Asparagus Risotto

INGREDIENTS

one big bunch of asparagus
half cup chopped basil
half cup chopped flat parsley
olive oil
one tablespoon butter
one cup diced sweet onion
one cup dry white wine
one quart stock (chicken or vegetable), diluted 1:1 with asparagus water to make two quarts
two cups vialone nano rice (or arborio or carnaroli)
fresh-ground black pepper
juice of one lemon
salt
half cup grated parmigiano reggiano
eggs

Cut the tops of the asparagus off and boil for a minute or two in salty water. Remove and reserve. Then boil the bottoms for about five minutes in the same water, until they are really soft. (If you are using the bigger kind of asparagus, with really tough bottoms, you might need to cut off and discard the bottom inch, but these are baby asparagus and very tender all the way to the bottom.)

Put the asparagus bottoms, the basil, and the parsley in the blender with about three quarter cups of of the asparagus water and puree the living fucke out of it.

Sautee the onions with plenty of black pepper in oilve oil with one tablespoon butter, until the onions are very soft.

Throw the rice in and continue to sautee until the rice is well coated with oil and smelling toasty, about two or three minutes.

Add the wine and cook with stirring until the liquid is mostly boiled off.

Cook the rice as usual, stirring and ladling in already-simmering broth until the rice has a good bite in the center and has released plenty of starch. The heat should be at a level where it is simmering vigorously but not violently, and at the correct level it should take fifteen-to-eighteen minutes.

Add one cup and a little more of the pureeed asparagus and continue to cook for a minute or so.

Add the asparagus and cook for another minute, with very gentle stirring.

Turn off the heat, add the cheese and lemon juice, and stir well to incorporate. At this point, you can add some more of the simmering broth to loosen it up, depending how you like it.

Plate it, making a little depression in the middle. Crack an egg into the depression, grate some additional parmigiano reggiano, and garnish with a little basil and/or parsley. After serving, stir up the egg into the risotto, which should be hot enough to cook the egg. YUM!

If you don’t want to use an egg, it’s fine: just add a couple tablespoons of butter when you incorporate the cheese in the cooking pot. This recipe is also adapted pretty closely from Urban Italian, by Andrew Carmellini.

PhD Theses

Reading every word of a PhD thesis is ridiculous. The point of the thesis is that it forces the student to survey the entire range of the literature and place their own scientific work in a much broader context than is possible with a peer-reviewed publication. If the student did good publishable work in the lab, it doesn’t matter if there are “that/which” errors in the thesis. Who gives a fucke? This isn’t like in the humanities, where a PhD thesis frequently becomes a published book.

What matters is the underlying science and the breadth and depth of knowledge of the student about her field. The former can be assessed looking at the figures, and the latter during the oral examination. The purpose of the thesis is the process of writing it, not the final product.

And BTW, the other thing I don’t understand is this cockamamie notion that it is important not to allow someone who doesn’t “deserve” a PhD to get one. If the poor fucke spent five or more years in the lab, and they at least tried at some level to be successful, then if they write a passable thesis, they should get their fucken PhD. It’s not like giving someone an accounting degree who doesn’t know shitte-for-dicke about accounting and could fucke their clients’ shitte uppe, or a doctor who could kille a motherfucker.

What harm is some poor fucke who didn’t “deserve” a PhD gonna do with it?? Try to get a seat at a hot restaurant by making the reservation under Doctor Undeserving??

Flour/Glitter “Bombing” Is Battery

This flour/glitter “bombing” shitte is totally battery, and I don’t understand why the police didn’t prosecute this case even though Kardashian supposedly didn’t want to “press charges” (which is legally meaningless, anyway). There must have been numerous witnesses to the crime, and unless these assholes doing this shitte suffer consequences, itte’s just going to escalate.

And yes, I am equally repulsed by left-wingers doing this shitte to vile right-wing scum.

UPDATE: And just to clarify. I’m obviously not arguing thatte these “bombers” should be thrown in jail. But protecting people’s right to bodily integrity–which includes the right not to have objects or substances intentionally and offensively induced to touch you–is a core purpose of criminal law. Fining these perps a couple hundred dollars for “bombing” other people seems very proportionate to the offense, and a reasonable deterrent.

