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Greetings from the future. You have arrived at Food Junta, circa 2009. Please look around and enjoy yourself, but don’t expect any new posts any time soon… or ever.

After a great run, Food Junta closed up shop at the end of 2011. Why then, I can hear you asking from all the way up here in the future, is the last post from 2009? Well, time traveler, the Junta relocated to its own domain in 2009. We were much better at food and writing than at internets, so when that site was hacked in 2012, we took it down for good. FJ posts from its last couple of years were salvaged, but not in a format that we can easily make available online.

So: Enjoy your stay, and thanks for visiting.

Also, please don’t hack us.

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Your standard gin and tonic, seen here not bringing it’s A-game in the sweltering LA summer.

Your standard gin and tonic, seen here not bringing it’s A-game in the sweltering LA summer.

A minor California news item this week, lost in the tidal wave of economic gloom and lingering Michael Jacksoniana, mentioned that the LAPD had enacted California Penal Code Sec.  7749er-B, an obscure provision from the “Martial Law” chapter authorizing the use of deadly force against anyone caught using the phrase “… but it’s a dry heat.” You see, it’s that time of year again, that point in the Losangeleno summer when the weather decides to remind you that human beings really have no place living here; that no matter how lush the lawns or plentiful the Uggs, this really is a desert. I find it’s usually possible to survive these hot weeks with frequent trips to the beach and adherence to a strict regimen of ice, citrus and clear liquors: gin and tonics sustained thousands of pasty Brits for 300 years in India, so surely they can get me through a week-long heatwave.

At least that’s what I thought until the past few days, when the ozone-depleted heavens unleashed an asphalt-warping, mirage-inducing string of Daily Highs that no refreshing summer beverage could stand up to. Imagine the sun as Godzilla, and the drinks as little Japanese tanks: “The gin and tonics only amuse him! Ruuun!” Clearly I need something colder…

Which brings us to today’s recipe: gin and tonic sorbet.

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Polenta finalOften, when I’m looking for a quick dinner, I try to make a large serving of something typically considered a side but load it up with veggies and proteins enough to make a proper meal.  Read: I’m often eating rice or pasta at home.  While I love rice and pasta, and try to vary what kinds I’m using and what I’m serving them with, I was looking for something different recently.  Bingo: Recipes for Health in the New York Times recently suggested polenta.

I went to Raffetto’s in Manhattan, an Italian-foods specialty store that thank God is cash-only, since I am perpetually cash-strapped, or I would have serious credit card problems there.  Since quick was what I was after, I purchased a bag of pre-cooked polenta that only needed five minutes on the stovetop to be ready to eat.  I also picked up a can of San Marzano tomatoes and a zucchini at a small market nearby, and I was set to make polenta with zucchini and tomatoes.  This recipe is great because it can be fully made in about 30 minutes, or, if you are particularly pressed for time, many parts can be made ahead of time, and can be mixed and matched. (more…)

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In harsh economic times like these, huddling around fires for warmth is all the rage, but oil drums are sooooo last century. What’s today’s modern Hoovervillian to do? Well hoboes and hoboettes, I’m glad you asked because here at Food Junta we pledge to continue bringing you recipes on the singed-and-smoking edge of Pyrotechnical Gastronomy, for all of your dining, showboating and huddling needs.

Okay fine, that and my apartment is still full of a lot of leftover booze that I’d rather burn than drink. Today’s recipe is for Bananas Foster, a rich, bubbling mass of butter, sugar, bananas, and fiery liquor that I was introduced to by a Cajun roommate while studying abroad in Italy. Naturally we used grappa at the time because hey, when in Rome, right? But while many types of liquor will burn and caramelize your ingredients, not to mention warm your fingerless-gloved hands, dark rum has traditionally been the fuel of choice. (more…)

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It’s really easy. I promise. Like, pile some stuff in a pan easy.

It’s not fast. There’s a fair bit of chopping, then some cooking, then a lot of assembling, then a lot more cooking. But all those steps are straightforward, and it’s very difficult for me to imagine what you could do wrong (unintentionally) to make this dish taste bad.

It’s not especially cheap. The ingredients all together will run you about $30.

But it’s good. Oh how it’s good. And it also feeds four really hungry men on a winter night with a few servings to spare. It’s lasagne, and its a good thing.

Obligatory Garfield reference, then the jump.

Garfield loves lasagne.

Jump. (more…)

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“America and England are two countries separated by a common language.”
–George Bernard Shaw/Oscar Wilde/Winston Churchill/Token Quotable White British Man of Choice/The Google

Hey, kids!  It’s me, Blinki the Briton!  Boy, today’s such a jolly great day!  So great that, why—I just feel like learning some new words today, don’t you?  Yes, you do!  Today’s theme is “Why Alice Can’t Cook Properly at Cambridge!”  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Hug your mom, let’s go!  Wahoo!  Here’s the first word:

Gyp room.  Gyp-room.  GYP ROOM!
A GYP ROOM is a cruel joke of a student kitchen that provides a few antiquated and ailing appliances to starving grad students for a fee exorbitant in number and mandatory in nature!  Also, cooking with fat or oil is prohibited in a GYP ROOM.  WTF, right kiddets?  Waooooh!
Let’s try a sentence, okay?
“Sensitivity training, whatevs—I cannot think of my GYP ROOM without conjuring images of swindling, pilfering gypsies doing their whirling, whirling gypsy dance.”

Got that?  Good!  Now, I wonder what we can find in a GYP ROOM…

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