Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Cook Avoids Seppuku

Sometimes you just say, fuck it, I'm going to cook up some poison.  In this case, maybe a mild irritant more than poison, but still verging in the realm of poison.  Yes, I'm not going to give up on this poison thing.  Legend has it, that if a diner dies from eating Fugu, the chef must take his own life using the same knife with which he prepared the fatal fish.  Since I was cooking only for myself, this didn't reasonably seem like a potential outcome.  If by chance the poison ended my life, I couldn't very well raise my blade in one final act of solidarity.  Also, I wasn't cooking highly toxic blowfish, but merely a weed capable of inducing paresthesia in any unlucky passerby who happen to touch it.  So carry on...

I had a big bunch of stinging nettles that I thought would be good for dinner.  Since it was just me, I figured I was only risking my own discomfort if things went south.  I'd never cooked nettles before, but I have been stung by them.  In small doses not too bad, but not something you want to unnecessarily subject yourself to.  So, I donned some gloves and set to separating the leaves from the stems.  Soaked the leaves in cold water, then tranferred to boiling water.  They smelled delicious when they hit the boil, and I kept them in there for about 5 minutes until I deemed them safe to eat.

I toasted some pistachios, some garlic, some dried tart cherries, and tossed with the cooked nettles and rice.  I added some feta cheese, and topped with some gratuitous smoked belly that I'd recently made and pickled mustard seeds.  It was pretty tasty, but I think I killed the nettles.  By the time they left the boil, they were sapped of much of the intoxicating (pun semi-intended) aroma that they had when they first went in.  Next time, maybe a litlle less cooking would be ok. 

Rice with Stinging Nettles, Toasted Pistachio, Dried Montmorency Cherries, Feta Cheese, Topped with Gratuitous Smoked Belly and Pickled Mustard Seeds

Stinging Nettles, Toasted Pistachio, Dried Montmorency Cherries, Feta Cheese in Rice, Topped with Gratuitous Smoked Pork Belly and Pickled Mustard Seeds


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