Friday, June 06, 2003

On Tuesday, I chopped down three large burdock plants that were growing near my garden. I remembered that when I was a kid, my mother cooked the stems, and my father called them "cardone." As I recall, they were delicious. I have always been tempted to give this a try, but most of the burdock I come across are growing in areas that make the thought unpalatable, for example between cracks in a sidewalk, or in a garbage-strewn empty lot. You know, one of those places where you just know a dog has lifted his leg on the plant a few times.

These were growing in rich soil, near where I used to keep the composter. No dogs, not my two nor any others, have been near them. So I searched the Internet for information -- just to make sure my memory was serving me and I wouldn't wind up poisoning us. Burdock are a lot more common in Japanese cuisine, but the root is eaten, not really the stems. I couldn't tell from the descriptions of Italian cardone whether this is exactly the same plant as ordinary burdock, but I decided to proceed anyway. The description of the flavor was a combination of artichoke and celery, and this was good enough for me. They can be served many ways, and usually are eaten on special occasions.

They were very dirty, and cleaning them was a challenge. I cut the stems in 3" - 4" pieces, pulled off the bigger threads, the way you would with celery, then sliced them lengthwise, to facilitate removing sand and bugs. I washed them and washed them and washed them. I boiled them in salted water with lemon juice for 30 minutes to remove the bitterness. When they were done, I rinsed them. I stored them in the refrigerator until today, when I dipped them in egg and bread crumbs and fried them in olive oil.

My memory was accurate! They were delicious, and Bob agreed.

Here's another item from the Times Union on the historic preservation -- or rather, historic destruction -- front that made me sad/mad. This one is about a historic barn being torn down in Clifton Park.

Several days ago I added a site counter to most of the pages in the Gully Brook Press website. On some pages it isn't working right and I haven't had the time to tweak it, but otherwise it has been fascinating. Unfortunately, because it is free it adds an ugly banner to the top of the pages, but I am living with it for the interesting information I can collect. The virtual museum is what brings in the traffic. I can't tell whether the PDF files are getting read, I guess I would have to convert them to regular webpages to track them. I have resisted doing this, despite being urged by others to get rid of the PDF because they are hard to access, since after my experiences I want to make it at least a little difficult to plagiarize.

There is no Tuesday Too (via Sya).

Yes, I've noticed. I hope all is OK. I'll give these questions a try -- and since there's no TT, I suppose it is OK to do it on late Thursday/early Friday.

1. Request from a friend. Even if you don't do anything else for this edition of the faux-Tuesday Too, please answer this: do you ever have dreams where you read something and actually know what it is that you're reading?

I'm ashamed to respond that I can't remember! Sometimes I have vivid dreams and the memory lingers, other times I don't dream, or at least I don't recall dreaming, but I have no clue if I read in my dreams.

2. Got any music in your collection you're absolutely ashamed of owning?

No. I'm not a musical elitist, I can appreciate almost anything and my collection has a very wide range, although I tend to overplay certain CDs. I still have some vinyl, but I rarely listen to it. And, my tastes have changed somewhat over the years. I like almost all folk, bluegrass and country-rock music, and I like some rock, country, jazz, classical, alternative, dance, pop, and show tunes. I like specific musicians or bands more than types of music, for example, I like Billy Joel, Indigo Girls, Dave Matthews Band, Natalie Merchant, Joan Baez, George Winston, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, John Prine, Dave Brubeck. I also like silence - no TV, no radio, no CD player.

3. A two-parter: you're having an allergy attack. What's the first thing you try to relieve your itchy, runny nose and sneezing?

I have some allergies, and usually don't do anything.

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