Dinner For Two: Onion Pandade + Curried Carrot Pear Salad

This isn’t a food blog, but I’ve decided to try making a note here of our nicer dinners. While I can store my own ratings of the individual recipes in Springpad (which I also use to store recipes, make shopping lists and generally do all our kitchen-related planning), I like the idea of also keeping track of which dishes worked especially well together.

I had the following conversation with Alec a while back, which entertained people on Facebook at the time but didn’t get recorded here:

Me: How should we use up this shitload of onions?
Alec: Hmm, maybe an onion soup.
Me: Isn’t that quite labour intensive though?
Alec: No, it’ll be fine with the food processor.
Me: Food processor?!
Alec: Ah right, we haven’t got one. Back to the drawing board then.
Me: ……

After unfreezing my face from the pained WTF grimace I reserve only for the person I love most in the world, I went looking for an easier way to use up that shitload of onions, and found this onion pandade. Paired with this shaved carrot and pear salad with curry vinaigrette, it made for a meatless meal which was hearty, savoury and refreshing all at once.

Because this was an afterthought, inspired simply by being halfway through this meal and never wanting it to end, I don’t have any photos, but it wasn’t the most photogenic meal anyway, for reasons I will now explain.

Although the onion pandade recipe is intended to yield what its author described as a “savoury bread pudding”, we discovered that by screwing up, you can actually make it into a really delicious onion soup. Alec decided to disregard my suggestion of a suitable oven dish and instead use one which was simultaneously too deep and too small, which meant that a fair amount of the stock didn’t get absorbed into the bread, and we got the golden, crunchy topping the recipe promised…but on the floor of the oven. No matter. Our onion pandade “stew” was still bloody tasty, and the oven floor got the clean it probably needed – not by me, of course.

Party In The NWA

We usually listen to pop radio while cooking dinner, because cheese makes everything taste better. *rimshot* The following conversation ensued tonight when Party In The USA started playing:

Me: I still love that Jessie J wrote this. Except I don’t think it makes sense that Miley Cyrus is singing this instead of her. 

Alec: Well, for Miley it’s about moving to LA from Nashville.

Me: I know, but still.

(We continue chopping vegetables as the song plays.)

Me: And see, this part about the Jay-Z song doesn’t fit with coming to LA. Jay-Z is East Coast!

Alec: It’s possible you’re overthinking this.

(Just so you don’t leave thinking that was two minutes of your life you’ll never get back, I highly recommend the Saffron Pasta Salad and Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro we made while engaging in this and other similarly profound conversation.) 

Goodness Bodacious Me

Good: A husband who comes to find you where you’re running errands so that he can have dinner with you before he goes out with his boys.

Bad: A husband who says this as you’re sitting down to dinner –

Alec: Your jeans are nice. I was checking out your ass from the back before I realized it was you.

Me: ……

Alec: That sounded way better in my head than when it came out from my mouth.

Yes, I realize my life is a Goodness Gracious Me skit. I would have responded with the customary "Check please!", except that we were in McDonalds.

Sowing His Wild Kedongdongs

Kedongdong fruits from Grandma's tree

Backstory: We visited my grandmother a week or two ago. She has lived in the same house since World War II, a bungalow surrounded by lush garden which my green-thumbed uncle spends most of his time looking after, when he isn’t fishing. There was a pile of fruits on the table from their kedongdong tree. My grandmother urged Alec to try one. He loved it within one bite, later spent a good deal of time out in the garden with my uncle looking at the tree, and my grandmother happily pressed him to take a couple more fruits home.

This isn’t exactly a laugh-out-loud Alecdote, but I’m sharing it just so people understand what I have to go through. Some women get laugh lines when they get old. The wrinkles on my face will be somewhat more complex.

Me, looking at pile of kedongdongs on kitchen counter: Why haven’t you eaten these up yet?

Alec: I’m going to plant them!

Me: You what??! Where, in our balcony? They’ll take like five years to bear fruit!

Alec: You people always say I should plant stakes in this country, right?

Me: ……

Alec: Are they really called kedonkadonks?

Alec’s Gig Commentaries

Aside from the music I attend gigs for, part of the fun of attending gigs is dragging Alec to them and either enjoying his whiny comments or marvelling at the ability he has developed to fall asleep, often standing up, in decidedly harsh sonic environments. I should have kept a record of these over the years, in hindsight, but tonight’s Blonde Redhead gig is as good a place as any to start, and I do remember some bits from the past. It helps if you’re familiar with the bands in question.

