September 20, 2012

Fuzzy thoughts & miso soup

But there are things you know objectively to be true and things you feel subjectively to be true; the things you understand somewhere in your head and the things you understand viscerally, intuitively, behind your heart. You can know that space might be unending, and you can understand that time is contingent, and you can write out the size of an atom in scientific notation. But when you try to access any kind of experience of this, you fail. You have reached the limit of your own comprehension, and you sit uncomfortably with the reality that there are truths that lie quite beyond your ability to fully believe them to be such.
A Partial History of Lost Causes, Jennifer duBois
Wowza. This woman can really write...but this is probably not a book I would ever revisit. Instead, I typed out some passages because I knew I would want to read those parts (and only those parts) again someday. Just so you know, there were quite a few. She's one of those Iowa Writer's Workshop graduates. So elite.

So, going back to that quote. I guess the reason I liked it so much was because I've often thought the same thing before. Some things are impossible to grasp, no matter how much you want to believe they're true. For instance, I was recently at the Griffith Observatory, and the museum guide said something about how looking up at the stars was actually like looking back in time, because the light had traveled so far to get into our line of sight. That's a concept I still have yet to grasp, even though a part of me has an inkling of what he meant.

Maybe food is so comforting because you don't often have to struggle to understand what you like and don't like. It's so basic; you just know. I like eggs. I don't like coconut. And color me crazy, but from the minute I thought to add an egg to my miso soup, I knew without a doubt that it would be good. (I was right.)

Miso & Egg Soup
2 cups water
1 tbsp mild miso
1 egg
salt or dashi granules (optional)
1 handful chopped scallions

Bring the water to nearly a boil. Ladle out a small bowl's worth and stir the miso into that portion until it's dissolved. Add back into the pot and turn down the heat to low. Crack in the egg and wait about a minute until the white is cooked, but the yolk still runny. Taste the soup and add some salt or dashi granules if you want it to be saltier. Ladle out the soup and egg, sprinkle the fresh scallions on top, and devour!

September 3, 2012

My fried rice burns at both ends

I know what you're thinking. Another blog post about fried rice? This girl needs to start keeping her fried rices to herself...

I can't help it—I adore fried rice. This will be the last time I blog about it for a long time, I promise. Plus, the other night, I discovered one addition that brought this time-honored dish to a whole new level of heartiness. Read the following quote for a hint.
"It is funny, but the happier I am the more I want you and long for you and Christ I long for you. I want to show you so many things...My warmed over fish chowder is smelling up the whole house, so I guess it is boiling and I'd better eat it."
—letter from Eugen, Edna St. Vincent Millay's husband

Pretty funny thing to write in a love letter, eh? Adds an edge of reality to the otherwise cheesyish words (I call them cheesy, but I'm sure any girl would secretly treasure being lavished with such flattering language!). 

Like fried rice, fish chowder sounds like a nice, hearty meal. So why not a fish fried rice?

You may know of a Chinese dish called anchovy fried rice. It gives off a stinky-yet-appealing smell, a la stinky tofu. I like my anchovy fried rice all right, but I never have anchovies in the house. I did, however, have some tilapia fillets in the freezer the other night, so I defrosted one in the microwave while the fried rice was sizzling away, and threw it in, which only added a few minutes of extra cooking time. Then, since I barely broke up the fillet, it remained in satisfyingly large pieces. Definitely one of my top fried rices ever, and I have made many a fried rice.

Plus, unlike the anchovy version, it won't stink up the whole house like Eugen's fish chowder (but I imagine that his wouldn't have smelled so bad, really...?).