30 September 2008

Mad Scientist Kitchen

Warren Ellis relates recipes for garlic mashed sweet potatoes and onion marmalade. His procedure for roasting the garlic:

* Roasting garlic

Pull a good length of tin foil. Fold it in half. Fold the edges together, a half-inch or so, to make a seam. Fold it in half again. Fold a seam along the sides, leaving the top open. See what you’ve made? A tinfoil pocket. A shiny silver scrotum from the future. Now get a garlic, a whole head. Find a knife and slice the very top off, so you can see the tops of the individual cloves inside. Put it in the tinfoil pocket.

Open a bottle of beer. Not fucking Budweiser or Labatts — a proper beer, damnit. During this experiment, I used the outstanding Black Adder ale from Mauldons. A good bitter, an ale, an IPA — a proper fucking beer, you know what I mean. Pour some down your throat. Now pour some in the tinfoil. A mouthful or so. Spit your mouthful out into the pocket if you’d like. I mean, it’d be disgusting, but the person you’re cooking for will never know, right? Close up the pocket, so you now have a sealed tinfoil bag full of a head of garlic and (possibly regurgitated) beer.

Sling it in the oven. Your oven is set to 190 degrees C, which is 375F or Gas mark 5. It’s going to be in there for an hour. Have some more beer. Swallow it this time, you freak.

It continues in a similar vein. Go read.

21 September 2008

Potato-Watercress-Basil Soup

With a bag full of potatoes a few weeks old, and hosting Soup Collective today, there was a fairly obvious course of action: potato soup. I called JD and asked if she had any particular favorites; she found one that wasn't quite what she was thinking, but still sounded pretty good. I modified slightly onnacounta lack of leeks.

  • 6 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 6 potatoes unpeeled and diced
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, fresh
  • large bunch of spring onions
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup watercress, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice or cloves
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cups milk


  • Combine stock, potatoes, onions and cook over medium heat for 15-20 min. until potatoes begin to soften
  • Dice spring onions; melt butter and sauteé spring onions w/allspice; add 1/2 cup white wine and cook off partially; add watercress and sauteé 5 more minutes; set aside
  • Add basil to potato soup mixture and cook 5 minutes
  • Add spring onions to soup; simmer
  • Stir in milk; do not reboil

14 September 2008

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Ezra Klein explains the badness:

But that's not the real problem with high fructose corn syrup. The bigger issue, which the industry neither can nor particularly cares to rebut, is that the product exists at all. We pump absurd quantities of cash into subsidizing corn (we also have a huge tariff on Brazilian sugar cane, incidentally). Over the past 10 years alone, Congress has appropriated more than $50 billion to encourage farmers to grow the stuff. But people don't want to eat $50 billion in subsidized corn. And if the cobs just sat around developing mold, Congress would cut off the spigot. Enter high fructose corn syrup, which sucks up the subsidies and created a world in which calories from a sweet, highly caloric additive have become the cheapest of all energy sources. That's the primary way the syrup contributes to obesity: Not by being more fattening, but by being so heavily subsidized that it makes it far cheaper to sustain yourself on sweetened carbohydrates than on nutritious food. That might be fine if the sweetener were naturally cheap, but instead, taxpayers are funding a concerted effort to flood grocery stores with unnaturally cheap, utterly unhealthy, foods.

Nothing more to add, there.

03 September 2008

Lentil Soup

Sick, and without canned soup, I looked through the cupboard and found enough for a lentil soup recipe, modified slightly for lack of other vegetables:


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste


  • In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions; cook and stir until tender.
  • Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour.
  • When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.


  • Success!