Buckwheat Cornbread

Buckwheat Cornbread with Bacon & Padron Peppers

Based on this recipe for Buckwheat Cornbread from the Washington Post.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Padron Peppers
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 Pound Bacon
  • METHOD:

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

    Stir together the cornmeal, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, onion, and peppers in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.

    Combine the eggs and buttermilk in a medium mixing bowl. Melt butter and stir into the milk mixture.

    Cook the bacon in a hot 9″ cast iron skillet until crisp. Reserve crispy bacon and leave hot bacon grease in pan.

    Add bacon to cornmeal mixture. While the pan is heating, add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until combined. Pour into the hot bacon grease containing skillet; a crust should form immediately. Cook for a minute on the stove top, then transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the corn bread to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

    The Duke Dreams

    Duke Ellington: This Isn't Piano, This Is Dreaming from thisisdreaming.com on Vimeo.

    “Where did you get your ideas from?”
    “The Ideas? Oh, man, I got a million dreams. It’s all I do is dream. All the time.”
    “I thought you played piano.”
    “No, no, no, no, no! This is not playing piano, this is dreaming.”
    …Duke plays…
    “That’s dreaming.”

    Be Always Drunken

    “Be always drunken.
    Nothing else matters:
    that is the only question.
    If you would not feel
    the horrible burden of Time
    weighing on your shoulders
    and crushing you to the earth,
    be drunken continually.

    Drunken with what?
    With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.
    But be drunken.

    And if sometimes,
    on the stairs of a palace,
    or on the green side of a ditch,
    or in the dreary solitude of your own room,
    you should awaken
    and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you,
    ask of the wind,
    or of the wave,
    or of the star,
    or of the bird,
    or of the clock,
    of whatever flies,
    or sighs,
    or rocks,
    or sings,
    or speaks,
    ask what hour it is;
    and the wind,
    wave,
    star,
    bird,
    clock will answer you:
    “It is the hour to be drunken!”

    Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen, 1864

    If Baudelaire’s “Be Always Drunken” is one of your favorite poems, basically, ever, what do you do when you quit drinking?

    If you’ve spent the last 10 years as something of a cocktail & spirits expert and a bartender, what do you do, if you don’t drink?

    I mean, for more than 5 years, the cocktails of the Savoy Cocktail Book were a fairly single minded obsession for me. Getting (or making) the ingredients, making the drinks, photographing the drinks, writing the SavoyStomp.com Blog, hosting Savoy Nights at Alembic, etc.

    Daniel Hyatt was prescient, saying a long time ago, “If you ever finish this thing, you are going to have some serious post-partum depression.”

    Seriously, even leaving aside the drinking part, that’s a lot of effort & time I was spending over Savoy Cocktails, that is now free.

    Well, the obvious thing, is to find something else to do, other than drink & write about drinking.

    I guess that is the whole plan of AA. You have to go to at least a meeting every day. You meet with your sponsor. You drink lots of coffee. You smoke. You hang out with your new AA buddies. You’ve got badges and buttons to earn. Pretty clearly, you’re replacing the time you spent drinking and hanging out with your drinking buddies and those rewards, with the time spent fulfilling your responsibilities to the AA organization.

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe in a higher power, nor do I have any desire to hang out in church basements drinking coffee.

    So, to set myself up for success, in this whole “not drinking” experiment, I’m going to have to find something to occupy my time.

    Prior to my obsession with cocktails, my enthusiastic hobbies have included, in no particular order, Reading, Botany, Gardening, Computer Games, Music, Playing Music…

    Oh, huh, I still have that clarinet I bought when I was just out of college.

    Well, learning to play the clarinet is certainly something that can take up a lot of time and attention.

    Performing music was really my first addiction and enthusiasm.

    I started performing music in the children’s choir at church and continued to sing and perform in pretty much every possible way through high school: Band, Jazz Band, Choir, Musicals, and yes, even, horror of horrors, Madrigal.

    Stopped performing when I went off to college and started drinking.

    Is it possible that every other addiction, or enthusiasm, in my adult life has just been a substitute for the buzz of performing music?

    Now that is something to think about.

