48 in it to win it /Transcendence. AOLAB ETHEREAL Aftermath #13. 23JAN2014.

I’ve just made my way back up to the garret after basically 48 hours of playing in the kitchen for posterity linked to Ethereal. Yesterday morning and early afternoon was spent grabbing supplies, and from 3pm until 7pm I was in the kitchen slow-cooking a big thing of cacciucco** /fish stew[ to have & to freeze],  juicing Satsang & a whitewashed version of Spruce, making a new batch of buckwheat pasta dough,braising some turnip greens with brussel sprouts & tatsoi, playing around with the concept of zucchini bread in a drunken Mexican kind of way, and trying my own riff on America’s [or the world’s] favorite veggie burger [ original recipe & details here: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-best-ever-veggie-burger-96967].

Recipes said to let  both the dough & the veggie burger mix sit for 2hours but overnight was optimal. Good thing too, because the communal kitchen at the Haus got slammed at 7pm and it was just easier to wrap it up with  all else done until morning. I’d planned to do it all in one day but 1030am to 730pm in some part of prep seemed good enough for a day “off” anyway, right?

Both the one bowl of that cacciucco i’d set aside for lunch with a hunk of *omgrealbaguetteinNola* [from gracious bakery] and the zucchini bread riff had me ON My FACE with joy once I finally GOT to them around 8pm. So good that the glass of red wine I poured to have alongside it is still sitting on my desk right NOW. Untouched. No need. DOne. It was That Deep.

A little after 730am today, I was back on the horse. I was tired, but my satsang was downstairs so even to start it beyond devotionals I had to hoist myself up. A guardian angel kept playing Sun Goddess by Ramsey Lewis & Earth Wind & Fire in the ether to nudge me along, but there was no real movement until my mind latched on to the thunderbolt of “Dirty Chai~[strong chai w/an espresso shot & whole milk]”. I was down to business within a blink of that thought.

What i’d done with the veggie burger recipe the day before was:

  1. I decided to use the beet and red cabbage pulp I had in the freezer in lieu of all this roasting then grating.
  2. Instead of reg rice, I made a pot of popcorn rice mixed with the last Kasha I had in the house and let it cool[logic? heavier feel, get rid of the last of the kasha].
  3. In lieu of ACV, I cooked the garlic down in balsamic vinegar[logic: richer taste].
  4. I didn’t have black beans[they don’t always jibe with my system anyway], but I did somehow inherit a can of Black eyed peas. Note: I Loathe Black eyed peas & ironically enough, the day prior to all this “I know~ i’ll try veggie burgers!” mewing The Holy Spirit himself was going to bat for them towards me out of nowhere. This continued throughout the shopping excursions, with both me & my inner child being straight “Hellnah!” & whatnot as he pushed & prodded on the subject matter,Never bringing up that the other can of beans i’d had on hand at home to pinch-hit[great Northern] were expired, leading to a stare-down & all kinds of “trust me’s.” I HAD no Choice but to admit that when I opened said can & the damn-near meaty smell of them hit the atmosphere that  Holy was on to “something,” but I was still wary. More on this below.
  5. After realizing that they just turned the oats to flour, I opted to use the buckwheat flour I have on hand instead of making flipping flour. Besides, with the kasha already in, the girth of buckwheat couldn’t do anything but Help  make all this mess confuse my mouth into meat-tastic-isms.
  6. I used the spices I had[lot on the list, some not, and had no honest clue the amounts. was just riding the wave of it all.]
  7. rereading it now, I realized that I skipped the brown mustard, but recall even absently opting out of adding mustard seed during spice-time. Even when I finally tried the bugger I opted out of mustard too, all instinctively. Maybe the balsamic vinegar’s weight did whatever the mustard was meant to. I may never know.
  8. I did the egg, I nixed the onions etc., etc.,

Anywhoo~

i’d read somewhere else that burning the mofos outside- “charring them”-then finishing them off in the oven would also up the meatiness of the entire enterprise, so from 745am until maybe 9am, that it what I was doing.to a motherload of veggie burger mix that actually Looked like seasoned ground beef for real. THAT was a shocker-my first response was “Oh my god, where’d all the beets and cabbage go?did things oxidize? what- ?” Then I realized it was the cooked kasha & popcorn rice that gave it that look. It didn’t taste like meat, it didn’t taste like kasha or like vegetables when I tried a pinch of the mix, which made me shrug my shoulders as it could truly go any way. The smell was really pretty amazing & I guess I owe that as much to the black eyed peas as I do the spices.

