Congee Ginger

Having tried Congee Bowery the other weekend, went to Congee Village with Nems and Lei before heading to the speakeasy she used to day manage.

The highlight of the meal was the frog’s legs with ginger and scallions, very light, tender, and, of course, aromatic.

Also tasty: the beef part of the beef and bitter melon.

Not as much so tasty for me: the bitter melon part of the beef and bitter melon.


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Upscale Ginger Cocktails

At certain lower east side speakeasies, you can just say an ingredient you’re interested in and they will offer you all sorts of suggestions. It could be the alcohol itself, or, in our case, as it seems to most always be these days, it was ginger.

Bourbon, ginger syrup, a splash of soda, and probably some other unbespoken alchemy because it tasted otherworldly, topped with a crystallized ginger garnish speared by two toothpicks.

The drink on the left was, I think, a variation on a Dark n Stormy made with pineapple juice. Not sure what made it foam up like that, but that kinda made it extra good. On the right was a crazy alcoholic (gin, I think) fruit,mint, ginger muddle topped with ice crushed to optimal pellet size. And a single blackberry.

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Brooklyn Whoopee Pie

Two moist and gingery (made with Thai crystallized ginger!) pumpkin cake cookies sandwiched around a soft cream cheese filling— so good I asked if they were looking to train any new bakers.

Brooklyn Whoopee Pies are $1.25 apiece at One Girl Cookies on Dean St., next to Bar Tabac.

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Blueberry Meyer Lemon Ginger Pound Cakes

Went to the Park Slope Food Coop, where I am a member in good current standing (finally! and of course my regular shift falls on my birthday next week), in search of ginger and other ingredients for an experimental gingerbread run.

The first question, of course, was organic or no? The difference between them was clearly visible in the color and texture of the various specimens’ skins, but were the organic’s qualities so much more desirable as to make it worth $2.36/lb more?

I decided to go with one large, healthy, multi-knobbed specimen of each, and set off in search of a fiery ginger beer, my secret weapon in ginger baking in the past. Unfortunately, ginger beer seems to be extremely popular among the stroller-and-sandals set, and, alas, there were none left. I will have to learn the ancient art of ginger brewing someday. I pick up a few packets of yeast in case I feel the need to test this out at a later date.

My haul: I decided to go with blueberries and Meyer lemons— they really do look and taste different from regular lemons, because they aren’t exactly lemons but rather a hybrid, first developed in China and brought back by a man named Meyer, of a lemon and a mandarin.

I also picked up a bag of gluten-free brown rice flour. As my first experiment, I think, wouldn’t it be nice to bake something that my friend Maureen, who suffers from the celiac disease, could eat? I knew I would be seeing her that night for the annual Atlantic Frantic pubcrawl planning meeting, so I made that my first task. Of course, I couldn’t use any of the Rogue Chocolate Stout Ale I planned to use for the second version, but I figured I’d try using water to thin out the molasses, which— correct me if I’m wrong— I’m pretty sure she CAN eat.

Didn’t look too bad at this point, so I added it to the dry ingredients. Batter still seemed a little on the thin side, but I figured it’d be okay, maybe it’d just need to bake longer.

How wrong I was!

Baking is not an art; it’s a science. And chemically speaking, brown rice flour and water are no substitute for wheat flour and rich, carbonated stout.

I set a second concoction to bubble, in hopes of better, if (sorry, Momo!) gluten-filled, results.

The stout and molasses get to bubbling. Then I add the baking soda.

Easy now! On the verge of bubbling over…

Slightly less sugar than is usually called for— scraping the cabinets. It will be a slightly more savory cake.

The batter is a good deal thicker than the last one, and quite tasty. And no oil used… about a half cup of apple sauce and I figure these will be quite moist.

Into the oven! Will they rise? Or will they spread?

It rose! They are kind of sticky, and don’t look quite as clean as I’d like, but they smell great.

And there was enough batter left over to bake a cake! I will be eating, and giving away, ginger cakes for weeks.