    …and I doubt Mr Baudelaire would disagree that it is possible to be drunken with song…

    Plus & Minus

    Over the last year or so, I have been thinking a lot about what I did and did not enjoy about bartending.

    I actually enjoy talking to strangers.

    Medium level acquaintances aka “regulars” can be the tricky ones.

    Best example I can think of was a regular couple I found amusing, even if they did drink a little too much, especially the guy.

    They’d come in and ask for dealer’s choice vodka cocktails. They always pretty fun to hang out with, despite requesting vodka cocktail after vodka cocktail, and stipulating that I never repeat a cocktail. Hey, I like a challenge as much as the next guy.

    Then they got pregnant.

    They continued to come in, often with a friend or two.

    The wife would not drink, rather grumpily, while the guy continued on his quest to get as plastered as possible on vodka cocktails. Eventually, the wife would retire up to their room, leaving him down there with the friend or friends. Eventually, you could tell, even the friend wanted to go home, but the guy would just plow on. “One more for the road!” after “Just one more!”.

    I just wanted to shake him and say, “Dude, wake up! Your wife is mad at you and your friend here wants to go home. Give it up!”

    Yep, that’s me, “Mr Spectacles Judgy Guy”.

    To an extent, sometimes I see a certain sadism to being a bartender. Some bartenders seem to enjoy and encourage other people’s bad choices. And customers just LOVE that sort of bartender, but the wreckage left behind always bothers me.

    Especially, since I was always the one who would end up cleaning up the vomit after Mr Startender took an early powder.

    Bartending, Not Drinking

    “I mean, there are some people who enjoy bartending and making drinks, and do it without drinking, right?”

    It’s funny, the people I work with in Tech are far more puzzled over me retiring from bartending than the bartenders I know.

    Anyway, there are different classes of not drinking bartenders.

    First, there are bartenders who don’t drink while working.
    Second, there are bartenders who don’t drink with customers.
    Third, there are bartenders who don’t drink.

    In the first and second case, sometimes it is easier to say you don’t drink, than to risk offending someone by telling them you don’t want to drink with them or try to explain that you are a professional doing an actual job and don’t want to get wasted while you are at that job. A lot of bartenders have fairly elaborate and complicated methods for appearing to drink that shot you really want to drink with them, while at the same time only taking the tiniest taste. Me, I’ve never been very good at turning down free drinks or resisting the social pressure to drink. We all have our faults.

    In the third case, yes, there are some professional bartenders who do not drink at all. Though, to be fair, most of the non-drinking bartenders I know have moved on to be managers, consultants, or owners, and don’t do a lot of actual day-to-day bartending. But, there are a few unicorns among the herds of stallions, mares, and asses.

    In fact, when I’ve managed to get away with it, I enjoy bartending without drinking far more than I do bartending while drinking. But, you still have to taste your drinks and the products you’re pouring. So, if you have weak will power, like myself, and enjoy drinking, it is a very slippery slope.

    Finally, most of the “good stuff” the bartending life throws at you is pretty firmly in the “free drinks” or “party lifestyle” category of experiences.

    As I’ve said before, as a happily married, middle-aged, fairly prudish, (hey, I grew up Lutheran,) now non-drinking male, there’s just not a lot that the drink industry comes up with that is targeted at my demographic.

    Pretty much every educational seminar or sponsored event I’ve attended for the booze industry could be summed up as, “free drinks with snacks”. If you’re lucky, there might be entertainment. If you’re not lucky, you’ll have to listen to someone drone on about the intricacies of what supposedly makes the industrial process they use for creating their product unique. But, mostly it is the free drinks, and for most people, this is an excuse to imbibe copiously. Wouldn’t you, if you had to listen to a presentation on the nitty gritty details of industrial gin distillation while hanging out with a bunch of people you don’t know very well?

    I am lucky that I have had several different careers in different industries and, if I don’t bartend, I have other jobs I can fall back on.

    On the other hand, nothing is certain. Perhaps in 5 years, when the tech industry bubble finally bursts for good, I’ll be back to bartending (or even cooking).

    Psychic Anaesthetic

    “What’s with the Water?”

    “Booze tends to take the edge off. I want to stay angry.”

