Fractals: It’s What’s for Dinner

Romanesco broccoli from the Mt. Pleasant farmers' market, Washington, D.C., 10 October 2009

Ever since I read that romanesco broccoli was a fractal I’ve been on the lookout for it. It finally turned up along with all the varieties of cauliflower at the Mt. Pleasant farmer’s market, so I snatched it up and tonight I broke that fractal down into-a little-a tiny cubes and fried it in olive oil, salt and pepper and white wine.

(My picture is nowhere as cool as this New York Times picture of the day from 7 October 2009)

First Naan

My first attempt at naan, a vegan cilantro version, 20 August 2009

My first attempt at making naan. I used cilantro instead of garlic and made the usual vegan substitutions to the first hit on Google, the AllRecipes naan. It came out listing a little in the direction of focaccia, but good.

Improvisation: Any of the family of pan-based breads are good for me as the entire six years I’ve lived at this residence, the stove has not worked. I don’t own a rolling pin so an empty wine bottle had to substitute.

Early bread making lesson: if you used the last of the flower in the dough and don’t have any left to dust your rolling surface, pin or hands, then you must abort. Thankfully the “Convenient Mart” (that’s what the sign says) stocks more than the usual quick food items.

Dumpling Soup

Last night I had a dream that I was making a dumpling soup.

So today I made one.

Until very recently I’ve never used anything more than a few tablespoons out of a bag of flower for a roux or a thickener. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of very flower-centered work in the kitchen, despite not having had a working stove for the entire six years that I’ve lived here (see “Tyler Durden’s House,” 15 April 2007). But tonight was the first time I’ve ever made anything that required me to knead and allow rest.

My first product requiring kneading, 28 July 2009

I could almost hear Alton Brown’s voice explaining the formation of the gluten structures and the importance of the right balance of kneading and rest to texture.

Anyway, cut off spoon-sized pieces, ball them up, drop them in the boiling pot and violà:

Boiling dumplings in soup, 28 July 2009

Dumpling soup.

Frenetic Fojol Cusping on Celebrity

It’s been a big couple of days for the Fojol Brothers. Thursday was their weekday lunch debut and they were back again on Friday (I parenthetically hedged, though they said right there in their tweet that it was their first weekday daytime appearance).

Fojol Brothers, Lamont Park, Mount Pleasant, 19 July 2009

Today they were in my neighborhood on the corner of Lamont Park in Mount Pleasant. And it was quite a show. There are two new Fojol sisters, Mewshah and Bhujaja. The AcroFiends were there, just to eat though, Peter / Kipoto, girlfriend in tow, was there out of costume as it was supposed to be his day off from Fojol.

Kahn, Howie, "Keep On Food Truckin'," GQ, August 2009, p. 34

On Thursday they told me that they were getting profiled in GQ. On Friday Justin / Dingo had the issue with him and they got the introductory page to a whole piece on food carts in various cities.

Seattle's Maximus Minimus pig truck

As is often the case with such articles, it’s somewhat arbitrary in selection. For instance, I have no idea how GQ could have missed Seattle’s mind-bogglingly tricked out Maximus Minimus (website | twitter).

After wrapping up in Mount Pleasant today, the Fojol Brothers tweet that they will be at Eastern Market all day tomorrow.

Fojol Do Lunch

Fojol Brother Peter Korbel, weekday lunch in front of the IMF building, 16 July 2009

Fojol Brothers had their first (at least since I’ve been following them) weekday lunch. They parked at the corner of 19th and Pennsylvania Avenue, at Edward R. Murrow Park in front of the IMF building, necessitating a bit of a hike on my part, but always worth it.

While ordering, Peter (above) told me that a picture of me was included in their write-up in Brightest Young Things (Nicholson, Alex and Dakota Fine, “Hitting the Streets With: Fojol Brothers of Merlinida,”, 13 July 2009). This is not a surprise since they asked if I would pose for a food shot. I’m the guy in the bike helmet in the first large photo. Oddly enough this was my first time catching the Fojol Brothers. In the photograph accompanying my first post on the Fojol Brothers, I think that the guy in the foreground turning around to look back is Dakota Fine, the photographer for the Brightest Young Things piece.

I think that the Fojol Brothers have so far been limited to nights and weekends by their other commitments. I hope this is an indication that things are viable enough where they’re going to be doing it a lot more.