Archive for May, 2008

Gojiisms

The Well of Youthful Living

a cool well beside the monk’s house
a clear spring feeds the well and the water has great powers
emerald green leaves grow on the wall
the deep red berries shine like copper
the flourishing branch like a walking stick
the old root in a dog’s shape signals good fortune
the goji nourishes mind and spirit
drink of the well and enjoy a long life


-Tang Dynasty poet Liu Yuxi (772-842 AD)

Cait & I picked up some dried goji berries from the coop last weekend, while shopping for a salad that included coop fiddleheads, arugula, scallions, strawberries (and shell steak that we later picked up from KeyFood— the meat selection at the coop is still not all that). Thanks to Cait, the goji berries ended up in the salad— they definitely stood out in the salad for their uniquely sticky, gummy texture— but not in our dessert of grapefruit campari sorbet with warm kumquat and blackberry sauce.

Like ginger, goji berries are an ingredient in many Eastern remedies. Their health benefits are well-documented— they contain 19 different amino acids, and are a better source of Vitamin C than oranges.

Perhaps this— and the fact that “goji berry” is fun to say— explains Cait’s decision to start a blog called Gojiisms. I heartily support this venture, as there is more than enough room in the foodie blogosphere for us both. We are not competing; if anything, we are each validated, made stronger for the existence of the other.

Long live Gojiisms!

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B(ack)log

“Loyal readers want more gingerisms.” So says my mother, and Cait, and Jed, and Alisa, and Porsche, and numerous others who have told me, since I stopped posting back in early April, that my blog was “awesome.” Who knew? I almost assumed I was just posting to the ether, to the Twilight Zone, or “Beyond” section of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

But that’s no excuse for stopping. My life went on, and quite swimmingly in its way (though I was rejected by the Teaching Fellows program, despite feeling like I’d aced the interview and rocked my teaching sample on the Food Pyramid). Did my obsession with ginger subside? If so, only slightly. I still order it the most of any rhizome on any menu. Ginger beer and ale are among my favorite beverages, ginger cookies are my default cookies, and on a Thai menu, ginger is the tie- (Thai?)- breaker for me when deciding between entrees of basil or curry. Still keeping an eye out for interesting and unusual ginger products at the coop and elsewhere— while waiting in the express lane the other night, snapped a photo of Peace Cereal’s Ginger Hemp Granola: ‘Coop in a Box,” I called it, as its claims of Omega-3’s, organic contents, recycled paper packaging, 10% of proceeds to “creating peace” are just so coop.

For an idyllic spring day’s picnic in Prospect Park with Cait, with whom I am now solidly back together (perhaps in no small part thanks to the following ginger dessert), I made my own ginger version of the tiny Whoopie Pies we’d had the week before at One Girl Cookies on Dean Street in Boerum Hill (Pumpkin Spice with Thai Crystallized Ginger and Cream Cheese Filling). My homemade ones were much larger, spiced with fresh grated ginger, molasses, and lemon zest, filled with lemon cream cheese frosting and many sliced strawberries, and, I must say, pretty f-in’ awesome. I used a few eggs and plenty of baking soda (adjusting for the bitterness of bicarbonate with extra sugar) to get them roundly cakey, so they were not just delicious but quite attractive.

What else? Oh, mmmm. I went to a barbecue in late April— my first of the season— with some friends of friends, one of whom had brought Korean-style short ribs that he had tenderized prior by marinating in ginger ale. I don’t know exactly what was in the subsequent sweet and spicy sauce, as it was an old family recipe— to the buried location of which, it was joked about, his father would someday leave a treasure map— but it was inarguably delicious, and, as a testament to that, was rapidly consumed by a standing group of semi-strangers who were already semi-full, at least.

So yes, ginger continues to inspire and delight me in all its forms, and I apologize to you, dear readers, for depriving you of the daily dosage of joy and wonder from my childlike mind. I promise you more words— and photos, though my digital camera is on the fritz to the point of being nearly totalled, and now only takes pictures that seem to be wearing, as Lei put it, “weird movie glasses,” making it appear, in one series, that I am making ground pork, fiddlehead and ramp pasta aboard a flying saucer— soon.

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