Alec Gig Commentary #1, shortly after the start of the Blonde Redhead gig. It is possible that Alec is not enjoying Kazu’s rather unique style of singing.

Alec, plaintively: Will anyone else sing apart from her?
Me: Yeah, the guy sings too, didn’t you hear him sing a bit in the first song?
Alec: You call that singing???

Alec Gig Commentary #2, during Beach House’s set at the Laneway Festival: After several years of shit like this, punk was born.

Alec Gig Commentary #3, after standing in mud and torrential rain for several hours at the Laneway Festival: Why didn’t I just marry a girl who was into spa weekends?

Alec Gig Commentary #4, standing on the Home Club dancefloor surrounded by people going wild for Tokimonsta’s set: Zzzzzz…

Alec Gig Commentary #5, standing in the front row during Einsturzende Neubauten’s set at All Tomorrow’s Parties 2007: I’m awake, I’m awake…zzzzzzz…

Alec Gig Commentary #6, after Battles: Best nap ever.

CBEO

Alec: What’s that Hokkien way of describing a business tycoon again? Tau huey? Tau kwa?

Me: Um, I think you mean “towkay”. The other things you’re mentioning are forms of beancurd.

Alec: Ah.

Me: Also, you should be aware that for some reason, if this big boss person is female, they might be called a “towkay neo”. But the term I hear used more these days is “ladyboss”.

Alec: That’s actually quite refined for a Singlish term.

Me: True. If it were left to someone like me I’d probably have come up with “cheebye-E-O”.

Alec: ……

Somehow my attempts to teach Alec Singlish always end up in the same place. I don’t think I’m a very good teacher.

Sneakyguy

Since Alec has abandoughned failed to update his blog for over a year now, I thought I’d share an alecdote to reassure any of his former readers that he is still very much committed to breadmaking. People who give a shit about baking may already be aware that making sourdough bread requires the cultivation of a disgusting bacterial soup called a “starter” which is fed flour and water on a weekly basis in order to keep its lethal toxins at an optimal level. (My theory has always been that Industrial Light and Magic only had to increase the starter feeding frequency to once a day in order to create the Jabba the Hutt special effects back in ‘77.)

Having experienced some hilariously epic fails in his previous sourdough starter attempts (I’ll let him tell you the tales himself, if he ever bloody gets round to it), back in January he managed to concoct something which appeared to be a success. He never actually ended up making bread out of this starter, mind you, but you should understand that insofar as this batch didn’t explode in his face, coating our kitchen with more yeasty residue than Tila Tequila’s *cough*, it was well-described as a “success”.

So anyway, Alec had this happily non-explosive starter, but was faced with the problem of several weeks’ worth of business travel, which would make the personal care and feeding of his fetid germfields somewhat difficult. Which led to this conversation:

Alec: If you had a pet, say a cat, and you decided to go on a holiday, someone would need to feed your cat, right?

Me, unsuspectingly: Of course.

Alec: And you know that even though I hate cats, just because I love you I’d help you feed your pet while you were away, right?

Me, suspiciously: Yeeees.

Alec: Well, if you think of me as having several million tiny little pets…

Date Night

We had a date night. It involved Burger King and Bruno, and so gave rise to numerous jibes from me that we suck at date night. On the way home, we had this conversation:

Alec: I love Hungry Ghosts month. Yesterday when I was walking home with our ta pau [1. Takeaway], the guys at the bike shop were setting up their little altar outside. It had a bike wheel as its centrepiece. The boss was very strict with his employees, very particular about how he wanted the altar set up.

Me: Well of course he was! If the ghosts think you don’t give a fuck then they’ll get fucking pissed off lah!

Alec: Dear, I think maybe the Taoists would have a more sophisticated way of explaining thi…

Me: No lah! I bet if you could just understand what the boss was telling his employees in Hokkien…

Alec: He’d be saying “This altar looks like you pulled it out of your wife’s cunt”?

Me: Your mother’s smelly cunt. [2. Explained in full Hokkien glory here.]

Alec: Oh yah, sorry.

beat

Alec: Okay, you’re right. We really suck at date night.

Heads-Up For Vince McMahon

Alec: I heard Joe the Plumber might be becoming a Democrat.
Me, scoffing: Well Joe the Fucking Plumber is basically trying to milk everything he can out of his fifteen seconds of fame, isn’t he? This time next year I bet he’ll be making his WWF debut.
Alec: That would be great. His special move can be the Small Business Slam.