Alinsky?

What the fucken fucke is uppe with all these deranged right-wing fuckeuppes and their “Obama is an Alinskyite” gibberish? Seriously, who the fucke is Alinsky and why does he frighten the pig people so much? Is it because his name sounds all like he’s totally a dirty jew or something?

I’m a pretty hard-core liberal, and I’ve never even heard of the motherfucker until his name kept bring brought up in relation to Obama during the 2008 election.

Reminiscences of Formative Experiences

Tenured Radical has a very interesting and heartwarming post up concerning the formative experiences she had in college that set her on the professional academic trajectory that has led her to where she is now. Her tale is eerily parallel to my own.

I was a fuckeuppe my freshman year, ended it with a 1.58 GPA (no idea why I remember the exact number), and was placed on academic probation to start my sophomore year. I, too, wanted to be left alone by adults to get drunke, smoke weede, and chase girls at fraternity parties, but also wanted to be noticed as SPECIAL! and TALENTED!

I got my wish in the Spring of my sophomore year, when I was called in to the office of Professor ES, a huge figure in the field of physiology and a former provost of the university. He was the director of a “scholars” program I had been inducted into as part of my admission to the university, I presume based on the fact that while my high-school grades were mediocre, my list of books I had read during high-school that was part of the application to this school (no idea of universities ask for that anymore from applicants) contained hundreds of books, all of them difficult and none of them assigned.

So I go into his office, and he is this tall dude with white hair wearing a suit and bowtie. And he goes, “So! Mr. Physio! You are part of the scholars program because we have identified you as someone who should get involved with our faculty’s original research. What is you major?”

And I am just thinking, “Shitte, man. I just want to drinke beer, smoke weede, and chase girls at frat parties. What the fucke is this dude’s problem?”

So I go, “My major is {somewhat technical humanities discipline}.” And he said, “What has interested you about your courses in that major?” And I go, “Well, I like thinking about the nature of humanity and what it means to be a human being.”

So he goes, “AH!! Well, it’s very nice to think about the nature of humanity from the standpoint of {somewhat technical humanities discipline}, but if you really want to understand how and why human beings are how we are, you need to understand human PHYSIOLOGY!”

At this point, the dude has risen from his chair and is declaiming all this shitte very dramatically. And I am all thinking, “What the fucke is uppe with this lunatic? I gotta get the fucke out of here!”

So then he goes, “OK! Mr. Physio! You go see Professor AE in the biology department! You tell him I sent you, and you tell him you are going to work in his lab with Dr. JS, one of his post-docs! Now go!” And he writes down these people’s names on a piece of paper and the building and room number of Professor AE’s lab.

So I put the piece of paper in my pocket, and scurry out of there with relief, go find some of my cronies and drinke beer, smoke weede, and chase girls at fraternity parties.

A day or so later, I find this piece of paper in my pocket. And I can’t explain why, and I don’t even remember the decision itself, but I presented myself at Professor AE’s lab with the piece of paper, and explained to his secretary who I was and why I was there. So she goes, “Hmm. Wait right here.”

And she goes back into an office and I hear murmuring for a few moments, and then this dude comes out. And just like Professor ES, he’s got white hair and a bowtie, but he’s short, much shorter than ES.

And he goes, “Mr. Physio! Welcome to my lab! Let’s go introduce you to Dr. JS!”

And I thereby got drawn into the world of biomedical research, and the thing that was amazing was that within a few months of working in the lab and generating my own data, I was treated by a diverse group of faculty, post-docs, and grad students all working in this particular area of physiology as a COLLEAGUE, and not as a punkeasse undergrad who just wanted to drinke beer, smoke weede, and chase girls at fraternity parties. It was a heady experience–akin to how TR describes being given REAL RESPONSIBILITY as a writer and editor at a real publication at her university.

If not for Professors ES and AE (both, sadly, deceased, the former at a ripe old age and the latter tragically and too young), and Dr. JS, still one of my closest friends and colleagues, I would surely not be Comradde PhysioProffe today!

