Friday, April 23, 2010
Do this for me. Buy yourself an inexpensive pasta machine. I mean, fork over the twenty-three bucks and get yourself a simple 9-setting, hand-cranked machine. Scratch pasta is the easiest thing in the world, just two ingredients, and it is so goddamn good. This is my current favorite pasta with wide-cut, hand-made noodles, dressed with a bright, tomato-based sauce made with the extraordinary Castelventrano olives of Sicily.
For the noodles
4-ish cups finely ground (“00”), unbleached flour
4-5 eggs (depending on size)
splash of cold water
For the basic tomato sauce
16 oz. whole peeled Roma tomatoes, hand crushed
1 yellow onion, finely diced
6-8 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely grated
pinch of raw sugar
dash of slightly soured, day-ish old red wine
extra virgin olive oil
For the olive sauce
1/2 lb. Castelventrano olives, pitted per instructions below
2 small, hot chili peppers, chopped
tablespoon crushed fennel seeds
extra virgin olive oil
Start by making the pasta dough. All the fancy new Italian cookbooks tell you to use “the well method”—you can look it up—but I start in a wide, shallow mixing bowl before upending onto the work surface. The basic rule is one egg per cup of flour, but as I prefer smaller eggs for their higher yolk-to-white ratio and more intense flavor, I often add an extra to get the volume right. Create a depression in the middle of the flour, crack the eggs directly into it, splash in perhaps a tablespoon of water, and slowly whisk/incorporate the flour and egg. (The water just makes an ever-so-slightly more pliant, workable dough). When you have a crumbly mixture, upend onto the work surface and begin to knead together. This requires some patience, and at first it will seem wrong. Remember: you are trying to make a very dry, stiff dough, in order to get firm, robust noodles. Don’t worry if you seem to lose a lot of flour in the process. That is normal.
Once the dough is formed into a stiff ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and set aside to rest and relax. Recipes advise a half an hour, but I always give it an hour at room temperature.
Now make the tomato sauce. Sweat out the onions, garlic, and carrot with a bit of salt in olive oil over a medium heat. Deglaze the pan with a splash of old, slightly vinegared red wine. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of sugar, and some more salt to taste. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce head and leave to simmer, covered, on a back burner.
Put on a very large pot of very salty water to boil.
Roll out your noodles. Divide the dough into quarters. Beginning at the lowest setting (in which the rollers are the farthest apart), work the dough into long sheets of pasta. At the lower settings, you will pass through once, then fold the dough back on itself and pass through again before moving onto the next setting. Typically, on my 9-setting machine, I do two passes at 1, two passes at 2, and two passes at 3. After that, I do a single pass through at each of the odd settings up to 9. As you roll it, it should be pliable, but not tacky. If it feels even slightly tacky to the touch, give the sheet a good rub, front and back, with flour. Lay out each long sheet on parchment paper.
Make the olive sauce. Crush the olives with the flat side of a knife. Remove the pit. Roughly chop the remaining flesh. Heat a very generous portion of extra virgin olive oil over high heat. Add the olives and chilis. Sauté together for just a minute or two. Add your tomato sauce and fennel seed. Salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium low.
By now your water should be at a rolling boil. With a pizza cutter, cut wide (1 1/2”) noodles perpendicular to each pasta sheet. Add them to the water. Cook for about 2 minutes. Increase the heat on the sauce to very high. Remove noodles with a strainer or slotted spoon and add directly to the sauce. Toss together for another minute. Serve immediately, garnished with a salty aged cheese like Pecorino Romano.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Jesus Buddha and Manjushri, a submarine sounds like a bathhouse. "[M]an hugs, rear-end patting and other rituals?" Where do I sign up?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
There is an ingeniously specious logic to the proposition that the failure to prevent a wrong abnegates the duty to redress it. That said, the defenders of speculation have become amusingly untethered from the typical and traditional defense of investment banking and market capitalism, which is to say that it these are the mechanisms through which the capitalist economy apportions capital to new and productive enterprise. It is perhaps the most fundamental defense of market capitalism--that it is a system uniquely effective at raising money to fund production--and it goes totally unmentioned. From the President to the pages of the Washington Post, you'll hear a lot of talk about the so-called financial industry, but no talk about industry. Whether Goldman Sachs and its peer organizations broke any particular laws or committed any particular fraud is almost wholly beside the point. Far more germane and far more damning is that they exist in a purely speculative and entirely fictive parallel economy in which no productive activity takes place. I mean, at least Wal-Mart sells some shit.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Manifestly insane person Richard Cohen has joined the chorus of reflexive Obama critics, accusing the President
of being anti-Israel of not convincing a small but vocal minority whose unempirical conviction that Obama is not a "supporter" of Israel wouldn't be shaken if the man shit mezuzot that His Prezness lurves Israel. Oh, 27% of Israelis believe that he's an anti-semite, Rebbe Cohen? There is, you know, another way to put it: 73% of Israelis agree that Obama is not an anti-semite. Lemme put it to you this way: a greater percentage of Americans believes that Reptilian shape-shifting alien Illuminatus Richard "Dick" Cheney piloted remote-control holographic spaceships into the Twin Towers on 9/11 in order to help Larry Silverstein scam an insurance company than the percentage of Israelis who believe that Obama hates Jews.
