The Gastronomist Manifesto

Chefs of the World Unite!

New Kitchen! Old Blog!

I let this site fall away. The glamour faded of being another “food blogger” in a virtual market where there are six blogs for every one reader (based on a statistic I just made up.) :Life got in the way, and this site has never been anything but a fun diversion shared by myself, a few friends and the occasional stumbler–welcome!

But a few things have changed:

1.) Moved to a new house with a much, much nicer kitchen!

2.) I now earn an honest living as a cook. So not only am I sharing food I’ve made; I’m dispensing real PROFESSIONAL advice here!

3.) I’m more actively pursuing a “near-vegetarian” diet. What is that? Basically, I’m trying to adjust to a diet that doesn’t assume meat as the normative, central focus of meals. That Americans in particular should for ecological, social and ethical reasons drastically cut back on meat, but that absolute vegetarianism, if it seems to harsh for many to even attempt, needn’t be 100% to have an effect. And I cook meat for my job, which includes a lot of free meals so…

Tonight is my first attempt at making something that wasn’t just “throwing something together.” This is what I was craving and this is what I made

IMG_20150107_165150~2

RICE BOWL W/ PEANUTS, PEARS AND RAW VEG W/ A JAPANESE-INSPIRED DRESSING

Okay, the name of it is longer than most sentences in this blog. Does it sound alluring?! Cold rice and raw vegetables? Pears in that shit? Why?! But this is one of the tastiest things I’ve made in a long time. Plus, aside from the condiments, which I figured I’d need to splurge on soon enough, it’s damn cheap.

STEP ONE: Cook up some rice. I made about 500 mL because the measuring cup in my kitchen–when held in the right hand, which I am–shows metric. That’s about two cups cooked if you prefer the Imperial system. Start this first. Chill when done.

STEP TWO: Prepare vegetables. Ideally about as much vegetation as rice. What kind? This is a good recipe for using what’s on hand, and since this is a cold dish, what can be cut fine/thin and raw. I used:

– Half a handful of broccoli florets.

– Half a small zucchini. Cut into very tiny ‘matchsticks.’

– Two stalks of green onion. (Halve that if you don’t like onion. I love onion!)

– One bosc pear, sliced.*

– Peanuts… like a handful-ish.

STEP THREE: Make the dressing. It’s super easy.

Take a small knob of ginger. Slice off the skin on all sides, plus cut away any exposed part not covered with skin (ginger dries out and gets woody and inedible real fast where it’s been cut.) I came up with a piece about the size of the last digit on my pointer finger. Put in on a cutting board or firm surface, and SMASH IT LIKE THE CHAINS OF CAPITALISM. When it comes to both ginger and garlic, I am a firm believer that they should almost always be crushed first. You want their delicious oils and plant phenols or whatever their flavor-substances are that are trapped in their cell walls. Smashing/crushing will make your ginger more ginger-y.

In a bowl mix with the ginger about two tablespoons of soy sauce and rice vinegar, a quick splash of toasted sesame oil, half a tablespoon to a tablespoon of miso (sub in sriracha for heat, curry paste for zing, or even peanut butter if you don’t have miso.)

Take a fork and start stirring your dressing vigorously with one hand while slowly and I mean SLOWLY drizzling in a light vegetable or canola oil in. Now a classic vinaigratte will tell you to use add at least twice as much oil as the sour base, but this is not a dressing for greens; oil makes dressings “sticky” but this is going onto sticky rice so why add a lot of calories? Aim for a 1:1 ratio and just eye-ball it.

STEP FOUR: ASSEMBLE!

Mix everything together. This dish shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to make if you’ve got decent knife skills and cook white rice first. It’s not complicated, neither should the serving of it. Dump it in a bowl, or on a plate, or in an inverted fedora. It’s got a nice balance with the nutty, earthy sesame oil and the bright punch of the ginger; using raw vegetables/peanuts contrasts crunch with the rice. Other cliche sounding words used by food critics… this is simple, vegan, tasty and budget friendly.

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