Friday, January 12, 2007

For Everyone Who's Endured High School Lit Class Movie Day

A tip of the toque to Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy:

Peter Sellers reciting the Beatles a la Olivier as Richard III

Friday, Fishday

Since it's Friday, I decided to cook seafood for dinner, and I decided to go with slumgullion.

Slumgullion originally was a word to describe a watery meat stew, and comes from the California Gold Rush, but a more modern western U.S. meaning of the term is a soup made similarly to New England Clam Chowder, but including other seafood as well as the clams. It is a chowder well suited to Oregon's seafood. Here's the recipe I used:

6 oz. Dungeness crab meat
6 oz. shrimp meat (I use the tiny sweet shrimp native to the Oregon coast)
4 0z. bacon
2 lbs. clams in shell (I actually only used 12 oz., but the only shortcoming of the final dish was a lack of sufficient clam chunks)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 tbsp. butter
1 cup sweet yellow onion, small dice
1/2 cup celery, small dice
2.5 lbs Russett potatoes
salt to taste
pepper to taste
fresh thyme to taste

Mise en Place:
stock pot
2 large saucepans (3 quart or bigger)
wooden spoon
paring knife
chef's knife
Chinois or mesh strainer
non-reactive bowl
cutting board

Place the potatoes in one of the saucepans and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer until fork soft. Blanch, peel, and cut large dice.

While the potatoes are boiling, place an inch of water in the stock pot, bring to a boil, add the clams. Boil for 5 minutes and drain, straining the water through a chinois or mesh strainer into a bowl. Chop the clams and rinse, removing the stomach grit.

Cut the bacon into half-inch pieces. In a second large saucepan, render the bacon and add the small diced onion and celery, sweat until clear. Deglasse with 1 cup of the clam water and transfer to the stock pot. Add the clams, shrimp, crab meat, potatoes, cream, butter, remaining clam water and milk, simmer for 1 hour, adding salt, pepper, and thyme at the half hour mark.

Makes 6-8 servings.

I made a simple parmesan toast to go with it, and paired it with a Chilean Sauvignon Gris, which was wonderful, but any white wine with a citrus component would go well with it.


A tip of the toque to best friend Lurch, who forwarded me this e-mail. It's apocryphal but amusing:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client who lost his house in Hurricane Katrina and wanted to rebuild. He was told the loan wouldbe granted if he could prove satisfactory title to the parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property datedback to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down.

After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply (Actual letter):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented theapplication, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (Actual Letter):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area,would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S., from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella. The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus ' expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner oforigin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA.

I hope you find God's original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our damn loan?"

The loan was approved!