Woke up to some serious frost this morning, then realized it was also some snow! After the frost melted, actual snow remained:
Then later this morning we got some big fluffy flakes;
Love love love it.
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”
Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.
“Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”
She’s Alive… Beautiful… Finite… Hurting… Worth Dying For.
Mädir Eugster of the Swiss circus troupe Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque performs “Sanddornbalance,” a remarkable balancing act with 14 palm branches and a single feather. The balancing act is also performed by Eugster’s daughter, Lara Jacobs Eugster, in the touring Cirque de Soleil show Amaluna.
Never-before seen, unpublished Guinness posters.
I found this wonderful post about Hemingway’s detailed written instructions to his household staff at Finca Vigia, his residence on Cuba. It included a complete recipe for how he liked his hamburgers prepared. They include capers and garlic and something called India relish and all sorts of exotic spices. Described as “delicious: each bit of it oozed a complex and textured umami, earthy and deep. I had never experienced such a combination of flavors in a burger before…”
I had to try it.
Now, some backstory. I am not a big meat-eater. I went vegetarian (ovo-lacto, meaning I still ate eggs and dairy) mostly for health reasons when I was 17. I found that I needed and craved fish once in a while, and eventually transitioned into including fish (ovo-lacto-pesco) but no other meat. When I got married 10 years ago, I wanted to cook for my meat-eating husband, and I wasn’t interested in making two separate meals, so I became okay with pork. I won’t touch hamburger, but will happily tuck into a good grass-fed free-range steak. And I still won’t touch chicken. So there you have it. Go figure. But I can honestly say I’ve not wanted a hamburger for at least 29 years.
Until I saw this recipe.
I bookmarked it and forgot about it. But before I did that, I must have shared it on my Facebook. Some weeks later, my very good friend Tim came to San Diego for a visit. He lives in San Francisco, and has access to all sorts of amazing Asian markets. He brought me a tub of Mei Yen powder, which is hard to find. It took me a few minutes to remember what recipe this spice was connected to. Once I realized what I had in my hands, I had to revisit the recipe and see what else I needed to make it. The other two spices were easy: rubbed sage, and Spice Islands still makes Beau Monde seasoning, which is basically onion/celery salt.
If you can’t find Mei Yen powder, here’s how to make a substitute:
9 parts salt
9 parts sugar
2 parts MSG
For 1 teaspoon Mei Yen powder, mix 2/3 teaspoon of dry mixture with 1/8 teaspoon soy sauce.
Finding the India relish turned out to be the most difficult part. India relish is different from plain pickle relish because in addition to cucumbers, it also has onions, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and Indian spices. I found plenty of recipes for it, but I wanted to avoid making a whole complicated recipe for a condiment I only needed a teaspoon of for another recipe. Heinz makes (or made) a version of it, but no stores carry it. Found the Heinz version on Amazon, but it wasn’t available. So I got another brand’s (B&G) version from Amazon (had to get a 3-pack, no less). Turns out it’s just pickle relish with some curry. Lesson learned. Maybe I’ll make the real thing some other time.
1 lb. ground lean beef (I used 80/20 ratio)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 little green onions, finely chopped
1 heaping tsp. India relish
2 TBSP capers (I coarsely chopped them)
1 heaping tsp. Spice Islands sage
1/2 tsp. Spice Islands Beau Monde Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Spice Islands Mei Yen Powder
1 egg, beaten in a cup with a fork
About 1/3 cup dry red or white wine
1 TBSP cooking oil
“Break up the meat with a fork and scatter the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it, then mix them into the meat with a fork or your fingers. Let the bowl of meat sit out of the icebox for ten or fifteen minutes while you set the table and make the salad.”
“Add the relish, capers, everything else including wine and let the meat sit, quietly marinating, for another ten minutes if possible.”
“Now make four fat, juicy patties with your hands. The patties should be an inch thick, and soft in texture but not runny.”
“Have the oil in your frying-pan hot but not smoking when you drop in the patties and then turn the heat down and fry the burgers about four minutes.”
“Take the pan off the burner and turn the heat high again. Flip the burgers over, put the pan back on the hot fire, then after one minute, turn the heat down again and cook another three minutes. Both sides of the burgers should be crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy.”
As advertised, they were AMAZING.
I had three patties left over for later. They froze nicely in the “icebox.”