Thoughts about Rigidity, Creativity, and Marzipan Danish

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes creativity work. On the one hand, I seem to be a fairly creative person who has original ideas. On the other hand, I’ve met very few people who think as rigidly as me. Actually, I only have one friend (who I know of) who is as spatially rigid as me–she’s the only other person who doesn’t think it’s OK to put the cinnamon back somewhere vaguely in the vicinity of where it came from instead of just putting it back in exactly the same spot where it was before. She does amazing drawings, which has gotten me thinking about how creativity and rigidity mesh. Continue reading

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush is one of my favorite things to do with eggplant. The best thing about it is it freezes and when it is defrosted it retains its texture perfectly. That means if you make a ton of Baba Ganoush in the summer when eggplant is in season, you can just pull it out of the freezer in February and it will still taste shiny and new.

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Green Tomato Ratatouille

We’re not in California anymore. In New York, you can’t just put a blanket over your tomatoes at night for the couple of nights in January when it might frost and treat them as perennials. We’ve got a 50% chance that our first frost will show up towards the end of September. At best, bundling up our tomatoes will make them last until sometime in October. The time has come for eating green tomatoes.

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Fried Tofu in Spicy Sauce

Tuesday is potluck night in one of my circles. Last Tuesday I made fried tofu in spicy sauce. Normally this isn’t the sort of thing I’d bring to a potluck. We regularly have two vegetarians in our group, one of whom is allergic to soybeans and the other of which is allergic to peppers. This doesn’t really mix with my crazy homesick craving for spicy food. So I had to wait for a night when I thought they’d miss. Although I saved out some plain fried tofu just in case.

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Fried Tofu

Tofu is yummy, but it gets a bad rap. Lots of people think they don’t like it because they’ve had it badly prepared. Lots of people think they won’t like it because they’ve heard it’s scary.

In general, I have found that people who won’t eat tofu when it is prepared any other way will eat fried tofu.There are many wonderful deserts and sauces where people don’t notice the tofu. But if you plan on confronting a tofu-fearing audience with tofu in a more traditional form, fried tofu is the way to do it.I would rather make something people will eat than prepare something traditionally. So if I am cooking for a potluck, I nearly always fry the tofu.

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Culinary Nostalgia

Lately I’ve been feeling intense culinary nostalgia.

When I first moved to Albany, I mostly suffered from burrito nostalgia. Not really burrito nostalgia, but hot sauce nostalgia. I can make really good beans and rice. I can make a really good roasted salsa. I can make a really good fresh salsa. But I cannot make hot sauce like they make at La Posta, which is the best hot sauce ever. I suspect it involves mash, which slightly scares me. Maybe one day I will make mash, but for now I’ve learned to live without that flavor and have found other ways to scratch that particular itch.

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