Archives for category: Food

We need to eat.
At some point, we discovered that by cooking it we got more out of the food we had at our disposal.
Then we learned to cook tastier and tastier meals.

Nowadays, more and more of us wonder

Why Do We Love Unhealthy Foods So Much?

Because we’ve some how convinced ourselves that being happy trumps being alive.

Evolutively speaking, pleasure is a ‘heads up’. It tells us that we do ‘the right thing’. That the food we eat is suitable for us. Nourishing.
Evolutively speaking, happiness is a heads up. That we’re on the right track. That we’re doing nothing to jeopardize our survival.

Those ‘heads – up’ were valid. Once…
And they still are. When ‘used with discretion’.

The problem being that we’re currently harnessing the horse behind the cart.

We’re no longer pursuing life as a wholesome experience.
We just want to be happy!
We no longer eat to remain alive.
We just want to have a better experience! An even better experience than the previous one…

Should we return to the Stone Age?
When so many of us died of hunger? Of illness?
Should we give up the ‘pursuit of happiness’ as a legitimate goal?!?

How about being happy while pursuing a meaningful life?


So, from time to time, you need to reheat some curry.

I’m not going to discuss here which of them can be reheated, after how much time and so on.
Use your own discretion! It’s your tummy we’re talking about here, isn’t it?

All I’m going to do is share with you what I’ve discovered some time ago.

Work in batches, one serving at a time.
Place the curry in a small bowl.
Top the bowl with enough already boiled rice to make a serving.
Add soy sauce – or any other, to taste.
Top with a couple of spoons of stock. Or water.
Place a small plate on top.
Set your microwave oven to half power and 3 to 4 minutes.
Place the dish inside the oven and hit start.
Wait for 30 seconds more after the beep and enjoy.

If not hot enough, put it back for another minute.

Sprinkle some chopped cilantro if you like it.

Some people never reheat boiled rice.
Researching for this post, I found out about Bacillus Cereus.
Strangely enough, I’ve been eating reheated rice for … ever.
I don’t remember how my mother used to reheat it. Anyway, I’ve been doing it in a microwave oven for more than 25 years now.
I suppose the reason for never having any trouble from bacillus cereus – till now, at least, is the particular manner in which mother taught me to cook rice.

  1. Rinse it in a strain. Drain it. Add it to boiling water. Or, preferably, stock. Leave it to boil on high heat for five minutes. Cover it, lower the heat to minimum and let it cook to taste. Fluff it with a fork after adding melted butter or any other fat you fancy. Keep it covered and refrigerate immediately after you’ve finished serving it.
  2. Don’t rinse it at all. Fry the rice, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes in whatever fat you are going to use. After you had already ‘fried’ the spices, of course. Add boiling water. Or, preferably, stock. (You must be careful at this moment, a lot of steam will be produced and you need to keep stirring. Keep boiling it for a couple of minutes at high heat. Reduce the heat, put a lid on it – the heavier, the better, and proceed as above.

My guess being that bacillus cereus doesn’t survive this ‘treatment’…

Anyway, by reheating the rice on top of the curry – I’ll try the method using freshly boiled rice also, the curry remains moist while the rice is infused with flavor.

The Earth is covered by atmosphere.
Some of the gases might have belonged to the original ‘cloud’ which had given birth to the solar system. Others have originated from the Earth itself. And still others are a ‘consequence’ of ‘life’. Oxygen, for instance. And some of the CO2.

The land crust has rocky cliffs and fertile plains.
While the rocky cliffs are a consequence of geology, the fertile topsoil is the consequence of the elements having eroded the cliffs, the debris being transported by flowing water, plant life taking hold and slowly transforming some of the minerals into organic matter, animals eating some of the plants and transforming them into feces, micro-organisms digesting/recycling those feces together with the dead plants and animal carcasses… And so on.

