Note to self: this recipe is good.
First fingerling potatoes are at the farm market and I made a salad:
Recipe: Cut (don’t peel) potatoes, roast at 425 for 20 mins with some salt, pepper, oil (I use grapeseed.) Let cool a bit, then toss with chopped scallions, dill (had no fresh so I used dried), crumbled-up feta, and the best olive oil you have in the house. I’m liking Partanna lately.
This is basically taken from the Moldavian Potato Salad recipe in Please to the Table but I like it better with roasted potatoes and without the vinegar. My apologies to the Moldavians.
CJ had a vision for dinner. I don’t know where he came up with this. But he said he wanted mashed potatoes with green beans and chopped up hardboiled eggs. OK I said but you know what it needs, some Penzey’s toasted onions and we can put some chunks of gruyere in there and it’ll melt. In the end I was suspicious of the hardboiled eggs so we had them on the side. The final product was something I think could easily be sold in the grocery store hot case at $8.99 a pound. I know this looks kind of like barf, but it works. (See also: the Israeli electoral system.)
Everybody’s talking about Laurie Penny’s awesome essay responding to Scott Aaronson’s courageously candid blog comment, all touched off by the canceling of Walter Lewin’s online course after he sexually harrassed one of the students.
Scott is frustrated that shy, nerdy men are seen as “privileged.” He thinks they’re the opposite of privileged. I don’t see things the way Scott does, but I’m glad he wrote what he wrote. It must have been pretty hard to do.
Scott feels a certain distance from feminism because of stuff like this:
Here’s the thing: I spent my formative years—basically, from the age of 12 until my mid-20s—feeling not “entitled,” not “privileged,” but terrified. I was terrified that one of my female classmates would somehow find out that I sexually desired her, and that the instant she did, I would be scorned, laughed at, called a creep and a weirdo, maybe even expelled from school or sent to prison. You can call that my personal psychological problem if you want, but it was strongly reinforced by everything I picked up from my environment: to take one example, the sexual-assault prevention workshops we had to attend regularly as undergrads, with their endless lists of all the forms of human interaction that “might be” sexual harassment or assault, and their refusal, ever, to specify anything that definitely wouldn’t be sexual harassment or assault. I left each of those workshops with enough fresh paranoia and self-hatred to last me through another year.
But here’s the thing. Were those workshops, and the feminist writers he read in college, trying to tell him it was a monstrous thing for a man to try to date a woman? Here’s one clue: most feminists, like most women generally, are straight, and date men. Many of the people leading his sexual-assault prevention workshops probably had boyfriends. Many of the feminist writers he read were married to men.
So where, if not from feminists, was he getting the idea that a romantic approach was inherently a kind of assault? That’s patriarchy talking. It’s patriarchy that gets between your ear and your mind and turns “Be sensitive to the cues of the person you’re approaching and wait for consent” to “You’d better not even try,” because it’s patriarchy that presents conquest and seizure as the only allowable model for a man’s sexuality.
Now here my imaginary Scott Aaronson protests, “but I didn’t think all expression of het interest was assault, only that my own wasn’t guaranteed not to be, and nobody would tell me how to get that guarantee.” To which I can only say: yep. When you take driver’s ed they don’t tell you any formula that absolutely positively guarantees you won’t crash your car, hurt yourself, hurt someone else, ruin your life. If you demand such a guarantee they’ll tell you “All I can say is never drive, it’s the only way to be sure.” But if this leads you to never drive, because the risk is too great to be borne? That’s a problem with your risk assessment, not a problem with driver’s ed.
It’s sad and kind of crushing to read what happened to Scott. He says he wanted to be a woman, or a sexless being. He thinks that’s because feminism made it seem intolerable to be a man. But it wasn’t. Partly it was because he attached vastly more anxiety to the difficulty of dating than most people, even than most shy, nerdy, romantically inexperienced people (hi, teenaged me!) do. And partly it was because patriarchy gave him a false and vicious idea of what a man was.
That first line again:
Here’s the thing: I spent my formative years—basically, from the age of 12 until my mid-20s—feeling not “entitled,” not “privileged,” but terrified.
He was both! You can be — in fact, it’s hard for a man not to be — both beneficiary and victim of sexism. Those two things don’t cancel each other out like positive and negative terms in an equation. They are both there, and they both count.
