This doesn't look like much, but the first version went by so fast I'm thinking about making it again tonight. It's from the rich tradition of Spanish escabeches and salpicóns and all other manner of marinated and pickled fish, served cold or at room temperature. Obvs wild salmon is not a requirement here, just any slightly oily fish that really tastes like something on its own. If you are using wild salmon, Kalamatas were key, I wouldn't substitute another olive.


wild salmon in olive escabeche.

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-wide, 2-inch lengths
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp dried thyme
4 to 8 bay leaves (8 if they're good ones)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 wild salmon filets (about 500g total)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped very fine



medication corner.

So, hopefully to bring this saga to a temporary close: let's call mirtazapine withdrawals a 2-3 week process. One thing to be careful about: if you're paranoid about not sleeping (which is probably why you were taking mirtazapine in the first place), try to resist the temptation to replace the missing mirtazapine with a little extra zolpidem or oxazepam. It became really difficult to tell what was fucking my shit up, the sudden absence of longer-term meds or slightly increased reliance on shorter-term sleep aids.

I stopped everything but melatonin a couple of days ago and now feel pretty OK, except that of course I haven't been sleeping. As always, it's hard to assess what helped fix things b/c I tend to change 12 variables at once whenever I feel like serious ass, b/c if you could potentially shorten your period of serious assiness well then why wouldn't you.




Above: my only picture of my visit to Gaasperplas, which was a lovely place to be, but the bike ride there was quite something.

Then last night we had our new version of Jamaican comfort food again: jerk steak, coconut chicken curry based on this, black beans, rice. And homemade cronuts for dessert, don't ask.

Below that, the prototype packaging for Daddy's Balls, a special ghost pepper edition of our BBQ sauce.


de echte echte bakker.

Went down to the corner bakery today, which has previously always been a branch of this shitty prefab industrial bakery chain, not worth the empty carbs at all. A few weeks back this branch changed their name to Bakkerij Westerpark, or maybe it was months ago, I stopped looking at that corner of the street years ago.

I don't know if this is a crafty corporate rebranding thingie, you know, where someone who cranks out huge volumes of uninspired, soul-free characterless pap suddenly figures out they need to tap into the "artisanal" craze so they change everything about their presentation and marketing but still crank out the same shitty food....

....or if this is an actually new bakery. I'm skeptical b/c 1) i'm a skeptic and 2) they're using the same bags as the last place. And 3) this kind of shit is happening constantly. I hate that my first reaction to what could totally be a sweet, honest family business is to suspect the worst, but this is the climate we live in today people ect ect ect. 

IN ANY EVENT, today I went in there b/c  this morning the mooperbird mumbled something about a croissant as she tossed and turned in an attempt to crank out 30 minutes' more sleep, and this place is really the only remotely promising option on our street. 

And lo, what did I find there:

A cronut. My first cronut.

And? Braincrushingly sweet, the kind of sweet that I haven't experienced in many months. And: delicious with a cup of strong coffee. They also have pretty healthy-seeming-yet-tasty spelt croissants if you're not totally burned out on spelt by this point. I'll probably go back.



so long, 'taz.

So, for anyone who finds this site as a result of searching for experiences using mirtazapine or Remeron for insomnia and/or depression (or trying to get off of those meds), I should bring my coverage of this subject to a neat(ish) close: I stopped taking the shit about seven days ago after a little more than one year of daily use. I'd tapered down to a dose of 3.75mg, which my normal doctor and my head doctor were both pretty sure was too low to be having any useful medicinal effect on me.

I'd been planning on stopping, or at least I'd been planning on not taking it for the rest of my life: the sleeping part was (as already covered here) unprecedentedly fantastic, but the nighttime post-dosing irritability and the incredible, unignorable appetite stimulation when I did find myself awake between the hours of 11pm and 11am seemed to be getting worse instead of better, and I just decided I couldn't take it anymore. It was a year of great sleep, thank you.

Now, after seven days of what I'd guess you'd have to call "withdrawal symptoms", I can say that, yes, mentally, I can kind of see myself from here, and not in a bad way at all. So that's good. But I can also say that if you're considering a similar cessation: don't plan anything for at least a week. You will essentially experience a non-contagious "serious intestinal flu" of indeterminate length, and that's all I'm gwine say about it. There's been an arc to it, from mild to extreme to highly variable, which is where we are now. I am now wearing two homemade anti-nausea wristbands and I look like even more of a total cock than usual. I had a Coke today. It was like that.

But it shows no real signs of stopping. I'll continue this post when things noticeably improve.

UPDATE: OK, and then all of the sudden it was kind of over. about 10 days in total. Things still aren't perfect, and I'm now constantly itchy, sneezing, and not really sleeping all that well, but that's an improvement. Apparently mirtazapine's strong anthistamine properties can inhibit your body's natural anthistamine tendencies.

UPDATED UPDATE: Well, not totally over, 14 days later. Some kind of return to seesawing queasiness and general discomfort, plus itching, lots of itching. And not a whole lot of sleep. Was on a diet of primarily fish, ginger tea and cultured yogurt, which I didn't realize was doing me good but maybe it was.



crunchy numbers.

For future reference:

30 picnic guests=
4kg bone-in pork shoulder
5kg chicken wings
9kg beef brisket
2 kilos tomatoes
80 mini buns
4kg potato salad
2 cucumbers and 2 onions' worth of bread and butter pickles
1 head of cabbage worth of slaw
2 pork tenderloins

It was *all* eaten over the course of 4 hours or so.




The recipe worked perfectly, apparently even defying the laws of physics and biology to allow me to cook 8 pounds of pork butt in 4 hours. And, for posterity, a 4kg shoulder yielded 1 liter of pulled pork, do NOT ask me how that metric shit works, I just look at the packaging and what my containers say they hold; science and math do/does the rest.

Our full contribution to the ghost-pepper-centric menu tomorrow is as follows, because I'm a senile old man and keep losing the scraps of paper where I keep writing it down:

Georgia-style BBQ pulled pork with raw sweet onion on squishy little white buns
red cabbage chipotle-buttermilk slaw
a nicely mustardy potato salad
bread and butter peach-cucumber pickle

chicken wings two ways:
1) brined for slightly too long (4 hours was just on the verge of too salty, I'd do two next time) and tossed in Momofuku's octo vinaigrette (soy, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, scallions)
2) spice-rubbed and tossed in a lemon ghost brown butter (unsalted butter, whole dried ghost pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, miniscule amounts of Frank's and Old Bay.

maybe a smoked ghost jerk tenderloin if i feel uppity

probably not:
ghost pepper oil (details undetermined)
ghost pepper-pickled mustard seeds (if I can make it work)