Primitive life forms, Bacteria and Archea, “are organisms whose cells lack a membrane-bound nucleus, mitochondria and other membrane-bound organelles…. All the intracellular water-soluble components (proteins, DNA and metabolites) are located together in the same volume enclosed by the cell membrane, rather than in separate cellular compartments.

More ‘sophisticated’ life forms are organisms which have “a nucleus and organelles bounded by internal phospholipid membrane systems. In contrast to bacteria and archaea, eukaryotes may be multicellular. Animals, plants, fungi…. “
So, in this case, living cells have internal divisions, each surrounded by ‘secondary’ membranes. Furthermore, this type of organisms may consist of more than one cell. Many of them – including us, humans, actually comprise many layers of cells. Skin, muscle, bones, ‘internal’ organs, brain… Each of them carefully constructed using building blocks taken, with the help of the digestive system, from the environment.

Making a parallel between a humble unicellular organism, let’s say an amoeba, and a proud ape we’ll notice that the role played by the amoeba’s membrane is fulfilled by a host of the ape’s organs. Skin, lungs, digestive system and kidneys are the first to jump up for attention. On a closer examination – amoeba’s membrane keeps the organism together and acts as a locomotion device besides performing the respiratory, digestive and excretory tasks, the ape’s bones and muscles start to beg for attention

But what about the brain? What role does it play? What is it? An ‘internal organ’ or just another descendant of the membrane?
I’ll let you make that call.
I’ll only mention that the brain ingests information, digests it and then ‘excretes’ decisions. Which coalesce into ‘fate’/’destiny’, are remembered as ‘history’ and eventually end up as ‘tradition’.

There is a technical reason. And some subjective ones. Acting in a synergic manner.

Trump had bean the darling of the high ratings/low expectations media for most of his adult life. During this period he had learned how to use it towards his own goal – an ever increasing notoriety, and those involved in the media had learned to love him back for the amount of publicity they had been able to sell on his back.

Now for the subjective ones.
First of all, he is a very ‘penetrant’ person. Like him or not, but you can’t ignore him.
Secondly, he happens to be the most powerful individual on Earth. Simply because he had been elected the President of the United States of America. Which is not only the most potent/civilized/democratic/you name it country, but also the leader of the free world. Meaning that the rest of the planet, democratic or not, sets it’s time after America’s clock. Willingly or unwillingly.
So the rest of world is watching anxiously everything that is going on in Washington. Wondering whether ‘Trump-ism’ will spread around. Or will remain yet another measure of American exceptionalism.

Thirdly, but maybe the most important reason, Trump can be analyzed as a symptom rather than as a cause.
In fact, there are a lot of Trumps scattered around the world.
Basically, there is very little difference between Trump and Putin. Trump and Erdogan. Trump and Bolsonaro. Trump and Dragnea – the most powerful politician in today’s Romania, my country. Even between Trump and Modi. Only none of these countries is similar to the US of A. None of them has such a distinguished democratic tradition.
And this is why so many people try to understand what’s going on.
Is Trump nothing more than an unhappy accident? Or the visible symptom of democracy becoming decrepit?

Even Abe is showing signs of contagion.
Post WWII Japan had survived by feeding whales to its people.
Now it is going to resume commercial whaling. In spite of all other previously whaling nations asking him to reconsider.
Really Abe? You need whale meat to survive?

Efficient Market Hypothesis, eh?
The proponents of this hypothesis posit that all participants to the market are perfectly rational and that they all have enough pertinent information about what is going on as to be able to reach reasonable business decisions.
Now consider this: ‘ten percent of the egg producers being wiped out results in a up to 85% hike in retail prices’.
Quite reasonably, don’t you think?
As for efficiency… maybe for the owners of the surviving ‘egg producers’…

My Fusion Hummus

If you really want to get something awsome you have to start from scratch: “fresh” (uncooked) chickpeas – preferably black. Soak them at least 12 hours in plenty of water and then come back here.

