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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Thank You, Chef

“Into the Fire” is an episode aired during Anthony Bourdain’s fourth season of “No Reservations”. It covered Bourdain’s return to his last kitchen gig eight years after the release of “Kitchen Confidential”, and his rise to celebrity. Throughout the dinner service the expediter calls out for, “Pepper steak, Tony.” Above is my version from tonight’s dinner.

Steak au poivre a la Patrick

Rice wine (traditional, cognac)
Half and half (traditional, heavy cream)
Bok choy (traditional, not applicable)
Sourdough bread

1)  Roughly crush peppercorns with a mortar and pestle.
2)  Coat the beef with the crushed peppercorns.
3)  Heat the oil and butter until the butter begins to brown.
4)  Pan-fry the coated beef in the oil and butter. 4 minutes per side.
5)  Remove the beef from the pan and allow to rest for 7 to 10 minutes before slicing.
6)  Deglaze the pan with rice wine.
7)  Add half and half, and wilt the bok choy in the sauce while reducing.
8)  Plate and eat.

I re-watched this episode the other night with my wife when reflecting on the tragic news of his suicide. From his closing voice-over the intended theme of the episode is explicitly stated: Appreciate the experiences from where you came because they put you on your path, and you can never really go back.

It is often said that there is more that binds us than tears us apart. In “Parts Unknown”, Bourdain’s most recent series, good food, he seems to say, is less a matter of extreme execution, or ingredients, or individual talent, but more a matter of the role it can play in our lives. With respect and empathy, Bourdain showed us people and places “Unknown” to us, by many accounts because of our privilege. Feeding oneself and those around us, though methods are immeasurably varied, is a path for the unknown to become less so.

-->Rest in peace.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Irrational fear

An expert's opinion says that I should not fear accidentally finding myself driving in the middle of a parade. I know, I know, I know. Parades are very well delineated, municipal support personnel are on hand to direct crowds and traffic, and, I don't even own a car. But that's the thing about phobia; anxiety is disproportionate to probability.

So, I'm just minding my own business walking down the street on my way to have a bowl of shredded duck and cabbage noodle soup when this:

You have got to be kidding me.