Wednesday, April 27

The story about Napoleon & Josephine is apparently true

"Ne te lave pas, j'accours et dans huit jours je suis là. " (Don't wash, I'm rushing back and I'll be there in a week.) according to, it's from Napoleon's love letters to Josephine (Lettres d'amour à Joséphine, Fayard, p. 155)

Or not. See the comment below.

Monday, March 14

Chinese noodle sauce (炸酱面)

300 gr. ground pork (10 oz.)
hot peppers, finely chopped
4 shiitake mushrooms, minced
1 chopped onion
1 chopped tomato
4 (?) finely chopped celery stalks
4 pieces extra firm "dry tofu" (豆干) sliced into 1/3 thickness, then tiny cubes
sweet bean sauce 甜麵醬
sesame oil

Heat pan until very hot, add 3-4 Tablespoons oil, drop in peppers to sizzle, turn off heat and fry until fragrant (“爆香”: “sauté until aromatic” )
Turn on heat, add ground pork, break it up and stir-fry, adding salt & pepper and cook until browned. Oil will be pretty much absorbed. Remove hot pepper & pork to bowl.
Heat pan until very hot, add 3 Tablespoons oil, drop in shiitake mushrooms, turn off heat and fry until fragrant, adding salt and pepper, fry until oil absorbed. You may actually need to add oil. Remove mushrooms.

Heat pan until very hot, add 3 Tablespoons oil, drop in chopped onion, stir fry, add salt.
Add "dry tofu", continuing to stir fry.
Add chopped tomato, continuing to stir fry.
Add chopped celery, fry, add salt & pepper.
Continue frying until liquid is absorbed; may need to add oil.

The fried "dry tofu" & vegetables will be about twice the quantity of meat and mushrooms.

Add several Tablespoons of 甜麵醬; enough to darken.
麻油 to flavor.

Serve a small amount (with julienned persian cucumbers) over noodles

Sunday, November 1

You know the good years when you're in them

You know the good years when you're in them, or you just wait for them until you get ass cancer and realize that the good years came and went.

True Detective S01E05 "The Secret Fate of All Life"

Saturday, September 12

The imperialist and patriarchical hierarchy between author and reader.

Rich Smith writes,
Conceptual poetry, like conceptual art, privileges a reader’s thoughts about the text over the author’s rhetorical devices within the text. . .  These writers imagine the text not as a thing that should absorb you, but as a reflecting pool into which you can look and see and think whatever you want to see. Conceptualists claim this dissolves the imperialist and patriarchical hierarchy implied by the traditional relationship between author and reader.
Bold in the original.

Sunday, July 5

Chicken stewed in soy sauce and spices (滷味; lǔ​wèi)

Quantities and types of meats vary. I like:
chicken legs
chicken gizzards
hard-boiled chicken eggs

First parboil the meats a couple of minutes. Drain, then prepare:
1" length cassia bark (桂皮; guì​pí)
6-7 pieces rock candy sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
smashed ginger root the size a large thumb
¼-½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine

Put in the legs and add:
water to cover
simmer until cooked through (40 minutes?).
Remove the legs and put in the gizzards. Cook until tender (they'll take much longer than the legs; possible a couple of hours). Add the peeled hard-boiled eggs after 40 min. or so; when the whites are brown you'll know they've absorbed enough flavor.

Cool and eat. These also make good leftovers.

Tuesday, June 9

Oatmeal cookies

Preheat oven to 350

Bake 1½ cups walnuts or pecans 5 min.

Beat together:

1 cup crisco
2 T water

1¼ cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 ½ cups white flour or ¾ cup white flour and ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1 t (kosher) salt

1 t cinnamon
3 cups Old Fashioned Oats

Mix all these ingredients, then add the 1½ cups walnuts

and if you want, 1½ cups raisins

Drop 2" mounds on greased baking sheet, bake 12-16 minutes

Sweet-sour cabbage

Rip the leaves of about half a green cabbage head into 1-2" pieces.

Using the pan for the Stuffed Jalapeños with the oil still in it, drop in the cabbage and after frying briefly, add

½ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. Slowly stir fry until tender. Depending on how how"pungent" the jalapeños were, this may be very highly spiced, too.