After you have started boiling them – remember, no salt when cooking beans, any beans – you can ‘worry’ about the rest:

1. ‘Heat’: 80% green pepper corns, 10% allspice, 10% cumin. I bash them using a pestle&mortar but you can ground them any way you like.
2. ‘Sauce’: Garlic, freshly grated ginger, preserved lemon, coarse salt. Balance garlic, ginger and preserved lemon according to your taste and add 1/2 of the total salt you intend to use. Bash them into a smooth sauce using another pestle&mortar. If you don’t have any preserved lemons add some lemon zest at this step. If you have preserved lemon but have never used it this way follow these steps: separate the yellowish skin from the white ‘casing’ which contains the juice is  – they come apart quite easily, finely dice the skin and add it to the mortar and strain as much juice as possible from the rest of the lemon into the same mortar. Pound away. I usually use a quarter of a lemon to 6 cloves of garlic and a thumb-worth of ginger (about two teaspoonfuls).
3. Herbs: Fresh mint, finely chopped.
3. Make handy some good quality tahini, olive oil, fresh lemon and a food processor. Remember to ‘agitate’ the tahini beforehand.

Everything ready? The chickpeas have boiled for about an hour? Time to get busy!
Check if the beans are cooked. If not take five and repeat as many times as necessary. When cooked, ‘kill’ the fire and add at least a tea spoonful of salt – presuming the chickpeas are still covered with cooking water. If not, reduce the amount of salt. Stir lightly, replace the lid and let them cool for five or so minutes, making sure the salt has dissolved before counting those 5 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving the water.

Now you have to decide how smooth you want your hummus. If you like it chunky – like I do – leave the peas to cool, without any water, covered in the still warm pan where you cooked them, for another hour or even longer. During that time they will dry on the surface, develop a slightly nutty taste and and acquire a certain kind of consistency/bite. If you want a smooth hummus you can start processing after about 15 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, equal amounts of ‘sauce’, tahini, olive oil, cooking water, a little lemon juice and some ‘heat’ in the food processor. Blitz and taste. If you want a chunkier end result blitz sparingly, if not – and if you have added enough liquids – you can process for longer. After the first taste add whatever you think it’s missing and build up the tahini of your dream. Towards the end add some chopped mint.

Or you can try combining both methods.
Reserve half of the quantity and let it ‘mature’ in the pan, turn the rest into a smooth paste, add the ‘matured’ beans later and blitz for a second time until you get the desired consistency.

Pofta Buna.

That’s ‘Bon Appétit’ in Romanian.

Hint: You can try it on Rice Waffles instead of Pita or toast. Pickled cucumbers or some olives might come handy at this stage.

The humble legume, savior of humanity.(Neil Palmer, CIAT)

An agricultural break through that doesn’t involve ‘invasive’ genetic engineering?
Somebody that still cares about biodiversity?

It seems that we still have a fighting chance to survive decently!

Pe vremea lui Ceasca umbla un banc a carui poanta era ‘ultimul sa stinga lumina!’

Au trecut aproape 25 de ani de cand ‘Odiosul Dictator si Sinistra sa Sotie’ au fost trimisi sa-si incalzeasca oasele in Iad dar:

– Fundatia Bertelsmann din Germania a constatat ca “munca in Romania nu prea asigura traiul zilnic”.
Romania este “tocmai pe ultimul loc, adică 28 din 28 de state UE, la rata de sărăcie a celor care lucrează ( ”in work poverty rate” în lb. engleză), cu 15,9% din populație, mult sub locul 27 ocupat de Grecia (13,7%) și, atenție mare, locul 26 ocupat de Polonia (dar cu numai 9,7%)”

– Teoretic asta ar trebui sa insemne ca ‘antreprenorii’, adica exact cei care exploateaza forta de munca, o duc excelent, nu?

