Thursday, March 31, 2005

Trying to answer!

Please bear with me; I've been asked a candid question by a friend and I'm struggling to understand how to answer. Maybe you will know what real love is. It is the love you have but cannot feel or the love that conquers and destroys you? What do you think? Anyway, here's a poem to try and explore the idea.

The perfect tear

I saw your shoulder and it made me like a leaf in the wind
The thousand kisses I thought I’d lost sat waiting for me to discover
the salty bumps of your spine parched my throat
Somebody spoke, I don’t know who or what they said

You captured the sun, I could only see the sky
by looking in the corner of your eye
as you glanced at me

I smelled something
but it didn’t make sense
I walked somehow to where your perfume lingered in the air
like a dream that I had had
that I couldn’t wake from

I saw you naked
you arched backward
and spanked yourself once laughing
and I was crawling
like a man clawing up a tunnel into the light

In sweat and salt and heat
I slipped off your wet lips
like an unconscious man falling
but you caught me and pulled me back up again with suction
I was saved from death
and died again
to find your little body
beating like a fast drum beside me
floating on a quiet tide
in a quiet room
in a lagoon somebody said wouldn’t last

Back on the street again
I thought what are all these people doing here
I am lost

Monday, March 28, 2005

My new house slippers from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I got them jus a few days before their even newer revolution. The material is woven from camel fur and the patterns are traditional. They are very warm and comfortable! Posted by Hello
Oops! So much for Spring unbridled! We've had a day and night of snow. OK, I'll be more patient (crossed fingers). Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Here is a Russian Easter Egg. It is getting to be that time of year! Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Posted by Hello
These tulips will be the first flowers to grow in the Spring. They are hand carried back to Kazakhstan from trips to Holland. This picture was taken in the early Spring last year. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 04, 2005

I miss my dacha! This is my samovar in full tilt boogey! TEA IS READY! Posted by Hello
Some beautiful people at a food fair in Atyrau! Posted by Hello

Quiche Lorraine

First you must make the dough for the crust. I like it with a flaky crust and will explain how I do it, in case you are unfamiliar with it.

Here are the ingredients for the dough:

1 generous cup (150 g) flour
½ teaspoon (4 g) salt
7 tablespoons (105 g) very cold vegetable ghee (from India, Pakistan, or Turkey or substitute Taplonee masla in Russian)
water (very cold)

Put all ingredients except the water in a chilled metal or ceramic bowl. Rub together using the tines of a fork. Avoid ever touching the mixture with your hands as they are warm and would melt the ghee. The effect you want to achieve is to have many areas in the dough where the oil (still hard) is present in high concentration but only a thin layer.

When the mixture has achieved the proper texture, add the water in increments until the mixture will hold together. Now you may take it very briefly in your hands to form it in a ball and put it in a plastic bag. Put the covered dough in the refrigerator to rest for between a half hour to an hour.

When you are about ready to take the dough out, you can make your custard for the filling. Here are the ingredients for the rest of the quiche.

250 g (1/2 pound) coarsely grated cheese

(About the cheese, a good, all around choice would be Emmenthaler, Gruyere or Gouda. These are three rather distinct flavors so the choice depends on the taste you prefer. All three, however, harmonize nicely with the bacon or ham.)

125 g slab bacon or prosciutto cut in slices a little less than 1 cm thick (a little less than a ½ inch)

For the custard, 6 large eggs,
A heaping teaspoon of flour
200 ml of milk (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons of sour cream or crème fraiche
(Beat these ingredients together until frothy and full of air bubbles just before pouring in the crust and putting in the oven.)

OK here is the cycle of events that occurs in my kitchen. When the crust dough has been resting in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, I preheat my oven to 210 C. (about 400 F.). While it is preheating, I cut the meat and grate the cheese. Next I put all the custard ingredients in a bowl reedy to be whipped or beaten (whip me, whip me please they cry). Then I take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out in a thin crust to fit the size of my pan. Once it is in the pan, in goes the meat (evenly spaced and lying flat) and then I cover it with the grated cheese. Next I beat the custard mix until it is really frothy (oh my, oh my) and pour it over everything. Then it is in the oven for 50-60 minutes until nicely brown on top and well set. And Voila! Let it cool enough to handle, slice and serve while it is still a little souffléd, if possible.

Just a note about nutmeg and pepper: I always freshly grate or grind for the tastiest and most aromatic result. Niki, help me a little here; in Russian, whole nutmeg is called muskatnaya areckhee, how is it called in Romanian? Any way, they sell special graters to make this wonderful spice product be at its best. Buy one (if you don’t already have it) and use it religiously. For the pepper, I use a Greek or Turkish hand coffee grinder to freshly grind the little whole peppers. This I also do religiously.

I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious dish!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Yomi and I shoot a commercial in a stretched, white Lincoln limo, in the mountains above Almaty  Posted by Hello