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So, it’s been a while. Months and months. See, I’ve been traveling. A quick jaunt to Missouri for a wedding. A preliminary saunter to Louisiana to look at apartments. A trip (and fall) to New York to hang out with my sister (who canceled) and some very old friends (who did not). The official word came somewhere in all of this: Mr. Blackbird’s entire lab was transferring to New Orleans. We suddenly had to pack, break our lease, find a new one, no really, actually pack things in boxes, see friends in Dallas almost daily because all too soon they won’t be local, oh dear God we’re moving in three days why is nothing packed?
So, that was fun. We made it, driving through nonstop rain on Rosh Hashanah. Almost everything is unpacked, though in this smaller apartment I don’t know where to set up to take pictures yet. The kitchen is stocked and I’m ready to get back to the blog.
So far, the most interesting thing about New Orleans appears to be…everything. We live within walking distance of a drive through daiquiri place and an OTB parlor. Mr. B worried that this might mean we’re in a bad part of town, at first. Then he realized that every part of town is like that. The city has so much personality, and I’m excited to start digging into it. But the biggest culture shock so far has been this.
That’s moonshine. Corn whiskey in a mason jar. I picked it up at the grocery store. Now, maybe that’s not a big deal to some folks, but back in Texas if you want liquor, you’ve got to go to the liquor store. It won’t be open anytime convenient (and definitely not on Sundays) and it’ll be down in Dallas county because the cities you live and work in are semi-dry. The liquor store most certainly won’t carry apple pie flavored moonshine in a mason jar. And as whiskey is my only real vice, I just about started dancing in the aisles when I saw this in the grocery store. Next to the blueberry, cherry, and rhubarb moonshine. A few steps away from the sweet tea vodka. Now, if you notice the half-empty
bottle mason jar and realize that I’ve lived here less than two weeks… well, in my defense, I was sick as can be for the first five days or so and a few hot toddies do wonders for a sore throat. Also, yum.
Plus, baking! I love baking with liquor, and liquor that tastes like apple pie is just begging to be made into apple-filled desserts. Bread pudding with apples and cranberries. Apple pie blondies. Maybe a shot or two while the blondies are in the oven. Guys, this moonshine is delicious.
I really did make apple pie and moonshine blondies. Once we get back from this next holy-Moses-this-had-better-be-the-last-trip-for-awhile weekend back in Dallas, I’ll even give y’all a recipe.
It turns out that narrowing down, applying to, and otherwise stressing about graduate school is a very time-consuming operation. There are so many researchers working in so many fascinating areas that just reading the abstracts of their papers is a little overwhelming, let alone factoring in the schools’ research foci, locations, graduate placement odds, etc. Add into the mix sheer nerves about going back into academics after too many years working, and a pile of time spent re-teaching myself calculus I haven’t used since undergrad, and you’ll begin to see how the past weeks aren’t leaving much time for the blog.
I’m still cooking, but making the additional time for photographing and writing up those tasty items is on a lower priority for the moment. The plan is to return next week-end with some seriously delicious cauliflower, and get back to a once-a-week posting schedule following that.
The cauliflower is worth waiting for. In the meantime, have some olives and bocconcini and toast. We all need a simple lunch that needs no preparation sometimes, right?
So, this corvid is moving. I’m spending all my free time these days packing and hauling and (starting this weekend) painting instead of cooking and sharing. So as much as I’d love to tell you all about this lovely chocolate tart, and that rich purple pasta, and all the other things that have been hanging out in the back drawer of my hard drive (some of them since October, yeesh!) I think it’s going to have to wait. If I find myself with a couple of hours that aren’t filled with this madness, I’ll stop by. Until then, enjoy your holidays!
Seriously though, this tart? Oh my goodness. Don’t be put off by its ugliness. It’s probably the tastiest thing ever.