“„M-am apucat de antreprenoriat fără un leu şi m-am întrebat adesea de ce nu mă bagă nimeni în seamă, dacă sunt prea mică pentru a conta în ochii lor. De fiecare dată când se modifica legea, în dimineaţa următoare îmi venea să ma dau cu capul de pereţi  pentru că mă duceam la administraţie să îmi explice cum se aplică şi funcţionarii îmi spuneau că nu ştiu pentru că nu apăruseră normele. Ca antreprenor, trebuie să joc după reguli. Ştim că birocraţia nu se poate elimina, dar trebuie diminuată, iar taxele pe forţa de muncă sunt prea mari“, a spus Cristina Chiriac, fondator şi preşedinte al Asociaţiei Naţionale a Antre­prenorilor, la prima conferinţă orga­nizată de asociaţie. Ea a fost anterior vicepreşedinte al Autorităţii pentru Valorificarea Activelor Statului şi director general al World Trade Center Bucureşti.”

Cine sa fie de vina pentru aceasta situatie? ‘Mortul’ si statul, cine altcineva?!?

“Problema este însă că până şi crearea locurilor de muncă a devenit o misiune aproape imposibilă pentru ei, (antreprenori) în condiţiile în care tinerii nu numai că nu sunt suficient de pregătiţi pentru un anumit job sau nu cunosc o limbă străină, dar nici nu ştiu să scrie corect în limba română sau să compună un mail. În plus, pentru a plăti un angajat cu 1.000 de lei net, spre exemplu, angajatorii sunt obligaţi să cheltuiască aproape dublu (peste 40% din costuri fiind îndreptate către buget).”

Bine ca nu se revolta fermierii spanioli. Si unde mai pui ca ne primesc asa cum suntem, unii ne platesc si darile, iar la sfarsit ne dau si noua suficient de mult incat sa ne ramana de o bere. Si de niste tapas pentru ca in conditiile astea multi dintre noi n-or sa se mai intoarca…

“Diminuarea cu 7% a remiterilor românilor care lucrează în străinătate, consemnată în 2013, a condus la scăderea numărului de locuinţe noi livrate pe piaţă, în contextul în care economiile rezultate în urma muncii în străinătate sunt direcţionate cu preponderenţă către construcţia sau achiziţia de locuinţe noi, potrivit unei analize realizate de producătorul de BCA Xella România.”

Ever felt like eating something but didn’t want to ‘impose’ on your stomach nor worsen your calorie intake?

Grab a cucumber, no longer than 3 to 4 inches, peel it if not extra-fresh, salt it lightly and gorge on it.

Drink a glass of cold water.

People choose their food, well… when there are options, while animals rely on their instincts.
Also people cook most of their food.
Quite a lot of decisions involved in the simple act of eating, don’t you think?
And cooking for somebody else or of for more than one person further complicates things!

guacamole on toast with tomato salad

Toast: I don’t think you need directions for that. Use whole grain or rye.

Mash thoroughly a couple of cloves of garlic in a bowl, using coarse salt and a wooden pestle.
Add peeled/pitted avocado and mash with a fork. Add grated fresh ginger (use a very fine Parmesan grater), ground green pepper, chopped red onions, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Stir. Taste. Adjust taste.

Mash another couple of cloves of garlic in a plate or salad bowl using the same method and equipment. Add roughly chopped chocolate tomatoes, fresh champignons (white mushrooms), red onions, cilantro, salt, ground green pepper, lime juice and olive oil. Stir gently, taste, adjust.

I eat this combination with very small green olives, the kind that have a slightly bitter taste. I just pop them in my mouth but you can add them in the salad if you like. You’ll have to experiment on this one, not all olives ‘fit’ in here.

Yes, white mushrooms can be eaten raw but you need to use really fresh ones – otherwise they loose their aroma.

I never use scales or measures when cooking so I can’t give you a proper recipe, one that would comprise quantities. You have to do your own experimenting. Taste frequently.


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