Sunday, February 12, 2012

Plate of Blini Bedtime Snack

As a byproduct both of being profoundly lazy and having a small apartment, Heather and I do a lot of our eating in bed, right before going to sleep. It's probably bad for us in some health type way but we've been doing it so long it seems totally normal. I'll knock something together at midnight and we'll polish it off while talking about how our jobs are annoying or our friends or or whoever that was just now on TV or how it's snowing to suck four dicks right now or that one dude needs to not take so many pills or cancer, boy cancer sure sucks, or what was the name of that one band, you know they had the girl in the outfit? Had that one song? Went "na na na na" making a little ukulele gesture because you can't do full air guitar in bed don't be ridiculous.

Tonight's snack was a plate of blini, little potato pancakes you can garnish with all manner of things. I made a batter in the food processor of raw potato, fresh corn cut from a cob, sour cream, egg, salt, pepper and a little flour. I added baking powder to lighten the batter, but just a dab because when the batter is really wet like this it can overdo the fizz and make the final pancake bitter. I cooked them on the cast-iron griddle, of which I don't get nearly enough use. Cast iron is a fantastic cooking surface, but I never think to pre-heat it while I'm preparing the food, otherwise I'd use it all the time. Tonight it occurred to me, so the griddle was ready when the batter was.

Normal pancakes get semi-solid prior to flipping, but the heat transfers much more gradually in blini batter, so you have to flip them while the tops are still quite liquid. If you wait until the top is covered with pinholes like a conventional pancake, you will have scorched the first side. Blini retain heat off the griddle, so it's important to let them rest before garnishing, both to avoid the garnish liquefying and so the interior can complete its cooking. I stack mine on a plate in a kind of overlapping spiral. I am sometimes tempted to try to make a tower of blini, but not enough to do it. Tower of blini. Ridiculous.

When I had a plate of the little guys I poked around in the fridge for garnish, having neglected to acquire a bunch of caviar. Caviar, man that's a whole thing we could talk about. Like most ostentatious trappings of wealth -- Hummers, speculative investment capitalism, collagen injections -- it is both disgusting and unsustainable. Caviar brought an ancient species of fish to the brink of extinction. For snacks.

Anyhow, we had some nicely sustainable Greek yogurt, so I blopped a spoon of that on a couple. We had some spinach dip from a plastic tub. I don't go for that, but Heather dips chips in it when I'm not around to make little potato-corn pancakes for her. What the hell, I put some of that on a couple. Heather hates Marmite, but I adore it for things like this, so I spread a molecule-thin layer of Marmite on a couple. I drizzled some olive oil on the whole plate and grated parmigiano over everything. The yogurt ones looked a little sad and monochromatic, so I sprinkled some paprika on them and they instantly became quite festive. I finally found a use for paprika.(v)


  1. i've heard that eating before bed gives you nightmares. hasn't happened to me though

  2. That photo looks like a bunch of oysters that were left in the fridge way too long

  3. Various nightmares after eating before bed have occurred to me over the years, the worst involving greasy pizza. I fell asleep on my stomach, causing both of my arms to go to sleep. The nightmare involved lying on top of corpses (the dead arms, natch. I awoke screaming and jumped out of bed flailing my arms around for quite awhile. My wife remembers this as vividly as I do, for some reason.

    Another involved an evil, glowing refrigerator.

  4. WTF? You're in a small apartment?
    Dudes, it's time to move on up!!
    You know what I'm talking 'bout.
    "I don't live in Lincoln Park, I live in Park West." I sold there.
    I've been there, I've done that... that big home on Lake Michigan with the $120,000 tax bill a year. I sold that. Hit me up. I can stretch a dollar.
    I showed that purple house in Old Town, with no fucking garage.
    I showed that house built out of a church.
    Fuck it. The contract didn't go thru, so I sold a bigger house!!

  5. Ummm...I just want to know why my RSS feeder won't update your blog. Guess I'll try to figure it out again. Thanks for this blog, and your contribution to music. You rule sir.

  6. Hey man, i'm curious about this one thing. There's a Steve Albini on facebook but he sounds more like you in some 1988 Rapeman interview than like the blogger Albini. Is it really you?
    (and you can do full air guitar in bed don't be lazy)

  7. Boris, the facebook account "Steve Albini" isn't me. I don't know who it is. And no way can I do full air guitar in bed. I can maybe make the faces though.

  8. Alright then, thanks for clarifying this thing.
    Yeah, you can compensate with faces, but you gotta make real extreme Santana gestures. Watch your jaw!

  9. The main reason why you don't want to eat right before bedtime is because your body will be digesting food when it's supposed to be resting. So the sleep you're getting isn't really "good" sleep, your body is using energy when it should be storing it. So, yeah. To recap: Rest, Don't Digest. Or, Don't Make Your Sleep Cheap.

  10. Steve Alblini (someone had to do it)

    All puns aside, those sound delightful!

  11. Where have you gone?
    Please post again.


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