Predictive Decision-Making With Incomplete Information

I was on a NYC Transit subway train this morning–on my way to a regular train station to make a specific regular train leaving at a particular time–and we were stopped at a station a bit longer than usual, and then the conductor got on the PA and said, “We are stopped at this station due to a medical emergency on the train. EMS personnel have been called to handle the emergency.”

So now all of the passengers are presented with a complex decision based on incomplete information. The decision–which is revisited from moment-to-moment–is whether to stay on the train and wait it out, or whether to get off the train and figure out another way to reach one’s destination. The prediction on the basis of incomplete information that must be made is, How long will it take before EMS arrives and takes the sick passenger off the train?

The decision calculus also involves the “sunk cost” of accumulated waiting time. It also involves weighing the time it will take to reach the destination by alternative means versus on the subway, once the sick passenger is off the train and it departs, and whether one has to make it to the destination with a “hard stop” to the time of arrival (such as I did, to make my regular train).

Some people got off the train immediately upon the first announcement that we were stopped for a medical emergency. I suspect those people had alternative means to reach their destination that were straightforward, rapid, and not costly. For example, anyone who was going to get off at the next stop–only eight blocks away–could just get right off and walk.

There were cohorts of people who got off the train right after each one of the several announcements that we were still waiting for EMS. I guess those people figured they would wait to hear an announcement, in case it was, “EMS is here. We should be moving shortly.”

After about ten minutes of waiting, more and more people started to get off the train. I guess these people reached a threshold and figured, “We could be here for a *long* time.”

My calclulus was as follows: (1) I am only four stops away from the regular train station, which takes five-to-seven minutes without delays. (2) My regular train doesn’t leave for forty minutes (I always leave early to make travel connections). (3) If I get off and walk, it’ll take probably 25-30 minutes, and I’ll be sweating like a pig when I get to the train station. (4) If I try to find a taxi, I might have to wait for one, and traffic could be horrendous, and there is nothing more stressful than sitting in a fucken taxi stuck in traffic trying to make a train or plane, and you might not make it. (5) If I miss my train, there is another one an hour later. (6) If I take the next train, I would miss the first meeting I have scheduled at my destination, but make it to my second meeting. (7) The second meeting is with someone I report to, and the first meeting is with someone who reports to me.

So I decided I was just going to wait it out.

After about fifteen minutes total waiting time, the conductor announced that EMS was on the scene, and then we left about three more minutes later. I made my train.

Radicchio And Smoked Mootz Risotto

INGREDIENTS

one large radicchio, cored and rough chopped
one large garlic clove, finely diced
one half cup diced onion
one cup cubed smoked mootz
olive oil
salt and fresh-ground black pepper
one quart chicken stock diluted 1:1 to make two quarts broth
two cups arborio or carnaroli rice
half cup port
one cup dry red wine
half cup grated piave cheese (or other hard italian cheese)
one tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Nothing like port, red wine, and motherfucken smoked mootz!

Sautee the garlic and radicchio on medium-high for a couple minutes until it is starting to wilt.

Add the fucken port and continue to sautee until the liquid is all gone and the radicchio has stopped exuding more liquid into the pan. This should take about ten to fifteen minutes, depending on how hot your pan is, and the radicchio should be pretty tender. Take the shitte out of the pot.

Sautee the garlic in olive oil until it is soft and golden.

Add the rice to the pan and continue to stir and sautee until the grains are all coated with oil and you can smell nice toasting rice.

Deglaze with the red wine, and allow to reduce until pretty much all the liquid is gone. Then start cooking the risotto in the usual way, ladling in simmering broth and stirring every minute or so.

When the rice is very very molto al dente, with a good bit of crunch in the center, add the radicchio and thyme, and continue to cook for a minute or so, until the rice is very molto al dente, and then turn off the heat.

Add the cubed mootz and the grated piave, stir well to incorporate, salt and black pepper to taste, and then cover and allow to rest for a few minutes. Just before you plate, you can add some more hot broth to loosen it up if you like it soupier.

Plate, grate, sprinkle, EAT THE MOTHERFUCKEFR!!!!!!!! This is a pretty close adaptation of a recipe from the book “Urban Italian”, by Andrew Carmellini.