Saturday, March 24, 2007

cooking while dancing

It is useful, when you are the choreographer and not dancing, to cook the meal for the closing night party. It allows you to focus on the details of getting the meal ready instead of hovering over the last show and possibly fucking it up. After the show you also have the opportunity to burn off all the nervous energy from sitting in the audience all those nights/weeks, by being in the kitchen fussing over the food. I am developing a repertoire of food that can cook while I am dancing or sitting nervously in the audience on closing night. The menu last night, for the closing night wind-down of [storm], was:

cheese - brie and hunks of parmegianno - and crackers
cannelini soup
slow-roasted pork
chocolate cake

You can put your guests to work setting out the cheese and crackers while you put the finishing touches to the soup. While they are eating soup, you make the pasta - a simple pasta with tomato sauce. I melt some anchovies with onions and garlic, along with a bayleaf, and then I throw in a can of tomatoes let the sauce reduce a little bit while the pasta is cooking. I throw in olives and capers and chili pepper flakes at the end. Toss with pasta. This should not take more than 20 minutes. And allows you to have an excuse to be quiet by yourself, reflecting on the show, while the party picks up around you. You can put someone to work, emptying the ready-to-eat salad mix into a bowl and tossing it in salad dressing that you made earlier in the day. When you bring out the pasta and pork, you can sit down and eat with people. Everyone will be impressed by the meal you made (so they don't have to pretend to like the show if they didn't). When enough has been eaten, you can go whip up the cream for the cake and bring out the dessert. You will feel like a very capable queen.

The Cannelini Soup
Place previously soaked cannelini beans in slow cooker with a head of garlic cut in half, a tomato and a bunch of sage leaves on slow for 8 hours or so. When you get back home, chop up some arugula, sauté some garlic with chilli pepper flakes in good olive oil and throw them into the soup, mushing the beans while you're at it.

The Slow Roasted Pork (from Karen Barnaby via The Vancouver Sun)
The day before, make a dry rub by grinding 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, 12 whole cloves. Mix with 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 2 bay leaves, crumbled, 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped, plus 6 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly. Rub all this on a 5 lb of skinless, boneless pork shoulder. Leave overnight in fridge. Before you leave for the theatre, put roast in 450ºF oven for 15 minutes. Turn down oven to 225ºF and leave there for 6-8 hours.

The Chocolate Cake (from Lucy Waverman & James Chatto's A Matter of Taste)
Make day before with:
1 1/2 cups butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup strong coffee
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter a 10-inch springform pan and line base with parchment paper.
Melt butter in heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and coffee, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate and stir until smooth.
Scrape chocolate mixture into large bowl. Stir in egg yolks and flour.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in rekaining 1/4 cup sugar. When egg whites are thick, smooth and glossy, stir one quarter of whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whites. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until edges puff and crack slightly but center is not completely set.Cake will set as it cools. Cool in pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Loosen sides of cake with sharp knife. Release sides of pan.

For topping:
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulatedd sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Whip cream with sugar until cream holds its shape. Spread over top of cake. Transfer cake to a platter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


according to Linda Putnam:

As you get into the unknown, the rhythm of catharsis will change because you're in a place where you can no longer know anything about yourself.

This seems to be true of making work, watching work, loving, giving. The terror, the terror. The bliss, the bliss. The pain, the pain. But, I'm alive, I'm alive!

Friday, March 16, 2007

words from a cranky old man

I took out my dusty old copy of The White Goddess by Robert Graves this winter and found in it, these passages which give me food for thought:

Indian mystics hold that to think with perfect clarity in a religious sense one must first eliminate all physical desire, even the desire to continue living; but this is not at all the case with poetic thinking, since poetry is rooted in love, and love in desire, and desire in hope of continued existence

.... 'What is the use or function of poetry nowadays?' is a question not the less poignant for being defiantly asked by so many stupid people or apologetically answered by so many silly people. The function of poetry is religious invocation of the Muse; its use is the experience of mixed exaltation and horror that her presence excites. But 'nowadays'? Function and use remain the same; only application has changed. This was once a warning to man that he must keep harmony with the family of living creatures among which he was born, by obedience to the wishes of the lady of the house; it is now a reminder that he has disregarded the warning, turned the house upside down by capricious experiments in philosophy, science and industry, and brought ruin to himself and his family. 'Nowadays' is a civilization in which the prime emblems of poetry are dishonoured. In which serpent, lion and eagle belong to the circus tent; ox, salmon and boar to the cannery; racehorse and greyhound to the betting ring; and the sacred grove to the sawmill. In which the Moon is despised as a burned-out satellite of the Earth and woman reckoned as 'auxiliary State personel'. In which money will buy almost anything but truth, and almost anyone but the truth-possessed poet.