I charred them all & they really did LOOK like burgers. Which looked weird to the housekeeping staff at 8am, but hey. I promptly parchment-paper separated them & shoved them in the freezer, not even tasting them.

[good reason for that.ONE item spirit was adamant on me grabbing this week was TEFF, which I’ve had before. I’m research-wise in Africa this week & it’s an Ethiopian grain, its really good,& it was cold as heck so its porridge was breakfast with buckwheat honey & whole milk, plus that dirty chai. There was no room for taste-testing veggie burgers because to do so would’ve meant going full on, which I had no room to do at that time. But we’re getting there. Don’t worry. You know how I do :D]

By this time the buckwheat[pizzoccheri] pasta dough was  room temperature and I started re-kneading and working that all out. The Chef who likes to happily egg me on as I amble through all this cooking stuff came in, whistled at my nests, then showed me how to drape the noodles to dry on wooden spoons so i’d look more authentic lol. I rolled out piles of pappardelle and sheets of lasagna, made some ravioli with braised turnip greens and carrot puree in them, and even tried my hand at some farfalle. Had a ball. & I Never want to be slapped by a pasta-making Italian grandmother after the forearm workout I got doing all that. Happy sheesh, had a ball, but sheesh lol.

By the time I got done with all the pasta, I had enough for like a month and it was after 1230pm. Time Flew. I still had Sunset to juice, but I shyly opted instead to TRY the burgers i’d spent two days working on. Hesitantly as heck, too.

I took one out the freezer, oiled my lil cast-iron baby & slid it in, laying slices of sharp cheddar across it. Also yanked a hunk of thin baguette & sliced it open for the bun, shoved it all in w/the last of the fries that I know better than eating anyway. But at least NOW they’ll be gone was the logic. also cracked an organic egg in a ramekin, salt/pep’d & shoved it in too. I pulled the bread out and smeared it with fresh avocado, then wilted some tatsoi greens and shitake mushrooms to dress it with alongside all else.

I finished the dirty chai i’d been nursing all day, wove that bad boy together & went to have a seat. The living room was full but the TV was muted, it was surreal that I was given no choice but to be mindful of that first bite.

I was stunned.

And I am not even a veggie burger fan. I always felt oddly cheated with them. It’s like you can never become a FAN of Turkey burgers until you have an AMAZING turkey burger. Before that, it all just seems cruel lol. But THIS? This blew my mind. & You guys know I’m ridiculous on burgers in general. Yall saw my last meal before ETHEREAL began was full-on Five Guys. I MADE the bugger..and I was sitting there flabbergasted that I couldn’t tell it wasn’t meat. I finished it slowly and steadily. It was ALL things. The toppings were great, but there was no Ketchup or anything like that to hide Anything in. & I’m telling you, kid you not…the black eyed peas MAY have been what did  the magic.

Holy vibed out that “um hmm ~ see I told you~” bliss at me as I finished every bite. It was so good that I still haven’t had my slice of nozucchini* bread for dessert.  Full, sated, happy, and energized by the awe of it all, I knocked out this week’s Sunset juice, iced up, cleaned up and climbed up to the sanctuary.

That’s all for now.

A.B.

oh.

P.s.,

*Nozucchini bread was basically my taking a zucchini bread recipe & using the sweet potato and carrot what have you pulps from a past week in lieu of freshly grated zucchini. One of the cooks here needed paprika & i’d needed vanilla extract, so we traded. He gave me a whole bottle of real Mexican vanilla-where they “oh~just slice 6 or 7 vanilla beans & fill the bottle with flipping Bourbon~”

😀 I am TELLING you, it got “lick the bowl” really quick.I got a small burn on my arm in all this yesterday & Obviously it 9 out of 10 times went down after the introduction of the Mexican Vanilla because I didn’t feel a Thing lol. Oh-& I used all brown sugar instead of white & brown. All I know is I had NO actual measuring cups and whatnot- the Haus is the Haus lol- so I was nervous, not sure if Zucchini bread OR Nozucchini bread fell in the realm of baking, exact measurements and whatnot. But it turned out great.

** My cacciucco was also winged. I’d used all my fish except a big oval can of sardines in tomato sauce on Ethereal’s pescatarian days so far. I went “why not?” & picked up a seafood mix bag to amplify it. If there was going to be Last Meal-isms, or better yet First Meal in Heaven-isms, it is very possible that mine would be some form of cacciucco or bouillabaisse or something. I did a lot of it on the stove then shoved it in the  oven low after dumping the merlot in so it could smell up the house. I also added tomatoes, red onions & peppers I had left over from a new sandwich for brunch this week[Tha Veggie[baby]Mama].

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