calamari

This last week was real hell.  After my last post, I spent another 3 days flat on my back on pain meds.  Unreal. I finally began to emerge on sunday, and yesterday, just in time for my top up appointment, I was feeling pretty well.  Well enough that I decided to shoot a little video last night while I cooked.

When I walked into the office yesterday my doc said “I have news for you,” ominously as he passed to go see another patient.  When it was my turn he announced that over the weekend he had done some research on the pain.  That it was NOT the oxaliplatin on its own.  BUT that oxaliplatin in conjunction with 5FU and luekovorin DID cause pain in a certain percentage of patients.  What sort of pain was not made clear in the study.  I feel I should point out to you here that this particular drug cocktail is very common.  Common enough to have a name.  It’s called Folfox, and almost all colon cancer cases are treated with it.   The notion that you have to look for some obscure study to find a list of the synergistic side effects of the cocktail as a whole seems crazy.  Anyway.  The pain is there.  It’s been getting worse each round for the last 4.  We’re going to try to treat it with extra strength Motrin instead of oxycodone (I have my doubts).  We’re also going cross our fingers/pray/wish/hope etc.. that it just goes away.

Last night I made a little calamari as an appetizer for dinner and thought I should throw up a video and some instructions.

Calamari is cheap and easy.  Usually there won’t be any leftover.

It’s an ultimate salt and pepper don’t fuck it up type dish.

Rinse and strain the calamari.

Cut up the tubes into 3/8″ or so rings.  I prefer the tentacles, myself, and so I often send Hillary to the fish counter, since she’s far better looking than me and twice as charming.  She usually manages to come away with about 80% tentacle.  Nice. The tentacles, you can leave whole.  Press them to the bottom of the colander to get as much moisture out of them as possible.

Dredge all the bits in a mix of all purpose flour, salt, pepper, and some dried parsley..  I don’t typically keep dried herbs around.  They all taste the same to me (maybe with the exception of dried mexican oregano, which I usually do have on hand).  Fresh parsley will work fine..  Just dice it up fine and dry it out in the oven for a while so that it doesn’t gum up the dredging mix.

Toss the dredged bits into some nice hot oil, stir occaisionally, and remove when they’re a satisfying brown.  Drain on brown paper.

I like to serve them with a little aioli, or I guess to be accurate, flavored mayonnaise.  In this case I did one with mashed garlic and pepper (oh oh..   learn to mash garlic.  It’s in the video.  First slice it as thin as you are able.  Then put some salt on it.  The salt acts as an abrasive.  Using the side of the knife edge, mash it into the counter top.  This takes just a little practice, but once you’ve got it down, you can reduce a clove of garlic into super nice oily garlic paste in about 30 seconds flat).  The other was mixed with a little Patak’s garlic pickle.  Outstanding stuff.  Great on sandwiches.

That’s it.  You’re done.  Serve it on a bed of salad to make it look cute.  And maybe have it with some soup that you made for lunch the day before. This is the sort of thing that people often get at restaurants.. don’t bother.  It’s easy to do at home, and is almost free (I believe this was about $4 of squid, maybe less).

ATTENTION!!  My brother is playing at poisson rouge tonight.  It’s a new series he’s doing where he invites friends who happen to be in town to join him on stage and play some of his music, some of theirs.  The first one, last month, was great.  This one promises to be as well.  The official guests are Justin Bond (who if you don’t know, is the grande damme of NYC cabaret, and a beautiful soul), and the Poison Tree (Steve Salett’s new band..  formerly head man of King of France, and one of the truly great song writers out there).  Though it’s not published, I happen to know that our pals Glen Hansard and Samamidon will also be playing.  So if you’re not busy tonight, come join us! Get tickets. It will sell out.

Ok. Thank you all for your words of encouragement this last bunch of days. I was stuck in a pretty bleak place, but am really feeling much better now. Can’t promise I won’t spend a little time horizontal this afternoon in order to make it to the show tonight.