Stuffed Jalapeños

Select about a dozen jalapeños that are fairly large and straight (easier to stuff ).

To ground pork (enough to stuff: about ½ lb.), add about ¼ teaspoon minced ginger and one minced scallion, a teaspoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of rice wine (米酒), and a teaspoon (?) of salt. Mix together and add a splash of water to make the mixture a little pasty and easier to manipulate.

It's best to wear gloves when you cut the tops off the peppers and gouge out the membranes and seeds with a long skinny knife like a steak knife, then stuff with the meat mixture.

Heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan, and slowly cook the peppers over medium low heat. Keep them covered except when you turn them. It'll take about ½ hour till they caramelize so you'll know they're done.

The  jalapeños may be very "pungent" (spicy-hot). You may use the same pan to cook sweet-sour cabbage.

Thursday, June 4

Spaghetti with zucchini and garlic.

  • Grate zucchini.
  • Cook pasta
  • Fry minced garlic in olive oil.
  • Add grateed zucchini.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Saute 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Toss hot, drained spaghetti with zucchini and garlic oil.
Serve with Steamed shrimp.

Steamed shrimp

Defrost shrimp (if not fresh).
Steam on plate in top of double boiler; flipping over when pink.

Serve with Spaghetti with zucchini and garlic.

Wednesday, May 27

Am I playing a chess game of my own?

Elias: "I think you know something you don't even know you know, which means you're playing
a chess game of your own, Detective.You just don't realize it yet."
"Person of Interest" (Season 2 Episode 19)

Sunday, May 17

The stupidity and cruelty of the earth

This ugly sunlit picture of the stupidity and cruelty of the earth sent the ascetic finally to his prayers for purification and new thoughts.
That sounds very elevating. And yet as it turns out, the curate described here (in G.K. Chesterton's "The Hammer of God") doesn't behave very well.

Taro root

Wearing gloves, slice the skin off a large taro root. Rinse, then cut into sections and cut the sections into slices roughly a quarter inch thick. Heat a little oil in a pot, briefly stir fry the slices, then add water (enough to cover at least halfway, but you're not making soup). Simmer, stirring occasionally until the taro softens, adding water if necessary, then season with salt and sprinkle with green onion cut into thin slices. Eat.

I've decided that it's better than mashed potatoes, and practically a comfort food.


Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

Les mouches du temps aiment une flèche.

Saturday, May 16

SURS Loses Money On Salesmen

In Illinois, where Rauner is pushing retirement benefit cuts, the trend is illustrative. There, the $18.9 billion Illinois State Universities Retirement System (SURS) used placement agents for 15.6 percent of its private equity investments -- which then underperformed the pension fund’s other private equity investments by -9.2 percent. The underperformance may have cost the system hundreds of millions of dollars, money could have been used to shore up the plan’s funding.

The SURS declined to comment on the study in response to queries from IBTimes.
Full article here.

Sunday, May 3


MARISOL: Your mother's family is Spanish?
PILAR: Sure, they go back to Cortez. When he rode by, they were squatting in a hut cooking hamsters for dinner.

Friday, May 1

Deliberate exercise or display of the body is a prostitution

"I have wished myself to know that any deliberate exercise or display of the body is a prostitution; our created shapes being only our accidents until by taking pleasure or pains in them we make them our fault."
T. E. Lawrence, The Mint
That's a little extreme. And if you feel that way about your body, isn't your intellect also an accident?

Then on the other hand, what's wrong with prostitution?

Foreign aid making governments weaker

Anne Applebaum writes,
In 2009, Ashraf Ghani, now the president of Afghanistan, co-authored a book with Clare Lockhart that argued international aid had drastically weakened the Afghan state: Instead of building Afghanistan’s capacity to deliver health care or education, foreign donors set up parallel structures. Charities hired the best people away from the government and took all the money, too. Recently, an acquaintance who works in Mogadishu told me that exactly the same problem now afflicts Somalia. Instead of shoring up the central government, international policy seems designed to make it weaker.