Clean And Not So Simple

First, the bad news: Milo has spontaneously started saying “Yum-O!” despite having had zero exposure to the Rachael Ray (we have no TV.) I always thought that he would be older- perhaps wrapping our car around a tree- before I would be forced to disown him. But I think we all saw it coming; not even the fact that he looks unbelievably adorable rocking my Grandfather’s vintage and yet totally of-the-minute skinny ties is going to be enough to save our relationship. We had a good run while it lasted.

We’ve been trying to keep it simple lately; I’m busy in the studio and with other projects so dinners have become decidedly unfancy as a result. I think that once the seeds come and I start thinking about the garden I might be inspired to make some more wintry feasts before the menu lurches- by way of a ubiquity of ramps- into spring. It’s also fun, if in a quiet way, to wring interesting meals out of a few non-luxe ingredients. This one was a case in point.

There was a half-bundle of pad thai noodles in the cupboard, so I soaked them in warm water and got some other things going. A container of shredded cabbage that didn’t fit in the kimchi crock made a comforting side after a sautée with fenugreek, coriander, and mustard seeds and then a braise in sake. Half a cucumber, peeled, made a quick little salad with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Half a bunch of kale got a quick wilt with smashed garlic and a deglaze of lime juice. I made a sauce for the noodles out of peanut butter, sesame oil, a couple of vinegars, nam pla, ginger, kabosu juice, and soy sauce, and dumped the softened noodles into the empty kale pan to cook for a minute before tossing in the sauce along with some leftover sautéed brussels sprouts.

We had some more Ommegang beer- a “Three Philosophers” which is a dark ale to which they’ve added 2% cherry lambic. I didn’t know this, or I wouldn’t have bought it; I think fruity beers are almost as bad as the Rachael Ray. Having said that, 2% was not so overwhelming, and it did go pretty well with the food. Maybe I’ll keep the kid after all; in this economy it might be worth putting some pleated jean shorts on him and giving him a cooking show.

7 comments to Clean And Not So Simple

  • Zoomie

    Milo cracks me up! Don’t you know that kids always rebel in the ways that will drive their parents the craziest? You were anticipating wrapping the car so he had to find a more pointed way to show his individuality.

  • Heather

    Maybe it’s because of my breeding, maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I love Lambic. An ice-cold glass of Lindemans Pêche on a summer day is a thing of happy.

    It’s not too late to send Milo to military school.

  • Brittany

    I wouldn’t start to worry until he starts quoting Paule Dean.

    There is a little pub here that serves Labic floats. I’m a little uncertain of them, but then I’m not Heather.

    Sheesh. Oregonians and their fruity beer.

  • We Are Never Full

    you crack me up.

    milo… it was nice to know you, even if i never met you. i’m going to have to stop coming to this blog now that i know your daddy has a mini ray-ray in the house. good luck with the rest of your life. let’s hope daddy doesn’t teach you “bam” or “kick it up a notch”. i will pray for you my son.

  • cook eat FRET

    (i just say) what they all said…

  • peter

    Zoomie: At this rate, he’ll end up a Republican too.

    Blanche: I think it’s because you’re always about 2 wine coolers away from taking your top off at a NASCAR rally.

    Brittany: I know. It’s really, really sad. And the worst part is that they act all cool, but deep down they SO wish they were Washington.

    Amy: Can I interest you in a slightly used 4.5 year old?

    Claudia: You would.

  • Zoomie

    Imagine how William F. Buckley must have felt…

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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