Turd and bean soup is a terrible soup. But: when your friend, who has only turds, says, “I’m hungry, I wish my soup had some beans in it,” it is no reply at all to say “but my soup is filled with turds and the beans kind of taste like turd.” They are still beans. Even as your mouth fills with the rich flavor of turd and you feel like puking, the beans nourish and enrich you.
Mostly so I don’t forget: this beef rendang recipe was sensational. I tweaked it a lot — no chilis because my wife and kids don’t eat spicy, no fennel seeds because I have no fennel seeds, and I cooked it in the crockpot, which made the texture more like a rich beef stew than classical rendang. But it tasted great and both children were into it, so into the rotation it goes.
Dinner tonight, cobbled together from various recipes found online:
4 cobs sweet corn
1 medium sweet potato
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
4 c whole milk
salt, pepper, cumin
Recipe: Preheat oven to 450. Scrape corn kernels off the cobs. Melt butter in pan, add flour, cook until it is roux. Add a little more butter if needed and saute diced onion and garlic about 5 min until soft. Add milk and kernel-less cobs. Remove ribs and seeds from jalapeno and add it whole. This is going to simmer about 30 mins. and meanwhile you are cutting up the sweet potato and red pepper and scallion and roasting them with the corn kernels until everything is slightly charred and smoky. That being done, take some of the sweet potatoes and puree them with some soup to make a nice orange-brown paste. Throw out the cobs and the jalapenos and put the sweet potato paste, red peppers, corn, and scallions in the soup. Heat through, season with salt, pepper, cumin to taste.
Notes: It’s not clear to me that the jalapeno added anything. Also, it was too thick; next time I might skip the roux.
Update: Skipped the roux, dropped the jalapeno, added a chopped/seeded Anaheim to the red pepper, even better.
Soup looked like this:
Sometimes if I’ve got feta lying around I make Moldavian potato salad, which I got out of David Carlton’s copy of Please To The Table sometime in grad school. (Looks like this recipe has been plagiarized here.) Anyway, I had a bunch of little CSA yellow potatoes tonight and felt like making this, but wasn’t in the mood for boiled potatoes. So instead I did it hash-style. Diced potatoes, scallion, garlic, olive oil, dill (didn’t have fresh, used dried), salt pepper, in one layer on a baking sheet, feta crumbled on top. (Proportions can be found in the linked recipe but I didn’t follow these, just put in what looked good to me.) Roasted at 350 for, I dunno, a half hour, until feta nice and brown. I was going to dress it with a little more olive oil when it came out — it would also have been natural, I see now, to drizzle some lemon juice on it — but it was great just as it was.
Something fast to eat on cold nights:
some shredded cabbage (in a bag is fine)
mustard (we use spicy brown)
red wine vinegar
Procedure: put some olive oil in a pan, chop the apples and fry them with a little pepper. Throw the shredded cabbage on top of it and fry further. Put in some mustard and stir. Then toss a glug of red wine vinegar in the pan, cover, and let steam a few minutes. Good with chopped up turkey kielbasa in it.
CJ asked me also to blog about his strawberry pineapple cheese pie. (This is a layer of shredded cheese on a plate, with frozen strawberries and pineapples on top, microwaved until melted and thawed respectively.)
It’s hard to make a turkey burger taste good. You kind of need to season the hell out of it. We mixed a pound of ground turkey with a minced half-onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, an egg, and — CJ’s idea — 1/2 tsp each cinnamon and cumin. Kind of a turkofta. Onions keep it from getting dry, spices keep it from getting bland. I blog it in order to remember it.
In other news, this New York Times gazpacho smoothie is ace and we’ve been making it three times a week. The suggested pecorino crackers are too salty and unnecessary.
We’re in the heart of tomato season now and I’m buying about 10 lb a week. Did you know there was a Paul Robeson tomato? Once you sang on Broadway and battled for civil rights, Paul Robeson. Now you are in my smoothie.
We don’t eat ham in our house, but CJ got excited about having green eggs anyway. We had them for lunch today. And this is how you make them: get the blender out and puree a bunch of peas, a handful of basil, and some grated parmesan or what have you. (I used Farmer John’s excellent asiago.) Put in a little half and half if you swing that way. You will get something very green. Mix the greenness with eggs and scramble up as desired.