Friday, May 20, 2005

It beats a frozen pizza any day

My landlord knocked on my door today. He never does that. He's big into fishing. And he gave me a bag of his catch. A fish, I thought, how nice. I thanking him and sent him on his way.

Then I got into my attempt at bread braking. I even bought a kitchen scale just for that. I bought the measuring spoons, too. And Walt from Walt's Hardware even gave me a free screwdriver set. It's actually of good quality. I guess that's what you get for spending $100 at the neighborhood hardware store (and I think he liked that I bought two fire extinguishers, "one for a friend.")


bread baking

bread done

The bread was good. Not great. But a good start. But I'm not into that whole waiting hours for it to rise. Nor am I too into following directions when I cook. But I like good bread. So around 10PM to time it with the bread I opened the bag to discover not fish, but four beautiful squid! "Great!", I said. And then it occurred to me that I've never cooked a squid before, much less cleaned them. But the Joy of Cooking came through like it usually does. They're actually quite fun to clean. And they were scrumptious when cooked.

To clean them, first you pull off their head, hopefully taking all the innards with it. At some point the ink sack will break. It's really amazing how much black comes out of them. It might even be blacker than the blackest substance in the world: used motor oil. And the squid ink seems much cleaner and less toxic.

Then you take out the long cartilage. I didn't know they had such a thing. Then you cut above the eyes and take out the beak. You're left with the tentacles and the body piece. Rinse and dry. Cut the body into slices.

Squid, according the Joy of Cooking, can either be cooked for 2 minutes or about an hour, but nothing in between. Since I can't grill them here, and didn’t want to braise them, I opted for deep fry.

I battered them in semolina plus flour and spices. Dipped in milk first. If anything, they were over battered. I didn't know I could do that. Maybe, given the quality of the squid, just a light flour batter would have been better.

I also called Tamara who was getting off work around 12:30 and could come over and help me eat them. What else would I have done with four squid?

I also had one potato. And since I had the hot pumice olive oil going, some deep fried potatoes were the perfect way to start.

I tried to make a dipping sauce which was a combo of too many good things (ketchup, BBQ sauce, tomato paste, Vietnamese red sauce, and mayonnaise. Actually all that was OK, but then I put in some fried garlic. But they were rancid and that made it all no good. But simple salt and lime did the squid justice.

And we ate some dandelions and feta too, as Tamara so eloquently put it, push things through.

whole squid





ready to fry



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