27 Responses to “calamari”

  1. Wes

    Keep your head up Ezra. We’re all out here praying and whatnot for you, hoping that it all smooths out.

    Loving the cooking videos as well! They always make my mouth water and usually consist of me going home to try and whip up something equally as delish, though I usually can’t score such fresh ingredients due to location.

  2. Allison

    The garlic is always my favorite part.
    Rest well.
    Enjoy tonight.
    Smile (even if it’s fake.)

  3. kendall

    dem are some tasty lookin’ tentacles my friend.
    i sure wish i could attend a secret concert in NYC tonight… especially after missing your brother up here in november.
    XX

  4. Eunice

    i’m sorry the pain is getting to ya. i hope it eases up, and take your time and rest. btw, the tentacles are my favorite part, too. most folks don’t understand why I get excited when restaurants actually serve tentacles in any calamari dish (normally it’s all body).

    i made your aztec soup (sans chicken) the other day and it is so delicious. in fact, i’m having it for lunch today with a small cheese quesadilla. thank you for sharing!

  5. Zombie Rasputin

    I need to get myself a quality knife.

  6. Doug

    The food you cook and the way you cook it reminds me of my Italian grandmother. I’ve never met you, but it seems you have her zest for life as well. Salut, Ezra ;-)

  7. Jennie

    So sad I’m not in NYC for the show. I watched clips from the last one on Thomas’ facebook. Glen is wonderful… the whole thing was wonderful. I’m so sorry the pain has been hitting you so hard… take care and enjoy yourself tonight, Ez.

    Oh and I agree with Allison’s comment. The garlic is my favorite part too :)

  8. Sam Buckholz

    I’m curious Ez, do you end up with a lot of scratches on your knife blade by mashing the garlic with the salt? The salt should act as an abrasive not only to the garlic but to your knife. I’m sure in the end it doesn’t amount to much, but I’m just curious.

  9. willow naeco

    Ezra,

    Sorry if this is a double-up (maybe more than a quadruple-up) on a suggestion for pain relief: acupuncture.

    I go once a week and it’s really helping beyond having a nice place to completely relax for an hour. I get mine done by students (there is a supervisor present) so it’s only $15 a session.

    Maybe there is something similar in NY that you could benefit from.

    Love,

    willow

  10. Ray and Suzanne

    Ezra,

    I was interested in your website because I love bikes and my wife and I both love to cook and eat. (Suzanne has never cooked calamari, but she will give it a whirl.) The weird thing is, the cancer piece: Suzanne’s first husband died of pancreatic cancer and then after we married, I got testicular cancer. Lucky me, lucky girl. Her second husband, me, dodged the bullet. I hope that for you, this whole cancer thing is a blip on the radar screen a few years from now. You are the man, you need to know. When I was recovering from radiation, I couldn’t even smell food; I’d get sick. The food you’re cooking up is inspiring, as is your candor about your pain. My wife says she will add your return to health as part of her daily rosary, and I will keep you in my prayers.

  11. Chaundra

    Yes, I’m still following you – wait, that makes me sound like a stalker. I mean that in the blog sort of way… I keep writing and deleting here…my friend’s husband is going through some of the same bs, and I appreciate all that you’re able to do. Especially the cooking tips! Anyway, I’m glad to hear that your doc’s done some extra research and I hope you’re able to manage the pain okay. I wish you all the best.

  12. kris spikes - philadelphia, pa

    Ezra,

    You are so GD cute and the fact that you can cook so well is just amazing. I seriously want to know how you BOTH stay so thin on this crazy (natural) diet you both eat. It’s just not fair.

    I’ve been dipping into the culinary arts for so long and I’ve learned that I simply can’t eat the way I want to cook. Sigh. Bad genes.

    Hang in there babe and keep yourself rested as much as possible.

