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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Final Product

What’s better than drinking red wine, eating fantastic olives, and cooking great food? While I’m waiting for you to answer I’ll have another sip of wine and another of these wonderful cracked olives. I have cooked a lot of dishes with calamari and there is a simple rule: either cook it fast (like deep frying), or cook it slow (like simmering it for 30 minutes), otherwise it turns to rubber. I am doing the slow cooking method tonight with a saffron calamari risotto.

I got the idea for this from my fishmonger (Yeah, I have a fish monger!) at the Mercado de Algirós today when I bought my squid. It wasn’t too busy there today and the woman really took a lot of time to explain to me the various types of squid available to us lucky Valencianos. She talked me into buying the less expensive calamari since I was planning on using it in a sauce. She said that this squid goes great in a sauce with tomatoes and rice. The half kilo of squid came to 4 €; that’s a lot of calamari.

I was about to write down the recipe for this dish until I realized that being the iconoclastic chef that I am, this is probably not even risotto. I’m sure that I am offending Italian as well as Spanish culture with the dish I concocted tonight, but damn, it is good.

P.S. Next to my wine glass you can see the book I am reading, the poems of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. More on him later but I’ll leave you with a little bit of one of his works called, Flies Enter a Closed Mouth.

En qué medita el tortuga?
Dónde se retira la sombra?
Qué canto repite la lluvia?
Dónde van a morir los pájaros?
Y por qué son verdes las hojas?


Es tan poco lo que sabemos
Y tanto lo que presumimos
Y tan lentamente aprendemos,
que preguntamos, y morimos.

What does the tortoise think?
Where do shadows go?
What song does the rain have in its head?
Where do birds go to die?
And why are leaves green?

We know so little
And presume so much
And learn so slowly
And we ask, and we die.
(translated by me)

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