Obviously, Obama's policy toward Israel is manifestly similar to the policy of every preceding President, which is to stand resolutely and irrationally behind our little Miami Beach East no matter what it does. Bibi Netanyahu's crime wasn't that he traduced some substantive American policy, newly formulated by a pro-Palestinian Americna government. It was lèse majesté. He spoke out of turn. He failed to adhere to the protocols. Obama's comportment, carriage, and every utterance reveal him to be a man of exteme vanity. He's pissed that some little pipsqueak governor of an American protectorate minutely deviated from the approved line.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Oh. My. Goodness. Prominent liberals are now warning of sedition.
Occasionally I am still surprised by the willingness of prominent national newspaper columnists to write nationally syndicated columns in which they do little more than celebrate their own baleful ignorance, which everyone else is assumed to share. Anne Applebaum ladies and female impersonators:
Did you know that volcanic ash can bring down airplanes? I didn't know. Nor did I know that there were volcanoes in Europe capable of spewing so much of the stuff into the atmosphere.Really. A prominent commentator on European affairs didn't know that there are active volcanoes in Iceland. Really? She didn't know that jet engines are delicate, sensitive machines?
She didn't know that fresh produce is transported by air?
Meanwhile, I am boggled by this:
Over the past two decades -- almost without anyone really noticing -- Europeans have begun, in at least this narrow sense, to live like Americans: They move abroad for work, live for a while in one country and then move to another, eventually going home or maybe not. They do business in countries where they don't know the language, vacation in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic, visit their mothers on the weekends.I initially thought this was just bad editing, a typo, a transcription error, inverting Europeans and Americans. And yet, I think that Applebaum and her editors actually believe that internationalism is an American characteristic and national parochialism a European one. Obviously the particular examples are exactly backwards. How many Americans do you know who "vacation . . . in the Baltic"? One inevitably reveals one's class I suppose.
Actually, I suspect that Applebaum's professed ignorance of these matters is almost entirely dishonest and all marshalled in the service of making a tendentious point about science and "faith," forever set against each other in the American mind like that famous rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Yankees. Wait, what?
Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials. But we do not have the right to resort to violence — or the threat of violence — when we don’t get our way. Our founders constructed a system of government so that reason could prevail over fear. Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom.As some are evidently still confused about the proposition that states claim the sole legitimate use of force, here is Bill Clinton ably demonstrating the exact nature of this claim. We do not have any right to resort to violence, nor yet the threat of violence. As proof, he reminds us that competing claims to legitiamte violent recourse will be crushed by the state's instruments of coercive violence.
Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.
We are again dealing with difficulties in a contentious, partisan time. We are more connected than ever before, more able to spread our ideas and beliefs, our anger and fears. As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.
Civic virtue can include harsh criticism, protest, even civil disobedience. But not violence or its advocacy. That is the bright line that protects our freedom. It has held for a long time, since President George Washington called out 13,000 troops in response to the Whiskey Rebellion.
-America's First Black President
On the other hand, I'm a bit bemused by: "Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom." Proved it how exactly? There are some understandable, if weak, claims that law backed by coercive force is necessary in order to protect citizen-subjects from the greater infringements of the Hobbesian all-against-all state of nature that would obtain [IOZ: it would not necessarily obtain] in the absence of government. The minor infringement of municipal police force prevent the greater infringements of epidemic purse-snatching, or what have you. Like I said, these are weak claims, but they cohere and they have an internal logic. On the other hand, Timothy McVeigh's attack did not occur in a lawless environment. I mean, it was plainly a violation of extant laws; it was clearly illegal. How that is dispositive evidence of the inextricable link between law and liberty is beyond me. If a deranged violent criminal breaks into your home and slaughters your family, then does that also prove an equation of law and liberty? There is, literally, Joe Biden, no logical connection between Oklahoma City, the law, and "freedom." Like, instead of saying, "If A, then B, and if B, then C; thus therefore if A and B, then C," Bill Clinton is saying, "If A, then Cow, and if Cow, then Blammo!; thus therefore 10." Well, I mean, okay, Groucho. The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.
What Oklahoma City teaches is that claims to the unique legitimate right to exercise violence are not the same as an actual monopoly on violence, and that those who reject the uniqueness claim may come to exercise what they too believe to be legitimate force. This, by the way, is why the state's interlocutors persistently call terrorism an "existential threat." It is not actually a crisis of existence, but a frightening legal challenge. Think of al Qeda et al. not as "militants," but as trust busters.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
EndoStim is a little start-up I was introduced to on a recent visit to St. Louis. The company is developing a proprietary implantable medical device to treat acid refluxOh LOLZ! Let's translate:
The company is brewing a patent medicine certain to cure the woes of heartburn and indigestion!Otherwise I urge you to count the companies named.