Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Free Beer

I kind of intended not to blog about beer on this site, but here's to...

Mulling over the concept of open-source software, which is part of what I have to do in real life (real life, by the way, has kept me from posting for over a week), I came across a Wikipedia entry and later the official blog for open-source beer. What a treat!

I'm still new to this concept, but it looks like some college students in Denmark were experiementing with ways to expand the open-source ideolology and came up with the idea of brewing a batch of beer and then sharing the recipe so that the rest of the world could offer improvements. So the beer's free, not as in "on the house," but free of regular concepts of property and ownership. As a beer lover and homebrewer (and occasional information science grad student), the whole idea of this thing piques my interest in so many ways.

Given my experience knockin' 'em back and talking shop with professional brewers and homebrew hobbyists, I'm struck that maybe the beer industry is the perfect model for the open-source software people to look at and follow in their own pursuits. I'll be getting caught up on the history of Free Beer over the next few days and hope to post more later. Maybe when I get around to brewing again, I'll brew some Free Beer.

More later.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The weather here is starting to break. We’re hitting mid-nineties instead of 105-degree highs. I know it’s a bit premature, but I’ve been trying sweaters and making plans to take out the down comforter I mothballed last spring. And I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ll be cooking this winter.

If you’re dining at my table this winter, you can first of all expect lots of great and unpretentious soups and potages accompanied by buttered French bread and lots of heavy cream. Expect long, slow braises, of course. And expect lots of experimenting with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in savory dishes. And something I’m particularly excited about is experimenting with what Toulouse-Lautrec so aptly calls the “rainbow of sauces”: yellow sauces, white sauces, brown sauces, red sauces, green sauces, and so forth. I found and fell in love with Toulouse-Lautrec’s The Art of Cuisine recently (well, about six months ago). Look for a blog devoted to the book soon.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday dinner

I was passing a leisurely Sunday afternoon when I remembered that I had a pomegranate in my kitchen. I cut it open and began to eat from mankind's most salutiferous fruit, and my whole evening was transformed into a night of la gourmandise. I wish I had some pictures of my Sunday dinner, but as I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm not a good photographer, and some meals are in such a hurry to be eaten that they escape even the quickest shutter's regard.

I decided somewhere into my pomegranate that its little pomegranate-colored seeds would be an aesthetically pleasing garnish to my gin and tonic. The color and textural contrast with the lime wedge worked perfectly, and the little seeds were left floating and bobbing around in the glass at the will of the little carbonation bubbles that attached to them. I didn't taste the seeds, of course, because their tough membranes would not permit any of the juice to mix with the drink. I did swallow some whole, however, and the novelty of that experience was quite enough novelty for this cocktail traditionalist.

My meal, which could not have been any more impromptu (I had no dinner plans at all before cutting open that wonderful pomegranate), started with little fried balls of mashed chick peas, chopped spinach, garlic, basil, and zucchini. As a "surprise," I rolled a little morsel of fresh mozzarella into each ball. The balls compliment a portion of wild-caught salmon fillet baked over a bed of cherry wood and seasoned with grey sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, and fresh lemon juice. I drank a young (but not nouveau) Beaujolais wine.

This meal is mentionable not because it was a true gastronomic rarity or a great show of culinary prowess, but because it was carefully composed on-the-fly, largely out of ingredients that were lying around on my counter, much like that wonderful pomegranate, my muse of inspiration.