make a quick trip over to Pilsen for the fatty drippings from a pile of carnitas; in St Louis I have to render my own (chop fatback. 45 minutes in the oven. done.) and the only place I've reliably found hunks of pork fat is the “Olive Farmers Market”.

Sorrel and other ideas

For the other stuff:
  • Celery and water chestnuts with tofu in brown sauce
  • broccoli and beef — Maybe an attempt at what I shall call heroin beef
  • marsala braised carrots
  • more turnip purée?
  • beet risotto

greenhouse box!

Farmer Vicki has made our week: she emailed Sunday night to see if we wanted a random delivery of vegetables and eggs.
  • bag o’ carrots
  • lettuce
  • rosemary
  • mesclun
  • sorrel
  • broccoli
  • turnips
  • an enormous onion
  • apples
  • celery (either chinese or young and thin)



It is difficult to find the one product that best exemplifies the inanity of Skymall. Wayne Curtis in NYT’s “Jet Lagged” blog has done the best to date:
Also, you will find the SKYMALL CATALOG, from which you may order a product called “Poop Freeze,” described as a spray refrigerant that “chills animal waste to -62°F, creating an outer ‘crust’ that enables you to quickly place in a bag and dispose.” Feel free to spend the remainder of the flight trying to process this information.