Sunday, March 17, 2013

Strings in the Earth and Air

Strings in the earth and air
Make music sweet;
Strings by the river where 
The willows meet.

There's music along the river,
For Love wanders there,
Pale flowers on his mantle,
Dark leaves on his hair.

All softly playing,
With head to the music bent,
And fingers straying 
Upon an instrument.

James Joyce
 (Poetry on St. Patrick's Day by a son of Ireland.   I do not know the artist of the print but thought it aptly spoke Joyce's words .)                                                                                                 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Garlic Paste

Garlic Paste - mine more the consistency of mayonnaise - is a staple in Decadent Housewife's kitchen.   I use it to marinate chicken, pork, fish and fry up the shrimp.  It seasons beef, taco shells, wraps and gets dolloped onto salads.  Replace butter on a sandwich, and start every soup and nearly every vegetable dish with a dollop of this garlic paste.  That's a lot of garlic.  Yes.  Pass the tic tacs. 
 For sweet potato fries, stir fry, vegetables, or a batch of rice, this garlic paste is the starting point.  Geek Guy makes a version  with less oil and more garlic which truly is more like a paste.  Once I made a practise of laying on the garlic, we noticed less colds in the house. 

      Garlic Paste 
  • 3 bulbs of garlic, BULBS, not the individual cloves
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • sea salt, about 1/2 tsp.
  • olive oil - about 2 cups.  Frankly, I've never measured this.  Just make sure you have a litre or 750mls. of olive oil and you'll have plenty. 
 Smash the garlic with a mallet or anything else you think might work.  A coffee mug or pot bottom would do.   You are trying to get the peels off by doing this.  I don't mash with a knife like real chefs.  No thanks.
 Peels come off the garlic nicely once the cloves are smashed.  If it really bothers you, cut the small base end off the cloves too.  But really, it isn't necessary.   I use an empty tall 650 ml. salsa jar to make my paste.   That is just under 3 cups.   Drop the garlic in, toss in the salt and lemon juice, and cover with olive oil.  

Start to blend the mix.  I use a handheld blender.  Not really the best for this purpose.  I've burned up two of them making this stuff.  Essentially, we are making a mayonnaise without the eggs.   The oil must be added slowly in order to incorporate well with the garlic.  The handheld therefore can overheat.   It would be better to use a heavy duty blender which sits on the counter.  But, Buff has mine so he can keep enjoying his algae smoothies while away at college.  This will do.
Blend the mix until smooth.  It won't cream up right away, but keep adding a little more oil, about a half inch  (four glugs) each time.  Continue to blend.  You'll do this about six times more.  When the blender starts getting a little too warm, give it a rest.
 Keep working until that jar is filled right up to the top and you get this.
Go forth and conquer!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Future Violin Player Contemplates Childhood

Let's see; double stops, arpeggio runs, fingered octaves, up-bow staccato and some guy named, Paganini.  Sigh. 
There goes my childhood or move over, Dad.