Minutal of Apricots

In my last post--An Appeal for Forgiveness: a love letter to my blog--I tried to excuse my yearlong recess from blog writing by using graduate school as a scapegoat. (No way laziness, procrastination or Hulu is to blame.) I also explained that the inspiration for my sudden return to the scene was my Food History class, specifically the Week 3 Cooking Assignment: Ancient Roman food.  During last night's cooking session, my two dear classmates and I cooked the Minutal ex Praecoquis from Apicius. It was so tasty that here I am writing about it even before the scent of fish sauce vanishes from my nares (though it may never fade from my backpack). And while the dish itself tasted remarkable, I'd say that it was even more enjoyable because of the rich context in which it was cooked. Interpreting a recipe to create an ancient Roman dish, and understanding the history behind the cuisine added a certain taste beyond the traditional five. And as a seasoned Latin nerd, I won't say I didn't throw in a little translating fun for myself.

Here's the original recipe:

Minutal ex praecoquis:adicies in caccabum oleum, liquamen, vinum, concides cepam ascaloniam aridam, spatulam porcinam coctam tessellatim concides. his omnibus coctis teres piper, cuminum, mentam siccam, anethum, suffundis mel, liquamen, passum, acetum modice, ius de suo sibi, temperabis, praecoqua enucleata mittis, facies ut ferveant, donec percoquantur. tractam confringes, ex ea obligas. piper aspargis et inferes. Apicius, 3.6

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An appeal for forgiveness: a love letter to my blog

Dear Most Precious Blog,

This entry should probably come with a box of chocolates and a dozen roses. I've been gone so long, and now I just barge in like nothing has changed. But it's all so different now. It's been over a year since I moved to Boston, and it's been even longer since I've written in you. Don't worry though! The thing that binds us together, the well from which you sprung, and the reason for which I return to you now remains: FOOD. Most glorious and most humble, most intimate and most universal. At once both abundant and scarce, essential and extravagant. Food is all things to me, and so it was inevitable that I would come back to you. Had I returned to you earlier, it would not have been quite so fruitful as it is now. Let me explain..

Graduate school has been kicking my butt. The idea of writing for pleasure or taking more time out of my days to cook and research was laughable. But graduate school has also opened my eyes wider to the world of food behind pretty plating and delicious dishes. During the year we've spent apart, I've thought, researched, and written about food more than I can believe. I've had countless deep conversations with friends over exquisite potluck dinners, and I've had heated arguments with colleagues over the ethical implications of eating quinoa. My professors and classmates have exposed me to literature, theories and issues that have both radically changed and further cemented many of my ideas about food. I've listened to lectures and casual conversations that poked holes in my narrow world view, and now I can't use the word "authentic" without using finger quotes. Basically, the ways graduate school has expanded my mind are endless. To spare you, I'll just say this: I still love food, but now I love it in a deeper, more informed manner, which makes cooking, serving and eating it more meaningful than it was a year ago.

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The qui to happiness

One year ago, with a move to Boston looming over my head, I compiled a comprehensive (and ever-evolving) Austin restaurant bucket-list. The problem is that the industry is rapidly expanding, while my time left in this city is ever-fading. With my move-out date less than two months away and dozens of unchecked items on my list, something had to give.

I decided to downsize and upgrade. 

If I am going out to eat, I want to make sure that I leave with a satisfied belly and a blissful mind. I want to make sure it's worth it. And when Paul Qui, the quintessential Austin celebrity chef, opens a new restaurant; it's a pretty safe bet that it's going to be worth it

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stay icy, my friends...with peach and grapefruit sorbets

I usually try to be self-effacing, and to downplay all-things-exciting as they relate to me. And while I can step back and understand that what I'm about to share isn't a HUGE deal in the grand scheme, it's still very exciting for me: a dessert that I made--from scratch, a recipe from my own brain--was sold at the restaurant.  Sure, it was sold as an amuse bouche, and not a full plated dessert, but that did nothing to dampen my excitement. It went a little something like this:


the Chef says:
We used your grapefruit sorbet as the amuse-bouche this weekend

On the outside, I'm all like:
 oh yeah? ya know...that's cool, man.

On the inside:
Holy hen on a hot griddle!

Then:
I'm so blogging about this!

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