|Argemone Mexicana — how could something so pretty be deadly?|
As I am very fond of the pungent flavor of mustard oil — mustard has really become an indispensable color on my culinary palette — I have begun an online search for a safe source for it. So far, I have contacted a little family-run operation in Australia who market organic mustard oil without additives or adulterants. If I find out that they ship to North America (and at a reasonable price), I will pass along more information for you.
Until then, maybe it's better if we all relegate our mustard oil to the massage table. It apparently also works as a snail killer, which doesn't make me want to run out and drink a glass of it. . .but, then again, I'm not a snail, so I guess I'm safe. As long as the oil is argemone-free.
|Please do not feed mustard oil to this cute little guy|
When I turned off my soup pot in the morning to head off to the gym, I left a delightful-looking batch of brownish broth with lovely little bits of this and that floating in it. I came home to discover that my soup had congealed into a lump of technicolor gruel which I will have to call "Purple Porridge."
|I only slightly boosted the color saturation in the photo for effect.|
The Purple Porridge was in all actuality a perfect winter meal. It tasted delicious (my stock had a strong celery flavor, but I adore the taste of cooked celery) and warmed us up as we sat, looking out at the continuing blizzard. If purple clashes with your decor, you might want to leave out the red cabbage, but I for one do not mind festively tinted foods, especially on grey days. (And I insist on coloring my food only with food, not with bottled chemicals. I still have leftover pangs of embarrassment from my first cake-decorating project, in which I in about the 8th grade slathered a chocolate cake, a cookbook, and most of a kitchen with purplish (!) frosting that dried to look a little like concrete. I was shocked that —without peeking under the cake cover — my mother correctly guessed what color the icing was. Years later, she admitted to going over her entire purpled kitchen with a soapy sponge after I left the room.)
One more lesson learned — how educational this tradition called "lunch" can be! — was to remember that rice, even after cooking, soaks up more liquid than you can imagine. (Have they thought of rice litter boxes?) If you want to end up with actual broth in your soup, add the rice at the last minute, or cook it with more water than usual so that it is already saturated when you add it to your soup. In any case, warm soggy porridge is high on my list of comfort foods, so no harm done.
|Willy, another warming touch for a chilly winter day|
The weekend is nigh, everybody — find a big bowl of your favorite comfort food this weekend and treat yourself. If you have a moment during the day today, leave a comment about the wackiest-colored food you ever produced. I need a lot of color in my life to combat the gloom outside my windows.
|My balcony garden is not very inspiring in January|