    Loving your art and spirit,

    Kris

  13. Abby

    Thank you for another great video of tasty tidbits. I am having a hard time reconciling the pics of Thomas on his website with the little boy sitting on the stairs at B&P playing a guitar, his big brother incredibly proud of his skills. I think he was under six, and that was the last time I saw him. He looks different. Hope you got out and had a grand time this evening. Keep on keeping on, and thanks, as ever, for keeping all of us in the loop.

  14. Eric

    Thanks, Ezra – now i’m hungry :)

  15. jane

    I totally concur on the matter of tentacles, crispier and they are also far more pretty to look at.

    Speaking of all things pretty, I think the best part of these fast food videos is the finale when you pan out to your diners. I love their expressions. I think I would be all “Put the camera down…I wanna eat!”

    Enjoy the gig. Mr Hansards film was on the old BBC the other night….what a voice. Then again, I’ve never met an irish person without great pipes.

    Hope they hit this pain thing on the head soon

  16. Sasha

    How apropos! I was just loking at the squid in the grocery store thinking, “I bet it’s not that hard to make calamari at home…” And I come home and find this post!! Best wishes…

  17. Bernard

    Hi, we are close to neighbors, I randomly came across you flicker site 3 years ago while searching for the town of Putney where I went to school, photos of your dog came up on Flickr instead. I looked through your photos for the heck of it and saw photos of your bikes and your front room where you hang your bikes. Than randomly one day on my way to the A train I looked up and saw some bikes hanging in a brownstone on st nicks. I swore that I had seen that image before and than remembered your flicker page that i had randomly fallen upon. Anyway, in short, I’ve been following your blog, flicker page and bike building adventures ever since. Strange…Anyway I really hope that you feel better and that you beat this thing, as one day when I get rich i’m gonna have you build me a sweet ride.,, Cheers, Bernard

  18. Kamala

    GAH! Watch out for your fingers! >< Making me all nervous and what not.

    About a week or so after my sinus surgery I sneezed and my whole head hurt so bad! I had never had pain like that before. I consider myself a pretty tough person and I have a high pain tolerance but we had to call the hospital and speak to the on call ENT and he said to take two Oxycodone every 4 hours…I had to do that for 3 days and could barely eat. I know it’s probably nothing compared to what you’re going through, but I feel ya man.

    Been sending tons of good thoughts your way, I’m sorry I haven’t been able to comment on your blog that much. School work has been piling up.

  19. Mochuelin

    I hope every pain go out and so far from you!!

    I like your fast movies, I want ask you what soft are using to edit them, bc the quality of video is fantastic!

    Lots hugs, now i’ve cross all my fingers… and i can’t do anything! but i’ll be in that way for you!

  20. Noah

    I love that Patak’s garlic relish. Amazing stuff. Great idea to make an aioli with it. I can’t wait to try this one. So simple!

  21. Andrew

    Much respect and best wishes to you Ezra.
    Planning on trying your lamb shanks recipe this weekend.
    -Andrew in San Francisco

  22. eddy

    droolworthy!

  23. Colleen

    Love this! Amazing. Feel better. xo

  24. tearful dishwasher

    Dude-

    Made this last night, and had the leftovers for lunch today.

    You are awesome. You rocked my world.

    My plan is to make this again for my wife when she gets back, and I’m telling you, she ain’t never gonna leave again if I do!

    She’s gonna be my little calamari slave!

    all best to you. seriously, you’ve enriched my life, and I don’t even know you.

    thank you.

  25. Darla

    Food looks amazing! (Work is slow today, I’m not usually such a slacker…)

    Keep your head up, Ezra. The gang here at PW is pulling for you. Can’t wait for you to be working again. The world needs you and your bikes. :D

  26. Anthony

    Hey Ezra. Might not be 2011 any more but just wanted to let you know the trick with the garlic paste is awesome. Just used the combination in a lunch wrap.. and that extra flavour made it so much better. Definitely keeping that one in mind – planning to properly try out all the dishes you’ve posted.. following yours definitely seems much more exciting and interesting than following recipes laid out like science reports.

    Anyways, thank you! For sharing despite not being in the best condition, then and now.

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