    Best quote I’ve heard from “True Detective, Season 2”

    “Psychic Anaesthetic” or “Emotional Prophylactic”.

    Whichever you prefer, booze often gets a rap as emotional novacaine.

    Somehow, drinking seems to make the emotional stress of dealing with others less.

    I don’t really buy this one, at least in the long term.

    I think it just puts off dealing with processing your feelings.

    And if you just keep drinking, you can just keep putting it off.

    Mustard Ruminations

    Over the years I have always used Dijon mustard when making salad dressings, etc.

    I always assumed the fine grind of the mustard seeds would be the thing that helped with emulsion.

    The other day I was out of Dijon and instead used an old school whole grain mustard (Maille Old Style) when making a salad dressing.

    Weirdly, it worked as an even more efficient emulsifier than the usual finely ground Dijon.

    Seems to indicate that it isn’t the fine grind of the mustard, but some other factor which is aiding in emulsion of fats.

    Tales of No Cocktails

    Haven’t done a status update in a while, so here goes.

    I was working three nights a week at a restaurant called “The Coachman”. Had a few drinks on the menu. Good staff, good food. But, it didn’t take off. So they cut down bar staff and I ended up with only one or two shifts a week.

    Then we were traveling for my birthday in October, 2015, and planned to be out of town with family for the December/January holidays. I told them to put my weekly shifts on hold, that I would just cover when people needed time off.

    Shortly after we got back from the holidays, they decided to close The Coachman.

    At that point, I was at a loss. I could look for more bar shifts elsewhere or I could try to find more hours in tech work.

    I talked to my (Great! Excellent!) boss in tech and asked how likely it was that he would be able to find more hours for me at my day job. He said, maybe, but give him some time to shuffle things around.

    I worked only part time at my tech job for a few months, then finally things started to work out with my day job and I got back to being a full time day walker.

    So far, so good.

    Which brings me around to the other thing.

    As you’ve probably been reading, I’ve been ambivalent about the role drinking has had in my life for the last couple years.

    But I just couldn’t get away from it while I was working in bars. You at least have to taste the drinks, wine, and spirits, which ends up being a slippery slope.

    So, along with not working in bars, I decided to take this opportunity to take some time off from drinking. The first couple months sucked, but after hitting about the six month mark, with support from friends, family and the awesome Mrs Flannestad, I am becoming comfortable with it and feel better in my own skin than I have in years.

    Haven’t decided whether I will go back to drinking and try to do “moderation”, but at this point…

    So far, so good, why mess with a good thing?

    PS. Perhaps you are thinking, “Yeah, that’s great Erik, but I don’t really give a flying fuck about you, what about the Savoy Cocktail Book Project and SavoyStomp website??”

    Unfortunately, after one platform move and three hosting moves, the code behind the website had become unstable. Frankly, the database is corrupt, probably because of excessive spam comments or related factors. In any case, I took it down before someone really hacks it. Eventually, I would like to turn it into a static website, (Or a book! Illuminated Savoy Cocktail Book, anyone?) However, at the moment, I just don’t have the time (or the inclination) to revisit those 10 years of my life and dig through them again. If you’re looking for cocktail information, I’d suggest buying Martin Doudoroff‘s “Martin’s Index“. It’s an excellent app and most of the technical and drink information I uncovered over the years can be found there. You’ll just be missing my pithy personal insights and incorrect measurements. Maybe if everyone downloads his app, he eventually will be convinced to create an Android or web version. Ha!

    Glu-Tards Harshing My Mellow

    As someone who is not drinking in a town known for its drunk-i-tude, I am certainly sympathetic to dietetic choices, especially if they are for health reasons.

    However, I was recently at the grocery store and it appears the only fig bars they now carry are “gluten-free”.

    I don’t know what the decision math was.

    Fig Bar buyers are also likely to be gluten intolerant?

    Fig Bar buyers are not picky, so they don’t care if they have to eat food with weird gloopy textures?

    Fig Bar buyers enjoy stale cookies that have been sitting on the shelf for too long because no one buys them they are so truly awful?

    I really don’t want to learn to make my own glutinous fig bars, but it may come to that.