I’m a very picky eater. You wouldn’t know this if you met me (Oh, hush up, Mom. I know you know it!), but that’s for a few reasons. First of all, I eat a large variety of foods prepared a large variety of ways. In any given week, I’m likely to eat from at least three of my staple six cuisines: Italian, Japanese, Greek, New Mexican, French, and good old American. It’s hard for me to be considered picky when I’ve invented a whole new sauce just to enjoy modern Italian food, and I’ll turn around and make stir fry for dinner just to feel less guilty about that ice-cream filled crepe I had for lunch. The second reason I avoid suspicion as a picky eater is that 90% of the time, I do my own cooking. You don’t hear much about the foods I don’t like, because I don’t make them. Finally, I’m not picky in “normal” ways. I won’t try a new candy bar until I’ve analyzed its layers for weeks and possibly made a homemade version to see if I approve, theoretically, the flavor combination. Seriously, I didn’t try Twix until I was 23, because I (foolishly) doubted that the caramel would be good enough, the milk chocolate rich enough, or the cookie crisp and flavorful enough to impress me. But I’ll eat a plateful of greens cooked, raw, dressed, or plain and beg for more. Most picky eaters hate veggies, so I have you all tricked with my love of kale and artichokes and aubergines.
But it’s time to let you know, because I’m sick to my stomach and grumpy and tired and I did not make chicken noodle soup. Because with certain rare exceptions, I hate soup. Oh, I’m getting better. I’ll eat matzo ball soup and miso soup and even take a few bites out of soups that look rich and creamy and of uniform texture. But a bite or two of liquid food is about all I can handle. Even matzo ball soup. I have a bad habit of just plucking out the matzo balls and leaving the broth behind, making Mr. B wonder why there’s half a gallon of broth in the fridge with two sad little dumplings floating in it. Bwahahaha.
I hate one other thing even more than soup. It’s one of the most common ingredients and used in every cuisine I know of, and you can prepare it any way from fried to grilled to boiled, alone or used to flavor almost anything. Especially soup. That’s right, I hate onions. The throwing of objects and shouting of curses may commence.
I would like to say, in my defense, that I have tried to like them. I have no problem with the flavor of onions and am happy to chop one up to flavor my roasting potatoes or chicken stock and just toss it into the plants when the cooking is done, but the texture makes me cringe. No matter how raw or cooked it is, I feel like I’m eating bugs when I eat onions and it makes me gag. Not that I’d know what it was like to eat a bug. Yecch.
The rest of my list of no-no foods? Mushrooms of any kind, large amounts of hot or spicy ingredients (I’m fine with chile, but I want to be able to taste the corn and beans of my enchilada, too), and black pepper, and the dreaded coconut. Which isn’t even half of the foods I don’t eat, because I’m also horribly allergic to tomatoes and strawberries and I keep kosher (Well, mostly. I’ve broken that meat-milk rule on a number of occasions. Bad Corvid, I know.) which cuts out pork, rabbit, crustaceans, shellfish, eel, alligators (um. I ate alligator once, too. It was not so good.), turtles, jellyfish, shark, catfish, and lamprey. Although, honestly, have you ever seen a lamprey? It looks like something designed by Giger and has about 80,000 teeth. Do you really trust its flesh not to usurp your cellular processes and come back to life and maybe horribly possess you from the inside, or worse, bust out of you gut Alien style?
So maybe you’re wondering how my non-kosher husband handles all this pickiness. First of all, I’ve discovered that everyone is picky about some things. Seriously, even people who say they’ll eat anything and are willing to appear on Fear Factor to prove it are a little squeamish. Raw eyeball. Pressed duckling. Haggis. I could go on, but I feel it would be a little unfair, considering that you came to a food blog and got that horror show of a fish’s mouth to look at instead. Secondly, Mr. B is allergic to pork. We also cook in such a way that he can have his beloved shellfish and eel if he wants. He sometimes adds shrimp to his stir fry, after I’ve cooked my own vegetables. I have beans in my tacos, he has beef. Mostly, though, it all goes back to variety. We try new things often, cook different kinds of food, and generally eat as well as we dare. It’s quite nice actually.
Now, aside from lamprey, what are you picky about?