That last post was not exactly blogalicious. To make it up to you, here is a super-easy fig thing, so easy it's almost not even a recipe:

Halve your figs from top to bottom. In a cast iron pan, heat up a good big bloop of olive oil, a smaller blop of good organic salted butter, & a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Then sear your figs face down (meaning the sliced side down) until they start to caramelize a bit & get nice & hot all the way through. Take em out & put them face up on a plate. Crown each half with a morsel of strong-flavored goat cheese. A cheese with a little bit of funk to it. We used buche: edibly toughened rind, gooey inside the rind, crumbly & milder in the center. I wouldn't use the cream-cheese-type goat cheeses because I think they don't have quite enough flavor to balance the sweetness of the figs, but you could try it, maybe with the addition of some rosemary or the like.

Anyway, there is a popover option which transforms this dish into a whole brunch. You can make popovers (we used Mollie Katzen's recipe) & then while eating them, put a cheesy fig half inside each bite of popover. Obviously put the popovers in the oven well before doing the figs, so the timing works out. Yummm!

Eating is much better around here now that Donna's show is up. Can I just say, she kicked ass with this installation. I'm so proud of her! Go see it, you won't be sorry.


Alas, since I last blogged, Katrina turned out to be way, way worse than she first appeared, but by now you knew that already. Among millions of possible Katrina items to comment upon I choose this: if you plug in "refugee" & a recent date in an ADS-L archive search you'll get some interesting discussion. Also here.

As usual I can see both sides of the debate. Folks don't want to be lumped in with some other group they really don't identify with. On the other hand, I can't help but smell some American arrogance in here... it's the same irony I have noticed in the course of doing the Chinese Restaurant Project. (Hey, wow, you mean this might actually be on topic?! Hang onto yer hats, blog readers!) We (some people of color) get so preoccupied with defending our American-ness, i.e. "we belong here too" or "we deserve these rights too" that we seem to forget to question why it's so dang desirable to be an American. What about the other questions like: Isn't it embarrassing (& getting more so all the time) to be an American? Don't non-Americans also deserve respect, rights, resources, &c? What's so special about being recognized as an American? Of course I'm asking these questions in terms of conceptual identity, not in the context of, for example, the real daily crap that undocumented immigrants have to deal with.

I mean, part of my motivation in doing this project has been to demonstrate how we (Chinese Americans) have been here all along & are an integral part of American food culture, & dammit, why don't we get some credit for that? But really, does it matter on that pride/identity level what so-called "real Americans" (i.e. dumb white people who elected Bush) think of us & our restaurants? Why should we care?

Just wondering. Sorry if I'm rambling. I'm a little rusty at this blogging thing. Anyway, here's my suggestion for what to call people instead of refugees or evacuees or IDPs or hurricane survivors: Katrina Americans (smirk).

If you've read this far, reward yourself. I did today & it's almost enough to make me forget about my poor sufferin' hand.