Cakes were well-received at the first stop of the Planning Committee meeting, Hank’s Saloon.

The bartender’s curiosity and appetite are piqued. On my insistence, she tears off a hunk and gives it a try. “You made that?” she asks, impressed.

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Maybe Not a Fool?

Another installment of Gchat advice from Liz, who is a never-ending fount of self-affirming words.

Liz: Hi

 me: howdy
Liz: I just read your post for today — Can I give a reaction to it?
or part of it?
me: sure
Liz: Ok, tell me if I’m over stepping.
I think that there is nothing foolish about holding out for something you wantbut I think that one should never hold on bc one is just scared of letting go
Liz: (I have thought about that issue a lot over time when thinking about getting into or out of various relationships or making other kinds of decisions about changing behaviors or other things)
 me: that’s fair… it’s certainly something to balance
 Liz: Yes, I don’t think its foolish to fight for something that you want
that’s all
me: i appreciate that

 Liz: Do you find that people like me are talking to you about personal issues because you have a blog?
when, pre-blog, those issues were off of the table?
 me: absolutely more now… i don’t know that they were off the table before… i have always been an open book emotionally
i wear my heart on my sleeve

Liz: Yeah, I guess I was thinking how much I might resent people weighing in on my life as I just did on yours

 Liz: so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being a busy body
 me: your body is appropriately busy

 Liz: thanks
 me: my mom is a big fan of yours since she saw your career advice
 Liz: I think it takes a lot of confidence to discuss how you feel with a lot of people — I can only do it when I am confident about something
Thanks — I thought it was ok advice!

me: absolutely. spot on!

 Liz: but I’m not exactly impartial
 me: i should have asked you before cutting and pasting our IM convo
was/is that cool to do?
 Liz: Sure
so long as I’m not talking about Aa, its ok
 me: of course

it’s MY blog and we will ONLY talk about ME
 Liz: excellent
i like your haircut, by the way
 me: my haircut rules
 Liz: and i have a deep fondness of Pavement
 me: “bitch, rant down to the practice room!”
Liz: attention and fame…

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Just a Fool

 I am trying to maintain some dignity here, folks. From the Latin dignus, meaning worthy. That’s why, as some of you (perhaps not many) may have noticed, I changed the word “pathetic” in one of my last posts (regarding the liminal Cait situation) to “a fool.” Still self-deprecating, just not so dire. It’s a subtle distinction, but its a start.

I am going to turn over a new leaf here and commit myself to only humorous self-deprecation. If no comedic value exists, then it’s not worth publishing in any form. I’ll get a therapist and tell her all that stuff. For you all, dear readers, sunshine only. Unless it’s pies in my face.

Forgot to take pictures while over at Nems’ loft watching Eagle vs. Shark on awesome wall projection— though you’d think a movie called Eagle vs. Shark would be more of an iMax experience than this one, a subtle, quirky romantic comedy from New Zealand starring Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, was. I actually tried to watch this same movie the other afternoon at another friend’s place and ended up taking a nap on his couch. This time I made it through, and was actually quite touched, and certainly amused at parts. Also favorably impressed by the music and cinematography. It reminded me quite a lot of Napoleon Dynamite, which I’m sure is something only an American philistine such as myself would say, but I mean it in a nice way.

Anyway, caught a picture of myself in front of my own doorway when I got home. Enjoying my new sharper look— my hair now all fits inside my hats!

Tomorrow I go for Day 3 of consecutive workouts at NY Sports Club, where i just joined up on Wednesday… Tennis, anyone?

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Listening is an act of love

So says David Isay, the founder of Storycorps. It’s actually the title of his book as well. I’ve been a big fan of his and theirs for years, and I just found out they are hiring again. I’ve applied for jobs with them in the past, but never got far. They get a ton of applications, and I worry that my resume is just not impressive enough to stand out. Kinda ups the ante as far as writing a killer cover letter— hmm… to cheesily quote Isay about listening as it relates to doing the job well, or not?

Probably will not say, “I say, you say, we all say for Isay.” Not until I’m invited to his birthday party anyway.

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