Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tastee Delites

I once sent Leigh Stein a chapbook inside a flattened Nilla Wafers box. Little did she know, the wafers therein had become crumbs, and the crumbs had become rum balls.

Did you like my little story?

Three key ingredients for vegan cooking:
  • Coconut milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Avocado
What's the connection? Fat. These foods provide much-needed richness to a cuisine that can't rely on butter, cream, cheese, bacon and other animal-derived delicacies for flavor. But fat carries flavor. Give a man a good, fatty, salty Thai curry or a big bowl of peanut noodles and he will not complain "What is this vegan crap." Unless he sucks, in which case I can't help you.

I left olive oil off the list because, duh. You also need to use a lot of olive oil. Fat isn't bad for you people. In fact, even saturated fat isn't bad for you. Americans eat less saturated fat than almost any other culture, but keep keeling over from heart attacks. "Think about it." However, most saturated fat is made from God's favorite baby animals. So I mostly stick to "EVOO" (gag).


The editor of the Readings section of Harper's finds nothing so droll as human torture. Every month he unearths new anecdotes of gouged out eyeballs and men eating cement made from their own ground up bones and urine. He's like, "Heh! The humanity."

That last bit was not about food. I pulled the old bait & switch on you.

Now that you're good and hungry, a recipe (NB: not vegan):

Creamy Lemon Pasta

1/2 pound egg pasta, preferably pappardelle or fettuccine
3 T butter (about)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced or sliced
1/3 cup light cream (about)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (about)
splash of white wine (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmesan, pecorino or romano (about)

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a big pinch of salt and cook the pasta. While that's going on, melt the butter, then add the lemon zest and garlic and sautee over medium-low heat for a bit; don't let the garlic or butter brown. Then add the cream, yogurt and wine along with some salt (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of coarse or kosher salt probably) and freshly ground pepper. (You could use all light cream or full cream and ditch the yogurt if you wanted this to be really disgustingly rich, as it was the first time I made it. Mmmm.) Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it hang out on lowish heat while the pasta finishes and you make a salad or some roasted asparagus or what have you to go on the side. When the pasta's ready, drain it and toss it with the sauce, the lemon juice and the cheese. Most of the sauce will absorb into the pasta, and this is yummy. Serves 2 with probable leftovers.


John is packing our books in alphabetical order so we can easily shelve them that way. File under fine line between simplification and compli(fi)cation.

Tomorrow we may go see the new Pixar movie. My brother no longer works at Pixar, but I think he still gets some kind of profit-sharing bonus from ticket sales. So this one's for you, bro. Get me back at Xmas.


  1. "These dense, moist treat are irresistible. Wrapped in a pretty box, they make a great gift, too." Yay, rum balls; yay, fat!

  2. I remember that! I was living in Albuquerque. I thought you were possibly the coolest person ever, first because I couldn't imagine mailing anything in something so cool (and reminiscent of preschool) and also cause I liked the chapbook.